Saturday, July 24, 2010

On Newfangled Things

The Macintosh uses an experimental pointing device called a "mouse". There is no evidence that people want to use these things. I don't want one of these new fangled devices. John C. Dvorak, February 19, 1984 San Francisco Examiner.

The noisiest buzz in the industry lately has been over the emerging use of cable TV systems to provide fast network data transmissions using a device called a cable modem. But the likelihood of this technology succeeding is zilch. John C. Dvorak, September, 1995 San Francisco Examiner.

Andris steered his donkey left in order to take advantage of the shade from the large silver maple that grew on the the southern end of the village square.

He was returning home to Bacharach from a lengthy visit to the Herrenstiftin School in Mainz - where he'd spent his daylight hours in prayer, meditation and reading - and had stopped at Lorch to rest his donkey. He sat under the tree for several minutes, and was about to get up to leave when he saw an old friend approaching. It was Gerhard who he'd known since they were both children.

After the normal greetings Gerhard asked Andris where had he been and why. It was not usual for people to travel over 30 miles unless they were merchants or soldiers and Andris was neither.

Andris was only too happy to tell Gerhard of his journey and to show him what he had brought back from Mainz. He took him over to the donkey and lifted the flap of the bulkier saddlebag. There, wrapped in damask, was what would be later known as a book. It was in fact a bible.

Andris unwrapped the book and opened it, showing his friend the print. Words were separated from each other by spaces. He explained to Gerhard that it was now possible to read without saying the words out loud and that this was called "silent reading". "I saw 20 of these books," he told his friend. " And many monks were reading them, quietly all in the one room."

"Why would you want one?" asked Gerhard. "The bible is to be read only by clerics and is meant to be in a codex that is nice and heavy and chained to reading stands to prevent theft. What is this book thing? I would not read one and will continue to go to church to hear the bible read by our priest."

"Perhaps," countered Andris, "people such as yourself said the same thing when the codex replaced scrolls."

Nothing really changes. Scrolls to codex to modern books and now it seems back to scrolls. Look at the books on the iPad. You can read them in portrait where you see a page at a time and scroll from one page to the other, right to left.

Or you can read in landscape mode and then you see a representation of an open book - two pages. The right one "turns" graphically as you go to the next page.

A bit like the early motor cars that were modeled on the horse carriages rather than being designed as functional objects in their own right.

Yes there's nothing new under the Egyptian sun god of Ra.

And it is not only evident in the increasing use of symbols to represent words, it is also in the lack of vowels in the texting alphabet. Just like the ancient Egyptians who talked in consonants!

stA tunD

P.S. If another bus or subway person interrupts me to ask about my Kindle, and then says in a smug know-it-all-tone, "But I need the feel of a real book," I'll scream.

5 comments:

Boggy said...

On the go it's a great thing. But I'm a library person and when the libraries are converted, so will I be converted. In the meantime, I'll not knock 'em, but pass for the mo'.
D'ya think they'll ever make ones that smell like a 'real' book? Or sound like turning a page? And how 'bout the illustrations?
Course they'll be booger free.

Jaded NYer said...

What's old is new again and what's new is old again.

Personally I prefer real books myself.

Kate said...

A reader sent this in - HERE

Very appropriate!

Kate said...

What is a "real" book?

Jaded NYer said...

Freaking Hysterical!!!!

and so true it is.

Sorry, I meant a physical hardcover book. All Books are "real" whether physical, virtual, or digital.

Nothing wrong with Kindles and things for folks who like things streamlined and not have to lug extra weight around.

I tend to read books at home as opposed to traveling with them. I read newspapers when I travel, and tea leaves when I'm standing still.

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