NEW eBooks About Tech

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Book as a Form of Presentation Art

I have received a batch of emails related to the paper book as an artifact of past glory in paper publishing over the holiday weekend. One of the rather more prominent members of the group contributing to the thread involved called books in paper form a fetish. I was, in fact, quite amused by much of the content of that thread. The future is seldom what we expect it to be.

2007 tower Paper publishing is obviously being altered and even threatened by digital publishing. Of course every form of information will be altered or replaced by newer, more complex digital forms over time. The key qualifier here is, “Over time,”; and the key question in the thread is how long will this replacement process take in the case of the written word presented in book form?

The continued use of paper is clearly more expensive in many cases than the simple act of moving a digital file from one place to another. It is also clear that many more forms of digital information can be included in publications that enjoy the flexibility of digital publishing over paper. Still and all old habits die hard. I still have several newspapers delivered to my driveway even as I use the Internet to read several more each day.

How fast will all of the replacement of paper take place and how soon will I be forced to do without my many pages of birdcage liners that grace my weekly recycling contribution? I am reading about the future as I have done most of my adult life. In the future virtual reality will eventually take over the process of transferring complete information about any life experience.

Technology in terms of the presentation of information is clearly expanding our options. I wonder if any of the people contributing to that thread really understand exponential growth in technology and what it means to all of us. The capacity of single computers will exceed the capacity of the human brain somewhere in the next two decades if Ray Kurzweil is to be believed.

From that point to the point in time where exponential growth in data transfer technology and computing capacity lead to human minds with millions of times the capacity for data transfer and data manipulation of the current human mind is short indeed. I suspect that most of the people contributing to that thread can no more comprehend a world where living thousands of virtual lives in one short period of time will be a common experience than can I.

The time devoted to reading one book might instead be devoted to experiencing the lives of all of the characters in a lifeline presentation series in that world. Of course this idea presupposes that someone could be bothered to produce such a presentation in a world where the computers are the majority of the conscious minds around.

Exponential growth in computing power and data transfer capabilities dictates that such a world will be upon us before the next generation grapples with its somewhat diminished mortality. If, as Ray suspects, we are mere decades from downloading human consciousness into those immensely expanded computers mortality itself will be drastically altered if not eliminated.

So I find myself amused by the parochial nature of the discussion in that thread. It is not only the art of the book or the written word that is under duress here. It is more appropriate to consider what will happen to the art of experiencing life itself and how that will be transferred in such a world as will exist before this century is half over.

We do live in interesting times don’t we? Tags: ebooks,books,publishing,digital reading,book technology,Kurzweil

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Is the Digital Era creating New Life for P-Books?

After a very long weekend of too much food, too many relatives and too little sleep, I woke up yesterday, poured a cup of coffee and started reading the New York Times.  The first article to catch my attention was How to Publish Without Perishing.

nytlogo153x23 In this piece James Gleick opines that there is a bright future for printed, bound books:

I think, on the contrary, we’ve reached a shining moment for this ancient technology. Publishers may or may not figure out how to make money again (it was never a good way to get rich), but their product has a chance for new life: as a physical object, and as an idea, and as a set of literary forms. . . .

Go back to an old-fashioned idea: that a book, printed in ink on durable paper, acid-free for longevity, is a thing of beauty. Make it as well as you can. People want to cherish it.


While I find this an interesting view, I wonder if Mr. Gleick has been out and about in the real world lately.  Has he been to his local bookstore?  Does he have any contact at all with "the younger generation"?

Later in the day I found myself inside the local Barnes and Noble.  In our town, they have the best selection of CDs and it is Christmas time. 

The store was moderately busy.  A few people in the coffee shop, a few people sitting in the oversize chairs (mostly they looked like they were waiting for someone), a bustling staff and a handful of customers. 

barnes chars I took a seat and did some intense people watching over the next half hour.  Anything was better than facing the chaos in my house!

I found the demographics very telling.  I saw children (approximately 5-13) accompanied by parents; I saw middle aged women, and I saw old men and women.  Aside from the staff, I did not see one person between the age of about 13 and 30.  None!

I was willing to chalk it up to a very unscientific survey and leave it at that.  I decided I better quite procrastinating.  So I started gathering my stuff and getting ready to go clean up my house.  And then I saw her.  A real life teenage girl.  She just appeared before my eyes. I was so intrigued by the sight I just stared.

She looked around for a moment, and then she threw herself into a chair with a big sigh.  She routed around in her jean's pocket and pulled out a cell phone.  Within seconds she was texting away.  Totally ignoring all the beautifully bound books along with everyone in the store.

I for one, am unwilling to bet that she will someday wake up and find a book a thing of beauty; something to cherish.  I doubt that she will see a book as an idea or a set of literary forms.

She may see it as furniture (a great way to warm up a room and give it a little class).  Kind of like the antique rolltop desk I inherited from my grandmother.  Beautiful but with very limited usability. Tags: ebook,e-books,digital reading,publsihing,books,p-books

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Great Minds Think Alike...


'Uncertainty' by David Lindley. It is unlikely that any three decades in human history witnessed as great a degree of fundamental and revolutionary change in our scientific understanding of the world than those from 1900 to 1930. David Lindley introduces us to the giants who made this revolution - Heisenberg and Einstein, of course, but also Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Arnold Sommerfeld, Erwin Schrodinger, Paul Dirac, Hendrik Kramers, and Max Born. Lindley's approach more or less traces the chronological history of the events leading to quantum physics and Heisenberg's formal statements of the ultimate uncertainty of measurement at the atomic level. I recommend this book to anyone who is making their first forays into this area and wants to learn how these ideas were conceived and developed.

'Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body' by Neil Shubin. This is the most enjoyable book I've read on evolution since Gould's fine Wonderful Life. Shubin starts with the search for a link between fish and land animals that took him to the Canadian Arctic and culminated in the discovery of Tiktaalik--a fish with a flattened head and flippers that made it look rather like a very primitive alligator in ways. This eBook left me with a deep appreciation for the wonder of the modern human body. Great information for the casual reader! Be sure to use the Coupon Code below for a Discount on either of these two eBooks!

Uncertainty (Mobipocket) eBook edition by Lindley, David
In 1927, the young German physicist Werner Heisenberg challenged centuries of scientific understanding when he introduced what came to be known as “the uncertainty principle.” Building on his own radical innovations in quantum theory, Heisenberg proved that in many physical measurements, you can obtain one bit of information only at the price of losing another.
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Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body (Mobipocket) eBook edition by Shubin, Neil
Why do we look the way we do? What does the human hand have in common with the wing of a fly? Are breasts, sweat glands, and scales connected in some way? To better understand the inner workings of our bodies and to trace the origins of many of today's most common diseases, we have to turn to unexpected sources: worms, flies, and even fish.
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Friday, January 11, 2008

Whole New Meaning To: iRobot!


'Love and Sex with Robots' by David Levy. The eBook is filled with odd but plausible devices such as robot vaginas and robotic penis strokers that will have capabilities far beyond any human's. A robotic partner and lover will always be the perfect mate and will never get bored or inattentive. Whether the future envisioned is ultimately for good or bad, it seems inevitable that some day the things imagined by Levy will happen. Unfortunately, humans have a tragic history of using technology for evil as much as good.

'iPod & iTunes For Dummies, 2nd Edition' by Cheryl Rhodes, Tony Bove. This reference eBook is very informative and answers most questions you might have about the subject. After receiving an iPod as a gift and being electronically challenged because this was my first iPod. I bought this eBook and found it easy to understand and now I'm the Master with my iGadgets, in less than ½ the time it would have taken me. Use the Coupon Code Below to receive a Discount on either of these Two eBook Titles.

Love and Sex with Robots by Levy, David
Love, marriage, and sex with robots? Not in a million years? Maybe a whole lot sooner.From a leading expert in artificial intelligence comes an eye-opening, superbly argued book that explores a new level of human intimacy and relationship
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iPod & iTunes For Dummies, 2nd Edition (Mobipocket) eBook edition by Bove, Tony / Rhodes, Cheryl
The iPod, Apple's breakthrough MP3 music player, boasts a contact list, calendar, alarm clock, notes reader, and a handful of games In its first year, iTunes has sold more than 70 million songs; since hitting the market in November 2001, the iPod has sold more than 3 million units This updated edition covers cool new third-party accessories, new iTunes features, iPod functions, troubleshooting, and more
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