Episode 15 – Exposing Yourself

5 November, 20077 comments

Think Google is scary with all of the information it gathers about you through your web searches? Wait until Facebook starts its advertising platform based on all of the likes and dislikes you’ve given it, and combines that with the power of Microsoft, which just bought a stake in the biggest social network on campus. We tackle privacy, anonymity, and giving away personal information in this week’s podcast. In the news roundup we celebrate the release of Apple’s new operating system upgrade, Leopard, and whether it and Ubuntu can begin to steal market share from a faltering Windows Vista.

Other links mentioned on the podcast:
New York Public Library Labs
Anthony Grafton on “Future Reading”
Kids, the Internet, and the End of Privacy

Running time: 51:11
Download the .mp3

Categorized under Apple, Facebook, Google, Linux, Microsoft, privacy, reading, search, social networking

7 comments to “Episode 15 – Exposing Yourself”

  1. Finding America » Blog Archive » Facebook Dev Garage in Philadelphia : 10th November, 2007

    […] As discussed in the most recent Digital Campus podcast, privacy is an ongoing concern with Facebook as they continue to “open up” to […]

  2. Derek : 3rd December, 2007

    This isn’t in response to your latest podcast episode, but I wanted to make sure the three of you knew of the following study. I think you’ll find it interesting.

    Harley, D. Use and users of digital resources. EDUCAUSE Quarterly, 30(4), 2007.

    “A survey explored scholars’ attitudes about educational technology environments in the humanities.”

    There’s a PDF available at the EDUCAUSE web site:


  3. Tom Scheinfeldt : 3rd December, 2007

    Thanks, Derek. We’ll take a look. Diane does great work. — Tom

  4. A.K. : 5th December, 2007

    Interesting podcast (as always).
    My take on eBooks, and why they haven’t taken off is DRM and the loss of ownership rights. With a physical book, it doesn’t really matter if you buy it new, used, from a book seller, ebay or a family member. You get your wallet, you pay for it, and you have it in your hands.

    With eBooks, the problems posed by DRM no only make eBooks less useful, they prevent resale. You mentioned the example of Kindle and textbooks. It’s a great idea for automation and not having to deal with lines at the bookstore, however comparing books purchased new on amazon (or the bookstore) to new or slightly used books from half.com, I have found a 50-75% price difference. I am still in school, and if I have a chance to pay $50 for the same content that I would get for $100, why would I pay $100? Additionally, once the semester is over, I have the option to offload books that I won’t be needing again, on half.com (or similar service) and recoup most of my costs.

    A personal example with DRM is this: I bought a Marketing textbook for my marketing class. It was $10 cheaper than the physical version ($20 if you factor in shipping). The problem was that the DRM in the book only allowed me to use that book, on the hard drive that I downloaded it own, under the username that I downloaded it. So when my hard drive crashed and I needed to replace it, there went my investment (in the book). I did have a printout of the book, but if you factor in printing costs (especially in color), some binding plus the cost of the eBook, why not just buy the actual textbook, that you can take anywhere, and resell once you are done using it?

    As a student (and a university staff member) I highly advise students to NOT buy eBooks (or eCases like the hardvard business school cases) – always opt for the paper version. This way you are guaranteed to have certain purchaser rights.

  5. Tom Scheinfeldt : 5th December, 2007

    Great point, A.K. We didn’t mention DRM, but I agree it’s a big part of the reason eBooks haven’t gone anywhere. What I can’t understand, however, is why DRM has scuttled eBooks but not the iTunes music store … ???

  6. A.K. : 5th December, 2007

    That is quite an interesting question, Tom.
    I had to step back and ponder this point before I replied because Apple’s success
    does seem to defy other DRM stories of failure (or mediocrity at best).

    It’s my belief, from what I’ve seen, that Apple has been successful for a few reasons:

    1. They released playerd (iTunes + iPod) before they opened up their store.
    This gave them enough of a Base with Apple and Windows users to open up a store
    and start offering music that would only play on their players. Due to the nature
    of books it’s not that easy to release an eBook reader that will take your existing
    collection of books, convert them to eBooks and allow you to use them on any computer
    (since your physical books would be scanned in DRM free).

    2. Once they opened up their store, the price point was set quite low. If you spend
    $0.99 on a song and you don’t like it, there isn’t much lost. On the other hand, if you
    spend $10 (or more) on an eBook you like, you can’t exactly sell it in a use eBook market,unlike real books. The same holds true for Apple TV shows. The cost seems to be quite lowper episode, that people don’t seem to mind buying shows on iTunes (compared to DVD purchases). Apple has in effect conditioned the consumer to accept a tiered pricing structure
    as the norm:
    0.99 for DRM’ed music
    1.29 for DRM-free music
    2.99 for DRM’ed episode TV series
    12.99 for DRM’ed movies
    Apple, in my opinion, has slowly built up the tolerence of the consumer to purchase more
    expensive items from their store over the years, even though consumers theoretically have the right to rip their movies to play on their iPods, just as they do their music. It’s interesting to point out that Apple has not included DVD ripping capability in iTunes even though they have CD ripping capabilities built in. With eBooks, the consumer gets sticker shock when they see the price of an eBook, compared to a physical book. At that point they question why they should buy the eBook instead of a physical copy.

    3. Apple seems to have been very liberal with the amount of devices that are authorized
    at any given time to play your Apple DRM Media, I think it’s 5 simultaneous devices. eBooks generally have proprietary hardware, on top of the DRM. If the eBook is in PDF format, the DRM actually interferes with using that eBook on another device (see the example of my marketing textbook above).

    4. With Apple DRM’ed music, you could always write to a CD, and re-rip the music in MP3
    format, effectively removing DRM. With eBooks you can’t really print and rip without considerable costs (money and time) involved, so why buy an eBook when a printed copy saves you the time and money?

    I think that eBooks could really take off if there were a device that were easy to use,
    portable and easy on the eyes, and allowed you to take with you your existing physical
    library (possibly through a collaboration with google books), and if that device became popular (like the iPod), and cross platform, then DRM’ed eBooks may have a chance. (a price drop may be nice as well). I also think that eBooks need to offer some sort of added value if they are to be accepted as alternatives to books. For example in research writing, you
    could tap/click on the reference and be taken to that article and read the section quoted, or see the data used to deduce the authors point of view. If there were possibilities for integration with bibliographic management software, or seamless exportation and syncing
    of notes on multiple devices (you read on your eBook reader, take notes, go to your
    computer, sync up your notes, and you start working on your research type of thing).
    In fiction books, if someone is writing about sherlock’s mystery solving abilities,
    books can be interactive, they can incorporate maps for instance if the mystery takes place over a large geographic area. Until then eBooks offer a compeling reason to buy them, eBook readers will still be a solution in search of a problem.

  7. Books, Digital and Paper « Hebrew Scriptures and More . . . . : 18th July, 2008

    […] to Dan Cohen at Digital Campus podcast – Episode 15 – Exposing Yourself. The Digital Campus podcast are a must listen for digital […]

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