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Proof that Berk Breathed has never seen an actual eBook in his entire life.

Way to pass judgment there, dude.


( 18 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 6th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Not hardly. Proof only that he hasn't liked what he saw.
Up until the very latest generation — which I've not seen — I totally agree with him. I'm dubious that the latest will be that much better.
Jan. 6th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
If he had seen one he would know that an eBook doesn't actually give off light.
Jan. 6th, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
Current e-ink ones don't (by default, it seems, reading below) have a backlight.
Many/most older ones do. See my 'latest generation' comment.
Jan. 6th, 2008 09:43 pm (UTC)
The first one I heard of in consumer distribution was the Sony Reader, which had no backlight... Which one did have a backlight? Would it even be called a backlight with e-ink, or would the light have to come from in front somehow?
Jan. 6th, 2008 11:18 pm (UTC)

And, of course, what most non-geeks/early-adopters think every time they see the phrase e-book, the text of a book in electronic form, to be read on a device that is not an actual book, such as, say, a computer, or in this case, phone, pda, palmtop, or other portable device.
Jan. 6th, 2008 03:33 pm (UTC)
Aw, I liked that strip actually. Made me feel warm and fuzzy (not something BB manages much these days).
Jan. 6th, 2008 03:46 pm (UTC)
He's also apparently never seen a penguin, because he thinks they wear clothes and can talk.
Jan. 6th, 2008 03:59 pm (UTC)
The whole point of the strip is eBooks have crappy low-res text, and shine in your eyes annoyingly, and will never catch on. These are the things about eBooks that *don't* suck right now. There are a lot better complaints to be had, ones that are actually true.
Jan. 6th, 2008 04:14 pm (UTC)
There are a lot better complaints to be had, ones that are actually true.
Yeah, the big one I don't like is how the screen flashes when you have to turn a page, because the "electronic ink" resets itself to clear the screen. It would be better if it cleared to white, instead of black then white.
Jan. 6th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
Re: There are a lot better complaints to be had, ones that are actually true.
Have you used an e-ink screen for an appreciable amount of time? I have a Kindle, and it stops being at all distracting after you've used it for about 15 minutes (total, not per sitting :-)

Clearing to white wouldn't solve the problem; it's not that it's clearing to black right now, but rather that it needs to reverse the screen. The individual cells have some physical "memory" in them, so clearing a black cell to white only brings it to ~90% white and you have ghosting of the previous image.

Really, the right solution is that they need to improve the chemistry....
Jan. 6th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
Re: There are a lot better complaints to be had, ones that are actually true.
I've read about half of 1984 on Sony's eBook, and it just kept being distracting. That was last year's model, so I'm not sure what has improved since then.

It probably would get better with improved chemistry. I remember some of the liquid crystal displays on watches and calculators in the early 80s had the bad habit of leaking black stuff out of the number cells.
Jan. 7th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
Aww, I missed that strip because we had a momentary outage of the Globe at my apartment.

I've heard complaints about the previous/next buttons on the Kindle, so that part of the strip kind of made sense to me.
Jan. 7th, 2008 02:06 am (UTC)
"That part of the strip"? To which do you refer? Did I miss something after all?
Jan. 8th, 2008 06:23 pm (UTC)
Just Opus clicking his way through pages, that's all. It looked kinda sad.
Jan. 7th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
I took the point of the strip to be that devices will never replace books for Opus / Breathed, and he resents what he perceives as a message that they're going to. I think the font and the backlighting are details, and the point is not that e-books come with crappy fonts any more than that real books come with a fireplace.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 6th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
of eBooks, I wind up being pretty happy with my XO in that role, which *will* give off light, but only if I tell it to.
Jan. 6th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
I saw an ad for the new ebooks that use e-ink (and thus no light, etc etc), and I would love to see one in person! (And the technology can only get better. No reason it can't eventually feel like reading a paper book -- heck, could even have pages to turn, if we're talking far enough in the future :)

What I wonder about is content control. I read my books from the library, I don't pay for them (except via my taxes and support for the library). Carrying a single e-book on a plane would be oh so weight/space-saving, but will I be able to check out the books from the library still? Or will I have to buy them? ... I guess I'd be OK with buying, if the cost became negligible (say, $1 for one reading), but not if it costs the same as a current physical book. (I guess I do so little reading that I could easily do without reading rather than pay $15 :)

Also, what about used book stores? Or my existing books? Can I provide someone with proof of my possession of a paper book in exchange for a digital copy?

Is there a Rhapsody/Netflicks service for e-books?
Jan. 6th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
Is there a Rhapsody/Netflicks service for e-books?

There are two main mechanisms by which current mass-market content is available today; that is, not including public domain texts or those with a limited market (e.g. flight planning data). Both are bound to the reader device.

The older is the Sony Reader and its corresponding Sony Connect Store.

The newer is the Amazon Kindle, which has a broader selection and cheaper media.

Neither is marketed as saving you money, unless you're the sort that buys hardcover books frequently. They're both all about the convenience. (And they are quite convenient; see my recent blog post about my Kindle.)

Neither Sony nor Amazon allow for rental or resale of their eBooks. Both do allow you to load your own content in a variety of formats. So, they are "library compatible" only for documents that are out of copyright. There's a lot of really great stuff out there that's out of copyright, but not much more is entering that category any more...
( 18 comments — Leave a comment )