Thursday, June 23, 2011

Words Mean Nothing and Everything

The "new" technology called eInk has gotten old pretty fast. For those of you who don't know what it is, Google can help. The simplest (and most likely the most inaccurate) way to explain it to someone who hasn't heard of it before would be to compare it to an old calculator. eInk technology basically displays black text on a screen, not ulike your old Game & Watch, but better.

One might say that that's not new at all, and neither is it interesting. But displaying black text isn't all there is to it. The beauty of the eInk technology lies in the fact that it displays text without the glare from the usual LCDs. Reading off a backlit screen is strenuous to the eyes if done for long periods of time, I can't sit through ebooks hundreds of pages long for more than an hour.
Liek magick! (photo from here)
This is where the E Ink technology comes in to play. Without the glare from an LCD, the digital text displayed on an E Ink screen looks almost like it's printed on paper that can change in an instant, almost like magic!

A year ago, somebody gifted me with Kindle from Amazon, one of the first few companies to successfully distribute the technology to the mass market. The first generation Kindle came out in 2007 and it cost an arm and a leg; the third generation, the one I gots, features improved screen contrast, WiFi, a browser, longer battery life, and a significant price drop.

Look at that beautiful screen

The first time I turned the device on, my eyes fell in love in an instant. I knew right there and then that it would be a lasting love affair. I've read extensively about the technology and the Kindle before actually holding it in my hands, seeing it for myself (it's not easily available in the country) and feeling the difference. And boy, it was magical.

When looking at digital screens, my eyes usually feel a slight strain within a few minutes and I'd have to look away every so often to relax them. On the Kindle, my eyes don't feel any strain at all. The screen is gorgeous. I can read on it for hours on end, just like a regular book but better. It's digital paper (or magic)!
Reading is good *nods* (photo from here)
The best thing about the Kindle is the ultra-fabulous screen, but that's not all it has. Another great thing about it is that I can store hundreds of books in one little device that I can carry around with me all the time. I can have my entire library in my pocket, ready for reading at any time. The battery life is also fantastic, it lasts me a good few weeks of heavy use before I need to recharge it again. Isn't that awesome?

Although many Filipinos are voracious readers, I can understand why the Kindle will never make it into Philippine mainstream. In the city, we are attracted to all things shiny. With the iPads and other glossy tablets around, with their shockingly bright LCDs and multifunction, eInk seems like old news, the Kindle doesn't stand a chance. But for those of you who think that words mean everything and nothing, you're gonna have a lot of fun with this one.

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