Books vs. Videos

Discuss products and their reviews in Genii.

Postby Matthew Field » 07/18/01 03:36 PM

OK. Let's start things off with a topic I've discussed many times with Jamy Ian Swiss, Genii's book reviewer (along with Paul Cummins). Jon Racherbaumer has also addressed the topic in print.

Books allow you to learn at your own pace and to have sleights described in great detail. Videos allow you to see presentations very clearly and show timing very well.

But is this a post-literate era? Can people absorb from the printed word as well as they used to be able to?

As one of Genii's video reviewers, and a magic book editor as well, this is a topic that has great interest to me.

What do you think?

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2467
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/18/01 04:08 PM

> Can people absorb from the printed word as well as they used to be able to?

My gut response to this question is, sadly, no. I do not think the general public can absorb printed material as well as they used to.

Though I am a video reviewer, I make no secret of the fact that I prefer text to video. I don't disagree that video has some extremely intriguing strengths compared to text, but I value the personal mental effort and discipline it takes to learn from a book as opposed to video. I think the benefits of that extra work outweigh the benefits of convenience or clarity that video can provide.

That said, I expect that we will see the text/video debate reach it's Hegelian synthesis as the DVD becomes the new video standard.

Regards,
Joe M. Turner

[ July 18, 2001: Message edited by: Joe M. Turner ]
Joe M. Turner
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby Matthew Field » 07/18/01 04:11 PM

Spoken like a true video reviewer!

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2467
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby CHRIS » 07/18/01 09:05 PM

I could write a whole article about it, maybe I should, but in short, I am convinced that a book is significantly better suited to teach magic. Roberto Giobbi discusses this quite well in his 'Card College' books.

The process of writing a book and reading a book requires a 'coding' (by the author) and 'decoding' (by the reader) process which guarantees a certain level of quality. The author has to know his field sufficiently good to write a good book and the reader has to put sufficient mental resources into it to read it. These two factors make a book such a good teaching tool.

With videos it is completely different. Much less knowledge is necessary to just show and demonstrate a trick and then to mimic it. Think about it, there are many good athletes but very few good coaches or trainers. Teaching is a whole different than doing it.

Of course a video has the advantage of time and motion. So that for certain processes the video is superior. But this is only true for the rare occasion. I think video can be a great supplemental medium. Read the book, study the material and then view a video which goes along with the book. Which brings me to my personal conclusion ->

EBOOKS

Ebooks can combine both book and video. Which makes them fundamentally superior to book or video alone. Let me say here that I am working on some great projects which will demonstrate this superiority quite clearly. The first attempt was with Jarle Leirpol's Pocket Power book which combines 5 performance video clips with text and illustrations. The project I am working on right now combines video and text much more intricately.

Chris....
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/18/01 10:43 PM

Ideally, each book should come with a DVD that shows individual sleights and their timing when incorporated into a routine. The one thing that books don't give you is the knowledge of what something looks like when executed. It takes only seconds for a DVD to accomplish this.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20532
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/19/01 12:01 AM

RK's assertion about companion DVDs is a good bet in my opinion. Wasshuber's ebooks are certainly a related animal and they're out there already.

My concern is that asking which medium is superior for magical instruction is not the same as asking which medium is superior for magic itself. That is, which medium encourages behaviors that are most likely to generate advancements in plots, techniques, etc.

The absence of readily available video instruction was previously a formidable incentive to seek out other magicians as teachers or mentors. I don't suggest that companion DVDs could ever fully supplant the personal influence that a Vernon can have on a Jennings or a Cervon, or the impact that a Marlo will have on a Racherbaumer. I think, however, that there is a real possibility that due to video instruction, some people who otherwise would have put more effort into meeting and studying with other magicians may be content to simply study their collection of videos. It is still too early to tell whether the extremely broad distribution of magical instruction has enlarged the population enough to compensate for that reduction. That is to say, although video may reduce the percentage of those who decide to pursue indepth personal instruction and interaction, the actual number of such individuals increases due to the Glut.

Jon Racherbaumer is the one who has thought about this aspect of the question more than anyone else I know of. Perhaps he'll contribute to the discussion.

As for myself, I see my own book to video consumption ratio at about 80/20, not counting the videos I review for Genii. Including those, I'd say it goes closer to 60/40. Clearly, I really need to read more. Perhaps I should log off now.

JMT
Joe M. Turner
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby CHRIS » 07/19/01 08:54 AM

The problem I see with a companion DVD to a book is that one has then to deal with two things at the same time: holding and reading a book as well as a DVD player or computer. Why not combine these two and put everything on a DVD or CD which is essentially an ebook.

Perhaps it will depend on the book and its contents. A mainly sleight book such as Card College is probably best done with an ebook where text and video is intricately interwoven, where one can view the move from various angles and read a detailed description with tips and notes. A book mainly about routining can benefit from a DVD since one will not so often change from book to DVD and vice versa.

Chris....
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Matthew Field » 07/19/01 09:08 AM

I've found the use of a text and acompanying video, as Richard K. suggests, very helpful, as was the case with Gary Ouellet's "Close-Up Illusions" and "The Pass" publications.

I have a VERY hard time with e-books. Sitting at a computer (or trying to read something lengthy on a Palm Pilot) is something I do not enjoy. Those e-books I've purchased (from Peter Duffie and Bart Whaley) I printed out to read. I even did it with the Dictionary of Magic, which is HUGE. But the effort of booting up my computer to search for something when I'm writing or editing is just too great (for me) compared with opening a book. Last time I tried it, I actually forgot what I was trying to look up by the time my computer had booted!

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2467
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby CHRIS » 07/19/01 10:02 AM

If you compare ebook with book+DVD you should compare it not with just opening a book but with opening a book and accessing a DVD. Depending on your system you might have to boot up your computer as well to access the DVD. In this case it is no different to an ebook. If you have shelled out the additional cash for a standalone DVD player than you have to turn on the TV and the DVD player as well and walk to your TV room. Sure this is typically faster than booting up a computer. But again this is very dependent on what you have. There are notebooks available which have the operating system in flash and boot up in less than 2 seconds.

Also do not forget that switching between 'looking at a book' and 'looking at your TV' is a drastic change in eye focus which produces a significant strain on your eyes. More than just staring at your monitor. This is what ergonometric research tells us. Each individual feels this different. I tried it and I get dizzy. But I can stare at a monitor for 12 hours a day without problems.

It is also an issue ease of acces. In an ebook I just click on the image or on a link and the video starts. It is right there with the right context. With a book and DVD I have to do more to find what I would like look at. It takes more time and is less intuitive. The user interface is not as good as with an ebook.

But I agree that working with ebooks need a change of work style. If you do not use computers than you will have to acquire some basic computer skills to get familiar with ebooks. Once you know how to work with them you will experience an order of magnitude improvement in efficiency. Search for me a printed book while I search my whole ebook library of more than 100 ebooks.

Chris....
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby pduffie » 07/19/01 01:32 PM

Hi

While I produce and sell ebooks - I can't stand reading ebooks! But I cater to a market that can.

There are probably only 3 or 4 videos that I've watched more than once. So I rarely buy them.

I prefer to lie back and flick through the pages of a real book.

Best Wishes

Peter
pduffie
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: UK

Postby Matthew Field » 07/19/01 02:44 PM

Like Peter, I also prefer books -- the 3-D kind. I also mentioned to Peter some time ago that I felt the Martin Lewis notebook that Eric Lewis published, a wonderful book on CD-ROM which could not have been published in any other way, in a practical sense, had received less than the expected "buzz" because of the medium on which it made its appearance.

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2467
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby Joe M. Turner » 07/19/01 03:09 PM

Originally posted by Matthew Field:
the Martin Lewis notebook that Eric Lewis published, a wonderful book on CD-ROM which could not have been published in any other way


It was an Eric Lewis notebook published by Martin Lewis. It was great and I agree with your conclusion -- if it had somehow been possible to produce it as a bound book, it would have gotten phenomenal notices.

JMT
Joe M. Turner
 
Posts: 418
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: Atlanta, GA

Postby Matthew Field » 07/19/01 04:58 PM

Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:


It was an Eric Lewis notebook published by Martin Lewis
JMT



You are so right. That's what happens when you hit the mid-50s.

My question is, if this is true of the Eric Lewis book, and I don't know how sales were, are we ready for more of this? Or are Chris Wasshuber & Co. ahead of their time?

Matt Field
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2467
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby CHRIS » 07/20/01 10:49 AM

Matt,

the Personal Magic CD published by Martin Lewis is a magnificent book.

From my point of view he made two technical decisions which I would do differently but otherwise it is a well produced ebook.

Limiting myself to magic ebooks, let me share some insights on acceptance of ebooks. First I think acceptance of ebooks is much higher than commonly assumed. For a glimpse into this take a look at my customer testimonials. Many who try out ebooks are absolutely stunned and flabbergasted. They become affictionados, change their way of thinking, and benefit a great deal from their discovery. I have yet to hear a complaint from a customer that he was dissappointed with one of my ebooks. I get some suggestions for further improvement but fundamentally all, at least as far as I can tell, are happy that they have found a new medium from which they can greatly benefit.

Also I think there is a large misconception of ebook technology and longevity and such. This misconception is usually found with folks who are not particular familiar with computers, software and so forth. I have written an essay about it "Pros and Cons of Ebooks" which you can find on my webpage.

Another misconception is that most magicians are online and willing to buy online. Only 30% of the american population are online. And only a fraction of these are really willing to buy online. Add to this the fact that ebooks are still quite new and it is clear that at this point in time sales are lower than for books/videos.

But this will change a few years down the road, ebooks will be accepted and probably producing more worldwide revenue than books alone. Reading devices are constantly improving with dropping prices. The economics of ebooks are just so much better than the ones for books (distribution and manufacturing are very cheap) that it will be an uphill battle for books to stay at the front.

To answer your question, yes I think I am ahead of the curve but not too much. It always takes a transition time for a new medium or product and business being established. By the trends are clearly pointing upwards. In a year or two we will talk very differently.

Chris....
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby sleightly » 07/20/01 10:22 PM

One aspect of learning from videos that I rarely hear mentioned is the difficulty in translating moves from the audience perspective to magician perspective, even with over the shoulder material.

As for timing, I believe that there is no right or wrong timing for any sleight, only the timing that fits "you". This can only be learned through personal experience.

One other con I see to video is that it can be incredibly time-consuming. It can take significantly longer to scan the material on video than skimming the same material in a book.

Perhaps the most important aspect of studying a book is the importance of the imagination in the process. "Will this play for me?" is easier to ascertain if you are not being fed method, presentation and performance style all at once. It gets to what has been said about illustrations versus photographs in printed material, that illustrations allow you to focus on what is important. When I'm researching material or skimming different ideas, I am looking for their value to *me*, rather than what someone else has done with it.

When creating material for myself (or even adapting standard plots & ideas to suit myself), I prefer to *not* observe other performer's presentations of that material, as it can (and often does) stifle my own creative journey.

To draw a parallel to part of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: the act of
observing one changes the other in undefinable ways.
sleightly
 
Posts: 217
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: New Hampshire

Postby Guest » 07/21/01 08:46 PM

I must be old fashioned but I prefer books to video. However, I do like the idea of a book and a DVD. I love old magic books and have been trying to collect them during the last 2 years. I recently purchased a first edition copy of The Ramsay Legend and a first edition The Magic and Methods of Ross Bertram. There is something intoxicating about old magic books.
Guest
 

Postby Ray Haddad » 07/21/01 09:12 PM

Regarding books and videos, two glaring things come to mind. Not all of us are able to write. That's why God created editors. Along that same line, not all editors are capable of detaching themselves enough to publish a quality magic book that can stand alone in its ability to teach one magic.

I can cite many modern, self published magicians who are far better at explaining things in person than via the written word. I have videos and companion books from many of today's allegedly brilliant minds in magic. Not all of them can write well enough to describe in detail all of the workings of their own work.

This isn't a failing as long as the teacher is able to interact directly with pupils. Video allows one directional interaction with visual clues. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words holds true here. So, many of today's magicians can best pass on information via video.

Magicians who can write and instruct are rare as I am sure the editors and writers of this forum will agree. Describing a sleight without line drawings and photographs can be a very consuming task and often elicits more questions from uncertain verbal descriptions than it answers.

As to the e-book argument, they may be the future of someone's reading habits but not mine. I do have a few e-books and have long been a supporter of the Guttenburg Project but I will never give up my wonderful library of magic books.

Best Always,
Ray
Best Regards,
Ray
http://www.rayhaddad.com
Ray Haddad
 
Posts: 80
Joined: 04/20/08 06:31 PM
Location: Mansfield Center, Connecticut

Postby Robert Kane » 07/21/01 10:22 PM

I like Richard Kaufman's idea of a book with a DVD. I have been using a DVD to learn blues guitar licks and it's much better than a video because you can control every minute aspect of what you are seeing. This allows you to absorb and digest the information at your own my pace. Plus it allows easy repetition, which is a foundation of learning. It's a great combination and I would love to see more of it. :rolleyes: [/LIST]
Robert Kane
 
Posts: 227
Joined: 09/03/08 01:24 AM

Postby Jeff Haas » 07/22/01 03:56 AM

I like the fact that videos are available, and I really wish I'd had one of Roth's retention vanish when I was learning it back in the 80's.

There's one other point about books and videos...some effects can read well in print, but then you actually see them performed, and you realize that the effect isn't all that terrific. There have been several sets of videos based on books in the last few years where my opinion of the material went down after I saw it performed by the creator.
Jeff Haas
 
Posts: 920
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: San Mateo, CA

Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/22/01 04:25 AM

While I see the benefit of videos for some learning situations, I prefer books. For me, the only part of the videos I own that I watch more than once is the performance segment, and that's because I like to watch good magic.

Concerning eBooks, CDs, DVDs (yada-yada-yada): I love books. I love how they look on my shelves and feel in my hands. Books even have their own fragrances (new and old) and I love those as well (except for those contaminated by cigarette smoke - see my post under "Kaufman's books stink" in the Kaufman & Co. section). The new technology simply does not provide the same visceral experience of a "real" book. Well cared for they will last, literally, for centuries (and the new acid free papers ensures even less degradation of the paper which may allow them to last even longer). Will videos, eBooks, DVDs last that long? Will they eventually wear out? I know I've never had a "real" book "crash" on me. I sure wish I could say that about all of my electronics. Also, I can still read during one of California's rolling blackouts! Candle light worked for Lincoln and the sun makes for a terrific reading lamp during the day.

What about new technologies that have yet to be invented? Will these eventually replace eBooks and DVDs? Will these then make what was previously published in the "old" technology unavailable? (Much like CDs vs. vinyl albums - a lot of great music will eventually be lost because it will never be republished on CD.)

I have no doubt that eBooks & DVDs will one day replace mass-produced "real" books. Production costs will be such that only the very wealthy will be able to afford them. I am so glad that by the time "real" books go the way of the vinyl album, my ashes will be mixed into the sand of my least favorite sand trap on my favorite golf course (I've spent so much time in there, that I figure I may as well spend eternity there as well). I believe that it will be a sad day when the last publishing house closes or "re-tools" in favor of the current technology.

Call me old-fashioned, but give me a "real" book any day.
Regards,
Dustin
User avatar
Dustin Stinett
 
Posts: 5779
Joined: 07/22/01 12:00 PM
Location: Southern California

Postby CHRIS » 07/22/01 08:05 AM

Dustin,

you can read a rebutal to your technical concerns of CDs (longevity, formats ...) in my essay "Pros and Cons of ebooks" at Lybrary.com under essays.

In short, once a book is in electronic form, once it is an ebook, it is simple, if not trivial, to convert it to any new format, or even print it out if you need to smell some fresh ink and paper.

The ASCII standard is around for almost as long as computers exist and will continue to be the basis of text files as long as I can see into the future. HTML is built on ASCII.

Two more points to all the folks who say ebooks are so inconvenient.
Have you thought about the fact that ebooks are instant audio books? The computer or reading device can read the ebook to you. This is not just heavenly for the blind and visually impaired colleagues but it is a lot more convenient to listen than to read. And to study the latest move, it helps if both hands are free to be engaged with the props while you just listen.

Ray, and others with a large library

Assume, as a Gedankenexperiment, that you would have all your magic books in electronic form on a single silver disc. Wouldn't you think that you would find things faster? Wouldn't you be able to use your library much more efficiently? Wouldn't you think that being able to take your disc, which is your whole library of thousands of ebooks, with you on your trips, adds flexibillity? Wouldn't you think you get much more value out of your library?

Chris....
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Matthew Field » 07/22/01 11:11 AM

I like the fact that videos are available, and I really wish I'd had one of Roth's retention vanish when I was learning it back in the 80's.


Jeff Haas makes a good point in his post. i had a tough time with Roth's Retention Pass until I asked him to perform it for me (in the 1970s). Here, videos (and DVDs) can be of great value.

Matt Field

[ July 22, 2001: Message edited by: Matthew Field ]
User avatar
Matthew Field
 
Posts: 2467
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Hastings, England, UK

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/22/01 12:01 PM

Chris states in his post that it is "a lot more convenient to listen than to read." (He is referring to the fact that ebooks can be read to you by certain computers.) I think this gets to the heart of the matter because it breaks down everyone in society into two groups: those who'd rather read, and those who'd rather have information fed to them via some visual or aural means.
There are plenty of us for whom a very significant part of the learning experience, and a PLEASANT one, is reading. The assimilation of text, for those who enjoy, is an experience like no other. We seem to be an old-fashioned and dwindling majority, as more people are interested in watching a videotape these days. For some of us, the pleasure of reading is different than the pleasure (if any) of watching a videotape. Frankly, most magic videotapes are boring.
If Mike Maxwell of A-1 Magical Media eventually spends time in purgatory, it would only be just to make him watch the videotapes he makes for eternity.
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20532
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby CHRIS » 07/22/01 03:15 PM

Richard, you make the 'listening' part sound as something bad by using the descriptive 'having information fed'.

My point was that ebooks give a whole variety of ways to access the information. This variety cannot be offered by books or videos alone. I can read my ebooks on a computer or PDA, I can print them out - bind them - and read them as a regular book, I can have them read to me by my computer or PDA.

It depends on the situation and the person what is 'best'. For a visually impaired, listening is probably much better than reading. Or he can crank up the font size with an ebook and be able to read comfortably. How can he do that with a book?

While driving long distances I can listen to "The Art of Magic" and absorb points I missed by my first time reading.

But you do not have to listen. It is just another option which ebooks open up.

I also think equating 'listening' with 'feeding' implying that it is less thorough than 'reading' is not particular thoughtful. I have seen many people reading and not knowing what they read 5 minutes ago. Some people are better listening and others better reading. It just depends on how concentrated you are. Same goes for videos. The mere act of watching rather than reading has nothing to do with 'a more thorough way of accessing information'.

Although I have to agree that many videos are boring and low quality.

I enjoy reading ebooks/books a lot and use listening to complete my experience and fill my day with more magic than I could just reading. I rarely watch videos.

Chris....
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Guest » 07/22/01 04:19 PM

I buy videos for the sole purpose of making magic. Being in my teens, money is scarse and I try to make as many things as possible. This is where videos like Martin Lewis' "Making Magic" and others that explain how to literally make the magic are great. These are helpful in the exact construction of items, better than a book could do.
Guest
 

Postby Rafael Benatar » 07/22/01 04:48 PM

A joke Ascanio used to tell:
One magician tells another:
- I was puzzled to see you perform. The first trick you're quiet, the next one you were a riot, then you turned poetical, and suddenly you're funny. Why is that?
- I learned from different videos.
Rafael Benatar
 
Posts: 223
Joined: 01/18/08 01:00 PM
Location: Madrid, Spain

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/23/01 09:45 AM

Hmm...this topic always makes me wonder. Many people say that books are better than videos. They say that videos encourage imitation & copycats. They say that books are better because you have to learn on your own, put your own presentation into it. I'm not convinced.

Is it really the medium that's the problem? Or is it the teacher/student that is the problem? After all, isn't it the student that actually takes the action, whether it be copying or not. And isn't it the responsibility of the teacher to inspire his student to be creative and to put himself (or herself) into his magic?

One thing to realize is that imitation is going to happen whether we like it or not. It's always happened, and it always will happen. We just have to do what we can to show the copycats that imitation is not the final step, but merely the beginning. After all, haven't most of us started by imitating those we admire?

Eugene Burger channelled Don Alan. Lance Burton tried as hard as he could to be Channing Pollack. And there are many more examples out there. But, they eventually realized that if they wanted to be good, they had to be themselves.

So, I think a beter question would be: What are books and videos and e-books and whatever doing to inspire creativity in the reader/viewer. Ultimately, I think it matter little WHERE we learn magic from, as long as we learn to be ourselves.

-Jim

[ July 23, 2001: Message edited by: Jim Maloney ]
Jim Maloney_dup1
 
Posts: 1709
Joined: 07/23/01 12:00 PM
Location: Northern New Jersey

Postby Guest » 07/23/01 12:33 PM

I've always been a big fan of magic books. I enjoy reading the many different writing styles and they will also hold their value if they are taken care of.

As Peter Duffie had previously mentioned, I have shelves of tapes that I have only watched once.
Guest
 

Postby Brian Marks » 07/23/01 07:01 PM

video stars usually endorse the books. In the many times Ive met David Roth, he always endorses various books over videos, other video stars Ive met have told me the same. These people included Mike Close, Martin Lewis, Simon Lovell and Alan Ackerman.

I took the time to read some of the material these gentleman had published and found that after seeing the tapes these books were much easier to understand, had more on the history of the trick and sleights involved and theories that are usually for just the book.

In my opinion they compliment each other and in reality should be produced in unison to help teach the material.
Brian Marks
 
Posts: 918
Joined: 01/30/08 01:00 PM
Location: Nyack, NY

Postby CHRIS » 07/24/01 08:33 AM

Brian, good point. You do not need a video for someone to read out loud what he could have put in a book. Imagine Roberto Giobbi would put everything he wrote in his Card College on video. It would take about 100 hours to say everything he wrote. How unefficient that would be!

This means videos naturally end up being much shallower in terms of background information and additional information. A good video should maximize the 'show' rather than the 'tell' part.

Chris....
Lybrary.com preserving magic one book at a time http://www.lybrary.com/
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Jim Morton » 07/27/01 02:36 PM

I like videos, and love DVDs, but this is probably a good place to point out the biggest problem inherent with them (as well as ebooks), and that is the volatility of the media. Over time tapes and disks tend to oxidize.

Many of my older tapes (I've been collecting tapes since 1981) are looking pretty grainy now. It has nothing to do with whether they've been played or not. It's just the nature of the universe to break things down, and magnetic oxides are often the first to go.

If you want a worst case scenario on this subject, talk to record producer, Steve Albini about this. Back in the early eighties, when CDs were being billed as virtually indestructible, Albini and his band, Big Black, transferred their master recordings to CD format. These recordings are now lost to the ages. :(

I am reminded of a line from an episode of Max Headroom when a young woman is handed a book. "What's this" she asks. "It's a book," a man replies, "a non-volatile storage medium."
Jim Morton
 
Posts: 178
Joined: 02/07/08 01:00 PM
Location: San Francisco

Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/27/01 03:13 PM

I wish books were a non-volatile storage medium, but there are plenty of books being eaten by the acidity in their pages.
On the subject of oxidation on Laser discs, CDs and DVDs, the answer is that if these are properly made, the seal is airtight and the correct glues, chemicals, etc. are used, then theoretically they should last a lllllooooooonnnnnnngggggggggg time.
My laser discs from 1988 look better than my video tapes from 1988!
Subscribe today to Genii Magazine
User avatar
Richard Kaufman
 
Posts: 20532
Joined: 07/18/01 12:00 PM
Location: Washington DC

Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 07/27/01 03:45 PM

Not to mention that the digital media allows for duplication without a loss of quality. I'm not sure how long the average CD or DVD lasts, but if you are really worried about degredation of the material, you can make perfect copies on new media before it starts to degrade. That's something that definitely can't be done with printed media.

But what's the difference, anyway? Within 50 years, we'll probably have a new form of storage that solves the problems of CD's and DVD's. And then 50 years after that, there'll be another form of storage. And so on...and so on...

-Jim

[ July 27, 2001: Message edited by: Jim Maloney ]
Jim Maloney_dup1
 
Posts: 1709
Joined: 07/23/01 12:00 PM
Location: Northern New Jersey

Postby Dave Shepherd » 07/27/01 07:31 PM

I have a CD that I ordered from Chris Wasshuber, full of classic card books, Our Magic, Erdnase, Expert Card Technique and other stuff. It's very neat.

Yet what I actually read, most of the time, is the books on my shelves. Since I don't yet have a Palm or Handspring, I read e-books on my Mac PowerBook. When I want to read, I have to find a place to set it up, boot up, put in the CD, launch Netscape (my browser of choice), because if I just click the file my computer launches Internet Explorer, and navigate my way around.

Forget about reading any of this stuff in the back seat of the car on a long road trip, or on the Metro train as I ride into the city.

Whereas when I bring along my little Dover paperback of Expert Card Technique, I can read it whenever, wherever I want--at lunch, as I'm getting ready to take a nap, etc., etc. (Yes, I am missing the Vernon and Daley chapters, but I've printed those out from the e-book.)

Now, for these reasons--except much more so--videos are not only inconvenient as "musing instruments", they are pretty near impossible to go to sleep by. I mean, I guess I could pop one in to the family VCR and subject the rest of my family to secrets they don't really want to know, but I think I'd better not.

I'll be really interested to see how the whole e-book revolution shakes out in the next 10 years. I don't think we really have even a partial picture of it yet.

(This is similar to something that Jon Racherbaumer was saying on another forum here about futurism--what will seem magical in 100 years? How will we read in 100 years? Who knows?)

I do appreciate Chris W.'s e-books, and I'll probably buy more, but not as something to read at my leisure.

Dave Shepherd
Dave Shepherd
 
Posts: 423
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: 15 miles w. of Washington, DC

Postby pduffie » 07/28/01 04:26 AM

Hi Dave

The solution lies in your 2nd paragraph

"Since I don't yet have a Palm or Handspring.."

As Ebooks become common place, so will hand-held reading devices. I believe they will become as common as mobile phones within a few years.

Best Wishes

Peter
pduffie
 
Posts: 383
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: UK

Postby Dave Shepherd » 07/28/01 10:01 AM

Hi Peter,
I think you're right, those hand-helds will become ever more common. I know it's just a matter of (rather short) time before I own one. Even my Luddite brother has a Handspring.

One thing I was trying to imply in my post is the question as to whether or not that PDA format will ultimately equate to the e-book format. Or will e-books be on dedicated e-book machines (I doubt it) or on some version of what Chris Wasshuber produces (I rather doubt it, for everyday reading) or will it be some other technology.

I just recently bought a Nokia 8260 cell phone. The thing has a very basic PDA in it. On my cell phone I can keep not only all the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of people I know, but also calendar items, with an audible alarm for whenever I set it. Therefore it'll probably be longer than it might have been until I buy a PDA.

It's exciting--and unsettling--the way these technological developments are unfolding.

Dave Shepherd
Dave Shepherd
 
Posts: 423
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: 15 miles w. of Washington, DC

Postby Guest » 07/28/01 05:18 PM

When I first got involved with magic I was influenced by the magic shop demonstrators to buy this or that gimmick and I would show these tricks to my friends a couple of times before they ended up in my drawer and I'd have to go buy a new one. Once I was in college I did not have the money to go out and spend the money on a marketed item that would allow me to just perform one effect. I was dead broke! That is when I fell in LOVE with the magic book. The first book I bought was was the paperback edition of "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay for about $3.95. I read that book over and over until it fell apart. At that time (1987?) the videos that Tannen's were selling were going for about $70!!! I was sticking to the books! I was lucky to have a friend like Bob Elliott who would lend me his books when I could not buy my own. In fact one Christmas the only gift I received was "100% Sankey" and I can still perform most of that nmaterial on demand. When I was a demonstrator at Tannens, I would always try to sell a book over a videotape every time (and I am proud to say I think I've read over 90% of the books they had in stock) but most customers to my dismay wanted the latest self working miracle (no matter how lame) or a tape. I had a handful of customers who would trust my judgement or wanted to talk about the latest books and they made the day bearable. I just think that you get so much more value for your money (with a good book). I know for a fact that the videos in my library have been watched only a couple of times, but I return to most of my books over and over again.

:p :p

[ July 28, 2001: Message edited by: Sean-Dylan Riedweg ]
Guest
 

Postby Dave Shepherd » 07/28/01 05:47 PM

Sean-Dylan Riedweg wrote:
The first book I bought was was the paperback edition of "The Amateur Magician's Handbook" by Henry Hay for about $3.95. I read that book over and over until it fell apart.


Ooh! Ooh! That wonderful book!

For me, too, it was the first book I read seriously, albeit rather recently. And I got it for 25 cents in the mid-1990s at a local public library. I had no idea what a treasure I had until I read it and tried some of the "hand magic" on my family.

It was Henry Hay who taught me that (a) there's an excellent reason to try difficult sleight of hand, and (b) magic is not only a performing art, but also in a sense a literary art.

I'm glad to meet a kindred spirit!

Dave Shepherd

[ July 28, 2001: Message edited by: Dave Shepherd ]
Dave Shepherd
 
Posts: 423
Joined: 01/17/08 01:00 PM
Location: 15 miles w. of Washington, DC

Postby CHRIS » 07/29/01 08:57 PM

A few more comments on CDs, formats, and ebooks:

Today CDs last a very long time. The CDs we use at Lybrary.com have a manufacturer guaranteed life time of 75 years. I expect the CDs to actually hold for around 100 years or longer.

I also get quite often the question about file formats and standards with the implied worry that these ebooks might not be accessible in the future.

It is very easy to remove all worries due the simple fact that ebooks are stored in a digital format. It is quite easy to copy them and convert them to other formats as often as one wishes without loss of quality or contents. If CDs really only hold data for about 100 years then all one needs to do is copy the CD after 80 or 60 years to be safe. A similar argument holds for the file format. Particularly ASCII files are readily parsed and converted to new future formats. This is one of the reasons I have chosen HTML as my basic format. I don't need any help from Microsoft or Adobe to do what I want to do and provide the best service for my customers.

I am also a firm believer that PDAs will become much more widespread and will help fuel the ebook business. But there is a second excellent use for ebooks even if one does not have a PDA and even if one does not like to read from the computer.

Use your ebooks for reference and search purposes. Many of my customers rebuy books they own in paper format as ebooks, to be able to search in them. The actual reading can then be done in the paper copy.

Say you are searching for a trick or move you can't remember where you read about it. Turn to your ebooks, search and find what you are looking for. Then go with that knowledge to your library and retrieve the book/books you want to read.

This will give you so much more value from your library because you will more often then not, find what you are searching for. I have found in my ebooks many times new things, although I thought I read these books thorougly.

So even for the computerphobics, this can be quite a help in their magic research.

Chris.... http://www.lybrary.com/ preserving magic one book at a time.
CHRIS
 
Posts: 678
Joined: 01/31/08 01:00 PM
Location: las vegas

Postby Guest » 08/14/01 04:01 PM

Rafael Benatar made a good point with his Ascanio joke.
Too many magicians copy exactly what they see on video without injecting their own personality / style.
Whilst that can happen through books, it is less likely and it does force you to think about / analyse what you are doing. :rolleyes:
Guest
 

Next

Return to Light From the Lamp