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Twitter Changes Rules to Crack Down on Bots, Bans Mass Tweeting and Duplicate Accounts

 

A few weeks back Facebook and Twitter were humiliated by a NYTimes piece that detailed the back alley practices of the social media industry, and now the latter is finally doing something about the problem. On Wednesday Twitter announced new terms of service that effectively ban many of the more blatant sockpuppet activities common both to companies that sell likes and tweets and the 50,000 strong bot army that had been linked to Russian propaganda efforts. From Twitter's blog post: Do not (and do not allow your users to) simultaneously post identical or substantially similar content to multiple accounts. For example, your service should not permit a user to select several accounts they control from which to publish a given Tweet. This applies regardless of whether the Tweets are published to Twitter at the same time, or are scheduled/queued for future publication. As an alternative to posting identical content, you can Retweet content from one account from the other accounts you wish to share that post from. This should only be done from a small number of distinct accounts that you directly control. Please note that bulk, aggressive, or very high-volume automated Retweeting is not permitted under the Automation Rules, and may be [...]


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Morning Coffee – 21 February 2018

 

Here are a few stories to read this morning. Do we really need to read books anymore? (Emily Cashour) Women better represented in Victorian novels than modern, finds study (Guardian) McGraw-Hill Education Launches Textbook and E-Book Rental Program (Campus Technology) The Newly Revamped Bible Is Meant for Readers Who Love Novels (Bookstr) Money Laundering Via Author Impersonation on Amazon? (Krebs on Security) Farewell to Paper presents an engaging double act on lost things (The Conversation) Scammers Are Using Createspace to Spam Amazon With Pirated Textbooks (The Digital Reader)


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Amazon’s Createspace Now Home to Money Laundering Operation

 

The Kindle Store is rife with scammers who publish spam ebooks and cheat their way to the top of the best-seller lists, and apparently Createspace has its own problems. Brian Krebs brings our attention to what was most likely some type of money laundering scam being run in Amazon's print-on-demand service: Patrick Reames had no idea why Amazon.com sent him a 1099 form saying he’d made almost $24,000 selling books via Createspace, the company’s on-demand publishing arm. That is, until he searched the site for his name and discovered someone has been using it to peddle a $555 book that’s full of nothing but gibberish. Reames is a credited author on Amazon by way of several commodity industry books, although none of them made anywhere near the amount Amazon is reporting to the Internal Revenue Service. Nor does he have a personal account with Createspace. But that didn’t stop someone from publishing a “novel” under his name. That word is in quotations because the publication appears to be little more than computer-generated text, almost like the gibberish one might find in a spam email. The impersonator priced the book at $555 and it was posted to multiple Amazon sites in different countries. The book — which as been [...]


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Sentiment Analysis Could One Day Tell Authors How Readers Feel About a Story

 

There are ebook analytics startups like Jellybooks that can tell publishers how members of a focus group are using an ebook - which pages are the most popular, how far each test subject got before dropping the book, etc. But one thing these startups can't do just yet is tell publishers how a reader feels about a book. Sure, they can survey readers, but that doesn't always result in truthful answers. But sentiment analysis might. According to Wikipedia, sentiment analysis "refers to the use of natural language processing, text analysis, computational linguistics, and biometrics to systematically identify, extract, quantify, and study affective states and subjective information". A simpler way to put it would be that sentiment analysis is when someone uses software to identify the emotional subtext in a text, image, or video. For example, Facebook regularly uses sentiment analysis to understand and filter your updates. The part I want to bring to your attention is how someone might use a camera to watch faces, and then use sentiment analysis software to understand what people are feeling. A story on the topic crossed my desk today. IHE reports on one such effort to use sentiment analysis in the classroom and track students' engagement levels. How's everyone [...]


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Updated: eBooks are a Stupid Product, and Other Blinkered Ramblings

 

Lagardère Publishing CEO Arnaud Nourry gave an interview to Scroll.in this weekend that showed both that he was remarkably ignorant about his products as well as how and why consumers value his products. FYI: Lagardère is the parent company for Hachette Book Group (US) and Hachette (UK), and Hachette Livre (France). The interview also showed that his PR staff needs to be fired (Nourry should never have been allowed to say this). It’s been a little over ten years since ebooks came to the market in the form of Kindle. You mentioned a small decline – do you think the market has plateaued? Are there formats other than ebooks that publishers should be looking at? There are two different geographies to look at for this. In the US and UK, the ebook market is about 20% of the total book market, everywhere else it is 5%-7% because in these places the prices never went down to such a level that the ebook market would get significant traction. I think the plateau, or rather slight decline, that we’re seeing in the US and UK is not going to reverse. It’s the limit of the ebook format. The ebook is a stupid product. It is exactly [...]


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Infographics: What Your Font Choices Say About You (2)

 

I have a two-fer for you today. A lot of people think that the font types you choose for your logo, website, and other text will say something about you, your business, and your personality. I'm not sold on the idea, but there's some truth to the related theory that font choices convey meaning to the reader. I did find a couple fun infographics that make a connection between personality and font choices. The first comes via Twitter, and was hosted on The Visual Communications Guy blog (I could not find the original post, sorry). It makes cracks about the type of person who would choose each font. click to enlarge The second infographic explains the psychology behind font choices. It divides all fonts into 5 general categories, and explains how a reader will see them: You should take careful consideration when choosing a logo font. As you may already know, people have certain feelings, emotions, and associations when they see certain colors. What you may not realize is that they have a similar response to typefaces and fonts. So, for example, if you want to portray that your business is traditional or respectable, you might want to consider a serif typeface. If [...]


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Japanese City Launches Smart Bus Stop Display Pilot Featuring E-ink Screens

 

Papercast is a startup that specializes in developing smart bus stop displays built around E-ink screens. This is the company that supplied the 32" color E-ink displays used in Singapore's mass transit stations, and in other cities like Tannheim and Jerusalem. Now they have started a pilot in Aizuwakamatsu, a city in the Fukushima Prefecture in Japan. The project is administered by Aizu Riding Car Development, a consortium initiated by Michinori Holdings, operator of the Aizuwakamatsu bus service, Aizu Bus. Michinori is working alongside Toppan Printing, KDDI Corporation, Hakuhodo and Weathernews Corporation. The purpose of the consortium is to improve service convenience and reduce ongoing costs by digitally connecting bus stops. It will see the replacement of traditional paper signage with real-time passenger information on electronic displays. E-paper has been selected by the consortium as the preferred technology and by partnering with E Ink, Papercast’s solar powered, wireless bus stop display technology will be used. The neat thing about Papercast's signs is they are solar-powered and can show real-time information on the status of the transit system. They can be updated remotely through Papercast's platform, keeping passengers informed on how long they will have to wait.


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Morning Coffee – 19 February 2018

 

Here are a few stories to read this morning. The Google Chrome Ad Blocker Has Already Changed the Web (Wired) The Guardian’s new podcast player for the web tries to make listening a little more interactive (Nieman Labs) Want to Sell More Books? WRITE More Books! (Indies Unlimited) Judge Rules News Publishers Violated Copyright by Embedding Tweets of Tom Brady Photo (Hollywood Reporter)


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So I Have a New Home Page

 

This took me a good three months longer than I had planned, but today I am ready to unveil the new home page for this site. The new layout deemphasizes the blog and brings more attention to the tech support side of the business. It also does a better job of introducing me and telling my story. The old home page is still around, of course; it has simply been moved to the-digital-reader.com/posts/. I would appreciate any feedback you could provide. P.S. I'd like to thank Kandia Johnson, who helped me better understand how to present myself a creative professional (her Masterclass is an amazing value), Michael Carusi, whose site inspired my personal narrative, and Jane Friedman, because (let's be honest) my home page started with essentially the same stock page layout from the same site builder she had used (but then I added a few improvements).


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PocketBook 740 Relaunched as the InkPad 3

 

PocketBook has dashed the hopes of anyone who was hoping for a beautiful new InkPad model; instead this ereader maker has slapped the label on the 740. Announced last month, the 740 features a 7.8" Carta E-ink screen. It's going to be a reasonably powerful ereader when it ships, but it is also missing one of the better features of the InkPad and InkPad 2: it is missing the page turn buttons to one side of the screen. The new InkPad 3 runs Pocketbook's own reading software on a dual-core 1GHz CPU with 1GB RAM 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage, and a microSD card slot. It does not have Bluetooth or speakers, so far as we know, but it does have Wifi, a headphone jack, and a smartcover. It can play MP3s, and it can conver text into speech. The InkPad 3 has a 7.8" Carta E-ink screen with a resolution of 300 ppi (1404 x 1872 pixels) and a capacitive touchscreen and a color-changing frontlight. Weighing only 210 grams, this ereader measures 195 x 136.5 mm and has a thickness of only 8 mm. The InkPad 3 is already shipping in Russia as the Pocketbook 740, where it  costs 14999 rubles, or $266 USD. [...]


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Paul Biba’s eBook, eLibrary, eMuseum and ePublishing news compilation for week ending Friday, February 16

 

Editor's Note: The following is a compilation of tweets from @PaulKBiba, the former editor-in-chief of Teleread and an editor of Project Gutenberg’s Facebook page. Author's Note: This will be the last compilation published here. Readers can follow the news tweets directly at @paulkbiba The Earliest Photos of the Frick, Taken When It Was Still a Private Residence (Hyperallergic) Video Search: The Internet Archive’s Wonderful TV News Archive Adds New Search Features (Infodocket) New From LIBER: "Digital Humanities Reading List: Part Two (Cooperation Between #Libraries & #Research Communities)" (Library Journal) The Online Books Page Listing over 2 million free books on the Web (Online Books) Ebooks – Orange et le CNED partenaires en Afrique (Idboox) Listen Online: Library and Archives Canada Adds More Digitized Historical Recordings to Virtual Gramophone (Infodocket) Fidibo – Des ebooks dans le métro de Téhéran (Idboox) World Radio Day, 13th February: Listen to digitised radio archives from Iran and Micronesia from the Endangered Archives Programme #WorldRadioDay (British Library) Digital Collections: University of Iowa Libraries Makes Avant-Garde Works Accessible to the World (Infodocket) What Next-Gen Digital Humanities Looks Like (Edsurge) Complete Collection of Digitized Issues of the Federal Register (1960-1969) Now Available Online via GPO’s govinfo (Infodocket) Washington [...]


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