Friday, 22 August 2014

Print vs ebook



There's an interesting (though not at all surprising) discussion going on on the website of the Huffington Post.

It's the old 'ebooks aren't real' mantra again.

They dug up six authors who are all dead against ebooks. Their arguments are as old as they are ridiculous.

I won't rehash it all here, please join the discussion at the aforementioned website (or post below).

What surprises me, though, is that apparently none of the interviewed authors (as well as some of the commenters) have heard of ebook readers. Admittedly, if you read on your mobile phone or a computer/tablet screen, the experience leaves a lot to be desired.

However, today's ebook readers are brilliant. The screens aren't any harder to read on than an actual paper book, they don't reflect light and you can read your books in brilliant sunshine if you want to. Some even offer a background illumination which allows for reading in bed while your partner snores peacefully and undisturbed next to you.Heck, the kindle even has a 'text to speech' function, which I guess should facilitate those hard of sight.

I wonder whether articles or stories, published in magazines, are accepted as 'real' by the 'anti-ebook faction'. Journals and magazines don't have the 'feel' of a book, either. Yet lots of authors (Dickens, Nesbit, Conan Doyle to name but a few) published weekly in magazines like The Strand or Harper's Bazaar.

What gets forgotten in the discussion is, that the content is the same, no matter what medium.

And then I wonder just what those who claim that only a print book is a 'real' book do on the internet in the first place? After all, by their definition, pixels make a book unreal -- so any discussion online must be unreal, too. After all, you can't really compare some pixels on your computer screen with a real discussion where the spittle flies and people yell at you, now can you? You cannot smell your vis-à-vis, you can not touch them, feel them, hear them, or punch them. So they're not the real thing -- so why do those 'ewiggestrigen' bother discussing with anonymous internet weirdos?

It baffles me. I know that technology advances fast, and when I first heard about ebook readers, I was intrigued but not sure this could be a medium for me. I recall that Amazon removed books from Kindles (something to do with copyright, iirc), so I bided my time and waited for new developments.

Then I bought my first ebook reader, and I never looked back. Yes, I still buy print books, too, but I prefer ebooks because they have no weight. I have any book I want (well, nearly) at my fingertips.
I help to prepare ebooks for Project Gutenberg at Distributed Proofreaders, and I help record them at LibriVox. Neither of this would be possible if it weren't for ebooks. I'd like the opponents of ebooks to think about that.
These ebooks open up whole new worlds for everybody with a PC and internet access. They broaden the horizon, and they are free of charge, because they are in the public domain.

So, I like the good old print book, but I think ebooks are the future.



Friday, 10 January 2014

Gmail and Google+ -- again

Today, I found the following email in my inbox:


Gmail update: Reach more people you know
Ever wanted to email someone that you know, but haven't yet exchanged email addresses?(1) Starting this week, when you're composing a new email, Gmail will suggest your Google+ connections as recipients), even if you haven't exchanged email addresses yet.(2)
How it works with email addresses
Emailing Google+ connections works a bit differently to protect the privacy of email addresses. Your email address isn't visible to your Google+ connections until you send them an email, and their email addresses are not visible to you until they respond.(3)
Receiving emails from people outside your circles
If you receive an email from someone outside your circles, it will be filtered into the Social category of the inbox (if enabled) and they will only be able to start another conversation with you once you've responded or added them to your circles.(4)


How to control who can contact you
You're in control of whether people can reach you with a new setting in Gmail on the desktop. To learn more, visit the Help Centre.(5)

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Google Chat

Today, I had a request reading: "xyz@gmail.com wants to chat with you. "

That was odd. I couldn't remember having ever seen that email address. To be sure, I checked my contacts, but it came up blank. So, who is this mysterious person, why would they want to chat with me, and how were they able to send the request in the first place?


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

A new year with Distributed Proofreaders and Librivox



Well, I have shamefully neglected this blog, so imagine my surprise when I remembered it today, checked the stats and had 24 page views within the last 24 hours. Even if I subtract the eight views from Russia (everything coming from there is in my experience a spam bot and/or malicious), that leaves me with 16 views today.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

The DP blog Hot off the Press


A pencil on wheels, driven by mysterious forces. Illustration taken from the book.



So, today sees my very first contribution to DP's very own blog Hot off the Press. If you are interested, you'll find the blog post here.

It differs a little from what I wrote, though, because I was politely asked if it was OK to remove most of a sentence religious people could be offended by. The culprit was at the bottom of the post reading:

Personally, in light of all the horrible things men have done to other men in the name of God, give me Planchette and Spiritualism any time, but don’t tell me about God.
However, each to their own, and all of the phenomena discussed in the book above have one common denominator:
they have no proof.

Well, experience shows that this is the price you have to pay if you write for an official site. However, as this is my blog and I'm not representing anybody else, I felt free to repost it here. I certainly have no intention of offending anybody by stating facts, but I know there are always some who take offence. If you belong to those, ten tough.



Friday, 22 February 2013

Used Books

This is some sort of follow-up of my previous blog post which brought up memories of books I read when I was a teenager. There were a few books which were immensely popular amongst us siblings (they were all library books).

Monday, 18 February 2013

Children's Books and Literature in General





I often feel that I've some catching up to do on literature. Since I am a proofreader at Distributed Proofreaders most of the books I read are naturally very old. If I don't read, I listen to audio files from Libri Vox - however, I sometimes revert to the written version if I don't understand the accent of a particular reader, or don't like the voice, or both. (I think the Australian accent is particularly hard to understand, it's unlike any other English accent I'm more or less familiar with - and I'm not too fond of the Austrian accent, either).