Mobile phones for literature, or m4Lit

A new form/genre of literature has emerged, namely, stories intended to be read on mobile phones, also known as m-novels.

Leveraging the popularity of mobile phones, the m4Lit project has launched the first mobile novel of its kind, or m-novel, in South Africa. Kontax, which follows the adventures of a group of teenage graffiti artists, is made specifically for mobile phones, and is available in both English and isiXhosa. It is being released chapter by chapter on a daily basis, with the first chapter already out.

m4Lit’s press release states:

The m4Lit pilot project aims to explore whether teens are interested in reading stories on their cellphones, whether and how they write using their cellphones, and whether cellphones might be used to develop literacy skills and a love of reading. Enter Kontax, an m-novel written on commission from the Shuttleworth Foundation by prize winning ‘mobilist’ Sam Wilson. Kontax is an m-novel made for mobile – and from 30 September readers will be able to access the dynamic teen narrative from their WAP-enabled cellphones, or from their computers. Every day another exciting chapter in the mystery plot will be told, with 21 chapters rolling out over 21 days. Teen readers will be invited to interact with Kontax as it unfolds on their cellphones: they can vote on and discuss the progressing plot, leave comments, download wallpapers and finally submit a written piece as part of a competition, with airtime prizes available for winning submissions.

You can read more about it at the m4Lit project blog, or you can read the still-ongoing novel itself, titled Kontax and written by Sam Wilson.

I guess it won’t be long before we can read a whodunit mystery on twitter.

Where are all the good yellow highlighters?

I use highlighters almost daily, and I have grown very fond of the yellow ones. They are usually not too garish nor too dark to ruin a text. The yellow markers also allow you to fotocopy a page without rendering marked bits unreadable, unlike the blue, green and orange ones. In addition, yellow markings seldom bleed over to the other side of the paper. The other, darker colours often do, especially with thin and/or low-quality paper.

However, not all yellow markers are good. The ones at sale here in the Göteborg area (west coast of Sweden) are next to useless. I’m talking about brands like Timing, Bic Brite Liner, and Pentel Handy-Line, which seem to be the only ones sold around here. Their yellow markers are either too glossy or too light, and the markings rub of very easily. After not very long (usually within a year), the yellow markings have paled and become completely invisible. What exactly is the point with marker pens like that?

A few years ago, there was another brand of marker pens at sale here. They were called Accent and were made in the US. Their yellow marker was a bit darker than that of the other brands. Not too light, and not too dark. It was somewhere in-between glossy-light yellow and too-dark orange. It was almost ochre. Markings I made five years ago are still visible and show no sign of either rubbing off or paling. I want those highlighters back in our local stores!