Link Smorgasbord, March 2014

Should You Sue Your eBook Reviewers?
I mean besides the gut response of "no" or "are you shitting me?" in response to that question, the article itself is pretty well written.  In the past year I've begun following a number of reviewers who have sharp wit and don't pull their punches when reviewing books.  During this time I've come across some incredibly poor behavior on the parts of authors who attack these reviewers for their very well thought out and explained reviews.  There are now a number of authors I don't intend to read because of their behavior in this regard.  Yes, getting negative reviews sucks, but calling someone a troll for a reasoned review does not end well, and I find that reading the negative reviews to often be just as informative as the positive ones.

The Rebranding Of SOPA: Now Called 'Notice And Staydown'
I'm not sure if anyone is surprised that they're trying again.

After Building A Powerful Recommendation System For Netflix, This Guy Wants To Help You Find Your Next Favorite Book
So, I don't know about you, but while Netflix does have some cool stuff, and some hilariously specific sub-sections, I don't find it all that great for finding my next favorite movie or TV series.  Either I go to Netflix with something specific in mind or I browse through the "thirteen channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from" (thank you, Pink Floyd) with a minimal success rate.  Maybe I'm just picky.  With that in mind, this quote made me snicker a bit uncharitably:

"And with the number of books Entitle customers sift through in search of their next great read, why not use a computer to help you eliminate irrelevant stuff you don't like?"

However, I'm interested in seeing what is built.  There are some interesting recommendation engines out there.  Amazon's is probably the most famous, but they're not the only one.  Of course, as a librarian I often act as a living recommendation system, but that's a different story.

Gender-specific books demean all our children. So the Independent on Sunday will no longer review anything marketed to exclude either sex 
The title gives a pretty good idea of what this article is about, but it is still a great read.  When books are labeled "for boys" or "for girls" there is a whole range of assumptions being made and ultimately the child as a reader is injured.  The gender of the main character doesn't make the book only appeal to one gender, and for how many years now have we been fighting gender stereotypes that women are only happy in the kitchen (and that men never are)?  Kids know what they're into (and based on my time in school libraries, Star Wars ranks pretty high on that list), so if a boy wants to read a books about dinosaurs or trucks they'll look for those.  If a child wants to read a book about an undervalued child who learns tricks to overcome hurdles, then Matilda fits pretty well even if publishers are pushing a bright pink covered version "for girls."

There is also an awesome follow up to that announcement by the literary editor based on the various questions submitted to them here.

Doge Decimal Classification
This is making me laugh way more than it should, but I can't help it.

Switch Basics: On Windows, I used to...
I largely use Windows, I really want to explore more in some of the Linux distros, and then every now and then I have to use a Mac and remember how to work around a single button mouse and dragging a drive to the trash bin to eject it.  Here's a nice document provided by Apple for things you may have no clue how to do when switching from Windows to iOS.

Dropbox clarifies its policy on reviewing shared files for DMCA issues
This article is worth taking a look at even just for information about what scanning of files Dropbox is doing.  The short story is your files might not exactly be yours, and that your expectation of privacy is shaky.  For people who use Dropbox and are concerned about some of the things they are doing there are other options, but there's no guarantee that the alternatives won't change how they play the game as well.

Spyware increasingly a part of domestic violence
Somehow the use of spyware in domestic violence never occurred to me, and it's an important concern to keep in mind along with all of the other vulnerabilities out there.

What happens with digital rights management in the real world?
A well written, articulate article on DRM and security.


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