When the No Hassle Rewards catalogue came in the mail from Capital One Bank, I pretty much ignored it until my husband had me take a look at it with him.
“We have 22,000 points from our unused airline miles. What should we get?” he asked. We could redeem our miles for gift cards to Amazon.com or iTunes, Bath and Body Works, Best Buy, and many other worthy sites.
“Honey, I don’t care. Whatever you want is fine with me,” I said. Then he made The Big Mistake. He suggested something I might want, and now I can’t get it out of my head.
“What about getting this Barnes and Noble card? You could get one of those e-readers. Wouldn’t you like one of those?” Well, duh! Yeah, now I really do want it. I tried to push the thought out of my head and be noble.
“No, honey, you should get the Best Buy card and put it towards the new computer you want. Or the Target card. We could buy a lot of toothpaste and toilet paper with that.” Alas, my husband’s fate was sealed. By the time he got home from work the next day, I had researched all I could find about the various e-readers.
My husband isn’t totally to blame. I get my love for techno-gadgets from my father who was Chief of Structures at Sikorsky Aircraft and was head of the team that designed the airframe of the Blackhawk helicopter. My father was way ahead of his time. I can’t remember the exact timeline, but I remember when he came home with one of the first personal computers. I think it was a Commodore, and he had to write programs for it using BASIC or FORTRAN or Pascal. It was back during a time when all the engineers, including my father, carried slide rules in their breast pockets and wore big horned-rimmed glasses. When my father told his colleagues about his computer and that it had 1K of memory, they laughed at him, saying, “Who would ever need that much memory?”
The other day, my husband and I were in Best Buy, and a salesman was showing us Google TV. It’s a great new program which turns your television into a giant computer monitor. As we left the store, I said to my husband, “Didn’t Dad figure out how to do that years ago?” Like I said, my father was on the cutting edge.
And here I am now, deciding whether I really want to get an e-reader. When they first came out, my gut reaction was that I would never want to read a book that way. I like the feel and look of a real paper book. But the more I think about them, the more I believe e-readers are the wave of the not-so-distant future. I have no more room for books on my shelves, they are hard to carry when my hands are weighed down with carry-ons at the airport, I’m constantly putting books on hold at the library and having to wait until they are available, and think of the millions of trees that will be saved. No, this is not Fahrenheit 451; we are not burning books but actually making them more accessible.
And most important, it’s a new techno-gadget, and I want it!