Hope for the Trees

Occasional neighbor Dave Lester holds a Sony LibriƩ, a svelte e-book just introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The LibriƩ uses a new screen technology which Dave is working with for an even more exciting project--a flexible, newspaper-size screen which will receive whatever newspaper you like via a cellular phone signal. He estimates that his venture, Treeless Systems, is about three years from a commercial release of the product.

I was an early adapter of the RocketBook when it came out about eight years ago. It was a terrific breakthrough, but its fate was to pave the way for better e-books as opposed to creating a new standard itself. For the past several years I've simply read ebooks on my Pocket PC in the very good Microsoft Reader format. But this Sony that Dave showed me (shown at right) was featherweight, and you could read the screen no matter what angle you were looking at it from, like the Mona Lisa's smile.

I happened to hear Andy Bower's Slate podcast recently of a rant by Michael Kinsley, a college classmate of mine. Kinsley did a great job making the whole process of making information out of trees sound ridiculous. And when Dave Lester talked tonight about how you will be able to use a Treeless Systems newspaper to see video on the page as well as print, not to mention having the newspaper read itself via your car stereo on the way to work, well that sounded a lot better than whacking more trees.

Here's the podcast:

Sunday, January 08, 2006

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