And another thing...

CLASSIC HYPE. A classic, Mark Twain famously wrote, is 'a book which people download but don't read.' Google Inc. appears to be out to prove the point, with its recently launched Google Book Search site at Books that are beyond copyright protection are available to be read online, or downloaded and printed for people 'to enjoy at their own pace,' according to a company release. The company seemed to think this was a big deal, but one wonders about the larger implications. Google makes it sound easy, but remember, we're talking about classics here. Twain (who, in full disclosure, actually used the word 'praise' instead of 'download,' but what did he know?) should have pointed out that a classic was a long book which people praise, etc. Those classics on Google might look free, but when you're talking about, say, Crime and Punishment (718 pages), The Canterbury Tales (504 pages), Les Miserables (1,231 pages) or Great Expectations (544 pages), you're running into some toner and paper costs, not to mention putting a dent in your printer's duty cycle. And think of all the fun you'll have reading 700 unbound pages of a classic. Back in Twain's day, they had these things called public libraries, where you could check out actual books, read them, and return them. And it really was free. Of course, few people read the classics back then, either.

BIG BUBBA IS WATCHING. How's this for the reach of the Web: A Beatles fan in Dallas recently was checking out the Web cam on Mathew Street in Liverpool, where the lads had played the Cavern Club in their early days, when he spied some blokes apparently breaking into a store in the street.

So, the Yank gives the Merseyside bobbies a ring. Quick as a bunny, the coppers get down there and nab three gits in the act. Bloody brilliant.

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