recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : ibooks   8

The 'Future Book' Is Here, but It's Not What We Expected | WIRED
"THE FUTURE BOOK was meant to be interactive, moving, alive. Its pages were supposed to be lush with whirling doodads, responsive, hands-on. The old paperback Zork choose-your-own-adventures were just the start. The Future Book would change depending on where you were, how you were feeling. It would incorporate your very environment into its story—the name of the coffee shop you were sitting at, your best friend’s birthday. It would be sly, maybe a little creepy. Definitely programmable. Ulysses would extend indefinitely in any direction you wanted to explore; just tap and some unique, mega-mind-blowing sui generis path of Joycean machine-learned words would wend itself out before your very eyes.

Prognostications about how technology would affect the form of paper books have been with us for centuries. Each new medium was poised to deform or murder the book: newspapers, photography, radio, movies, television, videogames, the internet.

Some viewed the intersection of books and technology more positively: In 1945, Vannevar Bush wrote in The Atlantic: “Wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified.”

Researcher Alan Kay created a cardboard prototype of a tablet-like device in 1968. He called it the "Dynabook," saying, “We created a new kind of medium for boosting human thought, for amplifying human intellectual endeavor. We thought it could be as significant as Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press 500 years ago.”

In the 1990s, Future Bookism hit a kind of beautiful fever pitch. We were so close. Brown University professor Robert Coover, in a 1992 New York Times op-ed titled “The End of Books,” wrote of the future of writing: “Fluidity, contingency, indeterminacy, plurality, discontinuity are the hypertext buzzwords of the day, and they seem to be fast becoming principles, in the same way that relativity not so long ago displaced the falling apple.” And then, more broadly: “The print medium is a doomed and outdated technology, a mere curiosity of bygone days destined soon to be consigned forever to those dusty unattended museums we now call libraries.”

Normal books? Bo-ring. Future Books? Awesome—indeterminate—and we were almost there! The Voyager Company built its "expanded books" platform on Hypercard, launching with three titles at MacWorld 1992. Microsoft launched Encarta on CD-ROM.

But … by the mid-2000s, there still were no real digital books. The Rocket eBook was too little, too early. Sony launched the eink-based Librie platform in 2004 to little uptake. Interactive CD-ROMs had dropped off the map. We had Wikipedia, blogs, and the internet, but the mythological Future Book—some electric slab that would somehow both be like and not like the quartos of yore—had yet to materialize. Peter Meirs, head of technology at Time, hedged his bets perfectly, proclaiming: “Ultimately, there will be some sort of device!”

And then there was. Several devices, actually. The iPhone launched in June 2007, the Kindle that November. Then, in 2010, the iPad arrived. High-resolution screens were suddenly in everyone’s hands and bags. And for a brief moment during the early 2010s, it seemed like it might finally be here: the glorious Future Book."



"Yet here’s the surprise: We were looking for the Future Book in the wrong place. It’s not the form, necessarily, that needed to evolve—I think we can agree that, in an age of infinite distraction, one of the strongest assets of a “book” as a book is its singular, sustained, distraction-free, blissfully immutable voice. Instead, technology changed everything that enables a book, fomenting a quiet revolution. Funding, printing, fulfillment, community-building—everything leading up to and supporting a book has shifted meaningfully, even if the containers haven’t. Perhaps the form and interactivity of what we consider a “standard book” will change in the future, as screens become as cheap and durable as paper. But the books made today, held in our hands, digital or print, are Future Books, unfuturistic and inert may they seem."

[sections on self-publishing, crowdfunding, email newsletters, social media, audiobooks and podcasts, etc.]



"It turns out smartphones aren’t the best digital book reading devices (too many seductions, real-time travesties, notifications just behind the words), but they make excellent audiobook players, stowed away in pockets while commuting. Top-tier podcasts like Serial, S-Town, and Homecoming have normalized listening to audio or (nonfiction) booklike productions on smartphones."



"Last August, a box arrived on my doorstep that seemed to embody the apotheosis of contemporary publishing. The Voyager Golden Record: 40th Anniversary Edition was published via a crowdfunding campaign. The edition includes a book of images, three records, and a small poster packaged in an exquisite box set with supplementary online material. When I held it, I didn’t think about how futuristic it felt, nor did I lament the lack of digital paper or interactivity. I thought: What a strange miracle to be able to publish an object like this today. Something independently produced, complex and beautiful, with foil stamping and thick pages, full-color, in multiple volumes, made into a box set, with an accompanying record and other shimmering artifacts, for a weirdly niche audience, funded by geeks like me who are turned on by the romance of space.

We have arrived to the once imagined Future Book in piecemeal truths.

Moving images were often espoused to be a core part of our Future Book. While rarely found inside of an iBooks or Kindle book, they are here. If you want to learn the ukulele, you don’t search Amazon for a Kindle how-to book, you go to YouTube and binge on hours of lessons, stopping when you need to, rewinding as necessary, learning at your own pace.

Vannevar Bush's “Memex” essentially described Wikipedia built into a desk.

The "Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy" in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is an iPhone.

In The Book of Sand, Borges wrote of an infinite book: "It was then that the stranger told me: 'Study the page well. You will never see it again.'" Describing in many ways what it feels like to browse the internet or peek at Twitter.

Our Future Book is composed of email, tweets, YouTube videos, mailing lists, crowdfunding campaigns, PDF to .mobi converters, Amazon warehouses, and a surge of hyper-affordable offset printers in places like Hong Kong.

For a “book” is just the endpoint of a latticework of complex infrastructure, made increasingly accessible. Even if the endpoint stays stubbornly the same—either as an unchanging Kindle edition or simple paperback—the universe that produces, breathes life into, and supports books is changing in positive, inclusive ways, year by year. The Future Book is here and continues to evolve. You’re holding it. It’s exciting. It’s boring. It’s more important than it has ever been.

But temper some of those flight-of-fancy expectations. In many ways, it’s still a potato."
craigmod  ebooks  reading  howweread  2018  kindle  eink  print  publishing  selfpublishing  blurb  lulu  amazon  ibooks  apple  digital  bookfuturism  hypertext  hypercard  history  vannevarbush  borges  twitter  animation  video  newsletters  email  pdf  mobi  epub  infrastructure  systems  economics  goldenrecord  voyager  audio  audiobooks  smarthphones  connectivity  ereaders  podcasts  socialmedia  kevinkelly  benthompson  robinsloan  mailchimp  timbuktulabs  elenafavilli  francescacavallo  jackcheng  funding  kickstarter  crowdfunding  blogs  blogging  wikipedia  internet  web  online  writing  howwewrite  self-publishing  youtube 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Highlights - Sawyer Hollenshead
[About: https://medium.com/@sawyerh/how-i-m-exporting-my-highlights-from-the-grasps-of-ibooks-and-kindle-ce6a6031b298#.a4fg98jq2

"How I’m exporting my highlights from the grasps of iBooks and Kindle
Using email, AWS, Siteleaf, and GitHub

A few years ago there was a little startup called Readmill that gave a glimpse at what an open, independent reading platform could look like. You could import your books into their beautiful reading app and highlight text as you read. Your highlights would sync with your Readmill account and other people could follow along to see what you were highlighting (and vice-versa). I discovered a bunch of new books and met some new faces this way. I even built a product that tied in with their API. Then Readmill got acquired by Dropbox. The open, independent reading platform was no longer open or independent, and shutdown in July 2014. Since their shutdown, the state of digital reading platforms has been pretty sad.

Now, my reading takes place in a train on my phone (iBooks) or in sunny Prospect Park on my Kindle. I still highlight as I read, but they don’t sync anywhere. They’re typically scattered between two walled gardens, and 99% of the time I don’t come back to reflect on what I’ve highlighted. I might as well be posting screenshots of the text to Twitter like a buffoon (✋guilty).

So after stewing in frustration for quite awhile about the current state of digital reading platforms, I decided to do what any sane programmer would do: Devise an overly complex solution on AWS for a seemingly simple problem (that two companies with a combined market cap of close to a trillion fucking dollars can’t be bothered to solve).

The ultimate product was highlights.sawyerhollenshead.com. (Skip to the bottom for links to the code).

The problem: How do I gather all of my highlights from iBooks and Kindle and put them into one collection, preferably online, where I can share, browse, and reflect on everything I’ve read?
The solution: Email.

Actually, it’s a bit more complicated than just “Email”. Yes, I suppose I could just email the highlights to myself and be done with it. Now that I think about it, maybe I should have started there. But I didn’t, I jumped right to this: I created a new email address (eg. add-highlight@example.com) and hooked it up to Amazon Simple Email Service (SES). Using SES, my email address receives email I send to it and stores the email as essentially a text file in Amazon S3 (aka an online folder that stores files). Amazon S3 is smart though and can notify other services when a new file is added to it. So I setup my S3 folder to notify another Amazon service, Amazon Lambda, whenever a new email is received. Lambda is the “brains” of this whole flow. It’s given an input, the email S3 just stored, and runs code on that input."

Sending and parsing highlight emails

The code that I setup Lambda to run does a few things: First, it reads the email and identifies the source of the highlights as either iBooks or Kindle. Emails with iBooks highlights contain the highlights in the body and Kindle highlights are sent as attachments. Why?

iBooks provides a fairly nice user experience for emailing your highlights, so all I have to do is select the highlights I want to share and email them to my add-highlights@example.com address.

Kindle is a bit more of a monster. For books that I’ve purchased through Amazon, my highlights get synced to the Kindle highlights page, possibly one of Amazon’s most neglected pages. Using a bookmarklet, I export all these highlights as a JSON file. Next, I email the JSON file as an attachment to my SES address.

Publishing the highlights online

Now that my Lambda code knows the source of the highlights, it parses the highlights from the email and we proceed on to the next step: Saving the highlights to Siteleaf. Siteleaf is a content management system that myself and the team at Oak have been working on. Siteleaf allows you to manage your website’s content in the cloud and then publish your site as static HTML to a web host of your choice. Siteleaf also has an API, which I’m using to save my highlights. Once my highlights are saved to Siteleaf, Siteleaf automatically syncs the new highlights to GitHub as Markdown files. At this point, my highlights are saved to Siteleaf and accessible through the CMS and API. They’re also saved as Markdown files in a GitHub repo. Pretty cool. With one more click in Siteleaf, I then publish these highlights to my website, hosted on GitHub Pages. Now they’re also saved as HTML pages and accessible to everyone online. Even cooler.

(Note: The Siteleaf functionality mentioned above is currently in beta and not yet open to everyone. You can apply for access though — I know a guy.)

Drink
The irony that I’m using all of these Amazon services to solve a problem that Amazon itself is a part of isn’t lost on me. Like I said at the beginning, this is an overly complex solution to a problem that seems so simple — but it works for me. Now that I have all the pipes connected, when I finish reading a book, I send one email and my highlights are ready to be published to my site. Whether or not Apple, Amazon, or some other company ever makes browsing your ebook highlights and notes easier, I hope to always have a method of my own. If you have your own workflow, I’d love to hear about it.

View the code on GitHub
Instructions and code for the Lambda function can be found on GitHub. Additionally, the code for highlights.sawyerh.com is also available GitHub."]
via:caseygollan  sawyerhollenshead  books  libraries  digital  digitallibraries  readmill  kindle  ibooks  webdev  siteleaf  html  annotation  webdesign 
march 2016 by robertogreco
iTunes - Books - The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights by Claire L. Evans & Jona Bechtolt & The YACHT Trust
"The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights: A Handbook on Overcoming Humanity and Becoming Your Own God is a philosophical book by the band, business, and belief system of YACHT. 

It was originally published as a limited-edition printed book in 2009 in conjunction with the release of YACHT's album See Mystery Lights. In a sense, The Secret Teachings of the Mystery Lights is a clear, text version of the ideas presented more abstractly by YACHT's music. The original version was only sold person-to-person at YACHT concerts and events. It's now in a new electronic edition with plenty of supplementary materials, including the official YACHT tattoo policy, the YACHT publication "On Mantra," and a digitized version of the YACHT Catalogue of Influences 2007-2009."
yacht  claireevans  jonabechtold  books  ipad  applications  ibooks 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Choose Your Own Adventure - Choose Your Own Adventure eBooks
"Introducing Choose Your Own Adventure eBooks for the iBookstore.  10 titles now available in our ground-breaking electronic format:

CYOA has been in digital format since just a few years after it was first printed, appearing on Atari and Commodore computer systems in the very early 1980s.  We've improved the electronic experience a little bit:

Touch-screen technology lets us keep the interactive experience compelling and immersive.  And because you can't keep your fingers in a digital page, we've added a colorful map that lets you skip around and ahead in the book.  It's not cheating, we swear!

If you have an iTunes account, head over and check us out.  You'll need an iPad or iPhone with iBooks 1.5 or later (it's free!) and iOS 5.0 or later.  As always, we'd love to hear what you think."
ebooks  books  2012  ibookstore  ibooks  cyoa  if  interactivefiction 
may 2012 by robertogreco
Online community ethics | Harold Jarche
"Are you on Facebook? Who isn’t these days? Here’s a question about using Facebook as an extension of work or classroom learning. Is it ethical to force people (over whom you have some power & authority) to use Facebook, a proprietary platform that tracks users & sells their data to third parties?

I ask this question to organizational community managers, teachers, professors and even companies. For example, if I want to interact with our national public broadcaster, it seems the preferred venue is “The Facebook”. Last December I put my Facebook account into hibernation (you cannot actually delete your Facebook profile). Since then, I have had many offers to join groups or engage in communities on the platform, all assuming that, of course, I use Facebook."
proprietarysolutions  ownership  dataownership  open  openweb  ibooks  jaronlanier  teaching  edtech  2012  walledgardens  howardjarche  facebook  online 
march 2012 by robertogreco
dy/dan » On iBooks 2 And iBooks Author
"Algebra, as designed by McGraw-Hill for iBooks 2, is lighter by pounds. It's indexed for search. It's quick. You can highlight the text and insert notes. It removes one layer of abstraction between students and tools that already existed. Rather than accessing quizzes, tutorials, and enrichment videos by loading a CD-ROM into a computer or entering a password into a website, they're a tap away.

That's where the differences end. Students still interact with mathematics as they always have…

What I'm saying, basically, is that I'd have to modify, adapt, and extend the McGraw-Hill iBook in all the same ways that I modified, adapted, and extended the McGraw-Hill print textbook. We'd pull out the iBook just as infrequently as its printed sibling."
2012  algebra  learning  education  textbooks  ibooks  danmeyer  teaching  math  ibooksauthor 
february 2012 by robertogreco
dy/dan » Blog Archive » It’s Called iBooks Author, Not iMathTextbooks Author, And The Trouble That Results
"Print textbooks are powerless to facilitate that moment right there. Teachers can't facilitate it, not at anywhere near the speed and ease I'm suggesting. iBooks Author can't facilitate it either, but if it could — if it had some kind of "Q&A;" widget that lived alongside its other widgets and basically copied all the options from Google Forms — I'd find the platform difficult to resist.

But iBooks Author doesn't exist for the pleasure of math education publishers or even education publishers. "This is about Apple versus Amazon for who will sell digital literature in the future," says Audrey Watters. "This isn't really about textbooks."

iBooks Author serves publishers, period. It'll help you publish your Firefly fan fiction, your autobiography, or your Nana's recipe collection. It's extremely useful, broadly speaking, which inevitably means that, narrowly speaking to math education publishers, it's much less useful."
education  teaching  math  ibooksauthor  books  publishing  danmeyer  2012  textbooks  ibooks 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Matthew Battles: It doesn’t take Cupertino to make textbooks interactive » Nieman Journalism Lab
"Schiller made a sentimental play to this constituency, opening his presentation with a series of excerpted interviews in which teachers sang the sad litany of challenges they face: cratering budgets, overcrowded classrooms, unprepared, disengaged students. The argument that Apple — founded by dropouts and autodidacts — is fundamentally motivated to change this set of conditions is as ludicrous as the notion that the company could ever hope actually to do any such thing…

We can never count Apple out — the company’s visions have an implacable way of turning into givens — but the future is undoubtedly more complex. There will still be overcrowded classrooms, overworked teachers, and shrinking budgets in an education world animated by Apple. But I prefer to think of teachers and students finding ways to hack knowledge and make their own beautiful stories to envisioning ranks of studens spellbound by magical tablets."
ibooksauthor  ibooks  technology  schooliness  rubrics  standardization  autodidacts  pearson  timcarmody  matthewbattles  publishing  tablets  knwoledgebowl  knowledge  interactive  textbooks  books  schools  learning  storytelling  teaching  education  2012  ipad  apple 
january 2012 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read