Posted: 26 Jan 2012 03:16 AM PST
The internet has survived the great SOPA blackout, and we’re still talking about the fallout. Apple made a major announcement of plans to support textbooks on iPads, but there are concerns about the implementation. But the first story this week is about a free service geared towards teaching people how to program with weekly lessons throughout 2012.
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Code Year: Learn to Code in 2012
What I think is really cool about this is that a group of librarians has self-organized themselves to support each other through the year. There is a community area on ALA Connect and a list of resources on the catcode wiki that includes examples tailored to cataloging challenges. (“catcode” is a unique story onto itself. It is a wiki created to “help support dialogue between catalogers and coders.”)
Apple Introduces iBooks Author
Last week saw the big introduction of iBooks Textbooks for iPad and iBooks Author ebook creation utility. The combination were billed as a promising new way to have students interact with course materials and to have teachers build their own content. There were some not-so-nice surprises in the implementation, though. First, the ebook format is close to that of ePub standard from the International Digital Publishing Forum, but strays in enough important ways that the iBooks Textbooks themselves won’t be usable on non-Apple devices. Second, included the End-User License Agreement for the iBooks Author software are terms that says content created with iBooks Author can be given away freely but can only be sold through Apple’s iBookstore. Apple also reserves the right to determine if your work is sold at iBookstore with no recourse for rejected works. The article above has more details, and the press coverage of iBooks Textbooks and iBooks Author has been generally negative so far.
SOPA and Protect-IP Are Dead
Who would have thought — grass roots organizations convince major internet presences to “black out” or otherwise inform users of ill-considered provisions (at best) in legislation, and in turn those users bury both houses of Congress with so much anti-SOPA and -PIPA feedback that they effectively kill the bills. Is this the closest we’ve come to direct democracy since ancient Athens? Perhaps! The article quoted above goes into great detail about the formational elements of SOPA and PIPA and the forces that gathered to stop them.
The response to Wikipedia being blacked out in particular was interesting. The Washington Post, The Guardian and National Public Radio announced that they would answer questions posted to Twitter with the hashtag #altwiki. Closer to the library community Credo Reference announced that free access for a day.
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