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wood cat
Kate kate_nepveu
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E-bookery

Because I just know you were all waiting breathlessly for my verdict on Amazon's Kindle e-book reader:

If I had stupid money, I'd get a Cybook instead. [*]

Since I don't have stupid money, I'll stick with my Palm TX, which functions just fine as an e-book reader except in bright sunlight, which is not that often an issue (though if a Cybook showed up my doorstep for free, I wouldn't send it back). Speaking of which, from now until Monday Palm is selling the TX for $200 with a wireless keyboard thrown in, which is so cheap that I'm tempted to buy a spare against the likely day that Palm stops making standalone PDAs.

I love my TX and would absolutely recommend it to anyone who's looking for an organizer, e-book reader, game player, etc., but who doesn't need a smartphone. On the other hand, when this TX eventually dies, I may have other options: Nokia is releasing a Palm OS emulator, and the Nokia N810 looks very cool: bigger screen! Built-in keyboard! GPS! Anyone got one of these, or played with one?

(Because, you know, what I really need is to be gathering information on a tech toy that I neither need nor should have . . . )

[*] References:

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That is a good deal: I am tempted, even though my Tungsten 3 still works well.

I know, I'm torn! On one hand, _now_ the TX is the best thing for me, cold dead hands etc. On the other, later there might be something better . . . ?

It's pack-rat versus ooh, shiny!

Hmm! I may need to pick up a spare TX as well, given the pricing.

That emulation option (either on the N800 or N810) is looking pretty good if it pans out; with luck, eReader and Mobipocket will do native Nokia clients at some point (they both already have Symbian readers) and that'll remove most of the reason I'd need the emulator.

The Nokias look like almost exactly my set of wishlist items: WiFi (and 802.11g at that), a real keyboard on the N810 (MyKbd is okay but not as good as hardware), Bluetooth tethering to my phone (which is actually a phone and not trying to do everything) and now PalmGarnet OS support. I don't need media (that's what my actual iPod is for) or phone (the, er, phone does that) functionality. Web/email/e-books/calendar sync (somewhat problematic at the moment since work's using Oracle Calendar) and a few games...that's all I really need.

The N810 is still too expensive for me, of course, but I expect the price to come down by the time I'd actually be in the market.

I'm actually surprised, when I really think about it, how few Palm-specific apps I really need. I'm sure there are good text editors and database programs for the Nokias (the latter could substitute for PalmThing). I only use eReader because I can automagically turn HTML into marked-up eReader files--gotta have my italics. If I could read HTML natively as an e-book, that would be great and save me a step. (The Cybook says it supports HTML, but if I were actually getting one instead of just cat-vacuuming, I'd want to find out just which HTML tags it recognized.)

Otherwise, there's Secret! and a shopping list, and again I'd be surprised if there weren't equivalents available. It would be a pain to move data over and relearn apps, but still.

The thing that I would worry about is whether I could use an external keyboard; a thumb one isn't going to work for panel notes and vacation typing.

However, it's all just cat vacuuming for me for the moment. Really.

I've currently got a Nokia 770 - I love it's HTML support! I'm using an Opera variant to read there. I'll be getting an N810 as soon as I have the money squirreled away - with luck, that'll be the end of January. Watch for me to squee then - I'll certainly be talking about how it's going for me! I do need to come up with a calendar/addressbook app for it - there are options available already. Reports are the N810 uses a Mozilla-based browser - it can handle just about any HTML.

From what I've read, the Cybook's HTML handles single-file HTML reasonably well - the two specific tests I know it's been put to are samples from Project Gutenberg and Baen e-books in single file mode. It will not (currently) handle the multiple files of a standard Baen e-book multi-file format. Check out naebllc.com and/or bar.baen.com, the "EBook Reader" conference, for more info on the Cybook.

a calendar/addressbook app for it - there are options available already

Wow, they are really marketing this to a very specific crowd if it doesn't come with already. It never occured to me that it _wouldn't_.

But a really good web browser would make my mobile life better; Opera has one that runs on Palm, but as Java, and so I don't find it 100% stable.

And thanks for explaining about the "simple" HTML or whatever they call it; I couldn't figure out what the difference could be. Since I don't have any multi-file books, or would probably paste them together into one file if I did, this doesn't worry me.

The 700/N800/N810 are not marketed as PDAs. They're marketed as Internet Tablets - basically, a portable web browser, with e-mail & assorted media support. Since I last commented here, I've discovered that there's no native support for the webcam in the N810 - just the hardware and some OS hooks! Nokia is counting on the community to write one or more utilities for it. I'd guess that they're right - I'd bet there will be two or three by the time I buy one.

There's something called the "GPE Suite" that has had a number of parts ported to the Nokia - my check just found calendar, todo, and contacts. It looks like there's another matching suite added since the last time I looked.

The user community has a port of the OS2007 (latest version written for the N800) to the 770 - it's apparently taking some work. I would guess it's roughly the equivalent of porting PalmOS 5 back to run on a Palm 3 device. That's what I call a dedicated user community!

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No. In just picking up the tablet, it's a lot heavier than I expected, and the TX is _five ounces_.

Also, I hate reading in PDF. If I'm going to read on a computer, I do it in HTML so I can change the text size and visible width at whim.

My guess is that it would be on the heavy side for Kate. I've been doing my evening blorgreading on the couch with it the last couple of days, and it does get a bit heavy after a while.

Also, when I first picked it up, my reaction was "Wow, that's really nice and light." Kate came home a while later, picked it up, and said "Gosh, this is heavy."

It looks like it ought to be lighter than it is. I think it's really dense for its size.

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See, and I wouldn't think of weight as that big of an issue, since when I'm reading, I usually arrange pillows such that the book (or the tablet in this case) is resting on and supported by things that are not me.

There's a limit to the number of pillows I'm willing to stack on my lap to hold up my reading material. Holding it up myself is less uncomfortable than sweating under two additional feet of padding.

I carry my TX with me everywhere. When we were waiting for the Springsteen concert to start? Reading a book. Waiting for the car to be serviced? Reading a book. Etc. I need an e-book reader to be that portable and that light.

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Generally speaking, I agree--after all, the TX does lots of different things for me. But the Cybook is portable enough that if it were, say, half the price, I'd be really tempted.

Ah, a decent Garnet-enabled competitor to the Windows Mobile-based HTC Advantage X7501, or perhaps the cheaper TyTN II. Sounds pretty good. I like my Treo for portability--I've come to prefer having the phone in the same package, though when I had cheap phone + wifi-enabled Tungsten C, that was fine, too.

Edited at 2007-11-21 05:24 am (UTC)

I hardly ever use my cell phone, and it'll never replace a landline in our current house because our walls are extremely thick solid plaster and we get at most one bar's worth of signal. And I don't travel enough to locations where I'd need a data plan on my phone, either. So while I definitely see the attraction of smartphones, I don't think they make sense for me.

I catch up on reading e-mail (if not replying) while riding public transit daily--whereas audiobooks would fail, for me. :)

Is it weird to miss public transit? I used to get so much reading done then (well, on trains, anyway; I avoided buses because they made me motion-sick). Now I'm stuck driving with audiobooks, which are enjoyable but not the same.

Not weird to me. I prefer public transit for midlength commuting because one can doze as needed, as well as read, work a little, whatever. For short commutes (I'm on the train for 15min each way, aside from walking at both ends) cars are nice because they're more flexible in case of errand-running. Of course, though I appreciate having transit and like supporting it, I can't drive to work anyway because there's nowhere to stash the car. :P

oh god, I did not need to know about the TX. I've got a Tungsten E and have been using it less and less. But with a keyboard and internet access, I can imagine a LOT more things I'd do with it.

does the internet stuff work with any open wifi or do you have to have some sort of particular service, like with cell phones (which I don't use, so I'm not even sure what I'm talking about here)?

I should probably just look into getting a keyboard, but hey, shiny!

Regular wireless like at the coffeeshop is fine.

I do find websurfing on a 320x480 screen rather frustrating, however, and the web browsers available for the TX are sometimes unstable. FYI.