I am avoiding reading the paper my teacher wrote and assigned us to read in lieu of class and lab this week—it’s on estimating and “job costing,” whatever that is. 39 lovely pages on guessing how much it’ll cost to print something!
Instead my mind keeps wandering to Amazon’s Kindle. (I’m reading 39 pages in PDF format on an LCD laptop screen, is that such a surprise?)
*insert vinyl record scratching sound here*
Okay so this draft has been sitting here since April 27. Figured I should either do something with it or trash it, since it’s not going to improve with age or anything. April 27th … that was one hot weekend, very uncomfortable (85° in the shade, anyone?), otherwise I probably would have finished this. Or not started it at all. Oh well.
When I first heard of this Kindle thing (from Neil Gaiman’s blog) I was not interested at all. I’m not into reading books on screen. (Lately I’m having trouble reading lots of things on screen, and it’s not just poorly styled text on sites … I’m getting old. Or I need new glasses. Going way off topic here.)
My teacher mentioned in class (talking while we were working — common thing — I love random knowledge my teachers add) that the Kindle wasn’t a backlit screen, that it acted more like paper does, reflecting light. That piqued my interest, so I looked more into this Kindle thing. Watched Neil’s interview thing on Amazon. Recall isn’t that great, and I’m too lazy to rewatch it, so the only comment I have now is that I really love reading books, those bound things of paper and ink.
I love holding the books (or laying them out in my lap/on the table/on the bed if they’re big enough), I love turning the pages, I love using my pinky to hold the next page so I can quickly turn the page and not break into the action too much.
I pay entirely too much attention to where I am on a screen, how far from the top or bottom the line I’m reading is, how much farther until I scroll down. That’s a part of my personality though, I think. A bit too Monk-ish. (From the tv show…) I know fairly accurately how far the screen will scroll down if I hit the page down button, if I use the down arrow button, or if I click the scrollbar down a page. I know where the line I’m currently reading will end up (hidden or right at the top of the screen). I’m aware of where the paragraph breaks are, how to manipulate the two buttons and the scrollbar to make the paragraph break end up at the very bottom of the page.
I’m aware of where my arrow cursor is in relation to the paragraphs and the breaks. I will scroll up or down so that the arrow is at the same level as a paragraph. (Draw horizontal lines out from the top and bottom of paragraphs, and my arrow will fit within them.)
So I think Neil is wrong there. I will always be aware that I’m reading a book on a screen. (Yes, all that weirdness had a point. I didn’t just go off into gonzo space.) I don’t know if I could be comfortable holding the Kindle for long periods of time.
Despite all that, I’d like a Kindle to play with. Just because it’s new technology and I want to try it out. :3 I’m such a brat.
But then later I heard of another e-reader thing, made by iRex Technologies. This one has 16 levels of grey (versus Kindle’s 4), Wacom technology, and can read PDFs (although Neil surmises that the Kindle was having problems dealing with PDF during testing and they took the capability out until it could be fixed…). Ooh, I want, I want!
But Amazon’s wireless ebook store is tempting … I’m not quite sure how other e-readers get the books. Go dumbing down of technology!