iPad for Book Lovers

Peachpit has posted an article by me about my love for books, and the iPad:

Lisa L. Spangenberg, coauthor of The iPad 2 Project Book, readily confesses to being nuts about books. Like many of us, she is gradually becoming more comfortable with substituting digital reading for paperbacks and hardbacks, but she is already hopelessly in love with the many free (or very cheap) apps that let lovers of reading explore the written world in a whole new way.

There are so many super iPad apps for readers and bibliophile’s that I’ll be posting about some apps that I had to remove from the Peachpit article because it was already quite lengthy. In the meantime, head on over to Peachpit to read The Best iPad Apps for Book Lovers.

Dear FedEx

I wrote about picking out a keyboard-and-case combo for my iPad.

FedEx has quite efficiently bolluxed delivery.

I’ve just spent two days waiting for a 2 lb box — after receiving a door tag on the WRONG DOOR on June 6th, The building super called the local office to advise them that the residential delivery door is on the side of the building, where it’s always been. We also left a note on the front (in BIG BLACK LETTERS with a helpful arrow) directing any deliveries to the side door.

Then I set out to actively watch for your driver, so as not to miss the delivery a second time—only to find out via the tracking service on your website (both yesterday and again today) that the driver has apparently reported attempts to deliver the package as “Customer Unavailable” which leads me to wonder to where precisely FedEx is supposedly trying to deliver my package. After today’s tracking report of a completely fictitious attempted delivery at 11:35 AM, I called the FedEx customer support number. They took my phone number and tracking number, and said they’d “sent a note” which I foolishly took to mean they’d follow up on the matter and call me back to arrange delivery.

The delivery exception excuse of “Customer Unavailable” is patently and demonstrably false—since I’ve been at the building entrance for the last two days, watching multiple FedEx delivery trucks go by without so much as tapping on their brakes or glancing at the building.The FedEx customer service guy never called. Nor have I received another door tag, since the initial attempt on July 6th, when the tag was left on the wrong door of the building. Nor have any of the PSE workmen in the alley from 7 am to 5 pm for the last two days seen anyone from FedEx attempt to deliver a package.

I’m really, really angry.

I live in a 110 year old brick building that’s been partially residential for decades—a building where I’ve lived for 3 years. It’s not like it’s a new and confusing subdivision.

What do I need to do to get FedEx to actually DELIVER MY PACKAGE?

At this point, to be blunt, it’s looking like I’d have better luck by simply waiting for the box to go back to the company, and re-ordering but specifying they ship via UPS or the Postal Service—both of whom, I’ll point out, have made deliveries to this same building all week.

ETA: FedEx claims that they attempted to deliver the package at a little after 6 AM on Saturday. We finally asked them to deliver the package to a local FedEx storefront, where we picked it up. I note that the package has a local phone number printed on the label and on the tracking data, a number that they never called.

It does seem based on comments here that FedEx ground has a much worse record than FedEx air.

MacWorld on DVD Ripping: Is It Legal?

One of the smartest, most thoughtful discussions I’ve seen about ripping backups of DVDs you own, from MacWorld Staff:

Is DVD ripping illegal?

The MPAA and most media companies argue that you can’t legally copy or convert commercial DVDs for any reason. We (and others) think that, if you own a DVD, you should be able to override its copy protection to make a backup copy or to convert its content for viewing on other devices. Currently, the law isn’t entirely clear one way or the other—Fair Use proponents claim you have the right to make a back-up copy of the media you own whereas those who support the Digital Millennium Copyright Act say that the DMCA overrides Fair Use.

Go read the rest here.

What Do you Mean, “DRMless”?

DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It’s a way for content producers (publishers, television and movie producers, music production companies and artists) to control who can play or “consume” their work by embedding limitations in the content itself.

DRMless is a tag for posts about legally available digital content that is available for download without DRM. Should you be asked, DRMless (“without DRM”) should be pronounced Dream Less— because I very much believe that it is both imperative, and not just a dream, that high quality digital content be available without DRM — but still a source of genuine financial support for content creators.

While I absolutely and completely understand why artists and content producers and distributors want to control who can use their content, DRM just doesn’t work. Honest people will pay for content; dishonest people won’t. That being said, I am very much aware that there are a lot of people who do “try before buying,” and will download an ebook, mp3, or trailer, to see what the work is like. If they don’t like it, they delete the file; if they like it, they go buy their own version, either as a download or as “hard” media, in a the form of a printed codex book, a CD, or DVD.

I get that. I also know that there are a lot of us—yes I’m including myself in this group—who will not only pay for a digital version, but we’ll buy the “hard copy,” too, whether DVD, or printed codex book, or CD. I also think that there are reasons for using DRM for proprietary internal content—much the way we use encryption.

There’s a quotation from Steve Jobs from an interview he did for Rolling Stone magazine in December of 2003:

If copyright dies, if patents die, if the protection of intellectual property is eroded, then people will stop investing. That hurts everyone. People need to have the incentive that if they invest and succeed, they can make a fair profit. Otherwise they’ll stop investing. But on another level entirely, it’s just wrong to steal. Or, let’s put it another way: it is corrosive to one’s character to steal.

You’ll see posts associated with the DRMless category about the media, and the content, and the artists, who are providing digital content—TV shows, movies, ebooks, and audio files—that are DRMless. It’s also about the issues around DRM, and copyright, and the absolute imperative of making sure artists are paid for their art.