Articles by Branko Collin

Giving up print—a conversion story

By Branko Collin
May 16, 2009 // 1 Comment

Bruce Bartlett had an interesting piece in Forbes two weeks ago called Recycling Books in which he describes the process that allowed him to slowly wean himself from print, and move on to reading digital. For him it started with journals: I even bought a house twice as large as I needed just to [...]

Bebook Mini confirmed at 200 euro

By Branko Collin
May 15, 2009 // 0 Comments

Engadget links to a video interview with Endless Ideas CEO Johan Hagenbeuk in which he confirms (in Dutch) that the price for the Bebook Mini will be 199 euro. The 5 inch Mini will be almost exactly the same model as the classic 300 euro model, but will have a smaller screen, faster processor, more [...]

DIY high-speed scanner

By Branko Collin
April 21, 2009 // 2 Comments

I have been walking around with this idea for quite some time, but simply lack the technical skills to make it happen—a high-speed book scanner made from stuff you’ve probably got lying around the house. Now Daniel Reetz has gone and done it, and his instructions can be found at [...]

Ultra-portables have arrived when …

By Branko Collin
August 16, 2008 // 1 Comment

Ultra-portables have arrived when … you can purchase them at the DIY store. A little over a year ago I pointed out that light and cheap laptops with a small energy footprint were about to enter the market. Because of their minimalist features these laptops might double as e-book readers. [...]

A quick review of a borrowed Sony Reader PRS-500

By Branko Collin
June 20, 2008 // 6 Comments

A friend lent me his Sony Reader for a couple of weeks. He wasn’t using it as much as he used to, so he wouldn’t miss it. I received the device with a power adaptor and a minimum of instructions. There’s a school of thought that says that reading instructions is a waste of time [...]

Amazing Russian OCR package open sourced?

By Branko Collin
May 26, 2008 // 6 Comments

Help wanted from some fellow sleuths-archeologists: Recent reports suggest that a Russian OCR tool called Cuneiform has been released as Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). The unfortunate part, for me, is that all the news seems to sit on the Russian side of the web, and I don’t speak [...]

Royal Library wants copyright law changed

By Branko Collin
April 18, 2008 // 0 Comments

Copyright is not fit for this digital age, and needs to be changed; so said two representatives of the Dutch national library in a letter to daily NRC yesterday. In their epistle (Dutch) Martin Bossenbroek and Hans Jansen, managers Collections & Service and E-strategy respectively of the [...]

The printed book as a preservation device

By Branko Collin
April 10, 2008 // 4 Comments

There’s a lot of talk about whether e-books will be able to mimic the physical qualities of p-books, but often this talk focuses on the “feel” of books. People like to rifle through pages, smell the paper, make notes in the margins, et cetera. A p-book does not just act as a [...]

The robots are coming!

By Branko Collin
March 28, 2008 // 1 Comment

Almazán is a Spanish municipality covering an area of 166 km². You would have known this if you had looked up the Dutch Wikipedia article on the place. The entry was started by one of the many “bots” that roam Wikipedia. Ah well, you’ll say, there’s still room for the [...]

Wikipedia in New York Review of Books

By Branko Collin
March 25, 2008 // 2 Comments

The New York Review of Books has a jealousy inducing piece on Wikipedia, it’s that well written. OK, technically it is a review of John Broughton’s “Wikipedia: The Missing Manual,” a book that describes how to write Wikipedia entries that last. But Nicholson Baker, author of [...]

Electrowetting displays coming up in 2008

By Branko Collin
March 24, 2008 // 1 Comment

Philips spin-off Liquavista announced last week that it will start production of so-called electrowetting displays this year, having secured 8 million euro in investment money. Electrowetting is a member of a loosely knit family of energy efficient reflective display technologies. It works by [...]

“Old People and the Things that Pass” in HTML

By Branko Collin
March 22, 2008 // 3 Comments

Dear patron. The book you requested from this library, an HTML-version of Old People and the Things that Pass, is now available at the Internet Archive. Please accept our apologies for our tardiness; the transcription took a little longer than [...]

Novelists’ strike fails to affect U.S. whatsoever

By Branko Collin
March 17, 2008 // 1 Comment

“The Novelists Guild of America strike, now entering its fourth month, has had no impact on the nation at all,” the Onion reported last week. Excerpt: “The publishing industry itself, which many believed to be most vulnerable, has nonetheless managed to weather the crisis. [...]

Dutch newspaper sells 500 Iliads in a week

By Branko Collin
March 14, 2008 // 1 Comment

According to, Dutch quality daily NRC Handelsblad sold 500 Iliad + subscription combos last week. The Iliad is Irex’ E Ink based, A5-sized reading device with touch screen. Last week, NRC Handelsblad was the first Dutch newspaper to start selling Iliads combined with subscriptions. [...]

Of old people and the things that pass

By Branko Collin
March 12, 2008 // 3 Comments

Today marks the start of the Boekenweek, the Dutch week to promote books. This year’s motto is “Of old people…,” named after Louis Couperus’ classic 1906 psychological novel Of Old People and the Things That Pass… The theme focuses on old age, both in people and [...]

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