20 July 2009
You're lookin' at an original "Palm Pilot". My son, one of those folks that likes to be on the cutting-edge, gadget-wise, bought one shortly after they came out. When it came time to jot down a note or add an address, he'd do it with a flourish that drew attention to himself and the fact that he was "with it". I'd smile, and when I needed to remember a name, phone number, or email address, I'd draw out my "Day-by-Day" pocket secretary and pen and do it manually. The only time I ever envied him his PDA was once when we were confused about which direction to turn in an unfamiliar city and he was able to bring up maps to give me directions.
Still, I always knew he could suffer a power failure or maybe be exposed to a powerful magnetic force that would instantly send his electronically stored information to the place where all lost electronic information goes, while the scribblings entered manually on my pocket secretary would be there when I needed it.
When the original "Kindle" came out I thought, "What an interesting idea. I'll watch and see how this technology unfolds." I like reading books and the possibility of having access to thousands of them in addition to newspapers and blogs via this paperbook-size instrument was worth my attention. But reviews of the original Kindle indicated it had a poor display, and function keys needed to be more user friendly.
Then came the Kindle II. Folks who had used both devices sang its praises, saying it had a much improved display and the device was more easy to use. I was just about ready to fork over the $$$$$ when this George Orwell fiasco hit the news. Imagine being one of the customers who was in the middle of reading "1984", finding the book you had bought via the Kindle had suddenly disappeared from your library!
What a PR disaster for Amazon! It's gonna be interesting to see how they try to recover the confidence of present customers and those of us considering the purchase of the Kindle II. For the time being I'll use my dollars to buy books I can smell and feel while I turn the pages.
My concerns about the original PDA still apply to the Kindle... original or new and improved. It's neat stuff, but are the potential problems worth the cost and the difficulty of learning how to use it properly? This incident just adds more doubt to the Luddites among us.
Of course, regular readers know the old way of storing information isn't foolproof either...
Data entered manually in my pocket secretary was also pretty effectively erased!