Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The NSA's worst nightmare : the 21st century's samizdat : paper ! : thumb drives, home printers & A6 pocket-concealable books

My A6 downloadable home-printable books (tracts ? booklets ?) are a deliberate 21st century continuation of the famous Little Blue Books , a multi-million selling series American books of social and cultural subversion that were insanely popular from the 1920s to the start of WWII.

They cost a nickel - about two dollars in today's terms - and were extremely pocketable and concealable at 3.5 x 5.5 inches , with 64 pages centre-stapled with a soft cover.

Usually they had about 15,000 tightly edited words - a good solid read.

Being small and thin helped make them very concealable in pant or shirt pocket but I feel the fact that they were centre-stapled was key to them feeling comfortable in your pants pocket - they bend easily around the curve of your thigh.

Concealable was crucial to their success - you could read them anywhere and put them away instantly before your boss or teacher found you reading about birth control or socialism.

I always liked their size because they were a solid amount of text in a small handful.

Easy to read , even in bad light, yet light on the hand ( their small page size allowed a tiny sized font to remain readable) --- and they make a combination of text and spot art very attractive.

But I hadn't considered them as a subversive weapon against the NSA-ing of our electronically linked world until recently.

The NSA , along with its kissing kin in countries like Canada and the UK around the world , spies on all our electronic communications all the time.

They spy on all our personal information in big electronic databases held by government or business as well.

But if an individual writes up a book on their own home computer that is not plugged into the internet , they can impose and save it as a PDF on a thumb drive and sneaker-net it to friends.

Those friends, in turn , can save the file and print out more A6 books which they can transport about to their friends in their pockets.

An A6 isn't the easiest printable book possible - it requires one additional step from the more conventional A5 (8.5 x 5.5) book.

The 8.5 x 11 (A4) printed page is printed, folded down the middle, cut along the fold and then all the pages in the upper half are folded into the lower half.

Staples ? I don't - usually - bother (staples are picked up by airport metal detectors !) and ditto with a separate thicker cover (only makes it a more awkward fit in a pants pocket.)

Now A6 isn't a common size in North America -- although the entire rest of the world uses it alone.

But I'd like to join the rest of the world - and the A6 size is also thinner and longer than its North American equivalent - better for a pants pocket.

Now it is true that the A6 is about the same size as the newer bigger smart phones - and reading e-books on them is a excellent electronic equivalent of The Little Blue Book.

All would be wonderful but for the fact that the powerful and the rich are determined to regain control of the free-wheeling internet.

So my downloadable home-printable books are a Plan B backup in case the NSA does take over our world formally instead of just informally.

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