Independent bookstores vs. Amazon: Buying books online is better for authors, better for the economy, and better for you.

“Wait, but what about the bookstores’ owners and employees—aren’t they benefitting from your decision to buy local? Sure, but insofar as they’re doing it inefficiently (and their prices suggest they are), you could argue that they’re benefiting at the expense of someone else in the economy. After all, if you’re spending extra on books at your local indie, you’ve got less money to spend on everything else—including on authentically local cultural experiences. With the money you saved by buying books at Amazon, you could have gone to see a few productions at your local theater company, visited your city’s museum, purchased some locally crafted furniture, or spent more money at your farmers’ market. Each of these is a cultural experience that’s created in your community. Buying Steve Jobs at a store down the street isn’t.”

Farhad Manjoo – Slate Magazine

Although i have a soft spot for a physical library and i romantically fantasize about them as a sort-of-temple of wisdom and knowledge, the hard truth is that i have hardly spent any time in one in the last years. I’ve purchased a couple of books online, received others as gift and read many stuff online or in my mac. (( no doubt also related to my current working life ))

And when or if i resume to my voracious book devouring life of the good ol’days, it’s very probable that i will do so resorting to Amazon. You simply can’t beat those prices and as Farhad says, with the money i save there i can either buy more books or indulge myself in other cultural&local activities.

The future of albums

“While what the album contains will change, I think the concept of the album will live on for some time. The entire current music catalog is based on albums, and the change necessary to move to a different unit of music—other than the song—will take some time.”

Kirk McElhearn – Macworld

Interesting. I agree with most of what the author says. An Album is just a name, it’s contents has changed throughout history but i find it hard to believe that the vast majority of the audio lovers would resign to purchasing individual musics stripped of any context or surrounding.

On a side note, i dream of a day where your hi-fi stereo system picks its music from a household central NAS while an upgraded iTunes app supplies the artwork, lyrics and any other extras that might have come with the album to your iPad/iPhone/other device so that you can have the same experience of a current album now. Sometimes reading through the lyrics, the authors message and just handling those images while listening to the music is what makes the album special.

Huntsman could bring us back together

“We need a president who can work within our poisonous political environment to solve our nation’s problems, not simply score partisan points. Someone who understands that negotiation is essential in a representative democracy, and that there are good ideas across the political spectrum. Someone who has a well-defined set of core values but is not so rigid that he ignores new information and new conditions. Someone who has shown himself to be honest and trustworthy. And competent. Someone whose positions are well-reasoned and based on the world as it is rather than as he pretends it to be. Someone with the temperament and judgment and experience to be taken seriously as the commander in chief and leader of the free world.

We think Mr. Romney could demonstrate those characteristics. Mr. Huntsman already does. And we are proud to endorse him for the Republican nomination for president of the United States.”

Editorial –

If i were an american citizen, i would definitely vote for Mr.Huntsman. Seems the only rational, convincing and principled candidate of the GOP primaries.

Music for my ears

Meanwhile on the Net, people strongly discuss the behaviour of the iPhone mute switch. Because apparently there can be only one option in a 600€ phone. Pressing for a default or holding the switch for a second and then selecting a profile from a selection or customizing your own seems to be too cumbersome.



iPhone 4S Sales Canceled in China

We’ve finally gotten the Apple product launch I’ve always dreamed of: Surly customers-to-be hurling eggs at Apple retail stores in Beijing halted sales of the iPhone 4S in that country. Well, it’s not exactly what I had hoped for. Turns out, the Chinese were just too excited to get the evolutionary device, forcing Apple to sell the iPhone 4S only electronically. Still, the sight of eggs on an Apple Store … You know, it just warms the heart. Speaking of which….”

Paul Thurrot

This is Paul Thurrot. A “nice fellow” that supposedly covers technology for living. And this is his way of covering other companies besides Microsoft. So now you know.

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“I’ve always cared about the headphones that I use, but if I am honest the depth of that care extended mostly to price and design alone. I wanted something priced higher than grocery store checkout line level, but far less than an audiophile would pay — mostly I just wanted my headphones to look cool.

There was also another thing: I liked the Apple headphones back then. I liked them for the same reason everyone else did back in the day: they told the world you had an iPod.”

Ben Brooks — The Brooks Review

Sometimes it’s really hard to deny that some “apple users” are all about “form” and show-off and not much about “function” and substance… (( just a quick note to say that while i sometimes disagree with Ben, i do very much respect him and his opinions. ))

That being said, is interesting to see how people approaches to the stuff they buy are so different. I would hardly ever pay more for a “coolness” / aesthetic factor to my products. I like them to be nice and beautiful. And a very, very small premium on that is acceptable. But that would never be my main differentiating factor. Nor the high price. If i can get them as cheaply as possible, then i’m on.

What I would pay more for, and i do, is for the quality and fulfilment of their general output/function. I also bought a couple of headphones (( in case you’re interested they are the Ultrasone HFI-780 really good headphones and strongly recommended! )) last month. But aesthetics wasn’t even on the assessment card. They are audiophile grade, albeit entry-range, and what i’ve checked and read to buy them was specifications, user reviews by other audiophiles and the appreciations on some expert magazines. And the killer feature in this case was the really great price as i got them on a stock-cleaning sale.

I went trough the manufacture pictures and i carefully inspected every picture to try to understand the kind of headphones they were and what kind of materials they used. But aesthetics and “coolness factor”? Didn’t even crossed my mind.

Perspectives and leadership

“At present, Microsoft has 14 retail stores and plans to open up to 75 more over the next three years, usually placing them as close as possible to Apple outlets. “Well, the traffic is going to be there, and we’ve got to beat them anyway,” Ballmer says with a shrug. “

Steve Ballmer Reboots – BusinessWeek

The Dark side.

“If we want to move forward and see Apple healthy and prospering again, we have to let go of a few things here. We have to let go of this notion that for Apple to win, Microsoft has to lose. We have to embrace a notion that for Apple to win, Apple has to do a really good job. And if others are going to help us that’s great, because we need all the help we can get, and if we screw up and we don’t do a good job, it’s not somebody else’s fault, it’s our fault. So I think that is a very important perspective. If we want Microsoft Office on the Mac, we better treat the company that puts it out with a little bit of gratitude; we like their software. So, the era of setting this up as a competition between Apple and Microsoft is over as far as I’m concerned. This is about getting Apple healthy, this is about Apple being able to make incredibly great contributions to the industry and to get healthy and prosper again.”

Steve Jobs

The wise side.