Monday, February 16, 2009

The Book Industry Has Not Learned

Apparently the book industry failed to notice anything about the difficulties that the music industry had with online distribution and pricing. Idiots.

From Amazon in Big Push for New Kindle Model in the NYT (Feb. 9), by Brad Stone and Motoko Rich:
“We do not agree with their pricing strategy,” said Carolyn K. Reidy, chief executive of Simon & Schuster. “I don’t believe that a new book by an author should ipso facto be less expensive electronically than it is in paper format.”

Mr. Bezos disagreed. “E-books should be cheaper than physical books. Readers are going to demand that, and they are right because there are so many supply chain efficiencies relative to printing a paper book,” he said.
Unbelievable. Ms. Reidy, you win the idiot of the day award. Printing, paper, and physical distribution have no cost? Or you think you can charge a (huge) premium for electronic content? But Bezos is right, users are not all idiots, they know about "supply chain efficiencies" even if they don't know the term.

In other news, you (reader) and I are smarter than the CEO of Simon & Schuster. 

Turn Me Off

So, I was recently in the Yucatan, and was using a digital camera. Sadly my Elph broke on the way down, the light-sensor became detached (it's old), but anyway. 

So I noticed how the power button is right next to the shutter button. Did you notice that they are both buttons? And right next to each other? An old camera I had used a ring around the lens, no way you'd mistake that for the shutter button.

You really have to wonder who designs these things, and if they have ever heard of user testing

When you want to take a photo with a little digital camera (not an SLR), you are looking at whatever you want to take a photo of through the viewfinder or on the screen. You do not typically look up at the top of the camera to place your finger on the correct one of two similar adjacent buttons. So you feel around for the correct button with your finger, and unless you read braille (in which case most likely you aren't actually capable of sight), there's a 50/50 chance the designers have caused you to turn the camera off when you wanted to take a photo.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

When Official Numbers Are Wrong

I was just working on some numbers for Internet usage, and was pulling down some data from the ITU. I noticed the following curiosity in the US statistics:

YearSubscribers% Subscribers
200762 mil21.19%
200662 mil21.19%
200562 mil21.19%
200462 mil21.19%

You, my astute readers, will notice that the only number that changes is the year. Fine, good. But the population has been increasing, so if the number of Internet subscribers has stayed constant, the percentage of the population that subscribes to the Internet decreases (yes, "subscribes to the Internet" is a weird phrase, I know, just focus on the numbers). ITU has something wrong somewhere. Maybe things will change with the 2003 data, I just did 2004. Liveblogging the numbers.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Collapse of the (Information?) Economy

The economy is toast. Which economy? If we really were in an information economy, I'd say we just saw the fragility of it. But, although information (all the wrong information) did indeed play a part of the economy's collapse, I'd argue that it was not the information economy, but an economy of far more tangible objects (perhaps houses and oil and more, I'm not sure, if it were easy, we would have avoided it I think). So I'd argue we weren't really in an information economy, although information is an important part of the economy. Either, information was the primary part of the economy and it collapsed, so an information economy is a stupid thing, or, it wasn't the information part of the economy that collapsed and thus I would argue we weren't really in an information economy.

As I argued many years ago, oil is king. Still is. Not that we are in an oil economy, but, maybe we are. Info? No.