TRE 32 Is that a Kindle in Your Pocket or a Sony PRS-350?

September 19th, 2010

I’m thoroughly impressed with the engineering behind the new Sony Reader Pocket Edition PRS-350, as you’ll see in this video review.   They managed to create a touch screen which does not cripple the readability of the E Ink screen, and it weighs only 5 3/8 ounces, compared with 7 5/8 ounces for the previous Sony Reader Pocket Edition, PRS-300.  The Kindle 3 weighs 8 1/8 ounces.  But as a competitor to the Kindle 3, the new Sony Pocket fails because of price ($40 more than the $139 Kindle WiFi only) and lack of a wireless connection.
One thing I forgot to mention in the video: turning the pages on the PRS-350 is effortless and very cool – a slight flick of the finger accomplishes the page turn, because of the excellent new touch screen.

TRE 31 Copia Calling

August 23rd, 2010

Anthony Antolino

Tony Antolino, senior vice president of DMC Worldwide and a co-creator of Copia, has been involved with Copia from its beginnings about two years ago.  DMC Worldwide is a privately held company with a 56-year history. Copia is just about to launch via applications for desktop, iPad and browser, and they expect to begin offering e-reader devices in the fall.

The Copia Beta that I’ve been trying reminds me of Goodreads, the social network for readers launched in December of 2006 that now has 3.5 million members who have added 100 million book titles.  There’s also LibraryThing which describes itself as a community of 1 million book lovers.  So there is lots of competition in this promising area of social media for readers. Copia appears to be a serious entrant, with 100 DMC employees having worked on the project full time for two years.

My interview with Tony took place by Skype and phone on August 18, 2010. Click here for a March, 2010, video of Tony talking with O’Reilly Media’s Joe Wikert

Click here to download this episode.

TRE 30 The Wolf Hall Tournament of E-Readers

August 16th, 2010

I purchased four e-book copies of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel–one each for Sony Reader, Kobo, nook, and Kindle–in order to compare the reading experience for the same book on four leading e-readers. After eliminating the devices that do not offer dictionary, notes, and highlights, the tournament ends with a nook v. Kindle battle through five tests. You’ll learn which device was the victor, as well as many details about the reading experience on competing e-readers. Recorded in Cambridge, Mass., on August 15, 2010, before release of the Kindle 3 and nook 2.

Click here for the Inkmesh listings of Wolf Hall at the four e-book stores mentioned in podcast.

Click here for a review of Wolf Hall in The New Yorker.

TRE 29 Aluratek Libre Unboxing

July 23rd, 2010

I pre-ordered an Aluratek Libre PRO e-reader for $119.99 and picked it up yesterday (July 22, 2010) at the South Portland, Maine, Borders Store. Store General Manager Gail Sanborn was kind enough to video the unboxing using my iPhone 4. The Libre looked pretty impressive in the bright sunlight outside the store, and in the bright light of the store itself. When I got it back to the cottage, I was surprised to see how less clear and contrasty it was compared with the Barnes & Noble nook and the Kindle. Advantage, e Ink, and that’s even before I’ve had a chance to compare battery life, which is apparently about 24 hours compared with upwards of two weeks for the e Ink competitors, depending on wireless use.   You load everything onto the Libre with the USB cable, as is the case with the Kobo and most of the Sony Readers.

Still, this is a nice design – very light at 8 ounces. Borders is also carrying the Kobo and Sony Reader Pocket Edition, two competing e-readers using E Ink, both priced at $149.99. The price is the most dramatic breakthrough, but for $30 more I’d go for the Kobo and leave the Libre as a worthwhile experiment that shows why the E Ink screen, at this point, still rules the world of dedicated e-readers. I prefer the Kobo to the Sony Reader Pocket, because the smaller screen size of the Sony Reader makes it less pleasing to read on, in my opinion, and the Kobo has a friendlier, less techy design with a cute blue control button and a soft-to-the touch quilted back.

TRE 28 Review of the Kobo Reader

May 22nd, 2010

The Kobo Reader, at $150, costs less than the Kindle 6-inch and the nook, and does less, too. But the Kobo’s svelte profile and light weight make it convenient for reading in some settings. In all, it’s an attractive new entry in the e-book sweepstakes. All three of these e-ink readers have advantages over the iPad, which I find I’m using less and less for reading books.

TRE 27 Meet Alex

May 5th, 2010

My take on Spring Design’s Alex e-reader, recorded in Cambridge, Mass., on May 4, 2010.  With comparison’s to the Barnes & Noble nook and Amazon’s Kindle.

One thing I did not mention in this video is that the nook is running the new 1.3 operating software, which added web browsing and other features.

Click here to download this episode.

TRE 26 Unboxing the Alex

April 29th, 2010

Unboxing an Alex by Spring Design and comparing its size factor with a nook, a Kindle, and an iPad. Plus: a fire alarm.

TRE 25 Part 2 of Interview by Bryan Person

April 18th, 2010

Social media evangelist Bryan Person did Part 2 of our conversation about the iPad on Thursday April 15, 2010.  This gave me a chance to revisit my expectations on how good a reading device the iPad would be compared with the Kindle.

We spoke 12 days after I had bought my 16GB WiFi-only iPad at the Apple Store at the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver. (Click here for video of my memorable entrance into the store.)  In that time, my fascination with the device kept growing.

In this interview, Bryan and I discuss the issue of “serious readers” and whether they will be drawn more to the Kindle than the iPad.  I have to confess that since our conversation, I am less inclined to make this distinction.  I have read too many accounts like this one of people using the iPad for very serious reading, and my own experience has shown me that I am perfectly at home reading on the iPad for up to an hour.  Yes, I sense some discomfort in my eyes from the LCD screen, but the ability to turn down the brightness from within most of the iPad reading apps I use–iBooks, Kindle, Kobo, and Stanza, but not Barnes & Noble–makes it manageable.

I remain in love with my Kindle and am quite sure that reports of its demise are exaggerations, as Mark Twain would have put it. I don’t see this as an either-or proposition.  The iPad’s arrival is wondrous, for many reasons beyond the realm of reading books.  The Kindle owns the outdoors, and any time I go with Darlene to read outside at a cafe, the iPad stays at home.   At home, sometimes I pick up the Kindle, and sometimes I pick up the iPad.  I haven’t figured out which situation is which, but I’m having lots of fun experimenting.

And tomorrow, I’ll have another device to explore–the Alex by Spring Design.  Stay tuned!

CORRECTION: The monthly price of The Wall Street Journal iPad app is $17.29, which is $2.30 more than The Financial Times US edition on Kindle at $14.99.  In the interview, I guessed that the Journal is $5 more.

Click here to download audio of the interview by Bryan.

TRE 24 Reading, Writing and Twitter?

April 13th, 2010

Valerie Ellis, left, and Michelle Taransky

My Bennington MFA classmate Valerie Ellis and I attended a thought-provoking session on April 8, 2010, at The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) national convention here in Denver.  The title was “The Networked Poetry Classroom,” and one of the panelists was Michelle Taransky, who works full-time at the University of Pennsylvania‘s Kelly Writers House in Philadelphia.

Michelle is also the author of Barn Burned, Then , selected by Marjorie Welish as winner of the 2008 Omnidawn poetry prize.  She teaches at Temple University and is Reviews Editor for Jacket2 .

Valerie and I the night before the conference had been discussing the use of technology in classrooms, so Michelle’s tales of streaming Twitter in her classroom gave us lots to consider.

UPDATE: Click here for Michelle’s course weblog.

Click here to download this episode.

TRE 23 Using an iPad in the Wild

April 5th, 2010

On my first iPad session at a local Starbucks in Denver, I realize that overhead lights can be a challenge as reflections in the iPad’s screen. Some horsing around with a Gorilla tripod solved the problem. For a relatively simple project this morning, involving email, Safari, and Apple’s Pages word processor, I was able to leave my MacBook Air in the bag and work exclusively with the iPad.