I’ve been addicted to reading content in a digital format, such as articles and books. I like the ability of being able to carry a boat load of books in my laptop so that I don’t have to carry the printed copies around. I also like being able to search content within a book. For those reasons I got used to reading on the screen. However, most of the formats available out there aren’t really that great.
For instance, PDF files don’t allow for a reading experience that flows well; you’re always jumping back and forth in a multi-column page, which is annoying. Also, the images are usually small, and you can’t really zoom into it. If you zoom it into the document itself, things don’t scale up well, with both images and text pixelating and looking really fuzzy. Besides all of that, there isn’t a good way to organize a library of PDF files.
I know there are other formats out there, such as HTML content, but I can’t say those are any better than PDFs.
Something really exciting is Xiine!! If you haven’t seen it yet (or "xiine" it yet), check out Markus’ post about it, where you can find a lot more details than what I’m putting here.
Besides the cool factor that Xiine is built using technologies such as WPF, WCF, and ClickOnce, this product also addresses all the things I’ve mentioned above about PDFs.
The one thing I’m looking forward to get into Xiine is some magazine for guitar players. I used subscribe to a few guitar magazines, but the one thing I hate about them is how they handle advertisement. I mean, you start reading an article, and then at the bottom of the page, they print something like "article continues on page X…". Then, they throw a bunch of pages with advertisements right after that, so you have to make big jumps to be able to read an article in its entirety. Not only that, but when you go to page X, they very often manage to make more than one article going to the same page, so you end up with one column on that page as the follow-up from one article, and another column as the follow-up for another article. Ouch!! I absolutely hate that.
I mean, they could put the advertisements at the end of the magazine, or at least, in between articles (and not within an article). If I could only read the article entirely without taking these jumps, I’d gladly look at the advisements wherever they were. However, because I get so mad at this, I refuse to look at the advertisements at all!
Another thing I’d love in such a magazine in Xiine with be to not only have the article where some guy explain some guitar technique, but it’d be great if I could click on a snapshot and see a video where the guy shows the thing he’s talking about. Well, maybe someday they’ll get there.
Bottom line is: the technology is here, and it’s really cool!! And of course I’m a little biased to talk about Xiine, but you really should check it out. 🙂