Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Slashdot Deals: Cyber Monday Sale! Courses ranging from coding to project management - all eLearning deals 25% off with coupon code "CYBERMONDAY25". ×

Comment Re:A Book is an Artifact, an E-book is data. (Score 2) 134

It is not a conflation to call an art art, nor is it inappropriate to use more than one interpretive lens. We shouldn't ignore the critical developments of the last hundred years just because the medium predates it. Authorial intent is one lens, but art is not just about expression it is also about interpretation. This is the ritual of language and of semiotics.

Does a dimestore paperback change the reading of a book compared to a leatherbound copy? I'd argue that it does. Does an e-book? Absolutely. Just as the mode of listening to a song changes from concert to radio to album so can the mode of reading a book. Cultural context will always inform interpretation.

That's not to say that the choices of the typesetter, editor or proofreader takes away from the vision of the author. We could borrow from film's Auteur theory :3 A line from The Tell-Tale Heart is still a line from The Tell-Tale Heart whether or not it is represented on a screen, the pages of a book, the foreground of a painting or put on needlework on a throw pillow. However, would you read them the same in each instance?

What if it was a caption under the picture of a cat?

I would argue that a physical book is enough of a cultural context switch to be both meaningfully different and yet the same. As I equally enjoy Pink Floyd's money as a single or as part of an album, I also know that it is substantially different to me in each listening.

Comment A Book is an Artifact, an E-book is data. (Score 2) 134

Are art museums going to go out and replace all of their exhibits with HDPI IPS displays? No. The displays may be far more versatile but they also do not embody a work. They simply display it. A printed book both contains and embodies the contained text. That simple visceral realness of holding an artifact contributes not only to our willingness to step into the magic circle of the book but signals the beginning of a cultural ritual.

Reading is a form of magic that is wholly contained within our culture. Ebooks are yet another step in democratizing the cultural ritual and print on demand publication will provide the methodology to fully entrench these new pieces of culture within the canonic regalia. In ten years the significance of the printed word will not fade even as access becomes more and more trivial because they are canonic to the medium itself. They are inherently part of how we understand all written language in the same way that a live performance is inherently part of how we understand music (even principally electronic musicians engage in the ritual of live music).

Authors go on book tours and connect with their reader base in other ways but the single most defining ritual in the whole of literature has been the receipt of a book. As we go forward this will always be a landmark of success as well as an important if not centrally defining artifact of the medium.

Photography did not displace painting, it displaced the cultural focus on realism in painting. It displaced painting as a medium of simple depiction of the natural world and instead brought a greater implicit understanding of visual composition and other fundimntal principles of art into the every day culture. Likewise, I think that as ebooks become more and more accessible we will see /more/ veneration for the printed medium, perhaps in ways that were previously reserved only for bibliophiles.

The cultural acceptance of technology that is simultaneously legitimized as a medium for art and developed into a nearly risk free scratch pad for personal exploration has historically brought a wider and deeper appreciation. It happened once with the desktop publishing revolution and I believe as people begin to ask themselves /why/ they prefer the printed word over the ebook a deeper understanding of the artistry of the medium will develop.

I think it already has to a degree.

Comment Have you tried modern computing paridigms? (Score 2) 480

I've often heard it levied that some of the FSF's goals are a bit out of touch, and it's often been speculated that one of the root causes may be inexperience with the modern computer interface. Reading over even how you search for web pages, the pipeline is very unix but it would be nearly entirely alien to a modern computer user.

Do you think there is any value in trying to switch paradigms for a while?
(please disregard any loaded language that may have slipped through, i'm tired, but this question has been eating at the back of my head for a while)

Comment That's absolutely amazing. (Score 2) 106

Seriously, once in a while I like to kind of just take these sort of advancements at face value. It's just astonishing to me that we are so close to alleviating at least one facet of the organ transplant shortages that have so many people waiting for so long in uncertainty. This day could not get here fast enough and I hope that it becomes a true milestone down a great path for medical technology.

But damn that is an expensive pump.

Comment Steam Machines are an entirely new monster (Score 1) 348

It's not a question of if they can compete with established living room giants, It is if there is a niche for it to carve out. Valve has got great inroads with the PC gaming community. I don't see Steam Machines displacing consoles but I definitely see them as a way for Valve to carve out a place in the living rooms of their current clientele. SteamOS to throw on the old box in the living room, Steam Machines for the pre-built crowd wanting something that fits in with their other equipment.

Comment I don't think streaming necessitates DRM (Score 1) 221

Streaming can be genuinely convenient, but it doesn't mean it is married to DRM. I would very much like the option of being able to stream and download content that I paid for in a non DRMed version for when I want to have the content now and save it for later. Just because current streaming services popularly use DRM does not mean it has "won".

Comment There have been so many... (Score 3, Insightful) 413

It's sobering just how many of these great contributors to oss and technology in general have passed away these past few years. Mortality is not something I often contemplate at twenty two but I find it constantly popping up in the legacy of this subculture.

I really do wonder if we are predisposed to see death as a problem that needs to be solved, because all I can think of are the tragic losses of minds and icons that could be prevented somehow and how valuable that would be to humanity as a whole.

Seth will be missed and hopefully his work will live on.

Comment Re:Stomp your feet & say it isn't DRM. (Score 1) 208

Steam does distribute DRM free games. And when games use Steam DRM is at least sane. I have very few qualms with buying from Steam, even with the knowledge that in the post-apocalyptic future when Valve's servers go down i will have to add the worry of them not releasing a no DRM patch to my list right next to headcrab zombies.

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.