Wikipedia vs Encyclopedia Britannica

Which of these do you prefer – Wikipedia or Encyclopedia Britannica?  I use both, though it depends on how much Britannica will reveal.  This article asks — Which Has More Bias? Wikipedia or the Encyclopædia Britannica — by Feng Zhu, Working Knowledge at the Harvard Business School. (Jan 19)

It’s not easily untangled. They both show bias, although articles in Wikipedia, if edited by enough people, become more balanced or unbiased. Conclusion seems to be – be aware of bias, and use both.

E-Book Publishing

E-book industry is more complicated than it seems notwithstanding Amazon’s dominance. This report by Nancy Herther is the first of two parts to examine the e-book publishing industry.

Ebooks in 2015: Trends and Forecasts Part 1, by Nancy K Herther, Newsbreaks, Information Today (Jan 13)

What data there is today on sales suggests that adoption is not quite as stunning as expected.

The most recent AAP data, from December 2014, covers the first three quarters of 2014 and shows that revenue from 1,209 publishers was up 2.8%. “In terms of formats, ebooks were up, hardbacks were down, and paperbacks were up. Total ebook revenues increased by 5.6% over 2013 (to $1.2 billion from $1.13 billion),” The Digital Reader’s Nate Hoffelder notes.

Still forecasts are rosy even in the face of considerations of format, devices, and (not directly mentioned in the article) concerns about privacy.

PwC’s (PricewaterhouseCoopers) analysts believe that ebooks will edge out print as the most lucrative format for publishing by 2018. DRM and the wide variety of formats that need to be addressed and used are key issues impacting the development of this sector.

A Spartan Browser

Microsoft is introducing a new browser called Spartan that is to be “lightweight, standards compliant, available on multiple platforms”.

Microsoft’s reported ‘Spartan’ browser will be lighter, more flexible than Internet Explorer, Mark Hackman, PC World (Dec 29, 2014)

“Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet reported Monday that Spartan could ship alongside Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10, due sometime in the latter half of 2015. The purpose of Spartan is twofold, Foley reports: first, as a lightweight alternative to IE, but with the foundation for third-party extensions; and as a marketing “do-over” for Internet Explorer, to do away with Internet Explorer’s legacy once and for all.”

Most people resist changing browsers. Spartan is going to have to be very fast and flexible to get a following (IMO).

Stop AutoPlay

Here’s irony – a PC World article on How to stop autoplay videos (Jan 1, 2015) has an autoplay video that launches into how-to save videos. But no matter – it means you’re all the more motivated to follow the instructions for Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. Basically – change browser settings so that you have to “click to play”. What a relief!

Web Search without the Social

Frederic Lardinois says Good Riddance To Social Search Techcrunch (Dec 28) – and I agree. By social search he means the practice by Google and Bing to intermix the “likes” of online connections with Web search results. Remember the side panel in Bing.com with supposedly relevant postings by Facebook friends? The results might have been amusing but were rarely (if ever) relevant. This kind of social search has disappeared from Google and Bing.

As Lardinois says:

“I think one of the reasons social search failed is because our social media “friendships” don’t actually represent our real-life tastes all that well. Just because we follow people on Twitter or are friends with old high school classmates on Facebook doesn’t mean we like the same restaurants they do or share the politics they do.”

The concept of having what colleagues found valuable influence the search results you receive on some topic of common interest had some merit but it would take incredible effort to create exactly the right community. Such communities may exist in specialized  social networking groups, but not in the casual relationships of Facebook or Google Plus.

Google News Spain ctd

Google News will still find articles from Spanish news sources – it’s just that you have to search rather Google rather than use Google News Spain. How long will this last?

How Google News Lives On In Spain Despite Being Closed by Danny Sullivan, Search Engine Land ( Dec 17)

“Google is inserting news content into a “En las noticias” box within regular search results of Google Spain … “