Psychology, Tech, Uncategorized

The Black Hole of Knowledge (and Adventure)

Books

Books (Image Courtesy of Serif)

One advantage of a paper book on a bookshelf (or a to-read pile, depending on how tidy/organised you are) is that you don’t forget you’ve bought it.

While recently considering my nature and my problems with small-talk and even with publishing my thoughts on this very blog I started thinking again about the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking and I thought “I must get that” so I looked through my entire Amazon wish list where I was sure I’d logged it but it wasn’t there. I was briefly puzzled and searched for it. When the page came up there were the words “You purchased this item on November 1st 2015” – of course I had, it’s sitting on my Kindle, forgotten because it’s not sitting visibly in front of me.

I do love reading, as much as writing, and I haven’t been doing it as much as I’d like recently for various reasons including the old favourite of “not having time” – i.e. not making time, but at least if you have something in front of you, taking up space, it can prod you occasionally to pick it up and do something with it. So it seems that Kindle is also both wonderful but also a procrastination tool par excellence.

Now you could say that these two things make the Kindle (and other e-book readers) a potential voyage of discovery into piles of books bought on a whim, clicked on because they were free, or randomly downloaded while drunk but left alone it’s potentially also  a black hole of unlearned knowledge and undiscovered worlds.

Check your libraries regularly people.

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Psychology, Tech, Uncategorized

Procrastination and Deep Pockets

Stopwatch (image courtesy of Serif)

Stopwatch (image courtesy of Serif)

I had a problem, a big though not what you would call serious or important problem.  It was one that my psyche would not let me sweep under the carpet, or rather, delete.  For literally years I would just skim websites and rather than read articles I’d click “Read Later” – that’s how long ago it was, the Firefox extension (and later Android app) was still called Read It Later rather than it’s more famous current name of Pocket.

I just couldn’t be bothered to read stuff, I just wanted to passively watch TV even though I knew that I enjoyed learning and reading interesting articles.  I’d look at articles I thought would be too long to read, or watch, and I’d just again think “can’t be bothered” and clicked “LATER!”  I often made the mistake of looking at a news article that had links to more, each of which ended in a click on “Add to Pocket”.  So the Pocket became bigger.  Over 1,300 items bigger.

Like tomorrow, later never comes though so you eventually have to either read it all or delete stuff.

It took over a year of Saturday and Sunday mornings to read, watch and if necessary bookmark or log them in Evernote.  At Christmas last year I finally returned to the blank sheet and Pocket was sat there encouraging me to add things to it again.  I have vowed never to get there again – I use Pocket to transfer links from my tablet to the desktop to read or watch on the bigger screen and use it to put aside long articles, or complex ones that I’d want to absorb properly that I’d have more time to read at the weekend but never as a replacement for reading stuff, for procrastination.

As for link-heavy sites, well I either try to be disciplined and either not click on the stuff the site thinks I might be interested in, or I cheat and cover the links up with Windows Task Manager – set to stay in front of other windows.  Another help in this is Firefox’s Reading Mode, as long as you can click it before seeing the other articles.  Due to my earlier effort to reclaim my evening time I now know that I have time to read articles and do anything else I want, I don’t need to procrastinate and tell myself I’ll have to read it later.

It’s just as well I wasn’t buying newspapers between 2012 and 2014 I’d be buried in newsprint by now.

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Tech, Uncategorized

Wunderkindle*

Search cat

Search cat (Photo credit: zenera)

Last week I was in the Lake District once again and while I adore wandering around in the fresh air with the wonderful scenery, sun shining (much of the time) and birds twittering, there are always times to just sit back and relax.

This year I had a new distraction.  I’ve had a Kindle app on my tablet since about a day after I received it but due to the screen’s pesky LCD it doesn’t work too well outdoors so I decided to take the plunge.  I’d always said that the standalone ereaders were a bit pointless when you have a tablet but the more I’ve tried to use it the more I found justification for a read reader instead – another advantage is the lower weight, in fact when I finally had my Kindle in my hand I picked up what I’d thought of as a svelte and featherweight Nexus 7 and it felt like a housebrick by comparison.  When you’re reading for a couple of hours propped up in your favourite chair that makes a difference to your arm muscles.

My preconceived notions about the usefulness of another ebook reader meant that I ended up getting a bargain – a virtually unused latest generation Kindle bought from a lady on Ebay who didn’t really use it; having had it a few months I see that I could easily have justified the full price.  For novels and text books it’s so much more convenient and even though they’ve been out years the idea that you could take a couple of thousand books on holiday with you is still impressive, and easier on your luggage allowance.

Because I can download books that I might not have otherwise seen and read cheaply and not have to find space for them I’ve found that I’ve actually started reading more again and it may even get me back into reading more actual paper books again too.

I still use the tablet’s Kindle app for books with pictures or where jumping from one part of the book to another is easier with a touchscreen but being able to turn a page without moving my thumb away from the edge of the device was so much simpler, as was being able to also hold a bottle of cider in my other hand as it was no longer employed in holding a book open.   The fact that this ease of reading was achieved while I sat admiring mountains and a colourful sunset last week was a wonderful thing.

*Other e-readers are available 🙂

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