Atelier Clockwork

Pragmatic Choices

Constraints Lead to Interesting Decisions

Having an infant in a co-sleeper on top of my usual insomnia constrains my options when it comes to reading in bed in interesting ways. If I want to read before going to sleep the options as I read them are:

  1. Read in a different room
  2. Read with a white bedside light and potentially screw up everyone’s sleep patterns
  3. Read with a book light
  4. Read with a red bedside light
  5. Read on my iPad
  6. Read on an e-reader with an illuminated screen

The first one breaks my routines and therefore has the potential to throw off my already bad sleep schedule. The second has the potential to throw of the baby’s sleep schedule, therefore making everyone miserable. So those options are out.

Option 3 is plausible, but I’ve yet to find a book light that wasn’t fiddly and distracting in some way. Option 4 probably would work for most situations, but I’m trying to train myself to sleep through the red lights being turned on if I’m not on watch keeping care of the baby so reading under that lighting seems like a bad plan.

I gave option 5 a try, but reading on a backlit LCD in the dark wasn’t really enjoyable. There also is the secondary problem of having a device with lots of purposes other than reading as my final cool down phase of the night, because that begets temptations to just do one last thing, possibly for several hours at a time.

So after years of contemplating and deciding against getting a kindle, I’m finally giving one a try. After a handful of nights I’m sold on it as an option for reading in bed under my current constraints. It took some serious deliberation because even six generations in, it feels more like an attempt to build a “minimum viable product” than to make something nice. The typography has issues, the build quality is good but not great, the interface is somewhere between bad and very bad, etc.

But, even with all the flaws it still solves the problem better than my other options.