Saturday, July 14, 2012

Font for dyslectics

Thanks to Stephen.

When you think about it, it's a really poor show that so many letters are so similar, just rotated or flipped versions of others.

Once in Copenhagen in the window of an upscale furniture store, I saw a biggish sign which had a flipped d, being a b. The Danish word for special offer is "tilbud", and the sign said "tilbub", which sounds laughable in Danish. I admit to primarily remembering this incident because when I went in the store to alert the staff to this mistake, the girl I talked to wouldn't believe me! She refused to even go into the other room to look at the sign. I was dumbfounded. What reason would I have to pull her leg on something which could be so easily checked? Weird.

Still many books not digitized

I just heard a comment from Len on the Kindle Chronicles about how many important books from the past are not yet available in ebook form. And as it happened, I had just noticed the same thing: yesterday I stumbled over an interesting episode of the US version of Top Gear (I didn't even know they had a US version). They tested and trashed (well, what are we watching for?) three of the most notoriously dangerous cars in history, including the explosive Ford Pinto*. Well, in the introduction they mentioned Ralp Nader's classic and important book "Unsafe At Any Speed", which had a big impact on the car industry. But though I googled and inkmesh'd with all my might, I could not only not find a Kindle version of this book, but not even any ebook version at all!

Of course the ebook revolution is still young, every conversion costs money, and the back catalogue is not exactly small... But it'll be interesting to see how this develops, if Amazon will ever come even within shouting distance of their stated goal: every book ever published being available within sixty seconds.

*"The Pinto is at the end of one of autodom's most notorious paper trails, the Ford Pinto memo , which ruthlessly calculates the cost of reinforcing the rear end ($121 million) versus the potential payout to victims ($50 million). Conclusion? Let 'em burn."

Tired eyes and font size

Here's an advantage to ereaders over paper which has not often been mentioned:
Not only can you set a large font if your eyes are old or poor, but you can also do so simply if you're tired. It's amazing how an increase in text size eases off the eye strain, even if one is simply tired at the end of a long day.

Also, doing so before one gets tired or the eyes do, may increase the length of time one can read without discomfort or risk of damage. Space is not limited on an ereader, set the font as large as you want!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Size matters and considerations

It's interesting to me that personal taste goes a lot further than one should imagine. A good example is that many people would rather be boiled than having to read a book on a mobile phone screen due to the size, but many, many people happily do this every day, and many have even done it since the days when those screens were much smaller and cruder than now.

"Why we went DRM-free"

Bring Back the Magic, article.

One more publisher goes against the grain of paranoia and publish their books without DRM (copy protection), a good sign.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

"iPad Air"?

My guess: A smaller iPad soon, very cheap, maybe $200?
Not a retina display, but higher pixel-density than iPad 1 and 2 because of the size, keeping the original resolution. And I'm guessing it will be 8 inches, and quite light, and named "iPad Air".
Apple will want to not leave a "price umbrella" for their competitors, a hole in the lower price range. So this should do that. But if they can sell it for lightness and call it "Air", that will sell on a positive characteristic rather than a "discount" aspect, which is important for Apple as a perceived premium brand. They don't want to have products which are perceived as "feature-scraped" or "low end".

I will admit to a lot of wishful thinking here. To my taste, the weight, when it's used as an ereader, is the biggest weakness of the iPad. It's not good for one-handed reading, so that leaves out one of the most popular categories of ebooks right there!

Here's a good article speculating on the possible product.

The iPad as ereader

Here's a good article about using an iPad as an ereader.
An e-paper based ereader like the Kindle (with a small black/white screen) is excellent for content like novels, which are basically words in a long string. But when we get to more complex content, like illustrated articles from the web or from e-magazines, the iPad really shines, it is fast and flexible and handles the most colorful and complex content you'll find. And there are so many sources and apps just for reading that the mind boggles. Just look at the apps I have on mine.

"Next Issue" mag app

"Next Issue" is a good deal if you like several of many magazines included in the monthly deal (they come from five big publisher working together). Here's a review of the app/service. (It comes on Android and now on iPad.)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

"Apple Launches New iPad in China on July 20th"

"Apple Launches New iPad in China on July 20th", post.

Aha, here we have a clear example of how poor product naming creates confusion. The third generation is no longer new in the West, so when I saw "new iPad", naturally I rushed to read it, thinking the iPad model being lauched was, well... new! But it's just the old iPad 3. In five years, will the iPad three still be called "The New iPad"?

Monday, July 9, 2012

A folding reader... when?

Most of our conflicts when selecting a reader is that a bigger screen is better, but it also means less portability and poorer holdability due to higher weight.

I wonder when we will get a cellphone-sized device which folds out to a iPad-sized (or larger) reader/device?
I think it will come, but it may take 10 or 15 years. It's a necessary future milestone, though.
It will also be the invention which will enable an important reader: the large one. For newspaper reading, text books, art books, comics, etc etc, the iPad is not really large enough. I think than once we have a 15- or 17-inch ereader (light weigh and foldable), we'll wonder how we ever got on without it.

Screen fatigue?

Here's an article on my main blog about eye fatique.