May 31, 2009

Read An E-Book On An E-Reader With E-Ink On E-Paper, Today!

Posted in Hardware, Humor, Screen at 2:33 pm by Richard Fink

I’m confused. My Kindle is really an iRex 1000S. And when people ask if it’s an E-Book, I say “Yes”, but I really think “No”.
E-this. E-that. E-gads, what does it all mean?
Here’s my current dictionary for the world of digital books:

An E-Book is not the hardware device with a screen that you hold in your hands. An E-Book is software. An E-Book is the digital file that holds the text and images that comprise the “book”. A PDF, for example. This distinction makes for clearer usage I think. So, in my head at least, that’s the way I’ve set it up.
In other heads, the terms “E-Book” and “E-Reader” are likely to get shuffled around and used interchangeably for some time.
An E-Reader is a hardware device on which you read E-Books. The Kindle is an E-Reader.
But if the history of brand names is any guide – to add to the confusion – ”Kindle” might quickly go from referring to a specific product to categorical catch-all, meaning simply, “E-Reader”. No matter what the manufacturer.
“Is that a Kindle?” Yeah, it’s an iRex Kindle. But the screen’s a little smudged, got a Kleenex? Thanks.
This term, I wish, would just go away. It does a lousy job of describing what it’s trying to describe. Where do you put a device that uses E-Ink to make sure it doesn’t leak accidentally and send you running to the dry-cleaners? Is my laptop display using Liquid Crystal Ink? And where can you buy E-Whiteout? Staples doesn’t have that, it seems.
Please move to the DO NOT USE column.
“E-Paper” does, nicely, describe the appearance of the kind of screens to be found on the Kindle and similar devices. This one’s a keeper.

The evolution of language is a fascinating sport where everyone gets to play.
About a month ago, I was flying from Florida to New York. Before takeoff, the flight attendant stopped by my seat, and said, “I’m sorry, sir, but you’ll have to turn off your book.” And then she grinned, leaned down a bit, and added, “You know, I just love getting to say that!”
I knew exactly what she meant.


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