Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ad-Supported Textbooks

Click to enlarge
It has been a long, tiring weekend, but I had some fun in the middle of it. The NSC exec retreat went well, and you can see our goofy group picture above there. That and my moving in extravaganza (I have way too much crap) is what caused me to miss my Friday post. I didn't miss a whole lot though. The most interesting issue appeared to be the idea of free, electronic textbooks supported by ads. With all textbooks there's always a balance that must be struck between price and quality, and I think that this idea falls below where those two curves meet. How annoying is it to not be able to take your book along with you to read on the bus and whenever else you're on the go? Not everyone has a laptop, and for those who do it isn't as easy as cracking open a real book to start up your notebook and open a PDF document. Not only that, but it because less intuitive to have to use a mouse to navigate the pages. This idea can't work yet simply because we still don't have affordable e-Paper readers. It is controversial to solicit advertising where students are supposed to focus in on academics, but if it's unobtrusive then it may be a better alternative than the current system of pricey books. Even better than that would be e-Books that are just cheaper (equivalent of the going price of a used copy of the book) than the paper editions with no ads in a world where e-Book readers flourish. I think such a world is coming, but I'm afraid that it won't be until I've already graduated!

I'm pretty exhausted, so excuse the brevity of the rest of this post. If you're worried about the privacy of your e-mail on popular web services like Yahoo and Gmail, you should check out freenigma (likely named after the famed WW2 code-cracking machine). It's a great way to try to keep the webmail services themselves from peeking into your private conversations. If you're curious about how huge sites like Yahoo and MySpace are hosted, CNet has a little featurette about one of the companies involved with large-scale hosting and a massive infrastructure for backups. The PS3 will be utilizing a neat concept I actually learned more about this past spring called distributed computing where a large task is split up among multiple machines running in parallel to complete the work faster. The task is research for conditions like Alzheimer's, and I think it's cool that Sony is doing something right here. Lastly, if you want to see some awesome advertising, check out this page.

The box office this weekend was pretty tame with Invincible strangely coming in first at $17 million and Talladega Nights following behind it with less than half that much. Not much else was really notable, but I am glad that Little Miss Sunshine managed to secure the #3 spot. According to Marvel, they'd like to see several more Spider-man movies after this upcoming third iteration, but I wonder if Raimi will keep coming back to do these? I'm sure he's getting ancy to try other stuff. Jackass fans will probably enjoy these clips and posters from the movie, which I haven't seen yet but I'm sure they're going to be painful to watch anyway. George Romero has his next horror movie all planned out and I'm really not feeling the premise so much of following around some indie filmmakers shooting a zombie flick that becomes real. Lastly, if you're bored and are looking for some movies to download legally and for free, you'll enjoy this site.

Now for some Unconscious Mutterings:

I say ... and you think ... ?

  1. Visit :: Doctor

  2. Cake :: Birthday

  3. Period :: Girls

  4. Triumphant :: Jesus (thinking Xmas carols somehow)

  5. Screen :: Shot

  6. Neglect :: Abandon

  7. Guitar :: Strings

  8. Loathe :: Hate

  9. Sugar :: Sweet

  10. Montage :: Sports training

1 comment:

JennYfer said...

Dude, that picture is so awesome!

I'm happy to hear that you liked the Exec Retreat! Keep things rockin' and see you tomorrow!