Hein (fub) wrote,

  • Mood:

I'm not a caveman anymore

According to Wired News, free content still sells. Content that can be downloaded on the web for free, is still seeing brisk sales in hardcopy. The main example of this phenomenon was the 9/11 Commission Report. The full text of that is available online, but still the paperbacks are sold like cupcakes.
Further down, the writer offers the example of Cory Doctorow, who offers his novel 'Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom' for free on the net.

That's what I'm reading at the moment.

I first encountered the name of Cory Doctorow as a vocal advocate against DRM. I even made a post poiting to two of his articles on the matter.
Three weeks ago, when I was talking to ashi in #rawr, he mentioned Powells, the world's largest bookstore. I browsed the virtual aisles, out of idle curiosity, and ended up at the Cyberpunk category (I was finishing 'Pattern Recognition' and he was reading 'The Diamond Age'), and I stumbled across aforementioned book by Doctorow. The subtitle reads: "On The Skids In The Transhuman Future".
My interest was piqued. I wanted to know more.
So, I looked a bit further, and found out that the book has its own (sub-)website, with the book available for download in a myriad of formats.

So I downloaded it. And started reading. And I like it very, very much.

I'm too cheap to actually buy the book (should you ever read this, Cory: I'm sorry -- if we ever meet I'll buy you a beer (or two) as compensation). I seriously considered printing out the pages because that would be (presumably) easier to read. And then I happened across this gem, on page 38 of the PDF file:

"Lil grew accustomed to the drifts of hard copy that littered the house, to printing out her annotations to my designs and leaving them on my favorite chair—to living like the cavemen of the information age had, surrounded by dead trees and ticking clocks."

To people with bodycomps, who are always online, who can use their HUD to overlay lots of information over their field of vision, we are indeed the cavemen of the information age. This strengthened my resolve to not print out the novel, but to consume it in the way it was offered: as an entirely digital entity without physical form, information in its purest form.

I will not be a caveman.

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