Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, July 31, 2021

Something overlooked during Amazon’s infamous remote-deletion this month of already-purchased e-books on the Kindle was the surgical-strike strategy employed for the move. Amazon knew that the move would be roundly criticized and incur customer wrath; so they opted to do it abruptly and without warning, basically gambling that the less noise surrounding the incident (mostly, minimal official pronouncements from Amazon itself, before and after), the quicker it would blow over, thus minimizing the longer-term damage.

It was the right way to play a distasteful but necessary situation. Unfortunately, a new class-action lawsuit from a high-schooler who’s claiming academic-work damages is serving to extend the controversy over Amazon’s action — exactly the opposite of the desired effect.

Not helping is the almost comical nature of the court complaint:

Amazon forcibly (and ironically) recalled copies of George Orwell’s “1984″ and “Animal Farm” earlier this month after it was revealed that they were unauthorized. Justin Gawronski’s complaint alleges that he was reading “1984″ as summer reading for an advanced-placement class and had to turn in “reflections” on each hundred pages. With the loss of the digital book, Gawronski claims his page count was thrown off and his notes were “rendered useless because they no longer referenced the relevant parts of the book.”

As if the specific books targeted wasn’t enough of a corker — Orwell’s iconic “Big Brother” theme couldn’t sync up any better with the suddenly-revealed Kindle manipulation — Gawronski’s experience really drives home the potential for disruption in the consumer experience. Not only can Amazon leave you high and dry for reading material, it can also botch your reference work (instant joke — who needs a dog to eat your homework when you have a Kindle?). Pretty much alienates students, researchers, and similar intensive users who might otherwise find the Kindle appealing.

So now, Amazon has to engage in a potentially high-profile continuation of something it had hoped to get past relatively cleanly. Goes to show that no plan, however calculated, ever survives contact with the enemy.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/31/2009 03:36pm
Category: Business, Publishing, Society, Tech, True Crime
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park n playI’m always up for combining the cultural with the gimmicky, and that’s what The Drilling Company’s Shakespeare In The Parking Lot does.

It’s really more urban-appropriate than the standard Shakespeare In The Park performances. I’ve got nothing against iambic pentameter in a grass-green setting; but this is New York. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” played out on asphalt blacktop in lower Manhattan just feels right.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/31/2009 12:39pm
Category: Creative, New Yorkin'
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Recently, a series of tweets alerted me to some general public confusion over proper use of the slang-antonyms “dope” and “wack”.

This cannot stand. So by all means, test your street-diction on Dope or Wack?, the Urban Dictionary-powered word game. Right and wrong answers yield both positive and negative reinforcement, so you’ll get the definitions down in no time flat.

You may want to try out DoW? soon. Not only is it a five-year-old Flash app, but the site it’s hosted on has been abandoned for years, so no telling when the plug gets pulled. Which would be wack for us, although probably dope for whoever’s still paying the webhosting bill…

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 07/31/2009 11:54am
Category: Comedy, Pop Culture, Wordsmithing
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