Just like the wild west and homesteading days in the late 1800s, the frontiers of publishing, technology and space are wide open. Here’s a few of the articles that stretched my understanding of this amazing world we live in.
6/5 – Daily Beast – Amazon is NOT the Vladimir Putin of the Publishing World – Until now, I’ve not tried to sort out the spat between Amazon and Hachette. Who is Hachette, I hear you ask? They are one of the big publishing house. They are not an issue in my life because they would never, ever talk to a little bitty author with sub-microscopic level of sales like me.
The visible part of the dispute is Amazon posting a higher price on Hachette books, allegedly removing the ‘you can order weeks in advance’ button, shipping slower than arrive-first-thing-tomorrow-morning, and suggesting someone else on the ‘net may have a better price.
Article above explains Hachette wants you and me to pay more and Amazon wants you and me to pay less. What Amazon is doing as a negotiating strategy is offering books at the terms, availability, and prices Hachette wants.
The horrible, cruel, cut-throatedness of Amazon is amusingly described:
After launching almost 20 years ago and making virtually every book—new, used, dead-tree, electronic, audio, and I’m guessing any day now, olfactory—available to everyone in America at good-to-great prices, the company’s true character now stands revealed. It’s not pretty, folks. Despite a huge market share, Amazon apparently still wants books, especially the e-books that everyone agrees are the future of the medium, to be cheaper than what publishers and big-name authors want you to pay for them.
It is so obvious to the author above that the only acceptable approach is for consumers to pay whatever price the publisher wants.
Do I need to do the full disclosure routine and say that Amazon has gladly accepted three of my e-books and one POD for publication and made them available at very reasonable prices for anyone on the planet that wants a copy?
As a consumer and author, I will take all that horrid behavior I can find.
6/6 – Inside Higher Ed – One Down, Many to Go – Georgia Institute of technology has finished its first semester of an online masters program in computer science. The program is going well so far. They’re bringing five new classes online each semester. Cost for a three credit class ($402) is less than a credit hour on campus ($472). Online charge to students is 28% of on-campus rate.
5/30 – Space.com – Glitz, Glam and SpaceX: Inside Elon Musk’s Dragon V2 Spaceship – SpaceX revealed version 2 of their spaceship line, thus Dragon V2. It will shuttle 7 passengers to space and return them to earth by a soft landing on earth, not a splashdown.
5/30 – Space.com – SpaceX’s Manned Dragon Space Capsule Explained (Infographic) – As the title says, nice infographic on the Dragon V2. Very cool.
5/30 – The Verge – Step inside Elon Musk’s incredible new space machine – Closeup photos of Dragon V2. Veeeery cool.
May – City Journal – Machines v. Lawyers / As information technology advances, the legal profession faces a great disruption. Five places where the legal profession is subject to disruption: discovery; searching for precedents; legal forms especially estates and trusts; write simple briefs (further off in future than other factors); and analytics replace hunches.
The author sees a stratified profession: a few superstars will do well; most attorneys won’t:
The biggest winners may be lawyers who can use machine intelligence to create an automated large-scale practice. … More generally, there may be jobs for a new category of engineer-lawyers—those who can program machines to create legal value.
But the large number of journeyman lawyers—such as those who do routine wills, vet house closings, write standard contracts, or review documents on a contractual basis—face a bleak future.
The disruption will be slow, perhaps not as rapid as we’ve seen for newspapers. But disruption there will be.
5/20 – ReWire – Another Solar Record Set, Renewables Power Nearly Quarter of California – Peak output of all solar facilities in California at noon on 5/19 pegged at 4,566MW. That is a new peak record for the peak output at presumably the best time of day. Add together all sources of renewable energy (solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, small hydro) and about 24% of the electricity needed for Monday was from alternative sources.