Monday, October 19, 2009

USA Today now includes e-books on its Best Sellers listings

See: USA Today Best Selling Book Database

They are getting data directly from Amazon regarding sales of e-books- shocking, since Amazon has been so tight lipped about Kindle& eBooks sales in general. A quick look today showed no E-books in the list of the top 150 books… hmm. So, how are things really going Amazon? :P

I'm not the only one suspicious of Amazon (an e-book proponents in general) playing a bit of a shell game here. See Motoko Rich's blog post 'Lost Symbol' Also a Big Hit on Kindle, But How Big? In particular, this bit is very telling "But it seems that the breathless reception of Amazon's news is a little overblown. Although Knopf Doubleday, which printed 5 million hardcover copies of "The Lost Symbol," has declined to say what proportion of the more 1 one million copies of hardcover and e-book editions it sold on the first day of the book's release were actually in digital form, a person familiar with the sales figures said far less than 5 percent were electronic book editions."

Amazon admits it was wrong to delete e-books, pays out (a tiny bit)

While doing some research today on the Kindle, I came across this tidbit. I was all wrapped up in the Kindle 1984 deletion debacle, and then it fell off my radar (as do many things as they fall into the litigation phase). Apparently, Amazon agreed to pay out $150,000 for the class action lawsuit brought against them ("Amazon settles with student," Los Angeles Times October 2, 2009). Seems like they got off way to easy to me…

A quick update…

And even though they pay out on this suit, they plan to keep doing this in the future (but they'll just be more clear about it). Well that just sucks…

"As part of the settlement, stated that it would retain the right to remotely delete works from its users' libraries under specific circumstances" ("Amazon Slashes Prices for Kindle" October 7, 2009)

"As noted by the court, agreed to either restore copies of Orwell's magnum opus to those whose copies were deleted in July, or alternatively offer a $30 check or gift card. 'Those who elect to receive the previously purchased Subject Work will have any and all annotations or notes made prior to removal of the Subject Work restored automatically,' court documents read--a salient point, considering that the deletion of accompanying notes was one of the motivations for the plaintiffs pressing their lawsuit in the first place." ("Amazon Settles Kindle Suit But Will Other Issues Follow" October 3, 2009)

First thoughts on: Morris, Issues in Vendor/Library Relations – Buying Ebooks: Does Workflow Work? Part I & II

Against the Grain 20.4 & 20.6 (2008): p30-34 & p. 76-77. doi: (N/A, try the publisher web site part I , publisher web site part II) (University of Illinois Access, part I, University of Illinois Access, part II)

Why should you read this:

They're both very brief and contain some useful tidbits.

In brief:

Part I largely catalogues the various people with a stake in selecting eBook vendors, and perceived (or actual) pitfalls associated with acquiring e-books.

Interesting quotes and my thoughts:

Part I

"A good relationship with a distributor who is facilitating but not hosting eBooks will not protect the library from issues arising at the eBook source. Furthermore, since distribution arrangements can fall apart over time, basing the decision to limit the playing field to eBook aggregators available within the library's print vendor database may also prove to be misguided and result in regrets down the line." Part I, p. 87

"Fortunately, technology has progressed to a point that with a little bit of effort, print and eBook purchasing can be coordinate even when there are multiple suppliers involved" Part 1, p. 87

Part II

"Smart libraries will choose to work with companies that are making smart business decisions now." part II, p. 77.

"The more platforms, the more likely a researcher will miss useful Ebooks." Part II, p. 77.

"Piracy does happen, and anyone hosting eBooks that does not take that seriously will have trouble attracting and keeping publishers." Part II, p.77

Let's hope this is slowly becoming less true. Certainly work by Springer and Morgan & Claypool (who use no software at all to restrict use) seems to indicate that you can host a vibrant collections of e-books with DMR based "controls" for piracy, etc. and still attract quality content, and make a profit (in Springer's case, more profit, not less, when they made the move to DRM free content)." Part II, p.77

"Libraries will also want to choose an eBook vendor that regularly improves the functionality of its platform to keep up with patron expectations." Part II, p.77

"Ease of selection and acquisition is an important factor for anything a library buys, or course- but only once the library has first made the right decisions about what it is that's being selected and acquired." Part II, p.7

First thoughts on: Lorbeer & Mitchell, eBooks in Academic Health Science Libraries

Against the Grain 20.5 (2008): p30-34. doi: (N/A, try the publisher web site) (University of Illinois Access)

Why should you read this:

A really quick read. Although it isn't research based- more of a "what we're doing here" piece - there are a few key quotes that are worth a look.

In brief:

Information about the University of Alabama School Of Medicine's move into/towards e-books is provided.

Interesting quotes and my thoughts:

"We found that there was a large portion of the… reading list that the Library was unable to purchase as eBooks. In many cases, publishers either have not digitized the content or the pricing model was just too rigid. Though librarians identified comparable titles that were offered as eBooks, course instructors were not willing to replace these titles. A majority of the core medical and nursing textbooks are still trapped inside bundled eBook platforms or copyright constraints" p. 32

Are you listening academic publishers and aggregators? I hear about, and read about, this problem all the time. We librarians want to give you our money. We want your content. We want (well, many of us :P ) the e-book revolution to (finally) happen. But you need to be reasonable and not expect to be able to enforce a purchasing model that doesn't allow for or punishes a la carte purchases. Bundling, sure, that's fine in general, but you must offer every title as an individual purchase!

"Investing in vendor supplied MARC records, a federated search engine, and Web 2.0 social applications like LibraryThing and Shelfari are just some of the ways in which the library can point users towards content." p. 32

"Despite efforts to educate faculty and students, there is still confusion regarding the concurrent seat model that almost every eBook publisher uses… most users' expectations about how platforms should operate are generally based on their experience with electronic journals and comprehensive literature databases. Explaining to faculty and students why publishers offer unlimited access to journal articles but only limited access to books and book chapters is futile" p. 32

Amen to that! And there shouldn't be _any_ confusion because the distinction between publication type and consumption restrictions doesn't exist for our users. Online stuff is online stuff, with the possible caveat that "stuff from the library" can generally be expected to be of a higher quality. If they find a link to something they want, only to get a (usually byzantine, to them) error message about "concurrent seating" they just assume that the resource is
broken, like a specialized version of a 404 error. Get with it publishers/vendors. Jump on the Springer/Morgan & Claypool bandwagon. Unlimited concurrent access to all materials, be they articles or chapters!

"…several inconsistencies with the way publishers digitize and sell eBook content… remain in the way… DRM technologies prevent students from downloading and printing the entire chapter of an eBook." p.34

First thoughts on: Carlock & Perry, Exploring faculty experiences with e-books: a focus group

Library Hi Tech 26.2 (2008): p244-254. doi: 10.1108/07378830810880342 (University of Illinois Access)

Why should you read this: It's hard for me not to recommend this one, because the final concluding point of the article is one that resonates so completely with me. This article is very well written, easy to read, and can be knocked out in 10-20 minutes. However, there isn't much new data contained here (although, as the author's note, their approach to getting the data is different from previous research). The information they've culled from the focus group does largely validate the findings of a great deal of the research on e-book use to date (generally survey based). If you're trying to put together a foundational set of materials to get up to speed on e-books, this probably isn't one of the items you should include. But if you have a few minutes, then go for it!

In brief

"In the spring of 2007, Arizona State University Libraries [Carnegie Foundation Research I institution, 65,000 students] held a [90 minute p. 249] focus group of [6] selected faculty [represent[ing] the following fields: political science, history, graphic design, industrial design, marketing, and bioengineering… including assistant, associate and full professors p. 249] to discover their perceptions and use of electronic books (e-books) in their research and teaching… Major themes explored were: use of e-books as textbooks; use of e-books for personal research; comparison between e-books and print; disciplinary differences in perceptions of e-books; and motivators for future use... Overall, the focus group revealed that faculty had generally unsatisfactory experiences in using e-books in their research and teaching owing to the unreliability of access, lack of manipulability, and the steep learning curve of the various interfaces. However, most faculty agreed that e-books would be a very viable and useful alternative if these issues were resolved." p.244 " ASU Libraries have been aggressively collecting electronic books (e-books) since 2000 from several vendors, including NetLibrary, MyiLibrary, Ebrary, Safari, Knovel, and STAT!Ref, as well as from other providers that include e-books in their electronic collections. As of December 2006, the libraries provided access to over 30,000 electronic books." p.245 [My note, ASU looks to have a print collection of about 4.2 million volumes, so e-books represent about 0.7% of the entire print+electronic book collection]

Interesting quotes and my thoughts:

From the lit review section of the article:

"Faculty have identified several disadvantages, weaknesses and uncertainties about e-books. Cox (2004) finds that faculty are least sure about downloading, printing, bookmarking, and emailing content, and the faculty at the Indian Institute of Science state that the most common reason (22 percent) they do not use e-books is that they are hard to read and browse (Anuradha and Usha, 2006). Other disadvantages include eye strain due to reading online and the difficulty of navigating an online book (Levine-Clark, 2006). Responding to the question of what would make e-book usage more suitable, faculty reported that having a larger collection of e-books (55.8 percent), the ability to download (52.4 percent), the ability to print and copy with fewer restrictions (49.9 percent), would make e-books more attractive (Ebrary, 2007)." p. 247

" A focus group of undergraduate midwifery students conducted after instruction on how to access e-books found that students saw more disadvantages than advantages with e-books. The primary disadvantages cited were accessibility issues (one user at a time per book), navigation and limited number of titles (Appleton, 2004)." p.248

From their focus group research:

"contracting a third party to conduct the focus group would ensure a more neutral session and prevent library staff from influencing the course of the focus group or trying to teach or inform during the session. To this end, ASU Libraries enlisted the Institute for Social Sciences Research (ISSR), an ASU-based organization, to recruit participants and moderate the focus group at their facility." p.248

The questions asked:

  1. How familiar, if at all, are you with e-books?
  2. What do you know about them?
  3. Have you used them in your classes? If so . . . What did you think of them?
  4. How often do you use them?
  5. What was student input about them?
  6. How likely are you to use them in the fall semester? If not, why not?
  7. Do you use e-books as textbooks? If not, why not? If not, have you ever considered using them? If not, why not?
  8. Have you personally used e-books in your research? If so, how often? Describe your experience with them. If not, why not?
  9. How would you find out if a book is available as an e-book?
  10. Let us say you are using a textbook in class. The textbook is available in print and as an e-book. Which would you assign? Would you give students the option to choose? Why or why not?
  11. Would the subject matter of the book affect your decision? If so, why?
  12. Would you have any concerns about choosing an e-book? If so, what are your concerns?
  13. What about a book that is not a textbook? Do you think students prefer print or e-books?
  14. Do you see any advantages to using print rather than e-books? If so, what are the advantages? What about disadvantages?
  15. Do you see any advantages to using e-books rather than print books?
  16. Would you use e-books any differently than you use print books? In what ways? Why?
  17. What kind of information would you want about e-books before you decided to use them or use them more frequently?
  18. If you have not tried them before, what could the library do to encourage you to try them?

"Our first question was a general inquiry into the participants' familiarity with e-books. The participants expressed mostly negative responses… 'I think it's the technical difficulties of trying to deal with it that put me off of trying to use that type of materials in class'. Another mentioned that using e-books was 'very tedious, and it wasn't worth the time'" p. 249

"one of the primary concerns with using e-books as textbooks was the question of reliability… you could never be certain whether the students could get into the e-book… The industrial design professor tried to avoid this concern by teaching the students how to access the e-book at the start of class, but still received complaints from the students about the difficulties of using e-books. She said that the limitations imposed on viewing e-books are particularly frustrating: 'It will only let you look at a certain percentage of pages at a time and then your time is up and you have to login [after] another 24 hours… That, to me, is mind-boggling, because it's being deliberately built into the system and that it's the fallacy of the previous system" [referring to print books]." p. 250

"'With a live book . . . you can photocopy the pages that you need . . . and you don't have the ability to do that with an e-book.'" p. 251

" Some professors use e-books to help generate interest in print books amongst their students, 'I've often seen students . . . they look at it online . . . a couple weeks later you see they've gone out and bought it to add to their personal collection.'" p. 251

"Several of the professors indicated an interest in saving their students some money, and would be more likely to use e-books if offered as a less expensive alternative to textbooks." p. 252

"When asked what would make them more interested in using e-books, most faculty talked about looking past the print equivalent: "A lot of e-books are directly scanned from the actual book itself so they aren't taking advantage of the fact that it's online and can be hyper-linked . . . it should be interlinked and hyper-linked and referenced to other materials that are out there." Additionally, professors wanted… the same freedoms allowed by print books: the ability to write notes, link to related items or citations, highlight passages, and copy and paste from the text." p. 252

"Most professors agreed that the primary factor that would increase their interest and use in e-books would be the ability to trust that the e-book would be reliable and accessible to themselves and their students, whenever they needed it. Their current experiences have not given them cause to believe that this is currently the case." p. 252

"… when speaking about the limitations of e-books, such as having to "check-out" an e-book in NetLibrary or downloading specific software for Ebrary's proprietary reader. Faculty were surprised to learn from the moderator that the e-book vendors rather than the library set these limitations." p. 253

"while faculty are open to the concept of using e-books, their experiences have not been positive. The limitations of e-book accessibility and practical use cannot be overlooked at this time. Faculty are especially cautious about using them as textbooks or for course readings… believing that the technology is too unreliable, which has been proven by their own experiences… Were these issues resolved, particularly with respect to accessibility and interactivity, most faculty would be willing to use them." p. 253

"academic librarians have a responsibility to advocate the needs of their users to e-book vendors to consider when planning future product development. Without the input of libraries, e-book vendors' primary clientele, there is no guarantee that the necessary improvements in usability, accessibility, and interactivity would ever be made." p. 253

Here, here! I think perhaps I have found a few new founding members to help craft my Academic Library E-book Manifesto. :)

First thoughts on: Jamali, Nocholas & Rowlands, Scholarly e-books, the views of 16,000 academics

Aslib Proceedings: New Information Perspectives 61.1 (2009): p33-27. doi: 10.1108/00012530910932276 (University of Illinois Access)

Why should you read this:

The folks working on this study (multiple publications spanning several years) really are on the ball, both in terms of the background reading/lit cited, as well as the focus of their research. If you are at all interested in the scholarly use of e-books, you must read this article. And, just FYI, I don't just say that about every article from these authors or this particular study. :)

In brief:

This study is part of the "JISC National E-Books Observatory project… a… project in which over 120 UK universities receive two years free access to course reading materials in e-book form… publishers were paid £600,000 for 36 textbooks for a period of two years. The books were supplied on two platforms: Wolters Kluwer Health and MyiLibrary." p. 34 This study "aims to find out about the perspective of students and academics… on e-books. The paper provides an analysis of two open-ended questions about e-books… 'In your opinion, what were the biggest advantages that e-books offered compared with a printed book?' and 'Is there anything that you want to add regarding course texts, print or electronic, or about your university library?'…conducted between 18 January and 1 March 2008… response from more than 20,000 academic staff and students; 16,000 free-text responses. The study discloses… online access along with searchability was the biggest advantage of e-books… however, e-books have yet to become more student-friendly by improving features such as printing and screenreading." p.33 & p36

Interesting quotes and my thoughts:

"E-book publishing has been growing rapidly and the International Digital Publishing Forum (Industry eBook Sales Statistics, 2005) reports a 23 per cent increase in e-book revenues in 2005 compared to 2004 and a 20 per cent increase in e-book titles published year-on-year." p. 33

Ahh, IDPF, how you love to toss around some numbers to show that "the e-book era is right around the corner, no, this time for real!" :P Yes, e-book sales have been growing at a fairly rapid pace when compared only to previous e-book sales. But when set amidst total book sale revenue (e-book and print combined or contrasted) to date we have yet to see e-books account for even a double digit % of the share or revenue for book sales (that's tight, even with the Kindle out there, last years overall revenue for book sales turned up e-books at <2% of the revenue share). But when you only account for about 1% of the industry (about what estimates peg e-books sales at right now, plus or minus a few tenths of a percent), even with annual average growth of 25% (good numbers for growth for any industry), that it would take 17-18 years for e-books to hit the tipping point, gaining more than 50% market share and making printed books use the minority delivery mechanism for books. Now, that's not to say I don't see the writing on the wall, and that change is coming, but I think some key elements are missing from (1) the hardware end of things (device ubiquity and appropriateness for reading books) as well as vendor/distribution/functionality issues (see my forthcoming article about e-books and upcoming blog post on the Kindle for more details).

"The fact that 89.1 per cent of our respondents managed to get to the end of a quite long and complex questionnaire is a clear indication of the level of interest within the academy in e-books. We received responses from 123 universities before the questionnaire was switched off." p. 35-36

"The results of the quantitative part of the survey were analyzed and published elsewhere (Nicholas et al., 2008); presented here are the findings of two open-ended questions, which were included in the survey… While the questionnaire was open to both staff and students the respondents to these two questions were almost wholly students." p. 36

"Clearly the main attraction is that e-books are more accessible than print books, meaning that users can get at them wherever they are and at whatever time they like. This reason accounts for more than 52 per cent of the advantages mentioned… Of the online access comments, 1,000 specifically cited the fact that e-books can be accessed from a distance and that the user does not have to travel to the library in order to use them… About 500 comments were related to availability – 24/7 access to e-books " p. 36

One of the comments the authors choose to include for this section (out of 3 examples) was particularly interesting to me, "It's always available – if you have a web connection." p. 37

"The greater retrieval opportunities provided by e-books were the second most mentioned characteristic (13.2 per cent). This rises to 15.4 per cent if we include navigation." p.37

"Cost was the only other advantage to reach double figures (10.8 per cent). All comments related to… e-books being free and cheaper. Clearly there is confusion here in the minds of students of what constitutes free. Some illustrative comments follow: A lot of the e-books are free of charge. Cheaper than buying the book. Didn't have to buy it." p. 37

This is very interesting, since the books they are "comparing" these too are library print book collections, both of which are "free" at the point of use to them. If you discount this category (because there' a lot of confusion on this aspect among respondents) then there are really only two far-reaching reasons that are widely felt to be the strengths of e-books- availability and searchability. This needs to be considered in light of the next finding…

"Portability… Portable is not a word you would associate with e-books but quite a few (5.3 per cent) mentioned this quality. They were said to be "lighter" than printed books and they did not have to be carried around. Here some students clearly have downloadable e-books in the form of PDF in mind while none of the e-textbooks provided through the project were downloadable. Some illustrative comments follow: Easier to carry around – on ipod. No weight. Portability - I can take a lot of books on a single computer, memory card, external hard drive. Portable, we do not have to carry big books from one place to another, useful for international students." p. 38

So either the respondents were thinking about other e-books/e-documents they do this with (download/ save to a device), found ways to circumvent the platform based restrictions on downloading these books (I know I've done that, with NetLibrary materials in particular), or assumed they would be able to do that, but hadn't tried before they took the survey. My money is on the last category. I feel that most web users assume there is some mechanism whereby they can save web content for later offline viewing (and it really sticks in my craw that more e-book vendors still refuse to facilitate this type of use).

"The biggest disadvantage by far was thought to be the difficulties of reading from the screen. About 366 (7.6 per cent) respondents complained about the difficulty of screenreading." p. 41

"There are many users who would prefer hard copies to e-books. About six per cent of the respondents stated that they preferred hard copy books in normal situations." p. 41

"According to the responses there seems to be a lack of activities for promoting e-books on the librarians' side. About 195 (4.05 per cent) comments indicated the need for better promotion of e-books among students and lecturers. 'Better communication between course leaders and library staff, better flagging of e-resources, both on library sites and in course handouts needed in order that their use is maximized… I don't really know anything about electronic sources, so it would be better if the librarians were more forthcoming in telling the students about them.'" p. 42

"There was also a lack of knowledge about how to access and use e-books and e-resources and this highlights the need for instructions and the improvement of information literacy programmes at universities: 'I could do with a course on how to access these things as I am not very technically minded I don't know how to access the e-books… I don't think that there is enough emphasis on lecturers and tutors explaining to students HOW to use all the various applications in the library. I had to teach myself about these, a seminar for all those interested might be of help.'" p. 41

Ah, here we are again. Getting access to e-books, and then once you have it, navigating them, still remains a challenge to some. And why is that? Many of my colleagues blame themselves ("we're not doing enough to teach people about e-books and how to use them") but I personally blame terrible, atrocious user-interface design from the vendors themselves. When was the last time you had to teach a university student the basics of how to use a web browsers and search engine (basics here, not best practices :P )? I know I can only dimly remember that time. And why is it that students can figure out the web, including library access to e-journals, but not w-books? I propose that it is because the access mechanisms to e-books are horrid. Okay, the library catalog/major access mechanism to library materials shares a little of the blame here, but I point my finger mostly at the actual platforms e-books are being provided on. Usually for "good" reasons (DRM , copyright, keep your dirty pirate student mitts off our content reasons) the interfaces themselves attempt to stop users from accessing and manipulating content in ways they are familiar with. Vendors and publisher, this message is rfor you: stop it! Okay, a quick side not to Springer and Morgan & Claypool- disregard my last comment, you are already doing things right (well, at least far better than the rest of the industry).

"Printing problems… Students wanted to be able to print part of the e-books they read, whether to read them at their convenience or highlight and annotate them. About 60 (1.3 per cent) respondents complained (a relatively small number it has to be said) about problems with printing, either they did not allow this or there were restrictions. Also about 18 (0.37 per cent) respondents expressed that they wanted to be able to print sections of e-books easily." this quote in particular is representative, in my experience, of one of the biggest gripes about e-books "E-books are useful. My main gripe with them is the way in which you print them off. I have tried to print out whole chapters and cannot do this, I do not know why. Instead I have had to print out groups of pages and then put them together to form the chapter. This is annoying and makes accessing e books more tedious and time consuming that it otherwise might be. However, on the whole I think they are a useful addition to hard copy books" p.43

I wonder if more students would have reported problems with this if they had had more e-books to use. I rarely found myself needing to quote from a core course text-book. Given that these limited (36) books were core text-books, I doubt many users tried to copy/paste or print much of the book. I know when I was an undergrad student I was particularly likely to skim/speed-read the core texts for a course- they were too often just poorly written, dry, and ponderous. On the other hand, when I was reading my own supplementary materials (that I selected to address a topic I was working on for a course project) that was when I engaged in extensive close/deep reading, note-taking, highlighting, copying, etc. I would love to see a follow-up to this study, if the data is available, on how often users actually engaged the features (or triggered the limitations) on copy/paste and printing for these 36 books/two platforms. My guess is not many, given how many students (inaccurately) reported that one great feature of these books was the ability to store them on their portable devices (something not enabled/allowed by either platform).

"A supplement not a substitute… About 67 (1.4 per cent) comments were in some way related to the fact that e-books and printed books should co-exist. Users found different and supplementary applications for e-books and hard copy and wanted to benefit from both. Students do not want to see an exclusivity of formats. There was also concern that some university libraries considered e-books a good alternative or substitute and therefore replaced printed books with e-books. Some were concerned that the move towards the provision of more e-books means cutting the number of hard copy books in libraries." p.44

Friday, October 16, 2009

Reading a new (to me) textbook on Qualitative Data: Interpreting Qualitative Data by Silverman

Big thanks to the tireless efforts of David Vess (who reads, by my estimate, about 3 multiplujillion pages a day) who suggested this book to me (well, Camilla, who I poached it from :). The ISBN is 9781412922456. I'll be diving in this weekend.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Looking for a good desktop replacement laptop…

I am in the market for a good "desktop replacement" laptop. It needs to handle capturing live video (from a Canon GL2) and do real time conversion to multiple formats for streaming (I haven't picked the software for that yet). I'm considering this Lenovo W700 configuration right now... any suggestions for something better (within reason of course- this one already is close to breaking the bank) or reasons to avoid this one? Reviews of the W700 model look good...

1:20 PM Update: Several friends have suggested I consider the Macbook Pro, so I am. Here are the issues I am dealing with on the Mac end right now:

There are some hardware elements you can't get in a MBP right now (like a quad core processor) and might not be able to get for another 6-8 months. I also can't find an option to configure a MBP with a primary/OS/application SSD hard drive as an SSD, and a secondary disk based "big" storage drive. I don't have as many options for upgrading the memory as I'd like. I'd like some options for a single DIMM at 4 gigs. I can only seem to choose from two 2-DIMM options, 4 or 8 gigs, with 8 adding a whopping $1,000 to the price. And finally, but probably most importantly, I want to run Morae on this laptop. Right now that's not particularly straightforward or convenient on a Mac. Due diligence, though… I did dial up the most comparable MBP to the Lenovo I could, and this is my final bone: for less impressive hardware, they want >$1000 more. The Lenovo clocks in at 3247 with a protection plan, the MBP at 4348 for the comporable (but not quite) build. I posted a comparable MacBook Pro configuration.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Google Wave Invite

Anyone have a Google Wave invite they'd be willing to send me? I'd appreciate it enormously! :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

AT&T 3G service finally available in Urbana-Champaign

Ongoing promises, reiterated for years, to roll out AT&T 3G coverage to Champaign-Urbana (as recently as march 23, 2009 in this post, AT&T Investment in 2009 Will Add More Than 40 New Cell Sites throughout Illinois) have finally been fulfilled (at least it looks that way). Friends have been reporting to me that as early as last Monday they'd been waking up and turning on their iPhones to see a pleasant and (generally) unexpected surprise- their s all started indicating they had a 3G connection! It is, perhaps, a bit troubling that this information isn't yet listed on the Cities Supporting AT&T 3G/Mobile Broadband page yet, but that's probably coming soon. At least it shows up as 3G coverage available for a huge bit of land (all of Champaign Urbana, plus some) on the AT&T Coverage Viewer.

Early reports are that access speeds seem comparable to and maybe even slightly better than 3G service they've used in other cities.