Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 19th Jan 2012 17:41 UTC
Apple Apple's education event just ended, and just as Ars Technica said, Apple announced better support for textbooks, as well as a textbook authoring tool. The textbook authoring tool is heavily inspired by Keynote and Pages, and hence, I already know it's going to be top-notch and very pleasant to use. In addition, the company also repositioned iTunes U as a Blackboard competitor. As great as all these new tools are, several large red flags went up in my mind: I remember what it was like being the only student who didn't use Windows. Update: "Any e-textbook author that wants access to the iPad-toting masses must make his or her work an exclusive to iBooks 2."
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Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:01 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

Agreed. MS and Apple are known for using technology for lock in purposes. They hate open standards and interoperability, and follow them only when forced.

Reply Score: 7

v RE: Comment by shmerl
by marsofearth on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:17 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by tylerdurden on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:43 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
tylerdurden Member since:
2009-03-17

2 Strawmen arguments in a single paragraph, that has got to be a record or something....


*slow clap*

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:45 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Making money on using lock-in tactics and hindering interoperability is indecent towards the end user. It's not illegal, but it's indecent. I sure hope this site doesn't endorse indecent business methods.

Inventing new DRM or vendor lock-in schema can't be called innovation IMO.

Edited 2012-01-19 19:46 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Comment by shmerl
by MysterMask on Thu 19th Jan 2012 23:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12

Wrong. They simple don't care to open their stuff for lets say Android. Why should they? They take the risk bringing new stuff to the table and cheap copyist earn with hardware sales at zero risk? That would be really stupid from a business point. It's like Google letting Bing use their page rank.

Apple wants to sell an experience which consists of hardware, software and contents. Why should they let other sell the same experience by letting them harvest the investment Apple put into this? Let's see the Samsung, HTC, Motorola, .. software that produces content for iPads. Oh sorry, there's no such thing. But everybody - especially Google, likes to earn money with the work / content of others.

And now mod me down for being "political OSNews incorrect".

Reply Score: 0

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by Thom_Holwerda on Thu 19th Jan 2012 23:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

And now mod me down for being "political OSNews incorrect".


Aww.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Fri 20th Jan 2012 02:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

That's not the point. You are buying a book, not Apple experience. Why should my book be tied to any single experience which one would be forced to buy to get the book? Apple acts indecently by bribing education circles with free (money wise) authoring software, but using locked in platform for publishing. There are already a bunch of standard ebook formats, which can be used on any platform. Apple's scorn of open standards is well known, and is clearly apparent in this case too.

Edited 2012-01-20 02:43 UTC

Reply Score: 8

Even worse....
by jvxp on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:07 UTC
jvxp
Member since:
2012-01-19

...we all know what happens to apps, that are not following Apples guidelines. I'm 100% certain that certain topics in books will be fought over and censored (e.g. human reproduction organs, et al.)

These are tradeoffs from closed ecosystems.

I'm not saying that most textbooks I've read were better or more objective than others, but at least I've had a choice when visiting a library.

Edited 2012-01-19 18:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Even worse....
by MysterMask on Thu 19th Jan 2012 23:48 UTC in reply to "Even worse...."
MysterMask Member since:
2005-07-12

You still have a choice. There's no need to over-exaggerate here.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Even worse....
by KLU9 on Sat 21st Jan 2012 14:19 UTC in reply to "RE: Even worse...."
KLU9 Member since:
2006-12-06

There's no need to over-exaggerate here.

It's such a fine line between exaggerating just the right amount and over-exaggerating that I can hardly hold it against him/her.

/sarcasm
/vocabnazi

Reply Score: 2

Lockin, what ? It is free or $14.99 !
by Lennie on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:26 UTC
Lennie
Member since:
2007-09-22

That is how Microsoft, Apple and Adobe have always done it. Just allow students to use it for free or almost free.

Locking people into their file formats.

I'm still surprised how Thom mentioned RMS was right in one of his last articles.

It made me nod and think "he finally gets it" ;-)

Reply Score: 8

Textbooks should be totally free
by kragil on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:27 UTC
kragil
Member since:
2006-01-04

The textbook industry is really really obsolete. We should let teachers write wikibooks about the subjects they teach and they should be able to share and improve those. Maybe the government should buy the rights to some textbooks as a starting point, but I think for basic education there are decent ones on the net already.(like this http://oerconsortium.org/discipline-specific/)
Education should be as free as possible and all this expensive/closed textbook nonsense needs to be a thing of the past PERIOD. We really can do better than that.

Reply Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Most education content is provided to teachers. They educate based on pre-packaged programs and documents. It's really only later in education where one starts to hit professors who've written the content that the course is based on and even then it's not every teacher producing for the class.

Worse still is the number of educators who are not teaching in there field of study. Highschool was a huge pile of French Language educated staff teaching music and Music educated staff teaching multi-media and computers. Again, this is a lower level situation where grade/high-school staff are considered generic educators except in the very few topics where specialized knowledge is needed; it's more rare to find a kinistetics grad teaching science instead of gym.

I think it's a noble goal to strive for teachers educated enough in there topic, given time to developer there own course content and paid enough to make teaching a competitive decision when faced with the alternative of a corporate salary. I'd love to see Bob the Chem PHD hired to teach chemistry with adequate resources and a salary comparable to what he'd make in a pharmaceutical lab. Education really should get the kind of resources and importance that seems to be reserved for corporate drones and entertainers. I'm just not sure how one gets to this place from where the state of education is now.

Reply Score: 6

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

My high school was like that. Every teacher had a university degree, several Ph. d.'s too, all in the subjects they taught.

Then again, my high school was kimda posh :/.

Reply Score: 1

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I mean that in the nicest way. I'd have loved to be in a school that where the teachers where highly educated in the topics they taught.

Around here the un-posh public school system is bad enough but you add in us kids growing up in the sticks with the local farmville school and it's all they can do to get classes covered of with anyone that has a teacher's ticket.

I remember one teacher that was properly over-educated for teaching highschool science; he left half way through the year for a university job. Music and french where probably the most constant subjects taught by topic educated staff.

Computers was the topic I really felt it in having surpassed the teacher's knowledge rather early on. Nothing like watching a teacher spend a week reinstalling Dos to fix a memory problem caused by missing autoexec/config.sys settings; all the while telling us *students* that we didn't have the right solution since he was the teacher.

Your lucky to have been in a place where higher value was placed on education.

Reply Score: 2

Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

Ehrrmm. Didn't you go to school in Europe? In Denmark the high school/early college equivalent require a university degree from teachers.

So by posh, you mean an completely average European high school?

Reply Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I think requiring the under-grad before attending teacher's colledge is pretty common. What stuck out for me was having PHD's teaching high-school. PHD infront of a class at Uni, sure.. but in lower school levels, that is quite impressive (or my schools where really back-water maybe).

Reply Score: 2

unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

My high school was like that. Every teacher had a university degree, several Ph. d.'s too, all in the subjects they taught.

Then again, my high school was kimda posh :/.



This is normal in the better Australian private schools.

One of the private schools here in Brisbane Australia even has a former surgeon teaching biology

Reply Score: 2

kragil Member since:
2006-01-04

In Germany you need a university degree to become a teacher and I am not suggesting that every teacher writes his own books. All math teacher would write on 1,2 or maybe 3 books and most probably wouldn't contribute much, but that is just a numbers game like you don't need everybody to write Wikipedia to for Wikipedia to be useful to everybody.

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

I believe one needs a base degree here also before applying to teacher's colledge. It does not lead to teaching the subject one studied though. A degree in english plus your teacher's ticket can land you in a science classroom or whever else the school needs a warm body.

I'd like to see teachers be highly qualified to teach the given subject not just qualified to present the pre-packaged course material. That would mean compensating teachers well enough to attrack a PHD away from a university or industry job though.

Reply Score: 2

SeanParsons Member since:
2011-01-11

As an instructor, I completely agree with you about many of the challenges. Because education in my country, the US, is never going to compete financially with industry you are left with either under-educated instructors or occasionally you find someone very altruistic and loves the opportunity to share their knowledge.

I teach at a rather unique post-secondary technical school that doesn't charge tuition regardless of household income. I took a significant pay cut moving from working in pharmacy to teaching pharmacy technicians, but I am fortunate enough to have a spouse that understood my desire to do something different (she also works in pharmacy).

I was somewhat disappointed to find that the school where I teach was a Windows only shop and was very much into using overpriced poorly written textbooks (this describes most textbooks used in technical schools) and this was doubly surprising as we even bought the textbooks for our students.

Fast forward six years: I've written an open source pharmacy mathbook with all the ODT files posted on the web, I maintain a wiki for teaching a lot of items including pharmacy law and regulation, I have limited space in my lab for a plethora of computers but the three workstations in the back I placed an SSD in each that I loaded Debian on and simply use rdesktop for the students to log into their Windows accounts (if IT ever felt the need to do anything with the workstations I would just unplug the SSDs and boot them into Windows), because I wanted more access to the web in my lab I got a grant to buy a few cheap Android tablets, and because I wanted a course management system I installed Moodle on my own server and the entire medical department uses it now.

I still have a long list of things I want to change at my school, but I've made a lot of progress thus far.

Part of the challenge is to get instructors motivated enough to keep chipping away at these problems. Instructors need to be the first line of defense to stay away from vendor lock-in and if vendor lock-in is already present then it is up to us to get rid of it. Students do not have a loud enough voice to make these changes themselves.

By the way, even though it is not directly related to school policy, I even worked with the library to start an open source software library with burned discs and short write-ups explaining each piece of software.

Reply Score: 3

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Thank you. You sound like one of the teachers really involved in educating rather than getting through the work day. I suspect your students recognize the difference and remember as they continue on.

(One of the better teachers I remember had a great policy for us computer nerds; "if you break it, you fix it and if you do manage to break into it, let me know how you did that will you?" (an agreement that worked for everyone considering one of us helped admin the Novell server)

Reply Score: 2

lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

The textbook industry is really really obsolete. We should let teachers write wikibooks about the subjects they teach and they should be able to share and improve those. Maybe the government should buy the rights to some textbooks as a starting point, but I think for basic education there are decent ones on the net already.(like this http://oerconsortium.org/discipline-specific/)
Education should be as free as possible and all this expensive/closed textbook nonsense needs to be a thing of the past PERIOD. We really can do better than that.


Yeah because governments can be trusted making the correct decisions.

If you have obtained a high level of knowledge on a subject, if you write about it you should be paid. It is no mean feat writing a book, and a good one ..

Why do you hate people getting paid for hard work?

Edited 2012-01-20 20:41 UTC

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Oh come on, large part of the textbook business is a farce; knowledge, info, tutoring materials in many fields don't change that much (few physics textbooks I consider as "the greatest" are mostly half a century old or so), revisions (of, too often, quite poor books anyway but still pushed on students) are superficial.

My high school nicely freed itself from the artificial publishing cycles - all books owned by the school, distributed in the first week of the year, to be returned at the end; all for what amounted to 10 GBP yearly, now maybe 20 (but that's fine - great, actually, since it still ends up much cheaper than "individual" approach of the primary schools in the city), for partial replacement of the "stock"; also some materials custom-tailored by the teachers, some of them even conducting lessons according to a individual plan grafted by themselves (and approved by the ministry of education).

I guess you would call it a school which "hates" people who make textbooks...

Edited 2012-01-27 00:18 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Already Happening
by joehms22 on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:35 UTC
joehms22
Member since:
2011-08-01

The committee at my University in charge of all of the web-apps us students use (blackboard, Adobe Connect, and tons of in-house solutions including a Netflix clone and blogging platform) came to the general consensus that if a company like Apple were to offer inexpensive textbooks the University would be okay forcing every student to purchase a single tablet model from a single vendor.

Their key argument was: we already make Engineering students purchase x86 Windows XP machines to run AutoCAD, this is really no different than that.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Already Happening
by Fergy on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:41 UTC in reply to "Already Happening"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

Their key argument was: we already make Engineering students purchase x86 Windows XP machines to run AutoCAD, this is really no different than that.

And with that attitude you make sure that your students will always be in that situation. Schools would be the last place where I would expect a short term vision.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Already Happening
by unclefester on Fri 20th Jan 2012 06:23 UTC in reply to "Already Happening"
unclefester Member since:
2007-01-13

Their key argument was: we already make Engineering students purchase x86 Windows XP machines to run AutoCAD, this is really no different than that.


They are complete idiots. PCs are generic equipment not specific to any vendor. AutoCAD will also run on a cheap old PC.

Reply Score: 1

Time's changing
by Heard on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:38 UTC
Heard
Member since:
2009-12-24

I preferred Apple "forcing" me to use their products by sponsoring the school I went to...

Reply Score: 3

I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Thu 19th Jan 2012 18:44 UTC
Tony Swash
Member since:
2009-08-22

I sympathise with your view on this and your anxiety about lock in but I am not sure anything else is possible. All technology providers try to lock you into their ecosystems, those haven't taken that path simple die. Even the old fashioned printed text book vendors tried to lock people in by making their textbooks the obligatory set texts.

At least this way we get Apple's excellent design and ease of use, so students get to use tools that empower rather frustrate them and Apple does seem committed across the board to both pushing down content prices whilst leaving room for a viable business model for content makers. Plus the iBook Author app opens content creation to the many.

I presume that to compliment this new initiative (and to pull the ground from under the Windows 8 tablets, the Amazon Fire etc) it is likely that the iPad 3 launch will see the iPad 2 have a few minor upgrades and a price cut to become the new entry level low cost iPad. If Apple could get the iPad 2 down to $299 they kill most of what's left of the competition.

So I understand the unease but the actual effects, certainly in the short to medium term, look very positive.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I sympathise but..
by dragossh on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:11 UTC in reply to "I sympathise but.."
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

I guess you'd have a different opinion if this were Microsoft / Google doing the lock-in?

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Torbjorn Vik Lunde on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:03 UTC in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
Torbjorn Vik Lunde Member since:
2009-09-04

From what I understand the textbook industry in the US is pretty up and corrupt already, to the point of Apple/Microsoft/Google lock-in actually being the lesser evil.

Reply Score: 4

RE[3]: I sympathise but..
by Carewolf on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:11 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I sympathise but.."
Carewolf Member since:
2005-09-08

An additional lock-in only makes the corruption easier. Unless there is something the product opens up for, this is a step further into the furnace.

Reply Score: 2

v RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Jan 2012 09:40 UTC in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
v RE[3]: I sympathise but..
by kovacm on Fri 20th Jan 2012 10:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I sympathise but.."
RE[4]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Jan 2012 19:50 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

But if you use iBooks Author, you must distribute through the iBooks store if you want to make money off of it.



Just a quick addendum to that statement; you can also distribute iBook Author produced books outside of the iTunes store, via downloads from a web site for example or via email, whatever, as long as they are free.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: I sympathise but..
by flynn on Fri 20th Jan 2012 14:13 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I sympathise but.."
flynn Member since:
2009-03-19

Exactly - because we all know that neither Microsoft or Google could not come close to the elegance that Apple will bring to this - and it's the elegance that will be transforming.

Not sure if trolling...

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Jan 2012 19:53 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

"Exactly - because we all know that neither Microsoft or Google could not come close to the elegance that Apple will bring to this - and it's the elegance that will be transforming.

Not sure if trolling...
"

No I am not trolling. We all know that if either Microsoft or Google had tried to do this it would have produced inferior digital textbooks. Microsoft's version would have been ugly and clunky and Google's would be covered in ads. Its the elegance of the whole system from Apple, and not least the elegance of the end product, that is radical and transforming about this initiative

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: I sympathise but..
by flynn on Fri 20th Jan 2012 20:53 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I sympathise but.."
flynn Member since:
2009-03-19

No I am not trolling. We all know that if either Microsoft or Google had tried to do this it would have produced inferior digital textbooks. Microsoft's version would have been ugly and clunky and Google's would be covered in ads. Its the elegance of the whole system from Apple, and not least the elegance of the end product, that is radical and transforming about this initiative

So what you are saying is, it's ok for Apple to turn the education system into its personal money cow, as long as they make it look pretty?

Reply Score: 6

v RE[5]: I sympathise but..
by kovacm on Sat 21st Jan 2012 11:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: I sympathise but.."
RE: I sympathise but.. - tools not brands
by jabbotts on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:21 UTC in reply to "I sympathise but.."
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Schools should not be in the business of teaching brand loyalty. Producing students limited to only knowing Apple products is no better than the current trend of producing students limited to knowing Word instead of word processing.

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

really? someone thinks schools should be teaching students how to use brand names not tools?

Reply Score: 2

RE: I sympathise but..
by karunko on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:28 UTC in reply to "I sympathise but.."
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

At least this way we get Apple's excellent design and ease of use

So it's okay to get screwed as long as is Apple doing it? Okay, then... but do I get to choose if it's going to be Tim, Phil, Scott or maybe Johnathan? ;-)

Plus the iBook Author app opens content creation to the many.

Yes, but Apple wants the usual 30% plus exclusive rights to let you board the iTrain. How very altruistic!

So I understand the unease but the actual effects, certainly in the short to medium term, look very positive.

You are being sarcastic, right?


RT.

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Jan 2012 20:17 UTC in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

Yes, but Apple wants the usual 30% plus exclusive rights to let you board the iTrain. How very altruistic!


That means the content creators get 70% which is more than they get now. Sell a book through a publisher will give you a cut of 15% of sales price at best.

If this is a bum deal then people won't create stuff for it. It isn't and they will.

So I understand the unease but the actual effects, certainly in the short to medium term, look very positive.

You are being sarcastic, right? .


No. This looks like it has the potential to transform a big chunk of the tools available to educators and student for the better. That is a good thing. Nobody else has tried this total approach before and nobody other than Apple probably could.

Have a play with the free content creation software iBook Author. Its fantastic. The great thing is you can not only create a book for distribution on iTunes but you can also distribute them any way you choose (as long as it's for free and not via another rival store).

I may make books just to give to friends and family. Imagine what you could do with your photos or movies, or family histories with this sort of stuff. Imagine if you put on a play or cultural event and creating a beautiful electronic event program available in iTunes or by download. Imagine making a book for someone getting married or graduating or retiring. Really this is an exciting new way to make ebooks.

Sure it encourages people to buy iPads - so what? Why else would any company do anything except because it supports their business model.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: I sympathise but..
by karunko on Fri 20th Jan 2012 21:59 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I sympathise but.."
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

"Yes, but Apple wants the usual 30% plus exclusive rights to let you board the iTrain. How very altruistic!

That means the content creators get 70% which is more than they get now. Sell a book through a publisher will give you a cut of 15% of sales price at best.
"

Let's see: 15% of, say, $100.00 is $15.00, while 70% of $14.99 is... $10.43! Wow, where do I sign?

But, seriously: it could be argued that (certain) textbooks are too expensive, but I realize that a good textbook takes time, a lot of research and, usually, teamwork. In other words, I don't expect that stuff to come cheap and if it is, it probably means that shortcuts have been taken somewhere -- especially considering that the printing costs are only a fraction of the total cost.

Have a play with the free content creation software iBook Author. Its fantastic. The great thing is you can not only create a book for distribution on iTunes but you can also distribute them any way you choose (as long as it's for free and not via another rival store).

But you have to export it to a non proprietary format like PDF, loosing all the "cool" features and making it not that different from traditional media.


RT.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Fri 20th Jan 2012 23:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

.

"Have a play with the free content creation software iBook Author. Its fantastic. The great thing is you can not only create a book for distribution on iTunes but you can also distribute them any way you choose (as long as it's for free and not via another rival store).


But you have to export it to a non proprietary format like PDF, loosing all the "cool" features and making it not that different from traditional media.
"

No you don't, you are not restricted to PDF format when exporting or sharing. The restrictions only apply to selling iBooks authored with iBook Author. If I use iBook Author to make a beautiful and interactive iBook for my Dad about our family history I can just save it as an iBook file and the he can just load it on his iPad where it will be a dully featured iBook. I could put it on my web site so he could download it, as long as I didn't charge for it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: I sympathise but..
by shmerl on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:15 UTC in reply to "I sympathise but.."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

This simply isn't true. You are saying the only way for technology to survive is to lock everyone into it. For some reason practice showed otherwise, and interoperable open standards were found to be useful by many parties.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I sympathise but..
by Fergy on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:45 UTC in reply to "I sympathise but.."
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

I sympathise with your view on this and your anxiety about lock in but I am not sure anything else is possible.

If you mandate that textbooks have to be creative commons you can't have lock in. If you mandate open/drmfree formats you can't have lock in. Why do you think lock in is the only way?

Reply Score: 5

RE: I sympathise but..
by Flatland_Spider on Fri 20th Jan 2012 00:26 UTC in reply to "I sympathise but.."
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

At least this way we get Apple's excellent design and ease of use, so students get to use tools that empower rather frustrate them


Apple empowers the user? How do they do that?

If you want to talk about empowering software, how about software that is available for $0.00 eliminating the price barrier imposed by predatory companies and levelling the difference between the haves and have-nots. Software that is only limited by the time and imagination of the developers not by accounting or a suit. Software that can run on older hardware. Software that gives the user complete control over their system.

Any vendor lock-in is crippling.

Apple would be a very stylish tyrant, but a tyrant still.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by ilovebeer on Fri 20th Jan 2012 01:24 UTC in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

If you want to talk about empowering software, how about software that is available for $0.00 eliminating the price barrier imposed by predatory companies and levelling the difference between the haves and have-nots. Software that is only limited by the time and imagination of the developers not by accounting or a suit.

Apple is neither a charity nor a non-profit organization. It is a business, just like our education system. As much as you may dislike that fact, it remains as such.

As far as software being empowering.. I would suggest that what empowers a user is not the cost, or lack of it, but rather the ability of the software to meet the needs of its users in an efficient way.

Any vendor lock-in is crippling.

In terms of our education system, in some ways it is and in other ways it's quite the opposite. It would do people good to seriously consider both sides of this issue before rushing to judgment.

We don't live in a utopian society. We never will.

Reply Score: 0

RE[3]: I sympathise but..
by TechGeek on Fri 20th Jan 2012 04:01 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I sympathise but.."
TechGeek Member since:
2006-01-14

No we dont live in a utopian society and we are far from mostly because of people with your thinking.

Most of our educational system, K-12 is state sponsored. Its not a business. To allow Apple, who bans and censors things in their store at whim, exclusive rights to supply the educational materials to our schools is crazy. Our publishing system needs overhauled, but at least right now there is choice.

Reply Score: 3

v RE[4]: I sympathise but..
by ilovebeer on Fri 20th Jan 2012 08:23 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I sympathise but.."
RE: I sympathise but..
by ChrisJames on Sat 21st Jan 2012 07:41 UTC in reply to "I sympathise but.."
ChrisJames Member since:
2012-01-21

This may come as a complete and inconceivable shock to you, but some people don't like Apple's software interfaces. Not that they think the products are too expensive or some other value argument - simply do not like the interface and the rules on how you are allowed to interact. I currently use use multiple OS versions - Windows, Linux and OSX. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but OSX is not my preferred UI. I understand that we are talking iOS and not OSX here, but the same thought process applies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Sat 21st Jan 2012 11:55 UTC in reply to "RE: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

In the end either this initiative will lead to better education tools and to better educational results or it won't. Judge it by results.

So far the evidence on iPad education use is promising.

See here for white paper on the "HMC Fuse: Algebra I" pilot program at Ameila Earhart Middle School in California's Riverside Unified School District. The Algebra I digital textbook is touted as the world's first full-curriculum algebra application developed exclusively for Apple's iPad.

http://www.hmheducation.com/fuse/pilot-1.php

In its test run, the "HMH Fuse" application helped more than 78 percent of students score "Proficient" or "Advanced" on the spring 2011 California Standards Test. That was significantly higher than the 59 percent of peers who used traditional textbooks.

"Students' interaction with the device was more personal," Earhart Principal Coleman Kells said. "You could tell the students were more engaged. Using the iPad was more normal, more understandable for them."

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: I sympathise but..
by ChrisJames on Sat 21st Jan 2012 20:04 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: I sympathise but.."
ChrisJames Member since:
2012-01-21

No one is saying that trying different tools and new technology in education is a bad thing.

The supposition you are trying to support is that iOS is the best way to do this and will give an experience that cannot be matched by anything else. Therefore, we need to willingly accept Apple's lock-in as the price that must be paid for new educational tools.

The description and teacher's testimonial talk of access to videos, the more approachable nature of a thin tablet versus a thick textbook, the more one-on-one and interactive nature of doing the problem sets, the interest in using the different technology, etc. Not the inherent supremacy of the Apple experience.

Locking things down to one platform diminishes the ability to try more tests like this and experimenting with different methods in the future.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: I sympathise but..
by Tony Swash on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 13:52 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: I sympathise but.."
Tony Swash Member since:
2009-08-22

No one is saying that trying different tools and new technology in education is a bad thing.

The supposition you are trying to support is that iOS is the best way to do this and will give an experience that cannot be matched by anything else. Therefore, we need to willingly accept Apple's lock-in as the price that must be paid for new educational tools.


No. What I am saying is that the Apple, iOS. iPad route is the only route that exists as a fully featured actually existing and available system at this moment. There also doesn't seem to be any likelihood of a competing system emerging in the near future. This means accepting Apple's way of doing it happen by default. That's just the way it is.

The best way to predict and manage the future is to invent it.

Reply Score: 1

100% Open Formats
by Pro-Competition on Thu 19th Jan 2012 19:32 UTC
Pro-Competition
Member since:
2007-08-20

In my view, governments should mandate the use of 100% strictly open formats in schools and universities


I could not agree more!

Reply Score: 6

v RE: 100% Open Formats
by ilovebeer on Fri 20th Jan 2012 00:20 UTC in reply to "100% Open Formats"
RE[2]: 100% Open Formats
by moondevil on Fri 20th Jan 2012 10:20 UTC in reply to "RE: 100% Open Formats"
moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

""In my view, governments should mandate the use of 100% strictly open formats in schools and universities"

I could not agree more!

Absolutely not! Our education system is not the right platform for the 'everything should be open' cause to be fought. Forcing it would be crippling in many regards and that isn't a wise thing to do to a system that's already under heavy financial and political burden. Our education system is broken but breaking it further is not the solution, especially when the students will be hurt the most.

Education is a business -- even public education. There's a difference between what some may consider to be ideal, and what actually happens & is necessary in the real world.
"


You are giving a very US centric view of what education is, luckily many of us live in countries that give an higher value to education.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: 100% Open Formats
by KLU9 on Sat 21st Jan 2012 14:27 UTC in reply to "RE: 100% Open Formats"
KLU9 Member since:
2006-12-06

How on earth would having data in format accessible to many people cripple the education system???
How would it be crippling to have a document that can be read by 50 programs from 50 suppliers rather than 1 program by 1 supplier?
Would people learn less by having a document in .rtf or .pdf than by having it in some locked-up Apple kludge only accessible via Apples iTunes on Apple Mac or Apple iDevice?

Reply Score: 6

Nothing to fear from this
by RichterKuato on Thu 19th Jan 2012 20:00 UTC
RichterKuato
Member since:
2010-05-14

I doubt Apple would be able to successfully lock our (the U.S.) education system into using only their products.

First Apple's stuff is typically expensive and our education system is known for avoiding niceties like uptodate textbooks and functional teaching methods.
Second Amazon won't just sit back and allow Apple to be the only player in selling interactive text book.
Third, the idea of interactive education (edutainment?) has been around for ever and everything I see here still looks rather gimmicky and bound to just be used on the side.

Reply Score: 1

It is always the same story
by moondevil on Thu 19th Jan 2012 20:22 UTC
moondevil
Member since:
2005-07-08

I also don't agree with this, but unfortunely is how things work.

Back in the old days each OS had its own systems language. A bit like the mobile world nowadays.

One of the reasons POSIX was created, was because each UNIX vendor was happily adding their own ways of doing something.

Compiler vendors from standard approved languages add their own set of languages extensions, sometimes without real reason.

Each productivity application has its own data format, most of the time kept secret or under expensive NDAs.

Many more examples can be given and this is why what FSF stands for matters.

All the companies are there for the money. Being nice to the customers is only a by-product of being nice to their shareholders.

When you work within big corporations that becomes crystal clear.

Reply Score: 5

JokeyRhyme
Member since:
2010-05-28

I find reading about Apple software a little frustrating at times.

Features like iMessage and FaceTime are great, but they don't have the effect they should because they assume everyone in the world will own an iOS device (which, unless Apple gives them away, will never happen).

Imagine the constructive damage and disruption Apple could inflict upon anti-consumer carriers and networks. These applications could literally effect the whole world for the better, but not with iOS-exclusivity.

The same goes for the new iBooks strategy. Apple will never truly disrupt the textbook industry until it has a cross-platform iBooks. This won't help the thousands of children using OLPC tablets, and it won't help the millions of children using laptops and PCs.

Reply Score: 3

open format?
by FunkyELF on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:06 UTC
FunkyELF
Member since:
2006-07-26

People cut down on their music piracy when you could just buy a DRM free mp3 for $1. I'm not sure this will hold true with $15 text books.

If it is an open format then people will pirate.

Hell, Google won't even allow you to rent a movie on the Asus Transformer Prime if you unlock the bootloader.
Pandora and Netflix let you stream on a rooted device (for now) but that is streaming. For these text books to be useful they will have to reside on the device. If those devices are open, content will be stolen.

I'm not too sure Apple is doing anything wrong here. I will be deeply upset if schools fall for Apple's trap but that is on them, the schools. It will be their fault.

Reply Score: 2

RE: open format?
by Fergy on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:48 UTC in reply to "open format?"
Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

If it is an open format then people will pirate.

That's why the text should be free. You can still buy a printed version or a specially formatted version but the original text should be creative commons.

Reply Score: 2

Thom, which uni?
by Z_God on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:19 UTC
Z_God
Member since:
2006-06-11

Can I ask where you studied exactly? I also started my first bachelor in the Netherlands in 2004. I did CS however, so the systems at university were all dualboot, SuSE 8.1 and Windows 2000. I was also using SuSE then myself. Many students still used Windows, but many were very interested in trying something else of course and I could help them with switching ;)

I'm doing another study in Belgium now (Slavic Languages, so not related to computers.). Most students use Macs it seems and also some run Windows. There are only few with Ubuntu.

Reply Score: 1

Really exclusive, or is that FUD?
by steve_s on Thu 19th Jan 2012 21:42 UTC
steve_s
Member since:
2006-01-16

So, there's a clear indicator on the Mac App Store page for iBooks Author that says that any books created with it have to be exclusive to the iBookstore.

This seems reasonable to me. Apple are providing iBooks Author for free, so ensuring that products created to them are exclusive to the iBookstore ensures they get a return on their software development investment.

What I'm not seeing though is any evidence that the iBookstore has changed their terms and conditions to say that textbooks have to be exclusive on that store only. A one paragraph Engadget post doesn't count.

I'm also not seeing any evidence that Apple have moved away from the ePub format for iBooks. That's still an open specification.

It seems to me that textbook authors are still free to create textbooks that can be distributed on any ebook store - they'll just need to use a different authoring tool than Apple's iBooks Author if they want to do that.

Reply Score: 3

Fergy Member since:
2006-04-10

This seems reasonable to me. Apple are providing iBooks Author for free, so ensuring that products created to them are exclusive to the iBookstore ensures they get a return on their software development investment.

It is reasonable and they should be able to do that. Apple is not a company that is trying to change the world like Google. But schools should have a long term vision and try to make the best decision for students. This means you should avoid lock in because in the long term it would be more expensive and less flexible.

Reply Score: 3

Ridiculous
by vtolkov on Thu 19th Jan 2012 22:34 UTC
vtolkov
Member since:
2006-07-26

With regular books there is no platform lockin, nobody in his right mind will write a book to be available on one specific platform only. I hardly imagine someone will write such a textbook either.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ridiculous
by rhavyn on Fri 20th Jan 2012 05:54 UTC in reply to "Ridiculous"
rhavyn Member since:
2005-07-06

With regular books there is no platform lockin


We're not talking about regular books, we're talking about K-12 textbooks. And in most places, not only is there lock-in, it's mandated by the state government.

Reply Score: 1

Obligatory <i>The Right to Read</i> Link
by robertson on Thu 19th Jan 2012 23:28 UTC
robertson
Member since:
2010-04-30

In case anyone hasn't read this yet:

http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html

Reply Score: 3

Comment by kovacm
by kovacm on Fri 20th Jan 2012 01:27 UTC
kovacm
Member since:
2010-12-16

If Apple manage to get "monopoly" in ebook business then it will be because they have superior platform.

Reply Score: 0

Comment by Panajev
by Panajev on Fri 20th Jan 2012 09:38 UTC
Panajev
Member since:
2008-01-09

"Apple is not a company that is trying to change the world like Google."

Google, just like Apple, pushes out products to protect their core business: search, advertising, gathering, using, and selling your data and your tastes.
Some Google products actually worsened though, vendor lock-in wise, now that they have Android. How many features launch first on the Android version of the Google app and if they end up on the other platform's native apps they do so with a great delay. Have you noticed how even their mobile oriented web versions are getting a bit left behind (see if Google Reader has the same functionality...).

Anyways, to get back on topic:

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/01/19/a-closer-look-at-ibooks-author-...

What seems to be claimed by Apple is exclusivity about books published in their own format, not that you cannot make standard ePub versions of your book to sell online the way you as an author want.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Comment by Panajev
by shmerl on Fri 20th Jan 2012 16:46 UTC in reply to "Comment by Panajev"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

While Google does have market gain aspirations, in general Google promotes key open standards (WebM, XMPP/Jingle are major examples). Apple is much worse in this sense.

Reply Score: 3

Now Motorola
by gan17 on Fri 20th Jan 2012 17:24 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

I didn't comment on this because I suspected Apple were doing this in response to some predicted competition in the sector (you all know Google + Google apps already has the "weapons" for this kind of market) and wanted to see what the competitors wold announce.

Then I stumbled onto this, at Slashgear of all places (ie: I can't vouch for the authenticity).
http://www.slashgear.com/motorola-challenges-apple-with-tablets-in-...

We'll never know who came up with the idea first, although Apple's more glitzy announcement does give it the advantage in teh whole "miseducation" game all these tech companies seem to play these days with regards to who came up with which idea first.

Reply Score: 1

Done with OSNews nonsense.
by Anim8me2 on Fri 20th Jan 2012 17:53 UTC
Anim8me2
Member since:
2006-02-10

Yup, Thom... your ridiculous anti-Apple bias is pretty obvious. I read (past tense) OSNews for non-biased information about multiple OSs.

If you actually read the EULA you would understand that the only thing Apple says is that the wrapper (iBooks 2) is what you can't sell through other vectors. The actual content is still your entirely and you are free to sell it on other services as long as i is not in iBooks form.

Your take is the kind of ridiculous nonsense that keep me and others from reading tech blogs.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Done with OSNews nonsense.
by karunko on Fri 20th Jan 2012 19:51 UTC in reply to "Done with OSNews nonsense."
karunko Member since:
2008-10-28

The actual content is still your entirely and you are free to sell it on other services as long as i is not in iBooks form.

You are so wrong it actually hurts! The EULA reads:

B. Distribution of your Work
(i) [...]
(ii) a) [...]
(ii) b) Apple may determine for any reason and in its sole discretion not to select your Work for distribution.

I wonder what is going to be: pro Intelligent Design or against it? Did dinosaurs and men actually walk the earth together as someone would like us to believe? The mind boggles...


RT.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Done with OSNews nonsense.
by Anim8me2 on Sat 21st Jan 2012 15:25 UTC in reply to "RE: Done with OSNews nonsense."
Anim8me2 Member since:
2006-02-10

You are not disputing what I wrote,
"Apple may determine not to distribute this work" does not mean you can not distribute it in any other manner. The content is still yours. Period.

Also, this covers them from distributing the textbook equivalent of fart apps. Wouldn't there just be a bit of furor over that!

Reply Score: 1

Books?
by MOS6510 on Fri 20th Jan 2012 23:45 UTC
MOS6510
Member since:
2011-05-12

Actually, these interactive books are more like websites or educational apps than they are like books.

I mean, a book is text and perhaps some pictures, they are in a certain order and that order can be viewed as the index. What I have seen from these interactive books is that you seem to jump from place to place. There is text, but also videos, slideshows, presentations, probably sounds. And as it can be updated it will be harder to say something is on page X, because it may very well not be if someone else is not at the same version.

While this is all probably a good idea, I don't agree that they are "books".

Reply Score: 2

RE: Books?
by Neolander on Sat 21st Jan 2012 13:23 UTC in reply to "Books?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, I would agree to say that Intel's, ARM's, and AMD's PDF manuals are books, and yet they have such things as hyperlinks and TOC metadata... Perhaps the future of books is something that can be printed and used offline, but has extra features when viewed on a computer screen ?

Edited 2012-01-21 13:29 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Books?
by MOS6510 on Sat 21st Jan 2012 18:32 UTC in reply to "RE: Books?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Well, there are extra features, but if you describe what it is these Apple books have more in common with a website than a real book.

I understand why they want to market it as books. They are meant to replace text books, so Apple markets their stuff as better books (better is better) and not as something else (something else is new, a gamble, need extra effort to learn).

It works with text books, but I don't think it would work with fiction books. Reading a fiction book tickles the imagination. If you add pictures, movies and sound to it you might as well watch the movie.

I'd label your PDFs as manuals, in the style of a book, not as books.

I read my books on an ereader, not my iPad. When I read on an iPad any lapse in my reading motivation would cause me exit and check the news, email. If the iPad doesn't draw my attention first with a notification message/sound.

My ereader is very simple. The only extra it has is that it can play MP3 files. There aren't any on it and I even wish it didn't have this option and be a pure ebook reader.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Books?
by Neolander on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 10:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Books?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Pictures, as you mention, are already a core part of the book business. Children books and comics are fundamentally based on pictures, high school textbooks tend to feature a fair share of them, and even "serious" litterature from the former centuries used to feature a few black and white illustrations to make their point.

What I'm trying to say is that websites were initially designed to be better books. It took years of evolution for web technologies to reach their modern, distinct state. Perhaps it's a part of normal litterature evolution that future "books" will in turn start to feature web-like features, just like many video cameras feature dual sensors for 3D shooting nowadays.

I totally agree that this technology overflow does not suit every use case. Content should not always attempt to use every single available feature. Traditional writing based on pure, weakly formatted text will probably continue to exist, as it is best for some content. And I'd also like a cheap A4 minimalist ereader to exist for the specific purpose of reading manuals and scientific papers. But would it be such a bad thing for multiple media to converge in a more unified direction, creating new forms of content in the way ?

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Books?
by MOS6510 on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 19:02 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Books?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Oh, I'm not saying it's a bad thing, in fact it's probably a good thing.

The only thing I wonder about why call it "books". Because to me it more sounds like a marketing term than a true attempt to create a digital book system.

Of course an iPad on your desk with a touch screen is more convenient and more personal than a PC accessing a website, but that's really the only difference.

Apple's iBook creator software might as well have been a website design tool. It's just a way of combining different kinds of media. Apple presents this as a "book" and made the "book" selection menu look like a book shelve.

For me it just seems they have taken if so far from the original paper book that you can't really call it a book anymore.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Books?
by Neolander on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 08:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Books?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Let's get this straight : I agree that iBooks, as it stands, is a web page marketed as a book by Apple. However, this strange naming raises some interesting questions about the nature and becoming of books in the digital age.

Is a book about printed pages ? Maybe a linear stream of textual information ? If books could be updated at no cost, would they remain books ? And so on...

I guess they have courses on this in literature classes ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Books?
by MOS6510 on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 08:40 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Books?"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

According to the OS X dictionary a book is a physical object, so digital books aren't books. Well, the OS X desktop isn't a real desktop either.

To make it easier to talk about it I understand people call these digital publications books.

Still, I find it somewhat uneasy to refer to these as books myself. They're a bunch of multi media files connected by a menu structure that kind of mimics a books.

The books on my ereader are measured in kilo bytes, Apple's textbooks reach multi giga byte levels. That doesn't leave much room for movies.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Books?
by Neolander on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 09:13 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Books?"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Just had a look at the reference French dictionary out of curiosity, and the definition of "livre" (book) takes more than a page! Does not help that the word has three different meanings, I guess.

Anyway, the core definition, in the sense that we think about, is "set of written or printed sheets designed to be read". So both of our dictionaries agree that this is about the support more than the content...

Edited 2012-01-23 09:30 UTC

Reply Score: 1

a much betetr solution
by unclefester on Sat 21st Jan 2012 04:30 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

A much better solution to K-12 textbooks is to simply pay 3-4 experts to write a wiki on each topic. This can be upgraded as needed.

Reply Score: 2

Ballpoint pens
by Neolander on Sat 21st Jan 2012 13:31 UTC
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

I have a question for everyone who think that Apple are doing the right thing : what would you do if Bic suddenly stated that everything written using their ballpoint pens is their property and cannot be sold without their permission and involvement ?

Edited 2012-01-21 13:32 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ballpoint pens
by MOS6510 on Sat 21st Jan 2012 18:22 UTC in reply to "Ballpoint pens"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

If you want to write 'n' sell something, just get another pen.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Ballpoint pens
by Neolander on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 10:13 UTC in reply to "RE: Ballpoint pens"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

It seems to me that you only help my point there ;)

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Ballpoint pens
by MOS6510 on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 19:09 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Ballpoint pens"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

When the planets align people can agree, even in this site!

Look, I don't think every school/university will throw all books out of the window tomorrow and commit 100% to the iPad, iBooks and Apple. A number will take a look in to it, run trails, others will wait to see what happens.

If it works, more and more schools will use it more and more. If it doesn't, or doesn't for some schools or for some situations, they'll stick with traditional teaching methods.

I'm trying to write more using a pen and it's not easy. My brain is way faster than my hand, causing some strange letters to appear. I think this illustrates that we still need some traditional teaching and skills.

When I tell other people this they often also say they have trouble writing. Sure we still write the occasional word or two, but do we write ever whole sentences? More and more people don't, they type it. Despite being a geeky nerd I don't think it's good to become so depended on technology.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Ballpoint pens
by Neolander on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 08:59 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Ballpoint pens"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I'm trying to write more using a pen and it's not easy. My brain is way faster than my hand, causing some strange letters to appear. I think this illustrates that we still need some traditional teaching and skills.

Strange ! Even though I'm more or less born with a computer in the hands, it's the reverse for me. I strongly prefer pen and paper to computers for note-taking, drafting, and pretty much everything that requires a fast communication channel between my brain and a storage support.

I believe that is mainly because computers have inflexible input methods and tend to make me focus too much on appearance and layout. On a sheet of paper, it's natural to write in several directions, draw stuff to illustrate a point, strike stuff and redraw it from scratch elsewhere. On a computer, I tend to keep stuff clean, take the time to erase and rewrite, adjust the appearance of drawings, and I lose too much time doing it.

I would love to see a computer designed for pen input and with software that is as straightforward to play with as a piece of paper. However, it seems that Microsoft and their OEMs have done too much of a good job to associate pen tablet computers with crappy tablet computers.

When I tell other people this they often also say they have trouble writing. Sure we still write the occasional word or two, but do we write ever whole sentences? More and more people don't, they type it. Despite being a geeky nerd I don't think it's good to become so depended on technology.

Myself, computers and studies ruin my writing because they make me use English all the time, to the point where my written French becomes grammatically awful while my English does not get much better ;) Studying does help keeping good handwriting though, maybe we should do it more often in our lives ?

Edited 2012-01-23 09:00 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Ballpoint pens
by MOS6510 on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 09:05 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Ballpoint pens"
MOS6510 Member since:
2011-05-12

Well, when trying to write more I too discovered that it's much better suited for quick note taking and drawing stuff.

Still, when writing long text everybody does this on a computer and print it out. If I made a proposal and handed it in written by hand I'm sure I'd get a few strange looks.

There is a very cool IBM typewriter here, sitting idle on a unused desk. It would be cool to use it, but I'm afraid people will get aggressive over the noise.

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Ballpoint pens
by Neolander on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 09:30 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Ballpoint pens"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, it makes some sense to write longer texts directly on a computer, because its ability to keep the content clean as you bring more and more corrections becomes crucial at these scales. Besides, one does not need as much concentration to develop an argumentation as one needs to set the core points and plan of said argumentation. And finally, word processors allow writing better-looking text, and you don't want to copy everything from paper to a computer.

As for electronic typewriters, I've played with one at my grandfather's when I was quite a bit younger, and these stuff are made of awesome. But they are also indeed very noisy, and even if your colleagues could concentrate in spite of the noise I am not sure that you could keep focusing on what you're writing yourself ;)

Reply Score: 1

RE: Ballpoint pens
by darknexus on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 22:36 UTC in reply to "Ballpoint pens"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

I have a question for everyone who think that Apple are doing the right thing : what would you do if Bic suddenly stated that everything written using their ballpoint pens is their property and cannot be sold without their permission and involvement ?

I agree with your underlying point, but that's a horrible analogy. Exactly how many books do you know of that were written by hand with a ballpoint pen? If Bic did this, no one would care since nothing written with a pen is sold professionally. Even if the original text were written with one, it would most certainly be printed professionally at the time of publishing and Bic would have no idea of it one way or the other. Let me reitorate that I agree with your point about vendor lock-in, and I for one think it should be avoided at all costs not only to avoid censorship, but also to make certain we can still read our media in a hundred years. Apple isn't going to last forever, and what happens to all the content locked up in their formats after that?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Ballpoint pens
by Neolander on Mon 23rd Jan 2012 08:14 UTC in reply to "RE: Ballpoint pens"
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Well, I am not in the publishing business so I don't know which brands of printing machines are to this business what Bic is to everyday writing. Besides, much less people would get the analogy. So I think some logical shortcuts had to be taken.

My problem in the end is that everyone would find it revolting that manufacturers of physical content creation tools impose conditions on the usage of these tools, yet somehow some can close their eyes when it comes to software-based content creation tools. In my opinion, the artificial boundary which the software world sets between personal and professional use should not exist, since the software costs the same price to manufacture for everyone.

Reply Score: 1

The underlying complaints
by clasqm on Sun 22nd Jan 2012 07:38 UTC
clasqm
Member since:
2010-09-23

All the bellyaching I see here can be boiled down to the following:

1. I have the right to produce any nonsense I like and place it on iTunes for sale.

I guess you've never worked with a traditional publisher. They reject 10 books for every one they print. And Apple should be different ... why, exactly? They do not want Homeland Security to come asking why they published your handbook on overthrowing governments. They do not need lawsuits because they published your libellous celebrity memoir.

They are going to pick and choose what gets published. Just like every other publisher in the history of the alphabet.

Even Smashwords reserves the right not to publish in their Terms of Service:"Smashwords may decide not to Publish Author’s work or may decide to discontinue its publication of Author’s work for any reason and for no reason, and no reason need be provided." Sound familiar? This is standard stuff in the publishing world, people. Expressing your ignorance of this just shows that you have never published anything.

2. I have the right to sell the same product on any other store and do it all with a single workflow.

You do have that right. You can place your.ibooks file on iTunes. Then you can reformat the same text and put it on Amazon. And then you can reformat the same text again and put it on Smashwords. You can even sell the bare text directly from your own website.

Yes, that means you'll have to do the formatting three times. It's called work. Deal with it.

3. I am one of the 15-20% of people who bought a tablet that is not an iPad. It is Apple's duty to let me read the .ibook format.

Apple wants you to buy an iPad. Apple is a business, not a charity. They are required BY LAW to maximize shareholders' interests. They also have certain duties to their customers. They have no duty whatsoever to people who are neither customer nor shareholder.

Reverse-engineering the .ibooks format and creating an Android/Win8/Linux/WebOS app to read it is YOUR problem, not Apple's. Writing a Android/Win8/Linux/WebOS app to create new .ibook files is YOUR problem, not Apple's. I'm sure some bright spark has already registered a project on Sourceforge instead of moaning and groaning on the forums.

This is like complaining that Microsoft does not make Office for Linux. Yes, it would be nice if they did. But you do not have an inalienable human right to such a product.

Nobody is holding a gun to your head and making you use iBooks Author (BTW, it is still a little rough on the edges, I'd wait for a point upgrade or two before betting the farm on it). There are many ways to get an .epub/.mobi up for sale on a number of stores.

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