Tech & culture

Doctorow's "Information Doesn't Want to Be Free" now in audiobook

idwtbfsmall.jpgInternet activist and sf author Cory Doctorow has produced an awesome audiobook version of his latest nonfiction book, Information Doesn't Want to be Free: Laws for the Internet Age." Read by Will Wheaton, with incidental music by Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, the audiobook is available for $15 on Doctorow's web site. In an e-mail sent to his mailing list, Doctorow explained:

Both Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman contributed forewords to this one, and Will reads them, too (of course). I could *not* be happier with how it came out. My sincere thanks to Will, the Skyboat Media people (Cassandra and Gabrielle de Cuir and Stefan Rudnicki), John Taylor Williams, and to Amanda for the music.

The book is $15, is DRM free, and has no EULA -- you don't need to give up any of your rights to buy it. It should be available in Downpour and other DRM-free outlets soon, but, of course, it won't be in iTunes or Audible, because both companies insist that you use DRM with your works, and I don't use DRM (for reasons that this book goes to some length to explain).

Audio edition:

I've got it on the speakers right now, and it's Doctorow in classic form: informative, accessible, and very smart about the issues around copyright, intellectual property, and surviving as an artist (or, really, anyone who does stuff with their computer) in the Internet age. If you're looking for something to listen to on plane rides or car trips over the upcoming holidays, this is fifteen bucks well spent.

Here are a couple of reviews of the print version:
Wall Street Journal
Boston Globe

Full disclosure: I have known Cory for years; I paid for this book and received nothing of value in exchange for this post.

02871, Localblogging, sf, Tech & culture

Nexperience brings VR to Warwick Mall

Nexperience pod at Warwick Mall.

Nexperience, a Rhode Island-based startup, has opened a demo booth at the Warwick Mall to showcase their software development chops for the Oculus Rift, a cutting-edge virtual reality headset. For $5, you can don the headset and headphones and spend about two minutes in an immersive VR world.

This reporter (and his excited 14-year-old assistant) stopped by on Saturday to try out their software, and both came away impressed. The demo on offer, called "Volcano Rush," features an intense virtual roller coaster whose corkscrews and inversions may leave you queasy if you have problems with the kind of discordant vestibular inputs that VR can trigger. Set in a craggy, mountainous prehistoric terrain with volcanic activity, it provides quite an interesting backdrop for the coaster.

The ride is extremely smooth, and this reporter was able to freely move his head in all directions with no noticeable latency. There are good levels of detail on most of the visible surfaces, nice textures throughout, and some really nice spark effects. The one dinosaur that makes an appearance could use a few more polygons, but that's a minor quibble.

The company has already gotten some ink in the ProJo and deserves some support. If you're in the Warwick area, why not stop by and check it out.

Nexperience web site

Localblogging, 02871, Info tech, Tech & culture

RIP Harold Pinter, Eartha Kitt

AP is reporting the passing of Nobel laureate playwright Harold Pinter. A brilliant writer, thinker, and public intellectual. His Nobel speech is worth another look. One of theater's most brilliant voices.

In another huge loss for the world of the arts, Eartha Kitt died Thursday. Here's the NY Times obit.

Localblogging, Tech & culture