bibliotechy

Posts Tagged ‘ebooks’

iPad, i Saw

In STT on April 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I finally made the pilgrimage to my local Apple Store to spend some quality time with this new things the kids are all talking about, the iPad.  Here’s my assessment of this gadget without having to actually buy one …even though I wanted to, very badly…

The Look & Feel:
It’s gorgeous, and I know every reviewer says that, but gosh darn it’s true!

Heavier then one would expect, but in a good solid, in a it-better-be-for-$500 sort of way.

The few buttons are totally natural if you’re a iPhone/Touch user, even if not pretty easy to catch on to.

As an e-reader:
A gadget freak and a “real” book lovers delight. The faux hardcover bindings, a peek of said cloth binding at the edge of each page, the screen edge mind you. The ease of turning pages back and forth with your finger …this ain’t no Rocket eBook reader! And Full Color, what will they think of next!?

iPad is easily the one to beat, even Amazon senses this as you can read all your Kindle books on the iPad too.

Only quibble was that I noticed pixel in the text if I looked closely. This might have something to do with now wearing bifocals and trying them out at any opportunity 😉

As a Productivity Tool:
Otherwise known as the “office suite,” only Apple currently offers a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation slide program through it’s iWork for iPad. I was most interested in the slide program Keynote which I ‘m a big fan of on the Mac (similar to PowerPoint). I was most curious if I could use an iPad instead of a laptop for presentations. And I think the answer is yes, and “man that would be sooo cool!”

Using your fingers to manipulate menus and layouts on the slides takes getting use to, but it is fun (when is the last time you described Office as fun?) and becomes very natural very quickly. Granted, creating a slide show is not the same as typing put a dissertation, but I can’t wait for touchscreens to be the norm on all computers!

As a Gaming Device:
This blows touch-screen handhelds like the Nintendo DS out of the water, and I luv the DS.  On the iPad I played both a racing game, Real Racing HD,  where you turn the iPad to steer …and you feel the motion and rumble of the engines in your hands, very very cool.   I also played the iPad version of one of my fav iPhone/Touch games, Flight Control. The bigger screen and crisp graphics had me sold, it’s a delight.

Overall:
Yes, I wish it had a camera.
Yes, I wish it had more memory.
Yes, I wish it could multi-task.
Yes, I wish it was cheaper.
But it will, and so will all it’s competitors. This genre of tablet / pad / slate computers is going to take off. Mark my words the days of the single use e-reader and laptop are numbered.

Bottom line…
Yes, I wish it had one, right now!


BTW – I wrote this post (except for minor edits and added links) using the WordPress app on my iPhone.  It works pretty well if you don’t mind typing with one finger (I don’t mind) and remember to save like crazy because the app doesn’t save automatically (guess how I learned that?). And it was a lot easier to add a photo then in the full version of WordPress.


[PHOTO] My first STT blog post about the iPad on an iPad! …those bright dots are from the intense lights at the Apple Store, not an iPad screen feature ;-).
Photo by my ye olde iPhone.  Hah! It sez, “I can take pictures, take that iPad!”

iPad you pad we pad they pad … oohh, Pad Thai!

In STT on January 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

UPDATE – The wifi version of the iPad is out and for sale online or at an Apple Store or Best Buy near you!

I have yet to see one or touch one at a store, but plan to soon!  I will give my readers any further impressions I have once I get the chance to do just that.

In the meantime, here are two nice round-ups of the media coverage as well as reviews from the major media outletsNew York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today): (

Incidentally, if you happen to have one, let me know what you think …and when you’ll let me borrow it 😉

Original Post
I gotta use the word iPad right in the title, it’s required for all tech blogs the day after Apple’s BIG announcement …and I finished this just before lunch.  Here’s my take on the iPad thus far, after I was OK with the name of it …until I started hearing all the jokes…
Helpful must-see links on all things iPad are below.

Steve Jobs is a master at presenting,
if only I could learn his presentation secrets

It’s one heck of an e-reader!

  • That color touch screen.
  • The elegant page turning for ebooks.
  • That faux wooden bookshelf for all your digital editions, this ain’t no Nook.
  • And that New York Times that looks like a real paper newspaper with the columns, nice.
  • Oh, and it uses a real browser and email and maps and games and everything app-wise an iPod Touch/ iPhone uses.
  • And yes, yes, yes, probably another incompatible ebook format with the new iBookstore and more DRM. It’s a pain in the neck for consumer and libraries and readers in general.  Not that I like it one bit, but it’s to be expected for some time to come until publishers and big media figure out how to make sense of the new digital world (who woulda seen this comin’!?).

It’s a big beautiful iPod Touch

  • iPad has a much bigger touch screen (9.7″) than an iPod Touch (3.5″).
  • iPad has same memory specs as Touch (16GB – 64GB).
  • iPad can use almost all the 140,000+ apps in iTunes available to iPod Touch & iPhone users.  Facebook to games and games and games, Apple demoed a lot of games for this the iPad
  • And interesting price points as low-end iPad is $499 and high-end Touch model is $399.

It’s not-quite-a-netbook

  • no hard drive bigger than 64GB
  • no physical keyboard (which I’m use to on my iPhone as are millions of kids (and grown-ups) on their iPod Touch & iPhones).
  • iPad doesn’t have a built-in camera, a mic yes, but no camera … that camera would be real handy for Skype or video-conferencing or taunting friends when playing games or scanning in barcodes for LibraryThing (saw this on LT Twitter feed!) or even just taking pictures!
  • But it does have access to Google Docs online and Apple iWork and other productivity apps thru iTunes.
  • So you could kinda use it as a laptop replacement. But you can do the same thing with an iPod Touch & iPhone, albeit on a smaller screen, but those devices you can take anywhere in your pocket, and the later also makes phone calls … I’m not ready to give up my iPhone.

It goes on sale in March, I’ll see you at the Apple Store
I’ll  just be browsing

The Must-See Links!!!

First Impression Hands-on Reviews

BTW

I “watched” the Apple news conference at home with a sick child (Me, excitedly “It’s for Daddy’s work and it’s historic!”  Child’s response … “Can I play Nintendo?”).
So I “watched” on my laptop using the decades old technique of reading updates / viewing photos on various tech blogs (lots of tabs open) from reporters at the conference (found Engadget had the best feed).  And then a Twitter post led me to a link on Ustream of another tech blog reporter (Leo Laporte, TWiT) using an iPhone 3G S with built-in video to broadcast the event live … with tinny sound and choppy video … which in turn I watched on my iPhone (even over 3G), until I couldn’t stand it anymore and went back to reading on Engadget … a mash-up, if you will, of the old and the new …

iPad = and another word to add to my custom dictionary so it stops underlining it in red! 😉

FREE ebooks for Kindle & Sony Reader

In STT on January 27, 2010 at 5:00 pm

Today a guest blogger on STT!
Shelley Sloboder, Reference Librarian at Burlington (MA) Public Library.
This post comes from a series of emails back & forth between us on where to find free ebooks.  Shelley did some great research and I asked if I could share it here as I thought it quite useful.
~
Information about free ebooks…

The largest list of FREE Kindle ebooks is at Irreaderreview:
http://ireaderreview.com/2008/01/19/free-books-for-the-amazon-kindle/

Irreaderreview is a blog written by someone who identifies himself with just one name––abhi and abhi doesn’t have an “About this site or about me section.” Still, there does seem to be a lot of information here. He says he does make money from Amazon when people click through to products that Amazon advertises on his site through the Amazon Associate program. He also authors www.booksummit.com, another blog that is a “Kindle Forum, Kindle Social Network.” It seems to be a Facebook for Kindle users.

Kindle is now offering FREE software that lets you read Kindle books on your PC, Mac, and iPhone / iPod Touch.

The discussion that I came across was interesting. One article said that because Amazon only makes books that work on Kindle readers and Kindle Readers only read Kindle books (now pdfs too), Amazon is positioning itself as Apple did.  The other ereaders work with several formats.

I read this on irreaderreview: “Another free source for ebooks is the Sony bookstore. They are in ePub format, and the Sony software needed to access the store runs only on Windows, but these titles be easily converted to Kindle friendly MOBI format with a free program such as Calibre or Stanza. Sony accounts are free, you don’t need a Sony reader.”

Stanza converts ebooks for use on the iPhone.
Calibre converts for several readers including Kindle.

Boston Public Library offers free ebooks in the Adobe ePub format via OverDrive. These are NOT compatible with Kindle. These free ebooks can be checked out using a Boston Public Library eCard, which doesn’t require a visit to a BPL branch.

Adobe ePubs are read via Adobe Digital Editions – a FREE download to your PC or Mac. It also works on a supported Sony Reader.
~
Shelley Sloboder, Reference Librarian
Burlington Public Library
22 Sears Street, Burlington, MA 01803
ssloboder@mvlc.org / www.burlingtonpubliclibrary.org

Sony luvs libraries!?

In STT on August 26, 2009 at 2:25 pm

See Article links below.  They expand on the press conference coverage of Sony’s new e-readersThe BIG NEWS is the possibility that they will offer a service to borrow e-books from public libraries on your Sony reader! What comes of this will be very interesting, but gosh it’s nice for a HUGE multi-national corporation to at least give lip service to an e-book model for libraries.
Maybe I’ll buy a Playstation 3 I feel so warm and fuzzy!


A brave new world for readers! But where does the library fit in?

In STT on April 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm

The following Wall Street Journal is a must read about how ebooks and ebook readers (e.g. Kindle) are changing how we read.  I found this article via the new free iPhone app for the Wall Street Journal (get it here).

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write:  Author Steven Johnson outlines a future with more books, more distractions — and the end of reading alone.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123980920727621353.html
[4/20/09 – WSJ.com]

This is a very well thought out summary of how ebooks work now and how digital content (e.g. ebooks, newspapers, blogs) might work in the very near future.  It’s  great news for readers and the curious mind.   But it’s expensive too, as this assumes you’ll buy everything you read digitally whether it be a novel or a micropayment for a newspaper article or blog post or book chapter.  Turns out these this will also be great for Visa & Mastercard …  But where dose the public library fit into this brave new ebook world?  I’m not sure, but here’s two scenarios …

Glass Half-Empty hypothetical outlook 😦
Publishers will work very hard to control the distribution and re-distribution of digital content effectively negating the First Sale Doctrine.  Meaning libraries will have to pay publishers a license fee to loan material, both digital and possibly physical books (why not if they can get away with it?).  This license fee would be in addition too, or included in, the purchase price of the content, and probably an annual fee will be involved.  Talk about your budget increases!  This would also be the effective end to that favorite library fund-raiser, the used book sale.  Not only because of the lack of physical books, but because the license for digital books won’t allow for this.  The not-too-distant-future librarian had better be adept at understanding licensing, and EULAs …  what they don’t teach you in library school … this glass half-full scenario is pretty empty.

Glass Half-Full hypothetical outlook 🙂
Publishers see libraries as way to promote reading, stoke interest and inquiry, and as another entree to customers purchasing their (digital) content.  Encouraging reading is good for the publishing industry (and a sound Democracy, etc., etc.).  Essentially libraries continue to play the role they currently do vis-a-vis publishers.  This new digital era also ushers in a world of new digital publishers who are in the business to promote authors and ideas, not just their bottom line(!).  And to top things off, the First Sale Doctrine is upheld in the courts and thru legislation for digital content (e.g. ebooks, music, etc.).  And digital used ebook sales continue to be a mainstay of fundraising for libraries across the land!  That’s a pretty full glass and I want to live in that future!

So, what’ll happen?
Probably what always happens, little bit of both scenarios.   So maybe it won’t be so bad and maybe it won’t be so perfect, otherwise there would be nothing to blog about right?  Having just finished my first ebook on the Kindle for iPhone (get it here), I’m very excited by all the possibilities described in the WSJ article above.  I’ve totally bought into the handheld-digital-ebook-hyperlink-instant-access world.  And yet, I do wonder and worry about what this all means for the future of my chosen profession, but I don’t want to go back and I’m more excited than pessimistic.