Sunday, October 02, 2005

Coffee Table RSS Reading

If only I had become an engineer. Then I could manufacture the eMag. This idea has been floating around since before the advent of electronic ink and paper, and flexible displays. Should these not be ubiquitously present in every household, on every coffee table, on every night-stand, and on every bathroom floor right now?

Bind some high-quality ePaper together, with a tiny wireless receiver (and other relevant electronics and software) in the spine. Done.

RSS feeds are wired from PC to eMag. Flikr pics and headlines are beamed to the cover. A table of contents is created on the fly, and articles are loaded into the remaining pages. Simple.

The web is "infinite". Every minute, a new blog or news item is made available. This can become overwhelming to even the most seasoned web traveller. However, limiting access to information in the digital world is unthinkable. In the physical world, though, it's a necessity. The eMag is a finite reading object. Once you turn the last page, you're finished. Of course, it can be reloaded with a new cover image and new articles at any time. But, the reader feels like a solid block of information has been consumed, rather than juggling numerous meandering streams of non-stop data.

A message to RSS aggregators: focus heavily on data manipulation, tools and APIs, and not so heavily on your web interface. It will soon be replaced.

(magazine cover thanks to the cool tools at

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