Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our World Grows Smaller

Our world grows a little smaller each day, but as the comedian, Stephen Wright, has said, "It's a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it."  I bought a cheap Kindle Fire the other day at Amazon, for $50.  I didn't want to get anything expensive as I didn't really know what all they did, and didn't know if I'd use it much, so that was about the right price point for me.  I've checked out many of its features though, and it's a pretty neat device.  You can listen to music, play games, watch movies, access the web through the Silk Browser, shoot photos with the built-in camera, read, and it's pretty handy for all that.

If you are reading in bed or dim lighting it lights up so it makes it easier to read, and automatically bookmarks pages for you, so you can pick right up where you left off, there's a function that will allow audio reading, and another function that will train you to read faster if that's one of your goals.  All in all it's a pretty diverse and handy device, and it's one of those devices that as time goes on, I suspect will upgrade itself and get better and better.  That would be great as well.   One of the small cons right now is the battery life, which if you do much on it the battery only last about a day and needs recharging, but like I said, give it a few more years, and they'll probably find ways to extend that as well.

One of the other advantages to an eReader is that you can find a lot of books for free, granted not everything, but there's plenty.  Plus Amazon has a lot of cheap deals as well for a buck or not much money.  Also many libraries will allow you to read their ebooks if you are a member.  I wish there was a web library for things of that nature.  I don't know why there isn't one.  Why would I have to be a member of a specific local library, when they give you two or three weeks to read an ebook, and then you can re-check it out, or it disappears off the device?  Doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  I don't know how that type thing works, but my guess is the local library doesn't physically do anything to make the books appear or vanish.  So I don't know.

Anyway even if you don't have an ebook, you can read a lot of stuff online with just a computer connection. has a lot of free books, movies, and other things.  Here's a link to one of them that has free art books.   And here's another one that has some classic literature.
They also got some audio books here.  Some of those links on those sites may turn up dead or don't work, but if you search about a bit you can probably find what you're looking for.

If music is more your thing, like it is mine, here's a couple of my favorite web radio stations:

If you like jazz, check out 

If you like progressive rock, check out 

If you like a mixture of different type thing, but particularly electronic, space music, New Age, jazz, and that type thing, check out    

If none of that appeals to you there's always Spotify, Pandora, etc.

The other night I watched Michael Moore's new documentary, Where to Invade Next.  I know Moore's a rather polarizing figure, particularly if you lean to the right end of politics.  But I think this might be one of  his more moderate, politically leaning film.  It was not what I expected.

I expected it to be some sort of criticism on how the US always seems to be stirring up the pot by waging war all the time, but it was not.  Rather what Moore does here is visit or invade other countries to see what he considers good ideas or ways of life that might be brought back to America and considered.  He's not saying we can or should do everything that he at or America sucks or even whether or not that they would work, as he says in the film, "I'm picking flowers here, not weeds."

One of the first places he visits is Italy.  He investigates how their people get way more time off than Americans, unbelievably more.  Also how their companies don't mind sharing more of their profits to the workers because let's face it, they would not be in the position they are in without them.  He goes to France, Germany, Sweden, and a few other places, and within each little segment he reveals a little eye opener, at least for me.  I think a lot of people see Moore as a gadfly or left wing commie, but I enjoy his films because at least they make you think, and he sides with the middle class.  Perhaps there are better ways to do things than the status quo, and if you can change things to benefit everyone's lives, why  not do it?  Does that mean that change will create  nirvana, no not likely.  Life will always have its ups and downs.  Does it mean with change, you might have to sacrifice something else somewhere else, probably...  more than likely.  But if you change something, and it doesn't work out that doesn't mean you can't change it back or change it another way to improve it.

I also liked that he included a bit more humor in this film, which seemed to go back to his first film, Roger & Me.  All in all it was good documentary, one of his better ones, and offered food for thought. 


At 9:12 PM, Blogger Richard Bellush said...

The trend of any technology is to get cheaper and more capable – also to get less well made, though that is usually a good tradeoff. Think the transition from crafted parchment to mass produced paper. You still can buy parchment and I guess you’ll always be able to buy books, but increasingly (like parchment) as a luxury. There often are complaints that the new tech is harmful. Plato worried (though a prolific writer himself) that widespread literacy was bad for memory skills, since you always could look up information up in a book. We hear much the same about smart phones today. I haven’t yet gone a-Kindling, but the day may soon be here when it is the only practical choice,

At 12:04 PM, Blogger El Vox said...

Something tells me books will be around for a long time still so getting an eReader isn't much of a necessity, more a inessential for most. I do like though that it has the built-in nightlight and some of the other add-on fuctions. Still, like the DVD or CD, not everything is available in e-format. So I doubt I'll be dumping my books anytime soon. Plus until they can make a nice size reader, it can be a bit of a hassle to read some books that are large, like coffee table sized books and such. It's okay for reading prose. Plus it's convenient to carry, but so are books. As for the future it would be great if you could condense your library down to a notebook someway. If you had to move to a new location it would be great to not have to pack a bunch of books. It'd also be great for professions that rely on a reference library ie. lawyer etc. Still we are in the infancy of it.


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