Forget the hype, e-books still hard on the eyes (8/12/2000)

I’ve been using the new Microsoft Reader 1.5 and it’s better than what I was using before (Glassbook). Still too hard to read lots of text on screen. I also wish it would display PDFs, which I still hate. This article has a few further complaints.

Jakob Nielsen doesn’t think much of it either, apparently:

“Microsoft Reader is somewhat disappointing. I downloaded Moby Dick but could not keep my interest going in reading much beyond “Call me Ishmael.” I continue to maintain that traditional books are ill suited for repurposing onto current computer screens. ClearType did improve readability, but not as much as I had hoped. Somebody outside Microsoft should run an independent study to see how much of the reading speed gap between paper and screen is being bridged by ClearType on a present-day flat-panel display. My guess is that ClearType speeds up reading by about 10% (note that this is an estimate, not measurement data).

A Microsoft manager is quoted as saying that ClearType will be available next year “for all Microsoft applications.” The Anti-Trust folks should look into this. If ClearType is made available for Microsoft applications and not integrated fully into the operating system, then that is the final kiss of death for any independent software developers. Nobody wants to spend 10% more time reading their email, their spreadsheets, their documents – or web pages, for that. So once ClearType becomes prevalent, nobody will use any software that doesn’t have it.”