31 October 2011

the digital divide . . . now less than 5 years.

my dearest readers,

the digital divide
is measured not
in distance,
but in time.

Last one to cross the Digital Divide is a rotten egg!
Digital Mural by Los Cybrids
rené garcía-john jota leaños-mónica praba pilar
Galería de la Raza 10' x 24' 2001

there are two (actually three) things that have come to mind this morning which prompted this post. i will cover two today, the other soon. really, soon. seriously. oh, shut up!

the first is the evolution of the electronic book and its acceptance into 'society.' yes, even without a debutante ball, the e-book has come out not with a whimper, but with a bang. a few years ago, pundits learned and unlearned alike, were debating the demise of . . . 'the book.' (insert voice of james earl jones here). the "techno-futurists" vs. the "but i love the way it feels" factions. oh, the book, the beloved book. well, i'm here to tell you . . . they both won. we still have books made of papers and books made of zeros and ones.

but look at the concessions being made in that old-fashioned medium, print newspapers:

times will rank e-book bestsellers
wall street journal to debut e-book best seller lists provided by nielsen
usa today's best-selling books list continues to add digital sales information

so, maybe, the slight edge goes to the techno-futurists?

headlines i've been reading over the past couple of years:

math that moves: schools embrace the iPad
more high schools implement iPad programs
iPads for every high school student in michigan district

and now this (in my own backyard). lexington sc will give iPads to every high school student in lexington district 1.

and so much research:

impact on the iPad on k-12 schools
apple for the teachers: iPad shows promise in the classroom

it seems as though "they" think that the way to help k-12 students learn, develop and grow is by arming them with technology. bridging the technological gap that can occur between school and home by giving them tablets (okay, iPads) to basically "own." sorry, android :-(

but what about the "after-k-12'ers?" last year, studies suggested college students still preferred monographs to annotate, highlight, research, etc, regardless of how much they weigh (estimated to be, sometimes, up to 30 pounds).

how about now? part two in "the digital divide...now less than 5 years." coming soon. of course, soon is relative.

THUMBS UP TO: the night circus by erin morgenstern. READ IT!!! trust me. it's wonderful!

THUMBS DOWN TO: the autobiography of mrs tom thumb by melanie benjamin. obnoxious comes in all sizes. even munchkin. blech.

08 October 2011

the library's naked because it's clothes were stolen!!

helloooooo, dear readers.

in today's episode of a naked library, i'm going to introduce you to a topic that i have not covered in all my sundry and varied highly entertaining posts (cue suspense music) . . . piracy!!

aaarrgghh, mateys!! shiver me timbers and yo, ho, ho...piracy is the little secret that's not so secret that still dances around the periphery of the e-book discussion.

now, knowing my readership like i do (and i do), i know that you are probably not familiar with this piracy thing of which i speak. you are picturing peg legs, eye patches, parrots and big barrels of rum. and as fun as that all is, it's not really the piracy i'm talking about.

if you walk into a brick and mortar store, pick up a book and proceed to the exit without FIRST stopping at the cash register, that is shoplifting or, in essence, stealing.

piracy is the word you use when you steal e-books. i don't know why it's not called e-stealing or compu-thievery or some such but anyway...

so now you're asking why, pray tell, would one steal (or pirate) an e-book when they are so reasonably priced? isn't that one of the things that makes e-books so attractive (along with their portability)? and you would be right that $9.99 is certainly better than $24.95 but nothing is ever better than FREE! just like buying a book discounted 40% at barnes & noble is better (cheaper) than paying retail at your friendly neighborhood indie bookstore (if you still have one).

intrigued?? i suppose you want to know how one would go about procuring one of these pirated books? i don't know why you're asking me!!! like i would know about these things?? well, lucky for you, i have done extensive "research" on this topic for you, dear reader, but only at the surface level. there is a whole 'nother lower level of piracy and swapping only referred to in rumor and innuendo.

two popular file sharing sites are piratebay and demonoid. these are websites that engage in file sharing and torrent tracking. torrents are how files get shared on these sites - basically pieces of files are hosted by individuals and uploaded separately, yet creating the whole file at the end. kinda. sorta. basically.

anyway, i'm always reading that piracy is an issue for mainstream publishing but not too much, not yet. at least not in the way that led to the music industry's near-demise due to file sharing sites like napster and limewire. and "they" are always surprised when they look at the top "pirated books" on these sites.

top 5 most popular books on piratebay are:
  1. porn star secrets of sex (NO, i am not linking. sheesh)
  2. never be lied to again (yea, right)
  3. men's health magazine nov 2011 UK edition (buff brits?)
  4. how to instantly connect with anyone (as long as they're not lying to you)
  5. how to win every argument (in the event you catch them lying to you)
top 5 on demonoid:
  1. girls of gaming magazine (men...hmph)
  2. the complete A+ guide to pc repair (who wants to pay somebody)
  3. ny times bestseller combined print & e-book 10-09-11 (whoa..we'll get to this)
  4. work smarter with speed reading (have you seen the size of that A+ pc repair guide?)
  5. the 8 second secret: the scientifically proven method for lasting weight loss (no comment)
yes, #3 on demonoid is the majority of fiction and non-fiction titles currently on the new york times best seller list.

you mean piracy isn't just for nerdy computer guys who wanna look at girls and get buff? i'm afraid not, dear reader, unless they've turned to reading "the help" in their spare time.

what does this mean for libraries? what, indeed! piracy is like borrowing ebooks from the library but without any DRM restriction and i can keep it forever. i can share it, copy it, put it on multiple devices in multiple formats, basically do whatever i want with it. kinda like when i used to buy a book. or even borrow one from the library. i could let my friend read it as long as he gave it back before it was due.

now maybe academic libraries won't have to worry because who is going to pirate some academic tome or physics textbook. oh, i know . . . those pesky, innovative students who are always looking for a way to save money and shove it to the man. if i can get all my textbooks and supplemental tomes online for free . . . i won't need to go to the library or the college bookstore. or what if i take this book i bought, scan it into my computer, save it and upload to one of those pesky file sharing sites for my fellow collegiate brethren who are being oppressed by the man?

i think this scenario is a little farther out than not, but there are LOTS of textbooks on these sites and the numbers are growing. i didn't even address the software, games, and, yes, music that are uploaded to these sites as well.

just something i was thinking about.

happy reading . . . no matter the format (that i'm sure you paid for fair and square).

ps - there is a facebook page called stop book piracy now. it has 50 fans. michael jackson's facebook page has 34,601,787 fans (and he's dead). i hope the book isn't far behind.