Thursday News: Nook Audiobooks, FBI v. Tor, Vietnam ‘love letters,’ and protest reading
B&N Launches Nook Audiobook Apps for iPhone, iPad – Barnes & Noble is getting back into the digital audiobook business, with a selection of 60,000 audiobooks. According to Nate Hoffelder, you can’t sort offerings by price or play other audiobooks in the app, but clearly B&N is hoping to cash in on the increasing popularity of digital audio:
After a year of waiting, B&N has released Nook Audiobooks apps for the iPhone and iPad. They’re also finally launching a website where you can buy the audiobooks: NookAudiobooks.com. . . .
The new apps, which can be found in iTunes, let you listen to the audiobooks bought through either the Nook Audiobooks Android app, or the new website. (Apple being Apple, there are no in-app purchases in the iOS app.) – The Digital Reader
Did the FBI pay Carnegie Mellon $1 million to identify and attack Tor users? – Privacy schmivacy. According to a statement from the Tor Project (and articles in VICE and Wired) researchers from Carnegie Mellon University were paid by the FBI to identify Tor Project users (who, you know, subscribe to the service for ANONYMITY) and turn the data over without any kind of warrant or even approval from CMU’s Institutional Review Board (you know, the folks that make sure any institutional research conforms to ethical and legal standards). Due process? What due process?! From Tor’s statement, via BoingBoing, which also has links to the various articles on the discovery:
The Tor Project has learned more about last year’s attack by Carnegie Mellon researchers on the hidden service subsystem. Apparently these researchers were paid by the FBI to attack hidden services users in a broad sweep, and then sift through their data to find people whom they could accuse of crimes. We publicized the attack last year, along with the steps we took to slow down or stop such an attack in the future.
Here is the link to their (since withdrawn) submission to the Black Hat conference, along with Ed Felten’s analysis at the time.
We have been told that the payment to CMU was at least $1 million.
There is no indication yet that they had a warrant or any institutional oversight by Carnegie Mellon’s Institutional Review Board. We think it’s unlikely they could have gotten a valid warrant for CMU’s attack as conducted, since it was not narrowly tailored to target criminals or criminal activity, but instead appears to have indiscriminately targeted many users at once. – BoingBoing & Tor
Vietnam ‘Love Letters’ inspire book, album – Alex Woodard has written several books and companion CD’s that take inspiration from fan letters. So when he got a package that included letters from a Vietnam veteran to his wife, and letters from the man’s daughter to her father, he realized that he needed to devote an entire book to this story. The book and companion CD, Love Letters from Vietnam, not only deals with the “tragic love story” between John Fuller and his wife, but also many of the issues that Vietnam veterans had to face when they returned to the U.S. without support, recognition for their service, or adequate counseling. This seems like it might be a good example of a digital book with “enhanced content.”
Woodard’s book weaves together a narrative of fact and fiction. There are photos of John Fuller and his increasingly despondent wartime letters to then-wife, Rebecca; recollections by other Vietnam veterans and the divided America they returned to in the early 1970s; and the story of Fuller’s slow tailspin into alcohol and drugs. He cheated on his wife, abandoned his family and was shot to death in 1998 after he showed up with a pair of guns at an ex-girlfriend’s home in Louisiana.
Seven years after her father died, Jennifer found a box of her father’s wartime letters, and as a way to cope with her grief and anger, she began writing him back, stuffing her own letters (written from 2007 to 2009) into the same box. The first, penned as if it was written in 1968 (two years before her birth), begins: “Dear Sergeant Fuller, You won’t know me for another two years, but I am your daughter.” – San Diego Union-Tribune
Woman Reading A Book At A Trump Rally Should Inspire A Movement – If you haven’t seen the video of the woman reading Claudia Rankine’s Citizen during a Donald Trump rally, you might want to check it out. She ended up with even more attention drawn to her when a guy behind her tried to get her to stop reading and pay attention to the speech. Perhaps he did not realize that she was engaging in a form of political protest, although he ends up helping her draw attention away from Trump and to Rankine’s book, which could definitely be viewed as an indictment of Trump’s candidacy. A great example of how reading – and books – can serve as political protest.
Reading a book is deliberate. Reading a book at a performance or speech implies that you already expected to be bored when you left the house. It’s a very conscious choice to devote your attention to something other than the events around you.
It’s a great bonus that reading a print book allows you to promote great writers, as well as send a pointed message, as this woman did by holding up Citizen — at a rally for a candidate who’s made a torrent of comments deemed, at best, racially insensitive. – Huffington Post