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You're right that the machine I described wasn't amazing. How could it be?
Tom's question was, How cheaply could we build this thing with existing
parts? He was interested in price above all. Tom wanted something *now*.
Couldn't agree without you more about laptops vs. desktops! That's the
purpose of the TeleReader program--to work toward a decent laptop *and*
the giant online archive. But the machine I've described would be better
than nothing at all and certainly would increase interest in networks for
transmitting text. Line-by-line remarks follow. Thanks for the thoughtful
reply.-David
 
 
 
On Thu, 12 Aug 1993, miekael wrote:
 
> David, what you are describing sounds pretty much like just another
> laptop, not a special machine. If that's all the TeleReader is I
> suggest you go out and buy one now. Why argue about what there is to
> be done when it's allready there. Go out and buy one!
>
Would that I could buy an *affordable* tablet-style machine with a screen
as clear as the one I want! Or with the pen interface designed for reading
books, etc.
 
 
> When I first read about the TeleReader, just the other day btw, I
> imagined a small thing about the shape of a large book. I found that a
> Good Thing. I've been publishing a lot of e-books myself lately and
> I've been trying to read both them and some Project Gutenberg and
> Runeberg texts on ordinary CRTs. It simply doesn't work. Sure, I can
> read e-zines, electronic magazines, on phosphore, but not a whole
> book.
>
> When I read I often make some tea and crawl into my bed with the book
> and the cup of tea. I can't do that with my Facit Twist terminal. I
> thought I would be able to do it with the TeleReader, but then again,
> if the spec you posted here holds I might not.
>
 
Right on! Again I was trying to satisfy people's hunger for something
right now. I, too, like to read in bed. So does my wife :-) I was more
interested in something for the Internet than for reading hour after hour,
although this option would be possible for those who wanted to. At any
rate, I'm glad to hear you speak up on this. I still would like to help
people get the hardware as soon as possible, but we mustn't lose sight of
the need for a *laptop*!
 
 
> If you ask me the TeleReader would be something the shape of a book
> with a screen of exceptional clarity and resolution. There would
> normally not be any keyboard but one would be available as an option.
> To interact with the TeleReader simple buttons on the side could say
> "up" or "down". Of course, there could be something like the pointer
> circle of the old Xerox 860. The harder you point with your finger and
> the more to the edge of the circle, the faster the cursor moved on the
> screen. You could get quite a scroll speed with the thing and it was a
> much better solution than a mouse.
 
I myself had in mind the above and was thinking of buttons to move within
a book, not just the pen interface--I believe the TeleRead proposal say as
much. Here, let me see. Yes: "You could move on to other 'pages' or reach
other chapters by pressing a button or by touching the appropriate part of
the screen with a pen-like device." More info: I might have a strip along
the button of the screen--a strip divided into chapters. By touching each
chapter you could instantly call it up. A line within a chapter might mark
the exact beginning. And then elsewhere within the chapter area of the
strip you could move to a precise part of the chapter. Maybe you could
even vary the scrolling speed according to how hard you pressed the stylus
against the screen. Seen one of these babies lately at your local computer
shop?
 
>
> Well, well. Back to the TeleReader. The actual books could get
> downloaded through a port in the back of the TeleReader from a proper
> computer or read in from some kind of removable storage. Perhaps the
> 21 MB optomagnetic 3,5" disk would do?
>
If prices dropped sufficiently, I, too, would like a very roomy floppy.
But we still might want to have a rugged HD for software. More kidproof.
I'm talking about the first TeleReader. Obviously solid state memory is
the way to go eventually. Also memory *cards*.
 
> I don't mind as much what kind of operating system the TeleReader
> would have, what's more important is the Reader software and what
> format the books will be stored in. The Reader might be a program that
> can interprete HTML (HyperText Markup Language) files and represent
> the file in hypertext on the screen. Of course, it would be nice if
> all these operations could be done in memory, so I guess there would
> have to be a lot of memory in a TeleReader.
>
> How do you want a TeleReader to act?
>
 
I'd want the designers to have leeway as far as the exact reader software
used. The TeleRead proposal just outlines the basics. The really
revolutionary idea isn't so much the hardware as the intellectual property
concepts. Also it's possible that the exact procurement philosophy--buying
up large masses of computers for schools and libraries to lend out, as a
way to drive down prices for consumers--hasn't been put forth before.
Since the universal library doesn't exist, I have no way of finding out!
My own inspiration for this happens to be the stories I read about the
massive purchases of laptops by the IRS, other feds, the military, etc.;
that helped make possible the laptop industry as it exists today.
 
As for how I'd want the TeleReader to act, my proposal tells tell how it
would act in a functional sense. In an exact technical sense? Use of
memory, etc.? That's where the Miekaels can make important contributions.
 
 
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David H. Rothman                                  "So we beat on, boats against
[log in to unmask]                                 the current...."
805 N. Howard St., #240
Alexandria, Va. 22304
703-370-6540(o)(h)
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