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Simplicity Revisited

A while ago I mentioned a book I was reading called The Laws of Simplicity, by John Maeda. Forgive me if I return to this topic, but it seems too important to ignore. With all the fuss about the products coming from Apple, and the Amazon Kindle, it is time to revisit the topic. I have resisted getting any of these devices, because they do not satisfy what  are very reasonable standards of "simple" design, which we  have a right to demand from those who would supply us with electronic gadgets.


There is one device that I have bought, and although not perfect, it does prove that the goal of simple but useful and practical products are indeed possible. The "Wiki Reader" is my constant companion. Take a look at it:

1) three buttons

2) no color

3) no internet connection or any outside connection of any kind

4) no pictures, just text

Almost makes me want to hang out in bars, since with one of these things in my pocket I can settle all bar bets. Anyway, now I have all the distilled knowledge of the universe in my hand--in a box smaller than a pack of cigarettes, with a battery life of about a year.Vannevar Bush's Memex has arrived.

Don't rush out and buy it just because I said so. This is not a product endorsement, and I know a lot of you are not going to like it--there are a lot of things it does not have. But I am glad that my hopes for such devices did not end when Hewlett-Packard stopped making decent calculators, or when Palm stopped using their original OS.

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