A soggy future for paper?

[As ever you can read this on the BBC Website too. And thanks to NationalExpressEastCoast for their crowded train and late running service, which provided the inspiration…]

The UK launch of the Sony Reader has sparked another round of frenzied speculation over the future of the printed book in a world of screens, networks and digital data.

Like the iLiad or the US-only Kindle, the Reader is a paperback-sized electronic book with a high-resolution display that uses ‘electronic ink’ and looks and acts more like paper than a screen.

They have been available for a while in other markets, and I almost succumbed to the temptation to buy one on my last visit to the US.

The  quality and ease of use of the new generation of readers means that they appeal to the general population rather than those who like to live at the leading edge of technological innovation, but although sales have been good they are far from spectacular.

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Cloud City

[As ever, you can read this on the BBC News website]

When I’m asked to give a talk about technology I like to pull out my iPod Touch, wave it at the crowd and point out that ‘in the future’ it will be a supercomputer with parallel processors and terabytes of storage.

Well, it seems the future has arrived rather earlier than I imagined, as a new service called ‘Oosah’ has just started offering a terabyte of storage for the iPhone/Touch ‘in the palm of your hand’.

On closer investigation it seems that they aren’t ripping the case apart to install some cool new quantum-effect anti-matter memory that has just emerged from the labs, which is a shame.

Instead they have a website that gives your phone access to remote data when you’re on the move and lets you copy files back and forward.  As long as you’ve got a signal or a wireless connection you’ll be able to play music, watch photos and read documents as if they were local.

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