Friday News: Hachette & Amazon make nice; Internet tax bill; map of uncolonized Africa; Microsoft patches 19-year-old vulnerability; and UK’s Project Remix
Updated: Amazon and Hachette finally reach deal; Hachette will set its ebook prices – The war appears to be over between Hachette and Amazon, and whatever the state of their relationship, readers get the return of Agency Pricing. Yippee.
When the new ebook terms take place in early 2015, “Hachette will have responsibility for setting consumer prices of its ebooks, and will also benefit from better terms when it delivers lower prices for readers. Amazon and Hachette will immediately resume normal trading, and Hachette books will be prominently featured in promotions.”
See that “responsibility for setting consumer prices”? Yep, that’s the return of agency ebook pricing about two and a half years after the Department of Justice first sued Apple and publishers for conspiring to set ebook prices. Obviously, neither Amazon nor Hachette is offering very specific details about the contract they agreed on, but the public disclosures about the deal make it sound similar to the one recently reached between Amazon and Simon & Schuster. — Gigaom
Last year the Senate passed the Marketplace Fairness Act by a wide margin. It would force online retailers to collect sales tax if they have $1 million or more in gross sales annually. Part of the reason for the push is that if Congress fails to act during the lame-duck session, the act will die. –Publishers Weekly
To arrive at this map, Cyon constructed an alternative timeline. Its difference from our own starts in the mid-14th century. The point of divergence: the deadliness of the Plague. In our own timeline, over the course of the half dozen years from 1346 to 1353, the Black Death  wiped out between 30 and 60% of Europe’s population. It would take the continent more than a century to reach pre-Plague population levels. That was terrible enough. But what if Europe had suffered an even more catastrophic extermination – one from which it could not recover? . . .
Cyon focuses on Africa — or rather, Alkebu-Lan — which in his version of events doesn’t suffer the ignomy and injustice of the European slave trade and subsequent colonization. In our timeline, Europe’s domination of Africa obscured the latter continent’s rich history and many cultural achievements. On the map of Cyon’s Africa, a many-splendored landscape of nations and empires, all native to the continent itself, gives the lie to the 19th- and 20th-century European presumption that Africa merely was a ‘dark continent’ to be enlightened, or a ‘blank page’ for someone else to write upon. –Big Think
The bug had been present in every version of Windows since 95, IBM said.
Attackers could exploit the bug to remotely control a PC, and so users are being urged to download updates.
The competition, entitled Project Remix, will see teenagers work with a list of 24 works, including Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias and Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
The primary literature will also include contemporary works, including The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, Geek Girl by Holly Smale, and Blackman’s own bestselling Naughts and Crosses.
Readers will be tasked with remixing their chosen text into one of five categories: creative writing, comic strip, cover design, trailer, or music. –Telegraph