Friday, May 8, 2009

The Future of the Past

20090508 typecast

Kind of random today, I should never post before the brain is fully awake. One of the most imperfect things about the Kindle is its name. I'm sure some marketing wonk was thinking "kindling a spark of excitement" or the future, or something, but books + flames = bonfires in my mind, and that never ends well. I think the Kindle is a first step, and if it succeeds, we'll see much better steps down the road. I've been a big naysayer of the small version, but this bigger one... nice.

8 comments:

Mike Speegle said...

After the "e-ink on the wall" bit I'm trying to think of some pun about being weighed and measured and found wanting, but I gots nothin'.

But yes, the big 'un looks pretty great, but not $500 worth of great. One could get a pretty decent laptop for that price to read all the books should they desire.

On the other hand, the pure cool factor of having something so closely resembling the Hitchhiker's Guide IS a draw.

mpclemens said...

Oh, you haven't seen this comic then? I thought everybody knew that already. ;-)

Little Flower Petals said...

I read about it...it does look pretty cool. Once they can bring the price down about 75-80%, I wouldn't mind having one. The textbook use seems like a logical one, especially since them suckers are *heavy*!

That's really the biggest benefit I can see for these: they make it much easier to carry lots of books at once without the weight. I love my paper and won't be giving it up anytime soon, but I like that factor. And as I mentioned on my blog, the e-ink is surprisingly ink-on-paper-like.

Monda said...

I wish the price WOULD go down. The average layout for a semester's worth of books is now around $700 - and that's if you're not a science major. I've watched students spend over $1,000 on books.

I don't think I'd be a big Kindle user myself, but I'd love to offer my students a cheaper alternative to the pricey textbooks we require.

mpclemens said...

Textbook publishers are surely running a racket, and the math/science ones are the worst. Rearrange the problems or change a few numbers? Print a new edition Sadly, I think the big minds are trying to figure out how to do this electronically and charge for it, rather than accepting change and embracing what the technology could offer. Old dogs, new tricks.

I had professors who used to give us photocopied materials in lieu of a book, and one that wrote his own book (which we still had to buy, alas.)

Mike Speegle said...

Unfortunately, I have found that for every one professor that did things like photocopied notes, there were three others who for me to A) buy THEIR book, no matter how trite, or B) buy a book that they NEVER USED.

Sigh...

Strikethru said...

I think these things will be ubiquitous in classroom settings in five years or so. I look at my little kid sometimes, and think of all the new technology today, and how retro it is all going to seem to her when she is in high school, and I feel about one thousand years old. Can't wait to tell her about The Great Darkness (e.g., predigital times). Much eye rolling will ensue, I am certain.

mpclemens said...

The kids already have some pretty eye-rolling tech. Ours have shiny new interactive whiteboards in their classrooms. Interactive whiteboards? Man, I remember clapping erasers in fifth grade, not video conferencing with peers in India.