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Old 12-12-2006, 12:41 PM   #1
TadW
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NY Sun reviews the Reader - doesn't like it

Here is another Sony Reader review which I think hasn't been posted before.

http://www.nysun.com/article/44660

Something tells me that the reviewer is not going to use the Reader again after he has written his review. His conclusion:

Quote:
After spending a week with the Reader, using it to browse through bestsellers like “Freakonomics” and classics like “Pride and Prejudice,” that easily readable screen does strike me as the device’s major attraction. You can look at a page for as long as you need to without strain, and the contrast of black text on white background is muted and appealing to the eye. I look forward to the day when computer monitors use the same technology: It would make wordprocessing and Web-browsing much more pleasant experiences.

Unfortunately, the screen is the only impressive thing about the Sony Reader.
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:36 PM   #2
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So... 50 % about the Reader and 50 % about why printing stuff on dead trees is better... It will be fun to revisit that article in 10 years. If, of course, there still is a New York Sun newspaper still being printed/delivered to your Reader then...

Has anyone tried their electronic edition... Is it any good...? They netiher state the format or offer a trial edition...
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:48 PM   #3
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A set of number buttons, for entering page numbers, and a miniature joystick, for navigating menus, are the only other input devices.
Wow, in a week he found a way to enter page numbers? Wish he'd share that with us, we've been after it for 10 weeks.

Quote:
But the Reader's display has one fatal shortcoming that makes even that kind of quick reading impossible. Every time you turn a virtual page, the screen must reconfigure its microcapsules, so that it momentarily displays a negative of the page to come, a whiteon-black image that hovers for a second and then winks out. The disruption is so headache-inducing and hard on the eyes as to cancel out the benefits of the "E Ink" display.
And isn't that an extraordinary statement? No one else seems to react so strongly to the flash once they use it more than a few pages. Most folks say it just fades out of notice. But I suppose that in the multitude of humanity, there must be a few that would have that experience.

Umm hmmm, then the usual stuff about the Connect store sucking (which it does ), no notice that you can get stuff elsewhere, though. Probably just doesn't know himself -- lots of folks don't.

Ah, there's a new one:
Quote:
Thomas Friedman's bestseller "The World Is Flat," for instance, costs $12, which is less than half the price of the hardcover, but still feels like a lot for a bunch of pixels. (emphasis added)
Yeah, since that "bunch of pixels" didn't cost anything to make, why should inconsequential people like the author get any compensation for their part? Everyone knows that electronic is synonymous with free, right? And I love the idea that because you pay for the hardware, you shouldn't have to pay for the content. I notice nobody tries that on the Cable company: "you know, I've paid a lot of money for my TV, you should lower your prices on your service, Mr. ComCast."

If you want to say that you think the Reader is expensive, say it -- most folks wouldn't even argue with you -- but the comparison to how many p-books you could buy is a bit of a red-herring. No one is going to buy an e-reader unless they're already interested in e-reading, so they already see something desirable in not buying the paper. Just like folks who don't want or need a computer aren't going to buy one, nor will they buy software to run on it.

Then he finishes up with a paragraph implying that we're all just interested in electronic reading because we're knee-jerk techno-junkies (possibly so, speaking for myself ) with an ingrained fear of being branded as luddites (I carry a pocket watch, I'm clearly not worried about the Luddite thing). Followed by four paragraphs explaining that we're all just missing the point that paper books are so wonderful that they'll never change, because they don't need to. He particularly includes the point that because they're not electronic, no one can secretly change them on us. Did I mention that one of his earlier criticisms is that the Reader doesn't do enough computery things like text searching?

So it'll fail 'cause it's not computery enough and because it's too computery?

I think this really sums up not his review, but his view:
Quote:
Seeing as the rise of the book coincided with the rise of humanism itself, it is not idle to worry that abolishing the first will mean abandoning the second. We can still feel the truth of Petrarch's paean to the book, written seven centuries ago: "Gold, silver, gems, fine raiment, a marble palace, well-cultivated fields, paintings, a splendidly caparisoned horse — such things as these give one nothing more than a mute and superficial pleasure. Books delight us through and through, they converse with us, they give us good advice; they become living and lively companions to us." Somehow, with the Sony Reader, it's just not the same.
It seems to me that this is not so much a review of the Sony Reader as it is an editorial about the whole concept of e-reading in general. He could make most of the same comments about a device that had unlimited, cheap content, allowed for completely free-form accessing and annotation, had a leather cover and paper-textured casing, and cost $1.50. Oh, and didn't flash on page changes.
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:19 PM   #4
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Seeing as the rise of the book coincided with the rise of humanism itself, it is not idle to worry that abolishing the first will mean abandoning the second. We can still feel the truth of Petrarch's paean to the book, written seven centuries ago: "Gold, silver, gems, fine raiment, a marble palace, well-cultivated fields, paintings, a splendidly caparisoned horse — such things as these give one nothing more than a mute and superficial pleasure. Books delight us through and through, they converse with us, they give us good advice; they become living and lively companions to us." Somehow, with the Sony Reader, it's just not the same.
Wow. What a load of elitist crap.

I was just listening to The Beatles on my ipod and noticed that I can no longer feel the truth of the music compared to vinyl records. Somehow without the pop and hiss, it's just not good music anymore.

Also, I was watching "I Love Lucy" on my HDTV. It just isn't funny when you can't see the television scan lines.

Remember kids, it isn't the content that gives you pleasure it's the delivery method you use to inject it into your brain.

I can't think of any worse punishment than sitting in a room with this guy listening to him spout lame college freshman philosophy.
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:22 PM   #5
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I think this comes more under the heading of sophistry. (The short definition of which is: "a polite term for 'Horse-Hockey'")
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Old 12-12-2006, 03:34 PM   #6
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The book is dead! Long live the Book!
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flumbo
I can't think of any worse punishment than sitting in a room with this guy listening to him spout lame college freshman philosophy.
My Eldest son calls it "Sweating like a fourth grader at a ballet recital."
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Old 12-12-2006, 08:45 PM   #8
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I'm sure when paper was first introduced many, many, moons ago, it wasn't exactly the cheapest thing around as it probably wasn't mass produced like it is now. I'd like to see him compare the cost of an 'original' paper book, adjusted for inflation, and see if he still complains about the Reader in the historical context of things.

Anyone else find it just a little bit ironic that the writer mentions "1984", which is included with the Reader, in the article?
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Old 12-12-2006, 11:23 PM   #9
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I have to say, I stopped reading at this part:

"But the Reader's display has one fatal shortcoming that makes even that kind of quick reading impossible. Every time you turn a virtual page, the screen must reconfigure its microcapsules, so that it momentarily displays a negative of the page to come, a whiteon-black image that hovers for a second and then winks out. The disruption is so headache-inducing and hard on the eyes as to cancel out the benefits of the "E Ink" display."

----------------

That's just plain madness. I'm as anal as the next person (and more so in many, many respects. However, I've gotten very used to the screen flash, and actually look forward to it as a "break" from reading the current page, and a moment's peace before the next appears.

But each to their own, I suppose.
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Old 12-12-2006, 11:43 PM   #10
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Yes, it is a bit wanky.

One must wonder what that fellow thinks of a dead tree book, where the page lifts up and flips in 3D before the next page can be read. It's a wonder books ever took off at all!

Regards,
Michael Tam
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Old 12-13-2006, 02:35 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flumbo
I was just listening to The Beatles on my ipod and noticed that I can no longer feel the truth of the music compared to vinyl records. Somehow without the pop and hiss, it's just not good music anymore.

Also, I was watching "I Love Lucy" on my HDTV. It just isn't funny when you can't see the television scan lines.
And, by extension, you suggest that that relation is true also for the Sony Reader? That the printed book, considered as an object for reading, compares unfavourably with the Sony Reader?
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Old 12-13-2006, 04:25 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Xtremegene
I'm sure when paper was first introduced many, many, moons ago, it wasn't exactly the cheapest thing around as it probably wasn't mass produced like it is now. I'd like to see him compare the cost of an 'original' paper book, adjusted for inflation, and see if he still complains about the Reader in the historical context of things.
Actually the whole point about paper is that it revolutionised book production precisely because it was cheap to make - you could make it in bulk, cheaply, out of plentiful plant material. Previously - at least in Europe - books were written on parchment or vellum, made from calf skins, each sheet of which had to be laboriously stretched out and scraped to the necessary thinness - a very, very time consuming and expensive process.

The "technology" of paper making was brought to Europe (probably from India, like so much else) in the 13th century by the Moors in Islamic Spain and spread from there into Italy. It's probably no coincidence that the cultural flowering of the renaissance kicked off not long afterwards.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:00 AM   #13
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Sounds like someone who would have objected to the advent of movable type.
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:03 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nekokami
Sounds like someone who would have objected to the advent of movable type.
TBH, words aren't actually very legible or hard wearing when they're on paper. Best carve them on pyramids like the Egyptians did... Who can see those dinky little letters...? Make them 30 ft high...!
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Old 12-13-2006, 10:15 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jæd
TBH, words aren't actually very legible or hard wearing when they're on paper. Best carve them on pyramids like the Egyptians did... Who can see those dinky little letters...? Make them 30 ft high...!
Do you not find that a Pyramid is inconveniently large to carry around with you when you fancy a read? I think I would!
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