Books? I'm not sure they'll catch on.
Dan OCanna (ocanna@ALPHA.CAER.UKY.EDU)
Sat, 17 May 1997 15:52:20 -0400
I replied to Mark Arend re: his posting on books. I outlined my troubles
with the medium and he suggested the rest of the group may be interested.
I've waited 'till Saturday so's not to crowd the 50 message limit that we
generally hit on the weekdays.
Thanks for your post on the BOOK:
>>Announcing the new Built-in Orderly Organized Knowledge device (BOOK)
>>It's a revolutionary breakthrough in technology: no wires, no electric
>>circuits, no batteries, nothing to be connected or switched on. It's
>>so easy to use even a child can operate it. Just lift its cover.
>>Compact and portable, it can be used anywhere --even sitting in an
>>armchair by the fire-- yet it is powerful enough to hold as much
>>information as a CD-ROM disk.
However, after attempting to use one of the devices I've detected several
bugs that seem to severely hamper its usefulness in practical application.
Construction: Upon opening the cover as instructed the promised
informational content was not apparent. Upon closed inspection
the first few "pages" appeared defective as they were totally
blank. These were forcibly removed from the "binding". Now when
opened the book is ready to view.
Orientation: After exposing the first encoded page the second problem with
this data format was that everything on the "page" was totally in-
comprehensible. As the book has no set orientation I was able to
rotate it 90 degrees, twice, to bring the characters on the page
into an orientation where they were all recognizable.
Format: Though the characters were now readable the text was gibberish.
After some searching I was able to find a friendly, but rather
dull, drudge at a nearby University who was kind enough to help
me. He worked in a large building filled with books where
people seemed to freely borrow books at no charge to themselves.
I reasoned that anybody who spent 8 hours daily around that many
books must know something. He informed me that the book I
possessed was written in a "language" called GERMAN. He further
explained that books are available in many different formats
(languages) and that there was no ongoing project he knew of to
fix that problem. There was no file conversion software included
with the book I had, nor, I was informed is there any such
software available. In short the book I possessed was of no use
to me without extensive training. First Fortran, then Basic and
Cobol, now German--NO WAY. He did exchange my book for one written
in the language he suggested (English). There was a modest
exchange fee and he made pointed comments about the condition of
my old book, but I was really too excited to pay much attention.
After again overcoming the construction and orientation problems described
above I was able to start reading my book. It seemed to be a fascinating tale
that started with the revelation that the Butler was a murderer.
Despite my best efforts I could not follow the story line from page to
page. I consulted my helpful friend again and he pointed out the cover
with embossed lettering was the "front". Who would know? These things
should really come with a users' manual.
Once again I opened the book, edited out the blank pages and oriented the
text (I wonder if that "binder" thing is always supposed to go on the left?)
After wading through a few useless pages that seemed to add little to the
story I was now able follow the plot, and the Butler seemed to be the only
logical suspect. The inability of the story's characters to grasp this
made the book much less enjoyable.
Though this was not an in depth test of books I feel that the medium has
several major flaws as detailed above. These will keep it from becoming
a major information resource in the future. In my humble opinion the Book
will never replace the CD ROM.
Dan O'Canna Lexington, Kentucky
Now...could some one let me know those 500 uses for a bananna?
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City