The Netflix of kids’ books? Epic launches on iPad for $9.99/month

The Netflix monthly subscription model is a hit for movies and TV, and is spreading to music with paid versions of services like Pandora and Spotify. In 2014, it looks like the model could finally catch on for eBooks, Gigaom reports. On Tuesday, a company called Epic launched a service that offers children a monthly library of over 2,000 children’s books on the iPad, including popular titles like Olivia, the Berenstain Bears and  Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The books arrive instantly through streaming, and the service also provides features like personalized recommendations and off-line access…

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Will “disease-like” Facebook lose 80 percent of users by 2017?

There’s some non-peer-reviewed “research” (PDF) going around that claims Facebook will have lost 80 percent of its users in a few years’ time, based on the idea that you can draw a reasonable analogy between the social network’s trajectory and that of a contagious disease, Gigaom reports. For my own sanity, I would like to pretend I never read about this Princeton study, but there are a lot of articles out there taking it quite seriously — the most irksome headline I’ve encountered reads: “Facebook is an ‘infectious disease’ and will lose 80% of users by 2017, say researchers.” It should go without saying that this story is nonsense, but apparently it doesn’t, so please allow me…

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It’s official: China is the wild, wild west of cloud computing

Within hours of Amazon’s announcement of a new Beijing region for Amazon Web Services, IBM jumped into the mix, announcing a new relationship with 21Vianet to offer high-end SmartCloud Enterprise + cloud services from a new 21Vianet-hosted facility in Beijing, Gigaom reports. IBM claimed that while AWS is a “newbie” in China and to enterprise-class workloads generally, IBM has worked with customers in China for years as an enterprise IT provider while AWS “is most known for its support of Netflix.” So there. This is a feisty IBM, obviously stung by losing the $600 million CIA cloud contract to AWS. SmartCloud Enterprise+ is an OpenStack-based cloud for enterprise customers, an IBM spokesman said. IBM characterizes it as an “open standards-based” cloud compared to Amazon’s “proprietary” cloud. You see how this is being played…

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Why public libraries should follow Chicago’s lead and build maker labs

Gigaom.com reports that Square co-founder Jim McKelvey built the first prototypes for his little white credit card swiper at the TechShop workshop in Menlo Park, Calif. MakerBot’s first 3D printer, the CupCake CNC, grew out of collaborations that began at the NYC Resistor hackerspace in New York City. Square and MakerBot are just the famous examples. TechShop members have also produced a tiny quadcopter and a DIY underwater robot that both easily hit their goals on Kickstarter. At the Noisebridge hackerspace in San Francisco, members once launched a balloon to the edge of space to take photos and video…

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Bringing your new iPad 2 to work

As most companies have looked to cut costs any way they could, the result has been a workforce equipped with underpowered devices, plastic enclosures and an outdated mobile paradigm that require most users to carry around a mouse and power cord to be of any real use, reports GIGAOM.  Most business users have simply had enough, and for a very affordable price, are starting to fund their own IT revolution by bringing their new iPads to the workplace. Here’s how you can do the same.

Getting Connected: Getting a new iPad 2 is only half the battle. Once you’re at work, before you can reclaim the time you once lost to reboots or hunting for the one free power outlet in the conference room, you realize you need to get connected to the corporate network.

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Acer Iconia A100: A 7-Inch Android tablet (with Honeycomb!)

Acer may take the plunge to put Android 3.0 on a 7-inch tablet, according to reports from this week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona. The company is showing off the Iconia A100 tablet and says it will run Honeycomb, which Google launched a few weeks ago, reports GigaOm. Up until now, the smallest Android 3.0 tablet I’ve seen is the 8.9-inch LG Optimus Pad, or G-Slate as it will be known on T-Mobile here in the U.S. Even Samsung, with the success of its 7-inch Galaxy Tab running Android 2.2, has yet to announce a Honeycomb tablet smaller than the new Galaxy Tab 10.1. The Iconia A100 being shown off at MWC is currently running on Android 2.2, so show attendees can’t get a look at Honeycomb on the smaller screen. According to the MobileBurn blog, the A100 will see Honeycomb when the device launches in the UK this April. I’ll be interested to see how Acer accomplishes such a feat, given the expected 1024×600 resolution of the device. Many sites are reporting that Nvidia’s Tegra 2 will power the A100, and while Nvidia confirms this in a blog post today, it makes no mention of the smaller tablet display size. However, there are many pictures and videos confirming the 7-inch screen…

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8 cloud companies to watch in 2011

2010 was a big year for cloud computing and infrastructure, in general, but if there’s one fundamental truth in this market, it’s that it doesn’t sit still for long, reports GIGAOM. The same goes for the companies involved in it; they’re constantly making moves (some small, some big) that ultimately could result in major market transformations. In the case of the following companies (and one open-source project), I think that although they made lots of headlines in the past year, the true effects of their actions won’t be realized until later this year. In some cases, that’s because new offerings aren’t yet available; in others it’s simply because we don’t know what they’ll do. But either way, it’s a safe bet that the seeds they’ve sown will have some profound consequences. Here’s the list, with a few links apiece to provide context…

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Home 3-D is DOA: Majority of U.S. won’t buy a 3DTV

It’s been nearly a year since consumer electronics manufacturers, Hollywood studios and even cable companies rallied around the concept of 3DTV at CES, announcing new products and programming aimed at translating the 3-D experience from the movie theater to the living room. But the dream of delivering 3-D video into consumer homes is one that probably won’t be realized–at least not anytime soon, and most likely not in North America, reports GigaOM. We’ve been skeptics of the movement all along, but the latest data from Nielsen shows that not only are consumers in North America not particularly interested in 3-D TV, but the majority seem downright opposed to the technology. But the bad news doesn’t stop there: the global survey of more than 27,000 respondents found that less than a quarter of consumers worldwide are likely buyers of 3DTV sets. Less than 10 percent of consumers worldwide said they would be buying a 3-D TV over the next 12 months, with an additional 15 percent saying they probably will purchase a 3-D capable set during that time. But those global trends don’t extend to North America, where only 3 percent of consumers surveyed said they would definitely buy a 3DTV over the next year, with an additional 3 percent saying they probably will buy one. In addition to the meager showing of interested 3DTV buyers in America, there’s also the percentage that are outright opposed to owning a 3DTV, it seems. Nearly 60 percent of respondents said they would not be purchasing 3-D sets, compared to a third of respondents worldwide that said they wouldn’t invest in 3-D for the home. That’s bad news for consumer electronics manufacturers who have invested heavily in pushing 3-D in the North American market. It’s also very bad news for pay TV distributors and networks that have sunk millions of dollars into bringing more 3-D programming into their channel lineups. So why are North American consumers so much less likely to want to buy a 3-D TV set? It could be a sign of overall 3-D fatigue, as consumers in the U.S. in particular have been bombarded with 3-D movies ever since James Cameron’s Avatar hit it big…

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