Read Amazon Drivers Are Hanging Smartphones in Trees to Get More Work by Spencer Soper (Bloomberg)
Someone seems to have rigged Amazon system to get orders first
Operation reflects ferocious rivalry for gigs in a bad economy

They believe an unidentified person or entity is acting as an intermediary between Amazon and the drivers and charging drivers to secure more routes, which is against Amazon’s policies. 

Surely this would be the case as someone would potentially need to watch the phones in the tree to ensure they aren’t stolen. That may represent a larger cost in potential loss that the potential gain.
Annotated on September 11, 2020 at 08:39AM

A Flex driver who has been monitoring the activity said the company needs to take steps to make sure all drivers are treated fairly.“Amazon knows about it,” the driver said, “but does nothing.” 

Orders don’t necessarily need to be proximity based at the level of 20 feet, so Amazon should be able to make the changes at the level of several miles to prevent against something like this.
Annotated on September 11, 2020 at 08:42AM

Replied to a post by Katherine M. MossKatherine M. Moss (cambridgeport90.micro.blog)
I wonder how on earth one finds the ISBN of a Kindle-only book? I’m wondering whether or not the IndieWeb book resources should begin going by ASIN instead of ISBN … seems that the ASIN is easy to find if on GoodReads.
Each publisher should be assigning individual International Standard Book Numbers to each format for each different edition, but in practice they don’t always. Often they’ll assign a single ISBN number to all e-book versions (regardless of file format) and sometimes they’ll incorrectly use the same number as the paperback or hardback editions.

Things can be worse for more independent or self-published works where the author doesn’t know how these things work. These may often have no ISBN at all regardless of the format.

The least “indie” thing one could do would be to use the Amazon Standard Identification Number which is a number assigned by Amazon. ASINs are easy to find on Goodreads solely because they’re owned by Amazon. In many cases, there are far more editions on Goodreads than actually exist because of the lack of use of ISBNs and de-duplication of editions which they import from a variety of data sources, including Amazon itself.

To my knowledge, the only true way to find the “correct” ISBN is to copy it directly from the book/source itself.

Replied to a tweet by Katherine Moss (Twitter)
There’s a proposed session (IndieWeb GoodReads) to discuss just this at IndieWebCamp West 2020. If you have other ideas for sessions, feel free to brainstorm something or propose it in the etherpad.
I have a few subscriptions to bulk products on Amazon that ship every 2-6 months or so and yesterday was the drop date for my 3 pack of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. My dog food in the same order should arrive on Tuesday, but the wipes aren’t estimated to arrive until April 27-29. Apparently the coronavirus scare has too many people stockpiling. Ugh.
Bookmarked Audible Stories (Audible.com)
Free stories for kids of all ages. Audible Stories is a free website where kids of all ages can listen to hundreds of Audible audio titles across six different languages—English, Spanish, French, German, Italian and Japanese—for free, so they can keep learning, dreaming and just being kids.
Nice that they’re providing this as a service to people for free. I’m impressed that they’ve even got titles in other languages including Japanese!
Read How the Washington Post pulled off the hardest trick in journalism (Columbia Journalism Review)
The Post has pulled off theneat trick of combining prestige journalism with a shadow clickbait factory that puts out a steady flow of fast-turnaround, aggregated stories grasping at virality.
Bookmarked on January 23, 2020 at 07:04PM

👓 Humane Ingenuity 8: Ebooks: It’s Complicated | Dan Cohen

Read Humane Ingenuity 8: Ebooks: It's Complicated by Dan CohenDan Cohen (buttondown.email)
In this issue, I want to open a conversation about a technology of our age that hasn’t quite worked out the way we all had hoped—and by we, I mean those of us who care about the composition and transmission of ideas, which I believe includes everyone on this list. Twenty years ago, literary critic Sven Birkerts reviewed the new technology of ebooks and e-readers for the short-lived internet magazine Feed. They sent him a Rocket eBook and a SoftBook, and he duly turned them on and settled into his comfy chair. What followed, however, was anything but comfy:
Image from a deck of cards by Rene Descartes

René Descartes designed a deck of playing cards that also functioned as flash cards to learn geometry and mechanics. (King of Clubs from The use of the geometrical playing-cards, as also A discourse of the mechanick powers. By Monsi. Des-Cartes. Translated from his own manuscript copy. Printed and sold by J. Moxon at the Atlas in Warwick Lane, London. Via the Beinecke Library, from which you can download the entire deck.)

My immediate thought is that this deck of cards was meant as a memory palace. I’m curious what training in rhetoric/memory methods Descartes must have had?
November 06, 2019 at 08:49PM


We are beginning a renovation of our main library at Northeastern University, Snell Library, and have been talking with architects (some of them very well-known), and I’ve found the discussions utterly invigorating. I would like to find some way to blog or newsletter about the process we will go through over the next few years, and to think aloud about the (re)design and (future) function of the library. I’m not sure if that should occur in this space or elsewhere, although the thought of launching another outlet fills me with dread. Let me know if this topic would interest you, and if I should include it here.

Dan, this is definitely interesting. Please include it here or on your main site!!!
November 06, 2019 at 08:43PM


But wait, there’s more. Much more. We generally encounter four different acquisition models (my thanks to Janet Morrow of our library for this outline): 1) outright purchase, just like a print book, easy peasy, generally costs a lot even though it’s just bits (we pay an average of over $40 per book this way), which gives us perpetual access with the least digital rights management (DRM) on the ebooks, which has an impact on sustainable access over time; 2) subscription access: you need to keep paying each year to get access, and the provider can pull titles on you at any time, plus you also get lots of DRM, but there’s a low cost per title (~$1 a book per year); 3) demand-driven/patron-driven acquisition: you don’t get the actual ebook, just a bibliographic record for your library’s online system, until someone chooses to download a book, or reads some chunk of it online, which then costs you, say ~$5; 4) evidence-based acquisitions, in which we pay a set cost for unlimited access to a set of titles for a year and then at the end of the year we can use our deposit to buy some of the titles (< $1/book/year for the set, and then ~$60/book for those we purchase).

Nice to see this laid out. I’ve never seen a general overview of how this system works for libraries.

I’ve always wondered what it cost my local public library to loan me an e-book whether I read it or not.
November 06, 2019 at 08:40PM


It is worth asking why ebooks and e-readers like the Kindle treaded water after swimming a couple of laps. I’m not sure I can fully diagnose what happened (I would love to hear your thoughts), but I think there are many elements, all of which interact as part of the book production and consumption ecosystem.

For me, and potentially for a majority of others, our memories have evolved to be highly location specific. It’s far easier for me to remember what I’ve read when I read a physical book. I can often picture what I was reading at the top, middle, or bottom of the left or right page. This fact in addition to how far I am in the book gives me a better idea of where I am with respect to a text.

These ideas are very subtle and so heavily ingrained in us that they’re not very apparent to many, if at all.

See also Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: Orality, Memory and the Transmission of Culture by Lynne Kelly (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
November 06, 2019 at 08:32PM

🎧 @hypervisible | Gettin’ Air with Terry Green

Listened to @hypervisible from voicEd | voiced.ca
Gettin’ Air with @hypervisible Professor of English at Macomb Community College. Self described as the “The Beavis of Twitter”, we chat about how he works to raise awareness of the absurd and abusive tech practices of various platforms and companies and how he helps his students navigate this increasingly dystopian world. “There’s always material to talk about how something sucks if you’re in the ed-tech space”.

The description far undersells the great conversation here. I almost wish it had been recorded just after Halloween so we might have gotten some discussion about Ring Doorbells recording millions of children and then promoting that scary fact in their marketing and social media.

Somehow @hypervisible blocked me on Twitter, which is a painful shame–at least for me. He’s one of the few researchers to have done so and one of the few people it’s worth having a separate account just for reading his content. I’m glad that others like Terry help to get his message out in other ways!

Chris also mentions a great list of recommended reads at 11:30 into the episode including:

👓 In which I almost waste four dollars at Amazon | quomodocumque

Read In which I almost waste four dollars at Amazon (Quomodocumque)
Instructive anecdote. I needed a somewhat expensive book and the UW library didn’t have it. So I decided to buy it. Had the Amazon order queued up and ready to go, $45 with free shipping, then had a pang of guilt about the destruction of the publishing industry and decided it was worth paying a li...

👓 Maxwell House Brings You Midge’s Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Haggadah | Amazon

Read Maxwell House Brings You Midge's Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Haggadah (Amazon.com)
Midge's limited edition Haggadah is free with any purchase of participating Maxwell House Coffee products.
I’ve seen some old Haggadahs like this in the past from Maxwell House, but this is an awesome crossover promotion with Passover coming up.

👓 Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa | Bloomberg

Read Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa by Matt Day , Giles Turner , and Natalia Drozdiak (Bloomberg)
A global team reviews audio clips in an effort to help the voice-activated assistant respond to commands.

🎧 The Daily: How New York Lost Amazon | New York Times

Listened to The Daily: How New York Lost Amazon from New York Times

Lawmakers who opposed the company’s deal are calling its collapse a political victory, but some say this messaging may come back to haunt them.

👓 ‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism | John Naughton | The Guardian

Read 'The goal is to automate us': welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism by John NaughtonJohn Naughton (the Guardian)
Shoshana Zuboff’s new book is a chilling exposé of the business model that underpins the digital world. Observer tech columnist John Naughton explains the importance of Zuboff’s work and asks the author 10 key questions
If you can’t read Zuboff’s new book in full, this article/interview may convince you that you should anyway. It may be one of the most important things you read all year.