Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flip Side of Google Book Search

I know we've somewhat beaten this subject to death in class, but here is an article bringing up the somewhat less-talked aspect of the infinite Google Book Search drama: it will bring back out-of-print books. If it works this way, it might be used as a public utility (Sorry libraries!)

Take this Kindle


For those of us who are soooo fortunate to ride the Metro to school, check this out. through out October, WMATA is scheduling track maintenance on all lines not only on weekends, but week days too! See you in class, if we can make it. Geez.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

This American Life, October 2:

This week's This American Life is entitled "The Book That Changed Your Life". It is a rerun of a show that originally aired a decade ago, so it should be an interesting listen (and Arnie says the radio is dead!).

In short, this broadcast will feature: "Stories of people who believe a book changed their life. It's a romantic notion, and one reason we believe it is because we want to believe our lives can be changed by something so simple as an idea — or a set of ideas contained in a book."

You can stream it for free here (or whoa- actually catch it live on Friday?)

What book changed my life? No lie, "The Velveteen Rabbit". You?

Survey Finds Publishers In Search of New Business Models

Just over 72% of publishers taking part in a survey on the impact of digitization on book publishing said the development of new business models, new multimedia products and effective marketing strategies are the biggest challenges facing publishers as they make the transition from print to digital. The survey was conducted by the Frankfurt Book Fair and the German trade magazine Buchreport in cooperation with PW, and received responses from 840 publishers across the globe. What forms the new business models should take and how publishers will charge for content generated no consensus.

Charging readers a flat rate that would allow them access to all of a information provider’s online content similar to a traditional subscription model was favored by 25% of respondents, especially those from Europe. Paying for snippets of content through micropayments was favored by 23%, with that method backed the most in Great Britain and the U.S. The premium model, under which users would pay for selected online content, found support from 16% of respondents.

At present e-books are generating the most revenue, although publishers remain unsure on how to price those titles. The survey found that the majority of publishers support pricing e-books below the price of print books, with only 19% saying e-books should be as expensive as the print book or more expensive. What the discount should be below the print price had a wide range of responses with the highest percentage, 30%, saying e-books should be priced at 30% off the print price.

Sixty percent of publishers said sales of digital products are expected to represent less than 10% of total revenue in 2009, although that is expected to change in the next two years with 58% saying that believe that in 2011 digital sales will account for over 10% of revenue. By 2018, about 50% of respondents said they believe more of their revenue will come from digital products than print.

The majority of responses came from Europe (74%), followed by the U.S. (11%) and Great Britain (4%). Trade houses accounted for 32% of respondents, with information publishers second at 20% and educational publisher third at 10%.

By Jim Milliot -- Publishers Weekly, 9/28/2009 1:46:00 PM

Book Sales

The AAP reports gains for July.

Monday, September 28, 2009


Don't know how many of you are aware of National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every November under the guise of NaMoWriMo.

The goal is to write a 175 page novel (50,000 words) in just one month! I've signed up for about 4 years now, only actually starting once (it's a lot harder than at first glance, and well, life gets in the way sometimes). Despite my years of failure, it's pretty fun to talk yourself into, and the website is full of all kinds of encouraging things -including trying to tackle other insane writing and editing challenges, and what to do after you've written this amazing novel (Hmmm! Get it published any way you can! Tips and scares included here).

Even if you never want to write a novel or script or whatever, it's a great idea that encourages the creative process- something I'm a fan of. Here, check it out: NaMoWriMo.

More authors turn to Web and print-on-demand publishing

While I was researching for more information about on-demand publishing, I came across this article that I thought was an interesting read. Check it out when you get a chance...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Digital Book World Conference Set for Jan. 26-27, 2010

up2date: The Future of Digital Publishing Starts Here

Digital Book World is a dynamic 2-day event that addresses the radically changing commercial environment for book publishers and their trading partners. The industry’s top insiders—all experts at the forefront of digital publishing—will discuss how they are overcoming the challenges presented by the digital age and using its benefits to create a new business model that positions their companies for immediate success and future growth.
26-27 January, NYC

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Michael Jackson Opus Book

This is a YouTube video of the Opus book chronicling Michael Jackson's life to be released in December 7 for $165. The print book includes pictures that when held in front of your computer move and play as a video. This 400 page book introduces a new technology to publishing. Watch the clip below for a demonstration from the publisher, Kraken Opus Publications.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Who you gonna call?

Editors of some medical journals are using "ghostbusting" to fight the number of articles coming from ghostwriters with ties to drug companies. Articles are being billed as the work of "independent academic authors" instead of the work of company-sponsored writers, resulting in articles that are more a part of a company's marketing scheme than scholarly work. Definitely a study of the acquistion and editorial stages of the publishing process.

Aptara, ScrollMotion Team to Convert Content for the iPhone

Aptara, ScrollMotion Team to Convert Content for the iPhone
By Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 9/23/2009 6:18:00 AM
Aptara, an international developer of content conversion, authoring and management systems, is teaming up with iPhone applications developer ScrollMotion to create a streamlined and comprehensive system to transform book content into interactive e-book material for the iPhone. ScrollMotion is the creator the Iceberg Reader, an e-book reader for the iPhone.

Aptara CEO Dev Ganesan said the partnership with ScrollMotion will offer publishers a way to minimize production and distribution costs, add a variety of interactive content features customized for each publisher, and create a new revenue stream through the growing popularity of the iPhone and the convenience of the iTunes store, as well as through other mobile reading devices.

Ganesan said the venture is aimed at getting Aptara involved “from the beginning of the editorial process; we can help to plan how the content will be used—graphics, multiple languages, composition, educational content and how to deliver it—and make the process more cost effective for conversion to mobile devices.” Aptara currently works with the content of such publishers as Random House, McGraw-Hill, Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Penguin Group USA.

In ScrollMotion CEO John Lema's view,“Aptara delivers the absolute highest-quality e-book conversion capability,” and emphasized that the new partnership will allow “publishers to work with Aptara to convert their content and with ScrollMotion to monetize it.”

ScrollMotion’s Iceberg Reader is being used on “hundreds of thousands” of iPhones, Lema said and he also emphasized the importance of working with publishers very early n the conversion process to create detailed interactive functionality around their content. “As conversions become more complex, you need to add value earlier in the process,” he said. The Iceberg Reader, said Lema, not only offers the usual stuff—fonts, pagination, color and images—but can also provide searching, e-mail sharing, textbook content, quizzes, editable text and multimedia.

“Combining this application with Aptara’s e-book production expertise now offers publishers a new option for delivering content to the iPhone market in a highly cost effective manner,” said Ganesan.

IREX Unveils New Wireless Digital Reading Device

IREX Unveils New Wireless Digital Reading Device

By Calvin Reid -- Publishers Weekly, 9/23/2009 7:20:00 AM

IREX, a European developer of digital reading devices, will today release the details about the new digital reading device it plans to launch in the U.S. market that will allow consumers to wirelessly download e-books as well as newspaper content through a partnership with Barnes & Noble. The device will be unveiled at a roundtable discussion in New York City featuring IREX CEO Hans Broder, B& president William Lynch, Penguin CEO David Shanks and others (including this reporter).

The new device has a 8.1” black & white e-ink touchscreen; offers wireless 3G connectivity through the Verizon network and will cost $399. The IREX DR800SG and will be available for sale through Best Buy chain by next month.

The new device has been developed to compete directly with the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader devices. Better known in Europe than in the U.S., IREX is entering the U.S. market a bit late. But the company hopes to overcome that disadvantage through its partnership with B&N, the unique size and quality of the touchscreen device and a long history of developing and enhancing e-ink technology. The device will also offer wireless access to more than a 1,000 newspapers through the NewspaperDirect service.

The new IREX device has another advantage: it has a Qualcomm Gobi chipset that allows the device to use wireless networks outside of the U.S.—unlike the Kindle or the Sony Reader. IREX is also reportedly planning to offer an affordable color-screen—current color e-ink devices can cost nearly $1,000-- as early as 2011.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The "O"prah Effect: A Marketing Dream

Back home after class yesterday night, I tuned into the television only to come across --- and very aptly so --- a documentary on CNBC titled “The Oprah Effect.”

Some of you may already be in the know about this phenomenon, some others may not. I was only enlightened about it yesterday. Truth be told, I’m not much of a TV watcher, much less a talk show junkie or even a pseudo-believer in the mass mania of celebrity cult hood. But the documentary was intriguing enough to hold my attention --- especially after our “marketing-themed” class discussion. The show talked about Oprah’s Midas touch in the world of marketing and soon after tuning in, I found my jaw drop and my mouth look---yes, what else, but like a very large “O.” Reason enough for me steal a few moments from a busy enough day to simply blog about it.

“The Oprah Effect,” as it turns out, is the most powerful marketing force. It’s origin lies in the inception of her “book club” segment in 1996 but it’s influence is limited not only to books but to any product that has the good fortune of being liked, enjoyed, appreciated, and subsequently mentioned by her on her talk show --- it could be a bar of soap, a beauty product, a garden tool, pantyhose --- even cake! A handful of products and book titles actually make it to her show but if (and when) they do, they end up striking not gold but platinum. Check some facts I picked off the web/show to chew on them from a sales & marketing standpoint:

1. In 2000, Oprah chose Spanx shape wear as one of her "Favorite Things." The Atlanta-based clothing company quickly sold their 8-year inventory in just three months.
2. In 2002 and 2005, Oprah selected Garrett Popcorn as one of her “Favorite Things.” The afternoon of the broadcast in 2002, the company had 100,000 web hits and the sales for the month of December increased by 100 percent. Garrett Popcorn went from making popcorn 8 hours a day to 24 hours a day.
3. The mention of Lori Karmel’s struggling "We Take the Cake" bakery shop on The Oprah Winfrey show in 2004 pulled her company back to life and out of bankruptcy. Today, the company’s sales are more than $1 million a year.

Yes, now I can envision your jaws drop and your mouths look like a very large “O.”

As regards to what’s dearer --- Book Publishing, a heartfelt recommendation of a book in her “Book Club” segment is known to guarantee sky-rocketing sales and transform a seemingly obscure title into a wildly successful best seller. Titles, such as “The Deep End of the Ocean” and “The House of Sand and Fog” that made it to Oprah’s book club became so successful that they were adapted into films. Her latest pick is an African story collection called “Say You’re One of Them” by Uwem Akpan. A more spectacular example of Oprah’s magic dust effect is with none other than the most talked about gizmo in publishing --- the Amazon Kindle. Last fall when she mentioned on her show how smitten she was by it, sales exploded through the roof and into the stratosphere. Amazon sold out of its entire inventory for the holiday season. Little wonder that it was on backorder for the longest time on

Well after all, Oprah is the most influential TV personality of her time. Supposedly, about 44 million people watch her show. And I don’t happen to be one of them. (Wow, ok, the thought weirded me out for a second.)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Here Comes Everybody

When I began reading “Here Comes Everybody” by Clay Shirky, I thought that the theme of the book would be convergence, or how multiple technologies work together and/or in sync with one another to maximize the coverage or exploitation of a resource, like ABC covering a news story through radio, television and the internet. I quickly realized that this preconceived notion of this book was incorrect. Rather than focusing on “convergence,” the theme was more about “proliferation.”

As I began to think about the two terms, I understood how my line of thinking was flawed. From a corporate standpoint, convergence may be a core principle that they use in order to reach diverse audiences. As the habits of those audiences evolve with increased technological functionality, their need to integrate the usage of such technologies into their portfolio grows. The constant development of new ways to reach these audiences becomes necessary for the survival of their business.

What Shirky illustrates is the way these same evolving habits formed from new technologies empowers each individual user to become the purveyor of information. No longer do we have to wait for Brian Williams to report the nightly news when an average citizen in Thailand can Tweet real-time accounts of government activities or natural disasters. The old ways of collectivizing are now challenged with the possibility (and reality) of flash mobs and Meetup Groups. Group-forming can be done quickly, effectively, and still dissolve just as fast.

According to Shirky, we’ve adapted a formula of “publish, and then filter,” radically different from traditional models of communication. This new structure results from the immediacy of available information and the abundance of voices that compete for our attention. Time taken to properly edit information is time away from reaching the audience. Put the information out first, and then correct it as you go along. ,especially now, when we’re in a stock-market like global environment where information becomes short-lived and outdated as quickly as the Dow Jones Average jumps up and down.

A business model that adapts to these new times is the open-source formula utilized by Linux, which allows anybody to contribute to the success of a program. Linux is self-policed by a loosely-formed and tightly-knit body of computer programmers who seek to solve any number of complex problems. Everybody has the potential to resolve an issue or add input, becoming as important as anybody else within the group. The proliferation of contributors, similar to Wikipedia, is why Shirky calls his book “Here Comes Everybody.”

What to do with all those old books?

Give them to an artist of course! There is an artist named Cailtlin (founder of Rebound Design) who appears nearly every week at Eastern Market (and often at other art venues like Crafty Bastards) that takes books and recycles them into purses, wallets, buttons, and all kinds of other fashion items. I actually have a wallet that this crafty lady made- One of my favs, The Great Gatsby. They are a little on the pricey side, but a nice collectible if you want to somehow save a favorite novel from the tyranny of old age, or if you see one on her list that suits your fancy! Here's one of the wallets below. Check out her website for more information about the artist, and the reason she sees fit to seemingly destroy and recreate.

The Cult of the Amateur

Though it might very well be the point, Andrew Keen's well-informed, but completely biased attitude throughout his book, The Cult of the Amateur, is extremely irritating. He sets out to provide the reader with a dissection of the current digital age we live in by exploring the various problems with sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Myspace, Craigslist and the like. While some of the arguments he makes against these types of "user-generated" information pools is eerily truthful, the bottom line is, Keen seems to believe that most things online cannot be considered fact unless backed by higher education and a title.

Much like Mom used to say, "Too much TV will rot your brain", Keen argues that this "Web 2.0" state of being is next to cause intellectual decay. While no one can argue that plagiarism and information overload have become far too easy to fall prey to because of the amount of data available at the click of a button, one can say that this does not make an individual inable to decide what is truth and subjective opinion. Keen's fierce discredit of any one who has not been properly educated - and has documented proof of said education - was a little overwhelming. Though I will admit, my roommate- who happens to be younger-enough than me to be categorized in another generation- often references Wikipedia as her go-to source of valuable information and fact. And she is well educated. that further proves Keen's argument I suppose, and brings some backing to my cartoon.

Keen's not the only one who believes that the digital age is dangerous. Most of those who consider themselves to be anti-user-generated sites all agree on the fact that authenticity is at stake. And for that, I cannot dispute. However, suggesting that the mere presence of too much information leads to less knowledge, is hard to swallow. I can't stand to establish fact before allowing for proper research. But that's just me, and we are talking about the masses here. The masses tend to believe whatever it is that is most popular. That might be the most frightening of all, and perhaps what is genuinely at the heart of Cult of the Amateur. While I cannot say it will ever make it to the top of my suggested reading list (mostly due to author voice and tone), it is interesting to hear how those in the trenches of technology feel about the democratization of knowledge as found in Web 2.0.

Children's Publishing in the Digital Age

Hi everyone,

I came across an interesting article about the prospect of publishing childrens' books in digital formats. Click on to take a peak at it.


The Latest on Google Settlement

The following is from today's "Shelf Awareness":

Notes: Google Settlement Legal Advice

The Justice Department recommended Friday that the proposed Google book settlement "not be approved by the court without modifications," the New York Times reported, adding that the department encouraged all parties involved to "continue talks to modify the agreement and overcome its objections." The Times also noted that the Justice Department "is not a party to the case but legal experts say the court is likely to seriously consider its views.""As presently drafted the proposed settlement does not meet the legal standards this court must apply," the department concluded. "This court should reject the proposed settlement and encourage the parties to continue negotiations to comply with Rule 23 and the copyright and antitrust laws.""Clearly the Justice Department sees the tremendous value that this settlement would bring to readers, students and scholars," said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. "We don’t want this opportunity to be lost."A joint statement from the guild, the Association of American Publishers and Google said: "We are considering the points raised by the department and look forward to addressing them as the court proceedings continue." The Times reported that Federal District Court Judge Denny Chin has scheduled a hearing on the case for October 7.

For more information, follow this link to Publishers Weekly:


The AP has an article this morning about newspapers beginning (again) to charge for online access. I started to write that the article was in the Post, then realized it was only on the website.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

When Publishing Had Scents and Sounds

A quick glance back into the good ol' days. Or were they?

This New York Times article explores the sights, the sounds, and the onion skin carbon paper involved in publishing before the computer age (or, as the author likes to explain), before the "atomic bomb that wiped out typewriters... [and] phased out calendars, address books and calculators."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The September Issue

Last night I saw the film, "The September Issue," directed by R.J. Cutler. The film documents the production of the September Vogue issue through the viewpoints of Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief, Grace Coddington, Creative Director, and others. Although I think the girls with whom I accompanied to the movie were solely interested in the fashion elements, I was hugely intrigued by the magazine publishing theme (and, I can't deny it, the fashion too). New to the publishing genre in general, I got to see some different elements of the magazine publishing process, along with attitudes and characteristics of the people in the business. I really enjoyed the film and would recommend it to fashionistas interested in publishing!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Espresso Book Machine

Hi Everyone!

In regards to our class discussion on the Espresso Book Machine here is a video I found that shows a close-up view of the machine and how it works. The video describes each step of the book making process and shows how the book is made. Enjoy!

A Kalb Report Relevant for You

The new season of "The Kalb Report" opens October 5 with “Ink on the Brink: The Future of Print Journalism.” Unfortunately, its 8pm start time runs too close to the end of the e-publishing course that Monday night, but it should be broadcast later on.

For more information on "The Kalb Report" and this specific episode follow this link to the news release on GW's own website:

Speaking of Dan Brown... and Oprah!

Good ole NPR loves the Publishing world (thankfully)... calling it "a giant week in the publishing industry, one that publishers and booksellers hope might give their business a needed boost." NPR writer Lynn Neary goes on to discuss exactly what we talked about last night, the impact of blockbuster books like Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.

She also mentions Oprah and her book club... oh yeah, that. Personally, I don't look to Oprah for advice on what to read, but if it will help the rest of lazy America pick up a book, yay Oprah.

Check it out here.

Espresso Book Machine Naming Contest at Harvard Bookstore

O my. We could definitely win this contest.

"As we prepare for the arrival of the machine, we’re stumped by what to call it. Calling this remarkable piece of machinery “The Book Machine” just sounds so…cold. So we’re asking for our community’s help in naming our new book-making robot.* Submit your book machine name to bookmachine@harvard.comby September 24th and, if your entry is selected, you’ll be eligible to any six public domain or print-on-demand books in our catalog, printed straight off the machine. The winner will also receive public recognition at our unveiling ceremony on September 29th. "

See article online here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Journalistic Standards at The NY Times

An interesting look at The New York Times' standards as reported by Craig R. Whitney, the assistant managing editor.

Readers' questions referring to content (standards, partisan reporting, research involved), advertising, design (too few photographs of women, a crowded masthead), and more.

The Casual Optimist

I just thought this website was really cool. Created and maintained by Dan Wagstaff, this site offers all kinds of interesting book and publishing-related items. As per About the Author:

"The Casual Optimist is a blog about books. I write about book trade and all things book-related, but mostly I want to share ideas about creativity, innovation, and best practice in publishing and the book-trade.

Digital technology presents many challenges for authors, bookstores, publishers, and book distributors. It is also creating some remarkable opportunities. I don’t have the answers, but I’m optimistic we can figure it out together. Let’s talk."

Check it out.

The Casual Optimist

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

E-books: Bad for your health?

My first reaction to e-books involves a physical concern. I have spent a lot of time staring at a computer screen in my life, especially over the past few years as I have had jobs in the graphic field as well as online writing tutoring where I read essays on my computer for hours. (My roommate is tired of hearing my complaints that my hand hurts from writing notes in class, since I have not written more than a check in at least two years!) Throughout these positions, I started to notice constant headaches. After a while, I decided to suck it up and see an eye doctor who explained to me that my eyes were working too hard because I look at the computer screen so much. Subsequently, when I deviated from that computer screen concentration, my eyes could not easily focus on other objects. Essentially, my eyes were confused. So, I got glasses, which I try to wear when I look at the computer for a long time or read.

Thus, the idea of reading a book, an entire book, on the computer (or a computer-like device) sounds… painful. Physically. I cannot claim to understand the way the eyes work in relation to paper vs. computer. However, the way I see it—on paper, my eyes see vast amounts of what I will call pixels for purposes of comparison; whereas, on the computer, the pixels are limited. The eyes and brain have to work harder to formulate images with less pixels, resulting in headaches. It made sense to me.

In a piece we read for E-Publishing, “Free(konomic) E-books,” author Cory Doctorow countered my thoughts as he blatantly says: “[…] the problem with reading off a screen isn’t resolution, eyestrain, or compatibility with reading in the bathtub […].” After being presented with this idea, I had to do a little googling about the effects of computer screens on the eyes. I read that it is less the computer screen and more the environment. How revolutionary! Commonly, the lighting in the room is unnatural and inadequate, the reader may be too close or too far from the fixed computer screen, and/or the reader is so involved in the computer screen that s/he forgets to blink! The latter is hugely understandable to me. I problematically look to the brightest object in the room… If I am in a dark restaurant with bright windows, I must look out the windows. So, when I am staring at a computer screen, I think I forget to give my eyes a break. Likewise, I undoubtedly stare at a computer screen for a longer amount of time than a printed book (computers are SO much more than a reading device), which makes it hard to compare printed books to e-books. Although my sources are not scholarly, these points about computer screens and headaches make more sense than my previous theory about screen resolution.

After thinking through my physical problems with e-books, I guess I will relinquish my position that reading via computer is bad for your health. My eyes will continue to work hard, but I just need to remember to give them breaks and blink! Overall, I suppose that I will give e-books another chance before writing them off completely.

"Farewell to the Printed Monograph"

While attempting to find out more about "the crisis of the monograph" mentioned in our reading for yesterday's class, I found this article that talks not only about The Univeristy of Michigan's troubles, but about the issues scholarly presses everywhere are facing. The University of Michigan is proactively making the largest strides out of all the major university presses toward digital publishing. University Administrator Teresa A. Sullivan explains,"We want to put the emphasis on dissemination. And we want acquisition editors to feel that they can take risks that maybe they couldn't take before."

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The "Search" & Its Internet Implications.

Once upon a time we assumed that no one cared about our search habits on the internet, that no one kept track of the nature of our queries and what drove those queries, our thoughtstream, wants, desires, needs, social networks, etc. But, Google-the search engine-cares, by keeping track of these queries, particularly since the terrorist attacks on 9/11, and devised a system it called Zeitgeist, a clever public relations tool that summarizes search terms that are gaining/losing momentum at a particular period in time. The original link site is at , for further inquiry.

John Battelle, author of "The Search-How Google & Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culture"-renamed Google's Zeitgeist as "The Database of Intentions", where an unending world of our information is exchanged, without absolute control by anyone, and where Media & Technology intertwine and continue to lead to limitless possibilities for others to use our personal information for good or for evil.

I agree with the author that, in addition to our thoughtstreams being subpoenaed, archived, tracked and exploited for all sorts of ends, it is also being studied to create artificial intelligence in computers/robots capable of fooling an inquirer to believe it is human by acting, by all measures, like a human being, when not seen face-to-face by the real human interrogator.

The Database of Intentions is building second-by-second across the Internet because a device is tracking questions we ask, and is using the aggregated information for multi-billion marketing and media, for technology, pop culture (created the word Blog), international law or civil liberties. While organizations in the various trade/business sectors can use the Database to meet what the world wants in general, vulnerable individuals see information explosion on the web as a threat. Why? Because an individual's digital identity or an organization's identity is immortalized once it is clicked in the Search box and can be retrieved indefinitely upon demand.

The future of Search, according to the author, will be more about Understanding, rather than simply Finding. What this means is that since our human energy and thoughts are somewhat finite, we eventually must designate gigantic tasks to the computer to fulfill as Google does with it's search engine. Others believe that "Search" is an obvious place for intelligence to happen, and it is starting to happen.

A machine, such as the computer, can understand what you are looking for, but must pass the 'Turing' test, in order to be considered as intelligent. Accordingly, the 'Turing' test is computing's holiest of grails as explained in the ' Search' by British mathematician Alan Turing, in a seminal 1950 article. Mr. Turing reportedly lays out a model by which to prove whether or not a machine can be considered intelligent. Mr. Turing also predicted that by the year 2000, computers would be smart enough to have a serious go at passing the Turing test. This test and its prescripts are presently subject to intense academic debate.

In 1990, 'a wealthy oddball', Hugh Loebner (according to the Search), offered $100,000 to the 1st computer to pass the test, but to date, none has! Why? Because searchers continue to frame command questions or search queries the wrong way. Contestants for the prize money are focusing on building singular robots with millions of potential answer to coded sequences to the extent that for a particular query, the programmed computer might give a plausible answer.

Cyc (pronounced "psych"), a working program from A1 pioneer, Doug Lenat, is reportedly making the most-famous efforts to program the computer to pass the Turing test. He has declared that getting the computer to understand voiced/voiceless commands by coding in hundreds of thousands of simple, commonsense rules via the clever application of algorithms that harness and leverage the intelligence already extant on the Web, as his life's work. For example, rules as simple as--valleys are between hills or mountains, heat melts ice, fish swim, birds fly, then walk, then twit, then sing-- and then build a robust model based on those simple rules for the computer to understand and execute these commands as done in Star Trek.

While Google continues to lead in Web Search on the Web, it's small challengers as of late, is Microhoo--(Microsoft & Yahoo)--for both are posed to overtake Google, reports CNN News recently. Wired magazine also states that such a pose is good for Microsoft (an interactive pc pioneer), to inch up to searches worldwide in this new venture, it is good for consumers, and regardless of the new challengers presence and hopeful progress, they will still want to keep their Google. We shall all be living witnesses!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Digital Book World

January 26-27, Digital Book World (partnered with PublishersLunch) will host a conference in NY designed to help consumer book publishers address the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital age. Topics will focus on print to web solutions, contracts, brands, bloggers, new business models, the virtual supply chain, sales, niches, social media tools, free books, the next generation of e-books, etc. Registration seems a bit pricey...wouldn't it be nice if they offered higher-ed discounts.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"Look out honey, 'cause I'm using technology/Ain't got time to make no apology..."

NPR continues to cover the great Google debate reporting on thoughts surrounding the newly developed "Google Book Search", a prospect that will allow searchers to locate full texts online (for a small fee of course).

It all started with the fact that Google didn't exactly ask permission before scanning more than 10 million books from about 40 libraries. Oops. Until settlements are reached in October, authors can still "opt out" of having their entire catalog placed online for a Google search and read, though some worry that it'll be more like taking a queue from Iggy Pop - Search and Destroy.

It's certainly up for debate though, as some consider it a necessary evil, a way to preserve literature so to speak, and in out digital age, it's not necessarily surprising. Well, maybe the whole copyright thing...

To read the whole story, and the supposed pros and cons, go to:

And what are your thoughts?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Moveable Feast

I dont know if anyone is interested in Hemingway, but here is a link to an article that deals with posthumous printing, editing, and reprinting. Enjoy!