October 22nd, 2011

e vs. p: with EEG data!

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111020094337.htm

"The co-initiator and cooperating partner institution of the study is MVB Marketing- und Verlagsservice des Buchhandels GmbH, operator of the e-book platform libreka!", for those who are inclined to worry about the influence of sponsor bias on study outcomes.

"This study provides us with a scientific basis for dispelling the widespread misconception that reading from a screen has negative effects," explains Füssel. "There is no (reading) culture clash – whether it is analog or digital, reading remains the most important cultural technology."

Fuessel is chair of the Gutenberg-Institute of Book Studies and spokesperson for the Media Convergence Research Unit at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. If this were in the US and I understood the institutions in question a little better, I'd probably be doing some snarking -- but it isn't and I don't so you're on your own.

I'm a little skeptical, because I find reading on an active screen to be tiring in a way that I do not find e-ink to be. OTOH, I probably spend _more_ hours consuming and producing information in an active screen than I do on an e-ink screen. Make of that what you will.

It's cool that someone did this, even if one might be skeptical of the certainty displayed in the conclusions.

Kindle, HTML5, etc.

Recently, Amazon announced a new format for the kFire, with support added to other kindle devices and software in the future. The format involves HTML5.

Not long ago, Apple modified the app store rules in a way that forced apps that sold content to use the Apple mechanism for doing so, rather than sending the user off to a website. In the initial round, it looked like they were also going to require _all_ content used by apps to be available for sale through Apple and that pricing couldn't be adjusted to account for the 30% cut Apple was going to take. During the months long delay between when those rules were announced and when those rules were re-adjusted, FT put out an HTML5 based website which would let them do app-y things without _being_ an app sold through the store, thus rendering themselves impervious to whatever Apple ultimately settled on. Other people shut down their business producing apps and said nasty things about Apple. I asked R. to delay buying me an iPhone until after the issue was resolved.

I have to wonder if the Apple rules dance was an influence on Amazon choosing to develop an HTML5 format for kindle ebooks. The Amazon app store sold stuff to people before the kFire was announced (and which, obviously, still hasn't been released), causing all kinds of debate about whether Amazon was going to make a tablet of its own or just make money off of other people's tablets. My feelings, this time, are similar. It sort of doesn't matter. Maybe Amazon is going to switch from supporting a kindle reader on the iPad to encouraging people to use the browser, once the HTML5 format is out there. That would let Amazon sell much more smoothly within the reading process.

But it doesn't matter. They can do that. They don't have to do that. Should Apple decide to monkey around with the rules about apps and content, Amazon is immune. Which was probably the goal.

I am, therefore, a little surprised about the ongoing debate about epub vs. HTML5 vs. wtf.

Duck Goose books by Tad Hills

I had such a ridiculous amount of time before book group last Monday that I went to Willow Books and bought some Halloween themed (and other) children's books, including _Duck & Goose Find a Pumpkin_ by Tad Hills. A. wanted more when we finished it, so I went to order more through Amazon where I discovered there were kindle editions. I was skeptical, so I got a sample delivered to one of the iPads (wow, since I ordered the kFires for my family and my sister's there are a _lot_ of kindles on my drop down list to choose from) where, YES it is indeed in color. Okay then. I ordered a few: Opposites, 1 2 3 and the original. The original is wordy; the rest are not. So I like the rest better than I like the first one, which feels like a thinly disguised metaphor for a couple of people coparenting a new kid and trying to figure out how best to go about that (probably reading that into the book. Probably) and thus more adult-themed than kid-themed. The rest of the books are appropriate to their genre (pairs of pictures involving the characters doing opposite things: near, far, etc.; pictures of the characters with some number of whatever to count; the characters bumbling around trying to find a pumpkin and having adventures until another one points them at the pumpkin patch -- a lot like a Katz book that way but without the flaps).

The art is appealing. Except for the first in the series, they have very few words per page. They have a mild sense of humor.

I like them. A. likes them. They are not interactive, at least in the kindle-for-iPad version, but they are in color. (Arguably they are too expensive.)