Lend Kindle books to friends and family

Today Amazon quietly rolled out a feature that lets Kindle owners share Kindle ebooks:

  • Eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a period of 14 days.
  • The borrower does not need to own a Kindle — Kindle books can also be read using our free Kindle reading applications for PC, Mac, iOS, etc.
  • Not all books are lendable.

The biggest catch is that once you lend a book, you can’t read it for the 14-day period, as with a printed copy. 

Four predictions for 2011

1. Smarter access to information. Open data and transparency are barely on the radar but will begin to boom in 2011. A new generation of users are viewing information as fluid and dynamic. Third-party developers are building apps that do amazing things with your data across a variety of platforms, including mapping and visualizing. Design is on the verge of mattering less than accessibility of content.

2. E-readers drive mobile information. The Nook and Kindle haven’t had much play as anything but book readers. But 2011 will see a major shift toward more portable information, expanding from mobile phones to readers and tablets. The Kindle and iPad are still king.

3. Video. We haven’t seen the online video revolution yet, but it’s around the corner. It’s coming in such a way that major telcos like Time-Warner are lobbying hard to restructure the Internet so that content can be throttled and divided among subscription tiers. If you stream Netflix or play online games, you’re on Big Telco’s shit list. New methods of indexing video will emerge.

4. The death of the Internet marketing/guru/ninja/expert. These people, who you see on Twitter and Facebook pushing their consulting and freelance services, will dwindle in volume. Having followers no longer makes you a guru. Innovation in communication, marketing and technical design will again be firmly rooted within this field, and not just to those who self-proclaim their expertise. Good riddance.

What Wikileaks really tells us about government and policy

If there was ever a question that information wants to be free, look no further than the Wikileaks story.

Governments — and especially those of us who work within them — haven’t fully identified the intersection of social connectivity and electronic data management.

The upper levels of government, foreign policy and national security keep secrets. By definition, that’s what many agencies do. As citizens, we must accept this fact. Secrets can keep peace. Secrets win wars. But secrets also can destroy trust, hide criminal acts, and threaten civil liberties.