Daily Archives: March 9, 2012


Gone eight years today. Rest In Peace.

And he was correct about that “interviewer”!

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Google Play TOS: You Don’t Own What You Buy

Given the post I just did about the sea change at Google Books, I went looking for the new Terms of Service for Google Play and found something no one else has mentioned — at least that I’ve seen:

Terms of Service – Books on Google Play (formerly the Google eBookstore)

Use of Digital Content. Following payment of the applicable fees for an item of Digital Content, for as long as Google and the applicable copyright holder have rights to provide you that Digital Content, Google gives you the non-exclusive right to download, subject to the restrictions set forth herein, copies of the applicable Digital Content to your Devices, and to view, use, and display such Digital Content an unlimited number of times on your Devices or as otherwise authorized by Google as part of the Service for your personal, non-commercial use. If Google or the applicable copyright holder loses the rights to provide you any Digital Content, Google will cease serving such Digital Content to you and you may lose the ability to use such Digital Content. For certain Digital Content, Google may be acting as an agent of the copyright holder (and its agents) in providing such Digital Content to you under the Terms of Service. You acknowledge that such copyright holder (and its agents) shall be the seller(s) of such Digital Content to you under the Terms of Service. Select, copy and paste functions may be available for some Digital Content, and you must use these features within the prescribed limits and only for personal non-commercial purposes.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

So what exactly is going on here?

If eBooks are going to be Cloud-based, with offline reading via an offline cache, then once Google’s contract for sale is up, your eBook — that you paid for — will disappear?

That’s how I read it.

Google needs to clarify this.

To me, a purchase is a purchase. You took my money in exchange for the goods and whether or not you still have a contract to sell those goods, if you are storing it for me and you are the only method for storing it, it should remain on your service.



Filed under eBooks: General, Google

Free Google Books Ends Downloads

Seventh Update, Tuesday March 13, 2012: Free Google Books Downloads Work Again

Sixth Update, Tuesday March 13, 2012: According to a Commenter below, who spoke to Google via phone:

I received two follow-up emails as well, the last saying “Our engineering team has identified the problem and are working to resolve it quickly. While I cannot offer you an exact timeframe as to when it will be fixed, I will email you as soon as I have an update.”

It must be some catastrophic screw-up for it to take this long to fix. As of ~8:30AM EDST, I am getting Whale Fail when I am past the CAPTCHA for a PDF download. Since so many people are coming to this blog for this post, I am going to make a separate Sticky.

Fifth Update, Monday March 12, 2012: According to a Comment below:

Just got off the phone with Google. They are aware of the issue and are working to fix it. And they confirmed that it is just an error — there are no plans to disable pdf downloads of public domain works. Good to know!

I hope that is true and it is fixed soon. This post has been gaining in popularity as others come across the problem. It seems I am the only one to post about it.

Fourth Update, Monday March 12, 2012: Google’s transition to Play has been a disaster for PDF downloads both at Play and at Google Books. Play seems to still offer PDF downloads — even the Help Center acknowledges PDF-formatted books cannot be read offline in a browser and must be downloaded! — but they are broken, just as in Google Books, with ~34K weird non-PDF files that download.

Third Update, Saturday March 10, 2012: Google Books is currently totally FUBARed. What I thought were PDF downloads turned out not to be. I didn’t check until a Commenter mentioned what he was getting. Let’s hope Google fixes this by next week. Or explains just what the hell is going on.

Second Update, Saturday March 10, 2012: This glitch hasn’t been totally resolved. Out of twenty books I’ve had on a shelf for downloading, only three worked. The rest got the Whale Fail message.

Update, Saturday March 10, 2012: Less than 24 hours later, PDF downloads work again. This might have been a temporary glitch due to the Google Play effort. However, I’m not embarrassed to be seen as absolutely wrong about this — because I want Google to understand that I am watching Google Books.

I’m waiting for someone at the near-dead Google Books Twitter account to reply (this might be a futile effort!) but right now what I’m experiencing at the public domain Google Books is not good. And I think I know Google well enough to make this post’s headline a flat statement and not a question.

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Filed under eBooks: General, Friction, Google, Stupid

Free PDF Book About Google Plus

What the Plus!

1987 was the last time I wrote a book about a product (The Macintosh Way). After using Google+ for a few months, I felt the need to write another product-oriented book. This book explains “what the plus” makes Google+ as special as Macintosh.

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Filed under Books To Check

Musical Interlude

Once We Were Anarchists lyrics

Reasons Not To Be An Idiot lyrics

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Filed under Music, Video

Die Old

Middle-aged prodigies: Seven poster children over 40

Raymond Chandler started writing in his early 40s after losing his job as an oil-industry executive during the great depression. His first novel The Big Sleep was published in 1939. He was 51.

And this from philosopher Mary Midgley cracks me up:

“I wrote no books until I was a good 50, and I’m jolly glad because I didn’t know what I thought before then.”

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Filed under Video, Writers

Google-Asus Play Tablet Coming In May?

Google, Asustek co-brand 7-inch tablet PC to debut earliest in May

It’s DigiTimes, which everyone is parroting today, making it look as if it’s a done deal from multiple sources.

Aside from Google Play (I would be surprised if it wasn’t called the “Google Play tablet”), people have forgotten Google Plus.

But I’ve seen the TV ads for Google Plus. So I expect the ads for this tablet to highlight the capabilities of Plus too — especially the much-pimped Hangout feature.

After the break, video of what Asus showed at CES that might now be coming as the Google Play tablet.

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Filed under Android, Google, Other Hardware

Pirates Claim The Earth Is Not Flat

Why I Pirate – An Open Letter To Content Creators

The hypocritical Holier Than Thous will have a good Friday today, wailing and keening and sitting shiva over that post.

“We’re being bled to death,” they’ll scream as they check their bank accounts online to make sure their fat paychecks have been deposited electronically and on time so they can go have a fun weekend most of us can never imagine.

That is a long post. And it is one-hundred per cent true.

After the break, the key paragraphs that should have stood out with Blink tags for everyone.

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Filed under Digital Overthrow