Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

ebooks

WHAT are eBooks?
eBooks are rapidly rising in popularity these days, as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices become more available, cheaper and, ofcourse, popular, themselves. E-book generally means an electronic book, which can be in any readable format - .doc, .pdf, .txt, .lit, etc. eBooks can be anything, such as novels, educational textbooks, comic books, magazines, etc. Some reasons for these being so popular is because they're much, much more available than printed books, they're immensely cheaper, if not entirely free, and easily obtainable from the World Wide Web.

Sources
There are websites out there that are solely, or mostly, dedicated to the storing and supplying of eBooks, for example, sites like Project Gutenberg and Wikisource, or even Google Books. A very large source for eBooks would be P2P file sharing softwares (NOTE: File sharing is not illegal. Piracy of copyrighted material is). There are also websites out there that are solely dedicated to the creation of softwares for reading eBooks.

Why eBooks?
A very important question would be why someone would actually prefer eBooks over a printed book. For one thing, printed books can be awfully expensive, and not everyone can really afford to pay for them, considering the number of books they're actually willing to read. Another is the lack of availability for a particular novel in printed format in a particular region. The Web replaces the factor of a real world regional place by the virtual world, where everyone is connected to everyone and everything else. More or less. They're highly portable (if you use an eBook reader device) and save quite a lot of space (an important factor for some); a single harddisk the size of a single book can hold thousands of eBooks. Oh, you're also saving the trees.

Why NOT eBooks?
Many avid eBook readers would like nothing better than to read the real thing itself. Sometimes, there can be a sense of artificiality and intangibility about an eBook. A real book is... well, real; tangible, solid and there in front you. There's something in the turning of each page; something there in folding the corner of pages as bookmarks. There's something about throwing away a book over your shoulder at the wastebasket for the sheer crappiness of the book. You really can't do that with your precious computer or PDA. And sometimes, you just don't want to part with your 20/20 eye sight. No matter how popular eBooks would become, the more aesthetically inclined person would mostly always prefer a real book, worn with age and bound by leather.

And then ultimately, for some people, at some point, the format could hardly matter, as they give themselves in to the immersiveness of a story and the ever so impressive writing style of talented authors, not having a care as to how they're reading it. Regardless, at the advents of new and newer technology and better innovations, eBooks are becoming evermore popular, possibly and slowly replacing the hardcopies, which might one day be pushed behind glasses in museums labelled as antiques of an 'old' world. Time moves forward. And we adapt.

By Emil



Fancy new tech finally makes eBooks practical

Ebooks were supposed to be very convenient: easy to use, easy to get, easy to distribute. And they are all that. But unfortunately, they fall behind in the most basic requirement: readability. As convenient as they might be, staring at the computer screen for hours is a chore. No matter how good the content in the eBooks might be, reading them on your computer just isn't practical; especially not with the CRT monitors we use today or even the expensive LCDs.

But now, now, thanks to recent technological developments, the technology giants like Sony and Fujitsu are coming out with gadgets and devices that let you finally use eBooks the way they probably were meant to be used in the first place. To be read on a light, portable device that's easier on the eyes, has significantly better battery life, no start-up time, lower price than any PC or laptop… and so on.

For a dream-come-true gadget, the Sony Reader is pretty much fantastic, except for its very high price of around $350. The best thing about this sleek little toy is its amazing eInk-based display. The text looks almost as good as paper and are amazingly readable thanks to its high resolution 6-inch grayscale display.

The device supports all kinds of eBook formats, and also pictures (in grayscale) and music; so that means you can put whatever you want in it. But here's the hottest part: RSS support with images. The digital morning paper is finally about to happen!

The folks over at Amazon turned up with an eBook reader of their own, the Amazon Kindle eReader, with a display just as good, but slightly better features and an awful ancient early nineties look. The device has a six-inch, 800 by 600 pixel display, 256MB of RAM, a keyboard, scroll wheel, mini USB port. Despite the device not looking that great, the features do seem to place this as quite a nice alternative to Sony's offering.

Fujitsu, on the other hand, have an even nicer but even more expensive eBook reader. They have created a colour display with the same kind of “memory effect” as the Sony's grayscale one. That means Fujitsu's reader is every bit as good as the Sony Reader, but it's also in color. Oh, and the screen is touch-sensitive, and it's good enough to be seen without backlighting. Unfortunately the world isn't a perfect place and such a nice gadget has an equally unreasonable price tag. Costing at more than a thousand dollars for each reader, it kinda beats the whole purpose of having a portable display-thingy you can use to read all your downloaded stuff easily.

All of these nifty devices have online capabilities letting you buy and download books.

Are all these neat gadgets too expensive for you? Of course, we might just want to wait till the technology matures and we get really special devices that does all that, and more, for really really cheap. Or, if you wouldn't mind reading stuff in you cellphone, with a bit of little work you might just find a nice cheaper alternative! If you have a cellphone that lets you run Java-based applications on it, you'll be able to turn your little phone into a tiny little library in your pocket! That, of course, if you don't mind reading long bits of text from the teeny-tiny screens of our mobile phones.

All you've got to do is to head over to http://www.getjar.com/products/8730/TinyBook, download the tiny 10 kilobyte software and follow the simple instructions to create you an eBook from any bits of text you want. The nice eBook will readable on any cellphone that'd let you run Java, and the sizes of the books remain very small too.

By Ahmed Ashiful Haque Niloy



Independent

Maisha Naowar,Age 13


Independent is our country
Which now has a specific boundary
Even though we are independent
Still then the country is dependent
Who said we could survive freely?
And live in our country truly
Is independent still blood shed?
Which covers our sheets with splashes of red
Is independent in tears of a mother?
Tears of a sister for the brother
Is independent where rich are happy and others are not
What is called independent of this sort?
Is independent a bird in a cage
From years, months and age
Is independent a road filled with strike?
Or making demands and shouting in a mike?
Did our heroes spend their time completely uselessly?
And shed their blood valueless?

Book review

Darjeeling

Few things hurt as bad as knowing the person you love, is in love with someone else. What do you do, though, when that someone else is your own sister? Thus does Bharti Kirchner start her flavourful, colourful novel with a painful love triangle.


Aloka and Sujata Gupta, sisters locked in bitter rivalry since childhood, have cause for further conflict when the charming young firebrand Pranab blazes into their lives. Pranab is engaged to the beautiful and elegant Aloka, but nurses a fierce passion for the awkward, but rebellious Sujata. When the affair is discovered, events follow that force all three to flee from the flourishing Gupta tea estate in Darjeeling. Pranab marries Aloka, but his feelings for Sujata eventually lead to the disintegration of the marriage. When the heart is broken, the pull of the home is stronger, and all three find themselves homeward bound for the green hills of Darjeeling. Will Aloka be able to regain her lost love? Will Sujata finally get the love story she wanted? Will the sisters be able to reconcile their differences? Read the book to find out.

The story initially starts off with very idealised, two-dimensional characters. Aloka is all sugar and spice, not unlike Jane Bennet from Pride and Prejudice. Sujata is jealous and spiteful, and Pranab is the confused lover. It is only the author's seductively spicy narration that keeps the reader engaged; like a steaming cup of masala chai . Gradually, however, they mature, and their personalities take on new facets, so that by the end of the read they've charmed you. Woven into the narrative is this sense of nostalgia, and the immigrant experience is also treated realistically.

Darjeeling, a cup of tea, a platter of nimki…you couldn't ask for a better way to spend a rainy afternoon.

By Sabrina F Ahmad
sabera.jade@gmail.com

 

 
 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2007 The Daily Star