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Thursday News: Fire phone, spying increases demand for cloud services, Daniel Keyes dies, and hilarious First Moon Party video

Thursday News: Fire phone, spying increases demand for cloud services, Daniel...

Amazon’s Fire phone has average looks and high aspirations (hands-on) – Well, some of the reviews are in, and they’re not exactly glowing. If the Amazon Fire phone were a serious contender to overthrow the iPhone, I might consider it. But a phone that doesn’t even have Bluetooth (It has Bluetooth 3.0 wireless technology) but does manage six cameras doesn’t really seem like it’s going to do much to the smart phone market. Dynamic Perspective, Firefly, and a gesture-driven three-panel design are some of the selling points. Assuming you want to buy.

Excepting the five cameras on the front, the Fire phone looks like an average device. In many ways, the build reminds me of the Nexus 4: Gorilla Glass adorns the front and rear, and the plastic sides reach slightly around the back. With a 4.7-inch display, I had no problem handling the phone — Bezos was adamant that this size is optimal for one-handed use, and although I prefer slightly larger devices, Amazon believes that this size is the “sweet spot” for its users; not too large, but not too small. Its 8.9mm thickness doesn’t make it too bulky, and the back is narrower than the front, so my hand wrapped around it pretty easily. –Engadget

VMware: NSA revelations have been the single biggest issue for cloud clients – So this is interesting. According to VMWare’s SVP of hybrid cloud services, the whole NSA/Snowden scandal, and the revelations about the government’s broad-based surveillance have actually increased the demand for public cloud services, which, while counter-intuitive, may also signal the extent to which people are willing to accept the risks inherent in such integrated technologies.

Initially the spying revelations created a very short-term, knee-jerk reaction that the privacy breach would mean the death of public cloud adoption, Fathers said. But months later, there’s now a general acknowledgement that public clouds can actually deliver better security, as well as performance and economics, compared to enterprises’ own infrastructure and private clouds, –Gigaom

Daniel Keyes, a Novelist of the Mind, Dies at 86 – When I first came across this story, SFWA was the only site to have extended coverage, and it wasn’t super-informative. I’ve been scanning obituaries for Daniel Keyes since, and I haven’t yet found one that wowed me. But this piece from the NYT did contain an interesting tidbit related to Keyes most famous book, Flowers For Algernon, and its inspiration:

The premise underlying Mr. Keyes’s best-known novel struck him while he waited for an elevated train to take him from Brooklyn to New York University in 1945.

“I thought: My education is driving a wedge between me and the people I love,” he wrote in his memoir, “Algernon, Charlie and I” (1999). “And then I wondered: What would happen if it were possible to increase a person’s intelligence?” –New York Times

First Moon Party – Jane tweeted this video earlier today, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a hilarious and de-mystifying treatment of a girl’s first period (and menstruation more generally). Yes, it’s advertising for the Hello Flo “care package” service, but as far as I’m concerned they’ve earned any business they get from this. May not be safe for work, although I watched it in my office, cackling hysterically, with no problem. –YouTube

Monday News: Amazon publishing acknowledges that its authors should expect to sell within Amazon’s closed corridors; Author calls ebook returners ‘jerks’; Smashwords offer cloud storage for ebook purchases

Monday News: Amazon publishing acknowledges that its authors should expect to...

The Marvin iOS App and the Aldiko App for Android offer nice Dropbox integration. Many readers already do this by downloading to a sub-folder that is part of their dropbox account or, like me, use Calibre. For me, Calibre library is stored in a Dropbox Subfolder but for others, this simple integration may be more useful. Smashwords

This author calls the person who returns a “jerk.” Given that I return books, I guess that makes me a jerk too. I think what this author doesn’t realize is that a lot of times, readers buy and then don’t actually get to the book until days, maybe even weeks later. Are there abusers of the system? No doubt, but I don’t think that it’s as high as authors conclude.

I suspect how long the return period should be and whether they should be allowed at all is largely dependent on whether you sit on the reader or author side of the fence. Paste Magazine

“Durham said that while Amazon wants to make its books available to anyone who wants to carry them, “our business model doesn’t depend on distribution outside of Amazon.” She acknowledged that limited sales through retailers mean Amazon needs to provide authors with “a great publishing experience,” noting, “If we were not able to do that, then we’re not going to be the best publisher fit for them.”” Publishers Weekly

The cream is what gave cheese its color and to make up for this, farmers began coloring the cheese in order for it to look more robust. Now, we’ve become more accustomed to non yellow cheese and Kraft announced that artificial dyes would be abandoned in its cheesy products. The Salt : NPR