ibooksLibrarians: Privacy’s Champions (Boing Boing)
Librarians like Alison Macrina (whose work I wrote about here are part of the vanguard of privacy activism in libraries, hosting cryptoparties and giving workshops to librarians and patrons on advanced information ninja-ry.

Amazon’s International Growth Challenge (Re/Code)
When Amazon reported its financial results recently, foreign exchange fluctuations played a big role.

iBooks Receives New Features on iOS 8.4 (GoodeReader)
This summer a new version of iOS will be released and it will add a bunch of new content to iBooks.

How I Lost Control of my eReading (Book Riot)
Having all of that content so easily available has made me a terrible and thoughtless reader.

Kindle Daily Deal: Wildfire (and others)


  1. These librarians illustrate the cluelessness often displayed by professionals whose vision has narrowed. They claim they want to protect user privacy and yet do nothing to offer actual privacy.

    The public libraries in Seattle, where I used to live, are a good example. When scanned, books being checked out appear on a screen that’s visible to anyone within a few yards or, in the case of my local library, to anyone sitting at a nearby table. There’s no privacy and, from my perspective, that’s no big deal, partly because I don’t care who sees and partly because those in the library can read the book covers of people going up to checkout anyway.

    What’s really going on is something that’s well known to anyone familiar with the cultural history of the 1930s. When it made movies then, Hollywood went out of its way not to offend its German market. Almost no movies were made about the horrors then taking place in German and even existing books that portrayed a pre-Nazi Germany as evil were sanitized and placed in an undetermined country.

    Nazism didn’t bomb U.S. theaters, so Hollywood was driven primarily by money. As the description of “The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler” puts it: “To continue doing business in Germany after Hitler’s ascent to power, Hollywood studios agreed not to make films that attacked the Nazis or condemned Germany’s persecution of Jews.”

    Today, bending before threats is widespread. In the UK, the media often reports violence by Muslim radicals from the Middle East as being done by “Asian youths,” as if the country were being terrorized by waves of teen Japanese girls with “Hello Kitty” backpacks. Pretending not to engage in bigotry, the British press engages in a wider and far nastier bigotry. Sadly, they’re probably too stupid to realize that.

    These librarians are engaging in similar behavior. Their privacy concerns have nothing to do with you or I. Those visible-to-all computer screens illustrate that. No, what they want to conceal are lists of those checking out books on bomb-making, lists that include potential terrorists. The reasoning is, “If well do nothing to put terrorists at risk, maybe they’ll leave us alone.”

    You see the same attitude in the response of the much of the American press to the recent draw Mohammed conference. In many cases, the very same news outlets that condemned a simple, unadorned drawing of Mohammed’s founder (and there are numerous such drawings in Islamic tradition), were those who yelped the loudest in defense of Andres Serrano’s vile “Piss Christ.”

    The difference, of course, it that Christians and Jews don’t blow people up. Muslim radicals do. Like I said, the real reason is cowardice. I’d have less of a problem with this if the people involved, including newspaper editors and librarians, would simple admit that they’re cowards. When they attempt to find principled arguments for spineless behavior, however, I grow disgusted.

    Recent chatter about bans or ‘hate speech’ not applying to free speech illustrate that. Free speech has never being about uncontroversial speech. It’s always been about speech that some group hates. And making the criteria for acceptable “hate speech” the fact that a particular group is willing to kill to silence their critics is particularly foul.

    It also raises the interesting question of how its possible to slander a radical branch of Islam that so readily resorts to violence on a large scale. The ultimate defense against an accusation of slander is always that what was said is true. Calling Hitler and Nazism anti-Semitic isn’t hate speech. Claiming that radical Islam wants to use violence to impose its agenda on people isn’t hate speech either. It’s precisely what ISIS is doing in Iraq.

    How do you fight terrorism? G. K. Chesterton explained how a century ago. You show that its efforts to terrorize have failed with ridicule and humor. You make clear that you will not be intimidated. That’s where these librarians are failing.

    Like I said. I don’t mind people being cowards. Not everyone is brave. What I do dislike are those who attempt to mask their cowardice behind transparently false excuses about privacy and hate speech.

    –Michael W. Perry, editor of Chesterton on War and Peace: Battling the Ideas and Movements that Led to Nazism and World War II

  2. Re the new, upcoming features of the iBooks.app under iOS 8.4, these will be interesting to follow. I am very curious as to how multi-touch books such as the “Life on Earth” series will read on the smaller iPhones and the iPod touch or whether this feature will be restricted to the larger iPhones.

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