Gray Matter

Growing up, my engineer dad wouldn’t let me use a calculator. Dad was somehow convinced that some random thing would happen and computers and calculators would be obsoleteBrainwork would be the new currency, the thinking man’s tools.  Strangely enough, this whole theory became the plot to a television series back in the day (Dark Angel, anyone?) This was both a hindrance on my part and hindsight on his part.  I’ll start with the hindrance first.


(Photo courtesy of

I got made fun of in junior high and high school because I DIDN’T use a calculator.  However, I did use my brain.  When I got to college, I was told to use the TI-83, super duper deluxe multi function multi button gizmo whizbang mack daddy of calculators.  Do y’all remember this thing?  It did everything but write your answers down for you.  I never used one.  I didn’t know how.  When the professor said to push this button and get that result, I had NO IDEA what he was discussing.  So I did what every student is trained to do – I raised my hand.  And what was his response? A thirty-minute diatribe on the failure of the education system in America to even teach simple calculator usage.  Except here’s where the hindsight on my dad’s part enters the picture: “Sir, I didn’t say I don’t know how to do the work, I said I didn’t know how to use the calculator.  I can do all this work on paper and in my head.  I just wanted to be able to do it the way you’re instructing.”  Hindrance. 

My dad taught me how to do math in my head.  My son loved it.  It was a distracting car game for me and a wonder for him.  He would give me some random three or four digit multiplication problem and a few seconds later, he would get an answer.  To which he would check against HIS calculator and look at me in amazement.  “How do you do that!?”    


I now know how to use my super duper deluxe multi function multi button gizmo whizbang mack daddy of calculators.  But more often than not, I’m doing math in my head.  I appreciate the simplicity of it; I also appreciate the mental workout it gives me.  I’ve gotten a little slower on the draw, but I can still do it.  Technology is a great thing, but it’s made even greater by knowing how to break it down to its simplest function – using your brain.

Just like reading a book. 

There, I said it.  E-books are great technological conveniences, just like calculators.  I’m posting about e-books because I get so many customers who tell me they’ve transitioned to it.  You tell me you don’t need a Book-Inz because you use an eReader.  Fair enough.  I’ve been told by naysayers that e-readers are making books a thing of the past.  (For a GREAT article on naysayers, BTW, go here:  Think You’re Not an Expert? –FYI, the writer swears, A LOT.)  I don’t agree and here’s why:

Kids are still learning to read with books.  Cloth books, picture books, chapter books, etc.  A walk into your public library will show you how many books are still in circulation.  I don’t envision books being around for every title, but I do know books aren’t going anywhere.  And not just because I make these nifty Book-Inz, either.


Books are here to stay because they are to e-readers what the human brain is to calculators.  So please don’t give me a pitying look because you think I’ve created something for a dying medium.  Books aren’t dead.  They are a life unto themselves.  Books don’t need a battery to be read.  Just a pair of hands, a set of eyes, and a brain to comprehend the written word.  Voila, you are transported to another world.   Imagination and creativity at its finest inception – the brain.

Just don’t tell me books are a lost cause because  I’m not anti-technology or anti-e-readers, I personally think e-readers are a fantastic tool for frequent travelers!  Be honest and tell me you’d just rather not purchase a Book-Inz.  I am okay with that.  Because Book-Inz aren’t for everyone, they’re for everyone who reads books.



Filed under Random Thoughts

5 responses to “Gray Matter

  1. Lovely article, Ky!

    Nothing compares to the smell of a book, whether it’s new or old, borrowed or owned. There is just a feeling to a book that you cannot re-create on a screen. There is a time and a place for e-readers, and there is a time and a place for a good old fashioned book.

    Funny, my dad is a math whiz engineer as well. He desperately wanted to cultivate his magical brain math in my mind, but, try as I might, my brain just couldn’t handle all that information. Give me a sheet of paper and a pen, I’ll work it out. Or, better yet, I’ll just wander off and craft. Meanwhile, my dad is creating 4ft tall wall-to-wall carpeted cat palaces that look like award winning condos, complete with convertible tops and removable food bowls. Not to mention the 6ft tall, winding stair-case, tree paradise for my lizard. Brilliant minds! And yes, spoiled pets!

  2. Books are never going to become extinct (like cassette tapes and vhs). There will always be a need for books.
    And you forgot to mention that there is also a great use for the bookmarks… magazines. People and their need to follow celeb gossip… Book-Inz can easily be used on magazines without ruining them!
    Just sayin’

  3. Jennifer

    I love books, and I recently switched over to some ebook reading. It’s great b/c it is instant. However, they’ll never replace books! 🙂

  4. Thank you, Tania! Your dad’s cat palaces sound amazing! Nothing we’ve built for our cats even comes close…I’m going to have to NOT let my cats know this about your dad! 😉

    I agree with you about the feeling of a book. It’s a whole sensory experience you can’t get with an e-reader.

    So…does your dad do commissions? 🙂

  5. We’re actually trying to find the time to prototype a magazine Book-Inz. Same utility concept as Book-Inz, just on a smaller scale. The samples I’ve created don’t meet my quality and design standards…YET. You’ll be the first to know when we release it to the public! BTW, we’re thinking ‘Magz-Inz’ – discuss.

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