Thursday, November 1, 2018

New tiny books to beat back ebooks

Haha, it seems like the big publishers are not at all as confident about having “beaten” ebooks as they want us to believe? (Why would they want to anyway? Ebooks are pure profit, and they can make them as well as anybody.) New mini-paperbooks for commuters.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Wonderful new compact keyboard

On my personal blog I made this post about a fantastic new keyboard I have. I link here because it's just compact enough to take out.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Cheap but good grips

It turns out that the kind of grip I invented on this blog a few years ago (being irritated by the poor ‘grip-ability’ of tablets/ereaders) is now present in several brands. It’s extremely useful. Search for Phone Finger Grip. (Or Tablet Finger Grip.) Can be used for phone, tablets, e-readers... it makes holding a device for reading or for normal use much more effortless.

There are different kinds. One kind is a metal ring, another is an elastic strap, another (Lazy Hands) has straps for each finger. They only cost a few bucks.

I've tried both the strap and the ring, they are both really good. (The ring is good quality for the money.) Both of them comes off most materials without too much trouble or residue, despite sitting securely.
There are other types too, such as Popsockets. I don't recommend that one though, they are over-priced and mine came apart when I tried to move it.

With the ring especially, I find that I can walk around with the phone in my hand continually without strain or fear of dropping it. That way I have the camera ready, and I can quickly skip back in an audiobook without having to dig it out of a pocket.

And it makes an even greater difference with an ereader or tablet, because you can't get your fingers all around those. Holding a tablet is dramatically easier.

Me with the Ring Holder on an iPad Mini.
Notice it is hanging only on my finger here!

Friday, April 27, 2018

iPad software is cheap

Here is an upside to iPad which one may not think about: a lot of software, like image processing and writing software, has versions for iPad which is almost as full-featured as the desktop version, but costs less than 20% of it!
 Example: Final Draft scriptwriting: $250 for desktop, Final Draft Writer, for iPad: $20. Pretty much same feature set.
The only reason for such a great price difference is that Apple pressured app developers into super-low prices, so it’s a true deal.

 And an iPad with an external keyboard is easily less weight than a laptop, and can do most of the work. I think it’s a great thing for a lot of work which does not require a complex interface.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The beautiful iPad Mini

I just have to post about things I find beautiful, and the iPad Mini is one of them. It’s too expensive sadly (cost more than the current full-sized iPad), but... it is just beautiful.

Maybe you have to hold it to really appreciate it, but the thinness, the beauty and the functionality of the size, it just strikes me repeatedly. I bought this one at reasonable cost, refurbished. Not the speediest, but works for casual use, like movies. And perfect for video chat. Well, in fact it can be used for pretty much everything a full-sized one can, but it’s much lighter.
And that makes it fantastic for e-reading. A phone or a Kindle is great for reading novels, but a tablet is much better for formatted text and text with illustrations and such. Text books, art books, manuals, comics, web articles, etc etc.

I sincerely hope that Apple does not abandon this wonderful thing, but continue to develop it.

Oh: and it is even better for reading with a simple strap.

Straps I made myself. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Big five

I really don’t understand why the “Big Five” publishers fight so vehemently against e-books. Every company in the past which has resisted new technology has lost the fight eventually. And their profit on ebooks is potentially at least as good as with paper, since reproduction and production costs are nigh zero.
Don’t they understand that they are not in the paper market, but in the story market?  It must just be lizard-brain resistance to change.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

In an infamous interview, Hachette CEO Arnoud Nourry called the ebook a “stupid product” because it’s “exactly the same as print, except it’s electronic. There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience.”

 No enhancement? What an incredibly dim statement. Even if a thousand books in a pocket was all, that’s a colossal enhancement. Add to that changeable type size, that is invaluable to so many readers. Then instant dictionary, etc etc.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Selling paper?

“I’m not in the business of selling paper, I’m in the business of selling stories.” 

- Meg Gardiner, author

 Fantastic. That’s the clearest and most succinct statement on the issue I have heard.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Apple ebooks

Apple is suddenly - nine years after they got into the ebook market with the iPad - trying to up their game, finally, and make the iBooks store (the app will be renamed “Books” apparently) count in the market. They have hired a prominent executive away from Amazon. I think this may be good news for readers, no matter how it goes for Apple.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Claims that ebooks are failing...

Some articles are so sneaky. This article starts by claiming loudly that ebook sales are down significantly (17%) and talks about at length how everybody now are into paperbooks. (Not reading actually, mainly the books as artefacts*.)

 ... And then near the end (after many have stopped reading) comes this information:
 “The figures from the Publishing Association should be treated with some caution. They exclude self-published books, a sizable market for ebooks. And, according to Dan Franklin, a digital publishing specialist, more than 50% of genre sales are on ebook. Digital book sales overall are up 6%.” 

There is a whole lot of difference between between 17% down and 6% up!
 And how it is justified to exclude self-published books from statistics when considering the book market is puzzling to me. That can only be explained by the traditional publishers not wanting to even look at self-publishing because it is so successful in ebooks, and it’s a frightening competitor.

* I love books as artefacts, I have many beautiful ones. But it has little to do with the content, which after all is the point of books. Books expand the mind, but only if you open them.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tablets need a grip!

For realsies: tablets need to get a grip.
Apple has a way too big fetish about thinness, and the iPad's shape then was taken up by others. It’s very pretty, but it is counter-productive. Who couldn’t find space in a bag for a tablet which has a, say, half-inch grip on one side, on the back?

The handle could hold the battery for example, making the rest of the tablet lighter, so it would be way more comfortable to hold, because half the weight is in your hand. (The Kindle Oasis has a bit of it, and users love it.)

And it would make tablets much more usable. I’ve been working with ways to make different kinds of grips, because tablets are simply really hard to hold comfortably, they are thin and slick and have thin bezels, and there is nothing to hold onto. You have to cramp your fingers so much that you get tired after a few minutes, basically hand-holding is not practical for many things like reading or surfing in bed or on trains, planes, and automobiles.

Me with my grip I made from Sugru. Obviously
a built-in grip could be larger with no harm

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Tablets are pushy...

I just noticed something. I was sitting in my relaxy-chair (not a TM) and reading on my iPad, which was on a big floor stand right in front of me. Maybe because of a good lunch, I started feeling good in an interesting way and I closed my eyes, wanting to meditate on it a little. And I noticed that even with my eyes closed, I could *feel* the tablet right in front of me, and I pushed it away.

And I think this may be a main reason why many people prefer paper-books or non-lit ereaders over tablets or phones: because a lit screen is “pushy”, it walks into your space whether you want it or not.

It’s probably a big part of why I love tablets (and big phones) so much. They do a lot of the attention work for you, they walk towards you as it were. But, it’s the same as with quite outgoing persons; it’s often a good and pleasant thing, but in certain moods you may not welcome people or devices who walk into your space.

Friday, October 13, 2017

New Kindle features

Amazon has released a new Kindle model, the “All New Oasis”. It has a bigger screen, 7 inches, it is water-resistant (splash resistant), and it will play audible audiobooks over bluetooth speakers or earphones.

More importantly to myself, Amazon readers and apps finally feature a bold-level setting for the text, and something I’ve written about here and to Amazon more than once: finer gradations for text size. Finally. The jumps between text sizes were just way too crude.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


One of the early posts I made on was actually a book shelf with only a couple different ereaders on it. And if there is an argument here, I'm sorta on both sides of it. Books are much better to hold and have, but ebooks are much better to read and carry.