ExtraBITS for 7 December 2009
Interesting articles we found this week look at Apple’s acquisition of the Lala digital music service, the Kindle 2’s new PDF functionality, fallacies of cloud computing, and a new mobile payment processing service, plus a fun discussion between Adam and Your Mac Life host Shawn King.
Apple to Buy Lala Music Service — Brad Stone of The New York Times reveals that Apple has agreed to buy the digital music company Lala. In contrast with iTunes, from which users must download purchased music before playing, Lala lets users play their music directly from the Web on a computer or smartphone with Internet access. Lala’s streaming music licenses are not transferable, making engineering skills and knowledge the most likely reason for the acquisition.
Kindle 2 Gains PDF Reading — Ars Technica reports that Amazon’s Kindle 2 is automatically receiving a firmware update (as long as you have its wireless service on) that enables native PDF viewing, complete with rotation for a wide-screen viewing option. It’s still not a good PDF reader (no bookmarks or links honored), but it’s a step in the right direction.
Five Fallacies of Cloud Computing — At SearchDataCenter.com, our friend Chuck Goolsbee has an insightful article looking into five common fallacies of what’s called “cloud computing.” (One of the fallacies is that it’s something new.) Chuck knows what he’s talking about, so if you’re interested in or worried about cloud computing, read his article. (Apologies in advance for SearchDataCenter.com’s annoying policies.)
Adam Discusses Holiday Gift Ideas on Your Mac Life — As voting continued in the 2009 TidBITS Gift Guide Survey, Adam joined Your Mac Life host Shawn King to go over some of the cooler ideas in the survey, ranging from the coffee cup power inverter for your car to a slew of fun iPhone games. The conversation was a hoot, as always, and should be a fun listen.
Square Aims to Democratize Mobile Payment Processing — TechCrunch covers the unveiling of Square, a new mobile phone payment service created by one of the co-founders of Twitter. A small device that plugs into a mobile phone’s headset/microphone jack lets you swipe credit cards, with the information being transferred first to the Square software and then to the Square service for processing. Square could be popular with farmers market vendors or anyone who needs to take payments and has an iPhone or Android-based smartphone. But would you really want to keep handing your iPhone to customers for signatures?