296 posts • joined Tuesday 12th August 2008 17:57 GMT
PS3 doesn't do it all
You can't play video from an MKV container on a PS3. Or anything using soft subtitles, even though MP4 can supposedly contain a sub stream, the PS3 won't recognise it. Try adjusting out of sync audio/subs on the fly on a PS3 - one of the best features of Boxee/XBMC, imo. Yes, you can transcode/remux on the fly from media servers on your network, but you need some pretty hefty hardware to do that with HD video.
Another attractive feature of these little Atom/ION systems is they suck about 30W maximum power, and a mere handful of watts when not doing anything. A PS3 draws some 200W+, according to my energy meter. My HTPC (same hardware as the Boxee box, different case) is totally silent - yes, PS3s are quiet, but still audible. It's nice to not have any sound at all coming from a device that lives in the front room.
Not sure how customisable the Boxee systems are, but my XBMC system also runs a number of handy always-on services like a local wiki, webcam, file store, upnp server and so on. It's not a media client like the PS3 is, it's the house's main media server.
Don't get me wrong, I love my PS3, but it solves a different slightly problem to a dedicated HTPC. The only media-centrey thing my PS3 does any more is play blu-rays.
the main advantage of eInk
Is that reflective screens are a heck of a lot nicer to read on than transmissive ones.
It's one of those things (like HDTV) than screenshots simply can't make clear - you have to see it in the flesh. Next time you're in Waterstones/Borders/whatever, see if you can have a look at am eInk reader in action and you'll see how different reflective screens are to look at.
I can't read for hundreds of pages straight on an LCD, no matter how high-res it might be. My (mere!) third-gen eInk screen, I can read for days on, not to mention in full sunlight.
Didn't Sony recently say...
...that they reckoned we were at least ten years away from (removable) diskless home entertainment systems?
Yeah, it's here: http://www.reghardware.com/2010/08/27/sony_forecasts_physical_media_future/
I'm siding with Sony on this one. My internet connection can barely handle a compressed SD video stream, let alone a high-quality 1080p one. Much as I hope otherwise, I don't envisage BT laying fibre to my house anytime soon.
On the other hand, my house has quite a lot of blu-rays in. I wonder where, if I wanted to, I could stream old episodes of The Prisoner in HD from? Or vintage films from the cash-strapped BFI, lovingly transferred to HD media..
After I posted on their forum about this
Their forum manager phoned me and apparently they are aware of the issue and doing everything they can as fast as they can. They weren't aware it worked with usernames too though.
"Everything they can" doesn't, it seem, include taking down the offending page. Which is strange, 'cos that's the first thing I'd do.
On the plus side, if we can find a way to extract electrical energy from Vodafone's incompetence, that'll be global warming sorted.
What Vic said
If you're a (wannabe) server admin and you can't even use a search engine, then why should I help you for free? Go and pay a helpdesk if you just want someone to proxy google for you. I'll be here, earning my own money to pay my own rent/bills, while you do that.
If you come to me having made a bit of your own effort and asking me questions that google can't answer for you in seconds flat - then I'll happily give up hours of my valuable time to help you out.
That said, I tailor my forum efforts to the forum in question - on ubuntuforums, I'll walk you through click-by-click (or command-by-command) because I know there are a lot of completely new linuxers on there who need that level of assistance. But then they're not asking me how to adjust the size of a MySQL query cache or flush Postfix's mail queue.
On a sysadmin forum, I expect a reasonable level of effort on your part, and in return I will share as much of my knowledge as I can, in as clear and simple a fashion as I can. I'll more than not learn new stuff myself by helping others, and I've even installed whole systems (in a VM) to help answer other people's questions for them. I don't mind doing this at all - I enjoy the challenge and I like being able to help other people, but only if they're prepared to put in some effort too.
I don't think that's me being hostile, or unreasonable. Remember I'm not being paid to help you, although if you do want that, I think you'll find my rates are extortionately high :-)
In my experience of using Linux (getting on for 15 years now), I've never encountered any of this hostility, wailing and gnashing of teeth and lack-of-helpfulness online. That's administering Windows and Linux boxes alike. I guess I just hang out in the wrong places - the places where people are nice and helpful and friendly... Or perhaps I'm just better at asking questions..
Let me try doing that...
Webmin's been around for over 13 years, and is far and away the best GUI config tool for Linux servers. Possibly the only one worthy of the name. It's not hard to use - at all - if you can use a web browser and you have some clue of how what you're administering works (eg: it's no use trying to configure a mail server if you don't know a bit about what variables you need to plug in!), it's a breeze. As of 2007 (most recent stats I could easily find,) Webmin has racked up 8 million downloads with an extra 2 million added every year. It has modules for just about everything you might want to do with a server, including EC2 hosting, virtual machine management and more.
I've been administering linux systems for only slightly longer than Webmin's been around, and I don't know of another tool that even comes close. Why would anyone bother, when Webmin's so good and you can just make a module for it if it doesn't admin the thing you need it to? Of course, I'd love to be proven wrong too. :)
75% is a pretty big rounding error
If you're going to troll, at least try and check your claims a bit first. Desktop linux might be in the 4-5% range, but you wouldn't normally use Webmin on anything but a server.
Other people's milage may vary
But personally I never found that the Linux community was hostile to newcomers, back when I was a wet-behind-the-ears wannabe BOFH. Provided I was doing a bit more than asking a forum to parse a man page for me, people were nothing but helpful. Posts like "How does I X?" don't get quite the response that "I've googled and RTFM'd and tried A, B and C; but X is still doing Y, how can I make it Z?" do - but then I'd expect the same thing on any forum for any subject. Search, RTFM, then ask is pretty normal protocol, especially on busy fora.
In return for the help I got, I try to be as helpful as I can when noobs ask me "stupid" questions.
Driver support is better than Windows 7, that's for sure.
I just install both on my new laptop. Ubuntu booted up with everything working, and I mean everything. When I plugged in my USB stick, it worked seamlessly. Phone? Same. Webcam? No problem. Wifi? Uh-huh. Printer? No worries. My old machine had a Broadcom wireless card, which doesn't have Free drivers. I had to make two whole clicks to install the non-free drivers.
When I installed windows, I had to go and find (on my own!) a driver for my wifi. My Intel wifi - no weirdy cheapo hardware. Then the same for my video, audio, trackpad and webcam (rebooting for each install, of course). Plugging in a USB stick lead to five minutes of disk access while Windows "Prepared a driver for my device."
The Ubuntu install took maybe fifteen minutes, during which time I browsed the web. There was another fifteen minutes post-install while it updated itself. It took up 3GB of disk space and installed with a full set of useful apps - including an Office-compatible office suite. A clean boot uses a hefty 350MB of my 3GB of ram.
The Win7 install took three hours (including patching, drivers, rebooting) and installed with almost nothing. It takes up 10GB of my disk before I've installed any actual software, and uses an entire GB of ram once I've logged in. The disk constantly (and I mean constantly) accesses even if I'm not doing anything.
I know which I prefer.
The only app I've never been able to replace with OSS or make work under Wine is Ableton Live. That's the single reason I have Windows on my machine.
As I understand it
In Ireland, feck is a different word - not a fig leaf for fuck in the same way that f**k is. Feck is the crap to fuck's shit. You can say crap on kids tv, but not shit. Same same for feck.
Also, FCUK is the internal abbreviation at French Connection for the UK office. The story goes that Trevor Beattie (the ad exec who came up with the FCUK campaign) was at a meeting at French Connection about rebranding when a fax came in from the Hong Kong office (FCHK) headed "Attn: FCUK." The rest is, as they say, history.
my wireless is fine
I'm also not aware of any antenna issues that a lot of people talk about.
Your phone, unless it's on a stock HTC firmware which it won't be unless you installed that yourself - gets it's updates from Vodafone.
Are you sure you don't have red icons for "Music Store," "Places" and "Web" in your menu?
That's 360 right there. The branding on the Legend is remarkably light, as it goes. I have a VF branded startup screen, 360, and that's pretty much it.
2.2 for Legend hasn't been released by HTC yet, rumours are that it's coming some time this quarter. On past form, VF users will then have to wait an additional month or so (at least) while Vodafone "test" and "improve" it before pushing it out to us.
Vodafone's position on the Legend
Is their usual one - utter silence. When pushed, I got this:
"The announcement about HTC Desire doesn't affect HTC Legend in any way. We'll leave the thread open for you to discuss if you like, but there won't be any further updates from the team."
Which I'm reading as - "no, you can't have a nice clean firmware."
My dealing with Vodafone in the past have led to me to be rather pessimistic about the chances of getting decent customer service from them, especially regarding firmware not full of crapware and bugs.
there will be
Here in Norfolk, the library service are about to roll out through-the-browser ebook borrowing. It's tied to Adobe Digital Editions at the moment (I think), but I'm sure that will change with time.
There is, as far as I know, no charge/subscription for this service. Not sure when other UK libraries will get on the case - apparently Norfolk is something of a national leader in library tech - but I'm sure they will.
I entirely agree
> The 360 apps don't even work!
This is the amazing thing about Vodafone. They can't even spam up your phone right. Not one of the handsets I've had from VF has ever shipped with all it's pre-installed crapware working. They release firmware updates months and months after every other carrier, yet they don't seem to bother testing them. I honestly can't work out what they're doing all that time.
I had a C905 off them just as it got released and every single VF-installed app didn't work to some degree or other - most didn't even load, and those that did were so buggy as to be unusable. Then I had a Satio and over half of those apps didn't work either. I haven't even loaded any of the rubbish they put on my Legend, but it wouldn't surprise me at all if most of that was faulty. In fact, I'd be amazed if it wasn't.
I sometimes wonder what the QA team at Vodafone do all day. I'm not joking when I say I've seen three-year-olds with better quality control than the world's largest telecommunications company.
On the other hand, their network coverage (at least where I am) is a lot better than Orange or O2.
while not quite so bad
Vodafone also sent out an update for the HTC Legend which, although spamless, did manage to break the default SMS app in such a way that it now refuses to jump to the most recently received message, meaning a lot (LOT) of scrolling is needed to get to the message that has just arrived.
It's not the end of the world, but it's quite annoying. Vodafone, when I contacted them, denied the issue existed. Despite it being mentioned on their very own forums and quite well represented by a quick look on Mr Page and Mr Brin's Patented Searching Engine.
Sure, I can install Handcent or ChompSMS or any number of other third party apps, but I like the default one.
Oh, and blocking unwanted mentions of broken stuff is pretty much par for the course on Vodafone's forums. They are spectacularly uninformed and unable to help over there - even the CSRs on the phones think the forum staff are useless - and by the standards of Vodafone's telephone support, that's really saying something.
aurora watchers may be interested
in this page: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/pmap/index.html
which has fairly up to date info on polar auroral activity.
here's hoping for a bit of a show in the UK tonight/tomorrow.
Not so. I've run Gnome Shell on my tiddly little netbook and it's snappy as you like (more than can be said for Compiz on the same hardware). Your 2003 gfx card might be fine, but my 2003 cpu just isn't powerful enough for Gnome. If I want to run a system on older hardware, I choose LXDE or Openbox or something - but I'd never put those systems in front of my Mum - but she's happy using Gnome 'cos it's got all the bells and whistles she needs and expects from a computer. Linux no longer needs to please the geeks, we've got enough options already. It needs to be usable by Normals, and Normals want slickness and polish and widgets and so on.
The shift in the way the gui works is pretty radical, but it's also pretty good. Try it for a little while, rather than just watching videos. I did. It felt weird at first, but became slick and powerful after a very short adjustment period - I didn't want to go back, but at that point there was no stickyKeys support and that's a deal-breaker for me. Yes, you shrink the desktop to use the overview (which includes the Activities menu) - but why not? Why not make the menu more accessible and easier to navigate? It's what most people need, so it makes sense! Power users like us can carry on using the shell and keyboard accelerators like deskbar etc, but for new users, it's friendly and simple and it does what they need.
Gnome as loads of options, it's just it tends to have them - as you say - defaulted sensibly. This won't change, it'll just be different (and gSettings is a lot better than gConf ever was). Mutter is, as you say, currently incompatible with Compiz. Can't see that lasting long.
Also I'm pretty sure that someone will keep the 2.x branch going, so y'know - just run that if you want. Isn't having choice wonderful?
you can enable tabs-on-top under (I think) the 'View --> Tabs on Top' menu.
At least you could with the alpha I was running last week.
What you don't get is the fancy new UI that Windowsers have with the big back button and so on.
As I understand it, *if* you were someone affected badly by the antenna problem, you should be able to get a refund or replacement at any time during the next six years (although after six months you'd have to prove the defect was there at purchase - easy enough in this case) on the basis that the handset is not fit for purpose/of satisfactory quality - ie, it won't hold a signal. A reasonable expectation of a mobile phone is that it can make and recieve calls.
The Sale of Goods Act applies to all UK consumer sales, regardless of any manufacturer or retailer's policies - these are the rights that are usually described as "not affected" by any additional terms and conditions/warranties.
You'd probably have a bit of a fight on your hands convincing O2 of this, but the law is (probably*) on your side.
* IANAL, etc.
Although, on reflection, I think my washing machine (just) might be louder than an Xbox in full flow. But at least that's not in the same room as my TV and sofa.
Noise is the reason our Xbox is unplugged and gathering dust on a shelf, and why the near-silent PS3 is used all the time. It's much less fun to play games when it sounds like someone is hovering a Harrier jet just under the TV.
I'm no so sure
"Consumers are happy to put up with a screen that is less readable in direct light in return for colour, speed and all of the funky apple-y things that the machine underneath it can do"
Are they? I only know a few people with iPads so far, but they're not raving about reading books on them. They're raving about browsing the web and looking at photos and stuff - at least two people have said "It's not so hot for reading on, I still want an ereader" to me.
I think it's far too early to say whether the iPad can live up to the hype. Reading on a heavy transmissive screen is not a patch on lightweight eink - the addition of colour or multitouch or fancy icons or whatever won't change that. The "unique consumer experience" you're after is already there - it's a high-resolution, low-power, reflective display.
We should probably wait until the fanboi-storm has died down and we have some solid figures before proclaiming the death of the ereader.
took me less than a day to get used to the new button placement.
now on non-Lucid machines I move my mouse to the 'wrong' (ie, right) side.
amazes me how much some people whined about this minor change. I'm quite intrigued to see what groovy stuff Shuttleworth was freeing up the right-hand side of the window for.
you haven't been keeping up
Ubuntu has been Mum-friendly for ages now. My Mum, even, runs it. She's in her sixties and doesn't even know what a command line is, let alone how to use one. It's such a non-issue, I do wish supposedly IT-literate people would stop banging on about it.
I put Ubuntu on my friend's computers and then I stop getting bothered by the kind of "how do I x", and "why won't it Y" questions I used to get all the time when they were running windows. I run crunchbang, 'cos I'm hardcore and I like configuring things using text files, but you don't have to do that kind of thing any more if you don't want to.
Why not download a LiveCD and give it a try? You don't have to install anything. (and even if you do, the Ubuntu installer is considerably easier and more friendly than the Windows ones)
Worked fine on my Acer Aspire One D250 last night. It's a good idea to reformat your usb stick first, that (for some reason) often leads to failed boots. That's not an Ubuntu thing either, happens with loads of distros.
I wish they'd ship the Broadcom wireless drivers on the ISO though. Yes, they're not strictly Free, but if I cared about Proper Free, I'd be running Debian. I care about Just Working. OK, I just need to plug in a wire and download them with a few clicks, but really? Plug in a wire? I had to get up and take a few steps across the room, dammit.
As far as magic chickens go, I've given at least four non-techies a USB stick with (previous version of) netbook edition on and said "stick that in your new computer and follow the instructions, ask me if you need help" and not had a single request for help. From my point of view, Ubuntu needs considerably less support from me than Windows ever did. I occasionally get asked for recommendations for stuff to install, but that's about it.
I for one
welcome our new giant airborne cable-severing overlords.
time-shifting is not even the issue
One can time-shift with a number of available on the internet scripts already. They still work. They either resume downloads after the verification kicks in, meaning the BBC's servers get even more hammered with requests, or they just spoof verification and carry on as normal.
What doesn't work is the iPlayer plugin for XBMC. That was totally legal as it streamed, not downloaded. The BBC even went as far to recommend this plugin's use on the backstage pages. Another thing that doesn't work is the iPlayer plugin for Totem - which the BBC actually contributed code for!
It would be a few hours work - if that - for someone to hack the various plugins so they spoofed SWF verification, but the XBMC/Totem teams don't want to do that as it's illegal under the DMCA (yes, I know iPlayer is only in the UK, but it's bypassing code produced by Adobe in the US - they already went after another flash-related ripping script, hosted in the UK, on the same thing)
Nothing the BBC do will stop people sharing their content if they want to. Nothing at all. I've heard (*ahem*) that almost all torrents of BBC programmes are direct rips from their DVB broadcasts, not iPlayer. What are they going to do - stop broadcasting TV? 'cos that's the only thing that would stop the pirates.
What they can do is stop pushing people to using torrents and illegal iPlayer downloaders by making it easy to use their existing, perfectly legal, systems. iPlayer via XBMC is lovely. So much nicer than the BBC's rubbishy interface, no flash to be all slow and insecure and ugly - and all up on my TV too.
modular units in-box
could shurely be achieved with, say, a plug and socket arrangement between modules?
like, perhaps, a PC does right now.
call me old-fashioned, but it seems to my brain that a ribbon cable or suchlike is cheaper - both in energy-use and production costs - than a fancy wireless transceiver any day. probably faster too. definitely more reliable.
printing and pictures
"And how many people routinly print photos from their mobe at 16"x12" at 250DPI?"
I do. And bigger - I've printed images from my SE C905 at 18"x12" and they look awesome. You have to pick the photos worth printing, but that's always the way. Haven't printed from my Satio yet, but I'm sure I will do in the end.
I do know what I'm doing too. That C905 print hangs next to others, taken with my Nikon DSLR, and compares favourably. Most people express amazement that some of my prints were shot on a phone. Yes, a phone is never going to be as good as £1000+ worth of glass and CCD, but it's more than good enough for most photos for most people. It also fits in my pocket, which a kilo of Nikon doesn't.
It's important to remember that all cameras take rubbish photos if you're a rubbish photographer, and any camera can take great photos if you point it right and know how to use it. I've shot brilliant pictures on VGA digicams and sixty-year-old film cameras. 12Mpx just means a lot of pixels. It doesn't mean rubbish photos, or good photos. The optics aren't awesome, but they aren't terrible either. They're the best I've ever seen on a phone, by quite some distance.
Note the GPS on the Satio is awesome. I can even get a lock indoors. It takes less than 15 seconds to lock on in most conditions, and it's highly responsive and as accurate as any I've seen. This is a significant improvement on SE's previous GPS-enabled handsets, the last of which I had could barely manage to find itself in an empty field under a cloudless sky.
My main gripe about the Satio is it's preference for deciding you're holding it horizontally when you're holding it vertically. Can be fixed with a quick shake to generate some more sensor data, but it's still a bit frustrating.
Nokia can't make cameras
Sample images show typical Nokia rubbish. They've never made a device with a decent camera in yet.
I have a Sony Ericsson Satio, and I consider it a "proper" compact digital camera. It's not a patch on my Nikon DSLR, but then compact digitals simply don't have the glassware to compete with 'real' cameras, and shouldn't be expected to. I consider myself fairly Serious about photography, and my Satio does a great job as my carry-everywhere camera. I don't always want to lug nearly a kilo of glass and electronics around with me. Heck, I've got prints on my wall at 18x12" that were taking with Sony's previous flagship cameraphone, the C905 - and they compare well to prints taken from my Nikon!
So, it can be done. It just hasn't been done by Nokia.
the thing about eInk
Is that it was one of the first pieces of technology for a long time that genuinely made me go "wow" when I saw it in person. It's like HDTV or the touchscreen on an iPhone - unless you've got direct physical experience of one, you really don't have any idea just how impressive they are. Pictures on the internet really don't cut the mustard. Reading on a transmissive screen, especially a tiny phone screen, is like comparing piddly £1-a-pair earbuds to Kef floorstanding speakers.
My iLiad isn't a replacement for a laptop/netbook, it's a different device. I read on it, and the refresh rate bothers me not a jot - it's pretty much as long as turning the page on a book, and after a while, you learn to hit the page turn bar just before the end of the last line - then the refresh appears seamless. I use it as a notebook, I handwrite notes and even draw sketches on it. Works very well in meetings, where tapping away on a laptop would be rude and intrusive. Nobody ever says - "hey, that thing's crap/pointless without colour on it", they all say "wow, that's hella cool, where did you get it".
Colour, I don't miss at all. Sure, it'll be nice when it comes along - but the books I read don't have pictures in. How much of your library does? Some of them have diagrams, but they work just fine - I can zoom and pan if I need to (something my eyes can't do on their own!)
Being able to set texts in your own choice of font/layout is great. Once you've started reading in Helvetica 10pt, you never want to go back. Being able to carry a fortnight's worth of reading - which on a holiday can run to several kilos of squashed tree, for me - in one book-sized device is a major plus. The iLiad even has a powered USB socket on the top, into which one can insert a little gooseneck led light - perfect for reading in the dark.
Yes, eInk isn't a fully mature technology. But it's very good for what it's doing now, it's certainly not crippled by a lack of colour. That's a bit like saying radio is crippled by a lack of pictures. Most radio doesn't need pictures any more than most books need colours.
@Paul4 - I love books. I have rooms full of books. I still buy hardbacks of books I love, and I want to keep them (then I format shift to ebooks to read 'em, usually). But I'm not so attached to my softbacks - and that's what eBooks replace. To compare to music - albums I really love, I buy on vinyl. Albums I just want to hear, I used to buy on CD, now I buy on MP3. My feeling is that e-reading will go the same way - you can already see the resurgence of the boxed hardback, or the illuminated editions of books at premium rates - while all the time the price (and paper/print quality) of softbacks plummet.
"selling out" and "corporate c*ck"
I used to think like that too. But the thing is, if you were offered an eye-wateringly large amount of money to do what is basically your job already - what would you say? MacFarlane is in the business of making TV. When a potential client approaches him and says "make us some TV in return for the massive pile of money", it's a pretty tough call to say no. How many clients have you all turned down on the basis you don't entirely like what their business does? I suspect it's the same as me - none.
The animator Don Hertzfeld says no to corporate work, constantly. As a result, he's managed to produce about one short (but brilliant) film every two or three years. I respect his decision to not "sell out", but equally, he could have bought himself a hell of a studio, and a lot of time to work in it, just by doing one or two adverts.
I'm as anti-microsoft as the next tux-lover, but I'd do pretty much anything for them if it meant I could pay off my mortgage, send my kids to uni, AND retire onto a nice yacht with change to spare. It's easy to not care about what other people think of you when you've banked enough from a few weeks work to buy those people multiple times over.
eInk != LCD/TFT
@Frank, Alex, Chris, Joe - if you'd ever used a real e-ink screen, you'd realise there is no comparison to a iwhatsit/netbook's LCD screen. Yes, you can read a book on one of those screens, but it's not the same as a reader by a long shot.
I can - and do - read my iLiad reader perfectly comfortably in direct sunlight. You can't do that with your devices. Also, my iliad is 160dpi, almost twice that of a normal screen. For me, that's the main thing - I get sore eyes reading at low dpis for extended periods of time.
It's one of those things you just have to see in person, like HDTV - screenshots and photos and the like just can't do it justice. Next time you're near Waterstones/Borders/John Lewis, why not pop in and have a play with one? eInk is one of the few technologies I've seen for years that's made me go "wow".
re: re: contracts
@Charlie - that plan didn't work out so well for Vodafone when they took away my bundled MMS without telling me 14 days in advance (I'd only been a customer for 10 days at that point!)
Hello, £10/month lifetime discount.
Then they took away my bundled data allowance, again without informing me in advance.
That'd be another £5/month lifetime discount.
I love vodafone. They keep breaking their own terms and conditions like this and they'll end up paying me to use their network...
their own terms and conditions let you get out free..
From the Vodafone/O2 terms and conditions:
8) You may end this Agreement ... if:
a) i) We increase in the UK and under clause 7a (which relates to them giving customers 14 days notice of price changes) call or other usage charges which have the effect of increasing your call or usage charges by more than 10% (or more than the RPI)
If you end the contract under the above clause, you are not liable to pay the remainder of it's time. IANAL, etc, but to me this sounds like every Vodafone customer in the country now has the right to just walk away..
iLiad > Kindle
I have an iLiad. It's awesome. I haven't read a paper book all year, and I read a LOT. Eye strain isn't an issue - the iLiad's 166dpi isn't fantastic, but it's a lot better than any other display device I've ever seen. The next iterations of epaper will be even better - I hear VizPlex (epaper v4) is almost ready to ship. Colour will be along soon, screen redraw rates will drop, etc. etc. I haven't found the redraw speed on the iLiad to be an issue - it takes about the same time as turning a page and resetting your eyes to top-left.
If I can't find a book I want in electronic form, I phone the publishers and ask if they have any plans to release it - they usually do, but are in the process of figuring out the best way to do it. Every publisher I've spoken to so far say they don't want to do DRM (authors and/or author's managers often insist on it) because (a) they don't want to lease books and (b) they know it doesn't work. Every publisher I've spoken with also says they want to sell ebooks cheaply, and using open formats (ePub seems to be the leading contender at the moment) A few of them have even said they're considering subscription-based services, in the style of some of the newer music systems.
I get the whole "books are special objects" thing, my bedroom has three of its walls covered in bookcases and I love them dearly, but it's like music - I buy mp3s because they are cheap, easy and convenient - and if I really like something, I buy the vinyl version - 'cos it's nice to look at and to hold (and it sounds better). Same for books - eBooks have replaced paperbacks for me, but I'll still buy hardbacks for stuff I really like. I think we'll see more high-quality hardbacks and/or special editions, and fewer pulp paperbacks.
What would be interesting is a lifetime energy-cost analysis of an ereader over print. Publishing can be hugely wasteful - bookshops regularly send back loads of unsold books for pulping. But my iLiad is a high-tech device and is expensive to make. How many electronic books do I have to read before my net energy consumption is lower than someone reading the same books in paper form?
@Robert Grant - bet you can't carry a month's worth of reading in one pocket. I can. Hell, I could pack several years worth of books onto my iLiad if I wanted to (using the memory expansion options). I also have a solar charger, so I don't need electrical outlets. Swings, roundabouts. :)
@Matt - Same thing goes for digital photos, digital music (anyone with a sharp object and a bit of paper can make a rudimentary record player), microwave meals, the entire internet, etc. Doesn't mean they're no use though, does it? If the lights go out, I'm going to be more concerned with finding my next meal than reading the latest Pratchett story.
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