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I just watched a challenging presentation about the dilemma posed by elements of economic growth by Tim Jackson as part of the 2010 Alfred Deakin Lectures.


"Is there any evidence that we can de-link consumption and economic growth from emissions growth? Must we re-think the very notion of growth and what it means to be genuinely prosperous?"

A fascinating set of ideas with a strong logic - I'll be buying the book.

[By the way, I discovered this lecture through my SlowTV podcast subscription]

Long Time Olden Time

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Cover of Long Time Olden Time CD-ROM A friend "innocently" pointed me to this Ars Technica article on e-books, in the full knowledge that it would destroy the rest of my day. He knew that I could not leave some article, which seemed to pretend that the e-book started when the writer joined Palm Media in 2002, alone without reply. The article is more a 5 page rant from a frustrated e-book publisher, rather than a balanced perspective on the history (and challenges) of the e-book.

The Voyager Company  developed an e-book format (called Expanded Books) in the early 1990's. I read Jurasic Park by Michael Crichton on my Powerbook in 1991. It had no DRM and a superb user interface which did not get in the way of the reader. It came compressed on a floppy disk, which installed on a Macintosh and ran on top of Apple's Hypercard.

Usage Instructions of Long Time Olden Time CD-ROMFirmware Design (our company) published an oral history project on CD in 1993 using the Voyager Expanded Book Toolkit. Long Time Olden Time was an oral history of Aboriginal experiences in the Northern Territory, collected by Peter and Jay Read. Originally published as a book and separate audiotapes, it could be read on screen with its synchronised audio track.

Bob Stein, co-founder of the Voyager Company, is a professional maniac, who deserves (but probably isn't interested in) a lot credit for the first practical e-book. His connections with the Book Publishing Industry convinced Publishers to experiment. He is now the founder and a director of The Institute for the Future of the Book.

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I enjoy reading a little Dutch. WIllem, back in "the old country" is a great communicator even under the most difficult circumstances. Whatever goes on inside his head might not be totally revealed, but we can fill in he blanks.... And he has an unerring sense of humour which is motivating. Of course, there is another payback for me, nurturing a long lost love for the "Nederlanse taal"..