Thursday, April 05, 2007

Mobile library.

I'm betting everyone who stops by here are sick of seeing penis patch spam lingering at the top of the site like a bloated snitch carcass whose cement shoes slipped off, so I figured I should post something. Lacking anything funny or artistic, I guess I'll have to do something else.

So. Here it is Thursday again and for the third week in a row I don't have anything for Illustration Friday. Sorry about that. I've just been too busy to draw. Not too busy to read though.

My brother has been wanting my old Apple G4 Cube for many years now, but I held off because even though they stopped making them ONE FREAKIN' MONTH after I bought mine, I really liked it. It was small, quiet and a decent computer for the time. For the last year and a half I haven't needed it though since I bought a G5 tower. It's just been hanging out in Justin's room acting as a jukebox.

On Monday Trevor really started pushing for me to trade it to him. The first offer he presented to me was his 80 GB video iPod, an old G3 tower and a tablet (non-WACOM) that Jordyn could use in exchange for the Cube and the 3rd Generation iPod that he sold me a couple years ago. The thing is, I almost never use my iPod for listening to music and the thought of watching a movie on a tiny screen doesn't appeal to me either. So I said no thanks. Then he asked me what I wanted. I thought about it and then jokingly said, "how about your Sony Reader for just the Cube?" figuring he would never go for that. Turns out he did. He still wants my iPod – sentimental reasons: it was his first – but that wasn't part of the deal.

Am I happy with the trade? Damned straight. So you know what I'm talking about you can find out more information on the Sony Portable Reader here: SPR.

I've wanted once since last November, but I just couldn't swing it. It cost too much and it was too close to Christmas.

Now that I've had it for a few days, here's what I don't like about it:

There is, at this time, no way to connect directly to the Reader using the Apple OS so that you can do things like manage collections or purchase books from the Connect store. They say they're looking into it, but this is Sony. They've been known to lie. *ahem* 'rootkit!'

There was one program released by someone apart from Sony that looked promising, and does actually recognize the reader when you connect it to the Mac. However you can only add ebooks to the built in memory as far as I can figure out, and you can't manage any ebooks that are already there. Also the interface of that program is non-intuitive and it crashed on me twice. In time this may be fixed, Sony may offer a solution, or Apple might release their own reader. The iReader. That would be great. iPhone? iDon't-give-a-crap! Give me an iReader!
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This is the first generation, so it's expensive. Not exactly my problem since I traded for it, however now that I've had time to try it out I want to buy one for Heather. Here's hoping the price drops later this year. $350 would buy quite a few paper books.
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From what I've read elsewhere, the navigation is silly for listening to music. I personally don't care because I will never use it to listen to music, mostly because of the additional battery drain but also because if I really want to listen to music I'll use an MP3 player, like my iPod. Just because you're Sony doesn't mean everything you make has to play music. I have to wonder how much lower the price could have been if they had left out the ability to play MP3s.
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It isn't backlit and the natural grey of the screen makes reading it in lower light levels somewhat difficult. But I also like the fact that it isn't backlit because it's more like reading a page than looking at a screen and the battery lasts a lot longer. Up to 7,500 page turns in fact, but I'll write about that in a bit.
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The page turning buttons along the left side of the screen should also be on the right side so that when it's in its case you can hold it like a book and change pages naturally with your right thumb rather than having to reach across the screen or shift your left hand to the middle. Get rid of the MP3 capability, get rid of the volume buttons and add page buttons on both sides.
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It has the ability to store and view pictures as well, but I haven't tried it. What's the point? It's black & white. If they develop a color version I can see using that feature, but not until then.
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And here's what I like about it:

If I'm reading something and I want to change books I push a few buttons. If I'm nowhere near home I can have over a thousand books with me. There are around 140 on it now and it's only using about 50 MB of the 1 GB worth of space. Now I'm scouring the net for anything free (for now) that I can add to it.
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The only time power is used is when the screen refreshes. You can leave it on the same page for an hour and it doesn't drain the battery. I've been reading every chance I get since Tuesday, I've already finished one book and I'm about a third of the way through another, and the battery bar hasn't dropped at all.
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There are places like this: manybooks.net and this: Project Gutenberg where you can download classics and creative commons licensed books for free. Just because a book is old, doesn't mean it's not worth reading.
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And there's this place: mobileread.com :where you can find out damned near anything about the Reader if you have the time to look.
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There doesn't seem to be enough of what I like compared to what I don't like about the Reader. But really, I'm enjoying the heck out of being able to take a large library with me wherever I go. I hope there's a price drop in the near future, and I hope that other companies invest in developing their own readers. I would like to see ebooks become more common. Perhaps some day we'll have ebook files that expire after a month available for download from libraries around the world. You wouldn't have to drive to get them and you wouldn't have to return them. I know that the Reader won't eliminate my desire or need for paper books. For one thing there are still many books that can't be found in an electronic format and for another if my Reader breaks I've lost my library. So for me, paper books are here to stay. However that doesn't mean I can't supplement them with electronic versions when possible.

What do you guys think? Would you like to use a portable ebook reader, or are paper books good enough for you?

3 comments:

JewWario said...

For me, nothing beats paper books. I'm a pretty slow reader so taking one book with me on a trip or something is good enough for me.

Also, there's a feel of a book in your hands. I tried reading an e-book on my Pocket PC... and it's just not the same in any way. I actually disliked the experience greatly. I actually disliked it SO MUCH that I printed out the book and read it THAT way!

It's like having the virtual console games for the Wii. I'd much rather have the REAL carts even if they only work in the real consoles.

I guess I'm just odd like that.

Derek Knight said...

for the cost and the hassle, I'll stick to buying used books for a quarter apiece.

The Retropolitan said...

I'd go for it immediately, if not for the retarded mark-ups on the ebook pricing. Seriously, the damn things don't waste paper, have no printing costs, no distribution costs, and the bloody things are still as much as or more than a brand-new hardcover. You can't buy used ebooks.

THE THINGS DON'T EVEN HAVE MASS AND THEY COST MORE THAN MANY HARDCOVERS

"Boring a hole in the patient’s head creates a door through which the demons can escape, and - viola! - out goes the crazy."