Read on for a collection of links to the most interesting articles and resources that the TidBITS staff discovered on the Web this week.
New York Times Explains Chinese Advantage for Apple — The New York Times has a clever feature article explaining why Apple (and other firms) manufacture in China for a host of reasons, of which low wages may be a relatively small part. The ability to hire a massive number of trained people nearly instantly is one factor, regardless of how well those people are treated by the contractors Apple employs. For instance, Americans typically won’t live in dormitories and work six 12-hour days in a row, which is commonplace in China and other developing nations.
Apple Textbooks Repeat the Past — Glenn Fleishman writes in an editorial at Macworld about how Apple’s “new” digital textbook plan reminds him of countless efforts to push multimedia pedagogy without evidence that it improves achievement in any measure. The iPad is remarkable, but interactive textbooks aren’t.
MacJury Deliberates about iBooks Author EULA — Just hours after Apple’s education announcements on 19 January 2012, the Internet began to vibrate with discussion, much of it dismayed, about some of the terms in the end-user license agreement (EULA) that accompanies Apple’s iBooks Author application. Take Control Books editor-in-chief Tonya Engst was empaneled with other concerned netizens by Chuck Joiner at MacJury to deliberate about how the EULA, even more than the iBooks format itself, might affect the publishing community.
Supreme Court Shrinks Public Domain — We haven’t been following the Golan case before the U.S. Supreme Court, but Techdirt explains how the Court has ruled that the United States can retroactively take works out of the public domain and put them back under copyright. The government’s claim is that this is necessary for a trade agreement to make other countries respect our copyright, but the end result is that it could (and likely will) be used to shrink the public domain. We’re all in favor of copyright giving incentives to creators, but we can’t see how putting the works of dead people back under copyright will result in any new work.
Wikipedia Blackout Leaves Nagging Hole — David Carr of the New York Times neatly explains how Wikipedia’s blackout to protest poorly drafted anti-piracy bills under consideration in the U.S. Congress leaves a ragged hole in the Internet. He doesn’t see Wikipedia as authoritative, but as fundamental: it’s the way to start to understand and research millions of topics.