Round up #139: Paperwhite on sale for under $100, Google settlement case over
The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.
The Google settlement is settled
I’m not convinced that everybody likes reading about the legal cases around e-books. I do try to keep things eclectic, so if you don’t like reading one topic, one you do like will come up pretty quickly.
I was happy to see the end of the Apple case not too long ago, with the Supreme Court declining to hear the case, meaning that Apple lost in the case brought against it (and five big publishers, but they’d already settled) over the use of the Agency Model in e-book pricing.
Another case which has gone on for many years it the one with Google scanning books. The case against them was brought in part through legal action of the Authors Guild…and that’s one of the raison d’êtres for the AG. They legally defend authors’ rights.
Well, in this case, the Supreme Court declining to hear the case means that Google’s scanning of books is “Fair Use”, so they can keep doing it.
Fair Use is a very tricky area of the copyright. Copyright is deliberately fuzzy…which I do find frustrating. Someone can do something, believing that’s it’s allowed under Fair Use, and have it ruled not Fair Use. Similarly, a rightsholder may think something is not Fair Use (which is what happened here), and have it ruled Fair Use.
Those are the two cases that were really outstanding…I’m sure there will be more in the future.
I’ve gone from a Fire Phone to a Galaxy S7 Edge and…
I’m one of the few people who paid close to $200 for an Amazon Fire Phone when it was first released. It was, simply, not a success for Amazon.
It had some cool features, certainly…people were often impressed by the “dynamic perspective”, where it had a bunch of cameras that could tell the position of your head, and would change what you were seeing as you moved your face.
However, I didn’t like it as much as my old Galaxy S4.
Well, I wasn’t that disappointed when it finally died. The touch screen stopped working…not much you can do with a modern phone without a touchscreen.
I debated a few options…I’m allowed at work to use my company iPhone as a personal phone, too. That would save some money, but we need to keep the account for another phone on the account, and dropping one phone from a plan like that doesn’t save you that much money. Besides, I like having two phones. I joke about it, saying that my pockets can call each other.😉
Another choice would have been to see if the touchscreen could be fixed…but that would probably have been $150. If I’d loved the phone, I might have considered that, but…
The third option was to buy a new phone…which we did. The Galaxy S7 had been getting great reviews.
I’ve had it for about a week…and I do love it! Some features may be on other contemporary SmartPhones, not sure. The camera is great: I’m very impressed that it pretty much autofocuses instantly. They’ve also clearly thought about user interface: one example is that there is a still button and a video button both visible in the camera…you don’t have to switch modes.
It’s also got very robust multitasking…I’d say it may be easier to switch between programs than it is on my Windows 10 laptop. I can also have two apps showing at the same time.
Battery life is very good. I can keep a clock showing on the screen all night…and it only takes about 3% of the battery charge.
As to the edge feature (you can rub the phone, lightly, while it’s off, and notifications appear on the edge…sort of like Aladdin’s lamp), it is kind of gimmicky, but can be useful.
The screen is big, which can be both a plus and a minus. For the first time, I can actually see myself reading a book on my phone in the Kindle app. The app does not have text-to-speech, but does have Amazon’s speed reading feature, Wor Runner. It also does do white text on a black background (often my preference), although there is also a soothing black on a sort of mint green that’s appealing.
Another nice thing there is a “notification” of the book I was reading on the homescreen of the phone…I can go directly to the book when I wake up the phone!
Another cool thing which some other phones have, I think: it will let me sign into some websites using a fingerprint…easier than passwords and usernames.
The last thing: this has made me abandon the Amazon Appstore on my SmartPhone. When they stopped having a Free App of the Day, even though it was to give us the superior Amazon Underground, it eventually (after months) trained me to stop looking at the appstore every day. On this phone, I’m using Google Play (which does have a lot more apps). One app I’m loving is FxGuru…it lets you put very sophisticated CGI effects into real video…our dogs “encountered” a T Rex at the dog park today, for example. I used to be a hobbyist with Super 8mm film, and did some special effects there. I’m amazed at how smart these effects are…the T Rex, for example, appears to know where the ground is…it doesn’t float up in the air. That app is not in the Amazon Appstore.
400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death
For some reason, there have been lots of articles about the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death. I doubt that Shakespeare can be lauded enough, but you don’t usually see a lot of honor paid based on when someone died (rather than when they were born).
I’ve done some Shakespeare in my day, and was fortunate enough to get some Shakespearean analysis education as a result.
Many people have heard of iambic pentameter…that’s a line of five sets of two beats: daDum daDum daDum daDum DaDum. It’s not that hard when you get the feel of it: I’ve actually improvised in iambic pentameter. I was doing a show, and an understudy was on with me. The understudy, unfortunately, didn’t know the part very well. The other actor had a cue line for us to exit the stage, and didn’t know it and sort of panicked and didn’t remember that we were supposed to go. I said, “I think the time has come for us to leave.” That’s iambic pentameter.
People tend to think of Shakespeare as stuffy, but that wasn’t the case at all. Once you understand the slang and such, is that some of the shows are quite lowbrow and slapstick…and “naughty”. I recommend
Shakespeare can seem very modern. The most amazing thing to me, though, is the versatility. If Shakespeare were alive today, the bard would have TV screenwriting credits on Two Broke Girls, Game of Thrones, The History Channel, and House of Cards.😉
Item available “Exclusively for Prime members”
Amazon really wants people to be Prime members!
We think of us getting advantages for being Prime members…but there may now be major disadvantages to not being one.
According to this
and other sources, really popular items may only be available to purchase if you are a Prime member…the DVD of The King’s Speech is one that I’ve confirmed, and Grand Theft Auto V was mentioned (but I didn’t see the information there).
According to the article, Amazon confirms it…and points out that people can do a one-month membership for free. Of course, you can’t keep getting the free month whenever you want…you’d eventually have to join to get some items directly from Amazon (third-party sellers may still sell it to you through Amazon).
Kindle EBRs on sale
It’s a limited time sale, but three Kindle EBR (E-Book Readers…non-Fires) are on sale right now. I’m going to copy in what I said when they were on sale for the same prices back in November of last year (it was a good sale then and it’s a good sale now):
Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $59.99 (down from $79.99) | 4.2 stars out of 5 | 12,244 customer reviews
The $20 off also means you could get it without the Special Offers ($79.99, down from $99.99) for the same price you would normally pay for an ad-supported model.
This is the entry level model, and it’s a good one. Here are some of the differences between this and the Paperwhite (which I’ll link below):
- No frontlighting, so you read it like you would a p-book
- Fewer pixels per inch (167 versus 300), so the image isn’t as sharp (but I would say sharp enough for most casual reading…you might notice it with images, like graphs)
- Available only in wi-fi…no wi-fi and 3G option (for more money)
- A bit less heavy, a bit thicker
Kindle for Kids Bundle with the latest Kindle, 2-Year Accident Protection, Kid-Friendly Blue Cover (at AmazonSmile*) $79.99 (down from $99.99) | 4.0 stars | 61 reviews
This is like the above, but includes a ruggedized cover and an extended warranty…since each of those costs $20, this is a big savings, even without the discount.
Certainly something to consider for a gift.
All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99 (down from $119.99) | 4.5 stars | 7,313 reviews
The Paperwhite (this is the latest generation) is a great model Kindle! I’d say it may be my favorite (price and everything taken into account), with the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) being second…well, wait, lack of TTS makes that a tighter battle. For sight-reading, it’s my favorite.
What do you think? Is it smart for Amazon to restrict the purchase of certain items to Prime members? How do you feel about the Google settlement…and where Fair Use will go in the future? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.
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*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.