iPhone & Mac Programming Books In Demand

Tech specialist publisher O’Reilly is reporting encouraging growth in iPhone (s aapl) and Mac programming book sales, despite an overall drop in computer book sales.

On the O’Reilly Radar blog, Mike Hendrickson analyzed figures from Nielsen Bookscan retail sales data. This is data collected in the U.S. from bookstores like Barnes & Noble (s bks) and Borders (s bgp), or online from Amazon (s amzn).
The Nielsen figures make for depressing reading, illustrating how the computer book market has seen a steady decline in sales since mid-2008. Hendrickson notes there are “few signs the book-buying slump is going to turn around anytime soon.” In total, the market saw more than half a million fewer units sold in the first half of 2009 than were sold in the same period last year (the red line in the graph below.)

O'Reilly Report - Computer Books 2009 First Half Unit Sales

O'Reilly Report - Computer Books 2009 First Half Unit Sales

Only eight subjects (from a list of over 100 categories) saw a year-on-year increase in sales by the end of the first half of 2009. “The market performance this year is the worst we’ve seen since the fall of 2001,” Hendrickson said. Read More about iPhone & Mac Programming Books In Demand

HP Forgot to Put the ‘Cloud’ in MagCloud

HP’s MagCloud is pretty cool, as services go. (Even the New York Times seems to like it.) For only 20 cents per page, it lets small-scale magazine publishers with no use for traditional, large-scale printing services create their own high-quality magazines. The MagCloud site also serves as a virtual newsstand where HP handles everything: customer buys a copy, HP outsources the ad hoc print job, and printer ships magazine to buyer. All the publisher has to do is create and upload the magazine.
However, while involving the web and a pay-per-use model might put MagCloud “in the cloud” in the most liberal interpretation of the phrase, it is far from a cloud service. HP should leave MagCloud in its printer division and save the cloud talk for something involving, well, an actual cloud. Vendors who stand to benefit from the cloud (HP, for example) are in serious jeopardy of stretching the already-overdone “cloud” label too thin — and MagCloud is a particularly egregious case in point. Read More about HP Forgot to Put the ‘Cloud’ in MagCloud

Weekly App Store Roundup: Jan. 31, 2009


Good Saturday and a Happy Weekend to one and all, it’s time to sit down, relax and wrap your big eyes round this week’s App Store Roundup.

This week on TheAppleBlog, we got in there super fast with an in-depth look at iMovie ’09, iPhoto ’09 and iWeb ’09. Of particular note was our very own Liam Cassidy describing iWeb as an, “embarrassing, backward cousin,” to the breathtaking updates of iMovie and iPhoto.

And in other news, Darrell Etherington reported on rumblings from two separate sources about a potential new iPhone.

With some of the week’s most notable news out of the way, let’s roll on to our weekly App Store Roundup.

This week I’ve been looking at Distant Shores, Sax Man, Photo fx and LifeTicker.
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Weekly App Store Roundup: Jan. 10, 2009


After our first week proper in 2009, we’ve run smack-bang in to a hurricane of Apple news courtesy of this year’s Macworld event.

Over at Apple’s final MacWorld Keynote, standing in for Papa Jobs, Uncle Phil unveiled brand new iLife and iWork suites, alongside completing the Macbook Pro lineup with a 17″ model touting 8 hours of battery life.

And, to finish proceedings off, Apple revealed special singing guest Tony Bennett, allowing the adoring audience to bask in the warmth of his orange glow as he crooned the keynote to a close.

While everyone else at TheAppleBlog has had their eye on Macworld, I’ve been rolling around in the App Store and getting friendly with the latest additions.

This week I’ve been looking at Keynote Remote, Wallpaper Notes, Cisco WebEx Meeting Center and Bank Panic.
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Random House Giving Away Books to Stanza Users

Stanza is easily the most popular book app available for the iPhone and iPod touch. Recently, it expanded its library even further, adding 40,000 new titles to its library, thanks to the acquisition of a license for eReader’s eBook format. Lexcycle’s Stanza now boasts over 100,000 book and magazine titles, and that number grows daily. Some are crediting the app with helping to turn the iPhone and iPod touch into formidable eBook readers, despite the relatively small screen. Lexcycle claims 500,000 Stanza users, downloading tens of thousands of books a day.
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Web Apps Offer Easy Site Spell Checking

Spell checking functions are built into many tools these days including Microsoft Word, blog editing programs, and even now into browsers such as Firefox and Opera.  However, this doesn’t stop web publishers or bloggers (including me!) from slipping and including an occasional spelling error into our posts.

netmechanicNetMechanic aims to help. Begin using this service by entering in your URL on their website. Their robot checks your site for spelling errors and gives you a report based on its findings. You can specify a custom dictionary if you’d like the service to ignore certain words. Additionally, you can set NetMechanic to check either a single page or go drill down 20 pages into the site.

A new site called Spellr.us goes one step further.  The site, currently in a closed beta, will offer hourly, daily, or weekly analysis of your site and will give you a visual image of the page containing the spelling error, annotated with strikethroughs.  Pricing is hard to find on Spellr’s homepage but if it’s kept at a reasonable rate, I could easily see publishers paying for this type of service.  Perhaps a more efficient way for Spellr to operate is to scrape a blog’s RSS feed and provide error notification using this as a tool.

How do you keep track of the grammatical health of your site?  What’s your method of monitoring these types of issues?

[From [email protected] via TechCrunch]

Toshiba M700 first look, benchmarks: TabletPCReview

4156One of Toshiba’s newest Tablet PCs, the Portegé M700, is making the review rounds. Earlier this week, GottaBeMobile “gotta” look and now TabletPCReview offers up some impressions and benchmarks.This device is a relatively powerful convertible when compared to some of its peers based on the specs. Yet, even with a 2.2 GHz Core 2 Duo, the device offers over four-hours of run-time on the standard 6-cell battery. Typically, you’ll see longer run-times with the ULV processors in the 1.06 to 1.2 GHz range but you’re sacrificing some processing power as a result. Not so with the M700, which is evident by the PCMark05 scores over at TabletPCReview. For the price (starting around $1,450), the M700 looks to be a good computing value if you don’t mind a Tablet PC weighing in over 4.5-pounds.

Hungry Man Bites Into Original Web Shows

What type of content works well on the web? Something short, funny and engaging. Now, what makes for a memorable TV commercial? Generally something short, funny and engaging. Heck, the web is where TV commercials catch viral wildfire, so it’s no wonder commercial production companies like Hungry Man are moving into the web content business.

Chances are good that you’re familiar with the work of Hungry Man. It has a stable of 20 directors that have produced commercials for the likes of Pepsi (PEP), Monster (MNST), and Mastercard (MA). One of its directors, Bryan Buckley, just won an Emmy for his American Express (AXP) commercial featuring Ellen DeGeneres.

So they have a roster of professional talent. But like many creative outfits, some of their directors had ideas that just wouldn’t work for clients. To showcase these extracurricular activities, the company launched the web channel Hungry Man TV.


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Confusion over cable modem service

Local governments are up in arms over FCC ruling that deems cable system and its modem service as an interstate information service, and not a telecom or a cable service. Local governments stand to lose as much as $470 million dollars per year in cable modem franchise fee revenue, which should have been paid as a result of the cable operator’s use of the public’s property. Five national organizations have asked the Supreme Court to review the decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and to also review the underlying decision of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The National League of Cities, the United States Conference of Mayors, the National Association of Counties, the International Municipal Lawyers Association , and the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, formed the Alliance of Local Organizations Against Preemption to pursue legal and regulatory actions as a result of the FCC’s ruling that cable modem service is not a cable service. In October 2003, the Ninth Circuit ruled that cable modem service is not a cable service but has separate telecommunications service and information service components. This development could have some serious ramifications for the VoIP players as well. If cable modem-based services are forced into following the same regulatory rules as phone companies, much of the inherent advantage of VoIP players is going to go away.