Friday Morning – What Are You Reading?
We got word last night that Engineer Sam had his power restored yesterday. He lives in southeast Pennsylvania and had gone a few hours short of three days without electricity, but everything seems to be ok now. I think the magic number for losing the supply in your home freezer is four days or a little more, so that's a good outcome, considering. We had last heard from him when he sent in his report while standing by at the firehouse……
FossilMedic had fled the coast completely by flying down to New Orleans for that big super-EMT expo being held there. So when he gets back tonight all he has to face is the usual Friday night traffic jam.
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On another topic, we have been consistently keeping you updated on the electronic book industry and even ran a series this past Spring on e-readers and other methods of downloading and reading e-Books. It's definitely the accelerating trend that is tranforming the way we read books, magazines, etc. But recently we were reminded that this concept of e-readers is really not a new one. (We are forever being reminded that there's nothing new anymore, only old ideas being brought up to date.)
Smithsonian Magazine – which is now online, of course – posted an article back in March that features the forerunner of the Kindle, iPad, and Nook e-readers. This inventive device uses microfilm as the delivery system since, naturally, digital printing was still a ways in the future. Microfilm was first patented in 1859 but was refined and put to commercial use in 1925 as a means of preparing miniature photos of bank documents and cleared checks.
The April 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics magazine featured this book reader of the future:
The April, 1935 issue of Everyday Science and Mechanics included this nifty invention which was to be the next logical step in the world of publishing. Basically a microfilm reader mounted on a large pole, the media device was supposed to let you sit back in your favorite chair while reading your latest tome of choice.
It has proved possible to photograph books, and throw them on a screen for examination, as illustrated long ago in this magazine. At the left is a device for applying this for home use and instruction; it is practically automatic.
Additional text accompanying the illustration reads, "You can read a ‘book’ (which is a roll of miniature film), music, etc., at your ease."
I don't know for certain, but I'm willing to bet that this device never got into production. Yet it shows us that some people were working on the idea 80 years ago.
Some of the tools on our fire engine date back 80 years, too. So let's get started checking them out for the day. Thank goodness we have modern coffee-makers, I'll get ours fired up and see you later back in the digital day room.
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Also on FireGeezer…
- Morning Lineup – February 28 – February 28, 2013