Skip to main content

Ebooks, battery life, and the humble stack of paper.

The ebook, or electronic book, has not quite caught on as a cool, mass consumer product largely because of the medium used to deliver it. Namely the computer. Even the smallest of laptop computers don't quite have the convenience of that humble stack of paper, glued or stitched down one side, more commonly referred to as a regular 'book'.

Regular books come in all shapes and sizes, the most convenient of which is known as the 'paperback'. Paperbacks are just the right size to read without straining the eyes and are just small enough to take up hardly any room in a bag, briefcase or maybe even a large coat pocket. Not with standing their use as 'brain food' their durability knows no bounds. They are still readable even after being used to prop up a wobbly table or having been thrown at an annoying colleagues head (not that this happens often but it happens).

Laptops have the annoying habit of being bulky and not very hard wearing at all. Even if your laptop computer is easy to get out on the bus there is still the issues of battery life and finding room to read standing because there are no seats left at rush hour. For those without laptops well, need I mention how unportable the humble desktop computer is. Has power cord, doesn't travel more than a few feet.

Rumor has it that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, is banking that people will want to read ebooks on their next generation video ipods. This could make ebooks cool but seriously, even on an ipod with a larger screen size they're missing the point. You can't go too far away from a power source for too long with an ipod. Even with the one or two dedicated ebook readers that do exist you can bet your life the battery will be flat as you struggle to prioritise charging your mobile phone, laptop, ipod, psp or ebook reader.

An ebook can't emulate the satisfaction of completing a lengthy tome like 'War and Peace'. You know that book is heavy going - literally. You can see how much you've read and that you're making real progress if you're still reading a third of the way into it. There is no better feeling than the visual satisfaction of knowing you've read a book that thick from first to last page.

The problem with ebooks is, unlike music and film, words on paper is the one medium that isn't improved by being reproduced in digital format. Granted you can enhance the text with hyperlinks and search functions and even make parts interactive but once you do that...well...it's no longer a book really. It's more like a web site.

The book is the one form of communication that doesn't require any additional hardware to enjoy. You don't need to be shown how to make a book work and you don't need to remember a password to open it. A book isn't limited to one operating system. You can read a book any way you want, at any speed. You can skip words, pages or even start at the end. You can just look at the pictures or flip through the pages to get a general feel for what's inside.

Most importantly...books are affordable. Even if you don't buy new books there are hundreds of interesting books in second hand stores, garage sales and flee markets. Even the homeless can afford to read books. No power points required. No reader device needed.

It's simple and easy to understand how a book works and the content can be as simple or as complex as your tastes desire. Nothing is nearly quite so impressive as a collection of books in your own personal library. Books do not get more impressive when you can fit 50,000 of them onto a machine the size of a matchbox. Books hold fond memories for people. Many people describe their perfect day as settling down with a good book.

Perhaps I'm beginning to ramble but there is a reason why people don't read long tracts of text on a web site. Reading on a screen is not fun or easy on the eye. Screens require movement and colour to hold our attention. That's what we're accustomed to. Ebooks require you to look at a static screen for extended periods. Much longer than it takes to read a web site.

Clearly ebooks have quite a way to go before they catch on.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yukino Yukinoshita Figurine Cartoon Figure Doll Model Desk Ornament Toy Gift - MULTI-A - Product Review

I must admit I was not familiar with the Anime character Yukino Yukinoshita, from the Japanese book and TV series My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU. I bought this figure because I was browsing for one that looked similar to an Anime avatar my partner used for a time on social media.


What actually sealed the deal for me to purchase, aside from how similar the character looked, was the little panda (Pan-san) with the black star eye, which I felt gave the whole figurine set a bit of an edgy look.

When my purchase arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and detail. Having since discovered the Anime TV series the figure is based upon I can say it's a fairly faithful depiction of Yukino.

Standing (or is that sitting?) at 14.00 x 15.00 x 14.00 cm / 5.51 x 5.91 x 5.51 inches the figure is an ideal size for displaying on a desk or bookshelf without taking up too much room. The 1/8 scale allows for a good level of detail, particularly in the characters clothing which, despite being P…

Virtual Reality Addiction Meets Online Shopping and Death!

I'm certainly not the first person to predict the idea of immersive virtual worlds. Movies like Tron (1982) and The Lawnmower Man (1992) are two of the earliest popular culture references to the concept I can think of, off the top of my head. Then of course there is The Matrix (1999) where the VR world idea really hit the mainstream big time.

However, back in early 2005, the practice of online shopping, with real money, for digital products in virtual worlds like Second Life (which was more cutting edge back then) began to meld in my mind with the idea of corporations controlling that experience through marketing and advertising.

Robot Uprising: Patrolling Your Home, Garden and Now The Streets!

Many people think of the inevitable Robot Uprising as a humanoid, Terminator like, robot army, wielding laser guns, hunting us down in some kind of distant future, human Armageddon. What they don't realize is that the robot armies are already taking shape, albeit in a much more passive aggressive form.

I've previously documented the Roomba as the first wave of mass produced robots surveilling your home under the guise of being a floor vacuum.

These irritating devices are supposed to quietly work away in the background while you perform Yoga poses in peaceful bliss but are actually noisy enough to attract your attention and... why does the thing keep missing that one spot in the middle of the floor but has cleaned the same corner four times already!

Halloween - The Door-to-Door Salesperson of Holidays

Halloween isn't really a thing in Australia but over the years it's been gaining momentum thanks to variety and party hire stores that stock up on all things spooky for the occasion.

I dread Halloween every year because I never know if this is going to be the year some wide eyed group of costumed up kids is going to knock on the door and yell 'Trick or Treat' at me. A truly scary thought.

Halloween is a fantastic idea for a holiday, completely ruined by the tradition of going door to door for treats. If you or your family does this, I sincerely hope you never knock on the door of houses that a) You've never met the owner in any capacity and, b) are clearly not participating in the festivities demonstrated by their lack of any Halloween decorations at all.

If you're like me you probably hate door-to-door salespeople, a practice that has thankfully decreased but is still employed by phone and power companies from time to time. There's nothing worse than peop…

Super Sonico Cartoon Sitting Girl with Swimsuit Model Toy - RED - Product Review

I was not familiar with the Anime character Super Sonico created by Tsuji Santa of the Japanese computer and video game software company, Nitroplus, as the mascot for Nitroplus' annual live music festival event "Nitro Super Sonico".

I was actually looking through the GearBest website for another Anime character and liked the look of this particular display figure enough to add it to my cart. (It also helped that the figure was on sale at a significant email only discount at the time).

This particular version of the character features Sonico dressed in her Santa Cape and Swim Suit  complete with holiday trimmings. The hood/cape can also be removed and replaced with Sonico's headphone wire and trademark, long pink hair.

When my purchase arrived I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and detail. Having since discovered the Anime character (and also TV series) the figure is based upon I can say it's a fairly faithful depiction of Super Sonico.

Standing (or is tha…

Kevin Smith's Tusk (2014) and Yoga Hosers (2016) - Movie Review *Very Minor Spoilers*

It may seem somewhat redundant to be talking about Tusk and Yoga Hosers four and two years after their respective release dates but there is still one more movie to come (Moose Jaws) in Kevin Smith's True North trilogy so you're going to want to revisit or view them for the first time at some stage before that film (if you have any interest in it of course).

Both films are not highly regarded by critics and probably polarize even Kevin Smith fans since they're not exactly along the lines of Clerks but you can see some pretty broad hints of Smith's leanings toward weird comedy horror in Red State.

Even Kevin uses these two films as self deprecating punching bags for his film career. It's not that he thinks they're bad films, he just recognizes the silly weirdness doesn't give them broad appeal and therefore they often get poor reviews.

Full disclosure, I'm a Kevin Smith fan but, whilst I've been wanting to see both of these movies for a while, Kevin…

IGTV - Vertical Video Done Right by Instagram

I am not a huge fan of vertical videos because they are reduced down when played in a standard horizontal format player, so it can be hard to see the detail. Usually vertical videos have black blocks on either side. It feels a lot like your watching the video from a neighbouring dark room through a narrow door frame. Also you don't get as much width in your shots making it hard to frame all of the action.

Instagram TV (IGTV) basically says 'so what' to all of the above. You can access IGTV through an icon menu item on the Instagram app (or I think you can install it separately).
You'll be taken directly to the IGTV app where the first video in your stream will automatically start playing (usually with the sound off) after first seeing some old style TV static to give that authentic 'television' like experience.