Link Smorgasbord, May 6 - 12

Why Isn't Gatsby in the Public Domain?
(in the United States at least)

Coursera leaps another online learning hurdle, partners with Chegg and 5 publishers to give students free textbooks
Fine Print: "eTextbooks and supplementary materials will be delivered via Chegg’s DRM-protected eReader."  After the course ends access to the texbooks (unsurprisingly) ends unless students want to buy them.  I am of mixed feelings, I'm OK with lending models for books in general.  For textbooks on a free education platform I start feeling like it's a vector for marketing but at the same time (temporarily) opens up the course to a wider range of materials.  I know there are classes I have taken where I wanted to keep the text book because I enjoyed the subject matter, and in a MOOC I am likely taking the class specifically because the subject matter interests me, so I imagine disgruntlement at this model.  It also greatly detracts from highlighting and note taking features so often touted as advantages of ebooks.

Adobe's Creative Cloud Illustrates How the Cloud Costs You More

Now, I don't do a whole lot with graphic design, but based on the file sizes I encounter with high quality archival scans (and the whole "public library budget" issue) I cannot say this model either appeals to me or seems worth the price.  20GB of cloud storage for someone heavily into graphic design will disappear very quickly and both the individuals and the companies I know that use CS tend to use a release for quite some time before thinking about an upgrade.  I think the subscription model will elbow out users, though I am not sure what discount will be offered to non-profits through programs like TechSoup under this model.  Personally I use GIMP and remain quite happy with this product, and have introduced it as a Photoshop replacement at work.  We did get a full copy of Photoshop some years back from TechSoup, but Adobe seems big on the one computer only model for their Creative Suite, which just is not all that useful to us.

See also:
Adobe kills Creative Suite, goes subscription-only

Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire, or, Copyright Shitfuckery
When a government created icon is neither in the public domain or permitted for fair use due to special exemption.

27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012
The science fiction nerd in me is squealing "so cool!"  The more cynical part of me is surprised how not-creepy most of these are (brain hacking is creepy).

Posed possibly as a competitor to Goodreads that I have yet to explore because I don't currently feel like logging in with my Facebook account.  Yes, I have some quirks.

PC Cleaning Apps are a Scam: Here’s Why (and How to Speed Up Your PC)
While I wished they had explored more than one of the PC Cleaning Apps out there rather than just one, I did love "don’t try this at home; we installed this bad software so you don’t have to."

CLS Bank v. Alice Corp: Court Finds Many Software Patents Ineligible
Considering how many software patents make me wonder what was anyone thinking in approving them (patent on page-turn animation for one), this was an interesting find.

Use These Secret NSA Google Search Tips to Become Your Own Spy Agency (Wired)
The article contains a link to a 643 page PDF on how to use regular resources to dig around.  Perhaps also importantly, the article warns the explorer to use caution.

I enjoy seeing these reports that the Douglas County Libraries put out, I find it a good metric to use when looking at the world of library ebooks.  As of right now about half of the top 25 best sellers listed at most half are available to to libraries as ebooks.  If you'd like to go direct to the report you can here.


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