Round up #169: ultimate PAW EBR, publishers bullied by Apple?
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
Earl: the backcountry survival tablet
If “Earl” seems to good to be true, you are right…it’s not true yet. Take a look at it:
This is a (deep breath) solar-powered, water-resistant, GPS-loaded, weather-detecting, walkie-talkie, Android E-Ink device…with a flexible screen.
It’s the ultimate EBR (E-Book Reader) for the PAW (Post-Apocalyptic World).
It’s only being crowdfunded right now…you can “invest” in the development, and that’s how you end up getting one at this point (for as low as $249).
They are about 55% of the way to the goal as I write this, and there are 25 days left to help them get to the $250,000 needed to launch it.
Would it replace a Kindle?
Not in the marketplace…most people don’t need all that stuff, and it’s a lot more expensive than the “Mindle” (that’s what I call the lowest priced device). However, you should be able to install the Kindle app on it, and, well, it would certainly appeal to some people (including people who worry that a Kindle is too fragile for their kid).
I think it may happen…they could hit the goal.
The nice thing then would be if some of the tech spread into other tablets, which is certainly possible.
Amazon’s problems in Europe
There have been a couple of interesting bad PR (Public Relations) situations for Amazon in Europe recently.
First there is a 1-day strike in Germany over pay:
The argument is over how the workers at Amazon’s warehouses should be classified. Are they working in retail, or are they working in logistics? Amazon does a lot with logistics, no question…in the USA, they have a big business delivering things for other people.
Oddly to me, retail workers get a higher wage in Germany than logistics workers.
However, that’s not the only source of the problem here. There was a TV show back in February that alleged abuses by Amazon, including the use of security connected with neo-Nazis:
That documentary probably contributed to this strike…Germany is a big market for Amazon, and you know how it goes…once a powerful entity gets hit, the hits may keep on coming.
I’ve written before about negative stories about how Amazon treats warehouse workers in the USA. There may be a reason Amazon bought a robot company, partially to automate warehouses…
Then, there is this article about Amazon.uk (as opposed to Amazon.de, which had the strike:
Amazon recently reported financials, and, well, they fed concerns people have had about the e-tailer running business through a Luxembourg division…which means they don’t pay the same taxes they would if they were housed in, say, the UK.
According to the article, Amazon paid $3.7 million in taxes on an income of $6.5 billion…note those initial consonants. That’s a rate of about….0.06%. It’s a good thing Europe is rolling in the dough right now and doesn’t need money, right? Just kidding…my guess is that Luxembourg isn’t too upset by this. Amazon does have to be careful about it’s reputation, though, and not just in the USA.
How logo would you go-go?
One of my regular readers, Lady Galaxy, gave me the heads-up on this
about “subliminal” company logos.
A lot of people became familiar with the concept with Wilson Bryan Key’s book,
which isn’t currently available in a Kindle edition.
Certainly, Keys’ ideas have been challenged…see this
The basic idea is that images of which you are not consciously aware can influence you…in particular, there might be unrelated images (such as sexual ones) in an ad for a drink, perhaps, and that would make you want to buy that drink.
Anyway, the Daily Finance article included Amazon’s logo…and that prompted some comments from another regular reader, Roger Knights, and my responses to them.
Before I tell you what we were saying, let me ask you some questions:
Reportedly, it’s intended to look like both a smile and carry that “A to Z” message. The latter is also supported by Amazon’s research department being called Lab 126, about which Jason Merkoski in Review: Burning the Page says,
“As for the “126” part, well, you have to realize that there was never a Lab125 or a Lab124, just like there was only ever a Preparation H, never a G or an F. The “126” part stems from the fact that “A” is the first letter of the alphabet and “Z” is the 26th, a techno-geeky homage to the “A to Z” development center. Jeff liked his geeky in-jokes— you could have heard his laugh a mile away when they came up with that name.”
The discussion Roger and I were having was over whether the line is an arrow pointing to the “O” (and therefore a mistake) or a flowchart type connector with the arrowhead just indicating direction (so it is “A to Z” and not “Z to A”). Roger thinks they should change the logo so that the arrowhead points more clearly to the Z. I don’t feel the need for that. For me, that message is done correctly…the arrowhead even distorts the bottom of the Z, pushing it up out of the way and deforming it.
What do you think?
New York Times: “U.S. Now Paints Apple as ‘Ringmaster’ in Its Lawsuit on E-Book Price-Fixing”
reports something which simultaneously seems obvious and makes you shake your head in disbelief.
The DoJ (Department of Justice) has now released e-mails which make it really clear that Apple wanted e-book prices to go up when it masterminded the Agency Model for e-books.
That’s the allegation…and unless Apple is going to say the e-mails are false, they are pretty convincing (take a look at the article by Edward Wyatt and Nick Wingfield).
I suppose the shift here is in seeing publishers as the victims of Apple, rather than as co-conspirators.
It always seemed apparent to me that Apple had come up with the idea, and floated it to publishers. One question was whether or not the publishers discussed it with each other (which could make them guilty of a conspiracy to fix prices), or just each individually made a deal with Apple.
It’s not a surprise that Apple might have been the “ringleader”. It’s hard for me to imagine the publishers all sitting together and saying, “You know, it’s rumored that Apple is going to be producing a new tablet computer. Let’s suggest to them that they make us raise the prices on e-books…”
What do you think? Would you want a waterproof solar-powered EBR…even if it wasn’t a Kindle? Would you pay almost $200 more for one? Does Amazon’s treatment of its warehouse workers bother you? Are the publishers victims of Apple? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.