Firefox 3 Beta 1 is out. Nice so far. Oddly enough, it runs better than the current Opera 9.5 previews on my old Linux box at work, though that mostly seems to be the fault of the find-in-history option.
I usually avoid any sort of shopping on the day after Thanksgiving, online included, but I’ve been getting email from various online stores that are trying to get into Black Friday. Amazon is advertising a Black Friday Sale, and Apple is promoting a “special one-day shopping event” on their website—and annoyingly, neither of them is giving any clue as to what sort of deals are involved. Amazon keeps forwarding me to today’s deals, and Apple just says something’s coming. And neither site lists actual hours. Is it midnight to midnight? What time zone?
Speaking of Amazon, their entire home page is currently taken up by the announcement of their new eBook reader, Kindle. At $400 I’m not going to rush out and buy one, but it looks like they’ve solved some of the main e-book problems: it’s small, light and wireless, and they even bring up the reading-in-bed issue in the intro. The real question is going to be compatibility & openness: It’ll read plain text, HTML, Word, and a few other document formats (and they’re promoting its access to Wikipedia), so it should be possible for other stores to sell books for the device. And what about the e-book offerings themselves? Will they be loaded down with draconian digital rights management like the Adobe ebooks of a few years ago, or are they following the model of Amazon’s MP3 store?* In a nice change, their music downloads are entirely DRM-free and they use it as a selling point. Edit: Per Andrea’s comments and further research, Kindle ebooks are locked down with DRM. No, thanks!
The name, however, makes me wonder how soon they’ll offer Fahrenheit 451.
Finally, the Internet Storm Center has an insightful response to the statement, “There is nothing on my computer that a hacker would be interested in.” Let’s leave aside the question of your personal data for the moment. Just the fact that you’ve got a computer with an internet connection could prove very useful to someone who wants to cover their tracks or just add more power to their own distributed system.
* Amazon’s MP3 store is also surprisingly cheap. I replaced my old tapes of the original cast recordings of Les Misérables (Broadway) and Phantom Of The Opera for $9 each—they run upwards of $30 on CD.
From what I’ve read, Kindle books do have DRM. And you have to convert all your other files before they’ll work on the kindle. Plus it’s quite possibly the most hideous thing ever. 🙂
Ugh. DRM and it forces you to convert things before you use them? No, thanks.
The design didn’t bother me, though I’ve seen a lot of other negative comments about it, but now that I think about it, it is about 20 years out of date. I think I’ve finally figured out what it reminds me of: an Atari ST!