A few months ago, Amazon opened a section of their online store where they sell apps for Android devices. Following the same boring-but-descriptive naming scheme that Microsoft pioneered with such products as a word processor called Microsoft Word, a flight simulator called Microsoft Flight Simulator, and so forth, they call it the Amazon Appstore.

Apple, of course, is suing them for trademark infringement. Amazon’s stance: “App store” is a generic, descriptive term for a store that sells apps. Apple counters: “Is not!”

It’s a bit more eloquent than that, but look at this:

“Apple admits that the current edition of the Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘app’ as, in part, ‘[a]n application, esp. an application program,” Apple said in the court filing. “Apple further admits that the current edition of the New Oxford American Dictionary defines ‘store’ as, in part, ‘a retail establishment selling items to the public: a health-food store.'”

And the best part:

“Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words ‘app store’ together denote a store for apps,” the document said. [emphasis added]

Really? Funny, I thought that was how the English language worked.

(In the interest of full disclosure: I own an Apple laptop, and Android phone, and use Amazon’s affiliate program…but not their app store.)

Comic strips and art:

Sci-fi and fantasy:

  • Keeping Up With the Cardassians. For months, this is what I heard every time someone mentioned the Kardashians. (What can I say? My brain is more attuned to Star Trek than to reality TV.)
  • Author Robert J. Sawyer answers pointed questions about Flashforward and the TV adaptation, including what went wrong. I have to agree that it was really hurt by focusing too heavily on the conspiracy arc.


Tech stuff:

  • Gmail accidentally reset thousands of accounts last month. (They got it back — this is Google after all.) I’ve come to rely heavily on Gmail, but I still keep a local copy of all my email in case something like this happens. (Engadget, via @pobox)
  • Mobile Content Is Twice as Difficult (Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox)
  • Map of smartphone marketshare by OS & manufacturer [dead link]. It’s a 3-way split between iPhone, Android and Blackberry. iPhone & Blackberry are of course each one manufacturer, while Android is divided mainly among HTC, Samsung and Motorola. (via @androidandme)

DC Comics has launched a digital comics program, starting with the iPad/iPhone and the Playstation network.

And by launched, I mean launched. As in, you can download the app and buy comics right now.

I’m really looking forward to the day when they expand this to more platforms (desktop PCs, Android and Windows–based tablets, etc) and start reaching into their back catalog. I’ve griped about the lack of Golden Age Flash reprints before, and the Bronze Age is also virtually invisible in reprints (though at least with comics from the 1970s and 1980s, you can usually find the back-issues at a reasonable price).

I haven’t had time to read all the interviews, but I’ll definitely be reading them tonight:

Jim Lee at Microphone at DC Editorial.With Jim Lee so heavily involved in this project, I can’t help but think of a moment at WonderCon this year. Saturday was the day of the iPad launch, and the Apple Store in San Francisco is just a few blocks from the convention center. Jim Lee was conspicuously missing from the DC Editorial panel. He showed up partway through the panel and stood in the Q&A line, where he planted a few questions…and then pulled out the brand-new iPad that he had stood in line for that morning!

Sadly, judging by ComiXology’s new releases, DC hasn’t brought Flash to the iPad just yet. But I’m sure it’s only a matter of time.

Update: Comics Alliance has another article I won’t have time to read just yet, on why this is a big deal.

Cross-posted at Speed Force

In the 1940s, comic book publishers would often re-purpose an old series to avoid postal fees for launching a new one. For example, the super-hero book All-Star Comics became All Star Western.

EC’s Moon Girl was infamous. It launched as a superhero title, became Moon Girl Fights Crime! by issue #7, and A Moon…A Girl…Romance with issue #9 as they tried to figure out just what genre audiences wanted.

Eventually it became Weird Fantasy, then Weird Science-Fantasy, then finished its run as Incredible Science-Fiction. It ended with the story, “Judgment Day,” an allegory against racism which the Comics Code Authority tried to censor.

I just read that someone’s reviving it. The original super-hero character has fallen into the public domain, and the new series, described as “‘The Dark Knight’ meets ‘Mad Men,” is being published through comiXology’s iPhone comics…60 years later.