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Free Culture

Interesting development, more and more and more free culture:

The National Academies Press Makes All PDF Books Free to Download
11-06-07 01:56

* As of today all PDF versions of books published by the National Academies Press will be downloadable to anyone free of charge. This includes a current catalog of more than 4,000 books plus future reports produced by the Press. The mission of the National Academies Press (NAP) — publisher for the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council — is to disseminate the institutions’ content as widely as possible while maintaining financial sustainability. To that end, NAP began offering free content online in 1994. Before today’s announcement, all PDFs were free to download in developing countries, and 65 percent of them were available for free to any user.

“Our business model has evolved so that it is now financially viable to put this content out to the entire world for free,” said Barbara Kline Pope, executive director for the National Academies Press. “This is a wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact by more effectively sharing our knowledge and analyses.”…

Printed books will continue to be available for purchase through the NAP website and traditional channels. The free PDFs are available exclusively from the NAP’s website, http://www.nap.edu/, and remain subject to copyright laws. – NAP

Yet another of example of coolness leaving Apple. It is because closed source stuff won’t ever be as dynamic and as happening as open source free stuff. It just won’t happen. Bye-Bye, Apple.

Android phones outsell iPhone 2-to-1, says research firm
Google’s OS powers 44% of smartphones sold in U.S. last quarter; Apple’s iOS far behind
By Gregg Keizer
November 1, 2010

Computerworld – Android-powered smartphones outsold iPhones in the U.S. by almost 2-to-1 in the third quarter, a research firm said today.

Analysts explained the Android boom by pointing out the plethora of manufacturers that equip their smartphones with Google’s mobile operating system, and highlighting their availability on all the major U.S. carriers.

“We started to see Android take off in 2009 when Verizon added the [Motorola] Droid,” said Ross Rubin, the executive director of industry analysis for the NPD Group. “A big part of Android success is its carrier distribution. Once it got to the Verizon and Sprint customer bases, with their mature 3G networks, that’s when we started to see it take off.”

According to NPD’s surveys of U.S. retailers, Android phones accounted for 44% of all consumer smartphone sales in the third quarter, an increase of 11 percentage points over 2010′s second quarter. Meanwhile, Apple’s iOS, which powers the iPhone, was up one point to 23%.

Oh, and here’s the Android I’ve: Samsung Vibrant

iPhone is down and Google Android is way up…but this was expected, really.  (see my previous post, Coolness leaves Apple)

http://mobile.slashdot.org/story/10/01/04/224259/Android-Phone-Demand-Up-250-iPhone-Down

“A ‘monstrous’ jump in demand for Android-equipped smartphones has turned the market upside down, according to a retail pollster. Of the people who told ChangeWave Research in a mid-December survey that they planned to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days, 21% said they expected to purchase an Android phone. That number represented a 250% increase over the 6% that pegged Android as their mobile OS of choice when ChangeWave last queried consumers’ plans in September. ‘That change rivals anything that we’ve seen in the last three years of the smartphone market,’ said Paul Carton, ChangeWave’s director of research, adding that the sudden surge in consumer interest in Android had ‘roiled’ the market. ‘This is an indication that Android has finally caught consumer interest,’ added Carton, who cited the recent advertising campaign for the Motorola Droid smartphone as the reason why interest in Android has skyrocketed. Android’s leap translated into good news for Motorola and HTC, the most prominent makers of Google-powered handsets, with the former reaping most of the benefit. Motorola’s share of smartphone purchases in the next 90 days shot up from 1% in September to 13% in December. Carton tagged the company’s Droid as the reason. ‘[It's] the first increase for Motorola we’ve seen in three years,’ Carton said.”

http://www.changewaveresearch.com/articles/2010/01/smart_phone_20100104.html

Of course there needs to be the obligatory post about Amazon deleting the stuff from the kindle that they didn’t like.  The bigger questions, that Amazon has not answered, are:

Do you want to buy something that can be monitored & controlled by some central entity?

Why did Amazon build that feature into the Kindle in the first place?

Do you trust them when they say we won’t do it again?

Who else can use the features in the Kindle to monitor what you are reading?

Just don’t buy a Kindle. My strong recommendation:  Buy a netbook that has GNU/linux (for less than the $299 the Kindle sells for), and download what you want. When you tire of reading you can play some chess* or travel through the solar system (and this is all using free software…)

Oh, and by the way 1984 is in the public domain in Australia and Russia, so take a look at these sites:

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/

http://orwell.ru/library/novels/index_en

Here are some free fonts to use when reading your downloaded books:

http://exljbris.wordpress.com/

And here are some free software packages with which to read your .pdf’s:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/

And here are 100 of the top book downloads from Project Gutenberg:

Read More

What Patrick Leahy and John McCain could not do, wikileaks can.   Here’s a story about 2,300 reports paid for by the US taxpayer, but kept unreleased, being freed and made available.  Of course, e_f has downloaded the reports and is distributing them using bit-torrent, the protocol that the large corporate ISP’s try to suppress from time to time, giving lie to the fact that there exists a political space created, in part by the bit torrent protocol.:

Change you can download: a billion in secret Congressional reports
From Wikileaks
Jump to: navigation, search

February 8, 2009
EDITORIAL

Change you can download.
Wikileaks has released nearly a billion dollars worth of quasi-secret reports commissioned by the United States Congress.

The 6,780 reports, current as of this month, comprise over 127,000 pages of material on some of the most contentious issues in the nation, from the U.S. relationship with Israel to the financial collapse. Nearly 2,300 of the reports were updated in the last 12 months, while the oldest report goes back to 1990. The release represents the total output of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) electronically available to Congressional offices. The CRS is Congress’s analytical agency and has a budget in excess of $100M per year.

Open government lawmakers such as Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont) have fought for years to make the reports public, with bills being introduced–and rejected–almost every year since 1998. The CRS, as a branch of Congress, is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.

An interesting development which marks the beginninng of the institutionalization of wikipedia’s success.  RNA Biology now requires authors who submit works to post them also on wikipedia.

Wikipedia and RNA Biology

by Nat Torkington 

I love the RNA Biology journal’s new guidelines for submissions, which state that you must submit a Wikipedia article on your research on RNA families before the journal will publish your scholarly article on it:

“This track will primarily publish articles describing either: (1) substantial updates and reviews of existing RNA families or (2) novel RNA families based on computational and/or experimental results for which little evolutionary analysis has been published. These articles must be accompanied by STOCKHOLM formatted alignments, including a consensus secondary structure or structures and a corresponding Wikipedia article…”

Too bad I can’t track down any of those former IPCentral posters who had constantly criticized wikipedia, even when they contributed to it.

Richard Holbrooke gets it all wrong.

First, he claims that Indonesia wants to keep virus sequences secret, to start a Global Pandemic:

When “Sovereignty” Risks Global Health
by Richard C. Holbrooke & Laurie Garrett

NEW YORK – Here’s a concept you’ve probably never heard of: “viral sovereignty.” This dangerous idea comes to us courtesy of Indonesia’s minister of health, Siti Fadilah Supari, who asserts that deadly viruses are the sovereign property of individual nations – even though they cross borders and could pose a pandemic threat to all the world’s peoples. Political leaders around the world should take note – and take very strong action.

But the problem is–and Richard knows better–is that Indonesia would be all to happy to give access to the virii as long as they would be able to manufacture the resulting vaccines under an open license. (See coverage here and here.) So I could just as well write a piece titled: Profits of Western Pharmaceutical Companies threaten Global Pandemic, because that is what the CDC’s well announced plan is: to turn over all the sequences to a Pharmaceutical Company, and let them reap windfall profits on a blockbuster drug. Of course, to bad for those who can’t afford the vaccines, they should just die. So sorry.

Clearly, the solution is this: government labs (or private labs under contract) develop the vaccine, and then license it to any pharmaceutical company qualified to manufacture it, as a generic. Open licensing. Equity. That is all Indonesia is asking for, Richard.

Of course that would have the benefit of making a quality vaccine widely available–but it would do the unforgivable–deny a pharmacuetical company somewhere a billion or two of profits.

Who–just who–are the terrorists?

A book is offered for free download as a .pdf, and do it’s sales collapse? NO! They increase.

As Stephan Kinsella notes at againstmonopoly.org

As noted previously, both my and Boldrin & Levine’s recent anti-IP books are selling well on Amazon–despite being offered for free online.

Jeff Tucker makes a similar observation on the Mises blog:

Kinsella Vindicated

You will note that Kinsella’s book Against Intellectual Property is the #2 bestseller in the store. This is despite its having been online for six years and remains so, in two formats. What a way to demonstrate a thesis. If you have something that is valuable to others, people might be willing to pay for it

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