When I was about 14, I had an earth sciences teacher whose name, I believe, was Mr. Privett. I liked Mr. Privett because he took pains to keep the class engaged and because I am, in my heart, a complete nerd. Mr. Privett was a nerd too. He loved science and he cared about his students and their welfare. Near the end of our class year he put the class in a big chair circle and made us go around the room and talk like we were in an AA meeting. One of the things we were supposed to talk about was our positive qualities. I said “adaptability” and to this day, I still believe in the answer I gave more than two decades ago.
Aging is an unnecessary disease process and I will fight it as hard as I am able. For many people, at least from my perspective, part of giving up on life and accepting the inevitability of death is a slow process whereby one stops accepting and embracing new technologies. This rejection of the new and insistence on resisting the inevitable change that is part of being human is usually counterproductive. I have never felt inclined to say anything remotely approaching “that’s how we’ve always done it” when arguing for any given process, policy or procedure. In my experience such an argument almost always comes out of the mouth of a self-serving idiot who wants to force me to follow his or her way of doing things primarily due to intellectual laziness.
Technology is a stronger social force than “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Those who refuse to see that become obsolescent despite their best efforts. They grow old and are ignored, marginalized and pushed further and further from the center of things.
And that is why I asked for a Nook for Christmas. I love books but I am also of the mind that they are a dying technology. Paper is on its way out, at least as far as the technorati are concerned. Knowledge will no longer live between hardbound covers. No, it now spins on hard drive platters and flits across radio waves to land on your NAND. I must embrace the idea that my beloved paper tomes with their lovely smell and their wonderful weight will no longer be the way I collect and organize information.
I’ve been absorbing data, knowledge and information from screens since about 1977 or so but I’ve never read a book on a screen until recently. I started with an author I knew would be easily digestible, Stephen King. His new novel, Under the Dome, served as a good introduction to the world of E Ink. Having now digested 828 pages of delicious and often chilling pulp, I can report that I found the experience of reading a novel using the Nook quite pleasurable. With a few caveats, of course. I’ve never had to recharge a book before. I’ve never accidentally turned a page before and become confused about how to go backwards or forwards to get back to where I used to be. Nook and Kindle are infant technologies but they are developed enough that I will be moving my library from paper to electrons and reporting on the pros and cons of doing so.
Meanwhile, go buy Under the Dome. It’s well worth a few lazy hours in your favorite recliner. Buy a Nook or Kindle while you’re at it because the only constant in the universe is change. E-books are here to stay, and they are Mr. Privett approved.