Borrowing Kindle ebooks: Hands-on guide

Test , ITworld

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from ITWorld.

On Wednesday Amazon announced that Kindle books are now available from 11,000 public libraries across the United States. Getting ebooks from a library isn’t anything new but my understanding is that the process up to now has been fairly old-school: you’d log into the library’s website, download a file (usually in ePub format), then sync it over to your e-reader (which would have to support Adobe’s digital rights management system).

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Amazon launches Kindle integration with public libraries

Amazon on Wednesday announced the launch of its previously-promised Kindle library lending, which will allow Kindle and Kindle app users alike to borrow ebooks from 11,000 local libraries in the United States.

Kindle book borrowers can use all the features they’re accustomed to when reading Kindle Store-purchased books: notes, highlights, bookmarks, real page numbers, Facebook and Twitter integration, and Whispersync, which syncs your current page across any Kindle device or app you use.

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Opinion: Netflix's changes are customer-hostile

I was irked when Netflix announced its pricing changes back in July. My family was on the one-DVD-at-a-time plan, which included streaming from Netflix’s Watch Instantly catalog; our monthly rate would jump from $10 per month to $16 per month. I was frustrated enough by the “spend more for the same features” approach that I researched a slew of Netflix competitors. Eventually, I decided I would stick with Netflix’s $8 streaming plan, and get my new releases via Zediva—until Zediva was sidelined by a court order. Though I wasn’t convinced Netflix was worth the extra $72 per year, I decided to stick with the service through its price hike. Now, thanks to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’s latest message to customers—and Netflix’s split into two separate companies—I’m more inclined than ever to jump ship.

Here’s a quick recap of Netflix’s latest announcements: The company is sorry that it didn’t better explain its reasons for raising the price of combined streaming and DVD plans. And basically, it raised those prices and now charges separately for DVDs and streaming because they’re two different businesses. And since they’re two different businesses, Netflix is literally splitting up into two unique entities: Netflix will become a streaming-only enterprise; DVDs-by-mail will become the purview of a new, separate entity called Qwikster.

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How to rip CD box sets in iTunes

I’ve got a lot of music in my collection, and some of it in box sets of varying sizes. From a 37-disc set of Schubert’s lieder, to an 80-disc set of all of Glenn Gould’s recordings, to a 98-disc set of Shakespeare’s plays, to a 172-disc set of Bach’s complete works. With all these box sets, my shelves are full. Recently, another one arrived: a 73-CD set of the Grateful Dead’s Europe ’72 tour; all 22 concerts recorded during the tour.

Since I convert all my music for iTunes and iPod playback, ripping a big box set calls for certain strategies. Here are the steps you should consider when ripping large sets, and how you can deal with the specific problems they can present.

Do you need CDs?

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Logitech Harmony Link turns iPad into universal remote

Wishing you could use your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch as a universal remote control in the living room? On Tuesday Logitech announced the Harmony Link, a $100 device that sits next to your TV, communicates with your iOS device via Wi-Fi, and can control up to eight pieces of hardware—TVs, DVRs, Blu-ray players, AV receivers, media streamers, and so on—using a custom app.

With its Harmony remote line, Logitech has made it relatively easy to set up (using your Mac and an extensive database of devices) and use a single remote to control all of your media devices. The company is looking to extend the same functionality it offers in those standalone remotes to users of iOS devices.

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Netflix apologizes, spins off DVD service

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has two messages for all of you who feel jilted by the company’s action this year to split its DVD and streaming video services. First: “It’s not you, it’s me.” Second: “We’re doubling down.”

That’s the essence of the email Hastings sent to Netflix’s customers Monday morning—augmented by a similarly worded, but longer, blog post. The executive offered profuse apologies to customers offended when Netflix split its DVD and streaming video services, effectively raising prices on people who used both. Rather than reverse course, though, he announced the DVD portion is being spun off as an entirely separate service—now named Qwikster, with its own website. Netflix will remain the name of the video streaming service.

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