I have a big problem. I
love am forced to read volumes of technical books on a frequent basis. There is still a large amount of knowledge and experience that is not readily accessible from the Internet, and books are still the primary conduit for me to absorb the lessons and pains others have gone through.
And guess what? It really feels like weight-lifting blocks of wood carrying books hundreds of pages thick. Some beyond a thousand. Toss in a 3Kg laptop into my backpack and it becomes easy to guess why I have not grown much beyond five feet.
Why not subscribe to online book services and read off the web? Yes I do, in fact. My company strategically subscribes us to Books 24x7, providing us to huge library of titles from a variety of publishers. Sadly, some notable publishers are completely absent (either because of licensing disagreement or possessing their own online readership services). However, the main deal is this:
I read books while commuting.
It is not impossible, but pretty hard work to pre-surf the pages I expect to read while on the go without Internet access. Even if I do that, it is just ergonomically retarded to walk around plattering the laptop in front of me. As much as I dismiss the concept of fashion police, there are just certain activities that are simply too hardcore for me; I have not reached that Level yet. And I cannot afford to purchase a weak Tablet simply for the sake of reading; my mobile computer must have development workstation power, and carrying two machines is for bodybuilders.
A Kindle perhaps? Too small for an electronic screen. Besides, there is something (wrong?) with my brain that makes it easier for me to read deep and profound materials when it is presented on a medium that I hold in my hands, versus content emitted from a screen. Heck, neither can I annotate the stuff I read with highlighters or pencil notes on the sides. Fine for reading novels on a trip, maybe. Not so fine for focus studying of complex topics.
It is frustrating. I wish to carry many titles along with me. And I lack the herculean strength to lug my bookshelf on my back. Not that I have the time to read all of them even if I obtained Superman's powers (can Superman read at the speed of light?), but it would be so wonderful to be able to whip out that particular book for quick reference wherever I may be. Spatial and gravitational constraints really limit the amount of external knowledge I carry with me at any one time.
My dream was to hold a single sheet of paper that is really just an ultra-thin display screen, able to dynamically flip the pages through the hundreds of books I need to read. I can annotate any portion of any page however I liked, even embedding in hyperlinks. I prayed hard that this kind of technology would become mainstream within my life time.
Looks like God is seeing to it that my prayers get answered.
CES 2009. Microsoft delivers the keynote at the beginning of this year's event, and the last segment nearly brought me to tears.
Now this is what I am talking about. This is the book I wish to carry to all the ends of the Earth. Books, I mean. The coming future will be a joyous time for me.