Call it the poor man’s Kindle or Sony Reader, both devices I’ve drooled over in recent years, waiting for them to come down to modest cell phone prices. But since $200 is still more than I want to plunk down for last year’s model, the discovery I made yesterday gave me a cheap geeky thrill.

Wattpad is a clever little internet text sharing service designed exclusively for use with java applications in cell phones and palm computers. Now, despite the fact that I carry a fairly small SonyEricsson phone with a relatively small screen, it still seemed to me there was potential to use this technology for The Work.
After all, with the however-many-gigabyte memory card in my phone (I forget how big it is, and can’t be bothered to turn it off to check right now), a few short books won’t even make a dent compared to an MP3.
The question, then, is what sort of books lend themselves to this kind of use? You know: you’ve arrived early to meet someone, and there you are sitting at the cafe/waiting in the parking lot/cooling your heals in a waiting room. So you whip out your phone and spend a few minutes reading… what?
–No graphics (don’t work in this format)
–Not too long (you don’t want to spend hours at a time reading a tiny screen)
–Something that you can get a lot out of from a short reading
To me, that suggests pithy little aphoristic classics like the Tao Te Ching, or Balthazar Gracian’s Book of Worldly Wisdom. So, I uploaded The Divine Pymander and The Golden Verses of Pythagoras to the site, and then downloaded the java-compatible versions to my phone. If you want them on your phone, all you have to do is go to the site (I linked it above), do a search for the titles, and then follow the links from “read this on your phone”. You can either do it straight from a wireless connection (not me, I don’t do internet from my phone, sounds like a way to spend money fast), or you can download it to your computer and transfer it to your phone.
The fact that you can upload texts that you write yourself is making the wheels spin in my head. Indeed, there are limitations to what you can do with it (for instance, pages of tables are out), but there are still possibilities. For instance, I thought of typing up lists I want to memorize, and then uploading them. All you have to do is open the list on your phone when you want to work on it. You could even put short snippets of prayers or invocations you want to memorize on your phone. Hell! The phone is always in my pocket. I may as well use it!
So, the next time you see me hanging out on a street corner staring at my phone, I won’t be writing an SMS text message, or playing a game, I’ll be reading, “O MY SON, write this First Book, both for Humanity’s sake, and for Piety towards god…