Ok, this is going to be a multi-technology post, but the things i was thinking about were just too similar to segregate. Plus, for once, I’m going to try and keep it short.
First, Google’s new browser, Chrome. I don’t know why they call it that, or if they were thinking in line with 50’s retro or modern automaton, but the name is, at least, shiny. I kinda like it that way. I started looking at the associated comic, but I got bogged down with information that, while no doubt cool, is never going to apply to me using the product. Especially as it’s hard realizing you’re dumber than a cartoon man – or at least less knowledgeable than one. however, I like the open source stuff. I like the thought that I have the ability to change underlying aspects of my software, even if I never do. I like the idea of innovation, and quite a bit of what’s going on with Chrome as I understand it makes me go ‘oooohhhh, shiny!’
At the same time, I’m hesitant to embrace Chrome full-speed simply because it is different. There’s always a learning curve on new sftware. In this case specifically there’s quite a bit more I could learn if I chose, and I would eventually like to do that. I’ve been a Firefox user for some time, even at work, and there are occasional issues even with that interface with certificates and such. Firefox has always been a better browser as far as speed and reliability, but it makes me wonder about possible interface issues with Chrome, in particular issues that might spring up because of user failure once I learn enough to make myself dangerous. But that’s just me – everyone else should go check things out for themselves.
Another look-see I’ve been wanting to do recently has been with some of the new E Ink book readers. Of course there’s the Kindle, and I did play a bit with the Sony Reader Digital this weekend. I must say, E Ink is awesome technology, and the way things are going, integration of everything I want to do is going to be all on one unit – phone, camera, internet, books, computer apps, games, and more. But still there are disappointing trends for this version of the reader. First off, as it’s Sony, I’m sure there will be issues with it being compatible with anything. Second, there’s the wheel controller. I know it’s not really functionally a wheel on this model, but it’s almost a mimicry of the function of an iPod wheel. I have enough problems with the iPod one – it always yanks up the volume when I want it to move to the next song, or the middle button gets hit three times in a row when i just want a bit less volume, or something. I happen to have fingernails because I eat healthy and I’m too lazy to clip them every other day, and that makes me not have the same fingerpad directness of your usual nail-biting techno-nerd. Sorry. So yeah, when I’m reading, I don’t want to be scrolling with a wheel, or even moving to the next page with a wheel. Not that I find the keyboard and forward buttons at the bottom of a Kindle better or more refined.
So, what are some other opttions? A touch screen, a la iPhone? That conflicts with the whole E Ink technology. A numeric code, similar to a phone’s, for fewer buttons? Still seem bulky and odd. Some other sort of virtual or physical scrolling mechanism? Seems potentially too difficult to control, but i will leave that to the scions of technology. I remain wondering at what the future will bring, and unlikely to spend my cold hard cash on the virtual book anytime soon.