Thursday, March 3, 2011

Further Tales from the Content Pipeline: Hello Kindle!

A few weeks ago I wrote a little love letter about streaming TV and movies through Netflix. It's still one of my favorite ways to get television content these days, and it certainly has widened the net for movie viewing without having me go broke with Comcast PPV. It has been quite some time since I've thought, "Wow, I have over 1,000 channels and there's nothing on."

Yesterday, Amazon delivered another new content delivery pipeline to my door. Thanks to a recommendation from my BFF, I am the proud owner of a brand new Kindle. I know, I know, I'm the last person on my block to get one. Duh...I live in Silicon Valley. Actually my neighbors have probably already thrown theirs in the closet so they can play with their iPads. Whatever, I'm a late adopter this time, and I don't care. The new Kindle absolutely rocks.

There is always a profound and sometimes shocking moment when you realize that a new electronic toy is going to change the way you perceive content forever. I had that moment in the 1980's at a Colorado ski resort condo, when I realized that I had found a TV channel that played nothing but music videos. What the heck? I had stumbled across one of the earliest cable systems transmitting one of the earliest cable channels (MTV). I was transfixed by it. So was everyone else. MTV was actually cool once, back when Pterosaurs filled the skies.

I had the aha moment again in the mid-1990's, when I realized that my brother and I were sending each other e-mail messages every day. I never got a snail mail letter from him again and we never looked back.

In the late 1990's, downloading songs off the Internet became common. And now I have thousands of songs on a little metal disk the size of a hotel pillow mint. And more of my favorite music lives on my smart phone.

Starting today, my Kindle rounds out this minor geeky revel. I have loved to read ever since I yawned my way through a Kindergarten copy of See Spot Run. I guess they were too busy forcing us to duck and cover from pending Soviet annihilation to write interesting children's text books in those days. My favorite sci-fi novel about book lovers and haters has always been Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. What would that Orwellian world make of the Kindle? It would be harder to burn, thank God. I feel safer facing the future now, however dystopian it might be, knowing that I can store one book in my head, and thousands more on my Kindle. Hopefully they will invent one that charges on solar power!

Have to go read my first Kindle book now. It's When the Killing's Done, by T.C. Boyle, one of the best contemporary California fiction writers. Set in the Channel Islands, it's about animal rights activists and species preservation. Oh boy, can't wait!


Lisa said...

Congrats on your purchase! I know people who have them and love them! I am a big believer in libraries and so am going with the paper books for now -- plus I'm too cheap to get into Kindle -- but they look amazing and I'm sure I'd really like one. Perhaps some day...

It's nice to have an A-ha moment -- technology is wonderful!

Jane said...

Actually...I'm so cheap that the Kindle looks like a big savings to me over the $$ I've spent at Borders and Amazon, etc. The Kindle books are about half the cost of a paper book. Also, I can download individual issues of magazines for just a buck or two, as opposed to $5 or $6 apiece when I'm trapped at an airport. Still...hard to compete with a library, and my local one in Sunnyvale is really great. Of course, I find out AFTER I buy the Kindle that many e-readers have features that allow you to load books from your local library. Darn! Maybe the next Kindle upgrade will do that.

Amy said...

I love my Kindle but think I'll have to go back and forth between it and books. I get a high from the smell of some books. I can't totally give that up yet or who knows what I'll become addicted to!

Nice post, Jane!

Jane said...

The only paper that ever made me high was a copy of a homework assignment, fresh off the mimeograph machine. It was best when the ink was still nearly wet. I still remember teachers passing out the copies and all the kids in the class would lift the paper up to their noses automatically to get a good sniff! How's that for a boomer blast from the past!

Amy said...

Ah yes, I remember the mimeograph aroma well. And it was much safter than sniffing glue or aerosole substances.