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Old 07-29-2009, 11:14 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default Kindle 2 article (New Yorker)

Nicholson Baker has written a good article on Amazon’s Kindle 2 in the August 3, 2009 issue of he New Yorker: “A New Page: Can the Kindle really improve on the book?

He is an excellent writer (remember Vox, or Human Smoke)?, so the piece is fun to read. He talks about the history of the Kindle and the epaper technology, about the availability (and not) of books for the device, and about the reading experience.

Nicholson says that the developers of the E Ink used in the Kindle (and the Sony reader) wanted to make pages that reflect (like real paper), rather than emit (like a computer screen). He is not persuaded. He found it hard to immerse himself in Kindle books (and so do I, in fact), and found he prefers to read fiction on his iPod Touch. He would like it better at higher resolution, however.

There is a live discussion with Baker going on right now (from 3 p.m. July 29) at the New Yorker blog site. (Not positive it is open to the public, as I am a subscriber; but it didn’t ask me to log in.) The online article may also be be available to all readers (and if not the print issue should be on newsstands now).

   
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:17 PM   #2
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Wonderful article...this is one of my favorites:

"text-to-speech feature...Once it thought “miss.” was the abbreviation of a state name: “He loved the chase, the hunt, the split-second intersection of luck and skill that allowed him to exercise his perfection, his inability to Mississippi.” I turned the machine off."

LOL!


And this is probably why I'll never buy one:

"Here’s what you buy when you buy a Kindle book. You buy the right to display a grouping of words in front of your eyes for your private use with the aid of an electronic display device approved by Amazon. ...You can’t give them away or lend them or sell them. You can’t print them. They are closed clumps of digital code that only one purchaser can own. A copy of a Kindle book dies with its possessor."


As is this:

"On the other hand, there’s no clutter, no pile of paperbacks next to the couch."

Because I like that clutter myself...'-}}

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Old 07-29-2009, 01:56 PM   #3
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… this is probably why I'll never buy one:

"Here’s what you buy when you buy a Kindle book. You buy the right to display a grouping of words in front of your eyes for your private use with the aid of an electronic display device approved by Amazon. ...You can’t give them away or lend them or sell them. You can’t print them. They are closed clumps of digital code that only one purchaser can own. A copy of a Kindle book dies with its possessor."
That is definitely something that annoys me about the Kindle, and it sets up a weird decision process when considering a new book — am I likely to want to share it with Jack or someone else? Kindle does not make that easy to do.

And something he didn’t really get into, beyond complaining about the typeface (Caecilia): the ugliness of much of the text. They have made a choice to justify all the text but haven’t put the hyphenation controls in to make it work, and the ugly line breaks, huge inter-word spaces, and occasional soft hyphens actually showing up in the text drive me nuts.

Quote:
As is this:

"On the other hand, there’s no clutter, no pile of paperbacks next to the couch."

Because I like that clutter myself...'-}}
Me, too. Too much. Tomorrow the cleaners come, so tonight I must rush around stacking books and papers so they can actually clean stuff. (I haven’t let them into my office for months.)

The Kindle was an attempt to stem the relentless tide of towering piles of books, but it barely makes a dent.

But early days: we are beta-testing the Kindle concept for Amazon. A competitor may arise that adopts a more open format, possibly encouraging Amazon to open up a bit. (It is nuts that we cannot sell or give away a Kindle book, much as we can a print one.)

It was a nice article, wasn’t it? The magazine came today, and I turned there first.

   
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Old 07-29-2009, 02:44 PM   #4
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kt: Me, too. Too much. Tomorrow the cleaners come, so tonight I must rush around stacking books and papers so they can actually clean stuff. (I haven’t let them into my office for months.)
ROFL!!! I did quite a bit of cleaning and tidying up before the appraiser came (for my refi) and while I've been told that it doesn't matter, I figured that being able to actually walk through the rooms in my condo not having to weave around stacks of books and other miscellaneous stuff was probably a good thing...'-}}


>>But early days: we are beta-testing the Kindle concept for Amazon.

And paying for it to boot!


>>It was a nice article, wasn’t it? The magazine came today, and I turned there first.

Yes it was...I really enjoyed reading it...

I am reminded that my mother had a subscription to the New Yorker when we lived in Great Falls, Montana (1956 to 1960). When we were on our way to Rome, Italy (via ship for my dad new Air Force posting), we stayed in NYC and my mother chose this awful hotel because she thought it was connected in some way to the New Yorker magazine because the hotel was named "The New Yorker".

It took years for us to stop kidding her about it...'-}}

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Old 07-29-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
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Obviously a woman of discernment, even if a bit confused. (I actually stayed at the New Yorker once; nothing to do with the magazine. It revealed to me how small N.Y. hotels can be compared to those in other cities.)

The magazine is still pretty good. Not what it was in the old days, of course, but what is?

   
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Old 07-29-2009, 07:10 PM   #6
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kt:
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kt: Obviously a woman of discernment, even if a bit confused.
LOL!! Indeed...she was...'-}}


>>(I actually stayed at the New Yorker once; nothing to do with the magazine. It revealed to me how small N.Y. hotels can be compared to those in other cities.)

Did you really stay there?! How amazing! I remember the elevator was quite strange--I think it sort of bobbed up and down when it stopped which was disconcerting to me. I remember the toilet paper was very, very weird...if I'm remembering correctly, it was in quite small squares and had a strange texture...what can I say...I was a kid with limited exposure to anything other than classic American rolls of tp so this stuff was exotic and not in a good way...'-}}

At any rate, even for as unsophisticated as we were as kids, we found it a hotel that lacked a certain something.

When I worked for Sperry, I used to go to teach classes at the Sperry's NYC ed center and it strikes me now that I never looked up the New Yorker...guess I had just put it out of my mind until this thread reminded me...'-}}


>>The magazine is still pretty good. Not what it was in the old days, of course, but what is?

Indeed...I don't think I've looked a copy in years...

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Old 07-30-2009, 06:10 AM   #7
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I grew up with that funny folded toilet paper, at least until the end of WWII, maybe a bit longer, and I sort of think my relatives in the States had the same thing at that time. It was stored in a box that hung on the wall where the roll holder would be today.

On our first visit to London (1979, maybe?) we visited the V&A museum. The ladies’ bathroom had that sort of folded toilet paper, mulberry color, with the Queen’s logo in it like a watermark. I have a couple of sheets here somewhere; stuck them in a book I was carrying, and they made it all the way home. (The toilets were also so tall that a short person like me had to make a bit of a jump to get on; talk about weird bathroom experiences.)

   
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Old 07-30-2009, 10:34 AM   #8
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kt: It was stored in a box that hung on the wall where the roll holder would be today.
Yes...I've seen that in Europe and Asia but never here in the US...



>>On our first visit to London (1979, maybe?) we visited the V&A museum. The ladies’ bathroom had that sort of folded toilet paper, mulberry color, with the Queen’s logo in it like a watermark. I have a couple of sheets here somewhere

LOL!!!


>>(The toilets were also so tall that a short person like me had to make a bit of a jump to get on; talk about weird bathroom experiences.)

I know that experience well...when I was having my bathroom redone a year or so ago, the plumber who came to look at the hole in my bathtub was discussing redoing the bathroom and recommended a Kohler toilet and I think the model name had "comfort height" in it. When I investigated that model looking at the specs, I thought "comfort" for whom??? My feet would not reach the floor!

I went with a Wellbourne (???)--Kohler bought the company because of their flushing technology (for low water usage toilets)--and was a "standard" height model...

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Old 07-30-2009, 01:07 PM   #9
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I grew up with that funny folded toilet paper, at least until the end of WWII
Ah, bad memories. A lot of places used to have that kind of TP. Only higher class, more expensive places would have real rolls. I think they were easier to keep filled as you could fill up the dispenser without waiting for the whole roll to be used.

   
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Old 07-30-2009, 01:35 PM   #10
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Ah, bad memories. A lot of places used to have that kind of TP. Only higher class, more expensive places would have real rolls. I think they were easier to keep filled as you could fill up the dispenser without waiting for the whole roll to be used.
That makes sense.

I grew up on an army post that became an air force base, and whatever we had was classless, but it came courtesy of the government. I always associated that toilet paper with WWII. At some point we had rolls; just don’t remember exactly when. (These are old memories.)

The last time I encountered that folded stuff in the States (that I recall) was at a gas station somewhere along Highway 66 on our trip from California to New York in 1964. I also remember that gas was 25¢ a gallon!

   
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