Round up #175: my new hero, Apple trial begins

Round up #175: my new hero, Apple trial begins

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Apple Agency Model trial begins

We can now refer to the trial as the Apple Agency Model trial. Initially, the Department of Justice (DoJ) went after five publishers and Apple for conspiring to raise e-book prices (basically…I’m simplifying here), but all five publishers have settled with the DoJ. That leaves Apple as the only defendant, so it’s not “Apple and the publishers” any more.

Even though lawyers can’t pivot very quickly, that does change the dynamic. I think, for one thing, it lets Apple set it up as much more that the DoJ was out to get them, specifically, and was supporting Amazon. If you are the only person being “picked on”, it’s easier to convince people that it is unfair, in my opinion.

Judge Cotes expects the non-jury trial to last three weeks, according to this

Washington Post article by Cecilia Kang

We could see some very interesting things come out of this. Who testifies? What industry secrets might be revealed (including ones about Amazon)? How does Steve Jobs’ reputation come out of it? Will any of the publisher big wigs testify against Apple?

I’ll keep an eye on it for you.

Update: here is a slide deck that the DoJ presented…I may write more about it later, but you can see why Judge Cote thought the government might have enough evidence, in my opinion:

http://www.scribd.com/fullscreen/145535056

Kindle Fire sale

Through June 8th, US customers can get a Kindle Fire HD (7″ or 8.9″, with or without 4G) for $20 off, subject to these

Deal Terms & Conditions

One of the main things: you need to enter a code (DADSFIRE), meaning that you can not make this purchase with 1-Click.

Mini review: Ender’s Game

Ender’s Game (The Ender Quintet)
by Orson Scott Card

When I recently polled my readers about what they like in ILMK (I Love My Kindle), reviews weren’t very high (although they weren’t super low). So, to accommodate that, I may do more of these “mini reviews”…that way, you don’t have a whole post on one book as often, but for those not insubstantial numbers who liked them, you still get my opinion. 😉

One interesting thing for me about the current e-book market is that I’ll see books put on sale for a short period of time that may be books about which I’ve certainly heard, but have never read. As a former brick-and-mortar bookstore, I can assure you that prices fluctuate much more wildly in e-books than they do in paper!

Ender’s Game is a case like that. It’s not that expensive now ($4.39 at the time of writing), but it was on sale and I wanted to read it before the movie comes out on November 1st.

I’d heard a bit about it (it is one of my relative’s favorite books), but was going into it reasonably spoiler free. 🙂

I’m also aware of the…controversy over the author’s personal beliefs (I think that may lead to protests or boycotts of the movie), but as I’ve written about before, I try to separate the art and the artist.

The first thing I’ll say is that, if you think you don’t like science fiction…well, this book is probably not going to change your mind. 😉 A lot of the book is involved with technology, and with some speculative social things. I didn’t recommend it to my Significant Other, partially for that reason…too much techno going on.

It does, though, also focus on people, and I’d be reasonably certain that the people who like it, like it mainly for that reason.

Well, more accurately, it focuses on one person…Ender Wiggins. In the same way that you have to empathize with Katniss Everdeen to like The Hunger Games trilogy (despite there being other interesting characters), you have to connect to Ender to like Ender’s Game.

“Empathize” might be a tricky word here, though…I don’t mean that you have to wish you were Ender, or even think you would like Ender in the real world, but what happens to Ender, what Ender feels has to matter to you.

I think Ender (and the whole book) may particularly appeal to adolescents who are feeling that “outsider” thing, and that the adults have too much power (and may not deserve it).

The book was a bit of an odd mix for me. There were definitely action sequences, but the book is much more conceptual than it is emotional (although it is that, too).

I did find it interesting…I think that may be a better way to put it than saying that I enjoyed it.

Mini reviews: Tetris Blitz and Plasma Sky

I try not to write too much just about the Kindle Fire (although one of my purely Kindle Fire posts has become one of the most popular in the blog). I did write about a Kindle Fire sale earlier, but I figure this won’t make it too much in this round-up. 🙂

While I still play Dabble (and I do like word games), I’ve been enjoying two other Kindle Fire games recently (to varying degrees and for different reasons).

TETRIS® Blitz (Kindle Tablet Edition) is from the makers of Tetris, and is sort of a speed round version of the game. Each game only last two minutes…I did think that sometimes a Tetris game would seem to go on forever (or at least too long) if I was playing well.

You also have to make decisions much more quickly…you don’t just let the blocks (“Tetriminos”) drip-drip-drip down from the top…you can tap on the screen and place them quickly, and you’ll need to do that to get a good score.

There are also “power ups”, and some of those are cool…I particularly like the “lasers”, which wipe out three rows at a time.

However…

The game is free, and that’s a problem.

Why is it a problem?

They constantly want you to buy more stuff (including the aforementioned power-ups). Even though we are both adults using our Fires, we’ve turned off In-App purchasing (Swipe down from the top – More – Applications – Apps (in the bottom part) – In-App Purchasing) so we don’t accidentally buy things. In this case, you buy things with coins. You can earn the coins (somewhat slowly…you’d need to play about ten games before you had enough coins to buy a power-up, usually), or you can buy them with real money.

I’d be very careful with kids with this one…the temptation to buy things is going to be as strong as the lure of a Vegas slot machine. 😉

It’s a fun game…but I would say I would have paid $2.99 to get a version without all of those enticements!

I got Plasma Sky – Rad Space Shooter as a Free App of the Day (it’s currently $1.99), and that worked just the way it is supposed to work.

I’m writing about it, to tell you it’s fun!

It’s really like an old 1980s style arcade game (in particular, Galaga), but you control your spaceship by tilting the Kindle Fire. It is the thing I’ve used so far that takes the most advantage of the inclinometer. The controls are easy, and you can just keep continuing the game if you want to get to different levels.

You have three game modes…I’ve mostly played Conquest, which has eighty levels.

Like many older videogames, you have to develop different strategies to defeat different enemies…which means it is a thinking game, in addition to being a shooter.

If, like me, you think of it all as being done by unpiloted craft, it’s not really violent…no screams, no blood.

It’s not frustratingly difficult, but it would take you a lot of work to get a perfect score…for me, that’s great design.

The enemies and power-ups are creative and fun.

I highly recommend Plasma Sky is you like a simple arcade style game. Tetris Blitz…well, if you are okay with being asked to spend more money all the time (you can say no…and then say no again, and again, andagainandagainandagain…), it’s an interesting game.

5-year old Sophia Moss is my new hero

My record is reading 3 1/2 novels in a day…at that pace, I could hypothetically read 1,277.5 books in one year of 365 days.

Sophia Moss, who is 5-years old, has read 875 books…this school year (kindergarten).

ABC News article

Sure, those aren’t full length novels, but come on! If we figure that was in only 3/4s of a year, Sophia could hit 1,165.75 books in a year…close enough to me, and I suppose this bookworm might read faster in the summer than when in school.

I, by the way, was never maintaining my pace!

A tip of the hat to you, Sophia Moss…and to your school and your legal guardian(s)! You did it, but they helped make it possible.

What do you think? Do you want to add in your congratulations to Sophia Moss? 🙂 Will Apple prevail? If they do (or if they don’t), what will that mean for e-books? Are you a big Ender’s Game fan? 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.

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2 Responses to “Round up #175: my new hero, Apple trial begins”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    I guess I’d have to say that I’m not an “Enders Game” fan. I read the original novelette in Analog a long long time ago. I’m not sure I ever read the full length novel version. I did read at least the next two novels in the series: “Speaker for the Dead” and “Xenocide” — I’m not sure if I read the fourth; I have definitely not read the fifth. Whatever interest I may have had with Ender Wiggins has declined markedly as the series has progressed.

    In thinking about this I find that I don’t much care for SF that spans thousands of years — I like a tighter focus (for similar reasons I also don’t much care for Asimov’s “Foundation” series — a key influencer for Card). Card also has a way of presenting odd behavior/story elements like the battle school or the extreme OCD behaviors described by some characters in “Xenocide” without much context until near the end of the story — this makes the reading experience tiresome for me.

    On a five point rating scale, I’d give the series a 3. I almost never give out 1’s or 2’s (you’d have to be really really bad to get that from me) and I almost never give out 5’s (you really have to be something special to get a 5). If I allowed myself fractional ratings, I’d give the Ender series a 2.8!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Edward!

      I’d say my feeling is somewhat similar, in that I’m not a fan…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Fan, after all, is short for “fanatic”, and I can’t put myself in that place for this book.

      I haven’t read the others, although I have read

      Seventh Son: The Tales of Alvin Maker, Volume I

      also by Orson Scott Card…and I liked that one quite a bit more.

      Your scoring is interesting. I was in a place where we were rated by the people who took our classes. One thing many of us did was explain that a ten did not mean perfect (that would mean that many people would almost never give one out), but that it was like an A…91% to 100%. Of course, there aren’t the same number of levels on an “F” to “A” scale as there are on a 1 to 10 scale…but really, if you got less than a six, you pretty much had failed. A 9.3 average was really the minimum you were expected to achieve.

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