Why I will never own an electronic book

It's not the form factor that I loathe.  I prefer hardback books for their size and heft, but something smaller is convenient for many situations.

It's not that I wouldn't be able to physically turn pages.  I'm a tactile kinda guy, but I can use the touchpad on my laptop rather than a mouse if I need to.

It's not the price.  Devices can only come down in price as the technolgoy gets better and more mainstream.

It's not the paucity of e-book offerings to download.  Actually, I expect that there are quite a few books offered and that number can only increase (think back to when DVDs first came out and what we have today), especailly with memory sizes increasing with technology improvements.

No, I can get around all of these things and a few more differences between a paper and ink book and it's digital equivalent and reader device.

What really burns my biscuits is the "state-of-the-art" in search capablity that is so gosh darn literal.  If you don't know the exact term you want to find, you're surely outta luck.  For example (and this comes from a search engine since I don't have an e-book reader), I was trying to find the online article "The 'Anti-Java' Professor and the Jobless Programmers," which I had read about a month prior.  Since I didn't know the exact title, I tried "java unemployed programmer" as a search term.  After hundreds of hits for out-of-work Java programmers looking for jobs, I gave up.  I searched through my email archives with the same terms and came up blank.  Only after poring over my email by hand did I find the URL I was looking for.

Perhaps a more relevant example would be looking for a quote by a character in a novel I had just read.  I knew about where this was in the book and what was going on when the quote was given, so I could open up the pages and look forward and backward, skimming text looking for the exact quote.  Since I only had an idea about the content of the quote and not the exact words I needed to identify what I wanted to find, I can only imagine wasting tens of minutes doing an electronic search with variations of the key words trying to locate what I wanted.

(As a third example, have you ever tried to get some online help topic from a piece of software, but you don't know the exact term used by the software development company to refer to the thing you need help about?  Even if you know "kerning" is the proportional distance between characters, if you don't know what the software publisher calls that doodad that pops up when you want to insert something, you're hosed.)

We need better natural language processing and recognition in our search technology.  Better algorithms along with parallel processing is going to be the key.  Larger memory space will also be needed in these devices to hold thesaurus entries that can find the link between "unemployed" and "jobless" when the search is asked to find the former but only sees the latter.  Maybe, just maybe, when we get to something like that level of sophistication in e-book devices, then I might be interested in getting one.  I'd need to get a new table, though.
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