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Will there be books in the future?

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Recently, someone asked me if I thought there would be “books” in the future.

So, never to over analyze things, whenever someone poses a question like this a few things occur to me… What does this person mean by a “book”?  And, what motivated this person to pose such a question in the first place?

The “book” – container and contents (“medium and message”)

In 2013 the question of “what is a book” certainly is legitimate.  Does the person think of a book in the traditional sense – that is, a physical object that carries/conveys/transports writing?  In this sense, the physical medium of paper and ink is a container.  Is “the book” the container or what it contains?

So, in 2013 with the ascendency of digital distribution and the decline of traditional bookstores it’s easy to understand the difference between the container and the contents of the container.  In brief, the new container is the digital distribution but “the book” remains the same – if what you mean by “book” is the contents (the message)

The deeper question of “the book”

It begs the deeper question.  Will there be “books” in the future?  And here we mean by book not so much the content as a genre of thinking.

Back in the 1960’s Marshall McLuhan came on the scene with a phrase that is linked to his basic insight – “The medium is the message”.  Prior to McLuhan people had the idea that the medium is an innocuous container and what really mattered was the content.  So in the case of a book the container should not matter in the least.  What is important is the content (message) and it does not matter if the “book” is in digital form, “paper and ink” form, or any other form or container.

The idea of an  innocuousness container goes far deeper than the simple example of a book.  What about the containers of mass media such a radio, television, newspapers, telephones, and the internet?  Are they all just innocuous containers of content?

“The Medium is the Message”

McLuhan says, no.  “The medium is the message“.  Briefly, what this means is that the medium (radio, television, newspapers, telephone, etc) changes us in a way – perhaps a diabolical way – that lies below the level of consciousness.

In essence, the message (content) is the meat that distracts the guard dog so the thief can rob you. The crime is the theft of the way we think.  The thief is the medium and the content (message) is the distraction.

Building on McLuhan, the idea is floating around that the medium of the internet is changing the way we think – and not in a good way.

Briefly, the internet has made us “shallow”.  On the internet we see a page at a time.  And even on that page we might skim a few lines of each paragraph.  Pages on the internet are filled with links.  And in some cases –  like the link I used above to Marshall McLuhan to help people if they don’t know who he is – is not so much helpful as it is a distraction from reading the rest of this blog entry.

Maybe someone clicked on the link, read about McLuhan in the Wikipedia, followed the links on the Wikipedia page, and never came back to this blog.  Those people are not reading this paragraph.  Those people fell for the power of distraction inherent in the medium of the web.

The Take – Will there be books in the future?

So, will there be books in the future?  Perhaps there will be old books in the future.  But, if McLuhan and others are correct about the medium’s ability to change us in diabolical ways below our level of consciousness then we might say that “books” might not exist in the future.  And in this case, by books I mean a genre of  “long form thinking”.

After the affect of the internet perhaps our ability to think deeply about anything will be diminished to the point that people of the future may not be able to read the books of the past nor create new books for future generations.  People living at “internet speed” simply will not be able to pay attention long enough nor think in a sequential manner or deep enough to read a book or write a book – as commonly understood in the 20’th century.

Find out more…

Check out this video from the 1960’s.  As for the term “Global Village” in the 1960’s who doubts that we have truly arrived and that “Global Village” may not be a term we use anymore since this is now our native habitat in the early 21st century.  What about the  prediction of the end of “literary man” and the rise of “tribal man” (a new man created by the electronic media).  When you hear the term “tribal man” in the video think about today’s social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and all the rest  Think about the diversity of  “public identity” that people fashion for themselves in social media.  Does anyone have an identity anymore other than what the media creates for people?

Written by frrl

February 3, 2013 at 7:26 pm

Vintage e-Book Collection – Radio theory, design, engineering…

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Check this link out for a huge collection of  vintage e-books related to Radio Theory, Electrical Engineering, Vacuum Tube Theory, Audio Amplifiers, Test Equipment, and much more

Written by frrl

July 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

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Get Free Culture

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For those who want to learn about Free Culture but don’t have the time to read Larry Lessig’s book, Free Culture , can listen to the audio book which has been released by the author under Creative Commons.

You can listen via a stream or download the mp3 files (100 MB) from this site

Read a related article with video –

What is Free Culture?

It was culture, which you didn’t need the permission of someone else to take and build upon. That was the character of creativity at the birth of the last century. It was built upon a constitutional requirement that protection be for limited times, and it was originally limited.

–Lawrence Lessig

All creative works—books, movies, records, software, and so on—are a compromise between what can be imagined and what is possible—technologically and legally.  For more than two hundred years, laws in America have sought a balance between rewarding creativity and allowing the borrowing from which new creativity springs.  The original term of copyright set by the First Congress in 1790 was 14 years, renewable once. Now it is closer to two hundred. Thomas Jefferson considered protecting the public against overly long monopolies on creative works an essential government role.  What did he know that we’ve forgotten?

Lawrence Lessig shows us that while new technologies always lead to new laws, never before have the big cultural monopolists used the fear created by new technologies, specifically the Internet, to shrink the public domain of ideas, even as the same corporations use the same technologies to control more and more what we can and can’t do with culture. As more and more culture becomes digitized, more and more becomes controllable, even as laws are being toughened at the behest of the big media groups. What’s at stake is our freedom—freedom to create, freedom to build, and ultimately, freedom to imagine.

Written by frrl

July 12, 2010 at 4:02 pm

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U.S. Marine Corps Field Antenna Handbook

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Check out the U.S.  Marine Corps Field Antenna Handbook- 192 pages

Written by frrl

August 17, 2009 at 1:55 am

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Department of the Army- First Aid for Soldiers

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A classic from the military – FM(Field Manual)  21-11 – First Aid for Soldiers – 304 pages

This manual meets the emergency medical training needs of individual soldiers. Because medical personnel will not always be readily available, the nonmedical soldiers will have to rely heavily on their own skills and knowledge of life-sustaining methods to survive on the integrated battlefield.

This manual also addresses first aid measures for other life threatening situations. It outlines both self-treatment (self-aid) and aid to other soldiers (buddy aid). More importantly, this manual emphasizes prompt and effective action in sustaining life and preventing or minimizing further suffering. First aid is the emergency care given to the sick, injured, or wounded before being treated by medical personnel. The Army Dictionary defines first aid as “urgent and immediate lifesaving and other measures which can be performed for casualties by nonmedical personnel when medical personnel are not immediately available.”

This manual is directed to all soldiers. The procedures discussed apply to all types of casualties and the measures described are for use by both male and female soldiers.

FM-21-11 First Aid for Soldiers

Written by frrl

July 25, 2009 at 3:45 am

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Servicing Superheterodynes

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We have a real classic fom the History of Radio. In the 1930’s to mid 1940’s Rider published a book called “Servicing Superheterodynes”.  You can find a real hardcopy on ebay.  We have a PDF version.

At the time the first edition of “Servicing Superheterodynes” was published the superheterdynereceiver was first becoming generally known to the public.  As the years passed, so did the tuned radio frequency set pass out of popular favor to be replaced by the well liked and today, well behaved, superhet.  Today, everything is the superheterodyne… The few t-r-f receivers, which are still being produced, are completely overwhelmed by the number of receivers based on the heterodyneprinciples. And – if you please, these receivers are becoming more and more complicated daily.

– John Rider from the 1934 edition

Servicing Superheterodynes

And please, don’t forget this modern book by Richard McWhorter.

The Vacuum Tube Shortwave Radio: Understanding and Troubleshooting.

The PDF of the book is password protected.
The password is “allamericanfiveradio”

Written by frrl

May 11, 2009 at 4:21 am

PIC Programming and Electronics books on-line

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Written by frrl

March 24, 2009 at 4:25 am

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