Saturday, December 17, 2011

Will E-Books Destroy the Democratizing Effects of Reading?

Will E-Books Destroy the Democratizing Effects of Reading?, article.
Imagine Abraham Lincoln, born in a log cabin, raised in poverty, self-taught from a small cache of books, being stymied in his early education by the lack of an e-reader. 

This is not an intelligent article, and not worthy of such a publication as MIT's Technology Review in my humble opinion (as humble as I can be, not much admittedly).
Obviously there will be many movements to educate children in poor areas, and of course prices will continue to fall, but even if prices did not continue to fall, even today it costs far less to provide a child with a devices which gives access to so much education from the web, free video, out-of-copyright ebooks, etc, than it would cost to provide them with even one-thousandth of such material in printed form, which has to be produced, handled, and shipped, and administrated.

UPDATE: Bruce wrote: my High School people who took Math and Physics carried sliderules around with them - except for the wealthy few who had the hot new gadget of the day - The TI electronic calculator you could wear on your belt.
One morning, well before I graduated from college, I poured myself a bowl of cereal. A very small electronic calculator, sealed in plastic, came out of the box along with my cereal. It was free, and was included in many cereal boxes, not just mine.
If you can imagine Abe Lincoln, a few years from now, being able to afford cereal for breakfast, then he could still be President. 

Well said.
I didn't know that calculators became that cheap that early. But certainly the Kindle has dropped from almost $500 to $80 in four years, so a thing like that is already teetering on the edge of a throw-away object. And I can easily imagine projects like One Laptop Per Child getting donations for big productions, getting prices down to maybe $20 per child/device within a couple of years, if not now. That's the price of one hardcover book, but the device would have access to several million free ebooks just for starters.

Wireless updates without wifi?

When Apple introduced wireless updates without wifi, I didn't get all that excited, because my main Mac does not use wifi, it uses ethernet to connect to the Internet (after years of battling all the constant minor issues with wifi, I just bought a long ethernet cable, and since then, no connection problems).

But it was fun to try it once at least, so I set my iPad to sync wirelessly anyhow, and tried it, having turned on wifi on the Mac.

But I've noticed that the iPad shows up in iTunes on the Mac even when the Mac is *not* on wifi, and then I tried to click on the sync button on the Mac, and the iPad started updating! All the new apps, podcasts, etc. I went to look at the iPad and yep, they were downloading.

So I would guess that the Mac/iTunes is communicating with the iPad via Apple's server, and then tells the iPad which files to download, not from the Mac, but from Apple's server! Remarkable. I really would not have expected them to think it further than "of course both machines have to be on the same wifi network to sync".
I guess this also means that so long as both devices are on the Net, each can be anywhere in the world and they can still sync.
(Sync can also be started on the iPad, by plugging in the wall charger.)

Update: I think now instead that this has been happening when my iPad has been on the network (one of two) into which my tower Mac was plugged via Ethernet! So, probably no Internet involved.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

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Like they say:
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It's true. I myself wrote:

The Tidbitters take their work seriously, and they are well trained and experienced. One example: TidBITS is about the only tech news web site were I have never seen a report of a "new dangerous virus threat", which later turned out to be virtually non-existent. But I know they will know about it if and when one happens. So they are my go-to place for solid information.
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