This Post Comprises a Lot of Stuff

I was eating breakfast in the Yoyi Bingguan (friendship hotel) in Beijing with my mother-in-law and the Good X. Frances was a woman of strong opinions and on this particular morning it was English grammar.

“I hate it when people misuse the word comprise. It’s a transitive verb. It’s not ‘comprised of.’ It’s comprises. Really sets my teeth on edge.”

I just stared at her, knowing that after that breakfast whenever I read “comprised of” it would set my teeth on edge.

Does it really matter? In one sense it does. Composed of is a perfectly good construction and people are familiar with it. I ended up seeing that “comprised of” was often employed by people trying to look smart. That was a step toward one of the components of my writing philosophy for myself and my classes, “Just say it. Don’t try to look smart or fancy it up.”

Transit-ive — transit — the damned thing moves, acts, does something. Intransitive? Not going anywhere by itself. Needs something like an auxiliary verb to help it along like, “Is composed of.” So, my household is composed of me, Bear, and Teddy, OR my household comprises me, Bear, and Teddy. But, I can’t change the world and neither could Frances. It comprises people who never sat down to a grammar breakfast with my MIL.

Yesterday I was back in the book judging business, and I got a book that employed something called AR — “augmented reality.” Considering that I’m bewildered by reality 9/10ths of the time, I found that disturbing. Does reality need augmentation? It seems to me that people have a pretty loose hold on it already.

I Googled AR, learned what it was (think Pokemon Go) and, since the book made no sense as it was, I tried to use AR to “read” the book. I couldn’t get it to work, so I don’t know if the story is good or not. The one big failing is that the authors assume the reader will know (will every reader know? I don’t think so) and did not provide any instruction with the story other than the little scan square which I employed. It also assumed that a reader (in this case a judge) would be happy to install an app to make the book “work.” That’s uncool.

I arrived at the website and had instructions there that I couldn’t understand. Is that on me? Is it because I’m a “senior citizen”? It’s true that what kids might be learning in school now I did not learn in school then.

I know one thing; the local park had more people in it during the Pokemon Go phase than it has had since. It seems to me that the way this book is designed, the two characters — who exist on the otherwise white pages — will be involved in adventures and backgrounds that exist in AR.

I felt a little resentment toward the author of the book. I wanted to do well by his book and I couldn’t. It seemed to me just one more indication of the way we assume others are living in our microcosm of reality — augmented or otherwise.

Luckily I have a pal who could explain it to me — ChatGPT. So, I asked… Dude, how do I use AR to read a book?

To scan the pages of a book and activate the AR features, you will need a device with a camera and an AR app that is compatible with the book. Here are the general steps to follow:

  1. Download the AR app: Search for the AR app that is designed for the book you have. This information can usually be found on the book’s cover or in the book’s description. Download and install the app on your device.
  2. Launch the app: Open the AR app on your device and select the option to activate the camera.
  3. Point the camera at the book: Hold your device over the page that has the AR content. Make sure that the entire page is visible on the screen.
  4. Wait for the app to detect the page: The app will detect the page and overlay the AR content on top of it.
  5. Interact with the AR content: Depending on the book and the AR app, you may be able to interact with the content in various ways, such as tapping on the screen or moving your device.
  6. Move on to the next page: Once you have finished interacting with the AR content on one page, you can move on to the next page and repeat the process.

It’s important to note that the exact process may vary depending on the specific AR app and book you are using. Be sure to read the instructions provided by the app and follow them carefully to ensure the best experience.

To use AR, you will need a device that supports AR technology, such as a smartphone or tablet. You will also need to download an AR app or game that is compatible with your device. Once you have the app installed, simply follow the instructions to use the AR features.

I may have to give this book another chance. I really would like to see it. Philosophically it’s problematic for me. It’s a kids’ book. Would I want my kid looking at a book through his/her phone? No. Do I want books to turn into cartoons? That’s another question. Would I want my kid to learn to read and be interested in reading? Yes. Might this help with that? Maybe. Is any kid born today going to live in the world in which I grew up. Absolutely not.

In other news, in the natural world, we’re looking at 40 mph winds with gusts up to 70 mph. I think if I took Teddy out today, he might turn into a kite… Featured photo: This is where Teddy likes to walk — between my knees. I don’t know why, but it’s his preferred locale when he’s not passionately sniffing for history in the grass.

24 thoughts on “This Post Comprises a Lot of Stuff

  1. The AR book reminds me of the course my professor turned into a book. It was on Black Music and American Cultural History. He illustrated each lecture with a stack of CDs and a boombox, playing songs or fragments throughout the course. The book could name those songs, but it was up to the reader to go find them to listen to them (or not). It wasn’t as easy as keeping YouTube open on another device as you read back then. I asked him about a companion CD compiling those songs and he said he couldn’t afford the royalty payments to get rights to them all. Pointing at an AR link so you could listen as you read would have been great. With the book you’re reading, part of me wonders why the whole thing isn’t an electronic experience, rather than making the book dependent on another medium. I’m not sure I’d want to download an app specific to the book. On the other hand, it sounds like a great plot for a novel…making the reader download malware to read the book and then have your computer or phone take over your reality, augmenting it in ways you hadn’t imagined and couldn’t stop. (Now that I think of it, that’s just an updated version of a short story my son wrote in 5th or 6th grade.)

    • That’s a good plot for a story!! I don’t understand why the author would enter the book in a contest (and that’s not free) without realizing that maybe the judges wouldn’t know what an AR book is supposed to do (I’m not the only one) or that the judges might not want to download an app just for the privilege of judging the story. I also don’t understand why it isn’t just a movie — but it’s supposed to expose the kids to coding, something I get intellectually, but without the AR app, I don’t see how. It’s strange to me that the author wouldn’t want to give his book every chance to win. That’s the most bewildering thing of all… O Brave New World. I keep thinking of Alvin Toffler’s book, Future Shock, and want to say, “Dude you had NO idea…”

  2. What’s wrong with a world in which reality must be augmented (made larger)? What’s wrong with a world in which a book cannot simply be a book, followed by a movie or other presentation of the same story or plot? I believe I am not the only one who would not pick up a book to read if I had to read it through the lens of a phone (how awkward!) or some other medium!

    • I’m with you, but maybe it’s a thing in schools now and kids do it. That’s the conundrum I’m confronting that maybe I’m wandering down the dim trail of the passing parade and just don’t get it. I understand the idea; that the AR might entice kids to read the book and somehow it introduces them to coding, but since it’s a “closed book” to me, how can I tell?

      • I’m with you as you wander down that dim trail — my cell phone has stopped accepting text messages — will send them, and will act as a phone, but what’s the point?! I’m stuck with buying a new phone to replace this thing that I hate so much!

        • It’s funny but what I hate about my phone is that the camera isn’t all that great but the thing is, it IS great. I don’t know. I was thinking of my first cellphone with its tiny screen in black and white and how it was when I discovered I could do research with it. I didn’t have Internet at home. 😀

  3. ar certainly doesn’t float my boat, and I see your point on the judging. If its made to complicated, I’m prone to not bother with non-essential stuff that way. Perhaps I’m a bit non transitive with some new tech.

    • 🤣. I’ve realized now that I’m curious to see what it’s like but the book? I’ve realized that it’s just rude to assume someone will do all that needs to be done to judge a book. It won’t even be on its merits because it is the ONLY book “doing” that. It needs a category of its own, I think, and a judge who’d choose to judge the category.

  4. Rereading this, I’m reminded of my great nephew, who isn’t a reader — he’s too active to sit still and read most of the time. I suppose he’s the person to whom this book is directed — the only books I’ve heard that he liked were comic book type reading!
    Have to laugh at Teddy walking between your knees — must make it a little awkward for you to walk! It must provide him with some sensation (protection, warmth, etc.) that he thinks he lost when you added the halti!

    • I don’t think it’s directed to your great nephew. This thing requires equipment and patience — and the kid still has to read. Comic books, yeah. Flip books are more animated than this thing is.

      Teddy has always done this. I think you’re right. It’s his way of being close to me. When I used to walk them together and it was Bear’s turn to smell things, Teddy would get between my feet like this. It’s cute but for the human it requires a lot of attention so I don’t trip on the little guy. ❤️

  5. I do think AR will be the next thing here – it is already big in Japan… Teddy is too cute and he just wants to be as close to you as possible. I’m betting if you’d let him he’d be a lap dog!!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.