Online groups, summer 2012
iBooks is an e-reader from Apple. In January 2012, Apple released iBooks Author (www.apple.com/ibooks-author/). iBooks Author is free software that is used to create e-books for iBooks. A writer selects an Apple-designed template and adds content. An e-book can include text, interactive images, movies, and 3D objects. The writer can review the e-book on an iPad. When the e-book is complete, the writer submits the e-book to the iBookstore.
A member discussed possible problems with iBooks Author:
- A writer is permitted to sell an e-book for iBooks only on the iBookstore (www.theregister.co.uk/2012/01/20/apple_ibooks/). Apple receives 30% of the sale price.
- Apple is 'sabotaging an open standard for digital books' (www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/how-apple-is-sabotaging-an-open-standard-for-digital-books/4378).
Because Apple emphasises textbooks in its marketing, one member thinks that the iBookstore will cause problems for academic publishers.
A member knows how to write web-based online help. She asked for guidelines about online help for mobile applications. Is the help in the form of tooltips? Is the help shown in a new a new window or in a pop-up window?
As an alternative to buying a mobile device, use the Android SDK to emulate the output of a mobile device (http://developer.android.com/tools/help/emulator.html).
A member wanted to buy software, and asked about a particular company. The reviews of the company are good, and their prices are very good, but the member was "concerned that they are too good to be true."
One member thinks that legal software from large companies is always approximately the same price. If a website offers cheap software, then probably you will receive an academic licence or an OEM licence. (An OEM licence is legal only with a new computer and for that one particular computer.)
The member who asked the initial question replied that "a market where all the suppliers sell at the same price is a broken market."
When one member bought software, she made sure that the software was new, was suitable for business use, and was not for OEM use. However, the package showed that the software was for Microsoft employees. Fortunately, she received a refund.
One member thinks that some software for professional use is expensive in comparison to other software. Members gave the following comments:
- The number of licences that a company can sell has an effect on the price of each licence.
- The price for software is dependent on what customers will pay, not on the technical complexity of the software.
- If customers are 'locked in' to a supplier, then changing a supplier is very expensive, because employees need training on new software and possibly data must be changed to a different format. Therefore, a supplier that sells expensive software does not need to decrease the price to compete with other suppliers.
Many guidelines for the location of full stops in a bulleted list or in a numbered list are available. Members agree that the use of a particular style is not important. However, consistency is very important.
One member thinks that usability is more important than conformity to a particular style.