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Old 04-09-2007, 04:28 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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Computer experts Gibson and Laporte chat about their Readers

Thanks to raevyn1 for reporting to us that computer security experts Steve Gibson and Leo Laporte are both proud new owners of the Sony Reader, which they discuss in their latest podcasts.

Links: Episode 85 (transcript), Episode 86 (transcript)

Some interesting topics were raised, including how the Reader helps visually impaired people, how it solves the problem of carrying heavy books during trips, the annoyance of DRM, how battery life plays an important part, and how E Ink is still new technology waiting to be explored.

Highly recommended listen even if you already know your Reader inside-out.
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:04 PM   #2
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Steve Gibson is one of the old guard greats. He has a great knack of seeing the trees where others can't even quite make out the forest. His insights were years early. His program SpinRite solved hard disk problems few knew they had until it was too late.

His insights are always worth the effort. After six months with my Reader I learned something new.
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Old 04-09-2007, 11:26 PM   #3
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Agreed! SN is one of the most useful and informative podcasts out there amid a sea of podcasts that are mostly just blather.
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Old 04-10-2007, 12:51 AM   #4
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Haha! They're refering to Leo Laporte as a "security expert?" I wouldn't go that far, he does have a funny/geeky TV personality about him, but doesn't rate at what I'd consider a IA expert (which, coincidentally, was my area of concentration during my college years).

On the other hand, it is good to see the positive publicity of the device being promoted.
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:18 AM   #5
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It was interesting that they mentioned Michael McCollum. He was one of my favorite authors. I had purchased his Antaries series in DRM format several years ago but had since lost the ability to read the files. When I heard that they were available in non DRM format for the Sony, I naturally went out and bought them again, plus his new series. The PDF format looks surprisingly (for me, at least) good on the prs-500.
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Old 04-10-2007, 05:37 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Azayzel
Haha! They're refering to Leo Laporte as a "security expert?"
Forgive Alex that one. He is not a regular listener of Security Now. I agree that calling Leo Laporte a security expert is a huge stretch. I would say that Leo is an well-rounded geek with the rare ability to translate "geek" for the "non-geek." Leo also has the knack of attracting the real experts from diverse areas (even biotech and law) to be on his podcasts, radio, and tv shows.
I agree it was nice to see the Sony Reader and the ebook concept being discussed and even promoted. I hope Steve Gibson's correct that the PRS-500 is first-gen and Sony will continue to improve it.
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Old 04-10-2007, 10:48 AM   #7
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he PDF format looks surprisingly (for me, at least) good on the prs-500.
Indeed it does look as good or better than .rtf - very nice and good to know about another author - I just bought the Gibraltar and Antares books.

Leo is not a security expert but sure as heck Steve Gibson is. Leo does have a very good overall PC knowledge, however. It is the interaction between them on the SN podcasts that makes it so good for folks that are just low level geeks like myself.
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Old 04-11-2007, 02:35 AM   #8
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Actually as a long time security person (and I don't call myself an expert, even though I was a enterprise firewall architect back in the days when firewalls were bleeding edge, and take some credit for early anti-spam blocking techniques, and have several patents in cryptography) I've always considered SG to be a shameless self-promoter and defenitely not a security expert (anyone remember how he virtually predicted armageddon because Windows XP added support for raw sockets? I still get a good laugh out of that).

I have much more respect for Laporte (not as a security expert either, obviously, but as a tech media worker).
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Old 04-11-2007, 04:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raevyn1
Forgive Alex that one. He is not a regular listener of Security Now.
That's true But it's probably going to chance as I found the last two podcast quite interesting.

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I hope Steve Gibson's correct that the PRS-500 is first-gen and Sony will continue to improve it.
That's what Howard Stringer implied at once point in an interview, so there is hope indeed.
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:26 AM   #10
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Well, it's obviously first-gen. Whether Sony continues to improve it remains to be seen. There have been other eReaders from different makers which have been first-gen which haven't made it to second-gen status.

What we need to do (all of us, not just the members of this group) is to convince content providers to provide more content for the Reader (i.e. current releases of books) so that more people will be tempted to buy the Reader and the content so that Sony will have economic incentive to move to second-gen status with it, which in turn should get more people buying it and the content, which should convince more content providers to expand their offerings.

It's essentially computer hardware so the age old hardware-drives-software/software-drives-hardware see-saw is as true with the Reader as with the Pentium chips.

I have contacted all of my favorite authors who aren't represented at Connect yet to try to convince them to negotiate epublication rights and get into the ebook marketplace.

I urge everybody who reads this to do the same. More current authors will mean more desirability factor to entice new buyers.

And while Sony does have some creative imagination for new products, the bottom line is that it is a megacorporation and what matters most is the corporate bottom line. No matter how wonderful we might know our readers are, if we don't work hard to expand the marketplace for the devices and the content, in another 5 years there will be no Sony Readers to replace our first-gen models. And those authors/publishers who didn't enter the ebook marketplace will have felt justified in remaining out of a dead-end experiment.

Getting these things mentioned on such podcasts as Gibson and Laporte is great -- now to get more such mentions!
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Old 04-11-2007, 09:14 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by dhbailey
What we need to do (all of us, not just the members of this group) is to convince content providers to provide more content for the Reader (i.e. current releases of books) so that more people will be tempted to buy the Reader and the content so that Sony will have economic incentive to move to second-gen status with it, which in turn should get more people buying it and the content, which should convince more content providers to expand their offerings.

I have contacted all of my favorite authors who aren't represented at Connect yet to try to convince them to negotiate epublication rights and get into the ebook marketplace.

I urge everybody who reads this to do the same. More current authors will mean more desirability factor to entice new buyers.
How can I convince someone to use Connect if I loath the idea myself?
If there are 2 shops, one sells DRM lrfs and another RTFs, I will buy RTF. Connect will not get a penny from me because of the DRM. Sorry about it.

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Old 04-11-2007, 09:25 AM   #12
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Speaking as an author who contacted Connect, and whose queries were never returned, it might be a good idea for authors to simply make their own reader-compatible files. That way they can sell them directly to the consumer, not through the Connect Store (which also means you can ignore DRM issues that Sony might foist upon you), at the price you set, and make your full profit. I'm working on this right now, for the general not-to-technical consumers, although I still sell RTF files that the more savvy consumers can convert for themselves.

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Old 04-11-2007, 10:19 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dhbailey
Well, it's obviously first-gen. Whether Sony continues to improve it remains to be seen. There have been other eReaders from different makers which have been first-gen which haven't made it to second-gen status.
Surely the Reader is Sony's second generation book reader, is it not? The Librie being the first?
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Old 04-11-2007, 11:30 AM   #14
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I'd agree with that assessment, HarryT. I'd also tend to think that while the Reader has some ... room for improvement, shall we say? While it has some room for improvement, it's actually a fair advancement over the Librié, in my opinion, of course.
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Old 04-11-2007, 05:04 PM   #15
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Was the Librie ever sold in the US? If so, I totally missed that. Oops. Was the librie using eInk technology? If not, then the Sony Reader would, in my opinion, still be first-generation. It doesn't really matter, though because there really wasn't any sort of marketing hype along the lines that computer makers go through when they put a new chip in their next generation of computes.

As for getting authors to sell through Sony Connect, I can agree that if authors/will format or publish their books for the Reader, I really don't care where it's sold. I was of the impression, however, that the publishers want DRM or they're not interested in epublication. That's why I suggested going through Connect.

In the meantime, I've heard back from several of the authors I contacted. One told me that she prefers to remain at least 20 years behind the curve, so there won't be any ebooks from her anytime soon. Another one told me that publishers are now wrapping epublication rights into their contracts, so she was surprised that one of her books was available for sale a Sony Connect because that's entirely between the publisher and Sony. She wasn't even consulted. But she was happy I had purchased it.

Very interesting.

I don't care where the content comes from (as long as it's legal) just as long as it is there for the average reader to stop and consider buying the Sony Reader.
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