I cam across a lovely new word last week in the Economist: apparatgeist, in a most interesting piece “The Apparatgeist calls.” ‘How you use your mobile phone has long reflected where you live. But the spirit of the machines may be wiping away cultural differences.’
The word triggered my reticular activating system and everywhere I turned I saw examples of cultures responding to technology. Here, for example, is the response of an English village to a decommissioned red telephone box:
Yes, they turned it into a library. A different kind of library.
And here is the latest on Margaret Atwood’s LongPen idea, only now it’s morphed into a low-cost signing tablet that will be useful for virtual legal and banking transactions.
Last and best and utterly unconnected to anything, except the car as culture, is a blog post about the stories of Dangerous Space, Kelley’s short story collection. It was lovely seeing that excerpt from “Somewhere Down the Diamondback Road” out of context. I remember watching Kelley write that in the heat and humidity of Clarion and being so in love I hurt. And then going out driving in her little red sports car and being glad I wasn’t Billy… (Of course, it also reminds me of our constant bickering over the words carapace and the ever-popular swang.)
In other news, I’ve been hard at work doing mysterious things for LLF. I’ll be able to talk about that soon.
Now back to salivating over roast chicken and roots vegetables, and pondering the maturation of Hild.
5 thoughts on “the Apparatgeist”
Yeah– one town did it, to one of the last boxes. Because basically otherwise, they are weird places for hoboes to pee in. The only real solution to phone boxes, if you want to keep them, is to make them free.
A little grumpy today Mordicai? They got it for a token 1 pound. And now there are 800 others who are going to do it. Sounds like a pretty cool thing to me.
What I wonder about with the whole ebook thing is libraries. What will happen to libraries when paper books are no longer economically and/or environmentally viable? I guess they will come up with some way to make the files on ebook readers self-destruct like some DVD's do now. Then you wouldn't need a physical library at all. But then why would there only be a few copies to download since it's nothing to make copies? What a huge loss it would be to lose real libraries.
I am so accustomed to my Kindle now that I keep thinking about how I felt when CD's first came out, and then iPods. I thought I'd never get used to not being able to thumb through my albums and look at album covers to find something to listen to. But now I think nothing of it – I am hooked on my iPod/iTunes.
This is sorta on topic, right?
Good to see that great blog post including DS
Libraries already do ebook loans: they expire after a set time, just like cable in-demand downloads.
I honestly can't imagine not having a library of real books to wander around in. There's something delicious about literally being surrounded by the printed word…
Actually, I already knew that, I downloaded a pdf like that once, but I'd forgotten about it when I wrote that. I must see what they have now.
Why wouldn't all books be available via download from the library if they are available in digital format already? And why would anyone buy a book if they could at any moment download it virtually instantly from the library? Except maybe your very favorite books that you want to re-read many times?
I'm with you on libraries, but don't you think they might be museums one day? Housing fragile remnants of novels and ancient tomes that never made it to digital?
Maybe after the apocalypse when 3/4 of the people in the world die, we won't have to worry about trees or space to grow them on anymore and books will survive.
But just saying – I never thought I'd like my ereader as much as I do now.
I think libraries will become even more specialised than they are today, and most to be found on campuses. Ah, I'm missing them already…
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