Monthly Archives: November 2007

Amazon Kindle: More of the Same (DRM)

Some good commentary on the Amazon Kindle “wireless reading device”:

Not considering whether they’ve created a good solution for reading eBooks and other online material, it sounds like it’s the same old digital rights management harassment. I’m amazed that no one has tried to come up with a good solution that allows casual sharing (close friends or family), while preventing wholesale pirating. Companies are still approaching it from the viewpoint of complete lockdown to the single customer who bought the product.

When I worked at Palm, we worked with ebook publisher Peanut Press (now eReader). They created a clever solution that allowed casual sharing: your credit card number unlocked the book after you installed it on your handheld. Using a credit card meant you’d probably share it with your spouse, family, or close friend, but certainly wouldn’t publish it beyond that.

Hopefully somewhere along the line, someone can come up with something that makes the publishers happy from a piracy viewpoint, but let’s their customers have a bit of freedom with the product.

Make Decent (not Shorter) URLs

There are certainly a large number of URL shortening services available today. Tinyurl.com is probably the best known, but there are dozens of clones and competitors that have popped up (just search for “url shortening service”).

I recently found a new entry called DecentURL.com whose goal is to make shortened URLs more…decent! The author has implemented two unique steps:

  • First, the original domain name is included in the path (minus any “www.” prefix and the top level domain stripped), so you get an idea of where this link is taking you
  • Second, the link creator can edit the title to make it more meaningful

For a good example, let’s try one of my Flickr photosets:

http://flickr.com/photos/cantoni/sets/72157602416335644/

If I run this through DecentURL.com and give it a good title (including my name), my new link is:

http://decenturl.com/flickr/cantoni-stanford-vs-tcu

Contrast that with the same Flickr set run through TinyURL:

http://tinyurl.com/2y6vt4

Certainly my new link is not as short, but arguably is much more meaningful to the recipient. In the case of Flickr, this would be especially helpful for Guest Passes which are really ugly.