Verizon’s Quick U-Turn a Sign of Anti-Corporate Energy

I love how rapidly Verizon caved on their plan to charge subscribers a $2 fee for processing certain kinds of monthly payments. As reported in the New York Times, reactions from customers, communications industry watchdogs, and FCC officials ranged from outrage to threats of investigations. The recent campaign that made Bank of America drop its proposed $5 debit card fee took a few weeks to reach its goal, while this explosion of anger at Verizon was over in a scant 24 hours. This says something about the anti-corporate mood prevalent in the U.S. right now, thanks to the #OWS movement. Only at their peril do companies blithely try putting anti-consumerist policies into place. GoDaddy’s loss of subscribers over their support for SOPA, which I posted about last night, is another example of the same impulse in the consumer zeitgeist.

Stay With GoDaddy for Influence, or Ditch ‘Em?

TPM’s IdeaLab has a very thorough analysis covering the controversy buffeting web hoster GoDaddy in the past week. Until today they’d been supporting the controversial SOPA bill that failed as Congress ended its recent session. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) has been criticized by netizens who fear it will just allow large content owners to dominate the streams of […]

Count Me Among the 8M NY Times Subscribers Receiving Screwy Email

The Times hasn’t adequately explained how such an enormous screw-up could have occurred, and their attempts at damage control have been as insufficient as the original email was incorrect. Just as I noted the headline above was misleading, so too was the Times’ first report on the incident. On Twitter they reported, “If you received an e-mail today about canceling your New York Times subscription, ignore it. It’s not from us.” A few hours later they had to admit this too was wrong; the message hadn’t been spam, it really had come from the newspaper. Reflexively blaming spam for the transmission of an email to 8,000,000 readers, when it was supposed to go to 300, is bad form. // more

Two Great Graphic Novels Coming as Ebooks

I just got an email from Montreal comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly, a company that produces exceptionally fine graphic novels and comic nonfiction, announcing their first entry into the ebooks space with two books by artist/writer Chester Brown. I think their email is worth quoting at length, because this is a fine print publisher stepping in to ebooks and because of their ebook royalty, which they explain will be an equal share with their authors. This is especially topical, in light of Michael Chabon’s new arrangement with Open Road Media, which I’ve discussed in an earlier post today. Bravo to D&Q and Kobo! This is an exciting publishing collaboration. //more

Chabon’s Hyperbole Undermines his Fair Critique

I suggest that the book industry view the cost savings from the diminishment of print as a kind of “peace dividend” for authors and publishers and other stakeholders like retail booksellers. Parties should share fairly in whatever windfall is to come. I would accuse the major publishers of being shortsighted and dumb and in thrall to old ways, but I fear that hyperbole like Chabon’s will only further degrade the debate and discussion that must proceed between publishers and authors, lest Amazon eventually become the monopoly publisher and bookseller many bookpeople nowadays fear is looming in our collective future. //more

Why Vinyl is Today’s Most Dynamic Music Medium

Consider this remark from Dave W. of Wax Tracks Records in Denver: “I have noticed that at least two or three times a week some father or mother comes in saying that their kid asked for a turntable for their birthday or Christmas present. So it’s not a case of the older generation just giving their turntables to their kids and saying ‘Here’s what we used to play music on,’ but rather the kids saying ‘This is what’s cool and happening right now and I want in on it.'”

On Human Hands and Technology

“A tool addresses human needs by amplifying human capabilities.” Bret Victor’s Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design grabbed me from that line. The illustrated essay is a timely reflection on the utility of our hands and how humans interact with tools and technology. If you’ve enjoyed reading such books as Henry Petroski’s The […]