News tidbits

Have you heard about the Snackbot? Although it is still under development, soon--hopefully later this semester--it will soon be roaming campus, selling snacks to students. (And it's so cute!) Here are some links with more information:
Also, a resource we really like and think you should be aware of: Purdue's Online Writing Lab. They do a really fantastic job of covering citation styles and even have an area of their site dedicated to engineering and technical writing, including Writing Engineering Reports and Writing Scientific Abstracts.

If you run into any news, resources, web sites, or information you think we should know about or would like to see posted to this blog, please feel free to leave it as a comment or send an e-mail to Donna Beck. We love hearing from you!


Genetic Witness

Hello, it's Coral-the-friendly-IA, and I wanted to tell you about my experience reading Jay D. Aronson's Genetic Witness: Science, Law, and Controversy in the Making of DNA Profiling on the E&S Kindle. (That's right, we have a Kindle, and our Kindle has February's book discussion book on it! Finding it in Cameo is easy: just type "kindle" into the search field, and hit either "title" or "keyword." You can also type "Genetic Witness" into the search field and hit "title" to bring up the E&S Kindle. If you look at the Kindle's record, you can see that we have seven books on there right now. If you have suggestions for others you'd like to see on there, comment here or e-mail Donna Beck.)

On the whole, I've liked it. The Kindle feels a lot like a book to hold, and E Ink really does look like print on paper--it isn't hard on the eyes like a computer screen. It is also not back-lit; plan accordingly. I like the little status bar that tells me how far in the book I am, and I like that I can read for several hours after only plugging the Kindle in for fifteen minutes--I only ever remember to charge it right before I'm leaving the house.

The two frustrating things about reading this book on the Kindle have been the page turn time--there is a noticeable pause between hitting the "next page" button and the current page disappearing--and the size of the images. For the first, I've learned to hit the button before I get to the very last line on the screen, which usually works; on the other hand, sometimes I feel like I'm rushing to finish the last line before the page turns, which is somewhat counter-productive. I should probably just be patient. As for the images, Aronson has a fair number of explanatory images and diagrams with text in them, and I haven't found a zoom feature or any way to make the images large enough that the text on them can be read. (I found the feature to make the text in the book larger or smaller--which is quite nice--but not one for images.) So, either there isn't an image zoom, or it isn't immediately obvious where it is; I think that's a shame.

Still, I would absolutely read another book on a Kindle. I like the portability (it will carry more books than I will!) and that it remembers my place when I turn it off. I like that I can make the font smaller when I'm reading in good light and larger when I'm at a poorly lit coffee shop.

What about you? Have you used a Kindle, or some other e-reader? Do you agree that it's generally a pretty good technology, or are you not a fan? Did you find an image zoom feature, because I'd really like to know about that, if it exists?

How about Genetic Witness? We're discussing it in about a month, but do you have any preliminary thoughts about it? Anything in particular you want us to make sure gets discussed? As a reminder, the information on where and when we're meeting is available here. And suggestions for future books-for-discussion can be sent to Donna Beck, or left in the comments here.