Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Electronic Books, Again

By Dennis D. McDonald

The April 23, 2006 Sunday Washington Post published another one of those articles you read every year or so about electronic books and how they are "...just around the corner."

Don't get me wrong -- I'm looking forward to electronic books. My view has long been colored by the "newspads" the astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey watched while eating their TV dinners on the way to Jupiter. That's what I want: flat, unobtrusive, and wireless, with unlimited access to uncensored downloadable text. (Actually, my all time favorite "electronic book" is one of the main characters in The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson, but I think the infrastructure and A.I. demands of Stephenson's invention make today's envisioned read-only electronic books pale in comparison.)

We're not yet there but maybe we'll see something truly functional -- and cheap -- within a year or so. (Where have I heard that before?)

I sure hope so. I just finished an 827-page hardcover novel that I think will be the last big, fat hunk of dead trees that I carry around for a long, long time: Peter F. Hamilton's Judas Unchained. Maybe my opinion would have been different if I had really liked that book, but I don't think so.

One positive thing about this great big doorstop of a book is that,

This book was set in Photina, a typeface designed by Jose Mendoza in 1971. It is a very elegant design with high legibility, and its close character fit has made it a popular choice for use in quality magazines and art gallery publications.

Here's hoping that electronic books will have the screen resolution and processing power to accurately and rapidly display scaleable typefaces such as Photina!



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CERN, WWW, and Web 2.0