Some Tools Remain Unmodified for a Reason

Some Tools Remain Unmodified for a Reason

I was out with friends last night and one of them brought his Kindle with him. He showed it to an inquisitive second friend. This second friend expressed an interest in owning one of his own. I, of course, had to step in.

Some animals have remained virtually unmodified for a long, long time. Why? Because there was no reason to change. They were already doing something that worked and, evidenced by the fact they are still here, had no immediate need for something new. This approach tends to give us everything we need in the long run without over complicating things. For example, paper-based books work great. They are light, easy to use, universally understood without any learning curve, and have remained virtually unchanged in most of human memory.

So why do I fear books moving into the future? Take Amazon for example. They have removed books from users Kindles without notice before. Unless someone enters my apartment or steals from me on the subway once I have the information it is mine; I own it and no one can take it away from me. This Big Brother thing Amazon has going on is not only wrong but only gives the illusion of control. Also while on the topic, what happens in a few years when Amazon has moved on and they no longer support their 10+-year-old tablet? If the service is gone so are "my" books.

The new e-ink displays are very neat. They only require power to display an image, which they only need to do once, and that power usage is impressively low. Still, though, why did I need to stick a battery in my perfectly functioning book in the first place? Sure, an electronic device may be able to stay in stand by for a month or more but my paper-based books can sit on a shelf forever and still work as intended.

Kindle-Man also felt it very important to tell me that he can carry some insane amount of e-books at once. The obvious response to this is that I am only in the habit of reading one book at a time. Perhaps if I am planning a long plane flight I may pack two books. Is this really so much of a benefit that I would drop so much money and risk the above “features?”

I love technology. I make my living on technology and do it in my free time as well. I, however, see the need to keep technology out of certain areas for at least these reasons. Also let us not forget the Battlestar Galactica, people!

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