Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kindle News, 8/25/11 - Kindles in Libraries, Steve Jobs Steps Down - reactions

More and more libraries are loaning out e-readers, and in the case of a local library in Idaho, The Snake River School Community Library, they've ordered 15 Amazon Kindles (UK: K3) for use by the general public or students.  There's a newsclip on this at the article.

The library's director, Sherrilynn Bair, explains that students will be using electronic devices in their classrooms and this will give them a jump start on that.

As with other libraries that have been loaning Kindles, most students are on waiting lists, as they're a big hit, Bair says.

  Moreover, "The Idaho Falls Library is in contract discussions with digital book distributor Overdrive to provide free online checkouts, compatible with any and all devices."  The library hopes to have something in place by Oct-Nov.

  We've been waiting for the Kindle to be involved with public library lending.  Amazon and Overdrive have been working together to make it possible for Kindle books to be loaned, soon, from public libraries, with Amazon delivering the e-books after check-out and making it possible for borrowers to make highlights and notes which will be backed-up (as is done for Kindle owners who don't opt out of the feature) to their private, password-protected annotation webpages on the Amazon servers (not visible to other borrowers, of course).  Here's an example.

  While public-library Kindle-book lending was promised by the "end of the year," there have been hints that the Overdrive/Amazon Kindle-book public library loan program may be ready to go by September-October but there's no hard info to go on.  What has been definite is that the deliveries will be what Kindle users are accustomed to -- wireless downloads with no need for a computer.

Steve Jobs steps down as CEO of Apple
This was, of course, big in the news last night, despite the fact he's officially been on medical leave the last half-year but showing up for work and presentation as the need arises.  Tim Cook has been the Chief Operating Officer and running things while the company continued to do very well, but Jobs's definite presence would have a lot to do with that and it'll continue to, as he will remain on, elected to the position of Chairman of the Board, although, as the NY Times notes, that position didn't exist before.

While I'm not admiring of some of Apple's recent actions, I do admire what Jobs has done with that company, and it has a lot to do with his intense focus on quality, high standards, and understanding what consumers want and are comfortable with.  His fighting spirit against an aggressive, consuming cancer has been inspiring, and I hope that his stepping back will somehow help him beat it, despite indications it is important for him to be in control and active.  It did make me sad that he felt bad enough to say, in his resignation letter, that he is no longer able to meet his "duties and expectations as Apple's CEO."

I've seen relatives and friends try to fight pancreatic cancer and also the spread of it to the liver, but Jobs has held it at bay 10 times longer than most are able to, and here's wishing the best to him on this personal battle.

As Biographer Glenn Fleishman said last night:
' There's something that pulls at you inside.  I feel sad for him as a person.  This guy, an adopted child who had difficulty learning, no college degree, rose to create the largest company in the world, and now at the peak, steps down.  Perfect time to step down, it's part of that epic story arc and there's something mythic and beautiful and sad about it. '

How will Apple fare after Jobs? Two brief assessments:
' Cult of Mac writer Leander Kahney reckons Steve's personality traits have basically become Apple's business model, and are ingrained in the company itself. With Jobs out of the equation, the company may continue to function as if he were still there, barking orders.

"Jobs' perfectionism, for example, has created a system at Apple for exhaustively prototyping everything the company does," Kahney wrote.

Not everyone is so optimistic.  New York Times tech columnist David Pogue tweeted: "I agree with you all that Apple is teeming with geniuses.  But Jobs added a single, pure vision that will be tough to maintain by committee." '

Here is The NY Times article.

It has to be odd for him, the new Chairman of the Board of Apple, to get online and read so many eulogy-style articles.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($139)   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. I'm far from an Apple fan, especially in light of the latest developments, but it's impossible not to respect Steve Jobs. While I don't agree with many of the things he has done, he managed to rise the company from its ashes and significantly change the perception of the world on technology.

    I only wish he will get well soon and maybe take after his old time rival, Bill Gates and start charity work. His genius would be useful to the world, especially in these hard times.

    As for Apple, my opinion is that it will continue to follow successfully the already drawn roadmap. Unless an unexpected rival appears, it will keep its place.

    On second thought, this may be a best time for Amazon to make a push and get consumer trust.

  2. At the end of the day, Apple and Steve Jobs produce very nice (and very profitable) electronic gadgets that all end up in third-world landfills in five years. They have done a fantastic job, but it’s not like they invented the PC, or the cell phone, or the Internet, nothing that has really "Changed the World." Brilliant execution, great business, no one has done better in the past decade. Compared to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, pretty trivial.


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