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Reading

Fast Flip Flops

The elves over at Google Labs have emerged once again with yet another interesting information experience--Google Fast Flip, which they announced on Monday on the Official Google Blog. Fast Flip was designed to address one of the nagging problems of using the Web as a news source: when trying to...

NEA Reports Reading on the Rise

  Photo courtesy of Tim Pierce  Today the National Endowment for the Arts released a new report, "Reading on the Rise," that suggests that the decades long slide in the number of adult Americans who read literature (novels, short stories, poetry, and plays) has recently reversed itself and is beginning to rise.   For the first time in the 25 years NEA has been studying our reading habits, our...

Gift ideas for the young geek reader

You can always tease parents with the adage that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Guessing that ALA TechSource readers may want to share their sci-tech passions with youngsters on their gift list, I'm linking to this list from Booklist Online's free newsletter REaD ALERT: Top Sci-Tech Books for Youth: 2008. I'm one of the legions of people who owns but has not read Stephen Hawking's A...

I <3 my Kindle

In the past year or so, there has been considerable discussion here in libraryland about ebook readers. Still, the actual personal ownership of them is still reasonably low. So we don't have a lot of actual user feedback on how people like the devices, what they find useful, and what users really experience when reading on one. I thought I'd make an attempt to remedy that as much as one...

Amazon Buys Audible

We all have our pet industries, those quirky little eddies in our massively flowing economy (although it's not flowing well at the moment) that for some reason we love to watch and ponder.  For example, in the Eighties I became interested in the pork bellies market.  Maybe it was my Iowa upbringing, although I never lived on a farm and slopped any hogs.  Several times a week I would check in on...

Microsoft's Live Search Books

After playing around for an hour or so with the recently released public beta version of Microsoft's Live Search Books (LSB), I have to admit—against some vague sense that my better judgment is failing me—that I like it. Sure, others have reported that LSB does not work well—or at all—when using browser software other than Internet Explorer, but if you stick to the straight-and-narrow Microsoft...

Feeling the Curb in Monterey

Last Sunday I traveled out to California to attend the Internet Librarian Conference—ITI's tenth, my first. I managed to fly to San Jose with nary a directional question, then took a shuttle bus past fields of artichokes and garlic, and dry brown hills mad in the October sun, down to Monterey on the coast. Monterey certainly has continued its upward drift in the twenty-five years since I last...

SpiralFrog and the Gyres of History

Despite or because of its runaway success, the iPod/iTunes service from Apple has more than a few critics and enemies. Some musicians and music companies don't like the strategy of ninety-nine-cent pricing. It smacks of the cheesy dollar-store marketing mindset. I agree with the heat-wave gripes about Apple that Karen Schneider posted to this blog in July, and I can add a few more rants of my own...

Wowio: It All Ads Up

Wowio, an LLC based in York, Pennsylvania, recently launched a free downloadable e-book service. The company's collection at launch is pretty sparse, but it does include both public domain and copyright-protected e-books. During my first use of the collection, I downloaded both The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—if for no other reason than to relish Emmeline Grangerford's mournful Ode to Stephen...

Mammoth Mammonistic Snippets

Just when we thought it was safe to return to the snippet-infested digital content pool, HarperCollins came along and launched today its own snippet-dangling service that tries to lure readers, especially "young-adult readers" (is that phrase becoming an oxymoron?) to buy more books (primarily) and read more (coincidentally).Because Amazon has already staked a claim to the phrase "Search Inside...