Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Luddite No More

After some dilly-dallying and some shilly-shallying, I finally got an ereader.

Just call me Kind-Al!

So far, I haven’t done much with it. Downloaded a few samples. Downloaded a few games. Downloaded one of my manuscripts to see how that process worked (well!).

I tried the text-to-voice feature, and it reminded me about an internship I had in eleventh grade at the National Bureau of Standards (now called NIST). I was working in the computer department, on PDP 11/45 minicomputers, which were the size of large refrigerators. (Now, there’s probably a hundred times as much computing power in your digital watch than in those things, but back in the day, they rocked.)

To me, a mere eleventh grader, the coolest thing was their text-to-speech function. You typed something on the terminal and two giant speakers spoke it aloud. If you listened very carefully, you could even recognize one or two words out of every twenty.

We’ve come a long way.



Anonymous said...

Alan - Congratulations on the Kindle! I hope you'll thoroughly enjoy it.

I'm old enough, too, to remember those huge computers and speaker. In fact, don't tell anyone, but I remember punch cards....

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Have fun with the Kindle! I really am a fan. :)

Text to voice sounds good. What I don't like is voice to text: the computers never understand my Southern accent. :) I can't figure out why, since it isn't even that strong. It drives me nuts because my husband has to get on the phone to talk to the automatic people on the other end--and he's from AL. The computers can understand AL and not SC?!

Terry Odell said...

I had my computer read my WIP to me because I can't stand my own voice for reading aloud. But it was slow and robotic and drove me just as nuts.

Enjoy your Kindle. I'm loving my NOOKcolor. (And I have a book I can recommend, and it's bargain priced!) :-)

(Is there any significance to the spamword being "wordnes" today?

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I'm now reading books on Kindle on my iPhone. Very convenient! Enjoy!

Elspeth Futcher said...

I'm teetering closer and closer to buying an ereader...But, how big are they? Sometimes, size really does matter.

Alan Orloff said...

Margot - I used to wake up at 2 am to go type punchcards (the lines weren't so long then). Of course, one typo and your whole job would bomb--which was quite aggravating with 6-hour turnaround times.

Elizabeth - Not to make you feel bad, but sometimes I have trouble understanding your blog comments, too, because of your accent.

Terry - Slow and robotic. Hey, that's how MY voice sounds!

Sue Ann - Books? I got the Kindle for the games.

Elspeth - With the cover I got, I'd say it's about the size of a thin trade paperbook. The Kindle, that is.

Ricky Bush said...

Hey, yeah, I my wife and grown kids bought me one for my birthday this past October. I don't know if I'd have ever bought a Kindle for myself, but so far I love the gizmo. Lots of little features that help us increasing the font size. While you're reading, Alan, click at the beginning of a word you need defined and the definition will appear before you very eyes...just in case you used some words in your manuscript that you don't understand.

Alan Orloff said...

Ricky - The dictionary look-up is a cool feature. I wonder what it will think of all my made-up words? One of these days, maybe they'll make a gizmo that actually writes the story for you.