Stanza is another (of many) book readers for the iPhone. In my opinion, it's a step up from Kindle for iPhone. I'm currently reading my third full novel, but haven't tried technical books. Here's my impressions.
• Huge online catalog, includes the Gutenberg collection of 25,000 free classics
• Direct purchase from the iPhone, including books from O'Reilly
• Nice (1 pixel) progress bar along the bottom
• Flips to horizontal, vertical, upside down
• Text look, legibility, etc.
• Page turning (tap left or right edge of screen)
• Font size options
• Cover art, book jackets, title page, front matter poorly formatted and displayed
• Classics were apparently scanned, and contain frequent scanning errors
• Recent version crashes when trying to set options
Amazon purchased Lexcycle, the company that created Stanza, in late April. Perhaps this will lead to a much improved Kindle application on the iPhone. Now that iPhone 3 is out, direct purchase from Amazon for the iPhone seems likely.
Cengage recently announced that 250+ titles will be available as online books through CafeScribe. Krugman is available for $58.67.
It seems that the goal is to allow highlighting and annotation, and sharing of these notes among a community of readers. So far 11 folks have purchased Krugman, and one person has added two brief notes.
I'm skeptical. CafeScribe requires installing the MyScribe application. This required a 56.8 Mbyte download for Macintosh. The website and application appear both slow and clunky. The application crashed the first time I launched it, and the website gave we 404 errors.
Although it's promised on the homepage, I wasn't able to find a full demo book to download. At best I found a two page document, so it's hard to tell what full texts will look like.
Scribd provides online publication of books, artwork, reports, and so forth using iPaper technology. Documents may be public or private, free or paid.
iPaper is essentially an improved version of FlashPaper. It's got a clean interface, and seems to import documents flawlessly – more than I can say for FlashPaper. Make sure you check out the button with all the little squares, used for navigation.
We often think that choice – more options – is good, but maybe not. Check out this excellent TED talk video.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.
Patnaik claims that companies prosper when they create widespread empathy. He's so right.
At Hewlett-Parkard we called this next bench, creating products for the person at the next workbench – someone we knew well. At Apple we aimed to create products for mere mortals, often our not-so-tech-savvy mothers.
At Aplia we ask what challenges our instructors and students are facing, and look for ways that technology might help.
In each case, the key is empathy - walking a mile in our users shoes. The book's a great read.