Tech I use: Books

Hey, it’s still a vital and important technology!

Anyone who’s ever seen my home (or my desk, for that matter) knows I tend to live surrounded by piles of books. I love the immersive feel of books, the way that there’s nothing between you and the world they describe other than your own fingers. I love that they’re almost maintenance free (other than some storage choices). I don’t need to recharge something to read them. I don’t need to think about whether I’ll run out battery before I’m done reading. It’s just, y’know, a book.

Reading in the bath is one of my great joys. (Reading in the shower doesn’t work so well!) but I drop books in the bath just often enough (or end up with damp fingers from turning the faucet or whatever) that I’d hate to have electronics nearby.

How much do I use books?

I average reading 20-30 books most months, and unless I’m under a lot of stress or sick, it’s usually about equally balanced between fiction and non-fiction. Left to my own devices, I read a lot of speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy) because different settings bring up different kinds of questions, and I really enjoy working through those. But I also read a fair number of historical (and modern) mysteries, a chunk of young adult fiction, and I’ve got a real fondness for dystopia novels. On the non-fiction side, I’m especially fond of microhistories, and of narrative non-fiction – looking at history through the life or experiences of an individual or small group of people. But I also read things that have interesting reviews, books with lots of buzz or conversation around them, and .. well, just about anything else that catches my interest.

There’s a lot of discussion about the future of books. Me, I think print books will be here in some format for a good long while to come. I think there are – and will continue to be – huge numbers of additional ways to access information (and I like those too, generally.) And I think that there are some substantial inefficiencies in the current publishing model (specifically, that you print a bunch of books, and distribute them all over the place, and then hope they sell) that I suspect will change over time. But there’s still something about the physical objects, somehow.


Tech I use, and tech I don’t

As we move closer to 1:1 laptops at work, and we keep having conversations about fascinating new technology, it seems time to do a list of which technologies I use all the time, and which ones I don’t. My plan is to do a post about each item on these lists and how I do or don’t use it (and why, which is probably more intriguing) In the meantime, the list by itself might be amusing.

Tech I use pretty much every day:

  • Books
  • Laptop (MacBook, in my case)
  • iPod Touch
  • Web browsing
  • Email (both on my computer and on Gmail as well as work’s FirstClass)
  • Blogs and online journal conversations
  • RSS feeds
  • Productivity and calendar applications
  • iTunes
  • Moodle (course software)
  • Notetaking tools (TextEdit, VoodooPad)
  • Computer based alarm clock (Awaken)
  • Radio (in the car)
  • Car

Tech I use at least once a week:

  • Cell phone
  • Google Voice
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Hulu
  • Podcasts
  • iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote)
  • Instant messaging (Adium, by choice, but also Google’s chat)
  • Watching DVDs on the computer (via Netflix)
  • Online health charts
  • Digital camera

Technology I don’t use or use very rarely:

  • Television
  • Console gaming
  • Landline phones (outside of work)
  • Dedicated ebook reader
  • Text messaging from the phone
  • Microwave
  • Video calls or voice over IP
  • Bread machine