I recently received the Communication Arts Advertising Annual, and have been working my way through it. Today I read an interesting "Creativity" article by Natalia Ilyin, who emailed several questions to Bill Hill (the creator of ClearType). One of his answers really stood out to me.
"Your blog's "Digital Declaration of Independence" asserts "every human has an equal anunalienable right to the means to create, distribute and consume information." And yet you are a big fan of Amazon's Kindle, which puts distribution into the hands of a very small group and reading only into hands that can afford a reader. How do you envision solving these problems?"
HILL: "I deliberately drew a parallel in theat "Declaration" with the United States Declaration of Independence. That asserted that all men were created equal and had certain fundamental rights, but it took more than 200 years before the U.S. could elect a black President."Now although I personally feel that, "electing a black President" is not the best example of where our "Declaration of Independence" has taken us (in fact I would go as far to say I feel we, as a country, are twisting and taking the Declaration of Independence in the opposite direction, that the writers intended. But that is off subject so I will refrain). I do understand the point he is trying to make. I really enjoyed his example of the calculator, and where that has taken us as far as technology and the digital revolution has come. I still have my fathers calculator which is a really old Texas Instruments calculator that is very simple compared to the calculators that are out now, but at the time my Father spent a nice chunk of money on this calculator. Now I'm interested in seeing if the Kindle is really that same starting point as far as digital reading devices are concerned.
"It was a great document, because the men who created it realized its purpose was to serve as a beacon. You can't climb the hill all at once—but someone has to stick a flag on the top and say: 'Here's where we have to go!'"
"The kindle is a transitional device. When the first pocket calculators appeared, they cost hundreds of dollars. Now you get one free when you fill up at Exxon. But Kindle is helping to drive digitization of hundreds of thousands of titles. It's 'good enough' for now, but devices need to get better and cheaper. We're not at the top of the hill yet, by a long way."