Electronic books, or “e-books”, are coming. Some would say they are already here, with several major releases such as the Sony Reader and iRex iLiad over the last year or so.
What is the big deal? Haven’t we been able to read books on computers or electronic devices for years? Yes, but try reading pages upon pages of text on a glowing computer display for hours and hours: your eyes will suffer. LCD displays without backlighting have viewability and resolution limitations. Most of the attempts at electronic books until the last year or so have lacked a great deal of the convenience and eye-friendly readability of the paper alternative. That is, until the development of e-Ink.
E-Ink or “electronic paper” is a totally different kind of display technology that is far more like the paper it is attempting to replace than anything that has come before. I’ve been watching the various e-Ink based devices for some time now, and made the leap a couple of weeks ago: I ordered an iRex iLiad. I’ve had it for just over a week now.
So what is it like? Is it worth the price I paid? Read on…
All the cool people in the world use Macintoshes. If you use something other than a Macintosh you are, by definition, not cool. It goes without saying that the only real innovation that takes place in the world takes place on a Macintosh, and the greatest innovations that occur on Macintoshes occur within the Holy Shrine itself: Apple.
Sony just can’t seem to stop screwing their customers with various forms of DRM. First there was the Sony CD rootkit debacle (insert a Sony CD into your PC and get hacked by the best!) Now it appears that several of their latest DVD releases, including Stranger than Fiction and Casino Royal, won’t work on some consumer DVD players.
I have toyed periodically with various ways of monitoring RSS feeds and bringing them to my desktop. Nothing I’ve used has felt quite “right”, and like PDAs I’ve ultimately ended up relegating several “almost but not quite” solutions to the junk bin. I’m feeling tempted to try again.
I believe in the importance of copyright. I also firmly believe in “fair use”: that is, if I pay for the right to use your content, I have the right to use it for my own personal use on any platform I choose. Thus I am totally against abusive DRM systems that (for example) prevent me from watching a movie on my computer, and later watching it on my TV.
Voice over IP is so last year. Now companies are looking at delivering television and movies to your home over the Internet. And MatrixStream has hardware and software they hope will make it happen. This posting isn’t a review, really: I don’t have the hardware product, and the software product is still in beta and is rather lacking in available content. Consider this more of a “preview”…or maybe a “watch this space for future developments” type of posting.
You probably own a DVD player, and likely a number of DVD movies. But if you have or are thinking about buying a high definition television, there is one thing you should be aware of…
Your DVDs aren’t high definition. And in fact, the DVD format (approx 4 GB) can’t store enough data to support a full length high definition movie: you need something in the range of 8 GB for two hours. But relax! The industry has you covered. They’ve been working on a new format for several years, and its about to come roaring in to your nearest Best Buy or Future Shop…Unfortunately, “it” isn’t a single format. Its two formats, and they are incompatible.