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The Future of Reading

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Flipboard: Your Own Magazine For News And Social Networking On The iPad

The Future of Reading (+)   07/11/2010

The Flipboard front page(s). You can add as many sources as you like; Flipboard creates new pages to hold them.Forgive me if this blog is starting to look like it's all about the iPad; that's where all the most interesting developments in on-screen readin (+)


iPad eMagazines: HTML5 Takes Us Another Step Forward...

The Future of Reading (+)   31/10/2010

Esquire: Using HTML5 instead of JPEG and Flash. Beautiful layout and typography. Pity the content's so targeted to rich, self-indulgent males...Three posts ago, I showed a collection of different magazines and newspapers in their newest iPad versions - wh (+)


Barnes & Noble's Nook Goes LCD - While Amazon and NYT Go iPad...

The Future of Reading (+)   28/10/2010

The new Nook, announced yesterday, with an LCD screen: B&N claim 8-hour battery life.I forecast quite some time ago that when the first LCD screen-based eBook reader with acceptable battery life appeared, it would blow away eInk-based devices like Amazon' (+)


Voice Recognition: Blogging With My Eyes Closed - And No Keyboard!

The Future of Reading (+)   16/10/2010

This blog entry is an experiment. I'm going to try speaking it instead of typing it, using Dragon Dictate voice recognition software for the Mac. I don't expect it to be perfect, but if it gets even 95% of the way, then it will make writing very different (+)


iPad Magazines - Beautiful Castles, But A Future Built On Sand...

The Future of Reading (+)   15/09/2010

Fig. 1 - The cover of the iPad edition of Wired.If you were one of the defenders of the Amazon Kindle reading device to jump into the comments fray after my last post - in which I stated that the iPad had blown the Kindle hardware out of the water - then (+)


iPad Blows Kindle Out Of The Water - But Amazon's Kindle App Is Best iPad Reader...

The Future of Reading (+)   12/09/2010

A tale of two eBooks: A quick side-by-side photo of Kindle and iPad in the same lighting conditions - quite acceptable light for reading a paper book or on the iPad, but a real strain for Kindle reading.The Bottom Line: Since I got my iPad, I find readin (+)


iPad Reading Leap Marginalizes Kindle Hardware - But Not Kindle Reader...

The Future of Reading (+)   11/08/2010

Around 20 years ago, I set my personal bar for an onscreen reading experience which would tell me when eBooks had finally surpassed paper books. I would be able to read one of the many books illustrated by Victorian artist Arthur Rackham, on a device whic (+)



Indian company shows off impressive iPad competitor built with Google's Android OS

The Future of Reading (+)   14/02/2010

Notion Ink's Adam, an Android-based iPad competitorI'm indebted to friends in India - and to the Technoholik technology blog of Abhimanyu Radhakrishnan of the Economic Times there, for this sneak preview of what some are already hailing as "The iPad Kill (+)


Changing How You Comment, To Defeat Spam...

The Future of Reading (+)   08/02/2010

Over recent months, I've seen a big increase in the number of spam comments submitted to this blog by people selling everything from Viagra to cheap software. I've been catching them during comment monitoring - so you don't see them.However, it's become a (+)


iPad: Dodging The "Doonesbury Bullet"...

The Future of Reading (+)   04/02/2010

Doonesbury cartoons flayed the Newton to death for its (dreadful) handwriting recognition...Here's a little story I'd like to share on why I believe Apple's iPad will succeed where Microsoft Windows-based TabletPCs have failed to gain more than a tiny ni (+)


iPad: Apple Upsets The eBook Apple-cart...

The Future of Reading (+)   01/02/2010

iPad: Will truly upset the Apple-cart...It's been a while since I posted a blog here. I've been pretty busy with other projects - but that wasn't the reason. At least two blogs I had in draft form for months were based on the rumors filling the Internet (+)


Digital Independence Takes A Step Closer...

The Future of Reading (+)   19/10/2009

In 2007, it became clear to me that access to technology - especially computers and Internet connectivity - is critical to the future of reading.There's no question now that if reading does have a future - and it must - then that future is digital. We spe (+)


What Does Amazon Have Against Europe? Or Is Kindle Just A Digital Stalking-Horse?

The Future of Reading (+)   12/09/2009

...but not in Europe!There's something strange going on with Amazon's Kindle eBook Reader - and also with the Kindle app for Apple's iPhone...It's going on for two years now since Amazon first launched the Kindle and really cranked up the interest in eBo (+)


Homo Africanus: Time To Admit That We're ALL Africans?

The Future of Reading (+)   30/08/2009

How humans left Africa and populated our world. Map reproduced from The Human Story © 2004 by James C. Davis (published by Harper Collins)In the course of all the research I have done into "Reading", it became obvious that "Reading and Writing" were "lea (+)


Web Typography Takes A Big Step Forward With Stéphane Curzi's Baseline

The Future of Reading (+)   30/08/2009

Stéphane Curzi's Baseline websiteThe noise-to-signal ratio on FaceBook is pretty high, but it's worth keeping up. Once in a while a real gem arrives, something you might otherwise have missed.Earlier this week, Jackie Goldberg in LA shared a link to a pr (+)


Lesson Learned: Don't Publish Comments You Can't Understand...

The Future of Reading (+)   23/08/2009

I've been pretty inactive on this blog for a couple of weeks, since I've been back in Washington State taking care of some business. When my wife Tanya and I flew over, we brought just one laptop with us - my trusty MacBook Pro. Tanya - who's a prolific (+)


Back-Door Censorship And Dirty Tricks On YouTube...

The Future of Reading (+)   01/08/2009

O'Reilly on Fox News: Claims Amsterdam, Holland is a cesspool of crime and corruption, and an example of how liberal policies don't work... Interesting goings-on on FaceBook and Youtube today, which demonstrate that censorship and dirty tricks are alive (+)


Les Misérables: Would Victor Hugo Applaud Huge Music Download Fines?

The Future of Reading (+)   01/08/2009

Portrait of "Cosette" by Emile Bayard, from the original edition of Les Misérables (1862). The author, Victor Hugo, was the instigator of the Berne Convention, which established international copyright to protect writers and artists. OK, this post is bou (+)


Why Creating A New Word For Reading On Screen Is A Terrible Idea...

The Future of Reading (+)   21/07/2009

Multi-column layout: better than a poke in the eye with a sharp pixel...Dan Bloom is a journalist who currently lives in Taiwan. Over the past few days, he's generated a flurry of activity on this blog, my Inbox and on FaceBook, with a suggestion that we (+)


Paper Dies - But Reading Lives: The Richness of Future Web Reading

The Future of Reading (+)   07/07/2009

Title page from the 1543 edition of Vesalius' De Humani Corporus FabricaRegular readers of this blog will have noticed it's been pretty quiet for the past few days...On the other hand, the more alert among you will have noticed that "The Book I'm Reading (+)


Web Advertising: Still Annoying Readers, Still Failing To Replace Print Revenue...

The Future of Reading (+)   24/06/2009

Three of the "dancing idiots" class of Web ad. There's no reason for animation, other than to attract your attention and distract you from whatever else you're doing. (Of course that's why they do it).Tanya was busy doing a Web search for the word "friga (+)


White-Water Adventures With The Grandfather Of Type... (from the Bill Hill Archives)

The Future of Reading (+)   22/06/2009

Robert Norton, The Grandfather of Type, with typical mischievous smile(photo © Gerald Giampa)My first encounter with Robert Norton was surreal. It was 1994, and I was working in Edinburgh, Scotland, for Aldus Europe Limited - the European subsidiary of S (+)


Advertising Is Not A Magic Windmill For eBooks Or Professional Content...

The Future of Reading (+)   12/06/2009

Cartoon from Married To The Sea (c) 2002-2009 Drew and NatalieI'm grateful to my former colleague Kevin Larson, of the ClearType and Readability Research team at Microsoft, for posting the link to this cartoon on FaceBook. It made me laugh, because of co (+)


Ascender Proposes New Web Font Format To Break Font Embedding Logjam...

The Future of Reading (+)   11/06/2009

Ascender: Trying to break a logjamFont vendor Ascender Corporation has proposed a new solution - based on a new Webfont format - which it hopes will solve the problem of using fonts on the Web and meet the needs of both Web designers and font developers. (+)


eBooks Will Make More Headway On Reading Than The "Vanilla Web"...

The Future of Reading (+)   10/06/2009

Here's what I want my online book to look like to the reader: A screenshot of the original print version, taken from Adobe InDesign on the MacintoshAs my online friend Richard Fink surmised, I was unable to resist making some experiments to try reproduci (+)


A Tale of Two Pages: It Was The Best Of Times, It Was The Worst Of Times...

The Future of Reading (+)   05/06/2009

The cover of Tanya's book (© Tanya Hill, 2009)Over the past few months, I've spent quite a lot of my time designing and building Web pages to try to improve my knowledge, learn Web-standards HTML and CSS, and see how far I could push readability. I became (+)


Font Industry Needs To Step Up - To The Screen...

The Future of Reading (+)   03/06/2009

A PageMaker 3.5-inch diskette - I still have my original set from 1985...The explosion of word processing and desktop publishing in the 1980s was a huge bonanza for the font industry. It took the arcane world of printing and typesetting - previously only (+)


How I (Almost) Became A Russian Porn Star... (from the Bill Hill Archives)

The Future of Reading (+)   21/05/2009

Scottish secret weapon unveiled in Moscow. No low-angle shots, please!A funny thing happened on my way to the Kremlin... In 2006, I was in Moscow for the very first annual conference of the World Editors' Forum to be held in the former Soviet Union. My M (+)


eBook Publishers Learn A Lesson: The Markup Is Not The Book...

The Future of Reading (+)   20/05/2009

RocketBook: Less of a rocket, more a damp firecracker...I joined the fledgling eBook team at Microsoft eleven years ago this month. When we began work on eBooks back in 1998, it was clear from the outset that no publisher wanted to sign up to supporting (+)



Confusion over "screen resolution" causes headaches for users...

The Future of Reading (+)   14/05/2009

(Apologies in advance - this is a very long blog post, because of its detailed technical nature. I promise in due course to post a version in Word .doc format on my website).Confusion over what’s commonly referred to as “screen resolution” causes headache (+)


Solar-powered computing feels so good: Next - the solar car...

The Future of Reading (+)   13/05/2009

Before the beginning of last winter, my wife Tanya and I decided to take the plunge and go solar in our home on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It seems crazy that on a group of islands with this much sunshine and wind, 99% of the electricity used is genera (+)


Text Rendering on MacBook Pro running Internet Explorer 8 on Vista

The Future of Reading (+)   08/05/2009

This is a screen grab of text rendered on my new MacBook Pro laptop, running Internet Explorer 8 on Microsoft Windows Vista (in a BootCamp partition).My FB friend Alessandro Segalini asked me to post a screen shot. I originally saved this as a JPEG, then (+)


Leaving Microsoft: The Journey Continues...

The Future of Reading (+)   05/05/2009

Well, it’s official now. I’m leaving Microsoft. It's time to begin the next stage of a mission that began for me in the early 1980s - when I realized that computers were about to change the publishing industry radically and forever. I helped to drive the (+)


Kindle: Disappointing for reading non-fiction - textbook version soon?

The Future of Reading (+)   01/05/2009

As you all know by now, I'm a big fan of the Kindle 2. My experience with reading standard, text-only fiction has convinced me that it's a winner.However, it's clear that Amazon still has a lot of work to do if they want the Kindle to be used also to read (+)


Kindle: Becoming An Expensive Way To Read...

The Future of Reading (+)   21/04/2009

OK, I know this is my own fault... I love the Kindle eBook device, and the ability it gives me to carry many books around with me, and buy them wirelessly, anywhere. But it's starting to look like a very expensive option. My first Kindle died, as readers (+)


Three out of four major Web browsers now support FullScreen mode

The Future of Reading (+)   21/04/2009

I'm grateful to Richard Fink for tipping me off to the fact that Beta 2 of Google's Chrome browser now supports a FullScreen mode (keyboard shortcut F11) in which you can make all browser chrome disappear, leaving only the content you want to read. It may (+)


Distributed Proofreaders: What your work could look like if it was paginated...

The Future of Reading (+)   07/04/2009

The Dance of Death created by Distributed Proofreaders for Project Gutenberg, with the browser in Full Screen mode. I'm indebted to Juliet Sutherland for commenting on this blog, and especially for pointing me towards the work being done on books for Proj (+)



Experiments in Web Readability 2: A Blog

The Future of Reading (+)   02/04/2009

The first page of my More Readable BlogThe first Web Readability experiment - a book - showed me that you could produce Web pages which people could read for long, sustained periods. (+)


Korean Websites Showcase Font Embedding

The Future of Reading (+)   04/03/2009

Naver.com: Showcasing Embedded OpenType in KoreaI've always said the greatest beneficiaries of Font Embedding on the Web were likely to be East Asian websites - especially if they used Embedded Opentype font objects with subsets of the full character set (+)


Kindle 2: Amazon Transforms Its eBook Reader Into "The iPod For Books"

The Future of Reading (+)   27/02/2009

Kindle 2: It will be huge... SUMMARY: Amazon has made amazing progress with version 2 of its Kindle eBook reader. While it still has some shortcomings, Amazon has fixed many of the issues with version 1 of the device. The new Kindle is sleek and thin - an (+)


Experiments in Web Readability 1: A Book

The Future of Reading (+)   19/02/2009

The Mabinogion, using plain text downloaded from Project Gutenberg, laid out for readability and using downloadable fontsReaders of this blog will have noticed that there was a huge gap in postings, beginning in August last year. That's because I began a (+)


Wanted: A Waterproof Kindle...

The Future of Reading (+)   19/02/2009

Kindle 2: I hope it's waterproof!Over the past few months I got used to reading on my Kindle. No, it still isn't the best reading experience. When reading at night - which is when I read most - I'd prefer a backlit screen. The flashing page turns really i (+)


The Demographic Dilemma of Web Advertising

The Future of Reading (+)   15/02/2009

Should newspapers and magazines survive onscreen? I think they should, if they can re-think and re-cast their business model to become financially viable. If I buy the New Yorker, or Newsweek, or Time, or the New York Times, or The Scotsman, I do so for a (+)


Newspapers: The Titanic Already Hit The Iceberg - How Long Till It Sinks?

The Future of Reading (+)   09/02/2009

Seattle Post-Intelligencer website - the only part of the newspaper to survive?Well, I haven’t posted on this blog for a few months – been busy trying to get up to speed on Web-standards HTML and CSS, and trying to see just how far you could push readabil (+)


Authoring Web-Standards Pages: Like Setting Type in the Days of Gutenberg...

The Future of Reading (+)   09/08/2008

I've just spent the last few days working to build a set of Web pages which are authored to W3C standards (HTML 4.01 and CSS 2.1) They're now up on my website:http://www.billhillsite.com/I've done some HTML authoring before, of course. But I always stayed (+)


Introducing the Colophon to the Web: a New Business Model for Fonts...

The Future of Reading (+)   03/08/2008

For hundreds of years, printers and publishers have included a Colophon in books. That's a section - usually a page, often at the back of the book - which describes which fonts were used to set it, and perhaps gives some history of who created those parti (+)


Lack of Decent Tools Holding Back "The Web for the Rest of Us"...

The Future of Reading (+)   01/08/2008

I'm going to take a little trip down PC Memory Lane... Bear with me; this isn't idle reminiscing. There is a point, and I'll eventually get to it. "Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it" is a very valid saying, and I feel that on (+)



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