Tag Archives: Books

Happy New Year

MMX has begun, and the Guardian presents us with numerous literary goodies to which we can look forward.  Some of them are from U.S. authors that have already seen the light of day on this side of the Atlantic, but most not.

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Kick the Kindle Out; Brace for Blio

screenshot of Blio

Screenshot of Blio software

Wired offers a story about the coming of Blio, some software by Mr. Kurzweil that will demonstrate that software has the capacity to make some hardware unnecessary.  Why would you have a separate, dedicated device for e-books when you could have a book-like experience on a device you already have (smart phone, PC, etc.)?  It is interesting that Blio attempts, as far as I can tell, to preserve the book experience while supplementing it, and thus is not innovative on one level.  It does not appear as if Blio wants to transform our notions of what it means to read, say, in the way that the iPhone changed the way people thought about and used telephones.  We also have the model, in both Western and Eastern cultures, of reading scrolls, and scrolling is still part of the digital world.  What will happen when reading jumps a level to an unexpected realm? Is reading waiting to undergo a dimensional shift that technology could provide?

Geoffrey Nunberg Misunderstands Monopoly

"Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil" (Flickr Creative Commons)

"Speak no evil, see no evil, hear no evil" (Flickr Creative Commons)

The Chronicle of Higher Education has published another unhelpful piece about Google.  Geoffrey Nunberg’s “Google’s Book Search: A Disaster for Scholars” is not about a billion dollar corporation seeking monopolistic control over books while claiming exoterically that it will not “do evil.”  You can find this as the first item of “Investor Relations,” and the page title ought to be a clue to Mr. Nunberg and others about what is, and will be, happening.  The problem is that Mr. Nunberg does not give a damn.  He is not concerned with the economic issues.  Any monopoly controlling books will do for him: “Of course, 50 or 100 years from now control of the collection may pass from Google to somebody else—Elsevier, Unesco, Wal-Mart,” he writes.  Mr. Nunberg wants us to worry instead about accurate metadata.  How is this different from serving as a consultant for monitoring the proper temperature of the pitchforks in hell, while missing the point that you are a consultant in hell?

Remember the Google that cooperates in censorship?  Remember the Google that participates in U.S. government surveillance?  Apparently, those matters are not “disasters” for scholars in the way that inaccurate metadata are.