Jenkins: E-books are gaining traction and users

Jenkins: E-books are gaining traction and users

February 26th, 2010 by Donnie Jenkins in Blogstechcast

The introduction of the Apple iPad has led to a constant buzz online concerning touch screen devices, in particular e-books. There are several competing formats for electronic delivery of books, and more are on the way. One new concept is the DynamicBook from MacMillan Publishing. One online site called the DynamicBook a cross between paper books and Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that anyone can edit.

This format is at present primarily for use by professors, allowing them to add and reorganize content at will, and it does support multimedia such as audio and video. While it is not a radical departure from other models, it does appear that it will add a new "flavor" to the mix.

The Blio e-book format offers some similarities, but seems to differ in that it is apparently designed for a wide variety of uses, rather than only textbooks. We'll know more about both of these new offerings once they are in common use, and the Apple iPad will certainly keep this area of tech interesting for some time to come.

The popular Twitter application Seesmic just released a new web based version of the program, and it has several new features. These include a new contact manager, drag and drop Twitter List support, photo uploads with location information or geotagging, and more. Seesmic is one of the more popular Twitter clients and these new features will surely bring forth more offerings from the competition, always a good thing.

MySpace at one time was "the" social network, but it has lost share and respect over time to Twitter and especially Facebook. Many think it's becoming a social graveyard, but they deserve some credit for at least trying to re-invent themselves.

Techcrunch reported this week that it is developing a streaming interface somewhat like Facebook, allowing Status Updates and sharing information. It may be too little too late, time will tell.

Sony recently confirmed that it will release 3D digital cameras in the consumer market. You'll recall that 3D was a huge buzz at the Consumer Electronic Show. Also, the 3D movie Avatar has done huge business and stirred interest in the new medium. Several Blu-Ray players and HDTV sets will include 3D technology soon. It remains to be seen how popular this trend will be, however, as you must use special glasses at this time to view 3D material.

If you're in the market for a desktop for less than $600, check out the Gateway DX4831-01e. Cnet has a video review of this machine, and it looks oh, so good at its price point. One warning, however: in my experience Gateway support varies from excellent to mediocre. At one point their automated process tried to move me to a paid service for a simple question. So, be forewarned ... and aware.

Finally, alternative energy is becoming a catch phrase in the tech world, and many experts believe there will be no more important technical developments than in this field for the next several years.

Yesterday the Times Free Press featured a story that points the way toward the future of these devices. The Bloom Box is literally a box using fuel cell technology that aims to eventually replace our age old means of creating and delivering electricity. UTC's SimCenter participated in testing a version of the box, and EPB plans to install a unit soon in its downtown location. While there are skeptics who doubt that such a device can produce meaningful quantities of power at a reasonable price, there are many others who see a bright future for such technology. It's exciting to once again see Chattanooga involved in creating things for the modern world we will all inhabit.