August 7th, 2009
Several years ago (possibly even before the turn of the millennium), my brother told me that books would soon be a thing of the past and that everyone would be reading eBooks. Is it possible? Could eReaders and eBooks replace paperbacks and hardcovers the way cars replaced the horse and buggy, the way portable audio players (iPods, for those of you who don’t know alternatives to Apple exist) have replaced CDs and tapes, and the way email has replaced letters?
I use the word replace rather loosely, of course. In some rural areas, horses and buggies are still around. CDs are still available for purchase in stores, and some used music stores have old tapes, which people will still purchase occasionally. And the post office still delivers letters, mostly from businesses to other businesses. Nevertheless, the primary way for even the most affluent of people to read books is still to read paperback or hardcover books. I know no one who owns a Kindle. The first Kindle I ever saw I saw only once from far away on a bus. I haven’t seen horse-buggy combos outside of Pennsylvania, most people I know use portable audio players, and almost all communication I get from family and friends is electronic.
Will we give up our books for eBooks? I may end up regretting these words in ten years, but I don’t think I ever will. Yes, I’ve heard the Kindle can store hundreds of books. Yes, I’ve heard it doesn’t have a backlight, so it won’t be a strain on your eyes. Still, I don’t believe I’ll ever use an eBook Reader in place of reading real books. Of course, back in the mid-1990s I didn’t think I would ever email instead of writing letters to friends.
I wasn’t around when cars started replacing other modes of transportation, but I do very much remember switching from records to tapes to CDs and, eventually, to MP3s. I do have a bit of nostalgia for exchanging mix tapes with my friends, and I love the sound of a crisp record being gentle stroked by a turntable’s needle. All the letters people wrote me back in high school I have kept and will probably at some point, unlike the emails they’ve sent me over the years, re-read them. Why won’t I give up books for eBooks?
A few reasons:
- Even though I like having hundreds of songs at my fingertips in a small device (because I can actually listen to many of them, if not all, in a week), rarely do I read more than two books at a time—usually only one.
- When I have an electronic device, I have to make sure it’s charged, make sure it doesn’t get damaged. I have to take care of it. Now—I don’t throw any of my books against the wall, spill pizza sauce on them, or rip the pages out, but I like that I can just throw them in a bag, read them in the bath, and even leave them around (without worry they’ll be stolen).
- The idea that Amazon can remotely erase an eBook I bought is ridiculous (as came out in the whole 1984 scandal recently). No book store is ever going to break into my apartment and take a book back that I bought just because they realized they didn’t have the rights to sell that book to me in the first place.
Go ahead, Amazon (or Sony), try to make me eat my words! I think the only way I’d switch to eReaders is if everyone else does and the only bookstores still left around are used book stores…
July 20th, 2009
Add one more to the tech journalism hall of shame.
From PC World‘s “Google’s Chrome OS May Fail Even as It Changes Computing Forever”:
First, Google will compete with another operating system, Linux, that has tried fruitlessly to replace Windows on consumer PCs. The Linux camp will give it another go with a Linux variant called Moblin that has the backing of Intel and is headed for netbooks soon. (No specific partners or dates have been announced.) Dell says it prefers Moblin to Chrome OS.
Hey, Tom Spring—Google Chrome OS is Linux, just as much as Intel’s Moblin is, just as much as Ubuntu is. Linux is a short-hand many people use to designate any operating system that uses the GNU/Linux kernel… and Google Chrome OS uses the Linux kernel!
Maybe this mistake is a good thing.
If even tech “journalists” think Google Chrome OS isn’t Linux, then maybe people will give Chrome a chance because of the Google brand and not be afraid that Linux is only for geeks. After all, no one ever said you had to be a geek to use TiVo.
If Chrome OS is successful, Linux’s “year of the desktop” may not even be recognized as such, because most people (not even supposed journalists) won’t even realize Chrome is Linux. Of course, I don’t buy that Google is directly competing with Microsoft. Yes, Chrome OS is an operating system. Yes, if it’s successful, it will take some marketshare away from Windows. But cloud computing can be only so successful in the near future. Not everyone has broadband internet. Not everyone wants confidential documents on someone else’s servers. Not everyone wants to migrate away from her current platform. Not all applications have “cloud” counterparts.
If Google is successful in taking over the netbook market, it’ll be a huge blow to Microsoft, but people will still be using their Windows desktops and Windows laptops for heavy gaming, for niche business applications, for graphic design (if they aren’t using Macs).
Windows does not need to be totally overthrown, though. Any gain in marketshare for Linux will mean more hardware support for Linux users, which means ultimately more freedom and choice for even those Linux users who use non–Chrome OS distros.
April 27th, 2009
Most comment spam is pretty easy to identify and avoid. I almost got tricked by a recent one, though.
Just a tip for y’all. If you want your comment to stay and be taken seriously, it’s generally a good idea not to have your comment’s website be a porn website, even if you write a legitimate Ubuntu-related question in your comment’s body.
February 24th, 2009
Just spotted this “article” on ZDNet called Ubuntu allies with Amazon and Dell. It opens
The next Ubuntu release, dubbed Karmic Koala (k is the 10th letter of the alphabet and this is officially release 9.10) is drawing attention for its support for clouds and its improved desktop.
Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist for 30 years, a tech freelancer since 1983.
Uh, the letter k being the 10th letter of the alphabet has nothing to do with the release number. Ubuntu 9.10 means it’s the version of Ubuntu released in October (10th month of the year) 2009. Ubuntu 9.04 will be released in April of 2009. Ubuntu 8.10 was released in October 2008. And so on.
September 8th, 2008
I’m always appreciative of comments on my blog, even from those who disagree with me (as long as people can be civil about it). It’s one thing to know “X visits have been made to your blog,” but it’s another to know what people actually think (I agree / I disagree / I sort of agree-disagree). At least those are real people and not spambots.
Fortunately, for me and a lot of other bloggers, the Akismet plugin WordPress is pretty good filters out the comment spam. Nevertheless, I’m confused by these spammers who say things like “I’ve enjoyed reading your post [proceeds to quote the entire title of the post]. I’ll be adding you to my blogroll. Thanks!” and the website of the commenter has the word viagra in it. I mean, come on! Does anyone fall for this?
Don’t answer. I know someone must. I know there must be some people who approve the spam, just as there are some people who click on phishing links or fall for the I’ll-wire-you-money-from-Nigeria scams. If people didn’t fall for this stuff, the spammers wouldn’t continue with this stuff.
I guess this just makes me sad about humanity—both that some people lack a conscience and that others are gullible or ignorant enough to be taken advantage of by the non-consciencers.
You may enjoy “reading” my blog, but I’m not going to post a link to your viagra, pills, meds, child porn, or real estate website. Sorry!