Why I don’t like Kindle

Thursday, 28 January 2010 23:20 by salim

Kindle, Sony Reader and other less known e-readers were making a lot of noise lately, which is growing to a fever pitch by the advent if iPad. (I do think iPad will make a horrible e-reader just like a notebook/netbook because of the glossy screen unlike the electronic ink technology of other readers).

I have abandoned paper versions of books and magazines for quite some time, but i have not moved on to an electronic reader. I have been thinking about it, but almost always, i am sitting in front of a computer, and the time that i spend away from computer are when i want to engage my mind in non-intellectual activities. So, while it was a very attractive device, I did not buy it, yet.

So, when Amazon decided to make a software version of Kindle, I was very happy. One of the drawback of being a full time electronic reader is the limitation of established content. It is very hard to get electronic versions of print books unless you are subscribing to one of these e-book thingies. So, I eagerly downloaded it and started using it.

The first book I downloaded and read was Darwin’s Origin of Species. It was free. It did not take me long to notice several major differences between reading Kindle and reading other on-line content. The second book, which I am still reading is Richard Dawkin’s God Delusion.

One of the reasons why I don’t like print media is its lack of interactivity. You cannot click on a link and hyperjump to a related article. You cannot just switch to another tab and Wikipedia or Google or Bing for more information about something you want to know more about. I have been catching myself looking for where to click when reading the magazines in the hospital waiting room.

The kindle electronic version does produce very nice looking pages. It is crisp. The size is changeable and it was quite easy to get it to an easily readable size for my monitor. However, once I started reading, I started seeing the same annoying limitations that I find with print media. The text is completely non-interactive. The only hyperlink is to the footnotes, and even full web addresses cannot be clicked on. So, I tried the next thing, try to copy the link address and paste it, but of course, you cannot copy text from it. There is your DRM at work. Soon I found that I cannot search the book either. All I can do is put book marks and jump to pages. It is like a nicely scanned print book!

Today morning, while we were waiting for her radiation at the hospital, Shobha suggested that I buy a Kindle or other reader so that I can read while waiting. But, I don’t think I will do that. I will just people watch the few minutes that I am sitting there. For me, the reading experience has moved away from the passive eye scanning. When I read, I want to control the content. I want to control the narration. I can do it in digital media, whether it is coming as a webpage or PDF or XPS. I can’t to it on the page of Better Homes (for some reasons, every hospital waiting room has Better Homes). I can’t do it on Kindle. I might be able to do it in iPad, but that is not a device for me. If i want to do all those things, I will get something with a higher resolution screen, a multi-core processor and a usable touch keyboard.

Categories:   IT | Literature | Popular Culture | Shobha
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I am not the worst (or best) procrastinator

Thursday, 6 August 2009 19:06 by salim

I always thought that I have the monopoly on procrastination in our household. However, today I realized that it is not me, but Shobha!. It took her whole of two years to write the first article in her blog. That too after getting a new name, a new server, and a new blog engine!

I am very glad she started it. May be we will compete as to who writes the most blogs!!!

You can see her blogs here..

Categories:   Shobha
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My first canvas stretching

Friday, 31 July 2009 18:07 by salim

Shobha has been bugging me to stretch one of her paintings for sometime now. Actually, more than one. But since I have not done that in my life before, I was a bit apprehensive. Even though she loves me dearly, tearing or damaging one of her favorite paintings could be intense.

She is getting ready to go to Virginia for a show and I had no excuse for procrastinating it further. So, today evening, I mustered all my courage and started on the painting.

The stretch bars were already here, we bought it a few months ago. I was actually trying to find something very thin to stretch, but apparently there are no such products readily available. Bob The Builder, my remodeling contractor (more about him in another post) suggested some weird contraption using steel or aluminum bars and channels etc. But, i was not convinced.

So, the first task was to assemble the frame. It was funny and a bit frustrating. Since I did not want my first frame should be crooked, I started carefully making sure that the corners were perfect 90 degrees. However, like any other frame, the moment I got one corner right, all other corners would become crooked, almost defying laws of geometry. Finally I got the trick. I just made sure that one corner is nicely flushed, got a square, made sure that there is no space even for a hair between the square and the frame and splasch. There goes the stapler. Guess what, it went in smoothly.

The first time I used that stapler for fixing my rig table, I had hard time pushing the staples through the wood. This was an old kitchen counter and probably had a harder wood. The frame was, on the other hand quite soft. The staple went in like knife in butter. (Every time I hear that saying, I think about cutting butter that I just took out from the freezer. Since we shop at BJs, and we are not Buttertons, we have to keep our butter in the freezer).

To my utter amazement, the rest of the corners behaved so well once I stapled the first one. May be they realized that resistance is futile.

Now comes the stretching part. I am well versed in the theory of the process, but it is always hard to translate it into practice. Following the instructions, I finished the four points, and then eight. Just to check it, lifted the painting and it is sagging like… something that sags liberally. That is when I remembered. There is a pliers that is specifically designed for stretching canvas. Shobha of course had it. So, I started stretching and stapling. Naturally, i had to take out the original staples as they were causing wrinkles. It was easy at first, but towards the end, the stapler was getting harder and harder to press.

I had no idea how to fold the corners correctly. So Shobha like a master showed me how it is done. I still dont know how, but I will call her again the next time we do it. She will be our official Corner Folder.

After the final staple, I attached the hanging hooks and wire and lifted it up, expecting something to horribly go wrong. It was perfect. Taught, crisp… beautiful painting. Here is it


It is called the Three Singers. I love the painting, especially the singers. I definitely scored a point today!

If you want to see more of Shobha’s paintings, visit her online galleries here and here.

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