In a fuzzy half-awake flurry of link-clicking, somehow I ended up at India Amos' blog; I don't remember how I got there, but whoever did it, thank you. India seems to cover a whole swath of topics I didn't realize I was missing in my daily feed. She's a book technologist—or at least that's what I'll call her, since she designs books (the paper kind) and is now studying ways to bring her knowledge and experience into the impending gee-whiz electromagical future—but, unlike most people who flog e-books and e-book platforms, she's coming from a perspective of actually caring about type, writing, and non-conglomerate models of publishing.
I also read (on only one espresso!) Bill Hill's latest blog post, where the former Microsoft Typography manager (and my boss, 14 years ago) admits that Apple makes better music players, phones, tablet devices, e-book readers, and hell, even Windows PCs than Microsoft does. (No, of course Microsoft doesn't make PCs. Or e-book readers. But Bill prefers his MacBook Pro to anything made by HP et al. and seems to think the iPad is clearly better than the Kindle.)
But Bill's wrong, at least in one detail, pointed out by India in one of her posts: the iPad's H&J sucks donkey lincolns (and in that respect it is certainly no better than the Kindle, which sucks slightly less). That shot is an iPad screen from the iPad announcement, showing Ted Kennedy's memoir with inter-word spacing you could drive a Delta 88 through. H&J means "hyphenation and justification": the code which figures out where to break lines and words and how to adjust inter-word and inter-letter spacing so that the eye can move smoothly along a line of text. To do it right, you really need a trained human—a typographer—to look at and potentially adjust every single line. But Donald Knuth and others figured out how to automate the basics decades ago, so Apple has no excuse.
(Also, Steve: Cochin is a lovely typeface, but it's best for display, not body text. Its sharp-pointed serifs and subtly modulated curves are not the best way to show off the iPad's screen which, let's face it, still isn't quite high-enough resolution. Really, the only typeface on that menu which has a hope of looking decent on an iPad is Verdana—but that's a whole 'nother rant.)
All this book-technology noodling makes this a good opportunity to point out that the website and registration for RIT's Future of Reading conference are now live. I hope to be there, and I expect India and Bill will be too.