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Old 04-13-2013, 11:28 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
These are the same sort of people who will put their paper books in the basement, where in five years they'll be more mold than paper.
Yep. And the same people who don't back up their hard drives probably don't have any fire extinguishers in the house to protect their mouldy treebooks and other belongings.

It's all user error, not tech limitations.
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Old 04-13-2013, 11:49 PM   #32
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It seems to me that this whole issue of "future proofing" is a non-issue.
One doesn't need to own particular books to be assured of being able to read them in the future. Reading technologies will keep changing but good reads will always be in demand and as long as there is a demand, there will be means to satisfy it.

I think of my current smartphones and tablets as being like Bic disposable lighters; I will use them for a few years and then something cheaper and better will come along. I'm counting on it. That's the way it's always been in my lifetime and I trust it will continue.

I note that the UK and the US have recently embarked on long-term projects to make digital holdings more readily available in the future. I expect this trend to continue. Thus, there will be great shared storehouses of online material readily available to everyone on the planet. So we don't need to think in terms of hoarding our own little private libraries.

If you're a collector of classic works and somehow get a warm fuzzy feeling from "ownership" then that's fine, everyone needs a hobby. But for most people who are just looking for something good to read, according to my crystal ball, the future will provide lots of good stuff and I wouldn't worry about the exact form it takes.
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Old 04-15-2013, 01:46 PM   #33
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Life's too short to worry about trying to control a future you can't predict.
Also, too short to read all the good stuff that has been written.
Hence, much too short to re-read the same books over and over.

And I am always amazed by how much energy we all put into preservation - in this case, of digital content.

Yes, mine is 2 cent philosophy.
But the truth is, technologies are becoming obsolete at an astonishing fast pace. Too little time, to swim against that current.
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:14 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
EPUB is text, inside the zip file.
But not plain text, which is why I specially said that.
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:21 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by murraypaul View Post
But not plain text, which is why I specially said that.
It's HTML, which is plain text.
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:32 PM   #36
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But not plain text, which is why I specially said that.
It's HTML, which is plain text.
Um, no. HTML is (typically) ASCII or UTF-8, but that's not at all the same thing as plain text.

HTML lets you use bold and italics. With plain text, you have to resort to *hacks* like _these_.
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:47 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
Um, no. HTML is (typically) ASCII or UTF-8, but that's not at all the same thing as plain text.

HTML lets you use bold and italics. With plain text, you have to resort to *hacks* like _these_.
HTML lets you indicate various types of emphasis in its plain test. How that emphasis is interpreted and displayed is up to the reader, and in many cases, is variable.

HTML will continue to be readable (especially as a subset of XML) for longer than anyone alive to will live, and the documentation on how to interpret it will be around for as long as computers are around.
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Old 04-15-2013, 04:53 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by vxf View Post
Life's too short to worry about trying to control a future you can't predict.
Also, too short to read all the good stuff that has been written.
Hence, much too short to re-read the same books over and over.

And I am always amazed by how much energy we all put into preservation - in this case, of digital content.

Yes, mine is 2 cent philosophy.
But the truth is, technologies are becoming obsolete at an astonishing fast pace. Too little time, to swim against that current.
I'm okay with technology becoming obsolete and forgotten, but not with the content. Hence, the preservation. When these works finally get into the public domain 50 to 100 years from now, will anyone have a working copy to contribute? That is my worry in all this.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:12 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
HTML lets you indicate various types of emphasis in its plain test. How that emphasis is interpreted and displayed is up to the reader, and in many cases, is variable.

HTML will continue to be readable (especially as a subset of XML) for longer than anyone alive to will live, and the documentation on how to interpret it will be around for as long as computers are around.
The web - including but not limited to HTML - is my livelihood. I've already seen display techniques go from proprietary to standard to deprecated, just in the past fifteen years. Look at font handling: it was originally unavailable, then it was a proprietary element (<FONT>) introduced in one browser, then it was standard, and now it's deprecated in favor of CSS styles.

EPUB is now in version 3.0; how long will my 2.0 library stay supported on new devices? .LIT is already dead...
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:33 PM   #40
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The web - including but not limited to HTML - is my livelihood. I've already seen display techniques go from proprietary to standard to deprecated, just in the past fifteen years. Look at font handling: it was originally unavailable, then it was a proprietary element (<FONT>) introduced in one browser, then it was standard, and now it's deprecated in favor of CSS styles.

EPUB is now in version 3.0; how long will my 2.0 library stay supported on new devices? .LIT is already dead...
The standards from 15 years ago are still documented, readily available today. And most browsers these days are largely backwards compatible, especially on stuff as basic as what's in EPUB. EPUB 3 includes backwards compatiblity to 2, as I recall.

If there's call for it, somebody, somewhere, will come up with a reader (probably an existing one, archived somewhere). If there's no call for it, nobody will miss it.

As for .LIT being dead, perhaps nobody is publishing new stuff in it today, but Calibre will still import it, and convert to and from it. Calibre is not an obscure, unknown program with no active support.

You don't need a reader to handles dead formats, you only need a converter to a current format. And covnerters are not at all hard to make (though making one work well can be a challenge, but you only need it solved once).
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:51 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
As for .LIT being dead, perhaps nobody is publishing new stuff in it today, but Calibre will still import it, and convert to and from it. Calibre is not an obscure, unknown program with no active support.
Yet. Surely I'm not the only person here who remembers what a hassle the Y2K problem was, or who had to stop using software because it didn't get fixed? Every dead, antiquated program that exists was once cutting-edge...

Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin
You don't need a reader to handles dead formats, you only need a converter to a current format.
Correction: WE can get by with converters. Joe Averageguy, though? Grampa Oltimer? They need readers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin
And covnerters are not at all hard to make (though making one work well can be a challenge, but you only need it solved once).
Have you seen the horrible stuff that gets passed off as valid code? Oh, it validates, but it's also sloppy and bloated as hell - and one of the books I bought this weekend is guilty of it. Smart writer, probably a good book, but here's a random sample of the code (which is exactly as I downloaded it, but with text removed to protect the author):

Code:
<body class="calibre">
<p class="calibre1"><span class="calibre6"><span class="calibre3">Chapter 5</span></span></p>
<p class="calibre1"><span class="calibre7"><span class="italic"><span class="calibre3">Chapter Title</span></span></span></p>
<p class="calibre8"><span class="calibre3">First paragraph.</span></p>
Here's how that could look, just cleaning up the HTML and not touching any CSS:

Code:
<body class="calibre calibre3">
<p class="calibre1 calibre6">Chapter 5</p>
<p class="calibre1 calibre7 italic">Chapter Title</p>
<p class="calibre8">First paragraph.</p>
Let me emphasize that I didn't pass the book through a converter; my copy of Calibre never touched it...

Last edited by Rev. Bob; 04-15-2013 at 05:55 PM.
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Old 04-15-2013, 07:40 PM   #42
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Yet. Surely I'm not the only person here who remembers what a hassle the Y2K problem was, or who had to stop using software because it didn't get fixed? Every dead, antiquated program that exists was once cutting-edge...
That's not a problem with file formats. Software is not file formats. And those programs, for the most part, would still run, they would just run wrong. The file formats are out there, and aren't going away. And the covnersions aren't that hard to figure out.

(I did Y2K prep for my job. On mission critical systems, like cash registers. Either stuff works, or we're out of business. I found about 99.9999999% of the nonsense put out about Y2K to be hysterical bullshit, peddled by somebody selling a book. "Give me money or your children will be eaten by dingos." Yawn.)

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Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
Correction: WE can get by with converters. Joe Averageguy, though? Grampa Oltimer? They need readers.
Apparently, you have never used Calibre. yes, Joe Averageguy, Grandpa Oldtimer, and pretty much everybody else can handle Calibre. Really. I could teach a cat how to use Calibre, if I could find one interested in ebooks.

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Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
Have you seen the horrible stuff that gets passed off as valid code? Oh, it validates, but it's also sloppy and bloated as hell - and one of the books I bought this weekend is guilty of it. Smart writer, probably a good book, but here's a random sample of the code (which is exactly as I downloaded it, but with text removed to protect the author):

Code:
<body class="calibre">
<p class="calibre1"><span class="calibre6"><span class="calibre3">Chapter 5</span></span></p>
<p class="calibre1"><span class="calibre7"><span class="italic"><span class="calibre3">Chapter Title</span></span></span></p>
<p class="calibre8"><span class="calibre3">First paragraph.</span></p>
Here's how that could look, just cleaning up the HTML and not touching any CSS:

Code:
<body class="calibre calibre3">
<p class="calibre1 calibre6">Chapter 5</p>
<p class="calibre1 calibre7 italic">Chapter Title</p>
<p class="calibre8">First paragraph.</p>
Let me emphasize that I didn't pass the book through a converter; my copy of Calibre never touched it...
So, you're saying Calibre isn't good enough for conversions, because you didn't use it? Really? Seriously? You're blaming Calibre for something you acknowledge it didn't do?

I have a nook color, and buy nearly all by books from B&N. I routinely run books from the manufacturer of my device through Calibre's EPUB to EPUB conversion, optomized for my specific device (not supported by B&N any more already), for the very reason you mention. I've had two books so far (well, five, really, one was an omnibus of four books) that I had to for them to be readable at all.

But that's not a file format problem. Nor is it an obsolecence problem.

And it's a hell of a lot easier to fix than a badly printe paper book. I can fix a broken EPUB myself. A paper book with, say, missing or out of order pages, or smeared ink, or some other problem that's just incompetence on the part of the publisher, I'm out of luck.

I've never had pages fall out of an ebook. And I never will.

I've never had the cover come off an ebook. And I never will. (And even if I did, I could easily replace it with one I like better anyway.)

I've never had high-acid paper turn brown and crumble when I touch it with an ebook. And I never will.

I've never lost an ebook because I don't have the time, space or money to keep archival copies. And I never will.

I've never lost my place in an ebook because the book mark fell out. And I never will.

The bottom line is that an ebook library is a lot easier to maintain than a paper book library, in terms of time, money, trouble and necessary expertise. And making archival copies are orders of magnitude easier on every count than even the simple maintence.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:21 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by taustin View Post
Apparently, you have never used Calibre. yes, Joe Averageguy, Grandpa Oldtimer, and pretty much everybody else can handle Calibre. Really. I could teach a cat how to use Calibre, if I could find one interested in ebooks.
Apparently you have never dealt with someone who just wants to read their books, and has zero interest in learning Yet Another Program so they can do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin
So, you're saying Calibre isn't good enough for conversions, because you didn't use it? Really? Seriously?
Either clean your screen or learn to read. I said this is how the file came to me, and that I didn't do anything to it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin
You're blaming Calibre for something you acknowledge it didn't do?
Are you seriously claiming that that file wasn't run through Calibre, and that all the class="calibreXX" attributes are just coincidence? I seriously doubt that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin
I have a nook color, and buy nearly all by books from B&N. I routinely run books from the manufacturer of my device through Calibre's EPUB to EPUB conversion, optomized for my specific device (not supported by B&N any more already), for the very reason you mention. I've had two books so far (well, five, really, one was an omnibus of four books) that I had to for them to be readable at all.
Like I said, this isn't a problem for those of us geeky enough to feel comfortable tinkering. However, we're the minority, not the majority - and you just admitted that compatibility and support are valid issues. Welcome to my world; I work here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by taustin
The bottom line is that an ebook library is a lot easier to maintain than a paper book library, in terms of time, money, trouble and necessary expertise. And making archival copies are orders of magnitude easier on every count than even the simple maintence.
For the average reader, the hard part about maintaining a dead-tree library is finding room on the shelf. They don't have to worry about whether the new book is only available at Store X, or whether it'll work with their glasses. You buy it, you read it, you put it on a shelf - or a pile, or in a bag to resell, or in a fireplace if you want to. There's no configuration to deal with, though, and no concerns about whether you'll still be able to access and read it in twenty years.

With ebooks, you have to worry about that sort of thing. You may consider it a negligible hassle, but it is a hassle.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:32 PM   #44
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I will quietly point out that my 89 yo very non-technical mother finds calibre to be beyond her. Of course, she also can't figure out how to connect her kindle to the usb port on her computer, so using calibre is moot at this point. Alas, I'm too far away to go over there and show her how to do it ... again.
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Old 04-15-2013, 08:46 PM   #45
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Apparently you have never dealt with someone who just wants to read their books, and has zero interest in learning Yet Another Program so they can do so.
Those people aren't going to buy an ebook reader in the first place. And aren't going to be interested in rereading anything in the future, either. Which is to say, people completley unconnected to the issue at hand.

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Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
Either clean your screen or learn to read. I said this is how the file came to me, and that I didn't do anything to it.
We were talking about converting formats, and you injected that in the middle, with no transition, no indication you were changing the subject. I'll clean my screen if you take a remedial course in english composition.

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Are you seriously claiming that that file wasn't run through Calibre, and that all the class="calibreXX" attributes are just coincidence? I seriously doubt that...
I have no idea. I've seen some bad automated formatting on files from B&N. They're trivial to fix, and I could write a script in about half an hour to detect such automatically - and 25 minutes of that would be googling for instructions.

That is in no way whatsoever a limitation of ebook formats, and certainly isn't going to have any effect on preserving ebook libraries (remember what the thread was about?). That was incompetence on the publisher's part, same as typos, misspelling, bad grammar, missing pages, or crappy paper on a paper book.

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Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
Like I said, this isn't a problem for those of us geeky enough to feel comfortable tinkering. However, we're the minority, not the majority - and you just admitted that compatibility and support are valid issues. Welcome to my world; I work here.
So do I, more or less. People who can't be troubled to learn the software will complain to where they bought it, and eventually the publishers will learn how to use their software, or they'll just stop buying books there.

None of this has anything to do with the preservation of ebook libraries. You know, the subject of the thread?

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Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
For the average reader, the hard part about maintaining a dead-tree library is finding room on the shelf. They don't have to worry about whether the new book is only available at Store X,
In fact, yes, actually, they do, since not all book stores carry all new books.

And where they have to go to buy new books isn't an issue for maintaining a paper book library. Try to stay on one subject at a time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
or whether it'll work with their glasses.
People who have vision problems are about 100000% more likely to prefer ebook readers because they can adjust the font size easily. Something they can't do on a paper book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post
You buy it, you read it, you put it on a shelf - or a pile, or in a bag to resell, or in a fireplace if you want to. There's no configuration to deal with, though, and no concerns about whether you'll still be able to access and read it in twenty years.
And about 99% of the time, the average person will buy an ebook, read it, and forget about it for the rest of the lives. The other 1% will figure out how to keep a copy of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev. Bob View Post

With ebooks, you have to worry about that sort of thing. You may consider it a negligible hassle, but it is a hassle.
Which "it" are you talking about here? Buying books, or maintaining a library? Because you keep switching back and forth like you don't know the difference.

The hassle of buying a book on an ebook reader generally consists of using the search function to find what you want, and buying it. A minute or two later, it's downloaded and ready to go. Most people buy all their books through the reader (and Kindle and Amazon have, what, 75% of the market outright?). That's a lot less trouble than putting your shoes (or pants) on, finding the car keys, fighting traffic, finding the right section of the books store, hoping they have it in stock, waiting at the cash register, fighting traffic home, finding a parking spot, and then, finally, heading off to bed because you're tired. Maybe you'll read tomorrow.

There are hassles in buying ebooks. They are considerably less, overall, than they hassles of buying paper books, which you can't do while sitting on the toilet.

The hassles of maintaining your ebook library are orders of magnitude less than maintaining a paper book library of the same size, as I have discussed, and you have not disputed.
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