So one of Bill Clinton’s less well thought through acts (apart from those involving blue cocktail dresses) was the DigitalMillenniumCopyright Act (DMCA). Apart from suffering the fate of having the all toocliché “Millennium” in its name, it suffers from being too broad, too vague and too encroaching on well established pieces of case law like fair use and reverse engineering. Read more…
This is just crass! Come on Apple… You’re always complaining that Redmond is copying you, this is not a good way to reverse that trend. Show a little leadership would you?
For once, he said… “I don’t get the technology hand-me-downs”. He was right. Having just bought my partner the first Kindle for Christmas and been amazed by the fact that this was the first piece of technology I’d bought him that he’d actually been excited about. I was floored when, just after the holiday, my good friends at Amazon went and announced the new, better in every way Kindle 2. So with a birthday coming in Feb, I figured I’d just give him the new one and be done with it.
In the process, I’ve inherited his “old” Kindle 1.. To say it was love at first sight would be a massive understatement. I think this little quirky device has done something that honestly I had grown to believe was impossible. I think it’s reconnected me with the “printed” word. When I say “printed” obviously I quote it for good reason. The Kindle isn’t anything that Gutenberg would recognize. However it has this amazing capability to draw you back into literature with a fondness that I’ve not felt since picking up my first copy of “Astounding Stories” over 35 years ago. It is to print what the iPod is to music. It makes it accessible in a way that changes the way you consume the content. When was the last time you sat in a quieted room, cleaned your Miles Davis album with a carbon fiber brush and relaxed to a room full of wonder?
The first Kindle had design flaws too numerous to mention, however there’s charm to the device that makes you want to learn how to reposition your natural holding pattern just so you can get to experience it. No laptop could ever command this kind of response. No mere cell phone would survive a 2 minute demo in the store before being rejected but there’s something about Kindle that draws you in, passed these interface snafu’s and quirky menus into a realm where you embrace it in a very different way than you do any other piece of disposable technology. Maybe it’s the way it makes you pause as it redraws its screen at its pace. Or maybe it the way the menu selection works via a 1980’s era scroll-wheel. It all feels familiar. Like the device has been hatched in the evil lab of some mad scientist who has a vision but only spare parts, decades old, to realize it with. The end result is totally charming and somewhat addictive.
Once you’re passed the quirkiness, you quickly become amazed by the capabilities of the paperback sized unit. Not only can you search Amazon’s ever growing content library, but you can email your own text and graphic content to the unit (All the main formats supported). You can get periodicals, even your local daily newspaper, all beamed (I hate that word) to your Kindle over Whisper Net for a small subscription fee. Imagine, a library of the most up-to-date content, in your hand!
Why would we ever want to pulp another tree when we have such elegance as an alternative. In the USA the print media business is in crisis (along with almost all of the other businesses in the US right now). Its readership is dwindling and advertisers are leaving in droves. I read one article last week that said that the NY Times would make more money if it stopped printing papers and gave all of its readers a Kindle so they could subscribe to it on their device. How’s that for a wake up call to all those people who are hanging onto the “printed” word.
Print it seems is indeed, if not dead, certainly being measured up for its casket. Will it be buried along with silent movies and baseball cards or will it suck down one last breath of frosty air and pull itself out of the pulp age and into the paperless age?
I started my career many, many years ago building software for the “paperless office”. With devices like Kindle I think we take a big step closer to that reality. Closer to a time where information really is at our fingertips and that excites me, greatly.
Just go buy one.. You will not regret it.