Non-Ubiquitous

Little Darling I took no pride in my solitude, but I was dependent on it. –Charles Bukowski, Factotum

I went mostly-dark yesterday. Every once in a while one just has to clean everything out, retreat inside. Do only the bare minimum of email-checking or popping online to get the news. I didn’t realize how much of my day had become a steady diet of What The Internet Has Going On, and it troubles me a little. The interwebs are not ubiquitous, though it feels like it when you’re on them. And I have to remind myself often that the platform costs of signing on (a desktop or a smartphone, a wi-fi connection, a cell phone plan) are things that require an investment. Even “free” wi-fi at a coffee shop requires an investment of time as well as petrol or bus fare to travel there. This is why I say the internet isn’t ubiquitous–those who don’t have the infrastructure advantage or the financial ability to invest in the hardware turn invisible. It’s one major reason why e-books “replacing” physical books isn’t going to happen either. (Not to mention that if the power goes out, the majority of my cheaply-acquired paper library is still usable.) Sherman Alexie noted this very thing ages ago when talking about the elitism of the Kindle:

Having grown up poor, I’m also highly aware that there’s always a massive technology gap between rich and poor kids. I haven’t yet heard what Amazon plans to do about this potential technology gap. And that’s a vital question considering that Bezos wants to change the way we read books. How does he plan to change the way that poor kids read books? How does he plan to make sure that poor kids have access to the technology? Poor kids all over the country don’t have access to current textbooks, so will they have access to Kindle? (Sherman Alexie)

The dogs, of course, were thrilled that I wanted to spend serious time on the floor with them, playing tug and doling out ear and chest skritches. Not a bad way to reset one’s brain.

Time to queue up the Conan the Barbarian soundtrack, get some more caffeine down, and get some more work done. Here, have the ways chemistry can save you during the zombie apocalypse, with a bonus of how a certain nasty little King choked out his last. You’re welcome.

Over and out.

photo by: Helga Weber
  • I would never buy a Kindle. I want to be in control of my library. I want to read what I want to read in its original (uncensored) form and I don’t want a company like Amazon telling me what I can read and how I can read it. People don’t seem to understand that giving that much control to a company like Amazon is a Very Bad Thing.

    My dead-tree books are “always on.” I don’t need a $100+ electronic device to enjoy them. I can enjoy them anywhere at any time. And when I’m done enjoying them I can GIVE them to someone else to enjoy. Try that with an eBook.

    Also… what’s a “first edition” eBook worth?