Sunday, January 31, 2010

Technology Will Out

It's been a busy week on the technology front. Apple introduced the I-Pad, "a slim, 1.5-pound 'tablet' computer [which] will be linked to Apple Inc.'s first e-book store when it goes on sale in a few months."

Meanwhile,'s e-book reader, Kindle, took a hit from McMillan Books, which "pulled" its e-books at Amazon because the on-line e-book seller wouldn't help the publishing giant gouge readers by hiking the price, essentially, by 50 percent from $10 to $15 for each e-book. In retaliation, threw McMillan's hard-bound and paperbacks out the metaphorical window, according to financially- and artistically-interested bystanders Charles Stross and Tobias Buckell.

Thanks to this corporate spat among greedy new technology innovators, tens of thousands of e-books are at present unavailable to anyone. See what wonders the computer age has brought us?

It's a dead certainty other high tech companies soon will be entering the competitive waters, too. But here's the thing: none of the "e-book readers" will be compatible with one another. What that means, of course, is that in the not-too-distant future all of you e-book readers either will be unable to read three-quarters or more of the titles you want, or you'll have to get used to hauling around in a trunk about fifteen pounds of expensive high-tech gizmos wherever you go.

This seems an apt time to dredge up that old, familiar piece by "Anonymous" that's been around the web just about as long as the Kindle. Enjoy:

Exciting New Technology to Ease Life of Readers

Announcing the new Bio-Optical Organized Knowledge-device (BOOK). The BOOK is a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: No wires, no electric circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover!

Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere -- even sitting in an armchair by the fire -- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much information as a CD-ROM disc. Here's how it works...

Each BOOK is constructed of sequentially numbered sheets of paper (recyclable), each capable of holding thousands of bits of information. These pages are locked together with a custom-fit device called a binder which keeps the sheets in their correct sequence. Opaque Paper Technology (OPT) allows manufacturers to use both sides of the sheet, doubling the information density and cutting costs in half. Experts are divided on the prospects for further increases in information density; for now BOOKs with more information simply use more pages. This makes them thicker and harder to carry, and has drawn some criticism from the mobile computing crowd.

Each sheet is scanned optically, registering information directly into your brain. A flick of the finger takes you to the next sheet. The BOOK may be taken up at any time and used by merely opening it. The BOOK never crashes and never needs rebooting, though like other display devices it can become unusable if dropped overboard. The "browse" feature allows you to move instantly to any sheet, and move forward or backward as you wish. Many come with an "index" feature, which pinpoints the exact location of any selected information for instant retrieval.

An optional "BOOKmark" accessory allows you to open the BOOK to the exact place you left it in a previous session -- even if the BOOK has been closed. BOOKmarks fit universal design standards; thus, a single BOOKmark can be used in BOOKs by various manufacturers. Conversely, numerous BOOKmarks can be used in a single BOOK if the user wants to store numerous views at once. The number is limited only by the number of pages in the BOOK.

You can also make personal notes next to BOOK text entries with an optional programming tool, the Portable Erasable Nib Cryptic Intercommunication Stylus (PENCILS).

Portable, durable, and affordable, the BOOK is being hailed as the entertainment wave of the future. The BOOK's appeal seems so certain that thousands of content creators have committed to the platform. Look for a flood of new titles soon.

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