Category Archives: Friction

Amazon: “We Win, You Lose.”

Escape from Stalag $7: Why Amazon’s Pricing Box Is Bad for Indies

But after all the fireworks and fun, the one thing I never ever received from AAAG were coherent answers to my questions, particularly the most important one of all. And that is: Why has Amazon placed indies in a $7 dollar pricing box? Why does it grab 65% of your revenue (not counting its transmission fees, which it charges on every transfer and which vary based on book size) if you price under $2.99 and the same if you charge over $9.99? This is an issue of critical importance to indies because it is not financially feasible to hand over that level of margin to a reseller for a download service. (And if you think Amazon is paying you a “royalty” when you fork over that 65% operating expense, please stop reading now. You are incurably ignorant and I cannot help you.)

Generally I tend to stay the fuck away from publishing these days. Why continue to bang my head against a wall?

But sometimes a post rises to the level of requiring reading by others.

The above is such a post.

Amazon isn’t concerned about how many books it sells as being good for writers. It wants to sell as many books as possible because it’s good for Amazon.

If Amazon could sell fifty-seven billion books yet have each writer make only a dollar in a year, that’d suit Amazon just fine.

And while I focus on Amazon here — because the originating post is about it — this holds true for all companies that have managed to create a stranglehold in any area.


Filed under Amazon Kindle, Digital Overthrow, Friction, Pricing

The China Market Has Been Lost. Thanks, NSA!

China is Planning to Purge Foreign Technology and Replace With Homegrown Suppliers

China is aiming to purge most foreign technology from banks, the military, state-owned enterprises and key government agencies by 2020, stepping up efforts to shift to Chinese suppliers, according to people familiar with the effort.

The push comes after a test of domestic alternatives in the northeastern city of Siping that was deemed a success, said the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. Workers there replaced Microsoft Corp.’s Windows with a homegrown operating system called NeoKylin and swapped foreign servers for ones made by China’s Inspur Group Ltd., they said.

The plan for changes in four segments of the economy is driven by national security concerns and marks an increasingly determined move away from foreign suppliers under President Xi Jinping, the people said. The campaign could have lasting consequences for U.S. companies including Cisco Systems Inc., International Business Machines Corp., Intel Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

“The shift is real,” said Charlie Dai, a Beijing-based analyst for Forrester Research Inc. “We have seen emerging cases of replacing foreign products at all layers from application, middleware down to the infrastructure software and hardware.”

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Filed under Collapse, Digital Overthrow, Friction, Infowar, Marketing, Stupid

Serfs Of Apple

Launcher Followup and Thoughts on the App Store Review System

If developers don’t have explicit guidelines to go on and we can’t even use apps available on the App Store as an indicator of what is acceptable, our only choice is to potentially waste huge amounts of time working on apps that ultimately get rejected in an attempt to find something that will get accepted. I pleaded with this person to make public whatever guidelines they make available for app reviewers to decide what is acceptable and what is not regarding widgets. The Apple representative responded by saying that they prefer that the rules remain vague because that allows developers to come up with innovative ideas and also allows Apple to be flexible in case they change their minds later. When pressed on the issue of their policies leading to wasted developer time, I was told, “If you are afraid something you are working on will be rejected, then don’t work on it.”

To Apple, developer time is expendable because they don’t bear the brunt of the wasted months of development. As far as they’re concerned developers are an infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of Macbooks and every once in a while, one of us stumbles upon an app that not only passes all of their written and unwritten guidelines, but is actually successful too. The opportunity cost of developers either not working on an app for fear of rejection, or wasted developer time when an app is ultimately rejected appears to be of no concern to them.

I’d really like to see an alternative to iOS and Android happen.

Devs shouldn’t be treated this way. Nor should writers.

And I call out Apple here, but the same nonchalance and attitude of disposability towards creators exists with Google, Amazon, and every other large goddammed company out there that’s managed to create a stranglehold for themselves.

Until we all stand up and bring the hammer of government down on their heads, everyone will continue to be treated just like the helpless suckers we are.

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Filed under Digital Overthrow, Friction, iOS

Google Translate Update Ruins It

This is supposed to be Chinese translated to English:


It’s garbage.

Google did some kind of change to Translate and now a swath of sites I used to check are no longer readable.

I haven’t tried them in Chrome because, you know, fuck Google if they think they can force their browser on me that way.

Fix Translate so it works for everyone again, Google.


Filed under Friction

China Tablets: 1Pad Disses Almost All Of Them!

Whoa [Google Translate]:

If the budget is less than a thousand dollars, in fact, there are many big-name tablet to choose from, such as Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, and Huawei, the difference between these brands and some domestic brands may not be apparent in the short term, but after After several months of use, the gap between the two immediately apparent, the domestic flat all kinds of strange problems will ensue, but the most prominent problem with the battery, so you have plans to buy a domestic low-cost tablet PC, You have to be prepared to handle the psychological preparation of various incurable diseases.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

So, who should I believe?

Those who have bought from China and have had OK experiences?

Or those who report on China tablets, inside China, and have experience with many more of them?


Filed under Friction, Reference

Apple Gives Itself Unfair eBooks Advantage

This is the iTunes Preview listing for iBooks (which is now, with iOS 8, pre-installed on all iOS devices):


It has an Age Rating of 4+.

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Filed under Apple: The Company, eBooks: General, Friction, iOS, Stupid

Why I Despise Windows Beyond XP

Just what the hell is this shit?!


Windows 7 will sometimes report no pictures in the Pictures folder — when in fact there’s well over a thousand in it!

Plus, sometimes what I see in a folder is not reflected in the file picker. New images socked away in Pictures don’t show up immediately in the file picker. WTF!

This never happened with Windows XP — and I’ve got thousands and thousands of photos on that old machine.

What the hell is this shit?!!?

I’ve Googled to no avail.

Anyone know what this ongoing problem is?

Same-day update: And Steven Troughton-Smith clued me into the Libraries change in Win 7 [it dates back to Vista!]. I now have it sorted out. Let’s see how it goes. Thanks!

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Filed under Friction

Xiaomi’s Popularity Creates A Scalping Industry

ZooPDA — which has often been critical of Xiaomi — has published an exposé that reveals why Xiaomi phones often sell out quickly, leading many everyday people to complain they can never buy one at the advertised price [Google Translate; also drop URL into Bing Translator — this needs dual translation!].

There are four types of scalpers. Perhaps the worst are the groups on QQ who “invest” in buying quantities of Xiaomi phones to resell at higher prices.

Even though Xiaomi has safeguards such as CAPCHAs to defeat bots and mass purchases, there’s software to circumvent that.

Another safeguard to prevent scalping is an SMS confirmation message. But that only led to the creation of a service that will “launder” the SMS!

This is an article someone really needs to translate into clear English.

I’ve always suspected that “limited” sales of the kind Xiaomi engages in would lead to abuse. But the scale of it is astounding. It’s an entire industry that’s been created to milk would-be Xiaomi buyers.

This further leads me to think that the reason why the MiPad went from limited to open sales so quickly is a lack of popularity. While it’s the best Android tablet available in China, Xiaomi violated its reputation for surprisingly-affordable pricing. That alienated potential buyers. Given a choice between the MiPad and an iPad, people would rather spend double for the best — or just spend far less for a “good enough” Chinese brand tablet.


Filed under Fraud, Friction

I Am So Sick Of Flat Design



August 29, 2014 · 8:42 am

eBook DRM Kills eBooks

I believe in stripping DRM from the eBooks you’ve paid for. Not to then pass along those eBooks to others for free. People should pay writers for their work. But you have a right to be free of the potential harm that DRM can do. See above tweet!

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Filed under eBooks: General, Friction, Stupid