Technology - Friend or Foe?

March 9, 2012
By Brittany VanDerziel BRONZE, TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan
Brittany VanDerziel BRONZE, TRAVERSE CITY, Michigan
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The times of the Amazon “Kindle” were raging. People all over the world were starting to buy ereaders - the device that was supposed to save the human race from spending extra time at a bookstore, and increase laziness. With millions of novels at one’s fingertips, sales of this tremendous apparatus skyrocketed. The look was appealing to many with its Eink that reads just like the page of an actual handheld book, its compact size, long battery life, and wi-fi connectivity. Not to mention the very cool accessories and cases that one could purchase on top of everything else. Many of my own, personal friends were buying such items and coming back to me with phrases like “you have to get one of these,” “it’s the best decision you’ll ever make,” and, “just look at what this thing can do.” With several brands producing different ereaders with the same purposes, I decided to do my research. I searched and searched for the perfect mechanism, and two weeks later, I purchased my very own Barnes & Noble “Nook.”

Now, I admit, that maybe my purchase was one of impulse, based off of peer pressure. But it was also a purchase made because the thought of books being within my reach at all times was highly attractive. The first edition “Nook” has Eink, but at the same time, has a color touch screen. It is MP3 compatible - giving me access to all of my favorite music in seconds. Sounds like a great deal, right ( no pun intended)? One would think so. It looks so glamorous, in fact, that even I was swindled out of my money. With 2GB of memory, the device can hold 1,500 books. Now I am in no way a “techy” person but when someone tells me that I have access to 1,500 books on one tablet, I get excited. With all of its fascinating features, I was convinced that this was the ereader for me. What I guess I didn’t search enough of, though, were the negatives.

Although this clean cut, white ereader is appealing to the eye, what it is comprised of is not at all what it is cracked up to be. For one, it is extremely slow. Everything about it is slow. If this item could be compared to something slow, it would be closely related to molasses. It takes about a minute and a half to load almost anything. I usually don’t have all day to just sit and wait for technology to bow down to my needs. When I want a book, the “Nook” does not give it to me, that is for sure. On top of being slow, this device is hard to manage. The touch screen doesn’t work as well as it should, and buying books takes about twenty minutes - and that’s just the loading process. The should-be bright and colorful touch screen does not light up all the way which distorts the neon reds, colonial blues, lime greens, electric purples, and tangerine oranges into dull and indistinguishable hues of reds, blues, greens, purples, and oranges.

Maybe the “Nook” isn’t the world’s worst ereader. Maybe it’s just because I love a good hard copy. The transition between a reading device and a hard copy of a novel is harder than one thinks - especially for those who love the idea of a packed bookshelf and the annotating abilities one is capable of. For me personally, the feeling of the pages as I flip from cover to cover is satisfying. The scent of freshly printed ink captivates me. The taste of a hot chocolate and the warmth of a blanket covering my legs while I’m curled up in my favorite chair with this hard copy is entertaining. With a device that gives me what I need in a gradual fashion, I miss out on the adventures of the composition in its original form and the amusing hours I could have spent in a book store. This, I think, overrides all of the negatives the “Nook” may come with. This is one package deal that does not include a hard copy, and I’m not sure I’m okay with it.

So there you have it, my experience with buying a popular device - unraveled. Obviously, everything has positives and negatives to it. Heck, people have positives and negatives as well. But, what all of this shows is that there will always be something bigger and better out there. If we wait long enough, we might miss out. If we don’t wait, and buy out of sheer impulse, we could be wasting our money. The market of all things technological is flawed - a double edged sword, if you will - that all of us, unfortunately, fall into at some point in our lives. Because I’ve seen more flaws in my should-have-been, supposed-to-be mechanism, I will happily stick to hard copies for the rest of my life, watching my bookshelf overflow with beautiful, real-life print.

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