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Old 12-31-2009, 06:39 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by PhishStyx View Post
I don't really see how you get from "other people have other needs" to screeching about e-ink being rubbish. Maybe that's just me, but I don't think it is.

Many of those screeching loudest against the e-ink ebook readers haven't actually USED said devices for a month or so to read ebooks. Further, if the units now apparently on sale in China/Japan *are* real iSlate devices, the price of said devices are/will be around $1,000. Far too expensive for an ebook reader. And with a 10.1" display, rather UNportable compared to your average 5"/6" e-ink reader.

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Old 12-31-2009, 07:28 PM   #77
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Not all of us. I love my Kindle. E-ink devices are ideal for novel reading.

They're just not much good for other types of reading--work, school, academic articles etc. where you need to be able to annotate and highlight easily, flip pages quickly etc.

It's not an either/or proposition. I want both types of devices personally, and there's plenty of room all kinds of devices in the market.

I'll never understand why these discussions tend to get so contentious.

E-ink is great for dedicated novel readers, and such devices will stick around indefinitely. But at the same time, tablet devices fit their own niche and need to come out for those of us who need them for academic reading and other purposes.
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Old 12-31-2009, 07:46 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by ekaser View Post
eInk devices (currently, and probably indefinitely, due to the limitations required to make the battery last so dang long) can not:
1) Quickly flip through the pages of a book to locate something visually.
2) Quickly scan through your library to locate a book visually.
3) Allow the USER to select their preferred reading software.
4) Allow the USER to add applications to their device.
1) and 2) True, but you can do a keyword search and go straight to a location. It does bother me every once in awhile, even so I've never found it to be a deal-breaker (or worth slicing the battery time by 90%).
3) True, but really, who cares?
4) True, but if that's what you need, get a multifunction device.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ekaser
The current eInk devices are (and will likely remain, due to their power-hoarding requirements) purely "vendor-only software" devices....
So will most tablets. Anything made by Microsoft, Apple, Palm, Sony etc will use a proprietary OS and/or proprietary software to read the purchased book. Somehow, though, we manage to survive without using unlocked OS's.


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Originally Posted by ekaser
we're stuck waiting months and years for the manufacturers to release firmware updates with minor tweaks to the standard ADE....
Sure, just as anyone who has ever used any piece of software has had to wait for things like security updates or hardware fixes.

Open systems can be good, but they aren't a magic bullet -- especially if you happen to need a focused device. In most cases you'd still have to wind up relying on a vendor to release a patch you can trust or that has been thoroughly tested.


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Originally Posted by ekaser
the simple fact is that these devices are a computer, running Linux (for the most part today, but any OS will do...), and adding additional programs to them is NOT anything like adding a scanner to a printer.
The point isn't that it's technically impossible. It's that if you want to make the best steak knife you can make, you won't include a corkscrew, a bottle opener, and a pair of scissors in the handle.


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Originally Posted by ekaser
Over 5-10 years, that will change. Because the trade-off in battery life and screen capabilities and CPU capabilities will shift enough to allow these kinds of features while still supporting "easy on the eyes" novel reading.
Sure... if eInk rests on its laurels and/or no one else gets into the epaper act. E.g. 5 years from now, we're likely to have fast, flexible, color epaper displays that use even less power and have super-thin form factors.


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Originally Posted by ekaser
For the folks who are intent on arguing for the sanctity of a "novel reading only" device vrs some "multi-function device", not also arguing for having a computer on their desk that ONLY does spreadsheets (but does them VERY well) and another computer that ONLY does word-processing (but does that VERY well) and so on? Because it's silly.
Good thing that isn't the argument, then. There is nothing "sacred" about eInk; either it's useful or it isn't.

The point, rather simply, is that as long as an epaper-type device happens to provide a superior reading experience, and as long as reading is an experience that involves a significant amount of time, epaper-driven devices will stick around and be useful. Separately, there is an assumption that all devices "must" be superseded and/or replaced by multifunction devices, which historically isn't the case.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:41 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by ekaser View Post
eInk devices (currently, and probably indefinitely, due to the limitations required to make the battery last so dang long) can not:
1) Quickly flip through the pages of a book to locate something visually.
2) Quickly scan through your library to locate a book visually.
3) Allow the USER to select their preferred reading software.
4) Allow the USER to add applications to their device.
1 and 2 are true, but may not remain so. Newer display controllers have boosted the speed of eInk display refreshes, and innovations like the nook's color lower band to display covers point to more attention being paid to doing things like that.

3 is determined by an outside factor: what format is the ebook in? You use the software that can read that book, and confront whether that software can run on that device.

The Kindle, for example, uses the Mobipocket format. The Sony Reader uses BBLF but it shifting to ePub. The nook supports the legacy eReader format but uses ePub as a default. Other formats exist as well.

Some readers support a wider range than others, but some things are unlikely to happen because of vendor restrictions. Mobipocket, for example, insists on being the only DRM capable format on the device, so you are unlikely to see a dedicated reader device handling Mobipocket and secure ePub. If you license Adobe, Mobipocket won't sell you a license.

And 4 may change over time. At the press conference introducing the nook, the B&N developers indicated that they knew Android was becoming a popular platform, and there would be interest in the Android developer community in creating applications for the nook. They didn't commit to any time frame for offering an SDK to allow third-party development, but they didn't state they wouldn't support third-party development, either. The attitude was largely "One thing at a time. We want to get the device out there, develop the infrastructure to support it, fix lingering bugs and add features. When the dust settles, we'll see about opening it up to outside developers."

Quote:
The current eInk devices are (and will likely remain, due to their power-hoarding requirements) purely "vendor-only software" devices.
The power-hoarding is a side-effect of the eInk display, as display refresh is the largest power consumer for handheld device. Applications running on the device are unlikely to be a factor.

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Yes, there are small exceptions (running custom programs in FB reader, Open Inkpot, etc), but those are not (and never will be) terribly widely used (FB reader programs)
If I recall correctly, FBReader is already being bundled as the native software in at least one dedicated device, and it runs on a lot of platforms. I'd still call it a work in progress, but what's there is quite usable. It may become widely used sooner than you think.

Quote:
or as QUICKLY (massively) flexible as a machine running a common, OPEN operating system onto which you can load pretty much anything (program-wise), without worrying about the power-hoarding requirements.
If you aren't concerned about power hoarding, and do want to load and run pretty much anything, you don't buy a dedicated reader. You buy a genuine multi-function device.

Criticizing a dedicated reader for not being a multi-function device is nonsensical. It isn't trying to be. It's intended to be a specialized tool to perform a specific job. It should be criticized on how well it does the job it was designed for, and not for all of the things it doesn't do. Shall we start criticizing MP3 players for only playing songs?

And "open" is a loaded word. "Open" as applied to operating systems usually means you can get the code for and modify the OS itself.

But the vast majority of users will never want to do that, let alone be able to if it's possible. They just want to run programs that perform tasks they want to do. Just about all OSes have public APIs and SDKs available to let third party developers create software for the platform. For example, there's a lot more software available for Windows than there is for Linux, even though both OSes run on X86 platforms.

I multiboot here, with Win2K, WinXP, Ubuntu, Xubuntu, and Puppy Linux in the mix. I can do the basics on any platform, but Windows isn't going away. Too much still requires Windows. The Gimp is wonderful, for example, but it isn't Photoshop.

And while open systems are wonderful, the open development model isn't a panacea. Consider why developers develop for open systems like Linux? Very few folks are in a position to get paid for doing so. Most do it to either scratch a personal itch ("What? It doesn't do that? I'm a programmer. I'll make it do that!") or for coolness factor ("I'm a Linux kernel hacker!")

So whether you get something is ultimately determined by whether a developer shared your itch, or thought it would be a cool thing to do. If neither of those is true, you may have a long wait for what you want.

I'm not in the market for a dedicated reader. I prefer multi-function devices to. But I understand the appeal of a dedicted reader, and the attractions of an eInk display.
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:47 PM   #80
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I have owned and used a number of e-ink devices and they are ideal for what they are designed for, reading black and white text. However I have also recently taken delivery of the Archos 9 tablet and installed windows 7 ultra (why on earth it shipped with 7 starter ) and it serves very well as a reader for the photography books that I read which really need colour display to get the most out of. It will replace a lap top for many tasks but will not replace my Kindle. Having said that I have read a couple of novels on it using the mobipocket reader and it has been more than acceptable. With the back light turned down very low I have not experienced any eye strain at all.
I am still experimenting with the handwriting conversion capabilities of the device but it is looking like it will be very useful for when uni resumes in March.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:03 PM   #81
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Credit lower hardware costs for that.

At the bank I once worked for, in the 70's, we went from Selectrics to Qyx intelligent typewriters, to word processing on a DEC mini-computer to dedicated word processors like the IBM DisplayWriter.

Partway through my tenure, the IBM PC came in, displacing venerable Apple ][s which ran VisiCalc. The PCs ran Lotus 1,2,3, and I watched bank officers write memos as Lotus text cells because Lotus was what they knew how to use. But the PC was a multi-function device, so things like WordStar crept in and took over.

It happened because the PC hardware became cheap enough and powerful enough that a PC with Lotus 1,2,3 and WordStar was a significantly better investment than a dedicated word processor.
hahaha...I remember doing exactly the same thing as far as word processing only in EDLIN...hahahaha...my first MS-DOS based computer was one of the Compaq "luggables" that seemed to have been designed to model a portable Singer Sewing machine!! 23lbs of pure portable joy...so long as I had a receptacle nearby. And I LOVED it...my fist spreadsheet was actually Visicalc as well which I used as a word processor as well. I forget what app I had as my very first true word processor though (I am pretty sure it was PC Write which I used for years until Windows 3 and AmiPro came about.) All I remember for sure was I while working toward my 2nd & 3rd degrees I could not help but wonder where word processing had been all my life. I could come home from school, transcribe my notes in outline form then print out hard copies as well, making margin notes which I would later add into the digital version. I was in academic heaven!! And the typing out of the notes pretty much committed them to memory, some even to this day. And of course the original Borland as every homebrew and CS student's idea of perfection. Reflex was pure magic...I mean a real relational db on a simple PC was just, well, WOW!!

Really thanks for th trip back down memory lane. My actual first computer where I learned that I lived to write code as an HP calculator in the mid-ish 70s. Funny how such a small device spurred on a career in CS even over mathematics though I have always considered the tools needed to understand each as the same.

And the DisplayWriter, wow, I had forgotten them, what a tool they were back then!! And who can forget the speed and "quality" of those daisy wheel printers and typewriters compared to the early dot matrix. My first printer was a blazing fast Star Micronics SG-10X and it cost something like $799 at the time and I bought it along with the Compaq from...Computerland because my credit union would give me a signature loan even as a student since I was working full time. first thing I ever bought on credit as well. And I was in my mid-20s by then.

I also remember running the computer lab at my college where we had over a dozen Apple II's and being completely befuddled by them coming over from an MSDOS background as well as some Unix experience. But since few students bothered to even use the lab I turned it into tutoring sessions for my private math students as I had a whole wall of whiteboard to use!! hehehehe....

I know that is OT but it's been a really sheety year for me personally and you brought back some wonderful memories of when life was new and exciting still.

Quote:
Readers are a niche market item.

At $50-$99, they are an impulse purchase. But we aren't going to see them at that price anytime soon. A teardown of the Kindle discussed elsewhere on MR had the eInk display unit accounting for $60 of the cost. A $99 reader is possible, but not with an eInk display.

My PDA is my reader, with software letting me read Plucker, Mobipocket, eReader, PDF, Word and text files. It fueled my desire for a standard format everyone would support, as having to maintain half dozen viewers and recall which book is in which format displayed by which viewer is a pain.

But aside from displaying ebooks, it has all of the standard PDA functions, plus does word processing, views/edits Word docs and Excel spreadsheets, plays MP3s and videos, displays photos, has half a dozen programming languages, can connect to the net...and oh, yes, it plays games.

I'd like a device that does what my PDA does, but with a larger screen. I couldn't carry it in a pocket, but I don't do that now.
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First point I would make is those tear down costs provided by iSuppli are, as I recall, over a year old now and production costs as well as growing competition have likely driven down panel prices, maybe by as much as 50%, other components are dropping daily as well. In fact I suspect the only reason prices are not dropping faster is due to energy costs. Kinda funny the energy costs are more influential than any other aspect of production anymore.

Devie wise, my wants and "needs" are pretty much the same as yours. Only I no longer carry a cell phone since there is never a time anyone needs to get in touch with me no matter where I am nor I them...if that need arises I do have an old trow away phone I can buy minutes for or I can stop by the closest Stop-n-Rob and buy one for $25 with enough time to make do. I mean screw it, if I need emergency help but can't get myself out of the situation then I die, because of advanced RA (juvenile onset Dx'd at 9yrs old) I carry enough pain killers with me to down a small elephant most days...such is life, self reliance is a seriously missing element in today's population.

I do not mind a PDA along with a 5" reader to carry around because eink is much nicer outside. But I am happy to sway the 5" device for a larger slate PC when I want access to reference books which require color as well as full power computer functionality. But, I can say without qualification I won't consider paying over $400 for such a device. I feel I am not alone in this because nothing in these more PC-like devices is new and components are pennies, hell a CPU can be had in quantity for $10 or less even...same for a decent GPU and chipset. The panels, if using the Pixel Qi panels use existing designs which were combined in a new way, according to Jepsen anyway. She even indicates they cost is less than current LCD panels even with the new design.

That said, in the interview with Charbax Jepsen also indicated the first gen devices using the panel would not be using them to their fullest capability so I sense I might wait a generation or at least until the later part of 2010. In the mean time the EPD panels, especially Mirasol, should have gained a lot of ground. I sense the controllers are where we will see the most improvement and sooner than in the panels themselves. Look how fast the new PRS900 is based on that demo video the thing is blazing fast at screen updates...so it looks that there is capacity to spare even in the current generation panels and it's the controllers and firmware holding them back speed wise. Kinda nice to see really...if nothing else this will be a verrrrry interesting year device wise.

And Apple is dreaming if they do come out with a slate PC at an $800 price point...if so unless it comes with free lifetime MBB, it will be of interest pretty much only to the "credit card riche" set, that ApPlE has gotten to drink their Kool Aid, who will buy into them. That said I think the UI on the iPhone/ipOd toUcH is a super design but I am not sure how such a UI would play out on a larger format device...I just never have liked the Apple way of doing business and that goes back almost three decades where I got the bad taste from them which has never gone away.

BTW, I think it entirely possible that a company like Amazon, Apple or even Google will buy Sprint in the coming couple years...one of these content providers needs to have a distribution system they can bundle with their devices or subscription content without worry about use caps where none are actually necessary. Whoever solves that problem will win the device dominance game.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:09 PM   #82
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I have owned and used a number of e-ink devices and they are ideal for what they are designed for, reading black and white text. However I have also recently taken delivery of the Archos 9 tablet and installed windows 7 ultra (why on earth it shipped with 7 starter ) and it serves very well as a reader for the photography books that I read which really need colour display to get the most out of. It will replace a lap top for many tasks but will not replace my Kindle. Having said that I have read a couple of novels on it using the mobipocket reader and it has been more than acceptable. With the back light turned down very low I have not experienced any eye strain at all.
I am still experimenting with the handwriting conversion capabilities of the device but it is looking like it will be very useful for when uni resumes in March.
THAT is some of the best info I have read in a while...several of us really liked the Archos 9 tablet...and with Win7 ultra is has to be really sweet. I too want a device like this for photography books but also for reference books on antiques (the family business I now run). Having a full library of books on a device when out on buying trips can really help when deciding if a given piece is worth the price or even to verify authenticity. Been in that business for 40yrs and still ya can't have instant recally about every sort of reproduction, despite how they make it look on TV.

Thanks for posting your take on the Archos 9!! If ya ever have time a review from your photographer's perspective would be wonderful. especially since there is Kindle PC now and there are a constantly growing number of photography books for the Kindle.
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:17 PM   #83
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First, let me clarify that I am NOT arguing for the "death of eInk" displays. I enjoy reading from my device, it works well FOR WHAT IT DOES. What I was trying to argue was that there are perfectly valid reasons FOR SOME PEOPLE to want something different, also.

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1) and 2) True, but you can do a keyword search and go straight to a location. It does bother me every once in awhile, even so I've never found it to be a deal-breaker (or worth slicing the battery time by 90%).
3) True, but really, who cares?
4) True, but if that's what you need, get a multifunction device.
Sure you can do a keyword search, IF you know the keywords you're looking for, and maybe it's IMAGES that you're looking for. Quick visual scan offers functionality that text searching doesn't (and vice versa). Vive la difference.

And yes, "get a multifunction device" is exactly right. Some folks in the thread seem to be arguing from the stance that "eInk is the best thing since sliced bread, and why on earth would you want anything else?" I was trying to point out that FOR SOME PEOPLE there are perfectly valid reasons for wanting something besides eInk.

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The point isn't that it's technically impossible. It's that if you want to make the best steak knife you can make, you won't include a corkscrew, a bottle opener, and a pair of scissors in the handle.
And my point is that yes, if you're eating steak, you want a really good steak knife, but for a lot of other things, you want to be carrying around a really good pocket knife.

Quote:
The point, rather simply, is that as long as an epaper-type device happens to provide a superior reading experience, and as long as reading is an experience that involves a significant amount of time, epaper-driven devices will stick around and be useful. Separately, there is an assumption that all devices "must" be superseded and/or replaced by multifunction devices, which historically isn't the case.
I'm not arguing that at all. I AM arguing that a significant share of the e-reader market is GOING to be eaten up by multifunction devices (which may or may not be eInk devices, but they WILL be color, they WILL be fast, and their battery life WILL be shorter than a pure "eInk (or some successor) novel readers." Many people will be willing to make that trade-off. Many won't. Whether there will be enough that want something similar to the current eInk devices, long term, to support continued development of that type of market, only time will tell. But I'm convinced that the multifunction devices WILL survive, and will flourish.
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Old 01-01-2010, 04:53 AM   #84
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I'm happy to call for the "death of e-ink", not as a company or as an idea, but as a currently available product. EPDs may or may not have much of a future compared to better technologies that have already been demonstrated and are trying to get a grip in the market. EPD producers have to find some creative ways around their current barriers to accomplish what its competitors are capable of. What they (PVI/e-ink) have is presence, and that may serve as momentum for a while.

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I don't really see how you get from "other people have other needs" to screeching about e-ink being rubbish. Maybe that's just me, but I don't think it is.
I don't see, nor do I produce, much "screeching" at all. Perhaps those who perceive what I and others say as such may have some insecurity issues to work out.
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:10 AM   #85
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
They are a "fringe novelty" for the mass of the reading population.

You need to not only read for pleasure. You need to read a lot, be an "early adopter", and have the spare disposable income not already spent on an iPod, iPhone, big screen TV or the like.

What percentage of the total reading for pleasure population do you suppose this describes? If you think it's a majority, I'd love to know why.
______
Dennis
I've been reading eBooks for something like 25 years (since the days of the Psion 3, in the early 1980s), so I'm afraid that for me, the idea that it's something "new" seems a little strange.
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:14 AM   #86
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My primary eBook reader is a Palm OS PDA. What can it do?

All the standard Palm PIM functions.

Word processing, via software and a folding keypoard.

Viewing and editing Word Documents and Excel spreadsheets.

Viewing photos.

Viewing videos.

Playing MP3s.

Surfing the web,

Getting and responding to email.

Communicating with host systems via telnet or ssh, and exchanging files via SMB or FTP.

Programming in BASIC, C, Rexx, Python, Tcl, Lisp and several other languages.

Reading ebooks in eReader, MobiPocket, Plucker, PDF, Word, RTF, and text formats, as well as Palm DOC files and zTXT files. Bookmarks, searching, and annotations are supported, depending upon the document format. Formatting and font size are also adjustable

Databases on a wide number of topics for a pocket reference library.

Scientific calculations.

And oh, yes, it plays games, including emulators for a number of classic gaming consoles.

What can I do with a dedicated reader?

What you mentioned.
With respect, Dennis, that was not the question that I was responding to. The previous poster made the claim that eInk readers could not be considered reading devices due to their restricted functionality. I was saying that, if you consider a paper book to be the "definitive" reading device, an eInk book reader actually compares pretty well.

Having used PDAs for reading for 20 odd years before eInk devices appeared, I'm personally very well aware of their capabilities, but that wasn't what I was replying to.
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:46 AM   #87
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With respect, Dennis, that was not the question that I was responding to. The previous poster made the claim that eInk readers could not be considered reading devices due to their restricted functionality. I was saying that, if you consider a paper book to be the "definitive" reading device, an eInk book reader actually compares pretty well.

Having used PDAs for reading for 20 odd years before eInk devices appeared, I'm personally very well aware of their capabilities, but that wasn't what I was replying to.
And you're strongly misinterpreting my statement, which is why I ignored your question at first.
You yourself have admitted that there are many limitations to e-ink. My comment was simply a response to the idea that we shouldn't comment about e-ink's shortcomings based on an analogy that we shouldn't expect a Sony Reader to make phone calls. Ebook readers never been purported to be any kind of communications device, so why would anyone expect it to make phone calls? Yet it is openly described as a reading device, and it is not hard whatsoever to include color-illustrated books, magazines, technical documents, academic work, and all sorts of things that e-ink readers are still bad at within the scope of reading.

It's a continuation of my earlier assertion that too many people presume "reading" to be nothing more than text-viewing.
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:50 AM   #88
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I don't see, nor do I produce, much "screeching" at all. Perhaps those who perceive what I and others say as such may have some insecurity issues to work out.
Yeah. You do.There aren't a lot of people around who go out of their way to call for the death of an entire technology. Of those few, your slams against the very idea that the rest of us might just enjoy a given product verge on being inflammatory. In my opinion, your statements put you just a few steps behind Alan Kaufman or Sherman Alexie on the road to that cliff-face known as the personal attack.

The fact that you have essentially launched an ad hom/personal attack against me in the above quote merely demonstrates what I'm talking about. I'm talking about what I see written here on this board through day after day of reading your posts. What you posted was a personal slam against me, an insult about me as a person.
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Old 01-01-2010, 05:54 AM   #89
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Yet it is openly described as a reading device, and it is not hard whatsoever to include color-illustrated books, magazines, technical documents, academic work, and all sorts of things that e-ink readers are still bad at within the scope of reading.
Very true, but one could say the same about the print medium, too. A "pulp" paperback format would not be an ideal format on which to print art illustrations; a glossy hardback format would be a poor choice for a daily newspaper. Yet both of these are valid formats for other types of content, and one cannot say that they are "poor" reading devices as a consequence.

There probably never will be any one device which is ideal for reading all types of reading matter, whether than device be a print medium or an electronic one.
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Old 01-01-2010, 06:00 AM   #90
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Yeah. You do.There aren't a lot of people around who go out of their way to call for the death of an entire technology.
Sorry, this is a sad misrepresentation of my posts. Perhaps it's that fundamental misunderstanding that leads to such hostile characterization.
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