TKC 293 South by Southwest

Len at SXSW

Show Notes and Links:


“What’s the Best Amazon Prime Alternative?” by Matt Burns at TechCrunch – March 13, 2014

Amazon Prime information at

No word on a price increase for Amazon’s Prime Air drone delivery service!

Tech Tip

Kindle Paperwhite 1st generation software update to version 5.4.4

Kindle Paperwhite 2nd generation software update to version 5.4.3

Interviews and Links from SXSW, with times noted when they appear on the podcast

1:35    My Google Glass audio excerpt from Austin Kleon’s presentation, “Show Your Work!” on Friday, March 7, 2014.

10:11   Introduction to “Emoji & Texting: Is Human Language Extinct?” presented by Ben Zimmer and Sam Huston

11:40   Bryan Person, director of customer success at Lithium Technologies

13:07   Ben Zimmer, executive producer of and the language columnist for The Wall Street Journal.

16:58   Ed Castillo, chief strategy officer at TBWA\Chiat\Day NY : “Why Reading is Flawed, Dying Technology”

25:40   Peter Tighe, my cousin and host in Austin, on reading in braille versus listening to books

31:16   Adam Carolla, author of In Fifty Years We’ll All be Chicks ($7.99 on Kindle), Not Taco Bell Material ($7.63 on Kindle) and (available for $13.59 Kindle preorder with delivery on May 13, 2014) President Me: The America That’s in My Head

     Adam Carolla’s Save Our Podcasts Legal Defense Fund at FundAnything

35:16   Luke Littleboy, marketing manager for Screenburn in London

37:40   James Montgomery, director of digital & technology, BBC Global News Ltd

           Upworthy, a social aggregation site


Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon – $6.14 on Kindle

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon – $7.18 on Kindle

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Comments 9

  1. John McCormack wrote:

    Hi Len,

    Thanks for mentioning the software update for the Paperwhite 2nd Generation. Once again, I received no notification from Amazon about the update. A thirty minute “conversation” with Kindle support lead me down the rabbit hole of frustration and irritation about the lack of email notification for users with infrequent WiFi connections. In short, I was told to search for updates on my own “a couple of times a year.”

    Again, your news is more timely and relevant than Amazon’s.

    Posted 16 Mar 2014 at 10:00 am
  2. Len Edgerly wrote:

    I’m glad it was helpful, John. It’s a pretty good update; I think you’ll be glad you got it.

    Posted 16 Mar 2014 at 10:03 am
  3. Pete Murray wrote:

    Hi Len. Love the podcast! I wanted to respond to something Ed Castillo said: that philosophers don’t read books. He cites Kant’s short book on ethics (the “Groundwork” or “Foundations”) as an example. Well, I’m a philosopher and I’ve read that book cover to cover more than once, and I don’t believe I’m atypical. I don’t think there’s any replacement for carefully working through long-form written works of philosophy. So, I’m one who still supports the book! I think it is an irreplaceable “technology”.

    Posted 24 Mar 2014 at 6:51 am
  4. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Pete, that’s a great data point to have in this discussion. I like to think I have an open mind when I encounter disruptive ideas, but the books in my study here in Denver are old friends, and I’m pulling for them!

    Posted 24 Mar 2014 at 7:24 am
  5. Pete Murray wrote:

    Hi again Len. Just in case its helpful, I’ll describe in a little bit more detail my idiosyncratic way of using technology in my work. First off, though, I read for pleasure almost exclusively using my Kindle Paperwhite 1st gen (though I’ll sometimes use my phone or whatever is available if my Kindle isn’t at hand and I have some time to read for pleasure – I love the wide availability of the Kindle app!).
    So, when I’m writing, I make use of two kinds of sources, generally: papers and books. Papers I now try to get exclusively electronically. I most frequently use OS X’s Preview (though I’m always looking for a better .pdf reader). I like being able to make notes and highlights and easily access my library of papers. I don’t find ebook readers as easy to use for this purpose, though both the Kindle app and iBooks can handle pdf’s.
    Books, though, I still prefer to have in hard copy. I’ll typically have many bookmarks (using whatever scraps of paper are at hand) in the books I’m using, and being able to very quickly and easily flip between selections in one book or different books is very useful to me. I also have one or more instances of Google Books open in my browser, which I use to find quotes and passages that I half remember, and this is also extremely helpful. I’d love to find an e-solution that works as well as being able to physically manipulate multiple books, but I haven’t found it yet. It’s something I’m looking forward to!
    Well, I hope this rather long description is of some use, and thanks again for your continuing work!

    Posted 24 Mar 2014 at 10:47 am
  6. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Interesting. When you say “papers,” does that refer to academic papers? If an e-solution to the type of quick navigation among your paper books arrives, it will change everything, I think. Meanwhile, it sounds as if you have an excellent method!

    Posted 24 Mar 2014 at 10:52 am
  7. Pete Murray wrote:

    Oh yes, sorry – should have been more clear. I do mean academic papers. Also, I completely agree with you. So many writers of many different stripes would benefit from this kind of quick navigation.

    Posted 25 Mar 2014 at 6:12 am
  8. Ed Castillo wrote:

    Hi Pete. I was referring to the “B deduction” of The Critique of Pure Reason (discussed in Metaphysical Foundations of Natural Science, Kant presumably added it to The Critique to counter the complaints of a certain “Professor Ulrich” who maintained that the original transcendental deduction [the “A deduction” of 2nd edition Critique] was “too obscure” [as if the entire volume isn’t]). My point was simply that one needn’t attempt all 517 pages of this book in order to have a meaningful discussion of the “B deduction” (which is only a few paragraphs, if I remember correctly, and which essentially accounted for the whole of my Kant seminar @ Amherst).

    The larger point here, however, is this: If I want to understand what Kant is proposing with the “B deduction”, and I can EITHER read those 517 pages (as many times as I might need to) OR have a conversation with a Kant scholar [perhaps someone like yourself]…which would I choose?

    For me, the answer is clear.

    (This, of course, is not a criticism of Kant, but an acknowledgement of MY inability to ‘get something’ out of those 517 pages of The Critique on my own…an experience that an ACTUAL philosopher like yourself may not be familiar with…and to be clear, I did not state “Philosophers do not read books”; I merely questioned aloud whether philosophers NEED to engage the entirety of the source material in order interact with their ideas at “expert” levels)

    Posted 23 Apr 2014 at 10:33 am
  9. Pete Murray wrote:

    Hi Ed. Thanks for your reply! Sorry if I misconstrued your claim: I think what you were doing was using Kant as an example to make a more general point about the need – or, really, the lack of a need – for reading books.

    Kant’s Critique is really, really tough. There are probably some brilliant people who could read it and more or less understand it on their own. I don’t count myself among them. For me, philosophy is not just an activity to be done on your mountaintop, silently engaging in deep thinking. My favorite times are when I have the chance to engage in the social activity of discussing philosophy, or any other sort of reflection, with other people. However, in order to have something to offer, I feel that I need to do the reading first. That’s the touchstone that grounds the conversation. So, to your either/or above, I want to say that both reading and engaging with others is important.

    I think one’s practice must also depend on one’s goals. If I just want to know a little about Kant, I could ask someone or watch a video. If I want to dig deeper, it’s important to engage the source material – and not just a few paragraphs of it. In order to understand Kant’s larger scheme, I need to read more of his stuff, and it surely helps to have other smart people who know more about it than I do to help guide me and point out things that I miss.

    This is already long, but one quick example: Rawls. John Rawls argues for a theory of democratic justice over the course of two long books: “A Theory of Justice” and “Political Liberalism.” It took me a long while to put together a sense of the overall picture of the view argued for in these books, because it is big and it is complicated. I had much guidance from others, experts who had also done this kind of work. I didn’t just listen, though – I had to work it out for myself as well. It didn’t really “click” for me until I had done a lot of that lonely work, sitting in a chair, reading and taking notes.

    Posted 25 Apr 2014 at 6:47 am