Digital sucks. But I also love digital. Back in the sixth grade, I had proclaimed my desire to become a writer. Surprisingly, that one stuck ( unlike all my other ill formed career wishes as a young lad ), but I never practiced all that much. You hear all those heart wrenching stories about how an aspiring author laboriously penciled out stories by longhand, or worked for the school newspaper, or dictated stories to dear old Mom to write out. I did none of those things.
Why? Because pre-personal computer writing was too slow. I had a manual typewriter, and I think I might, MIGHT, have gotten perhaps a total of a half dozen pages ever written on it. After countless pages thrown away with more White-Out than typewriter ink on them, I gave up on ever trying to write that way ( no matter how bad you think my spelling is, it was exponentially worse several million words ago ). And forget writing by hand. School demanded enough of that in class and as homework and I had no desire to do that as a hobby. Plus, I was enamored with fiction when I first started reading, so naturally I tried my incapable even to this day hand at that.
Once computers came along, I knew that my long ago desire to write was actually based on reality rather than a childhood perceived desire. I had read enough survivalist non-fiction to both have a broad base of knowledge but also to know I could do much better. The computer allowed my spelling and lack of experiencing thought-to-page process to no longer be a handicap. In the late ‘80’s I charged my first Apple Mac to an insanely generous balance credit card, for I believe about four months gross wages ( today it costs a week ). Thus began my fifteen plus year adventure in losing money to write. It wasn’t a huge expense as far as a college education, and it was the first time since my MOS school that I was passionate about a trade.
If it hadn’t been for a digital editor, I never would have become a writer. Even using one finger to write, I can type fast enough to keep up with my stream of thought. I don’t have to worry about spelling or grammatical errors ( yes, I know I don’t worry about grammar even after editing. I just make sure it makes sense to me, not you. This isn’t even English, but American. I respectfully spit on the Grammar Nazi’s ). So, as a writer, I love digital. But I hate digital once my writing is done. I fought giving up on paper printing as long as I could. I fought publishing online just as hard.
Now, granted, I was a bit blind to the-shall we say-beginners quality of my writing. The time was that of ‘Zines and I had little to no competition there, so I was acceptable on those terms. I just didn’t realize that I hadn’t put in enough bad writing to get to the point of good writing ( I don’t agree with the contention you need to produce X million words as practice. I’d say it was more of reaching the point where you stop forcing a sentence and your mind presents it to you automatically. It goes from struggling with a term paper to seamlessly telling a tale around the campfire ).
So, granted, a lot of my writing stored in a digital medium deserved to both die and was not worthy of killing tress over. What I hate about digital is how it has replaced paper, how it went from a permanent ( baring a fire or flood, obviously ) storage medium to a VERY impermanent one. I was reminded of this the other day when a minion gave me the life span of a DVD ( I had known this but forgotten, a normal condition even before aging ). Two decades seems fine if you are talking about a transfer of data, but woefully inadequate when you need to save it for later reference.
Digital has a lot of advantages. I’d rather read a newspaper ( if they still existed in any meaningful sense ) online and not kill trees. For Pulp Fiction entertainment, I love how e-books allow much cheaper fare. Granted, there is now no filter to stop the flow of terrible, terrible, horrid and putrid writing. But that is what Kindle Unlimited is for, to not waste any money on bad writing ( after five months, I finally gave up-yet again-on KU. It is fine for lower denominator fiction, pure time filling entertainment like TV, but I was beginning to forget what really good writing was like. Writing that taught as it was also enjoyable. I need to go back to print and non-buffet books ).
Yet, the problem with digital ( past the creation phase, or that of distribution ) is that everything is treated like yesterdays fish wrap. Nothing will last. Should you own thousands of books on a quality drive as reference? Sure. Should you wait to print them out until later? No. If you are serious about a reference library, pay the $25 a year to Adobe for a PDF To Word converter ( must be used online ) and take all your PDF books and turn them into Microsoft Word ( I imagine they offer other converters-I only put up with MS as it is a standard that allows me to publish on Lulu or Amazon ) and then edit down the books.
Most books by market necessity have filler for that 200-300 page minimum required to get a book sold for the $20-$30. You can edit down the critical information to booklet size, more than likely. A history book might need 600 pages of detail to deliver the necessary point and cannot be shortened, but the more hands on instructional books can be condensed. Then get yourself a dot-matrix printer. I have never seen even a laser printer that comes close to as cheap as typewriter ribbons on dot matrix are per printed page. The printer costs two to four times as much ( $200 ) but you’ll recoup that cost soon if you are building a reference library. And most seem to be manufactured for business or government use and are probably not as cheap/throw-away as retail inkjet ( this is variable, of course )( I’m also unsure of ink longevity. I think a lot of laser printers have short lived ink, but I could be way off on this ).
If you remember Toffler and “Future Shock”, you’ll remember the fabulous for the time discussion of the coming throw away society. He got some things wrong, but not by much. We never went to single use paper clothing, but the cotton clothing you buy at Wal-Mart today is good for little more than six months use. So that was close. It has been decades since I read the book, so I can’t remember what he said about information, if anything. It is a shame ALL information is now digital and highly fragile. They threw the baby out with the bathwater when too much went digital too fast. Enjoy the electronic dreams that turn to nightmares once the grid goes down.
END ( today's related link http://amzn.to/2CrUNs3 )
* By the by, all my writing is copyrighted. For the obtuse out there
"...single use paper clothing..."ReplyDelete
Today is laundry day and I always hate it. My wife offers to do it but I don't like the way she folds and hangs my stuff, and I don't like to be beholding to others. So I do it myself, 2 large loads, once per week, always on Friday.
A laundry day never goes by that my mind is not taken over (like that old shitty song that goes through your head and always loops when you get to a part where you don't know the lyrics, then starts all over again) by the thought of garments on paper towel holders on the wall in the bedroom closet. My normal daily attire is: t-shirt, shorts, underpants, socks. Why can't those things be produced cheaply in paper towel form? Snatch 1 set off the 4 rolls in the closet, don them, then the next day throw the old ones in the burn barrel and put new clean ones on. The life cycle of the laundry machines would triple (justifying the enormous costs), a container of laundry soap would last years, a lot less time could be used for other things, and everyday you would be wearing brand new stylish and clean garments. What's not to like?
Most days, especially in the winter, I am sitting here at my desk so I don't need heavy duty, expensive duds, but I buy them any way at great cost just in case I need to leave the compound. Using paper towel garments would save so much money and I could keep a few sets of good garments in case I have to leave. Closet space could be reduced, in fact now that I think about it, the paper towel holders could go right in the bathroom and the garments could be put on in the bathroom. The whole laundry room, which is right below our masterbath, could be used for something else and a laundry chute could be in the floor of the bathroom for throwing the old discarded paper garments in for hauling to the burn barrel monthly. Now that I'm detailing this out I'm liking the idea even more.
I'm sure Toffler thought it was a good idea also ( if I recall his only reference was a graduation gown ). Dude, are you OCD? "Don't like the way she folds it". No judgement, I have a touch myself. It just sounded hilarious. I knew a guy at work, he was telling me a story about another stores manager. The guy tucked in his sweater vest. You wear a sweater vest, you are a bit of a nerd. You tuck it in? Total OCD. You know how that work relationship is going to go! LOL. Why are you wearing socks? Do your feet get cold. I like to let my feet breath. The NOL is astounded I go barefoot in the winter inside. Just trying to save you one clothing item. The #1 problem with disposable clothes is, they are disposable! Waste of resources. It is a case of some extra water compared to growing and harvesting and transporting plant based disposables. Very inefficient. Disposable diapers compared to cloth. If we were vat growing cotton from fusion power, okay. Otherwise...Delete
Supply chain, friend. Another throwaway that must be replaced on a get more soon schedule is not conducive.Delete
Exactly right Jim! I always am drawn to a movie or t.v. scene of an older house where the patriarch has an office-study-library with ceiling to floor bookshelfs chock full of hardcovers along a full wall or two of a proper sized room. The behind the scenes nuances of the knowledge/information speaks volumes in of itself. The only thing required is a nice grid down for decades, so kids and younger adults can get yoked off of digital heroin and read and pass on to the tribe proper knowledge and wisdom. Digital has a built in self destruct program so as to require new technology so as to self replicate more sales-demand each generational cycle. "THE BOOK OF JIM" scenario is a certain possibility when the dark ages arrive.ReplyDelete
I don't know if digital was actually created to self-destruct as a sales mechanism. Why bother, when Moore's Law makes both machines and software obsolete PRIOR to the storage medium going tits up? And I'm sure there would be a market for longer storage if it was possible. Damn, I saw a vid the other day with the talking head and his whole back wall was a book shelf. But it was like three times the height of a normal room. You'd need a ladder to get up there. I was insanely jealous.Delete
I have an Apple phone (don't hate me).Delete
Anyway, I sprung for top of the range (at the time) model with the thought that I'd take care of it, use it to store media & data then I'd have a mobile entertainment device and Grid down, a cheaply recharged computer.
Well, the latest IOS update basically nerfed it. It runs incredibly slow (5 second delays when selecting things like a letter to type). Fine one day, update, no longer fine. I'm so angry about it.
Then there is the time that Amazon removed a kindle book from peoples libraries. Books that people had PAID for. So Amazon is untrustworthy and kindle books are convenient but could dissappear in a flash (heck you could have them down loaded & off line but Amazon could nerf the platform required to read them.... I'm guessing I'm not a computer nerd)
The only way that you could improve upon that library is to make it a point to have the classic (pre-pc) books. Then when the airwaves information media goes kaput, you might actually have a shot at raising some decent kids without the perverted outside influences.Delete
Dingo-no hate. It wasn't the worst idea. I've noticed Amazon does skirt the edges of e-burning books. Just hints here or there. Should be a heads up for all proponents of e-libraries though.Delete
5:14-I think a good thing to keep in mind are others peoples experience only marginally influencing kids, with work/school/peers having much more influence. You can only give them a good base. Not a bad idea, but don't bet the farm on it working.
Is your Apple phone approximately two years old? There was a big thing about a month ago where Apple was sending out ios updates that would slow down the operating system to not stress the aged battery as much, you know, "to make it last longer." Of course, everyone suspects the real reason is they want you to get frustrated with your old phone, right around the time the two year payment plan is over, and that's when it takes a dump! The remedy (to restore public trust) is something like they will install a new battery for you at a reduced cost at the Apple store.
Or, the remedy is to buy a phone closer to silver than gold. Just like a war surplus gun, getting you 80/20. I'm sure my $50 tablet isn't great at much of anything ( I bought it as a replacement for Kindle which are poorly made ), but it is good enough. I know, you explained why you bought it. I'm just speaking in general that no phone can possibly be worth what they want unless you are making money on it.Delete
“Not a bad idea, but don't bet the farm on it working.”Delete
This was a more down the road, following the apocalypse, sorta thought. Information would go back to word of mouth, print, or perhaps, Morse code or ham radio. So we’re talking one room schools once again. And the first time one of the towns children comes home with a copy of “Daddy’s Roommate” Heather Has Two Mommies” or “The Feminine Mystique”, the town’s Schoolmarm will have suddenly decided to tragically “commit suicide” :D
If we are going to enter a Dark Age, I'd think most books wouldn't make it out alive anyway. Good or bad ones.Delete
I build my reference library with mostly cheap or free books. The local libraries at the past 4 places I have lived have had cheap book sales or the current one actually puts PILES of books out that they are going to throw away. Sure much of it is absolute tripe - but I have a first edition of Tarzan, a bunch of old encyclopedias, biographies of people both renouned and forgotten, instruction manuals for technologies mostly forgot, etc. And then I fill in gaps from auctions, estate sales, and garage sales. Seriously I have printed out a few important pieces of information but I have only ever felt the need to use a single ream of paper to print all the digital media I have- most of the digital media is referencing technologies that wont be in use in 50 year, one way or another. Also the old printed books before digital media are cheaper than buying the paper to print the same info on. But if you cant find the info you want in old books, your concept of printing out with dot matrix may work out (ink jet can as well) for long term, but I highly recommend looking into the long term quality of the paper and inks used - some things are just designed to disapear in months or years. Then there is the issue with properly binding and storing it. I had about 50 pages I thought were important, put them in protective plastic sleeves in a three ring binder and 12 years later? a hunk of largely melded together plastic with paper fiber randomly colored. About 20 pages were largely legible the rest was a waste.ReplyDelete
I'm imagining that the plastic sleeves were the problem? But I hear you on the paper and print quality. Everyone is selling Chinese quality, even the non-Chinese.Delete
When I was a young man I was in the Naval Cadets. We would write in pencil. The reasoning I was told was that ink would run if it got wet (I was concerned about pencil being erased).Delete
I have a book that I record quotes that resonate with me. I've had it for years, so the pen that I use changed frequently. Well, some of the quotes are faded whilst earlier ones are still just like the day I wrote them. I'm thinking if they were in lead pencil they wouldn't fade.
Want to know what lasts the test of time? Engravings in stone ;-)
Hmm...the reasoning could have just been military logic. As in, give them any BS excuse.Delete
The word you're looking for is "archival".Delete
I have about 3000 comic books from the late 80's that have been board and bagged in Wizard archival bags for close to 30 years now and still in brand new condition.
It's all about the chemicals used in the materials and yes there is a premium cost for that stuff.
Good gravy, aren't we all a bunch of nerds?Delete
My families first computer was an Apple IIcReplyDelete
It cost my father $3,000 equivalent to 10% of a house. In today's money that'd be circa $50k
He bought it using an inheritance
Damn, I hope he made money with that computer.Delete
My first was less than $100 and I got way more than my money back out of it. That was in 1984 and it was a Commodore. In 1988 I bought an IBM 80286 and it cost just over $3k. In 92 I got a 80486 for about $2k. My current online machine is an HP and it cost less than $400. In the mid to late 90's I was building and programming my own machines and by about 2004 I was getting tired of it. If I had all the coin I spent on technology over a 30+ year period I could buy a fair spread up there in redoubt country with all the bells and whistles and be part of the cool crowd. LOLDelete
Sorry, dude. The cool crowd still doesn't program computers! Don't ask me what they do-I'm not invited.Delete
re: Even using one finger to write, I can type fast enough to keep up with my stream of thought.ReplyDelete
Well.......ever see the movie Zootopia?
Remember the visit to the DMV? Super slow sloths?
I wanted to watch the movie, but Stiller to me is nails on a chalk board. Vince Vaughn is really close to Ben, but without the snide look or as irritating a voice. I don't know, just something about Stiller that just sticks in my craw. I can watch a few of his things as long as better actors are in it, but when he tries to carry the show...Delete