We have a number of interesting ExtraBITS for you this week, including news of Tor Books going DRM-free, a sad farewell to Spell Catcher author Evan Michael Gross, the addition of a Cards pages to Trello, and word that Qantas Airways will be providing iPads for in-flight entertainment on some flights.
Tor Books Goes Totally DRM-Free -- Book publishers Tor Books and Forge Books, imprints of Tom Dougherty Associates, LLC (which itself is a division of Macmillan), announced last week that all ebooks published under those imprints would be sold without digital rights management (DRM) protection through “Amazon, B&N, Apple, Kobo, Google, and most other major ebook retailers.” This new policy covers both newly published ebooks as well as ebooks from the imprints’ back lists. Tor senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden said in the announcement, “To the best of our knowledge we’re the first division of a Big Six publishing conglomerate to go down this road, but we doubt very much that we’ll be the last.” Tor specializes in science-fiction and fantasy; Forge offers thrillers, mysteries, and historical fiction, as well as general fiction titles.
Farewell to Evan Michael Gross, Author of Spell Catcher -- It was with great sadness that we heard about the sudden passing of Evan Michael Gross at the end of June 2012. One of the earliest adopters of the Mac, Evan was best known as the author of Spell Catcher, the standalone spelling utility that started out life as Thunder in 1986 before being renamed to Spell Catcher in 1998. In 1999, Spell Catcher started being distributed by Casady & Greene, which also distributed SoundJam, the predecessor to iTunes. In 2005, Evan’s Rainmaker Research took over distribution. We don’t yet know what the fate of Spell Catcher will be without Evan.
Trello Adds User-Specific Cards Page -- Looking for an overview of all the cards assigned to you in Trello, the collaboration tool we reviewed recently (see “Trello Offers Compelling Collaboration Tool,” 9 July 2012)? Fog Creek Software has added a Cards page that shows all the cards assigned to you, organized by board. You can also see similar pages for other Trello users. Also note the ‘q’ shortcut for quickly hiding all cards on a board that aren’t assigned to you (press it again to show them).
Qantas to Provide iPads to Passengers -- The Canberra Times is reporting that passengers on Australia’s Qantas Airways Boeing 767 planes will be provided with iPads to access more than 200 hours of streamed entertainment. The service will be free when it rolls out later this year, but no, you don’t get to keep the iPad. The big advantage to Qantas — other than happier customers — is the removal of existing inflight entertainment systems whose roughly two-ton weight increases fuel use and consumes valuable under-seat space.