Are ebook readers worth it?

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

Perhaps it’s just the direction society is headed, but everything seems to be going digital these few years: be it electronic camera pens, butter warmers, or LCD sunglasses. Even the tradition of reading from paper did not escape this revolutionary conversion as the e-book reader fascinated people everywhere in 2008.

A decade ago, an e-book reader might have seemed out of place. Today, it’s the perfect solution to huge bookcase worries. Keeping a thousand or so books in your backpack isn’t a bad idea, is it? Why didn’t we think of this earlier?

So should one make it a member of the household?

PROS
1. Convenient: saves time and space
I love the e-book reader for the convenience it brings: how you can buy a book and read it right away, right in bed, and how you can carry an entire library around with you. First, time is precious. Time saved on buying books in physical stores can be used to do other (fun) stuff, like BLOGGING! Second, I’m lazy. I don’t like walking the full (half?) kilometer or so to the bookstore to buy a book: I’d rather stay at home.

2. Dictionary function (optional)
Some readers come with this program: when you move the cursor to a word in the text, its definition will appear at the bottom of the screen. For those who don’t usually look up unknown creatures in paperbacks, it’s time saved and knowledge gained.

3. Searchable
Sometimes you just want to read a particular section in a book, but you’re unsure of which page it’s on. E-book readers allow you to search books with much more efficiency – no more of those lengthy flicking bores!

4. Promotes reading?
It’s questionable whether e-book readers promote reading: one might say that the added convenience is an incentive, but e-book or not, when you decide to read a book you still have to commit time to reading it. The main reason people don’t read is because they feel they have no time to read the book. Can e-book readers really solve this problem?

5. Others
It’s better for the tree community. (Amazon, rejoice!) Some readers also come with lighted displays, so lighting conditions become irrelevant to whether you can read your book or not.

CONS
1. Battery life
It can be extremely irritating when you’re in the middle of an exciting novel and your reader goes flat. Preventive measures? Remember to charge it every night. Which brings us to another possible con – increased electricity consumption.

2. Less variety
Most readers are provided by platforms, and only read books from that platform. Which will you choose? Plus, not all printed books provided by [company name] will be available in e-book format, significantly reducing the number of books you can access.

3. Liquid disasters
Common tragedy regarding electronic products. Need I say more?

4. Software bugs
Another common problem with electronic devices, though I doubt they occur frequently with e-book readers: I haven’t heard of any cases of reader bugs so far.

The verdict? If you like reading books, then go for it. I would. If you’re a passive book-reader (if you read less than a book a month) and you won’t use the reader for magazines / newspapers, I suggest you invest your money somewhere else. Christmas trees, perhaps?

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On Choosing Charities.

charity |ˈtʃarɪti|

noun ( pl. -ties)

1 the voluntary giving of help, typically in the form of money, to those in need.

2 an organization set up to provide help and raise money for those in need.

 

Big Heart of Art – 1000 Visual Mashups

Charities are all about voluntary giving to those that need our help and support. But what makes you choose to support that particular charity when there are so many charities out there waiting for your contributions? How do you decide which charity to support, and how much to give to that charity? Do you contribute greatly to one, or distribute your funds among a variety of organizations?

As I haven’t much to give, I concentrate my donations on a few organizations: World Vision, UNICEF, and WWF, each with an average donation of around 20-30HKD a month. But these questions bug me more with each passing day: should I or should I not contribute to the smaller organizations that are pleading for donations? If I do, what about UNICEF etc.? Does World Vision or a charity for the deaf need my money more?

Wait. Does this matter? As long as we’re helping people, that’s fine, right? Who cares about which organization you contribute to? Unless it cheats people of their cash, that is.

The problem is, there are difficulties arising from uneven distribution of funds among charities. People in a certain region will get more help, while those in another may suffer dearly because of insufficient funding.

Can we be fair to everyone? Should we try to label some people as ‘more in need’ than others so as to better allocate our resources? How can we do this fairly?

Life is not simple.

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In defense of my extreme addiction to procrastination.

I’m addicted to a lot of stuff: stapling piles of paper together, listening to songs on Youtube, eating chocolate, emptying my trash on my Dock, you name it. But one of the tops on my list is PROCRASTINATING.

 

I’m sure many people share this vice. In fact, sorry guys, but I think over 90% of the human population have had, or have this quality now. If you don’t know what procrastinating is, congratulations! You’re officially incredibly serious about your work. And I’m not kidding.

I don’t know when I started: when I was six or seven, perhaps? I just didn’t find my homework remotely interesting, so I left it alone for the while. For the night. For a few days – sometimes even after it was due. Oops!

I have to admit this habit got me into a few holes as I grew older, with teachers no longer taking ‘Aww, she’s still young’ as an excuse. Things started to get serious when I was ten and my teachers started yelling at me. Oh well. Nothing like a bit of motivation to get the brain going, eh? It must have paid off – four years later, I only hand in compulsory homework late around once a term! Yippee!

As for my defense: there’s nothing wrong with it. It just…gives one more time to do something. And many people do it. It’s not like they get into heaps of trouble if they do. At first, anyway. (Okay there’re obviously a whole bunch of flaws here but I’m not going to bother to fix them.)

But will I ever actually quit? Maybe tomorrow. 🙂

(Picture from http://visualambassador.com/wp-content/uploads/procrastination.png It says ‘I’ll find a picture for it later.’ )

Powered by Plinky <-Credits to Plinky for the prompt.

Floured love

I walking home today from the pier when I saw a crowd of robins (about a hundred of them) huddled around an unknown object, which turned out to be a pile of flour. I didn’t think of taking a picture then (but I regret it now) so here’s one I found online that I feel can reflect the situation quite well. It’s a classic picture of someone feeding some pigeons.

Something like this.

I don’t know if that pile of flour was left there deliberately or if it was accidentally spilt, but it didn’t really matter. Similarly, whether the person who put the flour there might or might not have been there to witness his/her gift being appreciated didn’t really matter either.The thing was that the pile brought joy to over a hundred souls. What really mattered was that it provided happiness to others. It was a show of love, intentional or not, seen or unseen, open to public appreciation or not.

This was quite timely for a reward-seeking teen like myself, who likes being appreciated more than not: What matters is what you do, not whether people notice it, or whether you do it for the sake of doing it.

God speaks to us in many ways. If we just paid a little more attention to the happenings around us, would we not be inspired and learn many more lessons every day?

Happy Mid-Autumn Festival, everyone! :)

And here it is, one of my favourite Chinese festivals: a time when we can all sit back and eat a mooncake or two, or comment on how round the moon is. If we can see it, that is. Which I can’t.

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting old, but when it comes to yearly festivals, I like to think back and dwell on how it’s changed: what became better as the years passed, and what good things went sour.

This year, the first issue that came up was obviously the moon. But to a don’t-care kid like me, so what if the moon can’t be seen? Yes, I know that’s what the Mid-Autumn festival is for, but isn’t the moon just symbolic for unity? And if we have unity, why would we complain about not being able to appreciate something that only symbolizes unity?

Modern Japanese mooncakes! Image from sparklette.net.

Ironically, the atmospheric change I did notice related to mooncakes. Usually, my relatives would always laugh over the mountains of mooncakes the companies they worked at received, and wonder if the companies even wanted them. But this year, they talked of few or no mooncakes: financial issues were hitting hard, they said, and the heaps of free mooncakes had to wait till next year.

Never mind. I can always do with losing some weight. 😛

Science and the arts: one or the other?

For some ten plus years, Hong Kong’s been using the HKCEE system to educate secondary school students. In this system, students have to choose to specialize either in the ‘Science’ stream or the ‘Arts’ stream. They can’t choose both.

Today, even though the new NSS system allows for mixing science and art subjects, parents aren’t too keen. ‘It’s bad for your career,’ some parents said.

But in life, science and arts go hand in hand. The foundation of science is built on the arts; and the foundation of the arts is somewhat built on science.

from TIME.

What’s this? A piece of art painted by none other than the Microscope. Yes, this is the booze Rosé under a microscope, captured by Michael Davidson. Amazing, no?

(Check out other pics by clicking the image above! It links to the TIME website.)

from the Rock Blogger

And this? This is none other than a magnified Mandelbrot set. Yes, this is a map of numbers, fashioned with some color to make it sparkle some more. This picture is a sample of fractal geometry. If you wish to know more, click on the image above to go to therockblogger.com.

That’s it for today! I hope you now agree with me that science and the arts are connected: if it is in some quirky way. 🙂