Internet choice: April 2012

I haven’t written a post of links for a long time. This is because I’ve been using Google + to share these links, ever since the “share” facility on Google Reader was closed to make way for the new “plus” era. Google + is a very quiet place, though, so I will post here some of the stimulating, fun or plain annoying articles that caught my eye in April.

Gyrovague: Why e-books will soon be obsolete (and no, it’s not just because of DRM)
E-books will be obsolete within five years.  Crippled by territorial license restrictions, digital rights management, and single-purpose devices and file formats that are simultaneously immature and already obsolescent, they are at a hopeless competitive disadvantage compared to full-fledged websites and even the humble PDF.” I am not sure that I agree with the contention, very common among tech types, that a one-device-for-all-purposes is something that everyone wants: I quite like having a dedicated e-book reader. But his points about sharing, rights restrictions, proprietary formats and so on are well-taken.

I very much like the poems of Carol Ann Duffy so I was pleased to see that the Poet Laureate is going to write her own versions of traditional fairy tales for a stage show this Christmas season (BBC).

I like this new way of occupying one’s time while at the station: maths problems to work out how long you have to wait (Going Underground blog).

Only for strong-minded authors: The Rejection Generator Project. “The Rejection Generator rejects writers before an editor looks at a submission. Inspired by psychological research showing that after people experience pain they are less afraid of it in the future, The Rejection Generator helps writers take the pain out of rejection.”

Appnewser: iPhone diorama (video). This is a beautiful little idea – I haven’t watched the video but the initial still is so lovely. Maybe someday iPhones will be personalised like this – and I might even buy one if so!

Debtonation: We can learn from Iceland’s crash – and their recovery. I sure hope so.

Author Barry Eisler takes an unfashionable view in the Guardian: Why trailblazing Amazon should take on the publishing establishmentWhile most people in the world are either wary or downright hostile about Amazon’s presumed monopolistic ambitions, Eisler begs to differ, arguing that it is the “legacy publishers”, as he calls them, who have the monopoly, and that Amazon is the route to freedom. There are, naturally, some dissenting views in the comments, politely put and well-argued for the first page of them at least.

And in the Guardian’s Sunday sister, The Observer: The talking penguin’s guide to climate change. “Darryl Cunningham is using the graphic novel format to address the most serious issues in science and to fight disinformation.” Killan Fox, author of the Observer piece, writes: “He [Cunningham] has done a good job of representing the subject in all its ambiguities, but ultimately it is a snapshot of how we understand climate change at this time. As new information emerges, that understanding will be expanded and refined. As his Afterword says: “Good science is testable, reproducible and stands the test of time. What doesn’t work in science falls away and what remains is the truth.””

O’Reilly Radar has a great weekly feature on visualisations. I particularly liked The history of shipping routes, a visualisation of 100 years of sea trade, by Ben Schmidt (I am not going to mention the T word in this context).