Tuesday, 1 December 2009

On the (possible) benefits of modern technology

Margo and Chris mentioned a couple of times in their blog how they downloaded travel guides from the Lonely Planet (among other things) onto the mini-computer/netbook they brought with them on their odyssey. This has got me thinking about whether I should invest in a netbook for future trips as most of the motels I stayed in advertised free wifi. (Whether or not they actually delivered is another story and one which I was unequipped to judged.) I was just poking around the Lonely Planet website and was amused to see that the cheapest way to get their data about an individual Canadian province was via download. In addition, given my recent experience at a bike shop, the benefits of having lots of data while touring on a bike seem particularly obvious.

I must also thank Margo and Chris for bringing the benefits of electronic books to my attention. At a recent meeting at work there was a discussion about the fact that the Library is moving towards offering downloadable MP3 audiobooks, with a resultant discussion of the larger issue of e-books and their ilk. Just after one of my older and more conservative (and irritating) colleagues repeated a hackneyed spiel about how Umberto Eco said that electronic books will never replace printed books, I was able to riposte with the argument that e-books aren't a replacement for printed books, per se, but a supplement to them in cases where space and weight were at a premium, using Margo and Chris' example. This in turn lead the department head to comment about how she usually went on vacation with a dozen books and therefore for the vacationing patrons of our library, the availability of e-books from the library might well be welcomed. I therefore appeared to be very informed and up to date thanks to Margo and Chris' blog.

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