Saturday, October 29, 2005

Love those legacies

When we needed a new computer, some while ago now, our Son-Out-Law offered to build one to our specifications. Oooh!

Make it fast with great graphics, so we can play The Sims at speed! OK, no problem.

Give us six or more USB ports so we can dangle peripherals all over it! OK, no problem.

Give us a 3 1/2 inch disk drive! Huh? Whatever for?? Said the SOL. Why don't you just use memory sticks? Because we still have old disks, and because we are old fogies. OK, he said, and found one somewhere. We have used it, and I am glad we have it.

Give us two serial ports! Huh? Whatever for?? Said the SOL. Because we have LEGACY TECHNOLOGY, that's why. He shrugged, and said OK, and the new beast was delivered as specified.

Now despite the waves of E-Bay frenzy and general de-cluttering, we still have our two electronic books hanging around. Two Rocket e-books - His and Hers. If you've never seen one, here it is:

(Note the Pug coaster - nearby there is a pug mouse mat too.) I've long had a thing for electronic books, having done a consultancy assignment on them once in the dark ages (1986). I spoke about them at conferences, talked about them, thought about them, had to have one. So a big part of me resisted the idea of ebaying them.

The Women's Library, where I am a volunteer, has a book discussion group. Being a huge fan of Willa Cather, I suggested one of my favourites for a forthcoming group - A Lost Lady. Where is my copy? Looking, looking. Uh Oh. Purged in the Great Book Purge of 2005.

Thinks - this book was published in 1923. Maybe it is available digitally? I look. It is. I download it. Thinks - I'll put it on my Palm using DropBook and Palm Reader. I do that, it works. Reading on the Palm is a little bit small though, and I remember the ebooks. I wonder whether they will still work? They'll need to be fired up to be ebayed (if I decide to do that.) Rootling around in all the electricals, both of them come to the surface. I plug the cables into the sneered-at dinosaur-age serial port, fire up the CD with its software, and turn everything on. It works. Both books are just fine. Not a glitch, not a configuration problem, nothing. I am stunned.

A Lost Lady is a fine book. I am reading it in bed with the backlighting set at 60%. Ain't technology grand?

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