Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image


(“Daywander” is a new category I’m trying out. The idea is something less crisp than Odd Lots but still a collection of different things I thought about or did during the day. It may not work out, and if it doesn’t I won’t miss it overmuch.)

So. We have an iPad. It’s not like it was a surprise, and in broad strokes it was pretty much what everybody thought it would be. I’m very glad that Apple anointed the ePub format for ebooks…the last thing anybody needs is a new proprietary text container. Now we need to know if the Jobs Gang can face down Big Books over prices and DRM. News items I’ve seen recently indicate that books from the iPad store will be allowed to cost more than books on the Kindle, and I’m good with that. I routinely pass on supposed “bestsellers” because they don’t smell like they’re worth $25 to me. The market can decide…and the publishers need to learn that lesson. The bigger question is how much access small publishers will have to the Apple store. One of my goals for 2010 is to get some of my titles onto the Kindle to see how they do. Anybody can be on the Kindle, and the price of goods can be $0.00. I haven’t seen an indication…yet…whether free books will be available in the Apple store, or whether other stores will be accessible, or how difficult it will be for one-person publishers to get in on the action.

And for that matter, is there an SD card socket, so I can drop in the ebooks I already have?

As an ebook reader it looks socko; finally, color and enough resolution to display technical books with figures and detailed art. How well you’ll be able to read the screen outside is another big question that ebook freaks will obsess about. Not me…when I’m outside I’m enjoying the outside for being the outside.(Books to me are an inside thing.) The iPad display isn’t e-ink…but it could be. Why not two displays? Frontside for inside, backside for outside. Apple could do that blindfolded. The thing already costs $500 minimum. Another $75 for a second display wouldn’t kill it.

Hardware, mon dieu. I tried and failed to tweak the Intel driver for the SX280 this afternoon, as suggested by my sister’s friend Chris Meredith on my LiveJournal mirror, and described in this eye-crossing article. Bits don’t scare me, and I follow directions well, but the machine failed to present the tweaked 1600X900 resolution as an option. Hardware can be stubborn sometimes.

Getting away from hardware for the nonce, it’s been revealed that the late Pope John Paul II beat himself with a belt and slept naked on the floor to move himself toward spiritual perfection. The Jesuits were big on this, and did this well into the 1950s: Each Jebbie had a little whip called “the discipline,” and was to use it on himself every night, presumably for the same reason. (Garry Wills wrote about this in his excellent book, Why I Am a Catholic.) What has never been clear to me is why hurting yourself has anything to do with spiritual perfection. (This is especially puzzling given JPII’s ecstatic writings about the holiness of the human body…so holy that we apparently must beat it up, mortify it, make it bleed. I guess.) Sorry. Don’t buy it. What “mortification of the flesh” really is is a powerful temptation to pride: People who hurt themselves and deny themselves can never quite hide the smugness that seems to come with the territory. My take? Real saints help others. Hurting yourself does not help others. Get real.

And in other news from the God side of things, this past Sunday’s Old Testament reading contained orders from the Hebrew Scribe Ezra, in the Book of Nehemiah, Chapter 8: “Eat fat, and drink sweet wine…” Hey, Ez! Got it covered!

One Comment

  1. Erbo says:

    No SD card reader built-in. Apple will sell separately a little SD card adapter that plugs into the dock port, for the purpose of transferring photos from your digital camera to your iPad.

    My ultimate feeling about the device is, “Meh.” If you have an iPod Touch, you already have most of what the iPad can do for you, except for the large screen and the 3G data connection. If you have an iPhone, well, you’ve got the 3G data connection now, too. Plus you have a camera and voice phone capability, which the iPad doesn’t have. Where’s the value add in the iPad?

    Incidentally, when it comes to ePub format, there’s already an app for that: BookReader is one, and there may be a couple others.

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