Round up #152: the future of copyright, Intel and Amazon…and Microsoft

Round up #152: the future of copyright, Intel and Amazon…and Microsoft

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

Still on sale!

As  former retail manager (I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore, and a game store, and worked in a “nature” store…oh, and one of my first jobs was working at the now-defunct House of Humor, which sold novelties…I helped customers at Halloween with theatrical make-up), it’s really interesting to me that there are still sales on popular items. Traditionally, you would expect that in the last week, prices might actually go up, but there certainly wouldn’t be discounts. Clearance would happen after Christmas…or perhaps in January.

I was thinking at one point that part of that was the increased competition, but Amazon is having sales on popular gifts…which are exclusive to them. Of course, they are still in competition for dollars for gifts, even if it would be different gifts from other places.

Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

exclusive to Amazon, is $88.99 for 12 months…which is 25% off. This is a great gift for someone who likes to read…books, magazines, and even listening to audiobooks.

Also still on sale from Amazon: some Amazon devices.

Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is $99.99, about $20 off.

That is the model I would recommend to most people…the Voyage has some advantages, and I haven’t tested the Oasis, because you can only buy it with an animal leather cover…and having the light makes this better than the base model.

Now, all of the new Fire tablets are on sale, including the

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

going for $39.99 at time of writing.

Other Fire models on sale:

  • Fire HD8 for $99.99 instead of $119.88
  • Fire HD8 variety pack (2 32GB, one blue and one magenta…this isn’t the only variety pack deal they’ve done this season) for $199.88 instead of $239.98
  • Fire HD10 for $199.99 versus $239.98
  • Fire Kids Edition for $89.99 instead of $99.99

All three of the Echo devices are discounted:

The only Fire TV item on sale is a bundle:

Fire TV and HD Antenna (at AmazonSmile*)

for $99.99, valued at $116.97. You would use the HD Antenna to pick up local channels over the air.

A lot of other things are on sale, including e-books…but that’s also a daily occurrence. For example, there are

50 Kindle books for $2 each (at AmazonSmile*)

Whither copyright?

Copyright evolves fairly often, and there has been a serious review of it for the past few years. Change during the next Presidential administration was inevitable…regardless of who was elected. The nature of that change would likely have been quite different depending on who was elected, but the question of change was not an issue.

This matters. It matters to readers, and it matters to authors. Big movers are trying to influence the outcome, and pundits are punditing. 😉

This was a well-written and informative

THE ILLUSION OF MORE post by David Newhoff

It addresses this

Judiciary Committee report

which has some really game-changing proposals.

That report, while not binding at this point, may deserve its own post. Some language seems vague to me, and could have unintended consequences. This is just one part, which is something I’ve wanted for a long time: “The Copyright Office should maintain a searchable, digital database of historical and current copyright ownership information and encourage the inclusion of additional information such as licensing agents that would be available to the public. This database should allow copyright owners to include additional metadata, such as standardized identifiers, for a fee. The Copyright Office should also be allowed to charge a fee for high speed, high volume access to this database.”

Meanwhile, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) wrote this

Open Letter to the President-Elect and the transition team

It talks about their agenda. It, correctly, points out that the President-Elect and other members of that family have benefitted from the traditional-publishing industry that the AAP represents. I’m not sure what the new administration will do with copyright, but I will watch it closely and report to you as appropriate.

Intel to work with Amazon on Echo devices…and with Microsoft on a competitor

Intel has always supplied competitors, and that’s going to happen as AI Assistants (Artificially Intelligent Assistants) become commonplace.

Here’s a

Venture Beat article by Khari Johnson

on the Amazon partnership, and here is a

Business Insider article

on the Microsoft/Intel partnership.

It’s not a direct competition, necessarily, if you are thinking of the Echo hardware. However, the competition is with Alexa, the assistant. That’s the future, and it’s going to expand rapidly…both in where we access assistants and how we use them.

I have access to what I would consider to be the big four assistants right now:

  • Siri (from Apple)
  • Alexa (from Amazon)
  • Cortana (from Microsoft)
  • Google (or, I think of it is as “OK Google”) from Alphabet (sort of formerly Google)

I’m considering doing a post (or maybe a series of them) in my The Measured Circle blog where I compare their responses (and capabilities)head to head.

I did do a recent comparison when Len Edgerly of The Kindle Chronicles tweeted about Alexa’s surprising ability to sing.

I tested the four of them with “Sing a song”.

  • Alexa did actually sing…impressively, even with vibrato! Alexa has sung me different songs to this query
  • Cortana also sang, again, with vibrato
  • Siri spoke a song…and then made a joke about it
  • OK Google didn’t sing a song…but found a related YouTube video (Google also owns YouTube)

Alexa and Cortana impressed me. I think they must actually have programmed that vibrato.

Siri seemed to have more of Siri’s agenda…and wasn’t as technically skilled. That’s more personality, but wasn’t as satisfying.

OK Google definitely didn’t make me feel that what I wanted was that important and it wasn’t as technically impressive.

“The Big Book Publishing Stories of 2016”

This is a nice look back at the year:

Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

I’m looking forward to writing my look back and look forward! I’m taking a writing day towards the end of the year…and I might actually end up taking two of them. 🙂

What do you think? What changes would you like to see happen in copyright…and what do you think will happen? How do you see artificial intelligence assistants fitting in to our lives…and again, what would you like to see them do and not do? What do you think were the big publishing stories of the year? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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2 Responses to “Round up #152: the future of copyright, Intel and Amazon…and Microsoft”

  1. Edward Boyhan Says:

    While there are similarities between the Amazon/Intel and Microsoft/Intel arrangements, their emphases are quite different. Both agreements mention Far Field voice recognition. That is the key H/W technology in the Echo (almost all of the Alexa stuff is in the cloud on AWS not in the Echo devices themselves). The Amazon/Intel agreement focuses on the creation of a “reference design” for a speaker which of course is largely what the Echo is. However, here I think, Amazon is interested in developing the ground work for 3rd party H/W manufacturers to create Alexa-enabled devices. Amazon wants Alexa to be pervasive — as that will sell more AWS cycles. GE has already announced a funky Alexa-enabled lamp (no price or date yet). There will be a lot of Alexa-enabled cars before too long: Ford has already announced a coming Alexa/Ford Sync deal.

    Microsoft has developed a “holographic shell” in the next iteration of Windows 10. The only device that makes use of this right now is Microsoft’s augmented reality headset, HoloLens (which is very expensive: $3,000+). They have agreements with 5 H/W manufacturers of full virtual reality headset devices to make use of this capability (starting at $299). MS hopes that Intel will develop chip level support for these kinds of devices so it is easier for developers to write code using the holographic shell, and simplify (and lower the cost of) virtual/augmented reality headsets.

    The far field stuff could allow MS to develop an Echo clone (some wags call this the Cortana Cube :grin). However MS, has mostly talked about devices with screens using ARM chips capable of running full Windows 10. They refer to these devices as “cellular” laptops and tablets. I.E. devices that will not need Wi-Fi hotspots in order to get on the internet, and also (possibly) one could use these selfsame “cellular” devices to make phone calls (there are also rumors of a “Surface” phone, but no hard leaks for this out of MS).

    Many from the MS side are saying the potential Echo clone devices will have screens, and this is a mistake — after all the Echo doesn’t have a screen. On the Amazon side there are rumors of a forthcoming Echo with a screen. Some think this will be useful; others think it’s arrant nonsense. Rumors say this Echo with screen is coming in 1Q 2017

    Microsoft has said that there will be H/W announcements in conjunction with the next Windows 10 release — currently slated for late March early April 2017

    Should be an interesting Spring 😀 .

    Google Now seems to get the best reviews of Siri, Cortana, and Google Now — probably because Google Now is well integrated into the Google business app ecosystem, and it can do the kinds of things of most interest to tech journalists.

    I’ve just spent the last two weeks creating the essential Holiday music playlist: 115 songs; 5 hours 48 minutes of listening pleasure. Alexa does a very nice job of shuffling through this. Even though all the songs on the playlist are from Prime music, when I try to play it on my phone, it goes to Amazon Music and says I have to upgrade my Amazon Music subscription to multi-devices — they don’t easily distinguish Prime Music and Amazon Music. I’ve had similar issues with KOLL books, and video. IMO Amazon does not do a good job of segregating their various media offerings.

  2. D. Knight Says:

    Unrelated to post–just wanted to give a heads up: Amazon will be hosting a “Digital Day” on Dec 30:
    https://www.amazon.com/b/?ie=UTF8&node=15433359011

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