We may get to check out Google’s long-anticipated entry into the digital book sales market before the end of the year.
Google Editions, which was announced in spring and expected to launch in summer, is expected to be available in the U.S. by the end of the month, Google spokeswoman Jeannie Hornung told CNET today. In September, Hornung talked with CNET about some of the difficulties in launching the ambitious project, saying “The real answer is, we’ll launch the service when it’s ready.”
Blackboard Inc.’s protracted legal fight to retain the software patent it used to successfully sue course-management rival Desire2Learn is over. It lost.
Patent No. 6,988,138 granted Blackboard the rights to course-management software in which a single user could have multiple roles in multiple courses. A federal jury in Texas ruled in 2008 that Desire2Learn had infringed the patent and ordered it to pay Blackboard $3.1-million.
But the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruled later in 2008 that the patent should be invalidated because others had used similar technology to what Blackboard said it had invented. Blackboard officials vowed to have the ruling overturned on appeal.
Last week, a Blackboard representative said in an e-mail that the company had ended its appeals and that the patent had been officially terminated.
Psychological research has proven again and again that anonymity increases unethical behavior. Road rage bubbles up in the relative anonymity of one’s car. And in the online world, which can offer total anonymity, the effect is even more pronounced. People — even ordinary, good people — often change their behavior in radical ways. There’s even a term for it: the online disinhibition effect.
The key to success in college and beyond has more to do with what students do with their time during college than where they choose to attend. A long-term study of 6,335 college graduates published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that graduating from a college where entering students have higher SAT scores — one marker of elite colleges — didn’t pay off in higher post-graduation income. Researchers found that students who applied to several elite schools but didn’t attend them — either because of rejection or by their own choice — are more likely to earn high incomes later than students who actually attended elite schools.
In a summary of the findings, the bureau says that “evidently, students’ motivation, ambition and desire to learn have a much stronger effect on their subsequent success than average academic ability of their classmates.”
The top European antitrust regulator opened an investigation into Google on Tuesday to examine allegations that the Internet giant has abused its dominance in online search.
The move follows complaints by specialized search-related companies about “unfavorable treatment of their services in Google’s unpaid and sponsored search results,” the European Commission said in a statement.
The commission said that it was also looking into whether Google may have given its own services “preferential placement” in search results. In addition to its search engine, Google has a growing number of other online businesses, including mapping, translation, video and electronic commerce services, many of which, like the search engine, are supported by advertising.
On November 19, 2010, Comcast informed Level 3 that, for the first time, it will demand a recurring fee from Level 3 to transmit Internet online movies and other content to Comcast’s customers who request such content. By taking this action, Comcast is effectively putting up a toll booth at the borders of its broadband Internet access network, enabling it to unilaterally decide how much to charge for content which competes with its own cable TV and Xfinity delivered content. This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access markets as the nation’s largest cable provider.
One hundred and fifty-one years after the publication of On the Origin of Species, digital creatures have evolved to communicate like fireflies in a computer program that blurs the boundaries of life.
Recorded in line-by-line detail, their development in a software platform called Avida may provide insight into biological behavior and inspiration for the design of distributed computer networks.
“Evolutionary programs have been around for a while, but we haven’t seen them applied to distributed computing,” said computer scientist Philip McKinley of Michigan State University. Synchronized communication can be “seen in the natural world. But in Avida, we can go back to how and why it evolved. We can see the key points that allowed this relatively complex behavior to emerge.”
The U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the first Recording Industry Association of America file sharing case to cross its desk, in a case that tested the so-called “innocent infringer” defense to copyright infringement.
The case, which one justice voted to hear (.pdf), concerns a federal appeals court’s February decision ordering a university student to pay the Recording Industry Association of America $27,750 for file-sharing 37 songs when she was a high school cheerleader.
The US Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear Microsoft’s appeal of a 290-million-dollar verdict in a patent dispute with a Canadian company over its popular Word software.
The Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments in the case pitting the US software giant against Toronto-based i4i Inc during its winter session and to deliver a ruling before the end of June next year.
Brain researchers in France, Belgium, Portugal, and Brazil have been working on the puzzle of how the human brain re-purposes itself to enable us to read. The mystery is that reading is one of those complex skills that emerged in an evolutionary blink of the eye, in the Middle East about 5,000 years ago. It is also a skill reserved until the last two centuries for a very small percentage of humanity. That’s a strong circumstantial case that to read we must be appropriating parts of the brain that evolved for other purposes and re-wiring them to make sense of written language.
The international team of neuroscientists, led by Stanislas Dehaene at the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in Gif-sur-Yvette, France, reports its work in a recent issue of the journal Science, in “How Learning to Read Changes the Cortial Networks for Vision and Language.”
Human history is a long process of accumulating information, especially once writing made it possible to record texts and preserve them beyond the capacity of our memories. And if we look closely, we can find a striking parallel to our own time: what Western Europe experienced in the wake of Gutenberg’s invention of printing in the 15th century, when thousands upon thousands of books began flooding the market, generating millions of copies for sale. The literate classes experienced exactly the kind of overload we feel today — suddenly, there were far more books than any single person could master, and no end in sight.
According to the NYT, some of the new leaked cables point directly at China’s Politburo for instigating the original attacks:
A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.
The cables should shed some more light on why the White House and State Department backed Google so vociferously at the time.
A computer-programmer from Cambridge, William Tunstall-Pedoe, fed a computer program called True Knowledge over 300 million facts about people, places and events that have made the news since 1900. Using algorithms and the information provided, the computer calculated the most boring day ever—a day where no major significant events took place.
So what was this uber-boring day? April 11, 1954. Tunstall-Pedoe reports that nothing of note happened on this day (except a Belgium general election, the birth of a Turkish academic and the death of a footballer).
The UK’s High Court has ruled that news monitoring agencies will have to pay publishing companies to use their web content, effectively re-classifying headlines as separate literary works subject to copyright.
The moves follows a legal battle between the Newspaper Licensing Agency, owned by eight of the UK’s largest newspaper groups, and Meltwater, a news monitoring agency. Although cutting agencies like Meltwater pay the NLA a fee for reproducing full-length articles, this case was supposed to clarify the limits of the NLA’s licensing scheme. Meltwater didn’t like its clients needing to have a licence from the NLA for the use of mere headlines and short extracts from its service. Instead the case has ruled that similar aggregation sites that charge for a service will have to pay for those headlines.
It is common knowledge that most new products and services fail when brought to market. Charles Kettering, Board Member of GM (1920-1947) famously noted that when it comes to innovation: “You don’t know when you are going to get the thing, whether it’s going to work or not and whether it’s going to have any value whatsoever.” And even as things may have improved a bit since Kettering’s time, thanks to today’s attention to innovation processes and user-centered development practices, there’s still uncertainty that haunts all innovation attempts.
This high fail rate of new products and services stands in interesting contradiction to the flood of “Best Case” studies you will experience if you happen to attend a lot of business and innovation conferences. Best Case studies are certainly great stories and we all love to tell them, but I’d argue that in real life failures give you much more of a learning experience and motivation for improvement then success would ever do – think about the road to excellence if you do sports, think about how your kids grow up etc. And certainly this is also the case when it comes to business. So shouldn’t we hear much more fail stories and learn from them?
YouTube will begin paying French artists when their works show up on the site, thanks to a new deal with three French royalty societies. The agreement only affects videos viewed in France, Belgium, and Luxembourg, but it does cover clips and movies uploaded to YouTube from 2007 all the way through 2013.
Google’s new agreement affects screenwriters and filmmakers represented by Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques (SACD), Société Civile des Auteurs Multimedia, and the Société des auteurs dans les arts graphiques et plastiques, the company said during a press conference on Thursday (covered by the Wall Street Journal). The agreement follows a similar one made earlier this year between Google and France’s leading royalty society for musicians, SACEM.
An appeals court in Sweden on Friday upheld the copyright convictions of three men behind the Pirate Bay, a popular file-sharing site that remains in operation despite attempts to shut it down.
The Svea Appeals Court agreed with a lower court ruling that found the three men, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Carl Lundstrom, guilty of helping users of the site to break Sweden’s copyright law.
However, the appeals court reduced their prison sentences from one year each to between 4 and 10 months and raised the amount they have to pay in damages to the entertainment industry to 46 million kronor ($6.5 million).
The Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has a new report out that looks at the state of newspaper industries across the world.
As paidContent explains, it’s not the Internet that’s responsible for newspapers’ decline, but an over reliance on advertising:
In many countries where online activity is high, including Scandinavia and Germany, newspapers are still faring well, with titles typically generating 50 percent of revenues from advertising…
…However, the American newspaper industry, which has generated more than 80 percent of its income from advertisements, is today in a much more serious crisis than its counterparts in Germany and Finland, where advertising typically constitutes about 50 percent of total revenues.
The study notes that countries with state-funded public service media “have seen much more stable developments in the business of journalism.”