3 posts • joined 17 Aug 2012
I believe this and market saturation are part of it. There have been improvements in e-readers, but they've been incremental.
For me personally, the biggest inhibitor of getting a new e-reader (or getting the first) is the business model, which has more than a couple of ramifications.
1. You pay a significant fraction of the price for a physical book, and you're only licensing the ebook. Amazon or whoever can smite you and your library whenever they deem necessary and leave you with nothing for your money (if you play by their rules).
2. Competing formats + drm (again, playing by the rules) prevent or impede usage of any e-reader as a universal text reading device.
3. Ebook offering unavailable: new releases - for various reasons - may not have an ebook version offered until some later time.
I would be significantly more interested in buying more ebooks/readers if a physical book + ebook bundle were readily available (at near hardbook price).
From a technology standpoint, I have a 3rd gen Kindle and like it as a tool and really love e-ink and its power efficiency, but I think people would be encouraged to upgrade if these improvements were achieved:
1. near 8.5"x11" size (affordably), for reading textbooks and magazines/papers
2. *some* color - doesn't have to look like Oz, but something please, for reading textbooks and magazines/papers.
3. stylus writing functionality - kind of wishful thinking into the future here, but a feature allowing you to scribble notes into your ebook, or create blank pages to take notes or write out homework.
Re: @ Gribbler
I also prefer e-ink to the illuminated lcd. But, I suspect the comfort is due to the brightness/contrast in each reading situation. With e-ink, it's much like paper; only reflecting back ambient light from your surroundings. Too dark to read? Turn on the nightstand lamp and still, contrast is not high because e-ink is no brighter than the environment illuminated by the lamp.
With lcd, it's pumping out bright light right into your face. Even on lowest brightness settings, most devices are still way brighter than a dark room. That contrast is fatiguing. Reading from an lcd in a day lit living room doesn't bother me that much. Screen refresh/flicker might also get people, but as the lighting technology is not CRT, I wouldn't put much weight here.
Re: Why Hydrogen instead of methane?
Not sure if there's any one reason. When you say methane, you're basically saying natural gas (90%+ methane), which is just another limited resource that we might arguably be trying to rely less on. And, if there's any desire to curb CO2 production, that isn't it. You can cultivate methane from pig farms and such, but I don't know it that has infrastructure level prospects.
I don't think hydrogen makes a lot of sense, but I'm glad that there's R&D effort in the background seeing what can come of it. As a fuel source with any remote chance of replacing gasoline/petrol, I can't ever see hydrogen taking lead. You lose so much energy electrolyzing or gas reforming the stuff into existence. It's only advantage over battery storage is that you could potentially "fill up the tank" much quicker than a battery recharge. I say potentially, because I don't know of any safe, standardized hydrogen deployment system ready for everyday use, with which to quote against.
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