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Why Digital?

Here are some reasons my reading source is more and more digital and why I favor paper based books less and less.

In fact, please let me handle the negative first. And let me start by commenting on the reasons paper people say are the reasons they stay with paper.

The reasons stated by the paper people include:
1) I just like holding a real book in my hand.
2) I like to make notations and underline/highlight.

Actually, number one is the only reason I have heard from paper people. Number two is really, or was really, my own reason. UNTIL it occurred to me that I always have at least one Sansa Clip mp3 player with me.

Let me nest here in my reasons for digital a list of reasons why I always have at least one Sansa Clip on me.

ONE: I play a lot of music.

I like to play along. So, whenever I go for a walk, in fact whenever I leave the house my departure check list includes not just the Sansa Clip but what instrument I might want to play. So, I am likely to stop at a comfortable, suitable place and play along with whatever music I am listening to on the Sansa Clip. This week Michael Buble is walking his tuchus off.

For example, I might take the tenor sax along to the post office where a comfy, shady, jazzless seat awaits. The post office is on a busy boulevard with a lot of traffic noise. So the additional noise of the saxophone is not going to bother anyone as it might if I played at home. Additionally it is positive. People at the drive by mail boxes often pay compliments or give me a thumbs up.

TWO: I might have two Sansa Clips and I might use one to record what I am playing as I play along with music I am listening to on the other Sansa Clip.

THREE: I write with my voice. Walking is a tremendous motor for creativity. So, I write into the Sansa Clip. I wrote my first real book on a Sony Walkman, walking the John Muir trail in Yosemite high country. I have many reasons for using the Sansa Clip instead of other devices but, primarily, the microphone is suitable for laying down music tracks, it is so good.

FOUR: I can record ideas on the Sansa Clip.

FIVE: I often read a book as I walk. My Kindle Touch, for example, fits in a pocket. The Kindle Touch has a good text to speech app.

SIX: If I think of a book I want to buy, I can often connect to the net and order the book from Amazon, download it and start listening to it as I walk.

SEVEN: If I am accosted I can record the incident. I actually did this when I was attacked and beat half to death on the street near my home. No, I was not playing an instrument. I was walking my dog, 2B, and the attacker was obsessed with ridding the world of dog poop. I opined that had he not been obsessed with dog poop it might have been abortions so perhaps unwittingly I saved some woman’s life. 2B is actually the name of the dog character my dog played in the novel, Nine Elevens. My dog’s real name is Mr. Darcy, a la Jane Austen.

EIGHT: I often create my market list while walking.

OK, those are reasons I always have a Sansa Clip on me. But, if you recall, I started this article talking about books.

So, here is a list of reasons why I like digital books.

ONE: I mentioned highlighting and margin notes. Of course, I do that now with my Sansa Clip whether at home or out for a walk or drive. When I finish the book I have all my notes in a handy audio recording.

TWO: ordering quickly. I mentioned I can order a book immediately from almost anywhere and be reading it in a couple minutes. Yes, I could do that with a paper based book except the nearest three or four towns to me have no book stores. I do have a library near but most of the books are beyond the freshness date. Additionally, I can download many digital text as well as audio books from the library with my Kindle Touch.

THREE: hands on. Or off. I do not have to hold a digital book. I can put it on a stand within vision limit. On the way to pick up the coffee cup my hand can swish a turn of book page en passant.

I have actually been reading digitally for many years. The net provides a number of sources for audio books and texts. Project Gutenberg was my primary supplier. Almost everything out of date and in public domain is on Gutenberg.

So, used to find a good book on and read from the monitor. I could set the font size, font color, font face, and background and scrolling rate, get my drink and settle back in my comfy chair and read an entire novel and never touch the book. Or, I could feed the text to the PC program Text Aloud and have it read to me by our lady of the mellifluous tones, Heather.

FOUR: vision limit. I mentioned this before but, I did not mention that my vision limit is increased because I can set the font size on my digital book and increase my vision limit.

FIVE: personal library in my pocket. At the moment I think my Kindle Touch has about twenty five books on it. The Touch fits in my pocket. So, I am not carrying one book. I am carrying many.

Additionally, I can store my Kindle books in the Kindle cloud, or on my PC or on a laptop.

Additionally, articles and text I find on the net that I want to read later, I can store on the Kindle Touch in text or pdf and have it via text or voice.

SIX: if you do not have a Kindle reader, not to worry. Kindle provides free apps for reading on your computer, your phone, and well, any appliance you can think of.

SEVEN: if you want the book read to you, then know that most authors publish on Kindle with text-to-speech enabled. But know too that not all Kindle appliances are text-to-speech enabled. The latest model, the FIRE is NOT.

EIGHT: I like my own voice. So does my dog. Often, I will find an article online, or in a newspaper, or paper based book that I know I will want to refer to often. So, I turn the Sansa Clip on and read aloud. I can always listen to the material later from the clip or transfer it to the reader, perhaps along with some new mp3 based music. Your dog probably likes your voice as well. So, you might just leave a copy of something you recorded for the dog to listen to.

Once you go digital, assuming your goals are consumption and production while having fun, the results will outweigh the pacifier aspect of holding the book in your hand and trying to get it to open up enough for your eyes to reach the words at the inside marging of the page.

If you have any questions about any of this I will try to help you resolve them. Just put in a comment below. It will require taking a minute to enter your email address. I do not abuse or misuse email addresses.

Have fun,

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When I Knew I Would Write

We lived on Orchard Road. I know that because I knew what an orchard was. I did not know why our road was called Orchard Road. I had not seen any orchards on Orchard Road so I had a bit of a problem associating orchards with Orchard Road. I did not even know that associating unlike and like was a mnemonic technique.

I had to have been five years of age because talk I heard around home having to do with me more and more had to do with school and me. So I did know the value of associating likes and likes. Continue reading When I Knew I Would Write