After I wrote the last post, I decided to Kazaa for the rest of Adam's Hitchhiker's books and sure enough found an "Ultimate" Word doc with all four books plus the Zaphod story. (Since I hated Mostly Harmless, I choose to ignore its existence). So exported it as text into Ultraedit, cleaned it up a bit for mobile viewing (added spaces between paragraphs) and exported it as a 1.5 meg text file (210,528 words). Gzipped it down to 578kb and transferred it to my phone. It's way too huge to stay there for long (1/8th of my usuable memory! 3650 here I come!), but it'll be nice to have available for a while.
A site where you could download chapters at a time of good books to read on your mobile would rock, no? Well, by the time you got all the rights and everything to implement it, there won't be any phones with less than 32 megs of RAM, but still right now it would rock. I may have to divide this text file up a bit and put it on my FTP server for personal use. (Hey, I've PAID for these books at least twice over in my life. I can play with the text now thanks.)
I made the graphic above for you 7650 owners who happen to be Adam's fans also... ;-) Very amusing in full screen.
And of course, I can't end this post without a snippet, can I?
... Arthur Dent had set out from his cabin in search of a cup of tea. It was not a quest he embarked upon with a great deal of optimism., because he knew that the only source of hot drinks on the entire ship was a benighted piece of equipment produced by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation. It was called a Nutri-Matic Drinks Synthesizer, and he had encountered it before.
It claimed to produce the widest possible range of drinks personally matched to the tastes and metabolism of whoever cared to use it. When put to the test, however, it invariably produced a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
He attempted to reason with the thing.
"Tea," he said.
"Share and Enjoy," the machine replied and provided him with yet another cup of the sickly liquid.
He threw it away.
"Share and enjoy," the machine repeated and provided him with another one.
"Share and Enjoy" is the company motto of the hugely successful Sirius Cybernetics Corporation Complaints division, which now covers the major land masses of three medium sized planets and is the only part of the Corporation to have shown a consistent profit in recent years.
The motto stands-or rather stood-in three mile high illuminated letters near the Complaints Department spaceport on Eadrax. Unfortunately its weight was such that shortly after it was erected, the ground beneath the letters caved in and they dropped for nearly half their length through the offices of many talented young complaints executives-now deceased.
The protruding upper halves of the letters now appear, in the local language, to read "Go stick your head in a pig", and are no longer illuminated, except at times of special celebration.
Arthur threw away a sixth cup of the liquid.
"Listen, you machine," he said, "you claim you can synthesize any drink in existence, so why do you keep giving me the same undrinkable stuff?"
"Nutrition and pleasurable sense data," burbled the machine. "Share and Enjoy."
"It tastes filthy!"
"If you have enjoyed the experience of this drink," continued the machine, "why not share it with your friends?"
"Because," said Arthur tartly, "I want to keep them. Will you try to comprehend what I'm telling you? That drink..."
"That drink," said the machine sweetly, "was individually tailored to meet your personal requirements for nutrition and pleasure."
"Ah," said Arthur, "so I'm a masochist on diet am I?"
"Share and Enjoy."
"Oh shut up."
"Will that be all?"
Arthur decided to give up.
"Yes," he said.
Then he decided he'd be dammed if he'd give up.
"No," he said, "look, it's very, very simple... all I want... is a cup of tea. You are going to make one for me. Keep quiet and listen."
And he sat. He told the Nutri-Matic about India, he told it about China, he told it about Ceylon. He told it about broad leaves drying in the sun. He told it about silver teapots. He told it about summer afternoons on the lawn. He told it about putting in the milk before the tea so it wouldn't get scalded. He even told it (briefly) about the history of the East India Company.
"So that's it, is it?" said the Nutri-Matic when he had finished.
"Yes," said Arthur, "that is what I want."
"You want the taste of dried leaves boiled in water?"
"Er, yes. With milk."
"Squirted out of a cow?"
"Well, in a manner of speaking I suppose..."
"I'm going to need some help with this one," said the machine tersely. All the cheerful burbling had dropped out of its voice and it now meant business.
"Well, anything I can do," said Arthur.
"You've done quite enough," the Nutri-Matic informed him.
It summoned up the ship's computer.
"Hi there!" said the ship's computer.
The Nutri-Matic explained about tea to the ship's computer. The computer boggled, linked logic circuits with the Nutri-Matic and together they lapsed into a grim silence.
Arthur watched and waited for a while, but nothing further happened.
He thumped it, but still nothing happened.
Eventually he gave up and wandered up to the bridge.
"Vogons!" snapped Ford, "we're under attack!"
"Well what are you doing? Let's get out of here!"
"Can't. Computer's jammed."
"It says all its circuits are occupied. There's no power anywhere in the ship."
Ford moved away from the computer terminal, wiped a sleeve across his forehead and slumped back against the wall.
"Nothing we can do," he said. He glared at nothing and bit his lip.
When Arthur had been a boy at school, long before the Earth had been demolished, he had used to play football. He had not been at all good at it, and his particular speciality had been scoring own goals in important matches. Whenever this happened he used to experience a peculiar tingling round the back of his neck that would slowly creep up across his cheeks and heat his brow. The image of mud and grass and lots of little jeering boys flinging it at him suddenly came vividly to his mind at this moment.
A peculiar tingling sensation at the back of his neck was creeping up across his cheeks and heating his brow.
He started to speak, and stopped.
He started to speak again and stopped again.
Finally he managed to speak.
"Er," he said. He cleared his throat.
"Tell me," he continued, and said it so nervously that the others all turned to stare at him. He glanced at the approaching yellow blob on the vision screen.
"Tell me," he said again, "did the computer say what was occupying it? I just ask out of interest..."
Their eyes were riveted on him.
"And, er... well that's it really, just asking."
Zaphod put out a hand and held Arthur by the scruff of the neck.
"What have you done to it, Monkeyman?" he breathed.
"Well," said Arthur, "nothing in fact. It's just that I think a short while ago it was trying to work out how to..."
"Make me some tea."
"That's right guys," the computer sang out suddenly, "just coping with that problem right now, and wow, it's a biggy. Be with you in a while." It lapsed back into a silence that was only matched for sheer intensity by the silence of the three people staring at Arthur Dent.
As if to relieve the tension, the Vogons chose that moment to start firing.