Monday, 29 September 2008

My latest new toy

Every September, my job requires my entire department to spend two weeks away from home with our new graduate recruits. This ends up being an expensive fortnight for me, as I always seem to come home with some new piece of gadgetry. Two years ago, it was an iPod docking station. Last year, I broke the trend by buying clothes instead (a whole new winter wardrobe). This year, it was this.

It's the most incredible piece of kit. It's about the size of a slim paperback, and with the leather effect cover on, it really feels as though you're holding something akin to a book. It comes with 100 free books - they have to be out of copyright, so it's an eclectic mix of classics, many of which I expect to read for the first time over the coming months.

You can download books from the Waterstone's website, which I haven't tried yet. What I have done, though, is to download a couple of free pdfs - one of them being the document by Bishop O'Donoghue that I referred to yesterday.

The other was a piece of legislation that I needed for teaching - all 766 pages of it. I was able to set electronic bookmarks for the sections that I needed to refer to, and it was very easy to flick through it as I taught. I love the way you set a bookmark as well - you fold down the virtual corner of the virtual page! (Not something I'd ever do on a real book, mind you...)

The battery life is brilliant - it charges through the USB cable when you connect it to your computer, and after I had it switched on for most of the day, flicking extensively between pages as I taught, the battery indicator still had the maximum number of bars on it by the end of the day. This is largely due to the technology which the reader uses - the screen is not backlit, and the print is a special type of electronic ink which apparently only uses power when the page is being turned.

Unlike a computer screen, the screen on this thing can be viewed from any angle, and you can read it clearly even in direct sunlight. It doesn't flicker, and so is much easier on the eye than a computer monitor.

I also find it very intuitive and easy to use, both when loading stuff onto it from my computer (simple drag and drop from the e-library software provided, and it's easy to import pdf files into the library as well) and when reading material on the screen. I can see this being something that goes everywhere with me, along with other essentials like my mobile phone and my wallet.

For me, this will never replace actual books - I love the feel of a book in my hands and the look of it on the shelf, and I wouldn't feel comfortable taking this thing in the bath, which is one of my favourite places for reading for relaxation. But it will give me access to a lot of stuff that I wouldn't otherwise have read, it'll save me from lugging huge numbers of heavy books around for teaching or when going on holiday, and it'll mean I'm never caught short of reading material.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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Thank you.

We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to deny any extension planned for the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland, as we believe in the right to life.

Submitted by Miss A Burt – Deadline to sign up by: 11 March 2009 –