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Negroponte On OLPC's New Path, Plans For XO 3 122

Posted by timothy
from the he-oughtta-know dept.
waderoush writes "After laying off staff and splitting the organization in two, Nicholas Negroponte and the One Laptop Per Child effort may be hitting their stride again. In an interview with Xconomy, Negroponte says he has a new model for getting XO laptops to kids in Gaza and Afghanistan — and reveals more ideas about the planned XO 3 tablet and the future of books. 'Paper books are really dead — they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,' he says."
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Negroponte On OLPC's New Path, Plans For XO 3

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  • I like paper books (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nursie (632944) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:40PM (#33827024)

    And seeing as I have no tablet or kindle or iPad or nook or whatever the hell, I shall keep reading them.

    From my cold dead hands Mr Negroponte.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DeadDecoy (877617)
      I actually like both for aesthetic reasons. If it's for leisure reading a book can be cheap and easy to pack away. If it's for art, having a giant-sized coffee book with glossy pictures is nice too. However, if it's for work, I find it's useful to have both. The computer can keep track of the pdfs I accumulate better (citations, sorting, categorization, searching, etc) while printed-out paper offers a nicer form-factor for writing notes and really digging into the text. I'm guess though, that I'll start usi
      • by arth1 (260657) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:55PM (#33828016) Homepage Journal

        I like both too, but for technical reasons.

        With an e-book, I can tap a word and get a dictionary entry for it. And I never run out of bookmarks. And I can read in the dark.
        Not to mention carry 250 books in my pocket.

        With a real book, I most of all never have to worry about whether the format it's in will be supported ten or twenty years down the road. The only hardware requirements are eyes and hands, and the only software requirement is a brain, neither of which will go out of style in my lifetime.
        And I can lend it to whoever I want, or even sell it.
        Finally, depending on the paper quality, it has other uses too, which an e-book never will be able to help with.

        • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

          by Moryath (553296)

          The only hardware requirements are eyes and hands, and the only software requirement is a brain, neither of which will go out of style in my lifetime.

          Surely you jest - didn't you know that brains are already fast going out of style [wikipedia.org]?

          Especially when we have two political parties, one of which has as its base an entrenched, uneducated set of idiots in urban ghettos, the other a base of entrenched, uneducated rural rednecks and each party happy to keep the system set up so that a real, solid, well-rounded educa

        • All those books, and photo albums that use to occupy space in peoples homes have now vanished. I have a small book shelf for technical books, or books that i cant bring myself to part with. Everything else i donated to my local library. It actually feels quite liberating to know that the only things keeping at my currently location are a few pieces of furniture and a car...

          On the downside, if i lost my laptop, NAS and my online backups i would be devastated.

        • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Finally, depending on the paper quality, it has other uses too, which an e-book never will be able to help with.

          Shows what you know. I can rig my battery to ignite in no time.

          Oh wait, you mean that's not a FEATURE?

          Oh wait, that's not what you meant ANYHOW?

    • by cmd (56100)

      Nobody will destroy existing paper books. They will be around forever, and new ones will always be made. This is not a one or the other scenario.

      However, over time more and more books will be delivered in electronic format only and fewer and fewer paper books will be printed. It is inevitable; there are too many government agencies and (very large) corporations with their own interests and agendas that are dependent on this.

      That electronic book readers may have benefits for the user is only incidental, suga

    • by gmuslera (3436)
      The problem is if global culture makes that sligthly different, like taking them from your 457F dead hands.
    • by Locutus (9039)
      you left out that you were also not a child in a 3rd world country. FYI, most paper books don't last very long at all in most of the world, just a couple of years if you're lucky. I think he's leaning toward the fact that for the cost of a couple of dozen paper text books, a tablet which can hold those and more could be given to the children and last longer. He'll have to prove the longevity IMO.

      you sir/mame can continue using paper books since this isn't about you.

      LoB
    • The thing is, my house is full of books which my wife, son and I want to keep. There isn't space for more but we still buy good books from time to time. So what do we do, stop buying books? My old paperbacks are falling apart anyway. I would gladly digitise them if it meant I could read them on a tablet or ebook.

  • a visionary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RapmasterT (787426) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:40PM (#33827032)
    "'Paper books are really dead — they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,' he says.""

    He sounds totally rooted in reality to me.
    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      I'm sure this prediction will work out like many of his other predictions and ambitions. About as vaprous and fragrant as what comes out my ass after eating a nice large beany burrito.

      • You must eat a different kind of large beany burrito than I do, because the end result is usually much more liquid than vapor.
        • Irony (Score:3, Funny)

          by zooblethorpe (686757)

          I'm sure this prediction will work out like many of his other predictions and ambitions. About as vaprous and fragrant as what comes out my ass after eating a nice large beany burrito.

          You must eat a different kind of large beany burrito than I do, because the end result is usually much more liquid than vapor.

          Indeed, and liquid is not vaprous.

          BA: Baldric, do you know what irony is?

          BR: Yeah, it's like goldy or bronzey, only it's made of iron.

          Cheers,

          • Uh... ByOhTek was being sarcastic, not ironic. He was saying most of Negropontes predictions ARE vaporous in a sarcastic manner.
            • I'm laughing at myself too, be sure of that. :)

              It seems we're all missing the mark today, even ByOhTek -- his sarcasm suggests the opposite of what he's saying, which fits with your liquid, but doesn't jive with calling Negroponte's claims vaprous. And I'm enough off-the-ball today that my feeble attempts at humour are falling through, so I think I'll just drink my coffee now and try to do some actual work.

              Cheers,

              • by ByOhTek (1181381)

                What, just because your burritos give you the runs rather than gas... doesn't mean all do that. Damn, get better burritos.

                • I live in Canada. There's apparently a relationship between burrito quality and average yearly temperature.
                • Damn, get better burritos.

                  The best "burritos" I've had were in Monterey, CA, at the weekly farmers' market on Alvarado Street there. A local Indian restaurant (India's Clay Oven) always had a booth, with a big sign across the top: "When is a burrito not a burrito? When it's a naan burrito!" Mm, rogan josh, palak paneer, and basmati saffron rice all rolled up in a big piece of naan... Yummy.

                  And less gas than most any burrito autentico that I've had. :) Though beware the caca fuego if you get any of t

    • Or like radio, yeah, remember how TV killed radio? Or the VCR, remember how that killed the cinema?

      Meh. Sure, the market for paper books might shrink back from its peak, but it's not disappearing, and certainly not overnight.

      In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, What a maroon!

      Cheers,

      • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:46PM (#33827892)

        Well, my first reactio was similar, but living in a 3rd world country where access to book is diffucult and "piracy" normal (including on books) I think he might be "righter" than we think.

        Currently there are "roughtly" 1 billion people living in countries where the majority reads at least "some" and 5 billion who live in counties where only a minority reads.
        (nb: of course india, china, etc have great literature, and la hogera in santa cruz is trying very hard to get good interesting local writers to the local market, but the realitly is that the wast majority of people in emerging countries do not read for "fun", they read if they are ordered to by their employers...., because:
        If you are poor and a "cheap low quality pirated book" cost 4 to 5 hours of work you will not offer 100 hours of work every year to your child, so the child will not connect "reading with fun" (exept the statistical "lucky" one outlier)).

        Moreover there is little avaiability of recent outside book (a hard cover foreign book can cost about 50% of a basic montly salary).
        So execpt the pirated copies of some blockbusters made popular by pirated copies of foreign movies, you do not read recent foreign books (softcover classics are about the end of it).

        But "everybody" has access to computers (mostly of course in cyber cafés)
        and most students use pirated PDF's of school books, not just because they cannot affort the 30..40$+ * 10..20 they would need, but because:
        Amazon do not deliver in many 3rd world countries
        and other providers can take up to 2 month to get the book to you (assuming you have an internationally valid credit card)
        and the local bookshop are not very efficient (or just would not bother because they know you will hassle them when they ask 3..4 time the "amazon" price because they have to pay: the book, the transport the customs (40%)..

        So ebooks are the best way to get books to these 5B people

        And in 10..15 years we might see that 80% of the population reads about 50% with a 90/10 cut for ebooks and 20% will have a 30/70 cut because they only use it for brain sugar and techno books, but at the end ===> more ebooks than books, and more "influence"

           

        • I feel for you. Everyone should have a right to be educated and access to (e)books is central to that.

          There are (slowly) more options becoming available... Khan Academy and Project Gutenberg for example. Even entering "free book downloads" in Google returns a lot of stuff.

          I would imagine that print-on-demand services would help in cases where it's not offered in other places. I keep hearing about them but I've yet to see one in person... do they really exist (outside a lab)? That would enable you to get a
        • but at the end ===> more ebooks than books

          That's entirely possible, but also not what I was refuting.

          My point wasn't that eBooks won't grow; the market for them is definitely growing. My point is that paper books are not about to disappear, and probably never will, so long as there are readers and some means of making paper.

          But then again, maybe Negroponte is not claiming that paper books will disappear. Maybe he's just being obtusely literal ("paper books are dead" = "dead-tree books"?), and we've all

        • by gmuslera (3436)
          You should add foreing languages and availability to that problem. Even if editorials publish a translation, will it be available everywhere? Sometimes translations are done by particulars and distributed in electronic form as they are not available. Also something that editorials don't think it will be massively popular won't be in all brick and mortar stores.
        • by Garwulf (708651)

          I think there's an assumption you're making here that isn't necessarily valid.

          I have little doubt of what you say about your observations of the developing world today. But, you're also making the assumption that as the 3rd world nations develop, the issues that keep books too expensive and difficult to come by there will remain the same. I don't think that's necessarily going to be the case.

          What I think is more likely is that as the 3rd world nations develop, the standard of living, earnings, and the lit

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by grumbel (592662)

        Or like radio, yeah, remember how TV killed radio?

        You can't watch TV while driving a car, but you can listed to radio just fine, which I guess is one of the main reasons why radio still exists. I haven't listened to radio outside a car in ages. Same with VCR and cinema, different tools, different purposes, just with a bit of overlap.

        eBook vs paper books on the other side is different, same job, same requirements, really no fundamental difference. eBooks still have to become a bit faster and cheaper to fully compete with regular books, but once there, there

        • eBook vs paper books on the other side is different, same job, same requirements, really no fundamental difference.

          I hear your points, but:

          • Water
          • Power
          • Breakage
          • Pets
          • Static electricity
          • Peanut butter
          • Five-year-olds

          All of these (and many more) remain fundamental durability issues, and in all cases, dead-tree books come out on top (and with water, that could be taken quite literally). My argument is not that eBooks will never make it -- they already are making a market for themselves, and that market has lots of

      • by mean pun (717227)

        Or like radio, yeah, remember how TV killed radio? Or the VCR, remember how that killed the cinema?

        Meh. Sure, the market for paper books might shrink back from its peak, but it's not disappearing, and certainly not overnight.

        In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny, What a maroon!

        Then again, analog cameras are almost extinct, and so are typewriters. Digital cameras and word processors have been mocked just as much in their early days, and were rejected just as much for sentimental reasons. Predictions are difficult, especially about the future.

        • I hear you, but the examples you give have a notable difference from the paper book vs. ebook comparison. Looking at digital cameras vs. film cameras and word processors vs. typewriters, and also CDs vs. audiotape (and now digital downloads vs. CDs), the new technologies rendered their forebears effectively extinct by fully covering the older techs' use cases, while offering some compelling new feature.

          Conventional photographic film is difficult in many ways -- you can't see the picture until long after

          • by Raumkraut (518382)

            But ebooks also entail a raft of issues that paper books don't have -- power, relative fragility, DRM, data corruption, etc.

            ...pretty much all of which are also issues word processors have that typewriters don't. Yet typewriters are dead.

            Power is pretty much a non-issue for e-ink displays.
            Data corruption is possibly *less* of an issue with ebooks, as backups and copies are trivial to create.
            In fact, I would contend that all those issues you mention are mere implementation details. Using them as arguments against ebook adoption is like saying computers will never replace typewriters because a computer takes up an entire room.

            • :) I think you might misunderstand me. I'm not trying to argue against ebook adoption -- I see their market growth and expect it to continue -- rather, I *am* trying to argue that ebooks will not completely supplant paper books (which seems to be what Negroponte is saying).

              Typewriters and PCs have much the same constraints, really -- excluding manual units, both require power; both are used to produce documents; both are stationary (unless you bring in laptops, which just makes computers even more super

    • by Jonah Hex (651948)

      Someone contact Oxford, they're making a huge mistake!

      http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/07/1516233/Oxford-Expands-Library-With-153-Miles-of-Shelves [slashdot.org]

      HEX

    • But now how do I read my iPad for Dummies when I don't know how to turn this thing on?
    • by selven (1556643)

      If everyone was rooted in reality there would be no progress.

      As your subject line says, he is a visionary. And that is a good thing.

  • I wonder how the XO is doing. The last time I heard about it, it was not doing well at all! Now the fella is talking about XO ver. 3! Talk of ambition.

  • Focus! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:42PM (#33827052)
    OLPC needs to reel in its ambitions and focus on something it can deliver as promised. These guys are starting to corner the market in low cost vaporware and pipe dreams.
    • DNF (Score:3, Funny)

      by MrEricSir (398214)

      I wonder if you can run Duke Nukem Forever on the XO.

    • Re:Focus! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cgenman (325138) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:23PM (#33827604) Homepage

      To be fair, when the OLPC program was announced, a laptop less than $600 was considered absurd. But the threat of the OLPC program lit a fire under Intel, and created their low cost platform initiative. Negroponte, in many ways, is responsible for the $200 netbook that I'm typing this on right now.

      He seems aware of this phenomenon, when he says that threatening to build a $100 tablet may be enough to spur private industry to build a $100 tablet. He's learning.

      I don't know. The OLPC project is basically founded on dreams and whimsy, but has become very real very quickly. They seem to be much more savvy now than when they started. I'm willing to give them a learning curve, especially with how grounded the XO 3 project seems compared to XO 2 or XO 1.

      • The insane price points for his projects really kill his credibility, though. Judging from past experience, I highly doubt that the XO 3 will cost less than $200, let alone $75.

      • But the new Kindles are like $140 or so already. though not a fully functional tablet, I've been considering one, but my biggest concern is the availability of non-drm content. I mainly read programming books, and don't mind the cost so much as the space they take up. I've tried the demo Nook at BN, but really didn't care for it, the few people I know with Kindles love them... I just want to be able to own/archive my books myself. To not have to carry around the 400+ page behemoths around is a bonus.
        • by hairyfeet (841228)
          Why not just get one of those iPad knockoffs? You can get one of those for $155 [chinagrabber.com], it comes with Android, and since it is ARM I'm sure there is an open Linux you can run as well. If you want to have more than just books in a box and want to run your own formats it looks like the way to go.
      • by macshit (157376)

        I don't know. The OLPC project is basically founded on dreams and whimsy, but has become very real very quickly.

        ... and hype. Don't forget hype.

        Negroponte may be an idiot, but he's pretty good at getting out there and spewing whatever it takes to get people listening to him, whether or not it actually makes much sense.

        They seem to be much more savvy now than when they started.

        But they're also probably much less important than when they started. The OLPC project had its time in the spotlight, but that seems to have passed...

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Actually I'd say Negroponte needs to be kicked to the curb and instead of constantly coming up with new vaporware they should be using the economies of scale to actually deliver what they promised originally which was a $100 rugged laptop that any child could afford to own. Instead he has burnt one bridge after another, first refusing to sell to the first world (what, we got no poor kids in America? That's news to us in the south.) and then trying to force charity with his "get one give one" which made them

  • by name_already_taken (540581) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:42PM (#33827058)

    Seriously, why doesn't paste work in this stupid box any more? (Google Chrome 6.0.472.63, btw)

    Anyway

    Negroponte says he has a new model for getting XO laptops to kids in Gaza and Afghanistan

    Now you see why the US didn't sign on to the treaty banning cluster bombs - they are planning to use them to deliver XO laptops.

    It's cheaper, faster, and much safer for the delivery person.

    • Now you see why the US didn't sign on to the treaty banning cluster bombs...

      If the unexploded bomblets from a cluster bomb resembled cash bribes you can be sure the treaty would be signed. Otherwise there would be many politicians with missing appendages.

    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by blair1q (305137)

      It's not just paste.

      I have frequent trouble getting the word spelled "r-e-p-l-a-c-e" into posts.

      Something in the script is probably doing an eval in a way that considers it a keyword.

      Which I'm sure perks up the ears of code-injection sploiters.

    • "Seriously, why doesn't paste work in this stupid box any more? (Google Chrome 6.0.472.63, btw)"

      Well there's your problem. It works just fine for me in Firefox 3.6.10. IMHO Chrome has gotten one thing right (splitting different tabs into different processes so you can kill them and get the memory back) and about a dozen other things wrong. Prime among them, switching back to Chrome after working on something else for a little while will cause my ENTIRE COMPUTER to freeze while Chrome slowly refreshes the
    • yeah, it doesn't in my chrome, either. drives me nuts.
    • It's a feature designed to prevent you from copying and pasting viruses you find on the internet. <ducks>
  • by Mprx (82435) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @01:50PM (#33827156)

    First I had to get up and retrieve it from its special storage shelf. I was surprised at how heavy it was. It didn't have any search functionality, so I had to manually find the index, and then find my search term in the index. The pages didn't have any backlighting, so I had to move it to face the light so I could read it easily. The contrast ratio was rather poor. Most of the words in the book were not indexed at all, but luckily my search term was present. I couldn't click it, and I had to manually find the correct page again. There wasn't any highlighting either, so I had to manually search the page too. I read my information, and them put the book back onto its storage shelf where it uses a ridiculously huge amount of space.

    On the plus side, the resolution was high, but that's not enough to make up for all the other annoyances. Books are obsolete.

    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      First I had to get up and retrieve it from its special storage shelf. I was surprised at how heavy it was. It didn't have any search functionality, so I had to manually find the index, and then find my search term in the index. The pages didn't have any backlighting, so I had to move it to face the light so I could read it easily. The contrast ratio was rather poor. Most of the words in the book were not indexed at all, but luckily my search term was present. I couldn't click it, and I had to manually find the correct page again. There wasn't any highlighting either, so I had to manually search the page too. I read my information, and them put the book back onto its storage shelf where it uses a ridiculously huge amount of space.

      On the plus side, the resolution was high, but that's not enough to make up for all the other annoyances. Books are obsolete.

      You mean your books don't instantaneously beam their knowledge directly into your conscious mind? If I were you, I'd demand a refund, clearly your books are in improper working order!

    • by oldspewey (1303305) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:01PM (#33827306)
      Another large annoyance with paper books: when Amazon goes out of business (or changes their T&C), they will send squads of armed goons into your home to rifle through your bookshelves and remove all the books you ever bought from them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Obfuscant (592200)
      I opened up my PRS-505 today looking for a book. I could write a tome twice as long as yours detailing the problems dealing with that little beasty and completely ignore the benefits of the format, just as you have. Just to mention a few: no backlight, so I had to turn the page towards the light to read it... and it crashed while rendering the page I wanted to read, so it took five minutes to reboot, rescanning every document to extract titles from each PDF. After it rebooted, the clock was off by ten years
    • The contrast ratio was rather poor.

      That's backwards. Paper, even cheap newsprint, has a much better contrast ratio than any computer display. That may eventually change, but for now, it remains one of paper's big advantages.

      • by Mprx (82435)
        Newsprint has a contrast ratio of about 10:1. Even a TN panel LCD far exceeds that.
    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Isaac Asimov wrote a short story [wikipedia.org] back in 1954 about a couple of kids finding za "real book" in an attic.

      For reference works, I agree that electronic beats dead tree. But for fiction, I'll take a real book any day. I'm in the middle of Doctorow's Makers and keep wishing they had a paper copy in the local library (I own a paper copy of his Down and Out in teh Magic Kingdom).

      I have to turn the computer (a netbook) on, wait for it to boot, open a file manager to find it, then open it, then find whereever the he

    • You may find it cumbersome now, but they were once state of the art [youtube.com]..
  • "Paper books are really dead -- they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,"

    Huh? I've seen quite a few books recently. They're not gone.
    "they're gone [...], they're creating tablets"
    The paper books are creating tablets? Is he high on drugs or is that a literal translation that makes less sense in English?
    • by arth1 (260657)

      The paper books are creating tablets?

      Not only that, but they are both gone and create tablets.

      Sounds like Mr. Negroponte has hired G.W.B. as a speech writer.

    • by Narcocide (102829)

      I think he's talking about the books being "dead" in regions of the world where they were never alive to begin with. In most of the first world e-books are restrained in market share due to a fairly evolved and economical shipping infrastructure. Places like Afghanistan and Gaza have no such luxury so cheap and highly portable network-enabled tablet computers are quickly filling a long-standing gap between demand and supply.

    • I left a copy of Little Women on the table beside a copy of Band of Brothers, and when I came back the net day, there were empty champagne bottles everywhere, and Big Chief tablets all over the room.
    • by williamhb (758070)

      "Paper books are really dead -- they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,"

      Huh? I've seen quite a few books recently. They're not gone.
      "they're gone [...], they're creating tablets"
      The paper books are creating tablets? Is he high on drugs or is that a literal translation that makes less sense in English?

      It's a typo. He meant to say "they're creating tables". His teenage son has a table that's a plank of wood on four piles of unsold copies of Being Digital.

  • If Israel isn't willing to allow basic supplies into the territory, is it realistic to think these laptops will somehow be let through?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Narcocide (102829)

      According to TFA they've already placed around 3,000 there, so... yes?

    • According to reality, Israel lets everything without an obvious and direct military purpose into the country. There are and have been plenty of computers, food, medicine, cell phones, and other consumer goods in Gaza. You just need to stop reading the antisemitic websites and meet the truth. Gaza isn't Darfur, it's the welfare capital of the world.

      • Ahhh the anti-semite card. Always a treat to see that one played.

        According to reality, being critical of the policies of the state of Israel is not the same as being anti-semitic.

        So tell me, how does it serve the welfare of the people living in the welfare capital of the world when their homes are destroyed by military action, and then basic rebuilding supplies are banned [timesonline.co.uk]? After significant international pressure, Israel has finally lifted some aspects of this blockade, but the situation in Gaza remains bot

        • "According to reality, being critical of the policies of the state of Israel is not the same as being anti-semitic."

          Funny, I just read an article by a truly out antisemite, complaining about how people were too afraid to complain about Jews and instead complained about Zionists. He went so far as to say how people would agree with everything he said about Zionists, but the moment he said the same things with the word Jews, they grew uncomfortable. It's just code words and you know it.

          As for rebuilding sup

          • It's just code words and you know it.

            Don't presume to tell me how I think and how I mean things. I never used the word Zionist. I used the word state. Go buy yourself a dictionary.

            I love how people hate the Jews so much,

            Really? Please, tell me more about what I love and what I hate.

            they'll advocate for twisted, bigoted, purely evil people like Hamas.

            Where did I do that exactly? Oh wait, that's just you putting words in my mouth again.

            FWIW, I think Hamas is a corrupt and dangerous organization that has no business running a lemonade stand, let alone a fledgling state. But you know what? That's the reality on the ground, and collective punishment (of e

  • Negroponte is really dead -books

    Borrowed from the God is dead -Nietzsche, Nietzsche is dead -God meme without apologies.

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:00PM (#33827292)
    Books are quickly accessible, portable, need no batteries and just feel good in your hand while reading them.
    I doubt books will ever die, unless we elect Sarah Palin for President.
    • by Narcocide (102829)

      His argument (which seems based soundly in actual experience in the field) is that in places like the article references the infrastructure for shipping (or lack thereof) makes shipping books rather costly in the quantities that an internet-connected computer can get them. I'm by no means a supporter of the tablet computer form factor but this actually makes a lot of sense to me.

      • by digitaldc (879047) *
        Correct, though books aren't vulnerable to EMP weaponry
      • by rubycodez (864176)

        makes no sense to me. you can buy a hell of a mountain of books or DVD in a third world country for $100. pirated? unauthorized copy? no one gives a shit over there. I speak from experience.

    • by siglercm (6059)

      "... unless we elect Sarah Palin for President."

      Seriously, dude, get over yourself. You're acting as the PC police, attempting to regulate the Moral police. Don't you understand that your words are self-contradictory?

    • by dargaud (518470)

      Books are quickly accessible, portable, need no batteries and just feel good in your hand while reading them.

      No. The single reason why I consider shifting to eBooks is that many books are horrible to hold. Some are printed to within 1mm of the glue and you must press like crazy to be able to read the letters in the center. It's okay with each hands pressing it against the table, but makes it a real pain to hold the book one handed while in bed while using the other hand to... never mind.

  • Paper Books:
    Pros:

    • Can have "unlimited" Visual Real Estate (ever have four reference books open and start bouncing between them?)
    • No power needed to use (except light to see the book)
    • Comes with license to use "for the life of the book".
    • Higher resolution than most EBook readers.
    • Easier to "skim" for most people.
    • Water Resistant (even dropping it in the bathtub MIGHT not render it unreadable, but may shorten its lifespan).
    • Can withstand more "abuse" than an eBook Reader (throw one out the window/drop it 50 time of
    • by cgenman (325138)

      Good list! I might add:

      Paper Pro:

      Paper books handle complex images and layouts much better.

      A carefully placed book can be a conversation starter.

      Archives well for long-term ownership.

      Used books can be cheaper.

      Digital Pro:

      Digital books have search functions.

      It's possible to read from an ebook at home, switch to an iPhone on the subway, and read on a laptop at work on your lunch break. I.E. the ebook can live across devices.

      Digital books let you adjust font / size / etc to suit your own eyes and reading sty

    • Some of your pros/cons are based on assumptions that are not always true. That's not to say that they're wrong, just not always correct.

      My reader is software running on an n900. The power source is irrelevant, while the phone drains battery like a bitch if I put it in offline mode and just use it to read then it lasts 90-100 hours. I'm never away from a plug socket for that long.

      There is no DRM in my reader or on the books that I have. They are backed up to enough places in an open file format that they can

      • by Obfuscant (592200)
        I've been in one flight already that allowed iPads while everything else was forbidden. It is slowly moving in the right direction.

        On some airlines. On United, the dimwits are now being explicit in saying "noise cancelling headsets must be turned off", in addition to everything else.

        There is NOTHING in a noise cancelling headset that can possibly interfere with the aircraft electrical or radio systems. There is no local oscillator or even clock generator. It's a completely analog, audible frequency syste

        • Indeed, I, became, the, anti, Shatner, for, a, time.

          Online-mode on a wifi network it gets 2-3 days. In fact completely offline it might be 100+ hours.

          Online it uses 3G, battery life is completely dependent on signal strength. Basically if you use it as you would expect: video camera, GPS, constantly online, then it struggles to reach 12-16 hours. More modest use will stretch a day.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Paper: You own the book; you do NOT license it. You can resell it or give it away. It belongs to you. It is physical property. There is no license, no EULA, and should an idiot publisher try to put a EULA on one of the pages he'll be laughed out of court.

      That's the #1 biggest advantage of paper over ebook.

      eBooks do NOT have the potential to outlast their Paper siblings. A book can last well over a century, and there are books in existance that are hundreds of years old. I own books older than me, and I'm 58

  • by pseudorand (603231) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:20PM (#33827574)

    > 'Paper books are really dead -- they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,' he says.

    Meanwhile, elsewhere on the /. home page...

    Oxford University's Bodleian Library has purchased a huge £26m warehouse to give a proper home to over 6 million books and 1.2 million maps

    • Yes, but think how many tablets those 6 million books are going to create. They're going to be breeding down in the basement...

  • 'Paper books are really dead — they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,' he says."

    Um, just yesterday I ordered a paper book for myself. About 2 weeks ago I loaned a whole box of books to someone (I'm expecting them back in January) and my university booklist threatens to take the rest of my money.
    I don't think paper books are dead at all.
    I know someone that has a tablet, and I've fiddled around with it for a while. It's not nearly as good as a physical paper
    • by Belial6 (794905)
      To be fair, you did have more than one book to spread out. Your problem with space seems to be that you only have one reader. Perhaps if you bought 3 or 4 more you would be more comfortable.
  • Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tiger4 (840741) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @02:52PM (#33827978)

    'Paper books are really dead — they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,' he says."

    Do people really take such over the top wheedling seriously? And why would an otherwise pretty sharp guy say such a narrowminded blindered thing? Books are doing just fine, despite the coolness factor of OLPC or tablets or handhelds. People like them, use them, buy then, and keep them. And 100 years from now they'll still have them, unlike most digital ephemera. We're still working on getting good conversion of writing to text, but preserving writing on paper was mastered a few thousand years ago.

  • 'Paper books are really dead — they're gone. And they're not being killed by tablets, they're creating tablets,' he says."

    Which would be a historical revisionists wet dream. Books have that nasty property of not being able to be revised or deleted remotely. Once printed, they're there forever (or at least until someone rounds them up and burns them).

    I'm not saying tech like this is a bad thing, but when someone says "books are dead", and tablets and e-readers are the sole future of literature, yo

  • The OLPC is a stupid idea. Plain and simple.

    First of all, books in these countries are cheap. Student's aren't lugging around the hard cover, full-color, overpriced text books Americans get. They're printed in black and white, on ultra cheap newsprint. And for the dedicated student there's always access to a library, well, not always, but the option exists for some. But the most important thing here is that a book doesn't require electricity.

    How many parents, in third world nations, are going to want their

  • 1. Announce OLPC for low price
    2. Obtain funding/donations
    3. ????
    4. Profit!

    At least on the personal level, it seems that Negroponte is on the third iteration of this scheme, without actually having to produce much in the way of actual mass manufactured goods. Proof the P T Barnum was right.

    • They have backorders for 500,000 units and have shipped 1,000,000. If that ain't mass production, what is?

  • by Ranger (1783) on Thursday October 07, 2010 @08:37PM (#33831810) Homepage
    As long as Negroponte remains in charge of his baby the OLPC will never really take off. Eventually iPad technology will become cheap enough for the Third World. Too bad we have to wait for that to happen.

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