When we use computers to simulate some process in the real world—the behavior of a weather system, the processing of information in the brain, the deformation of a car in a crash—our concern is to correctly model the necessary features of this process or system. We want to be able to test how our model would behave in different conditions with different data, and the last thing we want to do is for computers to introduce some new properties into the model that we ourselves did not specify. In short, when we use computers as a general-purpose medium for simulation, we want this medium to be completely “transparent.”
The digital world offers us many advantages, but if we yield to that world too completely we may lose the privacy we need to develop a self. Activities that require time and careful attention, like serious reading, are at risk; we read less and skim more as the Internet occupies more of our lives. And there’s a link between selfhood and reading slowly, rather than scanning for quick information, as the Web encourages us to do. Recent work in sociology and psychology suggests that reading books, a private experience, is an important aspect of coming to know who we are.
The New York Times' David Mikics in praise of (offline) slow reading.
Also see 9 books to help you read more intelligently and write better and Francine Prose on how to read like a writer, then take delight in Maurice Sendak’s little-known and lovely posters celebrating the joy of reading.
When a Web-based work becomes technologically obsolete, does updated software simply restore it? Or is the piece fundamentally changed?
Information is physical and that there is no such thing as an abstract computer. Only a physical object can compute things.