Cale Byers

e-Books are Disgusting and Vile

October 10, 2017

I hate computers and e-books and screens and devices.

My vector calculus class doesn't use the calculus book I bought my freshman year (2014) for the low, low price of only $150. It was pricey at the time, but when you consider that it should last for 3 courses, or 13 credits, it's a pretty cheap and useful book:

  1. Calculus I - 5 credits
  2. Calculus II - 3 credits
  3. Vector Calculus - 5 credits

For those 13 credits, which cost $1,285 each at Linfield, you're spending $16,705, and so a $150 book represents only 0.89% of the $16,855. Once you factor in housing and all of the other stuff, that $150 is so insignificant as to be inconsequential. Even if you only did Calc 1, you're still paying a million dollars to be here, so get over it. I'm going to start a communist book club to help address the BS textbook racketeering scheme. I say all of this, because cost was a reason for the department deciding to drop a perfectly good book.

And instead, the math department collectively thought using an e-book would be a good alternative. I'm all for enabling free access to digital versions, and I would gladly pirate journal articles, but you really need a print copy for learning and all that shit we're supposedly here to do. And it's not even the same book!!! It's a new curriculum! So I'm not doing any of the homework. I flat out refuse to do it. We started class on August 28th. It's now October 10th, and I haven't done any hw. I haven't even looked at the e-book.

I did find a used Kindle this summer, and I was considering using it for the e-book, but the kindle isn't charging properly. I need to try some other cable. Android cables have been historically trash. Apple was YEARS ahead of Android with cable quality. Not sure about the latest USB-C stuff.

To conclude, I hate digital books and computers. The one thing I love about math (and especially a math major) is that we don't need computers like some degrees mandate. Try doing any other degree, and you'll need a computer. It'd be so cool to get a degree without needing tech.

But whatever, it seems no subject is safe from the electronic craze destroying educational spaces.

I will get a trashed laptop at some point, but I shouldn't need to do so for my education. Especially for math!

Retrospective Update (December 10): due to poor choices in time management and overworking myself, I had to drop the vector calculus course. I would have been more likely to think about doing some homework if it had been the same physical book I used in the 14-15 school year. I ended up deciding to print the PDF, so when I retake it this spring, I'll have a binder full of the entire book. There was a point where I tried to read the book and started one assignment, but by that point in the semester, I was very tired, frustrated, lost, and drowning in stress and late assignments. It only costs about $30 to print it, but it's not bound in a nice hardcopy book. So in the long term, the lifespan is very short. You can make a hardcopy last for years!! Many students. Good luck trying to share loose paper with 5-10 different students over 20 years. It's not happening. So really it's more expensive to not use the good book from the past. It's really stupid, but I'll make it work. And by having better time management and a better environment to learn, I'll be able to use my older, REAL textbook to help learn the digital material. I made a similarly foolish choice with my finances and opportunity costs this term, but that's something to save for another blog post.