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Friday, August 22 2014 @ 08:39 PM CDT

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One Step Closer to the Open eBook Tipping Point: O’Reilly Joins the EPUB 3.0 Ecosystem

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Anyone who reads eBooks is aware that a number of content vendors are using proprietary platforms in an effort to lock you into their content libraries: most obviously, Amazon, with its Kindle line, Barnes & Noble with its Nook devices, and Apple with its iPads and iPhones. But there are many non-content vendors that would love to sell you an eReader as well, such as Kobo, and Pocketbook, not to mention the smartphone vendors that would be happy to have you use their devices as eReaders, too.

But can you? Well, as you’re probably also aware, that depends. For example, in addition to selling content that will play only on their devices, Amazon and Apple also produce versions of their content that can be viewed on the readers of their competitors as well.

All of this not only makes it confusing and limiting for eBook buyers, but also for content publishers large (like Random House) and small (like technical title boutique publisher O’Reilly), that have seen their traditional distribution models not only upended by the eBook revolution, but complicated by the proprietary antics of the Amazons of the world.

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Alexandria Project Chap. 4: Beware of Greeks bearing Trapdoors

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Our story so far:  Security expert Frank Adversego comes under suspicion when the Library of Congress is hacked by a mysterious cracker with motives unknown and a taste for the bizarre; to protect himself, Frank had better get to the bottom of things (the first chapter is here). Better yet, why not buy the extensively rewritten final version in eBook (for just $2.99) and print versions at all the usual outlets (find the links here).

Graham Manning - GNU Free Documentation License.  Thanks, GrahamBack in his cube again, Frank powered up his computer and reflected on what he’d just learned, which was both not much and a lot.   Not much, in that he still had no idea who was behind the attack, or what he was trying to accomplish.  But a lot because the only people targeted besides himself were George and Rick, and because only the files in one directory had been affected.  That meant that what had hit the Library of Congress was no virus unleashed against Web sites generally, bent on spreading random mayhem.  Instead, it was obviously an attack targeted just at the LOC.  And once it had made its way through the LOC firewall, the attack had  been manually controlled rather than automated. 

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LibreOffice 4.0 Release to Widen Divide with OpenOffice

OpenDocument and OOXML

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

It was in September of 2010 that a group of key members of the OpenOffice.org developer team announced that they were no longer willing to wait out the uncertain future of OpenOffice, especially in the face of the lack of interest shown by Oracle, the new owner of the project following its acquisition of Sun Microsystems nine months before.

Their announced intent was to form an independent foundation to host a fork of the OpenOffice code base, thereby achieving a goal they had sought throughout ten years of control by Sun – to work in an environment free from the control of a single vendor.

It's now two and a half years later, and with the release of LibreOffice 4.0, that Foundation is not only flourishing, but forging a path independent of its predecessor.

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eBooks Sales Surpass Print Sales for Adult Fiction

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

From time to time I Google my way around a few search terms looking for useful information on one or another self-publishing topic. One of those topics, of course, is promotion.

Some time back, I ran across Smith Publicity, a book promotional firm that has been around for awhile. Smith puts out a monthly newsletter they call “Power Book Publicity Tips” which I’ve now been receiving for about six months. It’s short, relevant, and I usually find what I read there to be useful.

Here’s an excerpt from the February update, which contains a data nugget that I expected would arrive some day, but not as soon as it has (after all, it was only a few years ago that we’d never heard of something called a ‘Kindle,’ the device that launched the armada):

[Continues at Tales of Adversego]

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The Alexandria Project, Chap. 3: I just HATE it when that Happens

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Our story so far:  Security expert Frank Adversego has been passed over to lead a major project at the Library of Congress, but discovers that the Library has been hacked by a mysterious cracker with motives unknown; now, Frank learns that he may be coming under suspicion (the first chapter is here). Better yet, why not buy the extensively rewritten final version in eBook (for just $2.99) and print versions at all the usual outlets (find the links here).

 

Larsino - Wikimedia Commons - Public DomainMonday morning Frank arrived at work early.  He scooped up the office copies of the daily newspapers from the pavement outside the staff door of the Library of Congress and noticed that the Washington Times was missing.  No need to wonder who arrived first today – that would be Rick - the only employee that wouldn’t bother to bring in a paper for anyone other than himself.

Sure enough, as Frank strode up the half-lit corridor in Cube City, there was Rick standing next to his cubicle, coffee cup in hand.  His face lit up as soon as he saw Frank.  “Morning, Frank,” he called out.  “Recovered from your big Saturday night yet?”  He raised his coffee cup in a mock toast and leaned casually against his cube so Frank could barely squeeze past. 

But to Rick’s surprise, Frank gave him a hearty welcome as he wedged past.  “Great to see you, Rick, 'ole fella!  Only 70 more security-filled days till February 28, huh?”  Frank smiled as he sauntered down the aisle to the sound of coffee spraying from Rick’s mouth.  Frank wondered just how long it would be before Rick showed up, shamefaced, to ask for help.  A week at most, he thought.

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The Alexandria Project, Chap. 2: The Plot Thickens

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

Three years ago I began to post The Alexandria Project as a serial here at the Standards Blog.  I'll post the first few chapters again over the next few weeks for those that missed it the first time (the first chapter is here). Better yet, you can find the extensively rewritten final version in eBook (for just $2.99) and print versions at all the usual outlets (find the links here).

Lethalman (c) 2009 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0Frank wondered how long his phone had been buzzing.  He was about to turn it off when he saw that it was his daughter Marla calling.

“Hi Kid,” he said, “Listen...”

His daughter jumped in.  “Hey, Dad, thanks for picking up.  I considered worrying about you for a second, and then figured you’d never really jump out the window – you’re only on the second floor, after all, and broken bones don’t solve anything.  I mean, you’re just much too logical not to think of that.  

“So how’s your big morning-after-the-night-before coming along?

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Adventures in Self-Publishing: Is Paying for Book Promotion Worth it?

Adventures in Self-Publishing

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

One of the more difficult issues the author of a self-published book faces is whether to pay others to help promote their book. Broadly speaking, such services fall into three categories: creating sales materials (postcards, posters, press releases), reaching out to influencers (reviewers, bloggers and interviewers) and direct selling (via mailings, social media and advertising). Most print on demand (POD) publishers offer at least the first, some provide the second, and a few may provide some of the third.

Assistance with sales collateral such as postcards, posters and the like makes sense, if you actually intend to use them. But what of the other services, which tend to be very expensive? Are they worth it or not?

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The Alexandria Project, Chap. 1: Meet Frank

Alexandria Project (a Cyber Thriller)

It was three years ago today that I began to post The Alexandria Project as a serial here at the Standards Blog.  An explanatory post ran a couple of days earlier.   One purpose of writing the book was to highlight how vulnerable we are to cyberattack, and sad to say, we haven't made any real progress in protecting ourselves in the time that's passed since then, although the consequences of a disastrous attack continue to increase.

As you can see from the counter above, over 15,000 people read that first installment, and thousands followed it through to its conclusion. I'll post the first few chapters again over the next few weeks for those that missed it the first time, and you can find links here  to buy the extensively rewritten final version in eBook and print versions at all the usual outlets.

Courtesy Guillaume Paumier, CCA3.0 UnportedLate in the afternoon of December 11, 2010 a large panel truck backed up to a chain link fence topped with concertina wire in a run-down section of Richmond, Virginia. The words “Lowell Wholesale Paper Goods” were spread across the sides of the truck, as well as  the back of the gray coveralls worn by the truck’s driver, Jack Davis.

Jumping down from behind the wheel, Davis entered a number on the battered keypad set on a steel post rising from the cracked pavement, and a section of the fence began to clank slowly to one side. A moment later, and he had backed the truck up flush against the loading dock of the nondescript warehouse inside. By the time he was done, the fence had closed behind him.

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DOJ and USPTO join FTC in urging Caution before Granting SEP Injunctions

Intellectual property Rights

Courtesy of Wikimedia CommonsYesterday the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and the U.S. Patent Trademark Office (USPTO) united in issuing a rare joint policy statement on Remedies for Standards-Essential Patents Subject to Voluntary F/RAND Commitments. As the title suggests, the policy focuses on those patent claims that would be necessarily infringed by the implementation of a standard (so-called standards essential patents, or “SEPs”), where the owner of the claims has pledged to make the claims available on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (or “F/RAND”) terms. More specifically, the policy statement addresses the question of whether, and if so when, the owner of SEPs should be entitled to ask the International Trade Commission (ITC) for an injunction to bar the importation of products implementing the standard in question.

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Google Agrees to Negotiate Before Seeking Injunction Relief in Connection with "Standards Essential Patents" (Updated)

Intellectual property Rights


Check out my new Author's Blog: Tales of Adversego

The big news in the tech world yesterday was the announcement by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it was terminating its review of Google’s business practices without requiring significant changes to the search giant’s advertising practices. While that facet of the story has been extensively covered in many other venues, another important aspect of the FTC’s settlement has received little attention – Google’s agreement to enter into binding arbitration with implementers objecting to its offered license terms. Only if the would-be license refused to enter arbitration, or refuses to honor the arbitrators decision, can can Google seek injunctive relief in the future in connection with any “standards essential patents” (SEPs) that it owns.