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July 25, 2011


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Why wouldn't human language be directly shaped by the biology of the human visual system?

I'm not thrilled about the DRM/ownership of ebooks either, but I've just bought a couple US$0.99 ebooks that I was interested in (admittedly one of them was "Shadow Unit 1", which is also available for free, so it's a matter of supporting the authors). At that price, it doesn't bother me too much if I don't own it - that's less than I pay to rent a DVD.


iPad. Not only e-reader but oh, so much more. It's really for homeschooling, you see. (Tongue firmly in cheek.)

The New York City Math Teacher

I took the plunge with an e-reader (onyx boox m90). You know? It ain't half bad. The technology is not fully matured, but what there is is very appealing to use. 9.7" epaper is just about the printable area of an A4 page, and it's very clear and easy to read.. Light, takes a long time to discharge its batteries, and very very portable.

Frex - I'm reading cases, transcripts, and other documents on the thing. Everything I used to print enormous sheaves of out of westlaw is getting shunted into the machine. PDF annotation, plus search function, very convenient, and exportable.
With a 16GB SD card, what used to be a very heavy attache case is much less so.
I'm not tethered to a specific ebook store, and I have quite a few copies in digital of books which I own in hardcover.

Now, I am sad for the passing of Borders - we're going to lose one of our ducking-out destinations in the nabe. No more sharing a hot chocolate with L. while I flip through Culinaria Germany. The pleasure of the serendipitous discovery on the shelves - I haven't had that at a borders in quite a while, while I have at BN a bit more recently - the merchandizing and stocking at Borders has been *terrible* for going on two years.

But I haven't bought a book out of the Strand in a bit over a year - everything has been amazon or ABEbooks or BN or Borders. The last books I bought at a used book store were pity purchases at a small store that was going out of business on Absecon Island, and that was last March. Been using the library, instead.

And ebooks.


I think it safe to say that most of the important concepts in color theory trace to the human visual system. Primary colors, color compliments, even the concept of color itself, are manifestations of how our eyes absorb light of differing wavelength, rather than physical properties of light itself. But human perception of color has been just as heavily influenced by when and how we are exposed to different colors. Historically, the idea of color was often inextricably intertwined with concepts such as texture and surface quality, and sometimes temperature or even emotion. The modern availability of synthetic pigments makes it too easy for us to isolate color as an abstract idea. For painters of ages past, perfect pigments representing spectrum colors were exceedingly rare, and often expensive or toxic. I feel spoiled living in the modern age, where I can buy a perfect azure blue sky in a tube of acrylic, and have the paint dry in half an hour, and I don't have to worry about being poisoned because I wanted a more brilliant red for the flowers.

Rick Rutherford

iPad FTW! One device, multiple e-book readers!

You can install:
the Kindle reader app, for the books in your Amazon kindle account,
the Nook reader app, ditto for your Barnes & Noble Nook account,
the Google Books reader app,
Apple's iBooks app,
and most importantly, the GoodReader app, for reading and annotating pdf files.

BTW when you register for WorldCon, they give you a link to download all of that year's Hugo-nominated stories (novels, novellas, short stories, etc.) in electronic format(s), and the iPad is perfect for reading them all...

Rick Rutherford

Oh, and DRM is just a fact of life nowadays.
Love it or shun it, it's not going to go away any time soon (unfortunately).


" If you've never heard of this, here's the short version: back in 1969, a couple of linguistic anthropologists surveyed 80 languages around the world, and discovered a surprising pattern. The argument about it has raged ever since, but there's reason to believe that human language may be directly shaped here by the biology of the human visual system "

Have you read Guy Deutscher's "Through the Language Glass?" The longest (and IMHO, best) section of the book is on that subject...




My Android phone from Verizon Wireless came with a free Kindle app, and I find it more than adequate for almost everything. If I were to read a book heavy on charts or graphics the phone's small screen wouldn't be sufficient, but for normal text-based reading it's just fine.

Noel Maurer

I am a de-adopter.

Bought an e-book reader, broke it, never bothered to replace it. Bought an iPad, started an e-book, gave up.

Just can't do it. Get bored, lose focus, wack. Gripping thrillers, yes, but that's it ... and even that wasn't as gripping.

No explanation, and sadly I seem not to be representative. But get the f--k off my lawn, you kids.

Bernard Guerrero

I have difficulty with technical stuff on an e-reader, too. I like having multiple pages marked and flipping back and forth faster than the machine allows you to. OTOH, for linear narratives I think it's a beautiful thing. Nice to have 4-5 books open on my nightstand and still be able to see my alarm-clock, too.


I love my Kobo ebook reader. Note that Jim Baen was an early advocate of ebooks and so most Baen books for many years have been available as ebooks and relatively inexpensively. So you can get a complete set of Bujold ebooks without spending a fortune. And lots of other SF.

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