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Audio Books

Amazon Buys Audible

We all have our pet industries, those quirky little eddies in our massively flowing economy (although it's not flowing well at the moment) that for some reason we love to watch and ponder.  For example, in the Eighties I became interested in the pork bellies market.  Maybe it was my Iowa upbringing...

Feeling the Curb in Monterey

Last Sunday I traveled out to California to attend the Internet Librarian Conference—ITI's tenth, my first. I managed to fly to San Jose with nary a directional question, then took a shuttle bus past fields of artichokes and garlic, and dry brown hills mad in the October sun, down to Monterey on the coast. Monterey certainly has continued its upward drift in the twenty-five years since I last...

SpiralFrog and the Gyres of History

Despite or because of its runaway success, the iPod/iTunes service from Apple has more than a few critics and enemies. Some musicians and music companies don't like the strategy of ninety-nine-cent pricing. It smacks of the cheesy dollar-store marketing mindset. I agree with the heat-wave gripes about Apple that Karen Schneider posted to this blog in July, and I can add a few more rants of my own...

Left to Their Own Devices

Two news items that scurried across my attention in July have led me to conclude that, in this era of overlapping eras, we have entered yet another age. The first item was an industry report that Apple shipped more than eight million iPod devices in the second quarter of 2006. That's almost three million per month or 100,000 per day, and the second quarter is not a big gift-giving quarter,...

Pulp Fiction

It's already mid-July and I'm still thinking about the programs, news, and events from the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans three weeks ago. This means either that it was an unusually important conference, or that I'm slow on the uptake and/or have serious conference closure issues.Two programs I'm still pondering are Kevin Starr's address ("Reading: The Essential Skill") at the ALA...

iTunes U Tackles Whatsamatta U

Recently Apple, Inc., announced that it will allow colleges and universities to use a special sector within the overall iTunes service to load and distribute course lectures, other course content, and related digital audio and video files. The Cupertino, California-based company calls its new service " iTunes U."A January 25 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education describes the new...

2006: The Year of the ...

December is almost here, which means that the calendar year as we know it is drawing to a close. This will unleash the urge—and the annual ritual of the popular press—to write reflective articles about the year just finishing and predictive articles about 2006. The top events in politics, the arts, athletics, and other areas will be rehashed and ranked. I predict that natural disasters will...