Said Right about the Ecomony’s Effects on Citizens

“For every person out of work, for every family facing foreclosure, for every small business facing a credit crunch, the recession remains alive and acute,”

— Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner

I’m still on that sad boat with no end to my unemployment journey in sight.  To be honest, I think nothing of the 3.5% GDP growth last quarter and I’m waiting to hear the revised figure that will come out in a few weeks, as well as a figure that doesn’t take into account programs like cash for clunkers.  I guess I don’t think something can “grow” by eating itself, seeing as how there’s that messy thing called “entropy.”  Anyhow, even if it’s only words, I do admire the sensitivity Secretary Geithner has expressed.

Adobe’s EPUB Standard (and some other comments)

Here is an article about how Barnes and Noble is backing Adobe’s EPUB standard.

Link

I’m happy to see content  providers getting behind this so there is device independent standard for e-books.

As for the jabs at Apple’s iTunes, well, iTunes isn’t completely locked down.  There are plenty of software programs available that remove Apple’s “wrapper” so users can play the music they purchased  on any device as an mp3.  I had to do this when my laptop crashed and the only copy of my music collection was on my iPod (it seems to me Apple can remedy this by making it easy to transfer songs from an iPod back onto a computer, rather than locking iPods with one device).  Depending upon Kindle’s success, I imagine some “Robin Hood” spirited programmer will “crack” that device as well (it may already have been done).  This really is beside the point, but I am a little tired of reporters feigning ignorance about the various ways to circumvent proprietary file formats and touting proprietary file formats as the key to having a successful digital distribution business model.  iTunes doesn’t have a lock on the market because their file format is proprietary.  They have a lock because their device is easy to use, it’s drop dead simple to buy music for iPod and iPhone devices, and the pricing structure for the music available is within reason.   Can you say Apple has had the same success with video entertainment via Apple TV? No … (in my estimation, it looks like Netflix is poised to dominate in this area due to the numerous deals they are making with TV and gaming console manufacturers.  It is very simple to watch Netflix movies on demand via my XBox360 with my existing Netflix account).   So far there is no clear winner on e-books or e-reading right now other than the personal computer and there are many PC manufacturers.   As for e-readers, I think it’s pointless to have a separate device outside of a laptop for e-reading.  Ultimately, I think this is a software play and not a device play.  I think Amazon recognizes this too, which is why they are making the Kindle software available for PCs the same as Apple did for iTunes.  This leaves box makers to struggle for margins as they try to one-up each other by driving device prices down.  My advice to the box makers is to multi-task existing laptops, minis,  and mobiles rather than wasting time and money on developing a separate e-reader device — unless, of course, that e-reader can be submerged underwater for tub-time reading.  Of course, tub-time computing would also be quite revolutionary …

Apple’s Magic Mouse — Multi-Touch Mouse

Here’s an image from Apple

Nice!  I think I’ll make a trip to my local Apple store to check out the new items.  I’m not a “Mac person” but I am very curious about the Magic Mouse and I want to see it and the new iMacs in action.  Now to wait for the PC version.  If it is truly multi-touch, then I think this is an excellent evolution of the mouse.  I would like to see something that goes even further for gaming.

Barnes and Noble’s E-Reader: “Nook”

Here’s an image from Engadget of the new Barnes and Noble E-reader.

It supposedly has a gray and white text display and a color multi-touch input display.  Nobody seems to have any details on the functionality.

Link to Engadget Article, which I think links back to the WSJ. Hahaha …

Link to NYT article which has more “speculation.”  According to this article, B&N has an agreement with Google for access to their library of public domain books in addition to the books sold at Barnes and Noble.

Link to Wired article which has even more speculation.  Apparently this e-reader is built on the Android OS.

I guess we’ll find out more about it very soon when it hits the market.  This may be candy that is too irresistible despite my impoverished state …

Twitter Not Helping Me Much…Maybe???

I’ve been experimenting with Twitter to broadcast my scanlation releases and looking at my blog analytics, Twitter is completely ineffective.  Of the 69 sources of visits to my blog, Twitter accounted for 1 out of the over 2000 visits to my anime and manga blog last week.  Most of the visits to my blog originated from the popular manga websites, Google searches, links from other people’s blogs, or people directly going to my blog.

And here comes the VERY BIG BUT

There is a big unknown, though, with respect to Twitter.  I often don’t directly “follow” people on Twitter because I don’t want to broadcast to the world or the person that I’m following them, so instead I pull an RSS feed of the tweets into Outlook.  Clicking on link from Outlook gets counted as a “direct” visit to my blog.  I don’t know how to get information on pulls from RSS feeds, so I have no idea who pulling RSS from my Twitter or my blog.

Soooo….now a simple comparision:  there’s a BIG jump in visitors from the popular manga sites on days when I release compared to days in between releases.  On the days that I release, 70 – 80% of traffic comes from those sites.  On the days in between most of the traffic comes from Google searches and direct visits (about 50% combined).    I tweet the release at time of the release, so from this I conclude, that Twitter is most likely ineffective and the best way to get the news out about my scanlations is to go where the audience is and that appears to be the popular manga websites and their forums.

I don’t know how Twitter is working for other people who are trying to promote themselves or their products.  But this is my story and I imagine it’s not an uncommon one.  What does this mean for Twitter?  Well, it may not be the best tool for advertisement as hoped, but I think it needs more time and some serious studies to make a conclusion either way.   As always, its good to know where your audience is and to tap into those sources.  Following that logic, if your audience isn’t on Twitter, you certainly aren’t going to bring them there and it’s probably best not to waste your resources on maintaining a Twitter account.  A good way to find out if people are tweeting about you or your product is do a search of Twitter and see what comes up.  I did is for myself and my “product” and not much came up.   As for my future on Twitter: the experiment continues …

10/GUI — Meh …

My husband sent me video of the “10/Gui” multi-touch mouse replacement.

Link

Yay — put the touch interface physically on the user’s desk instead of in the screen.  The first thing that  came to mind watching the video is “nice”, but show me how you type accurately at keyboard speed.  And with that I’m at “meh.”  Also introduced in the video is the idea of a linear windows management system.  I immediately blanched on this idea.  I’ve never encountered the problem this guy described.  My windows always pop up where they were last opened or closed and I like having layers of different windows from which little pieces peek out so I can see what I’ve got open.  I also like arranging my PC desktop how I like — but then again I’m sitting in front of two very large flat panels, multi-tasking away as I translate and monitor my e-mail/RSS Feeds  …

This is not to say the concept is bad.  It’s just that having a huge touchpad below a traditional keyboard causes ergonomic issues of it’s own.  Basically, a keyboard and mouse are placed at the same distance in front of the user so the user is in a neutral position regardless of which device he or she is using.  Along this line I see a five-fingered multi-touch mouse  or an integrated keyboard/touch interface device instead.  I’ve seen the a keyboard/touch device on a PS3  where the keys on the keyboard can be used as the touch interface.  As for a flat touch keyboard, that allows for all kinds of modifications and customization based on application by pairing it with a screen underneath the surface.  People could create their own interfaces with a few “primitives,” which could have great possibilities for gaming, image editing, music making, and things like Bloomberg.  Manufacturers could make one keyboard for all languages.  In combination with haptics (or the likes), keyboard-like feedback could be provided, thereby creating a very familiar experience.

Personally, though, I’m very happy with the mouse.  A lot can be done with very little movement, plus mice are quite inexpensive and space friendly.