How quickly things change

It's not even noon here and already today I have used 3 very different things that didn't exist 10 years ago. Claritin Eye - This product is absolutely the greatest.  There has never been a better product made for itchy eyes that are a result of pollen.  In May and in September I use it multiple times per week.

Amazon's Kindle - I have not yet written a review of the Kindle, but here it is in short.  It is great.  There is really nothing to dislike about the Kindle except for the price of books. It is superior to paper books in almost every way.

Dropbox - Dropbox is online file storage with a client that lives on all your devices.  If you use it, then you always have the same files on all your devices.  I rely on it so much that I wonder how I functioned before I started using it.  (If you want to use it, Click here.  I'll get some free extra space out of it.)

None of these things existed 10 years ago and now I would not want to do without them.  This got me thinking about the speed at which things change.  It is as if Moore's law affects every aspect of our lives.  The rate of technological change seems to speed up over time rather than slowing down.  It's effects are seen in every area of our lives.  Even my tackle box is full of things that weren't around 10 years ago.

I also realize that people find technology daunting after a certain age. It seems that nearly everyone has an age after which new technology is useless to them.  For my grandparents, the DVR built in to their cable box is really a bridge too far.  (After seeing me do it a time or two they may occasionally rewind something they missed,but they are not going to time shift any program.)  For some people technological advancements are not just too difficult to learn, they are actually frightening. This phenomenon is nothing new.  People once believed that if you travel too fast in a car, you would suffocate.  I have to admit that sometimes theories of technology in the future frighten me, but overall I welcome it.

How about you?  Are you afraid of the technology of the future?  Does the rate of change brought to our lives by technology scare you at all?  What products do you use regularly that didn't exist a short while ago?    Do you think there will be an age where learning anything new technologically is just not worth the effort?

DRM Ruins Everything: Why I will not be buying an e-book reader

I really want an e-book reader.  I read at a pretty good clip, not nearly as much as some people, but enough that a Kindle, or a Sony e-reader, or yes, even the stupidly named iPad would be a good investment for me.  Twice in the last year I have received, Legally and for free, books in an electronic format.  (In both cases they were PDFs)  In both cases, I would have liked to read the books but have not.  The reason I didn’t read them is that it would take a ream of paper to get them off my screen and I don’t want to sit at a computer to read a book.  I should be able to have a more comfortable posture while reading. So far, the body of this post belies the title.  I am saying that I want an e-book reader.  So what are the reasons why I will not be buying one?

Pay close attention to this, publishers, because I am no the only one who feels this way.  (In fact you could easily have learned this lesson from the music publishers, but you won’t)  Digital Rights Management ruins everything!

I do not want to lease my books.  If I buy a kindle edition of a book, it only works on my kindle.  So, if it is stolen, or broken, or lost and I want to replace it with a different brand, or if I choose to get a different device because something newer is better, I would have to buy that book again to read it on the new device.

I want the ability to give a book away. It is not unusual for me to read a book, and then if I enjoy it, pass it along to a friend or family member.  There is one book that I have given away 4 copies of in the past 2 years.  With DRM, I cannot give that book away.

I want the ability to sell books.  I won’t even get into the necessity of used textbooks for college students here.  I am only going to address the marketplace of used books.  I am a regular at my local used bookstore. I don’t sell everything I read, but many books are simply not worth adding to my library.  With a digital book full of DRM I have no option but to keep that book for all time.  (Not really, I can actually only keep it as long as I have the compatible device)  You received your price for that book already, It should then become my property to do with as I please; even if that includes selling it.  And I believe used bookstores should embrace this as well and make marketplaces for selling used e-books.

I fully realize that publishers do not want me to have that power.  I get it, if they lock the book down then that means more sales for them.  In fact, I may be forced to buy a book many times if I refer to it often in class or periodically reread it.  I can only assume that book publishers wish that libraries didn’t exist.

I also understand that publishers are worried about piracy.  DRM does not stop piracyI doubt if it even slows it down.  What it does accomplish is making sure that your customers are going to be angry at you, because sooner or later they will want to change devices.  I know that downloading a book without paying for it is stealing, and I am not a thief.  I will be happy to pay for the books I read.  I’ll gladly delete my digital copy of a book that I am selling, but I refuse to pay good money for a book that is locked down.

So readers, do you agree or disagree? Or do you think that the idea of an e-book is stupid