TKC 133 Stephen Baker

Photo by Carolyn Cole

News – 1) Apple rejects Sony‘s e-reader app for the iPhone, which could mean changes in the way the Kindle for iPad and other Apple devices functions, regarding e-book purchases. Covered by the New York Times, Digital Daily, and Tecca.  2) You can now buy a Kindle at any of the Fred Meyer stores. 3) The Man Booker Prize judges are toting Kindles.

Tech Tip – Two ways to save a non-lighted Kindle 3 cover with posts, courtesy of listeners Mike Gordon and Tom Keitel.  Also, it turns out you can’t delete your Kindle’s dictionary. (Sorry, Dad.)

Interview (begins at 14:03)- Stephen Baker, author of The Numerati and  Final Jeopardy, tells the story of IBM’s Watson, the computer who would be a Jeopardy champion.  We spoke by Skype on January 31, 2011.  You can watch the final match on Feb. 14, 15, and 16. Click here for Stephen’s blog.  For a sneak peek at Watson’s prowess click here, and here for the video.

ContentFlip It! – a great new game for 99 cents, by Abhi. Click here for help on getting past Level 5.

E-Books for Troops Update – We’ve received a grant of $2,500 and another in the same amount as a matching grant. So it’s a great time to make a tax-deductible contribution to enable us to distribute more Kindles to U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Send to Kindle

Comments 14

  1. Jim Corkrum wrote:

    Hello Len,

    I listened to your show today while out for my daily walk at the University of Arizona. An excellent show, as always.

    I heard you briefly mention The Daily subscription service that just came out for the iPad. I thought, before you sign up, you should read their privacy policy. You might have second thoughts. Here is the link:

    Thanks again for a great podcast.

    Posted 05 Feb 2011 at 6:32 pm
  2. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Jim, that’s some scary reading! Thanks for the link.

    Posted 06 Feb 2011 at 10:58 am
  3. Steve Gold wrote:

    Aloha Len,

    Enjoyed the Stephen Baker interview and will follow the Jeopardy shows with Watson, watch NOVA tomorrow (still Tuesday in Hawaii) and buy Mr. Baker’s book.

    Oddly enough I didn’t experience any problems using the Cole-Haan (CH) brown woven leather cover with the K3 that I can recall until a couple of days before your podcast discussing the issue although I have used it since the K3 was first released. I use the lighted Amazon cover at home and the CH cover when out and about. I was, as you were inclined to do, just going to put up with the occasional freeze and startup problems until I heard your podcast about the role of the CH cover in these incidents.
    I then called Amazon and had the full retail price credited even though I purchased it for $20 less at a promotional price when the K3 was first available–terrific Amazon customer service as usual following in the footsteps of another legendary Seattle company–Nordstrom.
    I will now report on my attempt to salvage the CH cover with nail polish as suggested by one of your listeners. First trial: Worked as long as the K3 was in the CH cover but froze and would not restart after a few menu or 5 way strokes when removed from the cover. After restarting the clock displayed the wrong time. After the next powered restart the time was further distorted. Eventually, I reset the time and the K3 functioned properly again.
    I thought that perhaps I had not put enough nail polish on the leading edge of the prongs so I gave them another coat. Before testing it again I had downloaded the beta 3.1 software update. In any event, the second test ended with the same results (except the time did not get corrupted.)
    In the interest of scientific inquiry I would like to be able to disclose to you the name and color of the nail polish I used but alas that is a makeup secret my wife is unwilling to share.


    Posted 09 Feb 2011 at 4:59 am
  4. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Thanks very much for the nail-polish attempt, Steve. And you did the right thing, to protect the details of your wife’s beauty secrets. Very nice touch!

    Posted 09 Feb 2011 at 8:01 am
  5. Denise Kelley wrote:

    In hearing all the kerfuffle over the Apple/Sony spat as it relates to iOS users, I thought the salient point was that unless Amazon allows in-app purchases of books (thereby giving Apple the 30% cut), it will not allow apps to USE CONTENT purchased elsewhere. This would be a serious problem for iPad users who expect to be able to read books in their Amazon files. Am I wrong?

    Posted 09 Feb 2011 at 5:09 pm
  6. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Denise, I thought Apple’s rule was that if an app enables a user to purchase books or other content outside the app, it must also allow purchase within the app. Amazon could get out of that by not making purchases available in or out, leaving the ability to read content purchased elsewhere, for example on the web or the Kindle itself, still readable in the iOS app.

    Posted 09 Feb 2011 at 5:22 pm
  7. Denise Kelley wrote:

    I hope you’re right. As a long-time Apple fan, I don’t want the other to be true, but as I carefully read the report, it seemed to indicate otherwise. I do think they’d be shooting themselves in the foot, though, if they alienated all their iPhone/iPad readers that way.

    Posted 09 Feb 2011 at 9:18 pm
  8. Mike Gordon wrote:

    What I don’t think people are really catching here is that due to the publishers’ “agency model”, Amazon gets 30% of the sales price of an ebook they sell. Of course, for books transmitted to Kindle hardware over cellular data, they pay a small, per-Mb delivery fee to the carrier. Of course, they don’t have to pay this fee for books delivered via wifi to K3s, Androids, IPods, etc, because the user is already paying for their internet connection. Apple is demanding 30% of the sales price (all of Amazon’s profit on the sale) just because the user will be reading the book on an IPad, IPod, or IPhone. The user bought the IPad (etc) and is already paying for their internet connection, so that isn’t costing Apple anything. All Apple doing is installing themselves as an ‘agent’ of Amazon in making the connection to their storefront to make the purchase of the book. If you aren’t completely outraged by this, try this analogy:

    Let’s say I build and sell you a building in a small town. You open a grocery store in the building. But then I shown you a clause on page 2953 of the deed that specifies that I get to put in another entrance to your parking lot and I get a 5% cut of the total grocery bill of each customer who uses that entrance. I hire an ‘observer’ to watch who pulls into the lot via ‘my’ entrance and a ‘collector’ who stands at the cash register and takes 5% of each of those customers’ total grocery bill when they check out.

    Oh, did I mention that own the other grocery store in town, and I got your grocery supplier to lock you into a contract that says you can’t price anything more than 5% above wholesale? Sure, I have the same contract with them, but I don’t have anyone taking away the profit on half my sales.

    Its easy to see where this is going. Soon you’ll be forced out of the grocery business, and I’ll jack up my prices. In the mean time, I’m making a killing because I’m taking half your profits and my only costs are a couple guys to track the customers and collect my ‘agent fees’ on them.

    Perhaps Amazon should rewrite the IPhone (etc) Kindle app to include the in-app purchase feature and infrastructure in order to comply with their ‘agreement’ with Apple. But, they could include a log-on prompt with password, two personalized challenge questions, and five hard-to-read captchas, ‘just to make sure the transaction is secure’. This would be analogous to the you, as the grocery store owner, putting up a bunch of speed bumps in that parking lot entrance ‘just to improve the safety’ in your parking lot.

    Of course, I’m not saying I (or Apple) would retaliate, but I would recommend that you (or Amazon) make sure you’re paid up on your plate glass insurance.

    Posted 11 Feb 2011 at 3:42 pm
  9. Tim Meneely wrote:


    Have you received (or found) the final Final Jeopardy yet? I bought the book and read it in advance of the show – enjoyed it a lot, and it enhanced my appreciation of Watson.

    However, I haven’t received the final version yet, and don’t see any notes about it on Amazon.

    And, by the way, I’d left a positive review on Amazon, one of several, and now see that all the reviews seem to be gone. Curious.

    Thanks for the show, which I enjoy.

    Posted 17 Feb 2011 at 9:24 pm
  10. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Tim, it’s 9:30 p.m. here in Boston, and I just found the last chapter for Final Jeopardy. It apparently arrived automatically, because when I opened my copy of the book on my Kindle and went to the TOC, there it was. Unfortunately, this means my notes and highlights are gone, but that’s okay.

    Posted 17 Feb 2011 at 9:32 pm
  11. Jim Sullivan wrote:


    I did not receive my final chapter if Final Jeopardy. I had to call Amazon. They said my copy had a problem. Their solution was to credit my account and delete my copy of the book, then I purchased the book again using a code to identify the complete book version. It was a little extra effort, but all ended well. Amazon’s customer support was excellent as usual, but I’m not sure they have the process down yet for book updates like this.

    Posted 17 Feb 2011 at 10:15 pm
  12. Tim Meneely wrote:

    I got an email from Amazon that the complete edition was available, about 10:30 pm EST last night.

    Posted 18 Feb 2011 at 11:31 am
  13. Stephen Rees-Carter wrote:


    Do you know why international customers are unable to purchase the Active Content (i.e. Games) on for Kindle?
    If it’s just a case of publishing rights, why can’t Amazon release their own games for international customers. It’s kinda annoying, as I would love to try the games and choose your own adventure stories.

    Thanks 🙂

    Posted 21 Feb 2011 at 8:10 pm
  14. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Stephen, good question. I don’t know the answer to it but will try to remember to ask about it the next time I have a chance to interview one of the Kindle execs at Amazon.

    Posted 21 Feb 2011 at 9:43 pm