In the Middle

by Patrick on May 6, 2009

Wednesday is a forlorn sort of day, wedged there, uncomfortably, between Tuesday and the rest of the week.  Pity it.  Here are the links:

  • I’m enjoying My First Dictionary, a very funny blog mashing vintage children’s book images with oddly off-putting text:  “Lois is alone in the house.  She’s the only person in the house.  Isn’t she?”  (Thanks to Anne for the link.)
  • If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the ZineWiki.  It’s a pretty amazing reference for the known zines.  Somebody will have to add an entry for my short-lived but much-loved baseball pitching journal Filthy.
  • You’ve no doubt heard that Amazon has launched a new Kindle aimed at college students and people who insist that a newspaper be presented in its old, pre-digital layout.  While there may be a great many benefits to an ereader (not the Kindle per se, but a device that could read ebooks and access the internet and receive text messages and…), I find Jeff Bezo’s wacky futurism to be, well, wacky.  Remember when he pitched the Kindle 2 on that TV ad The Daily Show?  His big selling point was “You can read with one hand!” Thank god, because I’ve been reading with two hands for years, and I just can’t take it anymore. Today, at the launch of the Kindle DX, Bezos envisioned a brave new world of… “lighter backpacks.”  Lighter backpacks?  That’s the best they could do?  This is supposed to be a groundbreaking technology and one of its main benefits is a lighter backpack?  I think the focus on the physical aspects of the Kindle miss what’s really interesting about ebooks — the potential for interactivity, for new forms of storytelling and information sharing.  Why this focus on the physical aspects of the device?  Maybe because they know that the exciting stuff doesn’t work well or is technically illegal on the Kindle.  Distract them with the bells an whistles and hope they don’t see that the engine is broken, right?  Who cares how heavy your backpack is?  (And for the record, I already read the New York Times on a portable ereader.  For free.)