Links of Interest

Go Read This | New Startups Focus on Tracking eBook Reading Data

Interesting stuff this:

Analysing reading data is playing a crucial role in the evolutionary growth in Amazon and Barnes and Noble. For years, those two companies have been guarding their data and not relaying it to their publishing friends. This data is exploited to promote books that are fashionable in any given day and the ones people tend to read, cover to cover.

Scribd has only been offering their eBook subscription platform in October and already they are massing a treasure trove of data. The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all. “We’re going to be pretty open about sharing this data so people can use it to publish better books,” said Trip Adler, Scribd’s chief executive.

via New Startups Focus on Tracking eBook Reading Data.

Go Read This | Moonshot

Really great piece this from Horace Dediu at Asymco:

Incidentally, timing is the other element that is key to success. It might seem that timing really is a matter of luck. But timing can be informed by the same conversation with the customer. As you observe adoption you can also measure how long it take for a technology to be adopted. You can do A/B tests and see what is faster.

The most reliable method of breakthrough creation is not the moonshot but a learning process that involves steady iteration. Small but profitable wins.  A driver-less car might be achieved but first a driver-assisting car might teach the right lessons. An electric car might be achieved but first a hybrid car might teach the lessons needed. A delivery drone might be achieved but first a programmable UPS truck might be a better way to learn.

via Moonshot |.

Stories Don't Really Come Better Than This | The great Irish painting that turned up on eBay – The Irish Times – Sat, Oct 02, 2010

This story speaks for itself!

There is a common assumption that Irish artists of the late 19th century transcended the harsh realities of political and economic life either by emigrating and assimilating or by staying put but avoiding subjects that might mirror or create discontent. Mulvany’s The Battle of Aughrim�, however, places visual art at the centre of an emergent nationalism traditionally perceived as the preserve of poets and playwrights, journalists and politicians.

Mulvany chose a propitious moment for the action of the painting, the momentary victory by Jacobite forces over the Williamite army at Urraghry on July 12th, 1691, before their subsequent calamitous defeat on the Hill of Aughrim, in Co Galway. By showing the weakest link in the Jacobite position Mulvany illustrates the bravery of the Irish as they took on the superior forces of William. But when the Jacobite commander Lieut Gen St Ruth was decapitated by a cannonball, near victory became a rout. In a striking prefiguration, the painting depicts a Williamite soldier, in the centre of the picture, staggering backwards as his head is severed from his neck.

The myth of Aughrim is largely built on the randomness of the defeat – the decapitation of St Ruth – as one stray cannonball consigns Ireland to another 200 years of subjugation. As if to emphasise this, the decapitation of the British soldier in the painting signals, in its one-on-one combat, the valour of the Irish by comparison with the contingency of the British victory. From near triumph to resounding defeat, the story of Aughrim was subsequently reclaimed in Irish cultural memory as an enduring symbol of entitlement, a site for future resurgence.

via The great Irish painting that turned up on eBay – The Irish Times – Sat, Oct 02, 2010.

Quick Link | n+1: We All Die There Now

Good review this! I’ve not seens Kick Ass yet, I may  not after reading this!

One of the major differences between Kill Bill and Kick-Ass—besides the twenty-seven years that separate Uma Thurman from Chloë Moretz—is that Kill Bill is good and Kick-Ass is bad. Tarantino’s action sequences are as elegantly constructed as a well-turned phrase. When Thurman kills Gogo Yubari, Gogo’s metal ball drops to the floor, ending their fight as neatly as a period ends a sentence. The only part of Kick-Ass at all worthy of comparison with Kill Bill is one that has drawn dutiful outrage from critics: Hit-Girl, dressed in a white blouse and plaid skirt, is granted entrance to D’Amico’s lobby by his guards, whom she shoots quickly and quietly. In a movie full of jet-packs and gigantic explosions and burning warehouses, the scene seems spare and refined. But the sequence is one reason why critics have called the movie’s violence pornographic.

via n+1: We All Die There Now.

Wordpress Books Tag Page

Links Of Interest (AT Least To Me) 01/07/2010

Wordpress Books Tag PageI’ve been doing some fascinating reading the last few week and thought I’d share the ones that stuck with me. You may have noticed a few reblogs appearing in the stream. I’ve been using WordPress’s reblog button and loving it very much! These are non-reblogged though. Also impressed by their much improved tag pages. Like this one, for books.

An excellent open letter by Brian O’Leary to Scott Turrow about piracy, data and good and bad decision making.
Here

A very fine article over at Slate (Thanks to SarahB for the tip) on ebooks and paper and why one will not replace the other. Agree or disagree, the writing is solid.
Here

A nice find in general, Slow Media, one I was directed to by the excellent blog Casual Optimist.
Here

James Long over on Speculative Horizons has a great list of four upcoming titles by four of my favourite fantasy writers.
Here

Smashing line for literature at the Kilkenny Arts Festival this year.
Here

Philip Jones points to the clash in perception of the future for books in the digital age between Jeff Bezoz and Hachette UK’s George Walkley. Nicely done too.
Here

With the Russian spying scandal in the US, Yale University Press talks spies! Well worth the read and considering a new book purchase too.
Here

Despite a tough market, Barnes & Noble have been very upbeat about the future in terms of digital and print sales. I hope they are right.
Here

The summer seems to be rolling in this year (when does it not), but at least it’s been a good one so far!
Eoin

Some Excellent History Podcasts

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=volcano&iid=8604972″ src=”7/a/1/c/Ash_spews_from_8f77.jpg?adImageId=12678428&imageId=8604972″ width=”380″ height=”534″ /]First and foremost I thought I’d remind us all that we live in times historic. A time that despite enormous change and significant scientific achievement can still be grounded by natural causes and nature itself.

But what this blogpost is about is three great history podcasts. New Books In History, Don Carlin’s, Hardcore History and 12 Byzantine Rulers.

For a long time, I missed the potential of podcasts. I didn’t own an mp3 player of any kind and I love radio so I was happy enough to listen to whatever was on air when I was walking, reading or working. Then I got an iPod Touch!

Since then I’ve found four podcasts that I listen to nearly everyday, some for short period like Mattins, a wonderful daily short reading by James Bridle and sometimes for more than an hour.

These three offer different things, one, New Books In History, is very focussed and about a single topic per episode with an obvious connection to the book being discussed. Hardcore History is much broader and covers topics in depth sometimes stretching over multiple episodes. The last, 12 Byzantine Rulers, is focussed and precise yet covers a huge sweeping history over a series that lasts about 17 episodes.

I heartily recommend them all!
Eoin