Linked by David Adams on Fri 25th Mar 2011 15:06 UTC
Graphics, User Interfaces Samsung has developed a completely transparent solar-powered monitor that's designed to be used with ambient light. Though they're marketing it as a television, it's almost certainly going to be used initially as displays in commercial areas, and it apparently is also a touch-screen, opening it up for the coolest kind of kiosk you've ever used. See a video after the jump.
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RE[7]: This.
by Neolander on Sat 26th Mar 2011 09:49 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: This."
Neolander
Member since:
2010-03-08

- A friend just bought an Asus EP121 Win7 tablet. It's brilliant. You can easily draw with a stylus or take notes. I imagine that you can get a stylus for any of the current tablets. It's much easier to use than paper because you can erase, use different brushes and colors, layers, transparency and so on.

When I need to do some heavy task, I indeed take my computer (and the pen tablet attached to it), but it doesn't mean that it's easier to use than paper for note-taking or rambling purposes.

Only the "erasing" side counts a lot among what you've mentioned, in fact that's the main reason why I'd buy a tablet if they were good enough to replace paper in other respects. But the rest isn't much needed in normal circumstances, where a piece of paper and four ballpoint pens are enough.

It's a matter of using the right product for the right use. I know that today, all-in-ones devices which unsuccessfully try to be good at everything are trendy, but I prefer to stick with what's best for each job.

- Using Dropbox or a similar service you can make your documents easily transferable and furthermore accessible from anywhere. Wi-fi is widespread, mobile connectivity is reasonably cheap.

Introducing the notePad. A revolutionary product, at an unbelievable price.
1. Decide to give what's on a piece of paper to someone
2. Grab the sheet of paper and pull it slightly
3. Hand it to that someone

I'm sorry, but fiddling around with several apps and frenetically moving your fingers in all directions for a minute, and then asking other people to do the same in order to retrieve and use the document, just doesn't come close to the simplicity of this. Now, I agree that digital services win hands down when it comes to sharing files with lots of people, due to how easy it is to make many copies of a digital document. I heavily use e-mail for that. But for working with one or two individuals, which is what many of us do on a daily basis, paper wins.

- Most people buy and carry a tablet or a laptop anyway, so there's no added cost or weight. Actually I'd say that it's easier to carry a tablet with thousands of books and documents than carrying said books and documents.

A laptop has a significant cost in terms of used space in the backpack and weight, that's why I don't carry mine around anytime, but only when I know I will need it. If I wanted something to always carry around everywhere, I would have had to get something thinner, smaller, and lighter, but then I'd have to give up on some other desirable characteristic on my laptop (power, comfort...), which are more important to me that carrying around things which I most of the time don't actually need (which also includes thousands of books).

- Important letters can be electronically signed.

Yeah, and ? For the receiver, this means that you've taken around a second of your time to click a button in your mail client. That doesn't exactly makes him feel any more important.

- You are less likely to lose your device than a piece of paper.

But it is more likely to be stolen, and the cost in terms of lost money, time spent setting up everything, and personal data is much, much higher.

-You can search your local and on-line documents in seconds.

Don't know how I feel about this argument.

On one side it's true. For some tasks, like exploring an article's bibliography, the superiority of big online libraries and their offline copies is unchallenged. Even though it's an absolute pain to read something on a computer's screen, when you want speed and either read short documents or don't read them carefully, the benefits are much, much higher than the cost.

On the other hand, for more daily tasks, I have this principle that if you need some fast search mechanism to organize your own files, you're doing it wrong, because it means that either you organize your files very poorly or you have too much of them around compared to what you actually need. I tend to disable things like indexed searches on my computers, in order to increase performance, battery life, and storage media longevity, and I can ensure you that if the inside of your brain (as reflected by the folder hierarchy you spontaneously create) is properly organized, you really don't need that. It's valid for my uses of my computer, though, yours may be different.

- Papers can be forged

If you're talking about unprotected content, it's much easier to make a perfect-looking copy of a digital document (Ctl+C, Ctl+V) than it is to make a perfect-looking copy of a physical document. If you're talking about protected content, every single DRM which has ever been out there has been hacked within a few months or years, whereas physical protections like those which we put on money tend to last much longer.

copied or read without authorization

Like most digital content out there ;) Seriously, though, every protection has a cost. If you have some papers which you want people not to see, you put them in a safe place with a good lock, but it has a cost, and accessing them becomes harder. In the same way, you can protect digital content with things like encrypted partitions, but there's a cost: the passphrase. You have to type a password any time you turn your computer on (which increases the chance that someone will read it on your back), and thus to remember it. If it is easy to remember, it's easy to crack. Maybe biometrics are the solution on those matter, but afaik they haven't delivered so far. Plus, even in this case, nothing would prevent you from putting your paper in a case with a biometric lock.

stolen, lost

Computers can be stolen or lost. In fact, where I live, it happens regularly.

crumbled, spilled upon, so I'm more worried about the security of keeping things on paper.

Computers are, taking into account how much data they hold, much more vulnerable than paper to physical dangers, except if you have sold one of your arms to buy one of those uncomfortable and technologically dated "rugged" things which a tank is supposed to safely roll on. Plus, digital storage media tend to have a pretty short life even when they are taken care of, as compared to books which can survive for around a century, more if they are built to last, which means that they require the hassle of frequent backups to be reliable.

Edited 2011-03-26 10:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[8]: This.
by pandronic on Sat 26th Mar 2011 13:04 in reply to "RE[7]: This."
pandronic Member since:
2006-05-18

Thanks for your well thought out response, probably this would make a very nice conversation over a couple of beers, but I feel that this isn't going anywhere. You could completely reverse your last comment (quoting your bits and putting mine as the responses) and it would make just as much sense. For now I guess it's a matter of preference. I feel that my arguments completely counter yours and you probably feel the same about yours. There's no point to expand on that.

Anyhow, different people, different needs and conceptions, but what's certain is that sooner or later (probably later, considering your vocal reaction and the reaction of a lot of other people around me) paper will go the way of the dodo. I, for one, am ready to welcome our paperless overlords ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[9]: This.
by Neolander on Sun 27th Mar 2011 21:04 in reply to "RE[8]: This."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

Yup. We obviously have different choice criteria and different tolerance thresholds, so we'll probably not be going very far by arguing further on this ;)

The reason why I've written my original comment was that I just couldn't agree with this :

That's very much true, but I believe it's just something we've grown accustomed to, because there is absolutely no objective reason why we can't abandon paper.


I feel like now you can see some objective reasons, although for you the benefits of digital content over paper are higher than the cost, and as far as I'm concerned that's perfectly fine.

Nice debate, though !

Reply Parent Score: 1