Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

An Open Letter to Kindle, for Book Lovers

07 Jun

Dear Kindle Marketing Team,

I liked you so much better when you were busy trashing the iPad, not trying to turn book lovers into silly, naive people that display weaker spines than those found in the books they read.

Truly, you are trying to convince non-Kindle users to come on over to the dark side by pitching: a. “Books don’t have glare, Kindles don’t have glare!” and b. Readers can do away with that pesky task of folding down a book’s page to save our place; an effort, apparently, we relish. Ugh.

Let’s discuss the bit about reading in bright light. The thing is, book lovers do not consider the concept of glare when reading books. It’s a non-issue. Trying to contrast a Kindle, a glare-free book-reading tool, to a book … a glare-free um, book … is ridiculous. It’s like saying that the Kindle, like a book, won’t slap you in the face while you read it. Or start your house on fire. Or steal your car keys. I get you’re trying to convince us to not buy the other guy’s e-reader, the one that does glare, but c’mon. You’re not fooling anybody.

And then, dear ad gurus, you try and sell the book lover on the Kindle by bringing up the pagefold=bookmark. *insert sigh*

Book lovers, true book lovers, do not fold down the pages of books. We do not rest an open book face down. We do not write in books, and when forced to write in books, say, in college lit classes, we use a pencil. As a book lover, I try to repress the childhood memory of coming upon a picture book that was my mother’s, and being horrified to discover that my mischievous Auntie Ro at some point had taken a marker and scribbled in the pages of the book, and in my child mind, ruined it forever. We honor and respect the book.

When we do want to mark our place in a book, we use bookmarks, which are like fun accessories for books, and us. We do not, under any circumstances, take pleasure in folding down the corner of the page. We will search for any other method to mark our place (a stray envelope, a random receipt from a purse or wallet, a paperclip, straight-up memorization of the page number) before we will cringe and forever mar the books we so love.

I have such sentimental attachment to bookmarks that the one time I accidentally left one—a souvenir from my honeymoon—in a library book, I called the library in a panic, and thanks to a very nice, bookmark-loving librarian, now only use said bookmark when reading books I own.

My point is, sirs and madams of the Kindle marketing team, is that if you want to turn the book readers of the world into e-book readers of the world, or at least convince us that your e-reader is the lesser of all evils, then try not to insult us, make us seem unintelligent and deem us as un-cool, simply because we prefer the pages of an actual book.


Lisa A. Schleipfer, un-official representative of worldwide book aficionados


It’s an E-Reader’s E-Reader’s E-Reader’s World

25 Apr

Or is it?

I’ve been contemplating e-readers a lot lately. The shiny new commercials slamming the iPad. The new color options with bright and bold magazine covers. The soothing yet crisp voice of Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s enough to make a girl crazy.

Let’s face it; anyone who knows me, or that has read at least one of my other ERE blog entries, knows I’m not converting to an e-reader. I am like a 2011 version of the You’ve Got Mail’s Frank, (Greg Kinnear), clinging to the typewriter and proclaiming bits of wisdom to Meg Ryan like, “You are a lone read.”

(Actually, I may have to explore that. Perhaps Frank was not typing but tweeting. Unplugged tweeting.)

So we all know I’m not gonna do it. So here’s my funny for the week of why exactly I’m not gonna do it.

1.   Airplanes. Books and airplanes, or buses or trains or any mode of public transportation for that matter, go hand in hand. A book wards off strangers, keeps us well read, and makes commuting to a desk job or traveling to our hometowns a bit more tolerable. In the case of airplanes though, while everyone is turning off their approved electronic devices until takeoff or landing is completed, I’m happily flipping pages. Also, in the off chance you, or say your mother, leaves a borrowed copy of The Time Traveler’s Wife on the seat next to her before exiting said plane, there’s no need to go ballistic. You’re not out $139.00.

2.   Borrowing. Speaking of borrowing books, and $139 bucks, the e-reader will kill this culture. For example, a group of girlfriends and I are planning to see the sweeping romance, Water for Elephants this April. And although my dear friend Susan has read the book, she purchased it via her e-reader, making my plea to borrow it null.

3.   Libraries. For me, and many of my writer friends, libraries are like churches. Quiet and ethereal; walking through the stacks alone can calm nerves. And beyond books, they are an important beacon in communities across the country offering programs and services to residents. The question for libraries enlisting e-readers is: who will create the technology that yanks your e-book the day your three weeks are up? It may save us on late fees, but it will remove the entire library experience.

4.  Publishing. The publishing world isn’t quite ready for the e-reader insanity. A recent Time magazine article, “The E-Book Era Is Here: Best Sellers Go Digital,” sites the facts: more than 90% of the publishing industry is in print. As sales of e-books and e-readers are increasing at break-neck speed; the money is still in the pages. Actual pages.

So I still groove on a real book. But the tides (or pages) could be turning. Maybe when we remove the hyphen and they become “ereaders,” like “email”. Hmm.


Social Media and Faux Friendships

01 Oct

Unlike millions of others around the world, I’m finding social media depressing these days. Maybe I’m hanging out on Facebook too much, but suddenly I’m finding the old-fashioned idea of friendship put to the test, and I’m in unfamiliar cyber territory.

For example, one of my college friends announced his engagement online this past Friday. A few days later, I was the 27th person to send a congratulatory message, most of those other messages, mind you, are from folks I don’t know. Not that I had any expectations that my friend would spend his second day of engagement starting a phone tree to spread the news, but still. I think, who are these strange people that are “friends” with my friend, and why does this type of communication feel more like a competition than a relationship?

Meanwhile, while poking around on my BFF’s online page, I came across a section of photographs, most of which are of he and his girlfriend. They are pictures I’ve never seen, of places I don’t recognize or have never visited. Suddenly I feel like I’m peeking through the window of a stranger’s house.

I’ve come to realize that those people I have known for so long, the ones who know me better than anyone, are now scattered across the world, living lives I know nothing about.

When I first moved to Florida, the absence of my gaggle of friends was palpable. It was very different from my previous experiences of moving to a strange town, living alone and being alone. This time I had a soon-to-be husband roommate, with plenty of friends, but I had to figure out how to find new companions.

I remember lamenting with my now long-distance pals that maybe, at some point in life, we stop forming bonds with new people. Maybe, I was so blessed with amazing, quirky, loving, caring, thoughtful friends that there would be no new additions to the fold.

I accepted this, I believed it. Until I realized those far-away loyal companions were cheating on me with hundreds of other little cyber-buddies, and I wasn’t in on the action.

Maybe, in the long run, long-distance friendships cannot work. And these media sites, all bannered with “keep in touch” and “reconnect” slogans, are less of a technological wonder of communication and more of a modern-day cheat sheet to friendship maintenance.

Are we all really this self-centered? “Upload it and they will come.” We even post updates about ourselves in the third person for goodness sakes.

Turns out I’m not the only one pegging social networks for their self-involved tendencies; check out this article, Social Networking IDs Narcissism, from PsychCentral.

What happened to a verbal exchange, give and take? What about laughing so hard your stomach aches, or something cold comes out your nose, which turns into a story to be told and told and retold, until all you have to hear is the words “orange soda” and the laugher starts all over again? What about hugs, and greeting cards and letters (the ones that require postage) or long talks that last until 3:00 a.m.?

I know it’s possible. Surely I’m not the only person who talks to her college roommate every day, even though she’s in Texas and I’m residing under endless palm trees. Surely there are childhood friends who still have a monthly girls night or still use their cell phone minutes to catch up every week.

Funny, the call to action for friendship would best be suited, perhaps, to a social media site: Support the Back to Friendship Cause! Ugh. Once again, the world is filled with popularity and lemmings.


It’s my first blog ever!

05 Aug

When I was a child, I loved going back to school. And not because I was a geeky, smart kid. It was because I loved, loved starting something new, like opening the first few pages of a Ramona Quimby book. I loved the smell of new pencils and erasers and having clean notebooks and new shoes. I liked starting over and seeing my friends change from their three months off—I loved carrying around the knowledge that I was getting older.

And I hated summer.

I know, I know, most people in the world, like 91.2 percent (my on-the-spot stat), find warm, sunny, humid weather to be ideal. They love their sunshine like a little piece of happy on the beach and long light-filled days with picnics and barbeques and lots and lots of swimming.

My view of summer was much more uncomfortable. Sticky skin and not being able to take a good, deep, clean breath. Having to be outside instead of inside where it was cooler, maybe. Wearing clothes that were infinitely smaller and more embarrassing than the long pants, long sleeves of fall and winter. And sweating for no reason, and at some point, turning my skin a pale, charred pink color.

I knew back-to-school meant that cooler weather and a cardigan sweater were just a few weeks away, and crisp air and all things pumpkin and burgandy and autumnal were just waiting for me to survive a little while longer with no air conditioning and sweat behind my bare knees.

I still hate summer, which is unfortunate, since I live in the land of eternal vacation.

But I also still love starting something new. Here’s to a new blog.