👓 Invisible asymptotes | Remains of the Day

Read Invisible asymptotes by Eugene Wei (Remains of the Day)
My first job at Amazon was as the first analyst in strategic planning, the forward-looking counterpart to accounting, which records what already happened. We maintained several time horizons for our forward forecasts, from granular monthly forecasts to quarterly and annual forecasts to even five and ten year forecasts for the purposes of fund-raising and, well, strategic planning.
A great long read covering some interesting portions of UX and strategy in the future of social. There are some useful tidbits for the IndieWeb to consider here.

👓 Amazon flaw costs Apple accessory maker nearly $100k as counterfeiter takes over legitimate listing | 9to5Mac

Read Amazon flaw costs Apple accessory maker nearly $100k as counterfeiter takes over legitimate listing by Chance Miller (9to5Mac)
Amazon has come under fire in the past for its lackluster approach to handling counterfeit products. Now, the online retailer is facing a broader problem, with counterfeiters going as far as to take over a company’s legitimate product listing… BuzzFeed News highlights the problem in a report, explaining how a counterfeit maker of the popular from Elevation Labs overtook the company’s own Amazon listing.
 

👓 What Amazon does to wages | The Economist

Read What Amazon does to wages (The Economist)
WHEN Amazon announced in 2010 that it would build a distribution centre in Lexington County, South Carolina, the decision was hailed as a victory for the Palmetto State. Today the e-commerce giant employs thousands of workers at the centre. Just 3.5% of the local workforce is out of work.
It would be nice to have some additional data on some of the subtleties. Lack of rising wages has also been recently noted to be the result of companies giving one time bonuses as well, and this particularly in response to the recent tax incentives. Sadly a one time bonus is not worth nearly as much as an annual raise in the long run.

👓 Amazon patents wristband that tracks warehouse workers’ movements | The Guardian

Read Amazon patents wristband that tracks warehouse workers' movements by Olivia Solon (the Guardian)
Amazon has patented designs for a wristband that can precisely track where warehouse employees are placing their hands and use vibrations to nudge them in a different direction.
The biomedical engineer in me sees this patent and thinks, “This sounds like it might also be the greatest sex toy invention ever. Millions of women will be buying them for clueless boyfriends for their birthdays and the holidays. Amazon wins again!”

👓 Introduce a new way to retain knowledge from Kindle books | Diigo

Read Introduce a new way to retain knowledge from Kindle books by Joel Liu (Diigo)
Diigo provides a 2 step method to help you make the best use of your kindle highlights. Step 1: Import your kindle highlights to your Diigo library. Step 2: Organize highlights from a book in your own knowledge structure.
Another interesting way to potentially cut out data from Amazon Kindle e-books in terms of annotations, marginalia, and notes.

👓 Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door | The Verge

Read Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door by Ben Popper (The Verge)
The service is called Amazon Key, and it relies on a Amazon’s new Cloud Cam and compatible smart lock. The camera is the hub, connected to the internet via your home Wi-Fi. The camera talks to the lock over Zigbee, a wireless protocol utilized by many smart home devices. When a courier arrives with a package for in-home delivery, they scan the barcode, sending a request to Amazon’s cloud. If everything checks out, the cloud grants permission by sending a message back to the camera, which starts recording. The courier then gets a prompt on their app, swipes the screen, and voilà, your door unlocks. They drop off the package, relock the door with another swipe, and are on their way. The customer will get a notification that their delivery has arrived, along with a short video showing the drop-off to confirm everything was done properly.
There’s a lot of trust Amazon is asking people for in it’s last few products. Alexa could listen (and potentially record) anything you say, cameras in your bedroom (ostensibly to help you dress), and now a key to your house. I can see so many things going wrong with this despite the potential value.

I’m probably more concerned about the flimsy lack of security in the area of internet of things (IoT) which could dip into these though than I am about what Amazon would/could do with them.

As part of Bryan Alexander’s online book club, I’ve recalled that GoodReads.com allows users with linked Amazon accounts to make their Kindle highlights and notes publicly available. Though I expect that I’ll post most/all of them here on my site over time, I thought I’d still add a link to my highlights and annotations for Weapons for Math Destruction here and use this as a reminder to others in the group who might want to take advantage of this functionality as well.

Details on the functionality can be found at Share Your Kindle Notes and Highlights with Your Friends (Beta).

👓 The Beauty of Amazon’s 6-Pager | Brad Porter

Read The Beauty of Amazon's 6-Pager by Brad Porter (linkedin.com)
Imagine for a moment that you could go into a meeting and everyone in the meeting would have very deep context on the topic you're going to discuss.  They would be well-versed in the critical data for your business.

How Authors and Publishers Can Increase Book Discovery | DBW

Read How Authors and Publishers Can Increase Book Discovery by Daniel Berkowitz (Digital Book World)
Chris Sim, founder and CEO of Kadaxis, spoke at Digital Book World about how indie authors and publishers can better use keywords to increase book sales.
Continue reading How Authors and Publishers Can Increase Book Discovery | DBW

Go To Hellman: How to check if your library is leaking catalog searches to Amazon

Read How to check if your library is leaking catalog searches to Amazon by Rob Hellman (go-to-hellman.blogspot.com)

I've been writing about privacy in libraries for a while now, and I get a bit down sometimes because progress is so slow. I've come to realize that part of the problem is that the issues are sometimes really complex and  technical; people just don't believe that the web works the way it does, violating user privacy at every opportunity.Content embedded in websites is a a huge source of privacy leakage in library services. Cover images can be particularly problematic. I've written before that, without meaning to, many libraries send data to Amazon about the books a user is searching for; cover images are almost always the culprit. I've been reporting this issue to the library automation companies that enable this, but a year and a half later, nothing has changed. (I understand that "discovery" services such as Primo/Summon even include config checkboxes that make this easy to do; the companies say this is what their customers want.)

👓 Chris Aldrich is reading “What to expect when you’re publishing on Amazon Kindle Store”

Read What to expect when you’re publishing on Amazon Kindle Store (theindependentpublishingmagazine.com)
Nothing new or interesting here.

A New Reading Post-type for Bookmarking and Reading Workflow

This morning while breezing through my Woodwind feed reader, I ran across a post by Rick Mendes with the hashtags and which put me down a temporary rabbit hole of thought about reading-related post types on the internet.

I’m obviously a huge fan of reading and have accounts on GoodReads, Amazon, Pocket, Instapaper, Readability, and literally dozens of other services that support or assist the reading endeavor. (My affliction got so bad I started my own publishing company last year.)

READ LATER is an indication on (or relating to) a website that one wants to save the URL to come back and read the content at a future time.

I started a page on the IndieWeb wiki to define read later where I began writing some philosophical thoughts. I decided it would be better to post them on my own site instead and simply link back to them. As a member of the Indieweb my general goal over time is to preferentially quit using these web silos (many of which are listed on the referenced page) and, instead, post my reading related work and progress here on my own site. Naturally, the question becomes, how does one do this in a simple and usable manner with pretty and reasonable UX/UI for both myself and others?

Current Use

Currently I primarily use a Pocket bookmarklet to save things (mostly newspaper articles, magazine pieces, blog posts) for reading later and/or the like/favorite functionality in Twitter in combination with an IFTTT recipe to save the URL in the tweet to my Pocket account. I then regularly visit Pocket to speed read though articles. While Pocket allows downloading of (some) of one’s data in this regard, I’m exploring options to bring in the ownership of this workflow into my own site.

For more academic leaning content (read journal articles), I tend to rely on an alternate Mendeley-based workflow which also starts with an easy-to-use bookmarklet.

I’ve also experimented with bookmarking a journal article and using hypothes.is to import my highlights from that article, though that workflow has a way to go to meet my personal needs in a robust way while still allowing me to own all of my own data. The benefit is that fixing it can help more than just myself while still fitting into a larger personal workflow.

Brainstorming

A Broader Reading (Parent) Post-type

Philosophically a read later post-type could be considered similar to a (possibly) unshared or private bookmark with potential possible additional meta-data like: progress, date read, notes, and annotations to be added after the fact, which then technically makes it a read post type.

A potential workflow viewed over time might be: read later >> bookmark >> notes/annotations/marginalia >> read >> review. This kind of continuum of workflow might be able to support a slightly more complex overall UI for a more simplified reading post-type in which these others are all sub-types. One could then make a single UI for a reading post type with fields and details for all of the sub-cases. Being updatable, the single post could carry all the details of one’s progress.

Indieweb encourages simplicity (DRY) and having the fewest post-types possible, which I generally agree with, but perhaps there’s a better way of thinking of these several types. Concatenating them into one reading type with various data fields (and the ability of them to be public/private) could allow all of the subcategories to be included or not on one larger and more comprehensive post-type.

Examples
  1. Not including one subsection (or making it private), would simply prevent it from showing, thus one could have a traditional bookmark post by leaving off the read later, read, and review sub-types and/or data.
  2. As another example, I could include the data for read later, bookmark, and read, but leave off data about what I highlighted and/or sub-sections of notes I prefer to remain private.

A Primary Post with Webmention Updates

Alternately, one could create a primary post (potentially a bookmark) for the thing one is reading, and then use further additional posts with webmentions on each (to the original) thereby adding details to the original post about the ongoing progress. In some sense, this isn’t too far from the functionality provided by GoodReads with individual updates on progress with brief notes and their page that lists the overall view of progress. Each individual post could be made public/private to allow different viewerships, though private webmentions may be a hairier issue. I know some are also experimenting with pushing updates to posts via micropub and other methods, which could be appealing as well.

This may be cumbersome over time, but could potentially be made to look something like the GoodReads UI below, which seems very intuitive. (Note that it’s missing any review text as I’m currently writing it, and it’s not public yet.)

Overview of reading progress
Overview of reading progress

Other Thoughts

Ideally, better distinguishing between something that has been bookmarked and read/unread with dates for both the bookmarking and reading, as well as potentially adding notes and highlights relating to the article is desired. Something potentially akin to Devon Zuegel‘s “Notes” tab (built on a custom script for Evernote and Tumblr) seems somewhat promising in a cross between a simple reading list (or linkblog) and a commonplace book for academic work, but doesn’t necessarily leave room for longer book reviews.

I’ll also need to consider the publishing workflow, in some sense as it relates to the reverse chronological posting of updates on typical blogs. Perhaps a hybrid approach of the two methods mentioned would work best?

Potentially having an interface that bolts together the interface of GoodReads (picture above) and Amazon’s notes/highlights together would be excellent. I recently noticed (and updated an old post) that they’re already beta testing such a beast.

Kindle Notes and Highlights are now shoing up as a beta feature in GoodReads
Kindle Notes and Highlights are now shoing up as a beta feature in GoodReads

Comments

I’ll keep thinking about the architecture for what I’d ultimately like to have, but I’m always open to hearing what other (heavy) readers have to say about the subject and the usability of such a UI.

Please feel free to comment below, or write something on your own site (which includes the URL of this post) and submit your URL in the field provided below to create a webmention in which your post will appear as a comment.

 

Amerikan Krazy: Top 100 on Amazon?!

Late yesterday on Amazon, some fans noticed that Amerikan Krazy was on the borderline of the top 100 in the rankings at #101 in Books > Humor & Entertainment > Humor > Lawyers & Criminals! The ebook version was also at #331 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Literary Fiction > Satire and has been quickly climbing.

I have a feeling that a few more sales this week would not only put us solidly in the top 100 in the first category, but could earn the book a space among some of the greats in the genre along with Kurt Vonnegut, Carl Hiaasen, Ray Bradbury, Bret Easton Ellis, Vladimir Nabokov, Don Delillo, Thomas Pynchon, and Umberto Eco!

If you haven’t purchased a copy yet, but want to help support our efforts to get the book out there, now is the time to take the plunge.

Buy Now!

If you’re a Kindle Unlimited member, keep in mind that you can read the ebook for free! If you’re not a member, you can read it now by trying the Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.