Kindle coming to a PC near you next month. Amazon’s Kindle software will be available as a free download for PC users starting next month. Versions for Macs and BlackBerrys will be available next year. All will have DRM, though users will be spared the pain of having to download their locked-down lit via AT&T’s 3G network, which has replaced Sprint’s more reliable data network in recent hardware Kindles.
One of the big selling points about the Nook, the new ebook reader introduced this week by Barnes & Noble, is that unlike Amazon they’ll let you virtually “loan” your ebook to a friend for up to 14 days (if the publisher allows it). What they don’t tell you–some smart readers over at MobileRead sussed it out–is that you can only do this one time per book. You’d better lend wisely–and your friend had better finish that book within 14 days.
Let’s be honest here. There is not very much overlap between the groups of “people who are quite tech-savvy” and “quilters.” (I can say that because I’m a quilter! Put down the rotary cutters!) That’s why reader T. is annoyed that the makers of popular quilt design software Electric Quilt only offer their users four “activations,” or installations on a particular operating system, and has their users scared to upgrade their Windows version or purchase a new computer.
The ebook “war” is a race to the bottom, apparently, with Barnes & Noble trying to out-do Amazon on DRM stupidity. A reader emailed B&N customer service to point out that their “free books” offer consists of 5 public domain titles that are no longer protected under copyright, yet are still locked down with digital rights management (DRM). Their response? “For copyright protection purposes, these files are encrypted and cannot be converted or printed.”
Coldplay, the band everyone’s little sister and mom loves, has been offering its album LeftRightLeftRightLeft for free since May.
Dan, the Kindle owner who last week found that some of the books he’d purchased were no longer available to download due to unspecified limitations set by the publisher, spoke to more Amazon reps on Sunday. They clarified the DRM policy. Well, sort of.
Amazon Kindle Books Can Only Be Downloaded A Limited Number Of Times, And No You Cannot Find Out That Limit Before You Hit It
[The CSR said] that there is always a limit to the number of times you can download a given book. Sometimes, he said, it’s five or six times but at other times it may only be once or twice. And, here’s the kicker folks, once you reach the cap you need to repurchase the book if you want to download it again.
Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories are in sort of an awkward place. Are they part of America, or not? Sure, they can’t vote in presidential elections, but they are on the back of a quarter. This confusion has led to problems for Netflix users in Puerto Rico. Netflix will provide them with DVDs-by-mail service at the same price as service in the 48 contiguous United States, but considerably slower. However, they won’t let Puerto Rico customers stream movies over the Internet, which would be handy while they wait three or four days for their DVDs to show up.
Amazon recently banned a customer for making what they considered too many returns, and when they did this they also disabled his Kindle account, although the returns were never related to Kindle purchases. So what happens when your Kindle account is taken away? Your Kindle still works, and the books you already bought for it will work, but you can’t download those books ever again (better have made a backup on your PC!), you can’t receive your magazine, blog, or newspaper subscriptions on it anymore, you can’t email documents to Amazon to have them converted and sent to your Kindle, and you can’t buy any new books for the device. That $360 device only works so long as Amazon decides it will work.
Want an extra $1,000? The Wall Street Journal has a list of seven things that you can easily stop buying without making drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Update: It turns out the special chips used in the headphone controls of the third generation Shuffle don’t contain any DRM after all, so any attempts at reverse-engineering won’t bring on the wrath of the DMCA.
Update: Mike writes back to say that after reading the comments below, he checked his purchase history and the album is indeed listed there. What’s confusing is Mike didn’t buy it through iTunes, but through Amazon, but he says that other people did have access to his account and may have purchased it without his knowledge.
Do you play games for more than 3 years? I do! I still like Super Mario 3, and that’s no lie. Well, if you are like me, you might be concerned about the fact that the PC version of Gears of War shipped with DRM that automatically made the game unplayable after 1/28/09.