Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simba's iPad Survey Is A Bit Misleading

In the past few days I’ve come across a news story about about the percentage of people who use the iPad to read an ebook. Simba Information conducted a nationwide survey which found that 35% of iPad owners have never used it to read an ebook. Simba’s spokesperson tries to make this sound like a shocking statistic, especially with the statement that “over a million iPad buyers haven’t used the gadget for e-books shows that not all new gadgets equate to a new e-reader.”

What?! You have an iPad and haven’t read a book on it?

This is a load of carefully concealed hyperbole and makes me wonder who is behind the survey and about ulterior motives. We could easily take this report and turn it on its head saying, “65% of iPad owners have used the iPad to read a book.” This is a higher percentage than the number of adults in the United States who said they have read a book in the last year.

The problem with this survey is that it engages in making an implied comparison, which is, “While 35% of iPad owners haven’t read a book on the iPad, 100% of Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader owners have used their device to read a book.”

What makes this statistic so laughable is that the the Kindle, Nook and Sony Reader (and a slew of other devices) are dedicated e-readers. These devices do one thing really well- let you read ebooks. The iPad is a platform that happens to have an app (which you must download from the app store) to read ebooks, but also lets you to read email, surf the web, play games, listen to music, watch movies, and on and on.

Maybe Simba should also conduct a study to inform us that “100% of physical book readers have used an amazing device to read. It’s called a book.”

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

From Whence Do Those Relics Come?

To whom does the past belong?

Historic landscapes around the world, once virtually littered with archeological treasures, are being looted at an alarming rate, particularly in the American Southwest. Do these artifacts belong to those who find them, to museums, or to the past? Craig Childs, in his book “Finders Keepers,” argues that these artifacts might be best left where they lie, unless the only way to protect them is in a museum. Even then, he scrutinizes museums methods of acquiring and storing these artifacts. He relates stories of how unscrupulous museum directors knowingly turn a blind eye to the questionable provenance of an item and worse yet, of so poorly storing these items that they may eventually rot away in storage spaces.

While Childs uses examples of artifact looting from around the world, he concentrates the story in his own backyard- the Four Corners region of the Southwest, centering on Blanding, Utah. Having worked with and interviewed many of the people involved in digging up and selling archeological artifacts, he tells the story of how many of these people were caught and prosecuted by the Federal Government, and how many of them don’t see a problem with selling these artifacts for personal gain, while others committed suicide rather than be prosecuted.

Childs addresses the issues of archeology, looting, museums and Native American tribal rights with a thoughtful and respectful approach, giving you his thoughts, while acknowledging that he doesn’t hold all of the answers.

“Finders Keepers” is a fascinating, true story of history, archeology, passion and greed.

Get your copy at the Campus Store and receive 30% off. Reg: $24.99 Sale: $17.49