Episode 63 – Never Do Anything That Involves Human Beings

8 December, 20102 comments

What would Google eBooks do? Nothing that involves human beings, says Dan: don’t look for “staff picks” from this long-awaited “cyberinfrastructure for distributed e-book sales” (which used to be called Google Editions). Your local independent bookseller will be more than happy to give you recommendations, but Dan and Tom are still worried that Google eBooks might hurt indie booksellers and university presses — though perhaps no more than Amazon already has. Mills, meanwhile, as befits a true “podcast intellectual,” can and does give many good reasons why keeping government documents secret for twenty-five years hurts historians and public policy makers; maybe if the U.S. government declassified things earlier, there wouldn’t have been such a frenzy over the illegally downloaded diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks. In any case, the cables are pretty mundane — if you consider acute analysis of diplomatic affairs mundane — and chances are that there’ll be even less salacious gossip in government correspondence from now on. Thanks a lot, Wikileaks. Finally, Tom wonders why the heck we need Chrome OS when we have Android; Google’s announcement that they’re releasing a Google Chrome notebook seems to have missed out on the fact that we’ve had a tablet revolution. Still, maybe students will like it. Students in first grade, that is.

Oh, yes, and Amanda hosts the podcast for the first time, in which multitasking capacity she expresses few opinions about anything. That loud typing is hers. Sorry about that.

Links to stories covered in the podcast:

Google Enters the E-Book Market at Last
Amazon enhances Kindle for the Web
Why Wikileaks is Bad for Scholars
Google shows Chrome notebook, Web Store

Running time: 51:11
Download the .mp3

Categorized under Android, books, browsers, ebooks, Google, gossip, netbooks, publishing

2 comments to “Episode 63 – Never Do Anything That Involves Human Beings”

  1. Keith Kelso : 21st December, 2010

    On the netbook issue, I’m with Amanda: I have one now, and if I had to replace it I would likely buy another. The only thing that would keep me from putting Chrome OS on it rather than Windows is the robust features of Word, versus Google Docs. For taking notes Docs would be fine, but it just doesn’t have the features I would need to write & properly format a research paper.

    That said, if Docs was robust enough for me to give up Word, I’d probably be willing to move to a tablet (plus an external keyboard for note-taking) full-time. The only dilemma then would be the limitation of having only one window/app open at a time, but this may be changing soon (I believe someone is debuting a dual-screen Android device soon).

    On Google eBooks, I am optimistic that they will be making upgrades to the UI that will make it more user-friendly. One of the biggest things for me, as one of you mentioned, is the inability to copy & paste text, and along the same lines, the inability to highlight (which I’d love to be able to do when I’m reading on my Android phone, especially). Knowing Google’s history of constant improvement, I believe these features will be introduced eventually, and when they are this will be an excellent research tool.

    This was my first time listening to the podcast, by the way. It was excellent, and I’ll definitely be watching for future episodes!

  2. Meg Ecclestone : 11th January, 2011

    Further to the discussion in the podcast regarding university presses: “Publishers Join Forces to Sell E-Books to Libraries” http://chronicle.com/article/Publishers-Join-Forces-to-Sell/124261/
    (From Jennifer Howard, who you also mention in the podcast).

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