Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Two R's


Writers and Reading.

Rant
First issue. How can the late-night show guys justify being such unfeeling scabs?



I heard Kimmel say that "other people are financially dependent on the show." Well, why the hell don't they push the networks and the writers to resolve this more quickly? In my mind this is an unjustifiably bad choice.

e-Reading


Second issue. I've been running into a lot of publicity on eBooks, eBook devices, and electronic reading. Despite all the blog reading and Ravelry reading I do, I'm not sure how useful this whole concept would be.

New eBook on Knitting
I got an e-mail from Cheryl Brunette, the author of Sweater 101, which is no longer in print, but is available as an eBook.

Since the book was available electronically, and I've always wanted to see how useful I'd find something like this, I thought I'd read through Cheryl's eBook to give it a try.

There are lots of benefits to having this as an eBook, besides the obvious reasons of quick access, no space requirement on my book case and saving trees. The first is that you can link all through the book by clicking on internal links, and obviously get to outside web sources through external hypertext links. I never realized how nice it was to have an automated index. Another benefit that is perhaps specific to Sweater 101, is that Cheryl uses forms for designing sweaters that can be filled out electronically and saved.

Overall, this eBook is an excellent compilation of all of the information (plus some) that I have gained from other knitters, books and experience. This would be a perfect resource for someone in the earlier stages of designing their own sweaters, but certainly would also provide even the longtime knitwear designer with tips and tricks.

As for the verdict on eBooks in general, my jury is still out on that one.

Current Knitting
Sorry about not posting a picture of the Alpaca Herd Jacket yesterday as promised. But here it is now.



The good news is that I was able to finish the one side of the button-band and sew it on. The bad news is that I have no buttons for this jacket, and until I buy some, I won't be able to knit the buttonhole side of the button-band (and I can't pick up stitches for the collar until the button-band is complete).

I've been working on the secret crochet project in the interim.

14 comments:

Barb B. said...

I understand all the good things about ebooks that you point out. For me though, these are the bad points:
1. I like to hold a book when I read it (its that tactile thing again)

2. I like to read in the tub. Computers don't like water, while books can be dried out after an accident.

3. Ever tried to play an 8 track tape lately? Or use a floppy disc on a newer computer? Technology moves on, and there you are with this fabulous book you can't read.

4. I'd never save any forests, I would be printing out the whole thing as soon as I had it.

The AHJ is looking mighty fine. What kind of buttons are you thinking of?
Barb B.

marcia in austin said...

Regarding the strike: Yes, others are dependent on things getting resolved. That's the point. That's why strikes can be effective.

DutchJan said...

Technology will move on and I am alkmost sure that in the near future most of us will use the E-book. it might look strange in the beginning, but who could have thaught 25 years ago that almost all of us would use computers not only for work but also for leisure time. And it also might be a good idea to use less trees for the amazing amount of books which are published nowadays (you can almost find on all topics a book written) and to tell you the truth: I often ask myself it all these books are really necessarry.
About Bag's: I always put my smalll kntting work like socks in a plastic cover with a kind of zipper to take with me in my bag when I go to work

Birdwell said...

I love the idea of e-books (very Star Trek), but like barb b. said reading for me is a tactile experience. I love how my older paperbacks books SMELL and I wonder about eye strain on lit backgrounds.

avagee said...

I'm with DutchJan but even now your cell phone can make a fine eReader. The screen is small but you quickly forget that and are in the story. I get free 'disposable' eBooks for the phone from http://www.booksinmyphone.com

There is something really nice about being able to add books to something you carry around anyway. It doesn't smell like an old paperback, but its nice the way the phone nestles into your hand.

Kyle said...

While I totally agree with your point that it seems unfeeling, I can tell you that on one show that a friend works on, (he's a producer), there are 8 writers on strike, and the show has been "halted" until the strike is over - they finished (I think) the 3rd episode... with 9 or so more waiting to be made/written/etc.... and because of the writers strike, there are an additional 150 people (including the folks who do set design, gaffers, sound techs, post production people, location folks, craft services, etc. etc. who are also out of work) - they're all on unemployment now... and it's a sad sad time... soon, it will begin to affect others, such as the people who do the testing for shows for networks (if there are no shows made, there's no show to test) and it could even radiate out to the value of airtime for commercials - if it's not a new show being aired, say, Thursday, at 8PM, the chances of "regulars" tuning in may be reduced...

the long and short of it is that while I understand your passionate response (and respect it; don't get me wrong!) :) - I also want to point out that the strike really IS affecting many people in the industry...

Let's hope that they'll come to some sort of agreement soon so that everyone can just get back to work :)

Valerie said...

I check out ebooks from the library to read on my Blackberry. It's very handy when I'm stuck in line or elsewhere, because I always have my phone with me. I don't think I would purchase a device exclusively for reading ebooks, though.

Janice in GA said...

I've done most of my reading on a Palm device for the last 7-8 years. I have eye problems (BAD floaters) and the ability to change the font quickly and easily is a big plus for me. I'm also occasionally insomniac. Being able to read in bed without turning on the light (via the backlit PDA screen) is a real benefit for me.

But I have real concerns about the formats becoming obsolete. Especially the ones with DRM. That's why I won't buy a Kindle.

Most of the new eInk technology wouldn't work for the main way I use my ereader (in the dark -- eInk doesn't support backlights.) I'd have to buy a separate reading light, and to me, that just defeats the purpose of it all.

But I love being able to carry 60+ books in the palm (heh) of my hand. There's a wealth of free stuff in lots of different formats at places like manybooks.net, for FREE! I find most of my reading material there these days.

Meribeth said...

Like others have said, reading is a sensual experience. I definately will download books that are made available, but to read them from any electronic device takes the real pleasure out of it for me. Keep it for reference, absolutely..but not to cuddle with. Thanks for the link. That's a good one to have downloaded.

Any kind of strike causes hardships. I support the strike and what they are asking for is justified, imo. And much of the other groups, which are probably union themselves should support the effort because when it is their time to demand decent wages/benifits, etc. those that are on strike now will support them too. Although I have never been part of a union, I do support them. How can scabs justify? $$ I wonder how they would feel if they were still writers as some of them once were...
(network TV sucks for the most part anyway)

DutchJan said...

P.S. To tell you the truth: I love to buy a real book and it is almost impossible for me to walk by any bookshop in the world, and yes.... the smell of a new book is great. I have just started today -while going to work by train- another book from my favourite Hungarian writer (real liturature for me) Sandor Marai and it is always a magical moment to open up a new book and start reading the first page. (I also have that feeling always when you start a new knitting project with fab yarn :-)
But I am almost sure that when technology moves on and a good e-book computer can bought cheap that I will buy 1.

marcia in austin said...

Kyle-- I absolutely understand your thoughts about the people who are suffering due to the strike. I work in film production and the strike is affecting me and my friends. However I'm 100% behind the writers. They are fighting for what is fair.

Teresa said...

The jacket is just gorgeous and I hope you find buttons soon, but what is the status on your tablecloth? I have enjoyed watching your progess (for inspiration-I have a ton of white size ten cotton that I need to turn into a tablecloth, doilies or SOMETHING just to get it out of the house.) Keep us (your dear readers)up to date on it.:)

Marilyn said...

I have only bought one e-book and that was from Interweave, a weaving book with towels.

I will not buy e-books otherwise. Patterns are one thing--it's handy to have a .pdf from which you can extract the pertinent pages. That is useful. But the rest of my non-fiber books will be forever paper.

Re: the writer's strike. Letterman's production company, Worldwide Pants, agreed to negotiate with the union separately. These writers deserve everything they're asking for. I've never written for TV but lemme tell ya, writing ain't easy, particularly when you're expected to come up with top-notch stories or dialogue under the gun. Give them the fucking money they deserve!

HelenDarm said...

I like reading ebooks on a Palm device. I first started using them a few years ago on vacation -- usually I have another suitcase (well at least a carry on) for the books, this time, they all fit in my purse!

I was surprised, since I too like the feel of books, but I found that the narrow screen of the PDA was just about the length my eyes can take in without having to move much, so the ebooks were really easy to read.

I find the PDA size a little easier than trying to read a book on my computer -- the screen is too wide on the computer, while the PDA is like a newspaper column.

I switch back and forth.

Helen