Bill Does It Again

Here is an interesting article from Globe Technology on the new device called the PC Tablet that Microsoft is putting out. It\'s like a high powered Etcha-a-Sketch. Will it change the way we read and write?\"The makers of the Tablet believe the technology contained within its casing will radically change the way we read and write, moving us beyond paper to the electronic screen. There is more at stake, however, than just the physical substitution of one medium for another; it will require a huge cultural shift as society struggles to give up its addiction to paper and embrace the ethereal nature of electronics. It also has far-reaching implications for books, magazines and newspapers, not to mention libraries and museums. Ours, after all, is a well paper-trained world.\"

\"Most people of a certain age will remember how futurist Alvin Toffler predicted the paperless office in his books, including 1981\'s The Third Wave. But, since then, the invention of superfast printers and powerful personal computers has actually increased per capita consumption of paper. In Canada, for example, the production of printing and writing paper increased from 946,000 metric tonnes in 1980 to 1,560,000 in 1990, and 2,221,000 a decade later, according to figures from the Forest Products Association of Canada.\"

\"Now the next round of futurists are predicting the demise of paper again. This time, rumours of its death may be only slightly exaggerated. Take the new technology, whether it\'s software that makes it easier to read a liquid-crystal display (LCD) or a cathode-ray tube (CRT) screen, or the invention of a reusable, electronic display that is as thin and flexible as paper. Add to that a generation of children accustomed to gleaning most of their information from computers, television and video games. In high-tech circles the conclusion is the same: The paper book is doomed.\"

\"Microsoft isn\'t the only company seeking to improve upon or eliminate paper.\"

\"At Xerox\'s Palo Alto Research Center in California, researcher Nick Sheridon thinks he can offer the world a recyclable newspaper -- made of tiny plastic balls mixed into rubber -- that can download news via satellite or cellphone within three years. IBM is working with the Vatican on a project to digitize its collection of rare books by Aristotle, Dante, Homer and Virgil, among others, making them available to scholars all over the globe. At the University of Virginia\'s Etext Center, 1.4 million e-books were \"checked out\" free of charge in the last four months of 2000. The most popular? Alice in Wonderland, with 10,000 downloads.\"

\"Everywhere you look, paper is under siege.\"

\"At Microsoft\'s Washington campus, Keely and the Tablet PC crew are squirrelled away in Building 32, a low-slung, red-brick edifice located in the heart of the sprawling, 275-acre site. That\'s where the rest of the eMerging technologies group works, including vice-president Dick Brass.\"

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