Saturday, September 18, 2010

The iPad, five months later

The iPad, five months later, article.
"Jim Parsons, a Toronto-based entrepreneur and industry consultant, says his iPad has turned him into a text-consuming machine. “I have never read as much or as consistently in my life,” Parson says."

What he said. Like digital cameras revitalized my photography, so a digital reader has revitalized my reading. It's kewl.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sizes I want

I have been reading about the fascinating BookBook case on my iPad, and then I went to do the same on my Mac Pro with the big screen, and I was struck with how much better that was, in terms of really getting a good impression from the photos of what it is like.

Therefore, I've decided that we need three variants of iPads:

1) a small iPad, 5 or 6-inch screen, for pocket use.

2) a travel iPad, 10-inch screen like the one we have now, but lighter.

3) A super-iPad, maybe a 15-inch or 17-inch screen, for home use and really powerful web surfing and graphics-rich reading. 

Ideally they should all have Apple's high-resolution Retina Display.

So far as I've been informed, iPad apps should scale to other resolutions,  unlike iPhone apps they are not bound to one size. I only heard this from one developer, but they sounded quite certain.

Devices on the bookshelf

I have started to put my Kindle and Kindle DX on the bookshelf next to my bed. And while admittedly I keep my iPad in a book holder (floor stand) for hands-free reading, I was amused to suddenly get a flash of a possible future where a "book shelf" means a shelf which contains e-reader devices in perhaps three different sizes, maybe a couple of brands... and that's it! All the cultural goodness, stories, art, philosophy, knowledge, is inside these small things, ready to go with you anywhere and to be found with a quick search instead of minutes of peering at bookshelves and piles around the home.
(I love books, but man, the paper versions sure do take up space.)

(Photo by me and Canon 5DII.)

By the way, for the uninitiated, the two objects (between the iPad and the Apple keyboard) which look like photo frames, are really an Amazon Kindle 3 and a Kindle Dx. (When the Kindle turns off, it replaces the text on the screen with a literature-related drawing or etching. In these cases, it's James Joyce and Virginia Wolf. The picture stays on because the e-paper screen only uses energy when it changes.)

Best Buy Chief: iPad Cannibalizes Laptop Sales by 50%

Best Buy Chief: iPad Cannibalizes Laptop Sales by 50%, article.

It seems that just like "literally" and "orange juice"*, now 'cannibalize' is being used wrongly so often that it will eventually change the dictionary definition, which is very sad, because it's a useful word.
People should only say "cannibalize" when a product is stealing sales from the same company. You would think the word would hint at it, since a cannibal is one who eats his own species.

Anyway, this article is very interesting. It seems that the shift away from PC/Macs/laptop machines may happen sooner than we imagined!

*Many use the word "literally" as if it means "practically" ("my dad literally hit the roof when I said I was pregnant"), and "orange juice" as if it means "any orange-colored drink". 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

An iPad pocket

Scottevest, travel vest with many pockets.
The largest pocket can hold an iPad!
I want one.
A video here (sort of a spoof, but shows the multi-pocket vest well.)

iPad into netbook

Kensington KeyFolio ($100, October) is a cool idea, it's an iPad case with a built-in keyboard, which connects with the iPad via bluetooth, no physical connection. 
Lighter than a laptop, but as good for writing, email, and many things. I think I'll get one. 

Also, it's Kensington, a name that normally means quality. And I suspect it's pretty lightweight. 

It is so new that I can't even find it on Kensington's own site! So I haven't found much out, for instant what mechanism is used to set the angle of the "screen"/iPad. 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


I was just reminded of a post from my main blog about possible future super-readers for art books and more.
I do find it interesting that even highly intelligent people who have been thinking a lot about technology and ebooks, dismiss offhand the idea of art books on e-readers. Today's readers, sure, but hey, last year we didn't even have the iPad, things change fast. I think we'll have a 700 grams (1.5 pounds) 15-inch reader tablet within a couple of years, with high res display, which will show art ebooks amazingly well, better than paper.
(To be fair to Adam and Andy, I dismissed it as well, until I began thinking about that issue specifically for a little bit.)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

iPad niggles

I think iPad is spectacularly successfully turned out for a 1.0 device. Seriously, the first generation of anything is never this good.

But of course being human we find our small niggles. For example, why can't we assign different wallpapers to the different home screen? I can't imagine it should be hard to do, and it would be fun, and it would help you to instantly know on which screen you are.

I had hoped for this to arrive in iOS 4.0, but no luck. Also I'd hoped for the device to read aloud to me from any app without the clumsy VoiceOver to be turned on, but this has not been mentioned for 4.0 (which I think comes in November for iPad, it is already on the iPhone).
An app called Speak It can read to you, but you have to copy/paste text from another app, and selecting text is one of those things which are pretty clumsy on a touch screen, unfortunately (at least for now).

iPad plusses

The Kindle has dropped dramatically in price since the iPad appeared in April 2010. And it needed to, because the 'pad can do a thousand things the Kindle is not meant to do. Email is just one of them. Writing is another. (Some like the screen keyboard, other like me like to have an external one for touch-typing, it's still lighter than a laptop.)

It is impressive all that you can do on an iPad, see for example this Office-editing app. There are also apps for photo editing, even video editing, and much, much more.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kindle vs. iPad

Neither my Kindle 1 nor Kindle 2 got much use. Kindle three does. The design is better, and the screen has gotten just good enough that I feel OK about it. (On One and Two, the contrast was too low. It's not a lot higher on Three, but just enough.)

Due to the non-backlit screen, the Kindle is a little bit easier on the eyes like they say. But it's not a big deal for me, these days I don't read for hours in a row.

It's a lot cheaper than the iPad of course, and it's a lot lighter. That's important unless the iPad is supported by a stand or a book holder.

If and when a much lighter iPad arrives, lord know how much I'll use the Kindle if at all, for these reasons...

One big advantage of the iPad is that compared to the Kindle, it is way more flexible about what kinds of text you can read on it. Even web browsing is great (though I'm looking forward to the hopefully-soon arrival of variable text size in Safari) (you can zoom in though). You can browse the web on the Kindle, but the interface is very slow and clumsy and the small grey-scale screen is not great for it. And if you want to read blogs on it, you must pay Amazon, something like two dollars per month per blog, and only for the blogs which are signed up for it (and only Americans can currently sign up).

The Kindle can only read the MOBI format [update below]. Which means that everything you want to read on it must come in that format, or be translated to it. It's cumbersome. The iPad can not only read about anything (in various apps), but it can also import via many channels, like the web, or Dropbox (free service), or many more.

If you like a very small/light or economical reader device, and you will read mainly books/periodicals bought on the Kindle Store, the Kindle 3 is a winner. Otherwise I lean towards the iPad. (Or possibly any of the upcoming competitors, if any of them turns out to be user-friendly.)

Update: Ganesha Games said:
Kindle also reads, quite obviously, its own format (I think it's called kdr) and PDF.

Good point, thank you.
I hope in next software update that they will allow stepless zoom on PDF, instead of the rather crude steps there are now (Fit on screen, 150%, 200%, 400%.)

Mighty Bright double light

I now got the two-lamp version of the Mighty Bright portable lights. And it's everything I said about the normal version plus very impressive light output. It works well for the Amazon Kindle Dx, for which the normal version is a bit on the weak side due to the size and the grey background. 
Oh, and the "bulbs" are in the same small head, it's equally compact. And you can select to use just one of them if desired.

Hah, here's how light-weight they are: I bought two at once and had unpacked one, and later I almost threw the other one out with the packaging, I couldn't feel it was in there! 

Comments on the main page?

Oddly, and unlike my main blog, comments on this blog appear even on the main page, not just on the separate page for that post. I have looked through the settings, but I didn't find a way to change this, does anybody know?
Update: found it. It's the "Comment Form Placement" setting, under Settings/Comments. Not very clear what that one does, but it seems if one selects Full Page, it moves both the comments form *and* comments to the separate page for that post. (I found it by comparing settings to those of my main blog.)

By the way, to new readers: my main blog has many posts about ereading and devices/accessories dated before 13 Sep 2010.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Case designs

Here are a few iPad case designs, some interesting.
I especially like that some took my idea about making a case from a hardcover book.       :-)   (Though it's missing the few paper pages, but that was never very realistic anyway.)

Many devices now

There are many e-reader devices already, although according to reviews, most of them are not all that good. Generally they are slow and have fuzzy interfaces.

Interesting ones coming up are Cruz Reader and Cruz Tablet from Velocity Micro (Thanks to TCGirl). Unfortunately, while they are both cheaper than an iPad, they are barely lighter, despite having only a 7-inch screen compared to iPad's almost ten. This means that we are still missing a light-weight reader with a rockin' screen. (I can live with Kindle3's screen, but I don't love it.)

Hey, how do you like the book background? I cobbled it together from photos and manipulated the colors and contrasts etc. I'm quite proud of it. :-)