E-book momentum

A front-page, above-the-fold story in today’s New York Times about e-books suggests that the devices are finding new readership and acceptance.

According to the story, “Turning Page, E-Books Start To Take Hold,” by Brad Stone and Motoko Rich, “[m]any Kindle buyers appear to be outside the usual gadget-bound demographic. . . . the device is most popular among 55- to 64-year-olds.”

The story concludes with a quote from a book reader who “once railed against e-readers” and who now is “in love with [her Kindle].”

But it’s not just the Kindle.  According to the Times:

Amazon.com’s popular Kindle is unavailable until February, creating an opening for Sony’s Reader . . . The increased competition could signal the public’s acceptance of the idea of reading longer texts on a portable digital device.

In addition to the Kindle and Sony Reader, the story makes reference to e-book applications and devices from Apple (iPhone), Fictionwise, Scroll Motion, Plastic Logic, Polymer Vision, Foxit Software, and E Ink.

New Browser Capabilities

Today’s New York Times has a “Technology” article by Brad Stone, “Open-Source Upstart Challenges the Big Web Browsers,” (p. C1) which explains some new features, such as Firefox’s “Awesome Bar” and Internet Explorer’s “Web Slices” and “Activities” functions.

 

Mitch Kapor has a good quote in the story:

 

“People in the industry foresee a time in which for many people, the only thing they’ll need on a computer is a browser.”

 

The story hits upon some of the new features and improved performance of browsers soon to be introduced:

 

“Firefox 3.0 . . . maintains three months of a user’s browsing history to try to predict what site he or she may want to visit. Typing the word ‘football’ into the browser, for example, quickly generates a list of all the sites visited with ‘football’ in the name or description.

“Firefox has named this new tool the ‘awesome bar’ and says it could replace the need for people to maintain long and messy lists of bookmarks . . . “

Internet Explorer 8 . . . promises its own set of tricks. One new tool, Web slices, allows a user to bookmark a dynamic piece of a Web site, like an online auction or a sports score, and save it in the margin of the browser, where the user can watch as it changes.

Another new feature, called activities, allows users to highlight text on a page, click on it, then instantly send it to another site, like a mapping, e-mail or blogging service.”

“[And] . . . Flock . . .  is developing a browser that helps users share photos, videos and blog entries more easily . . . “

The story reports about Apple’s efforts to use iTunes updates to distribute its browser, Safari, and reports that “Apple’s boldness underscores the new importance of the Web browser in a world that is increasingly shifting online.”