Friday, March 25, 2011

Ditch the computer, keep your books

From an article titled "Gadgets You Should Get Rid of (or not)" in the New York Times, March 23rd.

Writer Sam Grobart recommends getting rid of your desktop computer, point and shoot camera, camcorder, digital music player, and more.

But he says this about books:

"BOOKS Keep them (with one exception). Yes, e-readers are amazing, and yes, they will probably become a more dominant reading platform over time, but consider this about a book: It has a terrific, high-resolution display. It is pretty durable; you could get it a little wet and all would not be lost. It has tremendous battery life. It is often inexpensive enough that, if you misplaced it, you would not be too upset. You can even borrow them free at sites called libraries.

But there is one area where printed matter is going to give way to digital content: cookbooks. Martha Stewart Makes Cookies a $5 app for the iPad, is the wave of the future. Every recipe has a photo of the dish (something far too expensive for many printed cookbooks).

Complicated procedures can be explained by an embedded video. When something needs to be timed, there’s a digital timer built right into the recipe. You can e-mail yourself the ingredients list to take to the grocery store. The app does what cookbooks cannot, providing a better version of everything that came before it.

Now all Martha has to do is make a decorative splashguard for a tablet and you will be all set."

You can read the entire article here:

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Read Everything: Harvey Weinstein

"People say to me all the time: How can I get in the movie business or how do I get there, how can I have your job? And I just say, you know, I had an unfortunate accident. When I was a 10-year-old kid, I played cowboys and Indians. I was on the losing side of a guy who had like, kind of a musket, like a Davey Crockett musket, and he poked my eye out.

For six months I stayed home because both my parents worked. But there was a librarian next door; her name was Frances Goldstein. I knocked on her door one day and said, Im bored out of my brain, you know, can I read something? And thus began my education into the world of reading.

So for those people who like to do what I do, the answer is read. Read everything. I read the Americans; I read the Russians. And I still to this day read a book or two every week, and read every magazine article I can get my hands on."

--Harvey Weinstein, the producer of The King's Speech, on Scott Simon's Weekend Edition, March 5, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Andrei Codrescu on the Kindle..."sugar-coated cyanide"

I wish somebody told me, don't take candy from strangers when I made my first tax-free Internet purchase. I wish that I had remembered the first one's free, which is how dealers make new junkies. I wish that every cliche humanity acquired to protect itself from its history of bamboozlement and trickery was sewn on every shirt pocket by a smart mom.

I won't enumerate each new snare in the house of virtuality, enclosing what remains of our human bodies as the net tightens and we, the fish, thrash about. But here's a new one. I'm reading a new book I downloaded on my Kindle and I noticed an underlined passage. It is surely a mistake, I think. This is a new book. I don't know about you, but I always hated underlined passages in used books. They derail my private enjoyment.

When somebody offers perception of what's important, something moronic, usually, which is why I always prefer buying books new so I could make my own moronic marks. But moronic or not, it was all between me and my new book.

And this thing on my Kindle is supposed to be new. And then I discovered that the horror doesn't stop with the unwelcomed presence of another reader who's defaced my new book. But it deepens with something called view popular highlights, which will tell you how many morons have underlined before so that not only you do not own the new book you paid for, the entire experience of reading is shattered by the presence of a mob that agitates inside your text like strangers in a train station.

So now you can add to the ease of downloading an e-book the end of the illusion that it is your book. The end of the privileged relation between yourself and your book. And a certainty that you've been had. Not only is the e-book not yours to be with alone, it is shared at Amazon which shares with you what it knows about you reading and the readings of others. And lets you know that you are what you underline, which is only a number in a mass of popular views.

Conformism does come of age in the most private of peaceful activities -reading a book, one of the last solitary pleasures in a world full of prompts to behave. My Kindle, sugar-coated cyanide.

--From NPR news, March 7, 2011