Saturday, May 9, 2009

The DX Version: New-Fangled Devices and Old-Fangled Human Nature (suckers!)

Now that you might have invested some mindshare in reading my earlier post, I hope you won't feel duped at the new larger DX version I'm posting mere hours later. 

It's been fun to follow all the articles and debates about the Kindle lately, or rather, ever since I bought one a few months ago.  Apparently, the Kindle can't pronounce Barack Obama correctly in the "text to speech" function, the same way Microsoft Office thinks I meant to type "barrack boatman." Of course, I checked this out directly, and it's not that bad. It just sounds like the kind of McCain supporter that embarrassed even McCain. I happen to use the "text to speech" function mainly for New Yorker poetry, which can be vastly improved with an inept vocalization, so I hope that any fixing of the Kindle won't fix the poetry too. 

The outrage over the newer bigger Kindle is kind of interesting because it proves the law where the scope of indignation is inversely proportional to the magnitude of the actual transgression. (And this is from a journalist who kept silent for years about all the real outrages being perpetrated on Americans.) There's another fascinating article about how Kindle users actually skew much older than Amazon thought or wanted, and for some reason, I see a connection. What this means for the coveted student audience, I can only guess. What it means for Amazon is that they might have scorned their pool of finicky retail-Americans. 

The new Kindle is called the DX just like it's a car, so I'd love for Amazon to act like a carmaker (let's say Fiat, not Chrysler) and roll out its different skins for the same chassis: the CX, the DX, the high-end S series, and then the Hummer series, which can be the final generation when the screen is actually the same size as an opened newspaper. Seriously, technology-makers need to version differently and to understand that there isn't one vanishing point in the horizon. I don't want one Ring to rule them all, although clearly others do.  

If you have a good name for the "high indignation to trivia" law, let me know. I would also like to propose the occasional return to "inrage," where you stay quiet outside your head when you know you're being seriously ridiculous.

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