Friday News:3D Gun made;Teenage lady coder solves everyone’s Twitter problems; MS may want to buy Nook Media
BBC News – Downloads for 3D-printed Liberator gun reach 100,000 – So last year I started writing about 3D printing and in October, someone posited that guns would soon be built with a push of a button and how difficult that would be to police. BBC News
Some of you thought this was so far off as to not be a concern. But last week, a 3D gun aficionado showed off his 3D printed gun. Only the firing mechanism was not printed. And now the 3D plans are being downloaded and probably refined as we read this article. One thing you probably can’t 3D print is gunpowder.
There is a way to require all explosive materials be tagged through a chemical fingerprint but that isn’t the law in the US. If this isn’t making its way into a suspense book, I’ll be very disappointed. (On the IRL side, I find this pretty terrifying)
Lady Teenage Coder Fixes Your Twitter So No One Can Spoil Game of Thrones For You Again – Seventeen year old Jennie Lamere won the Boston hackathon for a 10 hour coding project she thought up and coded the night before the contest. Jennie went up against 80 other contestants, many competing in groups. The kicker? Jennie was the only female. Love. Tor.com
Microsoft Mulling Nook Media LLC Purchase For $1 Billion – Tech Crunch reports that internal documents indicate Microsoft is interested in buying Nook Media. While Publishers Lunch notes that some details are incorrect such as the valuation of BN and what would be included in the Nook Media sale, the MS bid for Nook Media has been confirmed by another source at the Times.
So despite some errors in TC’s writeup, the basis of the write up is spot on. The leaked documents also affirm what Mike Cane surmised last month and that is that BN is phasing out the Android tablets altogether. Nook Media, if enfolded into MS, will be a content platform that MS will market and, as paidContent speculates, a way to compete against Amazon, Apple, and Google. TechCrunch
I’m a bit confused about the Nook sale. What is the difference between a “content platform” and an operating system? And is there a difference between a platform and content itself? Wasn’t lack of content a problem with the Nooks?
If this sale goes through where does that leave B&N in the e-reader, and therefore ebook market? Seems like it would direct even more sales to Amazon, because the choice between Kindle vs. Kobo or Sony isn’t much of a choice…
@Liz H.: Until someone more knowledgeable comes along, I’ll take a stab at it. :)
I think what it really comes down to is that the Operating System can be thought of as a ‘technical component’ of the device. It’s the software that makes it run and (more importantly in this case) allows other things like applications to run ontop of it. ‘Content Platform’ is almost really a market/brand component of the device. It’s the ‘Nook’ part of it, it’s what customers buy when they want access to books.
Put it over-simply, B&N doesn’t care that its customers are buying e-readers and tablets powered by (a custom version) of the Android Operating System, they care that customers are buying a device that will guide customers to buying Nook Books, buy movies through the Nook Music Store and rent movies through Nook Store (or whatever they want to call it).
I think this is potentially a very good move for Microsoft (who has partial stake in Nook Media already). Why, not only are they swimming in OSes, they’re swimming in content–everything the X-BOX provides entertainment wise (music, movies, games, streaming TV, light social networking) is ripe for inclusion in a media tablet. Microsoft has long had a problem with choosing a brand to stick with and marketing it properly, but I think those are relatively “good problems” to have compared to B&N’s woes.
Which leaves your question about B&N. I don’t know where it leaves them in the long run, but I can understand the near-term appeal of such a move. As one of the articles Jane pointed to a while back mentioned, B&N is bleeding money in the nook business right now, and a number of their stores arent doing so well. BUT, quite a number of their stores actually are doing great, and turning in strong individual profits. Divesting themselves of the tablet business (and all its licensing headaches), and thinning out the “unhealthy” stores has the real potential to put them back in the black, not to mention get a cash infusion from microsoft.
If B/N phases out the Nook, what does that mean for people who own a Nook? I’ve got an iPad and quickly decided not to buy Nook books, since they were limited only to the Nook reader. But I have friends who own Nooks and they’ve got libraries of ebooks on their Nooks. If B/N isn’t supporting the Nook anymore, will they free those books up to be read elsewhere (with a different reader)?
I may be confusing Nook hardware and Nook software. But if B/N is phasing out the Nook, aren’t they phasing out both?
And the 3D printer gun – I saw this elsewhere yesterday and immediately thought of your prediction, Jane. It makes me sad, though. Of all the millions of cool things you could do with a 3D printer… of course they make a gun.
@Liz H.: The content platform is basically the digital media sold by BN. Right now that is books and magazines and some licensed movie content. I’m not sure what component of digital textbooks is included in Nook Media.
So Nook will try to sell its Nook content to other device manufacturers.
@Anne: I think it means that the Nook devices wouldn’t be supported any more but my guess is that the App would live on for Android and iOS users. If MS does buy the Nook, then they’d be able to read their nook books on an MS device.
Basically this is one of the worst parts of digital books and why consumers should be able to crack the DRM to take their books with them even if a business changes hands.
The idea of anyone willing to invest a few thousand dollars being able to print an untraceable gun, that won’t set off metal detectors, and can be melted down after use is truly worrisome.
I find it fitting that DA, where we’ve had such conversations about marriage (especially in terms of historical and power-unequal contexts) frequently has these wonderful discussions about eBooks and cracking DRM, etc.
It seems that getting involved in an eBook ecosystem (and by extension the DRM mess behind it) is a lot like a marriage contract. Whatever the case may be regarding love, it is at its core and social and economic arrangement. In that context I can certainly see an argument for “prudent choices” and “making your bed” with someone who has the strength, the wealth, and the social positioning to carry on for years.
Sadly, I suppose that makes B&N Nook the sort of suitor who hit it big with a single moment of inspiration and luck, but will eventually succumb to ruin because of a number of bad gambles.
It’s dependents may, alas, only be left with useless property, what few posession they can carry away on their nooks, and the need to rebuild through reinvestment with another power-holder. I suppose that’s one more argument for Divorce via DRM. :D
@DB Cooper: The slow demise of FictionWise taught me the hard lesson about going with an unstable suitor.
Can bombs and semi-automatics be far behind?
LOL, I love that metaphor. It’s also why I took my husband’s advice and got into bed with a kindle.
B and N might ditch a bunch of losing stores and the nook, but I think in the long run, their model is dead. Big box is baded on volume and as people drift to E, the volume will decline aling with choice creating a vicious circle. Bookstores will survive in cities and college towns, but I can’t see growth, just period contraction to leave only the profitable bits
@DB Cooper: I’m paying for Amazon’s services so that makes them my gigolo; I should be able to kick them to the curb and move on to someone better whenever I want.
I went to High School with Jennie!! Everyone’s so proud of her–with good reason. It’s awesome to see such a lovely, intelligent person going places.