I'm a gadget geek, I admit it. I'm attracted to bright, shinny things, and think Steve Jobs should be beatified. Nonetheless, my latest fascination is Amazon's Kindle, the wireless reading device that allows the user to browse, purchase, and download electronic forms of books and read them on the device. All of this is done wirelessly, without aid of a laptop or synching.
My attraction stems from the fact that when I travel I have to pack enough books to last me for the trip, and inevitably I'll run across other material that I want to read. It's not like there's a Barnes & Noble right down the street here in Baghdad so I'm forced to wait until I get home, which may often be several weeks. The reader will allow me to pack one device that may hold as many as 200-300 books, and give me the flexibility to download more as I find other reading that interests me. Perfect.
Most of the criticism of the Amazon device is centered on the design or the ergonomics. People have grown to expect the sleek, shinny objects coming out of the Apple shop, and the Kindle doesn't live up to those standards. I can get past this shortcoming as hauling an extra 10 lbs of books in my luggage is not exactly ergonomically friendly either. More to follow is the weeks to come, but until then I'm still relying on Johannes Gutenberg's contribution to society.