Everything you’ve learned in school as “obvious” becomes less and less
obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no
solids in the universe. There’s not even a suggestion of a solid. There
are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight
lines.- R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 – 1983)
by Damon Brown
WIRED magazine started all kinds of ruckus earlier this year when it
declared that The Web Is Dead.
“Yeah, yeah, OK,” I thought, as I read the article on the WIRED website.
GTFOH. But something weird happened – I started to agree with those
crazy guys. Actually, agree isn’t quite right. Instead, I’m realizing
that the web isn’t dead, but our proverbial kids will probably not mess
with it everyday like we do. In other words, it might be a generation
away from being a virtual wasteland.
My change of heart happened last Wednesday when the great J.K. Rowling
the website that is all things Harry Potter. It will have interactive
environments, cool scenes, and other nerdy goodies. The problem? Based
on the announcement, it will all have to be accessed through the
Pottermore website. No apps. No stand-alone games. The only thing
outside of the website are text-based ebooks. Like I said on my CBS daily
blog, I’m disappointed that this potentially awesome interactive
experience will be stuck
in a web browser requiring an Internet connection. It feels like
Pottermore is built for a pre-tablet
2009. I want Hogwarts in my pocket! I then realized that we all are
getting used to having interactive experiences in our hands – accessible
at all times.
I’m not an expert on the web by any means, but I do know publishing, and
this reminds me a hell of a lot of the magazine world. Back in the day,
like, you know, the ’80s, general interest magazines thrived on the
newsstands: Life, The Saturday Evening Post, Readers’ Digest, etc. By
the time the Reagan Era ended, magazines became more specialized and
focused, and general interest pubs either were closed (Life,
the Post) or in financial decay (Digest). Few broad-audience pubs
survived. Why? We’re all about personalization now, whether it is
creating an iPod playlist instead of letting a radio DJ control our
tunes to our TiVo
learning our favorite programs rather than blindly following the TV
And what is the web? A messy, duplicitous, and confusing newsstand. We
depend on RRS feeds, favorite blogs, and, of course, friends to steer us
to the right, most useful information. Apps are popular because they are
usually online-independent, they are portable, and they are focused. If
an app is done well, we have a clean, uninterrupted, and tailored
experience. The iPhone and its ilk
made apps more commonplace, but we would have found another way to
streamline the wild wild web experience with or without the mobile
Lest you think I’m nuts, we now actually have the stats to back up our
app cravings, too. According to the analytics firm Flurry, for the first
time we are spending more minutes daily using mobile apps than surfing
81 minutes in apps versus 74 minutes in a browser. Compare this to a
year ago when we only spent 43 minutes in apps versus 64 minutes on the web.
This is why Facebook,
and other browser-based tools will be announcing better-than-webtablet
this summer. This is also why, for the next generation, the Internet
will be like a paper magazine: Something you go to when the app version
isn’t available. Word to my digital
Library users in the UK will soon be able to enjoy digital versions of
their favourite magazines thanks to a partnership between audiobook
distributer Recorded Books and digital mag retailer Zinio.
The two companies will make available a ‘Zinio for Libraries’ service
which gives patrons access to magazines via their library card. The
service will also be available in the United States, Canada and Australia.
Zinio already sells digital and interactive magazines via its website
for reading on PCs and laptops and via apps for the iPad and Android
devices. The company also powers branded single-title iPad apps for
“People love going to their public library to read a large selection of
magazines, but printed copies can easily get damaged, lost or
destroyed,” said Rich Freese, president and CEO, Recorded Books.
“Books, music and audiobooks are transitioning to digital formats and
now with Zinio for Libraries, we can offer thousands of digital
magazines from most every major global publisher.” “We’re really excited
about our new partnership with Recorded Books, which will allow us to
offer our library of thousands of magazines to readers through their
local libraries,” said Jeanniey Mullen, CMO, Zinio.
“This really expands the audience of readers who can experience their
favorite magazines with the interactive, engaging rich media elements
that Zinio offers.”
Yenting Chen, Taipei; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES
Amazon is poised to step into tablet PCs and will launch models as soon
as August-September, with targeted global sales of four million units
for 2011, according to Taiwan-based
The timing of launch is to meet the peak sales period prior to
Thanksgiving in the US and the year-end holidays in the US and Europe,
the sources pointed out.
Amazon adopts processors developed by Texas Instruments, with
Taiwan-based Wintek to supply touch panels, ILI Technology to supply LCD
driver ICs and Quanta Computer responsible for assembly, the sources
indicated. Monthly shipments are expected to be 700,000-800,000 units.
Amazon will provide streaming movie services for users of its tablet
PCs, the sources noted.