Breakfast Briefing: ebook lending review, good news for RIM, the great phone-in-pocket debate
Good morning. Today we see a review of ebook lending in the UK, an upturn in shares at Blackberry maker RIM, a debate about the right way to put a phone in your pocket, and a couple of Friday morning treats – including Google’s Eric Schmidt going Gangnam Style.
Government announces ebook lending review
Ebook lending is set for a shake-up after government officials announced a review of the way libraries offer electronic titles. The Guardian reports that publishers are wary of electronic formats in libraries because there’s no payment model, and the government review panel – led by a publisher – will look to make sure there’s a fair distribution of benefits.
“E-lending is currently in its infancy but growing fast,” said Culture Minister Ed Vaizey. “Just as ereaders are transforming the way people access books, e-lending could help transform the way people use libraries. By acting now we can help influence the growth of e-lending to ensure that libraries, authors, publishers and the public all benefit from this potentially valuable new service.”
Campaign calls for blocks on TLD landgrab
Campaign group Consumer Watchdog has called on top level domain overseer ICANN to block a landgrab of generic domains, such as .food or .book. According to the consumer group, if big-hitters on the web are able to snap up large swathes of generic domains, they could create a walled garden.
“Both Google and Amazon are already dominant players on the internet,2 Consumer watchdog’s John Simpson, said in a letter to ICANN. “Allowing them further control by buying generic domain strings even if they say they would operate some of them in an open manner would threaten the free and open internet that consumers rely upon. Consumer Watchdog urges you not to grant these outrageous applications.”
Research in Motion finally sees an upturn
Research In Motion hasn’t had much to smile about recently, but a narrower-than-expected loss for the struggling BlackBerry maker has sparked optimism ahead of the launch of its make-or-break line of next-generation smartphones.
RIM shares surged 20% after results showed the company will have plenty of cash to ramp up production of its new BlackBerry 10 devices and mount a robust marketing campaign for the revamped line, Reuters reports.
The phone in pocket conundrum
There’s a great piece over at Slate, in which the writer is astounded to learn that there are people out there who put their phones into their pockets upside-down. “My mind lurched to recalibrate itself around the notion. Not once in my decade-plus of mobile phone ownership had it crossed my mind to store one in this perverse manner. Could it really be that there were normal, healthy individuals who had been quietly walking around all these years with their phones stuffed in their pockets the wrong way around, like sleeping bats?”
It’s not a topic any of us had honestly thought about until the iPhone 5 came along with its headphone socket shifted to the bottom; now it’s all we’re arguing about in the office. Can there really be “right-way-up” and “upside-down” camps? Unbeknown to us, it turns out there can. A quick on-the-spot headcount has three of us at PC Pro in the RWU camp and two in the UD camp, and both camps think the other has totally lost the plot. It’s war. Which side are you on?
404 pages to help find missing children
Pop this one straight into the “why didn’t anyone think of that before” pile. The BBC reports that 404 error pages – the ones you get when a web page can’t be found – will soon be used to spread the word about missing children.
The NotFound project is encouraging major European websites to add a snippet of code to their sites that would pull in a random case. “It could be a recent disappearance, or on the contrary, a child that has been missing for a long time,” said Maryse Roland of Child Focus. “This project will allow us to once again concentrate the attention on children whom we haven’t heard of for many years. These children risk falling into oblivion.”
Movie scenes, printed on A4
Wired has a fun little distraction for a Friday morning – a gallery of famous movie scenes, recreated using nothing more sophisticated than a photocopied sheet of A4 and a digital camera.
The Ghostbusters photo at the top of the gallery is our favourite, although there’s something oddly appropriate about the recreation of Ghost.
Google’s Schmidt goes Gangnam Style
As a youngster you know a trend is dead when your parents start taking an interest, and Google’s executive director Eric Schmidt may just have killed off the Gangnam Style craze. Schmidt was captured on video dancing alongside Korean pop phenom PSY during a recent trip to Asia where he was promoting the Nexus 7 and meeting manufacturers. The video is short and low quality, which is maybe just as well, for everyone’s sake.
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