Sometimes the crawler on CNN actually shows something interesting. The other day, while channel-surfing, I came across a reference to Scribd, a website created in 2007, dedicated to document sharing, whether it be the manual for your lawnmower, various e-books, or your own creative writing. Users can both download and upload written material, akin to Youtube, and browse to their heart’s content.
Scribd has a sharp looking homepage with a little search engine, and a variety of listings to narrow down your searches. Looks like someone has given the Gutenberg project a run for their money!
The ancient Sumerian civilization wrote by imprinting clay tablets with various symbols and called it Cuneiform. Later writers made a technological leap forward, switching from those heavy tablets to papyrus, eventually parchment, and of course, today we use paper.
With the advent of the Internet, a variety of new options have emerged to sate ones need for news and entertainment, more practical and portable than even a pocket novel. They are known as e-readers, and today, at least in America, there is a spiffy little device known as the Amazon Kindle.
The Kindle, launched in the United States in 2007, is one of the latest versions of e-book readers, devices into which you can import your favourite titles and carry them with you wherever you go. The original version of the Kindle can hold up to 200 titles, while the Kindle 2 can hold 1500 and has access to over 230 000 titles.
You can find a shorter review of the Kindle by C/Net’s David Carnoy, and a more extensive review by Benjamin Higginbotham of Technology Evangelist on YouTube.
The Kindle is quite pricey at $399 (American mind you), a rate which Amazon has decided is the price of portability. Factored against the price of a good chiropractor (after lugging your book bag around all day), this might seem reasonable, but in these tough economic times, Amazon might want to rethink their price.
Unfortunately, the Kindle is not available in Canada at the moment, so don’t get rid of your backpack just yet.
Well, we’ve come a long way since Johannes Gutenberg first decided that maybe there was a better way to reproduce the written word. Today, anyone can simply go on-line, sign up for a blog, and immediately see their words posted around the world, a far cry from monks fastidiously copying manuscripts by hand. (In fact, I’m sure they would have forsaken their vows if only they knew how easy things would get)
So, what’s Gutenberg’s Son about? Put simply: everything print related, from author bio’s to reviews, discussion of the latest in print technology (kindle, I’m looking your way), a history of the written word, and of course, everything from novels to self help to comic books (’cause in a way, they’re print too!)