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back to article Paper computers: Not mere pulp fiction

I love it when I read or hear the phrase “Print is dead”. Idiocy is so enthralling. I am fascinated by people who can shamelessly proclaim their own ignorance in public with such determination. Tomorrows World Elliot light pen 1967 Future tech: Elliot light pen shown on Tomorrow's World in 1967 How many trees could you grow in …

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Silver badge

> I assume that you are the type of idiot the advertisers (and Apple) love.

I seem to remember phones being on 12 month contracts. It was the rise of the smartphone, spearheaded by the iPhone, that has lead to 18 and 14 month contracts being the norm.

It's FUD anyway- biodegradable in the ground != short-lived in your pocket.

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Could have been

If Ferranti or Marconi had been willing to listen to my father 25-30 years ago we could have had paper PCBs for decades now. We were printing them by standard offset litho techniques but no one was interested.

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Thumb Down

I am a huge fan of printed books.

I don't see the point in me having to pay for a little bit of equipment, pay to charge it up, pay to fill it with books? Not only that, I'm not very trusting of them to hold my books as can see them failing easily enough.

Even with my 2 hour commute each way to work every day, I'm happy to carry with me a real book that I read, granted I take up a lot of space on the shelves and am constantly whinged at by the girlfriend. But I wouldn't use an e-book reader if It was given to me for free.

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>> I'm not very trusting of them to hold my books as can see them failing easily enough.

I quite agree. I owned an e-ink Kindle for just over a year and loved it. But two weeks after the warranty expired, the device went bananas. Amazon talked me through all the rebooting options before giving up and offering to sell me a like-for-like replacement at a "discount" price that was actually higher than that of their latest Kindle model.

I didn't take them up on the offer.

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Anonymous Coward

"Pay to fill it with books"

You're an idiot.

Why would you feel obliged to 'fill it'?

There's lots of reading material available for free. That which is not, should generally be priced a little lower than paper equivalents.

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Anonymous Coward

Resin Bonded Paper

Printed Circuit Boards have been made out of paper for yonks, it's call Resin Bonded Paper. The whole resin thing probably makes it just as difficult to recycle as fiberglass, and it's unsuitable as a substrate for complex many-layer PCBs, but it *is* paper.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_resin_bonded_paper

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Re: Resin Bonded Paper

The very first PCB's were resinless cardboard.................

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Paris Hilton

Re: Resin Bonded Paper

"Paper is a great for circuit boards... it's flexible.."

erm, isn't that why it's crap for circuit boards? Isn't that why it needs to be resin bonded and so not recyclable?

How much energy goes into cutting down trees, pulping etc, printing, delivering books (then collecting and recycling) compared to downloading an e-book?

Even if this article is meant as a joke it fails to reach a level of credibility to make it funny.

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Happy

I like both - Shocker!

My Kindle is a very nice and convenient device. My paper copy of Good Omens (signed by Terry Pratchett but sadly as yet not Neil Gaiman) also makes me very happy and I love the fact that I have both.

What is it about humans that means we always have to polarise into opposing factions? I think it's pretty obvious there are advantages and disadvantages to both paper and electronic books, so why not enjoy them both as different? Arguing about a content delivery method seems to be futile.

I don't remember the argument for printed pictures vs Flickr et all.....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I like both - Shocker!

Upvoted for the Good Omens reference. I agree: there is no electronic equivalent of collectors books. But I would cheerfully swap 80% of my physical books for electronic tomorrow; I could use the shelf space.

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"A toxic legacy measured not in decades but centuries"?

"But planting things that take at least 20 years to mature does not strike me as biologically unsustainable as, say, oh I dunno, building more nuclear power plants..."

The thing about nuclear waste is that it is produced in small amounts and it is increasingly well handled through new technologies. For example, Gen III+ and Gen IV reactors will transmute a large proportion of transuranic waste, leaving it with a much reduced half-life and providing energy in the conversion process as a bonus.

By comparison, how long will it be before the doubling of mercury in the world's oceans returns to its pre-industrial level? Similarly, it would be interesting to know how much radioactivity will be released in the next two decades from the production and use of phosphorus based fertiliser.

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/tenorm/fertilizer.html

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well

As John 110 remarks, not all paper books were printed to last--for a about a century centered on 1930, damn few were. The set of Mark Twain I remember from childhood was falling apart last I noticed it.

For reading, I prefer something that I can drop in a pocket--Penguins or Oxford World Classics print in a good size. I find electronic books very handy for quotation via copy and paste.

But biodegradable computer components! That gives "bit-rot" a whole new meaning.

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Happy

I still like the paper..

..for novels, I find it much more relaxing reading a book as opposed to an ebook. When I comes to reference texts and manuals it's kind of a toss up. Code documentation was made for the screen and in most cases it's fine to read from the screen (especially since multi-monitor set ups are cheap these days), for some reason though, I think I'll always prefer my hard copy collection of CRC and Shaum's references (stained and tattered as they are).

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Anonymous Coward

Maybe you're doing it wrong...

You don't mention the kinds of devices you have experienced reading ebooks on?

It sounds like you are talking about computer screens, in which case you are doing it wrong.

You should try an e-ink display.

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Not well argued

I usually enjoy your articles Alistair, but you made a couple of sweeping statements without backing them up with numbers.

1. Planting trees in order to print paper is more sustainable than building power stations to power our electronic devices.

Well that rather depends on the numbers doesn't it? How much paper do we need? How many devices are we going to have, and how much power do we need to power them? And we'll still need power to do the printing and create the paper.

2. Books are greener (eg, easier to recycle) than electronic devices.

Again, that rather depends on how many we need through our lifetimes. If we could get people to buy and use just one e-reader throughout their lifetime then a heavily used e-reader may well be greener than thousands of books, however you measure greenness.

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Re: Not well argued

And your sweeping statement that an e-reader would last a lifetime? Mine lasted less than 13 months.

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Re: Not well argued

I did say "if". My point is that there is an amount of time that an e-reader will last where it will be greener than the number of books consumed in that time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not well argued

The longevity of the device is however a different issue entirely.

A durable electronic device with no moving parts should last quite a long time.

In the EU all goods sold must last a reasonable length of time and electronic items must have a two year manufacturer's warranty.

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In another article they talked about a 10 Euro E-reader. With those kinds of prices, it looks like paper is dead. Maybe the politicians will get enough lobbying from the paper industry to put a tax on e-readers, to help pay for the recycling.

One point about using paper for anything electronic... Paper is not a good insulator, and absorbs humidity, which makes it conduct electricity. That's one problem that has to be solved before it can be used for a printed circuit board substitute.

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Anonymous Coward

As paper PCBs already exist this is a solved problem. UV resin, in fact, can be applied on-press.

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Pirate

Tomorrow's World

Is Malcolm Lyall-Watson alpha testing an early version of Elite?

<--- because piracy is a more fun way to make money in Elite!

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But brain surgery isn't science

any more than changing an oil filter is science.

Both brain surgery and car engine manufacturing are the result of science, but neither is science in itself.

The mechanic changing oil is following a procedure: check oil, remove plug,...

The surgeon is following a procedure too: look, cut hole...

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Silver badge

I see a fatal flaw in the premise ...

... the substrate that the device is built on does not really matter in the great scheme of things. The reality is that the hard to recycle components which are actually attached to the substrate, combined with the protective cover used to protect said substrate & components, are the vast majority of where the recycling issues exist.

As a side-note, technically CPUs, RAM, and various I/O chips are PCBs ...

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Terminator

Bad Puns

Are Punishable.

'Nuff said.

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LOL

I thought a glimpse of a time-unit to make a serious comment, but why?

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