City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge 2017

The Amazon Web Services City on a Cloud Innovation Challenge recognizes local and regional governments, and private and public schools and districts as hubs of innovation in three categories: Best Practices, Partners in Innovation, and Dream Big. Winners will receive AWS promotional credits to start or continue their projects.

 

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Amazon wins $30M contract to sell e-books to NYC schools

A big move into education, Amazon edges out OverDrive to capture NYC e-book contract

Amazon.com has won a $30 million contract to sell digital textbooks to New York City’s public schools over the next three years, in a deal that could extend an additional three years and be worth a total $65 million.

Under the terms, Amazon would have the right to sell e-books and other content but not devices like Kindles through an internal marketplace site. The e-books will be readable on e-readers, tablets, smartphones, laptops and other devices.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the Panel for Educational Policy approved the three-year contract on Wednesday for the Department of Education, who could spend as much as $4.3 million in the first year of the contract. The deal has the option to be extended an additional two years.…Read More

Amazon opens supercomputing service

A new option for Amazon Web Services has arrived, CNET reports: the raw computing power of supercomputing clusters now widely used in research circles. The service, called Cluster Compute, is a variation of one of the earliest services Amazon offered, EC2, or Elastic Compute Cloud. Compared to the standard EC2, it offers more processing power and faster network connections among the cluster’s computing nodes for better communications, Amazon said in a July 13 announcement. It retains the same general philosophy, though: Customers pay as they go, with more usage incurring more fees. The cluster service, which is available with Linux and a customer’s own software added into the mix, is best suited to parallel tasks that can be divided into independent pieces that run simultaneously. How fast is it? An 880-node cluster reached 41.82 teraflops, or floating-point operations per second, using the Linpack mathematical speed test. By contrast, the 145th-fastest machine on the most recent Top500 list of the fastest supercomputers reached a sustained speed of 41.88 teraflops…

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Feds: Make eReaders accessible to all students

Some colleges have agreed to abandon Kindle pilot programs because of accessibility issues.
Some colleges have agreed to abandon Kindle pilot programs because of accessibility issues.

The federal government will help schools and colleges using eReaders such as the Amazon Kindle to comply with laws giving students with disabilities equal access to emerging education technologies, officials announced.

The Departments of Education and Justice stressed the responsibility of colleges and universities to use accessible eReaders in a letter published June 29, after more than a year of complaints from low-sighted and blind students attending colleges that have piloted eReader programs.

Many eReaders have a text-to-speech function that reads words aloud, but the devices lack menus that people who are blind or have low vision can navigate.…Read More

Amazon threatens eBook publishers as Apple looms

As Apple builds its electronic bookstore, Amazon.com is trying to use its clout to hold on to its early lead in the market, reports the New York Times. Amazon.com has threatened to stop directly selling the books of some publishers online unless they agree to a detailed list of concessions regarding the sale of electronic books, according to two industry executives with direct knowledge of the discussions. The hardball approach comes less than two months after Amazon shocked the publishing world by removing the “buy” buttons from its site for thousands of printed books from Macmillan, one of the country’s six largest publishers, in a dispute over eBook pricing. Amazon is the largest online seller of printed books and the biggest eBook seller in the United States. The company is pressuring publishers just as Apple is also preparing to sell digital books for reading on its iPad tablet, which will reach the market in early April. Five of the country’s six largest publishers—Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Penguin—already have reached deals with Apple to sell their books through its iBookstore, which will be featured on the iPad. (The holdout is Random House…)

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Amazon launches free Kindle app for Blackberry

Amazon.com said Feb. 18 it is launching a new free Kindle application that will give customers access to over 420,000 books on a range of BlackBerry devices, Reuters reports. Called “Kindle for Blackberry”, the free application allows customers using BlackBerry devices on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and other U.S. carriers easy wireless access to Kindle books, most for $9.99 or less. “Since the launch of our popular Kindle for iPhone app last year, customers have been asking us to bring a similar experience to the BlackBerry,” said Ian Freed, Vice President, Amazon Kindle…

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