Internet Blackout Day

Obviously I have not joined the Blackout today, but that doesn’t mean I don’t support the cause. In case you haven’t already heard, there are two bills in Congress (PIPA in the Senate and SOPA in the house) right now that threaten free speech, and freedom of information, on the web. Watch this brief video to learn more about these two bills, which are being presented as anti-piracy bills. They aren’t actually going to stop piracy. Corporations who are concerned with this have plenty of tools already – which they stretch to the limit to go after individuals who they claim are infringing their copyrights.

Please contact your reps in congress about this if you haven’t already. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has a quick and easy way to do this but you can also look them up and call or email directly.

What's interesting today

Oops, forgot to publish this apparently. This is what was interesting on Tuesday.

InfoDOCKET: OverDrive Posts Public Comment Apparently in Response to Friday’s Librarian in Black Post
OverDrive has published a post on their blog that touches on the issues surrounding ebook lending for libraries who have borrowers outside of their designated geographic area. It sounds like none of the people who contacted OverDrive heard back from the reps they tried to reach, this is thus far the only response. Kinda lame, especially since the post doesn’t even acknowledge that it exists because of this latest brouhaha. But, certainly better than ignoring the situation altogether. OverDrive is between a rock and a hard place, but it seems like doing a better job about communicating what’s going on would help enormously. (And perhaps instead of libarians putting pressure on them, we could work together to put pressure on the publishers.)

LifeHacker: Your Facebook Has Two Inboxes, and You’ve Probably Missed Messages From the Second
Just one more data point in the “Facebook thinks it knows what you care about, but really it doesn’t” column. Apparently you can’t change this setting so get used to checking two spots for Facebook messages, one of which doesn’t have an obvious update flag.

What's interesting today

The Digital Shift: Facebook Settles Privacy Complaint with FTC
Oh, Facebook. How we love to hate you, and hate to love you. Zuckerberg has intimated (or perhaps outright said, the only quote I can quickly find is from an anonymous employee) that he doesn’t believe in privacy online. Thus, I call marketing bullshit on that quote of his about “making sure only those people you intend can see [your info].” Shocking.

Charlie’s Diary: Cutting Their Own Throats
An interesting angle in the continuing conversation/debate/rant about ebooks and DRM. The upshot here is that by a) requiring DRM and b) outsourcing sales of ebooks to vendors like Amazon, the Big Six are putting themselves out of business. I’m not sure it’s quite that drastic, but it hadn’t occurred to me that they’ve done what the music industry did when iTunes debuted, which is give control of their content to another business that is in the position¬† (or will be soon enough) of calling the shots moving forward.

What's interesting today

The New York Times Opinion Pages: Stop the Great Firewall of America
This is why you should care about two bills in Congress right now, SOPA and PROTECT-IP. The third paragraph sums it up nicely. Once you’ve read this please visit the EFF and write to your reps in Congress.

American Libraries: On My Mind: An unplugged space
This is an interesting column that proposes that libraries create “Walden zones,” a communication-free area where people can disconnect from their gadgets.

Radical Reference: Alternative Guide to Dallas
The librarians of the North Texas Radical Reference Collective put together a cool map of cool places to go in Dallas during the Midwinter meeting, including vegan restaurants and other neat places to check out.

 

What's interesting today

PC World: Barnes & Noble Unveils $249, 7-Inch Nook Tablet
This product is in direct competition with the Kindle Fire, and B&N is not shying away from that fact. I’m interested to see where the tablet marketplace goes once these have been out for a while, since it seems like Apple is one of the only computer manufacturers who has had success with a tablet-as-smaller-computer angle. For people who are really only interested in a tablet for media consumption, this might be the better and more affordable type of product.

Washington Post: Nook Tablet, Amazon Kindle Fire ‘mini-tablets’ will shake up market
This is exactly what I was thinking when I read the PC World article above.

Wired: Clive Thompson on Why Kids Can’t Search
It’s nice to see this discussion come up someplace outside of the library sphere.