November 28, 2007
Kindle & Kindness: the rise of the e-book, outsourcing impact, & a laptop for every child
Kindle (active-link version of comment from Leslie's Blog & more)
At this moment, Amazon is heavily promoting Kindle, a new wireless interface reading device whose advanced technology is supposed to simulate the visual qualities/properties of paper (not the texture, of course --Limited Fork, by the way, studies interactions in visual (any/all forms) systems and tactile systems --among others);
Kindle certainly has texture, but not the texture of paper. And it is a device to hold; there is an expected protocol of intimacy in the use of the device. A book itself is a device.
Anyway, an entire book (100+ pages) can download wirelessly, no computer connection required, in about a minute (or so).
There's also the Sony Reader, side by side with Kindle:
(from Gizmodo online gadget guide --read the specs on both).
The laptop keyboard on which I'm typing this, by the way, has interacted with my fingers; there's been structural adaptation on the part of the keyboard, adaptation that reveals patterns of use and variance in pressure as keys are depressed, so there are actual depressions in the metal keys, some deeper than others, some more like greatly-reduced scale glacial gouges. Varying degrees of discoloration, some letters completely worn off the keys. So as I use my laptop more, the laptop increasingly responds to the use, becoming more my laptop. It has been marked; I also mark my books, but in different iterations of mark.
At the moment, it is easier (for me) to overcome protocols that restrict sharing through digital means.
I have about 4,000 books in my home, and I continue to acquire them, continue to enjoy them (but they are turning my home into a warehouse --not a library because I have no space for the display they deserve, so there's quite a bit of stacking and rotation of books from shelves to stacks on the floor.
An electronic system that would allow linking of texts and passages in my library is quite appealing --and Kindle supports note-taking, cross-referencing, linking, and so forth --that sounds good, but I'm not planning on acquiring Kindle this year. Now if someone gives me one, I'll try it out, eager to see whether or not and/or how quickly it's able to show evidence of tactile interactions with my hands.
You should know that Kindle has prior association for me; I've been shaped by what has become a memorable encounter some years ago with the technologically-advenced remake of A Little Princess in which Sara Crewe sings Kindle My Heart as she does in this video tribute to the movie:
The following documentary explores the impact of high-tech outsourcing to India on traditional Indian society and communities:
Kindly watch the following update to Shift Happens, a video made available to you in a previous Illuminating post:
& now the kindness of giving the gift of technology (+ related impact): the one laptop per child get one/give one program (until 31 December 2007)
The following Wall Street Journal video about Nicholas Negroponte's OLPC project and the impact of friendly (both sides for the global good) rivalry between OLPC's AMD-chip based os and Intel's own low-cost Classmate laptop:
Read the WSJ article here
Explore XO (as the laptop is called) features here
Here Laptop Magazine offers a comprehensive review of the XO
as seen in this detailed diagram:
The interface for XO is Sugar instead of Jaquar or Windows Vista, for instance, and is discussed in full in the following You Tube video:
Of course, the XO has unergone evolution since its inception when it was not called XO, and by now (November 2007), the XO itself has been superceded by the XO-1 which is the focus of this Wikipedia entry
(which you can compare with the OLPC wiki).
Finally, a global lens to further illuminate and possibly shape how you configure/reconfigure your blog/video components of impact of technology enclosure:
Image from the Global Denim Project, an initative-lens (and form of enclosure) attempting to understand global impact through investigating denim as a phenomenon that crosses cultures, and most global boundaries, in some way. Spend time, please at the Global Denim Project site.
The Abstract for A Manifesto for the Study of Denim by Daniel Miller and Sophie Woodward:
This paper considers the challenge to anthropology represented by a topic such as global denim. Using the phrase ‘blindingly obvious’ it considers the problems posed by objects that have become ubiquitous. While there are historical narratives about the origins, history and spread of denim, these leave open the issue of how we make compatible the ethnographic study of specific regional appropriations of denim and its global presence in a manner that is distinctly anthropological. Ethnographies of blue jeans in Brazil and England are provided as examples. These suggest the need to understand the relationship between three observations: its global presence, the phenomenon of distressing and its relationship to anxiety in the selection of clothes. As a manifesto, this paper argues for a global academic response that engages with denim from the global commodity chain through to the specificity of local accounts of denim wearing. Ultimately this can provide the basis for an anthropological engagement with global modernity.
Hey: check this out: The Future of Books SUPPLEMENT (aka The Future of Libraries plus revival of links dead elsewhere)
Tine extension (from a comment in Leslie's Blog where the links in the comment are not active):
What about the future of libraries?
Physical space of libraries may not permit the warehousing of all titles, so criteria of selection related to significance, local user need, shared inventory avoiding duplication of certain titles in a region, those books available to customers via loans.
So books are routinely withdrawn from circulation, others added.
And not all books are likely committed to some form of digital preservation.
Physical copies of newspapers may not be stored intact, some? many? not stored at all.
This article, E-books and Their Future in Academic Libraries is from a Journal with content directed toward porfessional librarians.
A few years ago, Nicolson Baker published Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, a book that ignited quite a furor among Librarians, Patrons of libraries, and other lovers of books, including those whose livelihood is book-related.
The following excerpt is from part of the enraged part of the Library community against Baker's Book:
Pulling no punches, novelist Baker (Vox) is a romantic, passionate troublemaker who questions the smug assumptions of library professionals and weeps at the potential loss of an extensive, pristine run of Joseph Pulitzer's New York World. For him, the wholesale destruction of books and newspapers to the twin gods of microfilming and digitization is an issue of administrators seeking storage space not of preserving a heritage. He contends that the alarmist slogans "brittle books" and "slow fires" are intended to obscure the reality and the destruction. Throughout his book, Baker hammers away at the Orwellian notion that we must destroy books and newspapers in order, supposedly, to save them. Particularly singled out for opprobrium are University Microfilms Inc. and the Library of Congress. This extremely well-written book is not a paranoid rant. Just this past October, Werner Gundersheimer, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, said at LC's "Preserve and Protect" symposium that, amid all the smoke and fury, Baker was essentially pleading for "a last copy effort of some kind." Double Fold is the narrative of a heroic struggle: Picture Baker as "Offisa Pup" defending "Krazy Kat," of the printed word, against the villainous "Ignatz Mouse" of the library establishment all in glorious, vivid color on brittle (but unbowed) newsprint. Highly recommended for all libraries.
-- Barry Chad, Carnegie Lib. of Pittsburgh; Library Journal, 12/00
The following links go to articles and commentaries that respond to the implications of Baker's expose (that italicized e is a proxy for an accented e) and/or to the death by digital technology of the book:
"Preserving" vs. "Conserving": Librarians and their hatred of paper
Libraries, Books, and Academic Freedom: Can academic freedom survive the death of the book?
A review of Double Fold from Science Matters Bookclub
Do Online Resources Destroy Student Research Papers? by John Jaeger, Reference Librarian
Paper Chase:Nicholson Baker makes a case for saving old books and newspapers
Preservation Advice for Libraries, Historical Societies and Home Collections from The Connecticut State Library
Q and A in Response to Nicholson Baker's Double Fold from ARL: Association of Research Libraries
(image of Brian Dettmer's Book Autopsy from Future Feeder.com)
Here's something else (also from my comments in Leslie's Blog with the links made active):
Whether or not a manuscript becomes a book free-of-charge to the writer is usually up to book publishers who often have an economic decision to make, and an aconomic reason for making those decisions --I'm not approving/disapproving that right now
because I want to emphasize that some manuscripts are not going to become print books unless the writers absorb some or all of the cost. A variety of online companies including/notably Lulu.com and Cafe Press are offering self-publication services, including, especially with Lulu, available (for a fee) distribution services, both domestic and international. --This is quite a shift from the vanity presses of the past. Blurb is offering a service to turn blogs into print books.
So digital means of text production & text delivery (the only way to submit work --for audio and video discs also, and an assortment of 3D objects including T-shirts -- to Lulu, Cafe, Blurb is via digital interface, I believe) are extending/enhancing the life of print objects. The sense of touch itself is powerful, and touch still dominates in how digital devices/materials are used. We get a feel for what we use.
Anyway, both Lulu and Cafe Press offer their authors storefronts and print-on-demand services, so customers can purchase print object or digital versions. Online bookstores (and other cyber retailers) also sell some of the Lulu and Cafe Press merchandise. Blurb, too, has an online store, but last time I checked, no separate storefront for each Blurb author.
Amazon is inviting authors to submit direct-to-Kindle work.
I began this comment with economic choices and conventional publishing (publisher-controlled author work, permission to use portions can be granted/denied by the publisher, usually not by the author) and return now to that tine, the other bifurcations adding texture/context to what follows:
I have amassed a number of manuscripts that my publisher has deemed unmarketable. Now if I insist upon conventional publication, I can revise the work, so that it adheres better to protocols consistent with economic hopes of the publisher for the book (the costs for book production must be recovered, and surely, some reasonable --at a minimum-- profit margin, or I can submit it to other publishers until, if ever, there's acceptance of the ms. on terms mutually agreeable to publisher, author, and, often, also to an agent who will try to negotiate the best contract for a work the agent considers marketable (we all have to eat).
That said, I've set up e-fib e-(forked indie books) where I'm thinking about offering some of my conventionally unmarketable print poams in both electronic and print object forms (so it's set up just in case for if and when I commit to this idea). I'm also using the blog A Limited Forker Girl's Tines as a place to deliver active content, content in which the behavior and activity of a neural network specifically, and other dynamic systems more generally, is important to the emerging themes.
Work there, such as Neurological Winter, subverts conventional publication protocols and allows display more compatible with the implied structure of the poam; even reveals meanings of structure as well as meanings of content --even renders/can render implied structure active through links and motion graphics.
November 27, 2007
eWaste or after the thrill is technically gone
So, what to do about the old technology's buildup of devices?
What have you been doing with your old devices?
What can/should be done do with (your) eWaste?
--feel free to poll others
Here's a view of some of what happens to eWaste:
Read e-Waste: Dark Side of the Digital Age from Wired.
At eWaste.com, you can find solutions for eWaste from technology end-of-life specialists --2,800 clients nationawide; what fraction of need do you think this number might represent?
Here's the Wikipedia offering on electronic waste.
BAN would like to turn back the toxic tide
The thrill of innovation, of empowering developments can be incredibly strong. Cyles of growth and demise while natural, and often helpful, still present situations that require attention to how to respond to the waste products of demise.
As one area is relieved of eWaste, does that area also relieve itself of responsibility for the eWaste now in possession of another geographical area?
There are (at least) two sides to surfaces; please do not overlook gestures and the related consequences
Here are two video responses to the wasteland that the Salton Sea became:
Now: THE ART OF e-WASTE:
More galleries of e-Waste here
Does ART provide some solutions? How much can ART do? What are the limits of ART as eWaste Intervention? What are the consequences of ART as eWaste intervention?
Finally (for this post): T. S. Eliot's The Wasteland as hypertext.
Read, Experience, Think, React, Respond, Embrace in any/all of the ways that you can meaningfully respond.
Oops! --an addendum already:
Jack and Joan Spratt had a solution to waste that allowed, between two of them, a platter licked clean
& Don't forget about the use found for an old kettle in The Story of Little Kettle-head But which was better according to which specified lens/context/mode of enclosure; the kettle replacement head or the doll head as replacement head?
How do the multiple lenses trained on a particular situation of fork (here used as a bifurcation stream in a larger system) work together? What is the relationship between the multiple lenses focused on a particular situation? Etc.
--okay; that's it.
Little Kettlehead, after acquisition of the Kettle:
(from Sterling Times)