Being the random thoughts of Greg Tito, age 29.

Announcements for my standup comedy gigs are here at

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kindle the fire

I know I'm late to the blogparty, but this stuff gets on my nerves. I like the Kindle, amazon's new book reader. I think it's a step in the right direction. And by the right direction, I mean the kind of world where everyone is connected to the Intehweb via bionic implant, there's no money, and we're just a worp away from skiing on Centauri Prime for the weekend.

But people just can't get behind this little device. It's being smeared all over the place as a worthless replacement for everyone's favorite technology from 1455, the fucking book. I know the device isn't perfect, the DRM is too draconian and the price isn't exactly right ($400 for the kindle plus $10/book) but now it seems to be the fashionable thing to pile hate on Jeff Bezos, Amazon, Jews and anyone trying to make an electronic reading device.

This one guy even implies that the kindle will create a fascist world as depicted in Orwell's 1984. And the stupid thing is, over 200 commenters seem to AGREE WITH HIM. Here is my hastily written response comment.

I fail to see how citing literary sources alongside pretty standard contract language is supposed to argue anything. I think if you looked at every T.O.S. you’ve ever agreed to without reading, you’d be surprised as to how much “control” you had just signed away. The language is there to protect the company, not to harm the customers.

Should the Kindle be DRM free? Probably, but then no one will get paid for all of the R&D and risk-taking they are now making. I think the high price of ebooks and DRM are here for the early adoption phase. Both will fade with time, a la Itunes.

Should Amazon collect general usage information like every tech company (including Apple, Microsoft, you cell phone, your tivo)? Yes. Of course they should. No amount of doomsaying and conspiracy theorizing will make this research turn our society into Orwell’s 1984. How can so many intellectuals be afraid of market research? Are surveys on the streets of NY an invasion of privacy? Yes. Does that mean every member of Greenpeace is actually a fascist? Yes, but not because they are gathering information.

I don’t think the Kindle will replace books, nor is that its purpose. I think Amazon is working towards a viable alternative to lugging that backbreaking Complete Works of Shakespeare your grandmother bought you and you’ve never been able to get around to reading around on a crowded mass transit system. And that’s something even crotchety old anti-progress pseudo-intellectual bloggers can get behind.

1 comment:

Andrew said...

Hear, hear. Kindle 1.0 is flawed, but the potential is there.

Oddly enough, I shared an elevator with Jeff Bezos on the day of the Kindle launch. Judging from our awkward conversation, I don't like he liked being recognized in a crowded elevator.