Tuesday News: Google Discover, HP hates imitators, Luvvie Ajayi, and girls on film
Google Play Books Invites You to “Discover” a World of Reading – Keep in mind that this is more press release than review, but Discover, by Google Play Books, has launched on Android (soon to be available on iOS). As Engadget notes, the idea is to replicate hand selling, but with an especially attentive tracking capacity to give you recommendations based on what you (and everyone else) tends to read. Some of the features sound pretty much like Kindle (especially the Whispersync function), with the addition of original book-related content:
Available in 75 countries on both iOS and Android and the web, Google Play Books is the world’s largest ebookstore and offers readers like you smart technology that caters to your lifestyle — where you can start reading a book on your tablet at night and pick up where you left off the next day from your smartphone, as well as easily browse, skim, highlight and make notes. . . .
Google Play Editorial showcases today’s biggest authors and books — With the launch of Discover we are introducing Google Play Editorial, where readers can find original articles, including author interviews, essays by favorite writers and book selections from some of the literary world’s leading voices. – Official Android Blog
HP detonates its timebomb: printers stop accepting third party ink en masse – It’s not enough that HP has some of the most expensive ink cartridges around, but back in March they unleashed an update that would collectively stop their printers from accepting non-HP cartridges. And HP likely has enough copyrightable software to invoke Section 1201 of the DMCA, which criminalizes the act of “bypassing” HP’s control over their copyrighted material. Nice.
Worst of all is that security researchers who disclose defects in systems covered by Section 1201 of the DMCA face civil and criminal penalties, and so they routinely sit on these disclosures, putting us all at risk. Remember, HP printers have already been successfully targeted by attacks that let bad guys take over your whole network just by tricking you into printing a single page. Once HP can invoke the DMCA to shut down these disclosures, the bugs will continue to fester, but our ability to know about them in a timely fashion will end.
That’s why EFF is suing the US government to invalidate section 1201 of the DMCA: because “owning property” means having the “sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe” and if every software-enabled thing can be remote-controlled against your wishes and your interests, then we have abolished personal property altogether, in favor of a neo-feudal system of perpetual corporate ownership — and because an age in which our computers hold our lives in their hands cannot be an age in which it is illegal to tell you whether your computer is working correctly, for obvious reasons. – Boing Boing
Blogger Luvvie Ajayi Is Judging You With Her New Book – If you’ve never heard of Luvvie Ajayi, start with this video interview she did for Essence – not only does she explain how she began blogging, but you get a great sense of her passion, humor, and insightful take on many issues relevant to anyone who consumes culture (aka all of us). I love her take on Colin Kaepernick, and her Scandal recaps are the stuff of legends. Anyway, she’s joined the ranks of blogger book writers with I’m Judging You: The Do-Better Manual and is out and about promoting. From a recent NPR interview:
MARTIN: There’s some very poignant biographical information here that, you know, I did not even know, even though I’m a close reader of you. There’s a chapter called Zamunda is Not a Country Neither is Africa, and you talk about being this little girl who coming here at the age of 9 growing up in Nigeria where you wanted for nothing, raised to be proud of who you are, coming from a family that’s well-known and very respected and then going all of a sudden to this being in the fifth grade in a new country, a new city where people are asking you all these crazy questions about Africa. Tell me about that.
AJAYI: One thing I wanted to make sure was in this chapter especially is the impact of where I’m from and how it kind of shaped who I am today. So it was really good to start with that just to give people who have an idea of my perspective and why it really grinds my gears about the conversations we have about Africa.
And I use myself as an example so people can actually put themselves in my shoes and also relate to somebody who they respect and like and understand how being othered as somebody who’s African can affect you. I happen to push past it and learn to love my culture as a Nigerian, but a lot of people never do. It makes me want to make sure there’s a 9 year old who’s coming from Nigeria. She never has to feel embarrassed about where she came from. – NPR and Essence
The Best Female Characters Come From Books – I had some issues with the logical construction of Meg Miller’s essay, and it often felt like she was developing an argument as she went along. But her central premise, which is that books offer the most complex female characters, and that Hollywood’s increasing adaptation of books by and about women is therefore deepening cinematic portrayals, is worth thinking about. I’m not sure I buy it – Gone Girl, which she cites, flattened out Amy’s character to the point where Nick (i.e. Ben Affleck) could seem like less of an a-hole. But on the other hand, doesn’t it make sense that a character fleshed out over the course of several hundred pages would provide a lot of dimension for a scriptwriter and/or filmmaker to work with?
The greatest works of literature and film humanize experiences beyond our own. Many contemporary page-to-screen female leads get saddled with the label of “the next Gone Girl,” like the antiheroine of Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel Eileen, which was also optioned for film. But there’s a wide array of personalities making their way into theaters. Wild offered a grittier story of travel and transformation for women not sold on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Last winter brought Todd Haynes’s Carol, a beautiful reimagining of The Price of Salt by Patricia Highsmith, starring Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett as a younger and an older women in love. Highsmith published the 1952 novel under a pseudonym for fear of retribution, but the movie brought the book to prominence over half a century later. Disney’s upcoming biopic Queen of Katwe, directed by Mira Nair, is based on a book about the life of Phiona Mutesi, an poor Ugandan teenager who became a chess prodigy. The only secret to representing all the richness of the female experience is to do it more often, and in different ways—something that will only happen in Hollywood once women are afforded the same access to money, prestige, and fame as men. Until then, there are always books. – The Atlantic