nk497 writes "The European Commission is investigating Apple and five publishers regarding ebook pricing, after raiding ebook firms earlier this year. 'The Commission will in particular investigate whether these publishing groups and Apple have engaged in illegal agreements or practices that would have the object or the effect of restricting competition,' the watchdog said."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
angry tapir writes with an update on the drawn out legal battle between Google and everyone else over their Books service. From the article: "After a so-far fruitless three-year effort to settle the case, Google and the plaintiffs suing it for alleged book-related copyright infringement apparently are moving away from seeking a friendly solution. Google has notified the court that it intends to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against it by authors and publishers in 2005, in which they allege copyright infringement stemming from Google's wholesale scanning of millions of library books without the permission of copyright owners. Google Books has been at the center of copyright-related controversy since 2005 when the Authors Guild of America and Association of American Publishers sued the search giant. This has been followed by other legal wrangles, including a 2010 suit by the American Society of Media Photographers, lawsuits in France and Germany and conflict with Chinese authors over the book-scanning project."
Michael J. Ross writes "Web designers and developers alike are increasingly enthused about the capabilities offered by HTML5, which is generally considered the combination of the latest version of the Web's primary markup language and its related technologies. Consequently, publishers have rushed to market a wide variety of books that purport to explore the inner mysteries of HTML5, even as the standards — and how browsers implement them — are still in flux. In characteristic fashion, O'Reilly Media took the time to wait for some of the dust to settle, and attempted to create a resource more approachable and solid than those thrown together quickly. The final result is Head First HTML5 Programming." Read on for the rest of Michael's review.
oik writes "NPR's Fresh Air this week had an interesting interview with Jeffrey Rosen, one of the authors of Constitution 3.0 , which addresses a number of issues to do with interpreting the US Constitution in the face of new technologies (both present and future). Many of the topics which he touches on come up on Slashdot a lot (including the GPS tracking cases). It's well worth listening to the program (link in the main page), of which the linked article is just a summary."
brothke writes "It has been a decade since Oracle started their unbreakable campaign touting the security robustness of their products. Aside from the fact that unbreakable only refers to the enterprise kernel; Oracle still can have significant security flaws. Even though Java supports very strong security controls including JAAS (Java Authentication and Authorization Services), it still requires a significant effort to code Java securely. With that The CERT Oracle Secure Coding Standard for Javais an invaluable guide that provides the reader with the strong coding guidelines and practices in order to reduce coding vulnerabilities that can lead to Java and Oracle exploits." Read on for the rest of Ben's review.
An anonymous reader writes "Sci-fi author Charlie Stross has written a post about how the Big Six book publishing companies have painted themselves into a corner in the rapidly growing ebook industry. Between user-unfriendly DRM and the Amazon juggernaut, they're slowly pushing themselves out of business. Quoting: 'Until 2008, ebooks were a tiny market segment, under 1% and easily overlooked; but in 2009 ebook sales began to rise exponentially, and ebooks now account for over 20% of all fiction sales. In some areas ebooks are up to 40% of the market and rising rapidly. (I am not making that last figure up: I'm speaking from my own sales figures.) And Amazon have got 80% of the ebook retail market. ... the Big Six's pig-headed insistence on DRM on ebooks is handing Amazon a stick with which to beat them harder. DRM on ebooks gives Amazon a great tool for locking ebook customers into the Kindle platform.'"
Michael J. Ross writes "With more people accessing the Internet using mobile devices than computers, web designers and developers are challenged to make sites that work well on both categories of hardware — or resign themselves to the greater costs and other disadvantages of maintaining two versions of each web site (a mobile-ready version as well as one for much larger screens). Fortunately, recent advances in web technologies are making it easier to build web pages whose contents and their positioning are automatically modified to match the available screen space of the individual user. These techniques are explored in detail in a recent book, Responsive Web Design, written by Ethan Marcotte, a veteran web designer and developer." Keep reading for the rest of Michael's review.
localman writes with this excerpt from CNET: "Through his hit Web site and three popular books, [author Brendan] Smith has spread the gospel of 'The Brick Testament.' But now, because of what it says are concerns about 'mature content,' Sam's Club, one of the nation's largest retailers, has banned in-store sales of the fourth book in the series, The Brick Bible.
lpress writes "Most of today's electronic textbooks are re-purposed versions of print books. Nature has published an e-text that departs from the traditional book format and business model. Their Introduction to Biology e-text was created from the ground up and consists of 196 modules rather than a sequential book and the student gets a lifetime subscription for $49. Nature will continuously update the e-text as the science and pedagogy evolve."
JSC writes "Anne McCaffrey died Monday at her home after suffering a stroke. 'In the late 1960s she became the first woman to win a Hugo Award for a work of fiction and the first woman to win a Nebula Award. She was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2006.' She will be missed by Dragons and their Riders the world over."
misterbarnacles writes "Shareable has an interview with librarian Lauren Britton Smedley from the Fayetteville Free Library, which is adding a Fab Lab to its community offerings. She said, 'I think that libraries are really centers for knowledge exchange, and a Fab Lab fits perfectly into something like that. This idea that libraries are a place where the books live, and you go to find a book, and that’s all it is, I think is really starting to shift. Libraries are a place for social transformation. They’re a place that you can go to get computer access, or access to technology that you can’t get anywhere else, and access to people. ... At the Fab Lab, the impetus behind the whole thing was to create a center for knowledge exchange where we’re not just offering Intro to Word or Intro to Excel — that we can offer Intro to Computer Programming, or Digital Fabrication — these skills that are really important in the STEM fields, and we can push that information out for free. And how do we do that? By getting people in the community who know that stuff to come in and share what they know.'"
EmagGeek writes "My wife recently started back to school to finish her 4-year degree, and one of the things that we've been considering is procuring for her some kind of tablet that would enable her to take notes in class and save them electronically. This would obviate the need to carry around a bunch of paper, and could even be used to store e-textbooks so she doesn't have to lug 30lbs of books around campus. At minimum, she would have to be able to write freehand on the tablet with a fine-point stylus, just like she would write on paper with a pen. We've seen what we call those 'fat finger' styli and found that they are not good for fine writing. Having become frustrated with the offerings we've tried so far, I thought I would ping the Slashdot Community. Any suggestions?"
You asked Phil Plait, aka The Bad Astronomer, questions on topics ranging from debunking superstition to extraterrestrial life to funding space exploration; read on below for his answers. Thanks for taking part, Phil!
MrSeb writes "Ahead of tomorrow's full-scale launch of Amazon's new wunderkind, panacea, and lynch-pin of its continuing distribution domination, initial reviews of the Kindle Fire are starting to trickle in... and they're not as fantastic as we had hoped. Unsurprisingly, not a single review is denying that the bright screen, solid construction, and $200 price point make for a perfect holiday season outing — but to actually win the hearts of consumers, to steal those throbbing, Cupertino-captivated organs away from the iPad, the Kindle Fire has to be amazing... and it isn't. Throughout almost every review, one particularly telling observation rears its ugly head: the Kindle Fire can be sluggish. Page turns can lag. Menus can be slow to load. Screen touches can be unresponsive. For a device that is entirely about media consumption, the Fire will live or die depending on its perceived alacrity. If an E Ink Kindle or Nook is better for reading books, and a smartphone or iPad is better for watching movies or listening to music, what space is there for the Fire?"