The Luddite is dead?

I never thought I would say this. I downloaded a bunch of classic literature on my android phone about a month ago. Originally I downloaded the Kindle application as a joke (Ha! I’ll never use that.) I have always opposed this new fangled technology for a long time, and to this day I am still ambivalent to it’s usefulness. Well I read one of my favorite stories, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t great either. The Kindle and other E-Readers are being pushed more these days, and I, for one, am not sold.

I am not reviewing the Kindle nor any other device, so if that’s why you’re reading then turn back now. I am, however, critiquing the digital text in general. Ok, I give this technology some credit because as a past English student, I had to lug my huge textbooks and anthologies all over campus – I have the creaky back to prove it. I could have tons of books inside an E-Reader, which would solve this problem for me and others. I have to admit that is nice. Now it is not as practical because I am not a student anymore.

What I don’t like about these devices is the following: technology fails. My phone dies quickly (I don’t know about the other devices, but they will eventually have the same problem given the right circumstance.) This will make it very difficult to read anything if I don’t have my charger or have no power outlet. My phone gets so bad that some days I need to take out my battery to reset it… Blah blah blah. I could go on. The point is: I don’t need to worry about this with printed word. I open the book and have no problems AT ALL. The feel of a book is much better than a glossy screen.

Maybe I read too much Apocalyptic fiction, but what if humanity ends and a new creature comes to visit our world. These digital readers will die with us. Printed word, while not as easily degraded by time, would allow these new creatures the ability to read about our culture. That might be a stretch…

Is this Luddite convinced? Has a part of his Luddite ways died and been seduced by this new format? I don’t know. Only time will tell. What I do know is that I love reading.


1 Comment

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One response to “The Luddite is dead?

  1. I've always felt that technology is useful for what it grants us. And neither paper book nor computer technology lasts for long. Paper rots. A burned CD is unreadable after ten years time. Hard drives fail. Even fancy technologies like Flash RAM degrade until they can no longer be read. Most printed works now survive because they are copied.
    The thing that bothers me the most about e-readers is the Orwellian way that publishers use it. When you buy a book, it's yours and few would try to take it from you. With digital books, publishers have been caught revoking them from other people's collections, where the book abruptly vanishes without a trace. It's things like that that ruin its utility.
    As for aliens….I sincerely doubt they could understand English in any format. What English they are familiar with would be due to TV broadcasts, assuming that they can be decrypted. I need only see the diversity of Earth's languages to know that nothing we take for granted is common. Egyptian Hieroglyphics were gibberish to archaeologists until the Rosetta stone allowed them a common reference with a language they already understood, Greek.
    It's good to hear from you again. Your thoughts are important and deep.


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