I have an eBook reader, the Sony Reader, which I'll be doing a review of soon. I love it, for many reasons, but the worst part of the Sony Reader is that it is difficult to find the book you want to buy with their store, and then it's not as easy as it should be to get the book into the thing.
Well, a year ago, Amazon filed an eBook device called the Kindle with the FCC that would be very much like my Sony Reader (high-resolution, low-power, paperback-sized, etc) but has the added advantage of Amazon.com's entire inventory.
Even cooler, the device contains a wifi card that allows direct download to the book. Frikkin' awesome. So WHERE IS IT!
Well, Engadget just discovered that links have been showing up on Amazon.com for Kindle downloads. Currently, the links are dead ends, but this little slip seems would lead us to believe that Amazon.com is on the cusp of releasing its Kindle to the public.
Bruce Sterling has been tracking the future as a SciFi author for years. Now, he's working on creating the future. He's postulating the possibility of a fully downloadable world. Raw materials would be manufactured into whatever you want (in this case, a chair) based on downloadable designs. You pay for the design, not the chair. When you're done, you give the material back to the manufacturer, and they turn it into something else.
The process would eventually expand beyond simple items, like furniture, allowing appliances and electronics to be manufactured in a similar local, sustainable, not-being-shipped-from-China kind of way. Of course, Sterling's "Spimes" are a ways off, but that doesn't mean we aren't hanging on every word.
Another interesting development in downloadableness...TreeHugger has started up it's first Niche blog, which seems to be largely paid for by Absolut Vodka. The subject...downloadable everything. It's worth a read, if you can get past the fact that every third word is "Absolut."
Last week we had the second in our series of EcoGeek science-fiction
author interviews with Karl Schroeder
. It was a
great, thoughtful and wide-ranging interview, and if you haven't read it
yet, you should go back and take a look.
If you were intrigued by the interview, but wanted to find out more about
his writing, we've now got some great news for you. Karl has made his first novel,
Ventus, available as a free, Creative Commons licensed e-book.
"I've released this book under a Creative Commons license,
which means you can read it and distribute it freely, but not make
derivative works or sell it. At the moment it's available in PDF, MS
Reader and zipped HTML formats."
He is also looking to make it
available in Palm reader and Mobipocket versions, so those are likely to
be made available before long, too.
Remember, too, that our first EcoGeek science-fiction author interviewee,
also had the first third of his two novels available to read online, as
It's called "Photonic Ink" or P-Ink, and it's pretty freakin' cool. You may have heard of E-Ink by now, in which microscopic balls flip and turn in order to show dark or light sides, allowing for a high-resolution monochromic display that looks and reads like a newspaper. But P-Ink takes this to another level. Just like E-Ink it can be flexible, low-power, ultra high-res, and it doesn't need a backlight. But P-Ink goes further, allowing vibrant colors as well.
The new displays, pioneered by a new firm called Nemoptic
, use nematic liquid crystals which can be twisted to form any color in the visible spectrum. Each tiny crystal is individually controlled allowing, the display to form bright, vibrany high resolution images. It's like going from E-Newspaper to E-Magazines.
The displays consume far less power than traditional displays, yet can be easily viewed in the sun. The high resolution makes them a far better replacement for traditional paper displays, as they're much easier on the eyes, while being infinitely reusable.
For now we're going to have to settle for drab monochrome readers
, but it's good to see better things are on the way.
Via Technology Review