Alex and the Waffle

22 11 2007

Make sure you check out the set of pictures of Alex eating a waffle. (Don’t worry, this wasn’t on Thanksgiving.)

Yum, Jelly

Seattle Wild Chickens

22 11 2007

When I took Alex to the playground today, we encountered four chickens walking along the sidewalk — two black and two orange. I guess they feel safe to roam the streets because they know we’re all focused on turkeys.

Seattle Wild Chickens

Happy Thanksgiving!

22 11 2007

This was the view from our bathroom window at sunrise this morning. It was a beautiful, clear day today in Seattle, and a great Thanksgiving. I hope it was the same for everybody else!

Thanksgiving Morning View

Another take on the Kindle…

21 11 2007

Here’s another viewpoint on the Kindle: Kindle-icious.

First impressions, it is a nice light little package. Sleek & white but relentlessly functional – no iPod/iPhone sexy curves here. The screen is great. Not quite paper-quality but the closest I’ve seen on a real device. It’s a little hard to read in dim light, but so are books.

Why I’m Not Buying a Kindle (Yet)

21 11 2007

The short answer is I don’t want an e-book, I want an e-library. I’m willing to pay a lot of money for an e-library, but I think it will take a lot of time to amass this library, and I’m not sure the Kindle will be around long enough.

I’ve read through a lot of the specs and promotional material for the Amazon Kindle. For those who don’t know, this is the latest venture to produce the mythical e-book reading device. The e-book is probably second only to the flying car for unfulfilled technological promise.

I’m sure I’m the Kindle’s target audience. I’m an early technology adopter. Unlike most of my peers, I read books (I probably have 800 books or so in my bookshelves at home). I’ve even dabbled with e-books in the past. I used Microsoft Reader extensively on my Pocket PC devices, back when I had Pocket PC devices, and I even wrote a program that converted The Economist to Microsoft Reader format. (I never released that tool because of its dubious legal status, but myself and a few friends who have Economist subscriptions used it.) Back when I had Pocket PCs, I think I read more electronic copies of The Economist than dead-tree copies.

So why am I waiting on the Kindle?

  1. A big reason is hidden in the above paragraph, with the number of times I wrote, "…back when I had Pocket PCs…" From past experience, I’m now skeptical of the staying power of any e-book device. While I’m more optimistic about the Kindle than anything I’ve seen in the recent past (being backed by the biggest Internet bookseller counts for a lot), I’m enormously skeptical that any investment I make in a Kindle device or Kindle books will mean anything in five years. (Even if I could find some of those old Economist e-books, I no longer have a device that can read them.)
  2. Amazon wants Kindle to be the "iPod of books." That’s an intriguing statement. But they’re missing one key thing. When I switched from listening to CDs to listening to MP3s on an iPod, I was able to take my entire existing music collection with me. True, it involved hours of sitting in front of a computer ripping my CDs, and hours more appropriately cataloging my classical music. But that still means that for an investment of a few hundred dollars and some time, I can now carry my entire music collection with me. This is what Amazon’s missing. If, by buying a Kindle, I could immediately get access to my 800 book library, I’d buy one today.
  3. The Kindle makes me think of the music industry’s transition from LPs to CDs. I’m too young to have lived through that transition, but I bet the audiophiles who had invested in hundreds of LPs faced a similar dilemma with the introduction of the CD. You had to buy an expensive device to play the CDs, and then you had to repurchase all of your records in the new format. At the end of the day, I think this transition succeeded because a CD placed next to a record had a lot of advantages. I don’t know if that’s true of the Kindle. If I’m just talking about the experience of reading a single book, it’s hard to beat the portability and durability of paper. I never have to plug in or reboot a paperback.

So that’s my struggle. I want to want a Kindle. I can see that having a library of 800+ books in electronic form is a better world to live in than having 800 books on bookshelves. But I’ll need to get there a single book at a time, and I don’t think a Kindle wins on the book-by-book basis. And considering that it might take me years to amass a library equivalent to my current one, and I can’t be sure the Kindle will be around in five years’ time, it means I’m going to wait and see.

(Amazon, are you listening? If you want to reach book-loving technology early adopters like me who are willing to invest in entire e-libraries, offer me the ability to buy entire e-libraries. For instance, for $8,000 I can buy the dead-tree version of the Penguin Classics. I’d pay several thousand dollars for a Kindle with those books pre-loaded. Better yet: You can go to LibraryThing and find out which paper books I currently have, and it’s conveniently cross-referenced back to Amazon’s database. I’d pay thousands of dollars if you could offer me a Kindle with a significant fraction of those books pre-loaded on it. Start offering e-libraries instead of e-books, and I’ll get a lot more interested!)

Alex at 20 months

19 11 2007

Alex turned 20 months old today. The strangest thing about that, to me, is it means that “2 years” is just around the corner. What an odd thing to sneak up on you.

I took some pictures of Alex eating this morning. I would just like to point out that there is a spoon on his tray, even if he chooses not to use it.

Yogurt Goatee

As we all know, he tends to use his hand:

Yogurt Hand

And while maybe we should be concerned that he’s developing bad manners, here’s all I’m thinking about: He was happy instead of crabby this morning. If eating with his hand makes him happy, well, I’ll take it.

Happy Breakfast

More pictures here:

Reading with Mama

6 11 2007

Reading with Mama (Alex, Day 3)

Breakfast of Champions

6 11 2007

Breakfast of Champions

Originally uploaded by B.K. Dewey

Milk, cereal, an orange, and a rock. Where else are you supposed to get your vitamins and minerals?

The Young Captain Hook

5 11 2007

Alex’s alligator puppet bit off his hand today. At least now the tick-tick-tick of the watch in the alligator’s stomach will warn Alex that the puppet is getting close.

The Young Captain Hook (Alex, Day 2)

Un-Halloween Fun Continues!

4 11 2007

Today, we got together with our PEPS group for more un-Halloween fun. Most other kids came in their cute costumes. Batman was there. We had a lion and a black cat visit. And Alex showed up dressed as a toddler.

Quite a Bagel

At least Alex was a happy toddler. He particularly liked it when we went outside. We were at Nathan’s house, and he has a great slide in his back yard. It was part of a 10-foot-high, multi-level play structure. All of the kids liked climbing up and down, but Alex was the undisputed master of the slide. Many of the kids got distracted by the cool things like spider webs, or maybe got a little nervous at the tunnel-like entrance of the slide. Not Alex. He was like a perpetual motion machine, sliding to the bottom and making a beeline back through the multiple layers of the play set. Sure, sometimes he’d sit down three feet away from the top of the slide and have to slowly scoot the rest of the way on his butt. At least he didn’t get any splinters.

Alex climbingAlex in the playsetAlex coming down the slideStatic ElectricityHow fast can I go?

The fun continued until our daredevil son decided to go head-first down the slide. That ended in tears.

You can see all of the photos here, including the cute costumes:

(Oh, and Alex wishes his uncle Craig a happy 30th birthday!)