I read with some interest about the debacle of Amazon’s “total recall” of 1984 (and other books) yesterday. Kindle owners found some e-books they had downloaded and paid for had mysteriously disappeared from their readers (and that they had been reimbursed). Amazon apparently tried to explain away this digital goods heist by insisting that the material had been sold under false pretenses and that when the real rights-holder had complained they chose to pull the content. Now – I am not a Kindle user but I am an AppleTV user and I have to say I found something quite familiar about the whole Kindle thing. Movies and television shows regularly disappear from Apple’s iTunes catalog (and thus from the content available through AppleTV) due to rights negotiations issues. If a movie is due to be shown on television, for example, the rights holder can have that title yanked from the online catalog. This is a power that rights holders have never before wielded. Movie studios certainly couldn’t go around to every video rental store and pull the title. The prospect of publishers storming into your house and removing books from your shelves sounds like a scene out of Fahrenheit 451. But in the era of closed DRM-enabled systems they suddenly have this power, and it is a power rights holders are increasingly choosing to exert. Now, I haven’t had content yanked off my AppleTV yet, but I could imagine it happening, especially now that Amazon has shown the way. Remember, we are talking about marketing executives …

When DRM Goes Bad Read more »

So what does WordPress’s application for iPhone give you that sets it apart from just blogging through the browser?First and foremost, it allows you to blog while off-line. I’m writing this while sitting in the Tube, under the streets of London where network signals are not in abundance. Having the option to compose offline and then seamlessly publish could be a boon to people like me who often find themselves offline. The mobile app also let’s you take photos, a feature that I am testing in this post, so more on how well that works later. [Update: there was an error sending the picture so some bugs still need to be worked out.] On the downside, the app doesn’t have any spelling tools (actually a problem with all iPhone apps). The auto-correction software built into the iphobe can be both a blessing and a curse in this regard, both fixing up obvious mistakes and introducing insidious errors you don’t catch until it’s too late. (iPhone 2.0 has started to auto-correct ‘its’ as ‘it’s’ which can be particularly problematic). One wish-list item for me would be geo-tagging of posts using the Skyhook-supplied location platform demonstrated at this month’s Mobile Monday London (and built in to the iPhone). I doubt even Skyhook, though, could locate me 200 feet below Tottenham Court Road. One more note on location: all iPhone apps now prompt the user for permission when they try to locate you. I believe this is a function of the underlying software – and if that’s the case …

Offline Blogging and Location Read more »

[ad] Why, in this day and age, when they can send a man to the Moon, is it so frickin’ difficult to tell what time it is? Specifically, what makes it so seemingly difficult for mobile devices, which are connected to a public network, to tell what time it is? Surely mobile connected devices should be our most trusted time sources. The network they’re connected to is constantly pumping out a time-sync. So what is the problem? Three examples: I normally carry around a couple of devices. Most recently, these have been consistently unreliable sources of the time. The Blackberry has two time-sync options: network and “blackberry.” Neither of them ever yield a correct time (as measured by my Mac, whose time-sync works flawlessly when measured against the BBC). The N73 also has a “network sync” option which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I have often found that the time is wildly off – by as much as a few hours. It also doesn’t help matters that a change of this setting requires a reboot. I have to manually set the time zone on the Blackberry but the Nokia N73 somehow can figure that out for itself. I just came out of the other end of the Channel Tunnel and my iPhone hasn’t picked up the fact that I’m now in Central European Time – so it’s still showing an hour behind. In this fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever for your device to know the correct time. This becomes especially important when you’re sharing …

What Time is It? Read more »