Database News : Thursday December 06, 2007
Rekindling books for the rich
Online retailer Amazon.com released its own digital book reader; Kindle looks nothing like a book, but more like a flat TV screen; it costs only $399 or 13,500 baht in real money, which is supposed to be some sort of bargain compared with your hands, which is where you hold ordinary books; then you can log onto the Internet and download books for 340 baht at a time; with Kindle, you can read 200 books at once - well, that's what Amazon says in its advertising, anyhow; you can also buy some newspaper subscriptions for 490 baht per month, and stop reading them on the Internet for free. Amazon.com sold out its first batch of Kindle electronic book readers in five and a half hours, but was so excited it clean forgot to say how many were in that batch; the Amazon product page had 570 user reviews, totalling a rating of two and a half stars out of five.
The US Patent Office approved a patent by Amazon.com for a system that figures out Current Order Fulfillment Plans Based on Expected Future Orders; Translation: The patented software decides if you are, or will be a big spending customer, and if so, it delivers your stuff quickly; otherwise it puts it in the corner for a while, since who cares if you complain?
Facebook began a new service to show the purchases of members to their close friends; that thrilled few people, because that meant their friends knew what they bought for New Year's presents.
Speaking of retro, US analyst firm Nemertes Research dug up the 1992 reports that predicted that the "information highway would soon be full with too much traffic;" the company said that all that YouTube and MySpace traffic would slow down the Internet unless $100 billion was spent within three years to avoid gridlock.
Two teams of scientists in Japan and Wisconsin said they had turned skin cells into stem cells without having to use an embryo; if confirmed and tested, the achievement could end the ethical debate about using embryonic stem cells, until now the only place to get the "blank" cells need to try to manipulate any of the 220 human cells from heart, brain, blood or bone.
Some people were able to buy a cute computer from the One Laptop Per Child organisation and donate a second one to a child in a developing country at $399 for the pair, but you are way too foreign to qualify.
Thrilled and exhilarated by the Microsoft capitulation, the European Union took on Japan, and ordered Sony, Fuji and Maxell to hand over $110 million for fixing the price of videotapes; that raised important questions, the most vital of which was, People still use videotapes?
Microsoft rolled over like a trained puppy when Spanish authorities "requested" it shut down four blogs; the sites carried disturbing, damaging, harmful, despicable, horrible advice on how to get extremely thin, and might have harmed The Children(tm) so thank goodness for public spirited companies like Microsoft who realise free speech has very tight limits that only it can decide.
Wily Germans sued the monopolistic, anti-competition Apple Inc for refusing to sell iPhones unless buyers also buy an expensive T-Mobile "service" plan - and won; Apple said, right, and agreed to sell the 399-euro phones without a mandatory service contract - for 999 euros, 34,000 baht in real money; pretty abusive, yes, but also pretty liberating because once people get one locked and one unlocked Apple iPhone, the secret of unlocking is no mystery.
German law enforcement officials whined they could not decrypt conversations on Skype VoIP phones and therefore couldn't listen in on all the criminals who use the service. US law enforcement officials whinged they need more mobile phone records because of all the criminals using yuppiephones these days; a national survey said the coppers often forget to bring along their warrants showing probable cause.
If you think video games are games, the Discovery Channel's five-part series may disabuse you; from Pong to the emotional dimension, the series shows that games now have interpersonal connections, and Hollywood worthy story lines.
A Japanese woman nicknamed yukesmooks, from both Inuyama and Brisbane, Australia, posted the two billionth image on photo-sharing site Flickr.com, owned by Yahoo; it was a photo of a dragon at a Chinese market in Sydney. Flickr.com introduced geo-labelling so you can gawk only at photos from a certain place, if you wish. Creative of Singapore shipped its 25 millionth portable music player.
By : Bangkok Post