A few days ago, BoingBoing noticed something quite interesting in the iBooks store. In looking up the classic book Moby Dick, or, The Whale by Herman Melville, they noticed the description said that one of the true stories that inspired the book was “the killing of an albino s***m [sic] whale" known as Mocha Dick”.

Since I don’t have access to iBooks yet, I can’t look it up for myself and see if that bowdlerization is still intact. But regardless of whether it is or not…why on earth would they censor “sperm,” which is not commonly regarded as a dirty word, but not “dick,” that often is? (And one of the BoingBoing commenters noted that another uncensored word in the description, “rooted,” is a dirty word in Australia.)

TechCrunch posted a couple of articles over the last month detailing possible alternatives to the iPad. Back in March they listed seven, then a few days ago they listed seven more. This is an interesting, comprehensive look at other tablets and e-book readers currently or soon to be available. Some pretty neat gadgets in there. The convertible Viliv S10 Blade and the Lenovo IdeaPad U1 look particularly intriguing.

Our fellow NAPCO-owned blog GadgeTell has noticed Amazon is using a new Kindle advertising technique. “Easy to read even in bright sunlight,” their ad says. Gee, I wonder what brought that on?

The Financial Times has apparently struck a deal with check-in app FourSquare to let FourSquare users “unlock” the Financial Times’s paywall, mocoNews.net reports. Apparently they are going after younger readers who are most resistant to paywalls:

The FT has chosen a number of cafes and businesses situated within business districts and schools such as Columbia, Harvard and the London School of Economic, among others. When Foursquare users check in at a designated spot, they can earn points that will ultimately unlock the FT.com’s online subscriptions, which can run from $183.04 for 52 weeks (or $3.59 per week) for unlimited access to $299 ($5.75 per week) for mobile access included as part of a premium sub.

And another paywall experiment bites the dust, PaidContent.org reports. Harlingen, Texas paper The Valley Morning Star, circulation 23,000, implemented a paywall in mid-2009 as a testbed for its owner, Freedom Communications. It has now “proudly” returned to free status.

[Freedom Interactive president Doug Bennett] says that while some readers were wiling to pay, the test validated the company’s existing ad-supported model. “We want to grow a larger share of audience by making locally-focused information more accessible across multiple platforms, and in turn help our advertisers deliver relevant messages around our content to niche or mass audiences.”

Here’s a 30-second ad for Hewlett Packard’s upcoming Slate device. I find it interesting just how many “things the iPad doesn’t have” they manage to pack into that timeframe: camera, SD card reader, videoconferencing…


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