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Gadgets

Incidental Media

Meet Little Printer. He’s cute, little, and smart. He prints out your own customized newspaper (more like ticker tape). You program an app to deliver information from various sources (The Guardian, Twitter, Dictionary.com) and the thermal-powered device prints it all on a spool of paper a couple of times a …

Autobook

An uninspired piece at the New York Times on machine-generated books by Pagan Kennedy.  It should come as no surprise that an author who makes money writing for a living would disapprove of the idea. Actually the books are just quickly mashed-up wikipedia articles, so there is very little machine in …

Old stuff

For those who love out of date technologies, IBM is celebrating its 100th anniversary (that’s interesting right there!) by showcasing some old hardware at its Hursley site.  

Booktracks

I wrote a while ago about publishers’ interests in sound tracks for books. Well, there’s a new company that specializes in this. Instead of plugging in your headphones to your e-book and listening to your own library, the book now comes with one. Innovation! Of course, there are ways that …

Killer App

I recently gave a talk at the English Institute at Harvard on the history of the relationship between tactility and reading. My main aim was to think through new digital reading practices within a longer history of the handedness of book reading. There were many challenging questions at the end …

Print your dinner

3-D printing is the rage in a variety of fields, from medicine to the culinary sciences. Wizards at Cornell have now come up with an affordable machine to print your dinner. What I really like about these stories is the way they show the afterlife of a particular technology, in …

“Note” worthy

I love puns, just love them. Anyway, an integral part of the history of reading is of course the history of taking notes. One of the interesting things about the printed book is the way it has historically been very good at interfacing with the way we take notes. Despite …

The Black Box, or Photography Online

An interesting issue of Triple Canopy dedicated to photographers’ reflections — both visual and verbal — on the relationship between photography and the Internet. There is a nice parallel at work here between books and photographs, both ancestors of print culture. The editors invoke the sensual superiority of the photographic “print” …

Books, Things, and Piles

An exquisite exhibit by Laurie Rubin at Afterimage on images of her books. When Rubin discusses her collecting habits she remarks that what matters to her is often the fact that her books belonged to other people. “My collection,” she writes, includes other people’s diaries, scrapbooks, sketchbooks, and photo albums. …