The Future of the Ebook
Were you watching closely during Amazon’s Kindle press conference? Because if you were, you just saw Jeff Bezos make one of those centuries-long bets his friends are always talking about. Behold, the literary equivalent of the Clock of the Long Now–a bet on a future where ereaders are about as out-of-the-ordinary as a tea kettle or a wristwatch.
There were several interesting details in the publishing portion of the announcements. The good, old-fashioned Kindle ereader got several updates, including a paperwhite background, more fonts, and a backlight that’ll go eight weeks without a charge. All that’ll now set you back a mere $69. The company’s publishing arm also debuted a brand new form, between the single and the full-length book: Kindle Serials, at $1.99 a pop and seamlessly, automatically updated with each new installment.
Charles Dickens would be so proud. (He’d also probably write a great serialized novel about people who work in Amazon fulfillment centers.)
The Amazon phone nobody wanted is coming. [The Verge]
Different ads looping simultaneously on the MTV website is just one version of hell. [Wall Street Journal]
“Our company is at the intersection of X and X” is the new “It’s like X for X!” [Bloomberg]
Paul Graham is talking shit on Google Ventures. [Business Insider]
Reddit nabbed 3.4 BILLION pageviews in August, thanks in large part to Obama’s AMA. [Daily Dot]
Here’s the new Amazon Kindle. It has a “paperwhite” backlit display. [The Verge]
Facebook set to launch email and phone number-based ad targeting this week which is only mildly creepy. [TechCrunch]
Fantasizing about ditching email is porn for tech people, basically. [Planet Krypton]
Reddit tackles the important questions: “If you have one GIF to represent you on your tombstone when you die, what would it be?” [Reddit]
Netflix video streaming accounts for 25 percent of all Internet data transmitted in North America. But it’s so worth it for all those Arrested Development marathons. [Yahoo]
Secrets Secrets Are No Fun
This is just silly.
Amazon would never invent a time machine because rogue book publishers would just use it to kill Amazon.
My Country 'Tis of Thee
Thank God Fifty Shades of Gray exists to bind Americans, one and all, in a universal love of whips and chains.
Digital data sure might feel ephemeral, but two big are companies doing their part to make sure everything gets backed up, forever. Last week, Facebook let slip some details about “Sub-Zero,” the company’s planned facility for long-term data storage. And today, Amazon debuted its “Glacier” service, which Ars Technica describes as “a data archival service that will store data for one penny per gigabyte per month.”
That sounds like a pretty good deal, but before you open an account and start backing up your iTunes library, you should probably know that this isn’t exactly normal cloud computing. It’ll take hours to retrive any data stored with the service. This is only for truly long-term archiving. Think data meant to last for centuries.
Are we in the twilight of Silicon Valley? Yammer CEO David Sacks seems to think so. [TechCrunch]
It’s like the worst Cosmo quiz of all time: Is your Web 2.0 company an Amazon, or a Pets.com? [AllThingsD]
In July, Americans watched 36.9 billion online videos. Americans should probably go outside more often. [CNET]
Here is a terrifying platoon of noodle-slicing robots. [Eater]
Internet jokerster Tom Scott pretended to put the Ecuadorian embassy on Airbnb. [Twitter]
Apropos of very little, we give you Tim Berners-Lee’s original World Wide Web announcement, for your nostalgic pleasure. [Google Groups]
Microprocessing pioneer Victor Poor has passed away. [New York Times]
Hello Again Old Friend
Of all the ghosts of tech bubbles past, none looms as large in our memory as the ultimate flameout classic, Kozmo.com, which offered one-hour free delivery of any item on its site.
Oh, foolish Kozmo, how we loved you. Let us count the ways. One for the ability to order a pack of cigarettes, VCR, or a lobster dinner, all from the same place. Two for your strong-calved bike messengers, pumping up and down Broadway. Three for permanently gifting us with VHS tapes of “Magnolia” and “Edward Scissorhands,” forever housed in our parent’s bookshelf, after you went under. Shitty business model, glorious service.
So we’re particularly pleased to see that someone is resurrecting the concept, albeit with a little less boomtime hubris and much better planning skills.
Zynga insiders dumped a whole bunch of their stock just before it crashed. That doesn’t sound sketchy at all! [Yahoo]
More and more cyberattacks are being launched against U.S. infrastructure. Okay, but does the malware play AC/DC? [New York Times]
Amazon saw a 96 percent drop in Q2 profits. We’re guessing you’re not reading this on a Kindle, then. [Wall Street Journal]
The Verge uncovered top secret old Apple product prototypes. [The Verge]
How will Google fiber make money, and what does it mean for already-established broadband companies? [GigaOm]
Turns out Twitter’s mobile ads are more engaging than Facebook’s. [VentureBeat]
Amazon is opening a new “digital media development” office in London, which is likely to focus on streaming TV. Naturally, it is located in techie Shoreditch rather than the traditionally bookish environs of Charing Cross. [Telegraph]
The company arrives just in time for the tech talent wars to hit Europe. [TechCrunch]
“One industry party I attended had a jungle theme. This included a real, 600-pound tiger in a cage and a monkey that would pose for Instagram photos.” [New York Times]
Lots of users are less than thrilled about Google’s acquisition of Sparrow. [GigaOm]
Meanwhile, in cleantech: Researchers at UCLA have developed a transparent solar cell. Dare we dream of window-unit solar panels? [Engadget]