I’ve known Renita for a while now. Originally from America, Renita now lives in Wigtown, which the book town in Scotland, with the most stunning views across the estuary. When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” [...]
I thought I’d share this video of a local space mission that took off from my home town of Coleford in the Forest of Dean. You can see my house (and the rest of the town!) as the payload lifts gently into space.
Todays video is about the end of publishing as we know it, now that Amazon has taken over Marshall Cavendish and it has announced the Amazon Library System.
I was so overcome – I couldn’t write so I got Dragon Express To do the job for me. I love it, you have to talk in a slightly strange way but that doesn’t matter as my brain thinks in the same fashion!
It dawned on me, just now, that there is one huge difference between the Music Industry and the Publishing Industry that, so far, has meant that eBooks haven’t taken off in the same way that music did.
In the beginning, people began to rip their cd’s and put the digital files onto their computers, because it was convenient to have them catalogued and available on their hard drives. Originally, an mp3 player was piece of software that made it easy to find the music on your computer and make it play. Soon people were providing “skins” for the software to make it look more cool on the screen.
Once all this data had been digitised, it was easy to start file sharing it and music took off as a downloadable product.
The Music Industry hid under the covers and hoped it would go away, but it didn’t. Eventually they began to do something about it.
Books are very different. It’s a huge bore to digitise a book, so no one does it (except for total nerds!). So, the material isn’t there to be shared. If everyone had piles of book data on their hard drives, clever software people would come together to make the data readable in beautiful ways, that would encourage more and more to adopt eBooks in favour of paper books.
That is what is different and why eBooks are slow to get going. in the digital world, piracy is a necessary evil to get the show on the road!
Want to read an eBook now? Click the picture above to read My First Picture Joke Book at www.magicblox.com. Enjoy!
My argument has always been that one day the technology will be so seductive so clear and tactile that you wouldn’t want to read anything else.
The same old arguments replay: You can’t read an ebook in the bath. (Yes you can, if it’s waterproof.) They are hard to read. (Not if the screen is paper white and dazzlingly high quality.) You can’t curl up in bed with an ebook. (You can if it’s soft and cuddly.)
Recently, as ebooks and ebook readers have started to become a commercial reality, people have been asking my opinion as an author. Also I’ve recently become quite enamoured of cephalopods – squid and octopi – and I’ve come to think that in their study lies the real future of the ebook.
Octopus skin is a brilliant video screen. It can imitate the colour and pattern of its surroundings perfectly. The technology that lets octopi do this would make and incredible ebook reader screen – rock solid with no flicker or bright backlighting, which tires the eyes.
But the amazing thing about octopi is that they can change the shape and texture of their skin at will. That is the way to make ebooks irrisistable.
My big argument against ebooks is that they are homogenous. Real books are individual objects that you can have a relationship with. They have a smell, weight, texture and design all of their own. The physical ebook reader, the kindle or iPad is always the same and has a blanding, levelling effect on the software part of the book. The screen is always the same.
How amazing would it be if the reader (the octopad or cephal-ipod!) changed its shape and texture to suit the book? If it could emit smells and watch your reaction to the text, it could set the scene and atmosphere and bookmark the point at which you fell asleep.
Changing the texture and shape of the reader would make each new ebook new, fresh and original, not like all the other books on you ebookshelf, as they are today.
This will come, It will happen. I don’t know when, but it will. I’m sure that there are labs out there already working on it – bringing electronics and biology together.
And of course if your ebook reader is half octopus, it will be quite happy if you drop it in the bath – in fact it will probably find the soap for you!
I decided that I would try and blog everyday so that I could show what a waste of time it was. If I spent a whole year working away at it, and nothing came of it, then I could prove it was pointless.
This morning, having won yet another minor victory in the endless learning curve that is the Joomla Content Management System, I had that, “Is it really all worth the hassle?” feeling again. I’m thinking of putting all my old experiments in online ebooks back on my site, but I thought I’d make them available only to registered users. Eventually, I might think about charging for them. So I opened up my registration window to the world and immediately received a spam registration, which makes me think it’s insecure and that I should give up the idea as not worth the hassle.
But a little research finds the information I need. More to learn and implement. Maybe I should employ someone to do this? Actually I’m enjoying it. I’m building up an incredible knowledge and confidence in my abilities as a webmaster.
I was listening to the wonderful Bob Proctor this morning. He was going on about persistence as usual. Well, I’m nothing if not persistent, but why is this website thing such a struggle? Then he said something so simple – so obvious, it’s the kind of thing that goes in one ear and straight out the other, but today I heard it.
If I am trying to prove that all my effort is a waste of time, then that’s the outcome I deserve! Duh! Isn’t that really, really obvious?
So, from today, I’m changing my mindset. All the effort I’ll put into my website will be to prove my publishers right – that blogging and tweeting, YouTubing and shoo-tubeing is all really, really worth it. Watch this space!
Okay this is a little weird because I’m recording this blog post on my iPhone and I’m just talking straight into it and I’m not doing any typing at all.
I’m having to think and talk a little more slowly than usual because if I talk too fast, my words will slur and the machine will get confused.
Talking slowly means that my brain is not working at normal speed and so what I want to say is not coming out in a natural kind of way. However this is my first blog post that has not been typed at all. It’s all being done just by speaking into my iPhone and the Dragon dictation software sorts it out.
Now I’m typing. I had to correct about four words and put in the punctuation. You would do this when editing anyway. Very interesting. Maybe talking more slowly and clearly is a skill worth practicing?
Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, Has put this video up on YouTube. It shows how a magazine’s content can be augmented with an iPhone or any other smartphone.
You have to look at the video to understand it, but basically the camera on the phone retrieves data which it overlays on the screen image of the page. Ys, it’s really cool, but I’m not sure why they don’t just add the content in the first place. Video enhancement to an article makes sense I suppose, but in the long run, I’d probably prefer to read the whole magazine on an ipad and have the enhancements built-in.
Fun, but a short-lived fad, I think