First of all, you need to understand I’m a low-tech sort of guy. Back when I first started earning money playing with words, I did my work on a typewriter. That’s right, one of those little contraptions that had keys you pounded and a paper carriage that you tossed back into position after typing a sentence or two.

These days, other than my computer and a pretty ancient cell phone, I still remain rooted in the 20th Century. It’s not that I have anything against the magical devices that are being developed today. I simply fear I’ve reached that point of information overload that means for every bit of new stuff I try to take in, a corresponding amount spills out. In short, my brain is full.

With that as preamble, I stand before you today to sing the praises of one of those new-fangled, high-tech contraptions that recently hit the market with much rejoicing and good cheer, yet another winning item from the folks at Apple.

On a trip recently with Lauren and Josh – that would be my daughter and son-in-law – I was staying busy happily reading a book – something I learned how to do about six decades ago and something I have managed to accomplish in pretty much the same way ever since. Basically, you buy a book, find a comfortable chair and turn to the first chapter. Every couple of minutes or so you turn the page. No more. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Josh is a high-tech kinda guy. If the wizards of gadgetry manage to come up with an ice cream cone with a hard drive, he’ll be one of the first in line to purchase it – chocolate, vanilla and whatever other bells and whistles that can be added. So I wasn’t at all surprised when he announced that he’d recently bought not one, but two iPads! And, thankfully, he’d brought one along.

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, I’m not talking about some sort of high-tech sanitary napkin – such were the lame jokes when Steven Jobs announced the name for Apple’s new tablet computer earlier this year. Jobs and others holding Apple stock are still chortling all the way to the bank. Since it was released in April, a whopping 3 million iPads have been sold at about $500 a pop more or less. You do the math!

After watching Lauren toy around with the iPad for a bit, I asked if I could try it out. Before leaving that place with the printing press a year or so ago, I had worked on a Mac for years and, once again, Apple has developed a product that is easy to learn and handle. With just a little prompting from the kids, I was off and running – checking my e-mail and Facebook page, surfing the web and spending time with the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today.

And then I stumbled onto the iPad’s library. E-books have been around for several years now, but Apple , using its iTunes paradigm, is positioned to move to the head of the class. With just a few clicks you can easily browse through hundreds of tomes, pay and download whatever you find appealing. Whisk your hand across the screen and you can magnify pages or paragraphs, flip through chapters or find earmarked passages. The whole process is intuitive and, I’m certain, will be hugely popular – heck, it already is!

I’m also certain in another few months, certainly in the next few years, we’re going to see more such magic – just faster and smarter – and hopefully a bit cheaper. The future is looking bright for most everyone willing to jump aboard the high-tech bandwagon. The not so good news is a bunch of industries – book publishing, newspapers, magazines and other such journals – are toast.

And so it goes.

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Ron Feinberg

Ron Feinberg

Ron Feinberg is a veteran journalist who has worked for daily newspapers across the Southeast, including the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Charlotte Observer in Charlotte, N.C. He recently retired from The Atlanta Journal Constitution where he had been an editor since 1979. He was the news editor for The Atlanta Journal before it was folded into The Atlanta Constitution in the mid-1980s, then news editor for The Constitution. In the mid-1990s he helped create the AJC's Faith & Values section and served as its first editor