Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Santa gets cheap

Some students may be able to afford their own holiday gifts this year as Wal Mart will be offering a $199 Linux desktop (no monitor) with an 80GB hard drive. Of course, to me this seems like a typical Wal Mart product... buy it cheap, throw it away in a year (wasteful, right?). But even still, you have to admit it's a solution that wasn't there last year. I'm not sure if it will be capable of running Second Life, but with all the tools you need for classes being free or online (Open Office, Google Docs)... this computer rivals the cost of some textbooks.

Speaking of textbooks, I've been waiting since the 1980's for my hand held digital book. Finally, it seems like Amazon has one that will be affordable ($50) and (most importantly) real! The Kindle was supposedly going to hit the shelves last week but has been delayed until the end of the year. Why am I looking forward to an digital bookreader? All selfish reasons, of course. Bedtime reading is tough with a laptop... which is also too heavy to hold like a book. Comics. I want to read/make/distribute comics digitally. Wikis. My students have made a 2D Foundations wiki textbook... now I want that textbook to be downloadable onto a bookreader.

The problems so far I'm foreseeing with the Kindle: 256mb? I have a 2gb micro sd card the size of my fingernail. I think Sony can do better than 256mb. Just words? I need pictures too. PDFs as well. And why can't it play music while we're at it. Also, is it durable? Can I drop it on the floor after I fall asleep reading? Apparently I will be able to buy and download books straight to the Kindle... Can I rent books? Free? Like I do from the library? They can tell me Harry Potter drinks Coca Cola if they let me download the books for free.

In fact, if somebody combined the above two products... I'd pay $100 for one. A flat, hand held bookreader, web browser, IM chat tool, that could download and play music, video, and pictures but NOT be bogged down by all the other apps my laptop has to run. That's what I want Santa to bring me. Can the elves make that?

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