Monthly Archives: March 2011

Evolutionary Change

There’s a gadget out there; one that I’ve been sitting on the fence about.  Those that know me will understand how unusual this is, for me to NOT be investigating the latest gadget etc is extremely unusual!

I am referring to the Amazon Kindle.  

 

As a lover of books, I’ve not really been attracted to buying one, I’m not really sure why, and in hindsight I wish I’d bought one sooner. 

But, recently based on the recommendation of a friend, I took the plunge, and I’m extremely glad I did!

The screen is; simply put .. Stunning ..   It’s not an LCD or LED screen, there’s no use comparing it to an iPad or mobile phone, instead it uses an amazing e-Ink “Pearl” technology which uses a Pearlescent white/grey background capable of 4 different shades of black/grey.  From what I understand it only uses power when changing the display, thus accounting for an excellent battery life, and it’s extremely readable in direct sunlight.  Of course it suffers in the same way a conventional book does in low light situations.

I’ve been using mine for a couple of weeks now, and haven’t read so much in years!  I’ve been looking at different sources for the books (not just Amazon’s online shop) and I’m confident I can find sufficient reading material with the right appeal to keep me going for years.  It’s light, it’s effective, it’s easy to read, I’m sold.  My only real dilemma now is that I need to decide if I’m going to keep my existing library of books which take up lots of space on the shelf and gather dust, or whether I should start to replace them with the electronic versions.

Having said all that, I have two reservations about Kindle.

Firstly – and perhaps somewhat selfishly – I use Books as a ready source of gift ideas for people.  I maintain an Amazon Wishlist which usually has a selection of Books and DVD’s on it which I can refer people to when they ask the inevitable questions around Christmas and Birthdays, and I can’t see an easy way of someone buying me an e-Book, and certainly not wrapping it up to give as a gift in a few weeks.  Sure you could probably use a gift voucher or something, but it’d be nice if Amazon could come up with something to make this easier.

Secondly – There are two types of book.  The largest section of the market I can see being ‘compatible’ with Kindle, all of my Fiction collection and most of my reference books for work are monochrome (Covers notwithstanding), but I do have a small percentage of books that contain full colour glossy photos.  Cookery books for example, and as it stands Kindle just doesn’t lend itself to these books.

Imagine then my surprise and indeed glee after doing some Google searches to find the Kindle picture above to find that the company behind the existing display technology have produced a COLOUR version of the same tech, called e-Ink “Triton” which has extremely interesting possibilities.

It is my estimation that this is going to change the way we read and use books forever.  The ONLY thing that’s missing is a better way to manage and index the library of content on the device.  Just putting it in to an Alphabetic list doesn’t really do what’s needed.

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Recommended Reading

It’s been a little while since I found a book that really captivated me, and I’m pleased to report that it’s finally happened once again.

Regular visitors will be aware of my enjoyment of Military Scifi books by the likes of David Weber, Jack Campbell, and Mike Shepherd.  I’ve recently been able to add a new author to the list! – John Ringo.

I found it courtesy of an Amazon recommendation, but it sounded like something I might enjoy, so I first tried reading Live Free Or Die (Troy Rising) followed by it’s sequel Citadel

 

 

Ringo seems to have an interesting perspective on Scifi in that he takes a modern human society and throws it straight in to the proverbial deep end of Alien First Contact, usually with fairly negative consequences.  The Troy Rising series was my first exposure, and I loved the Economic aspects, the scale of manufacturing and production effort and changes as the Human race struggles to get to grips with the new Alien technology and integrate it, all the while attempting to play catch-up and defend Earth against multiple alien species who are orders of magnitude more advanced.

I’ve since gone back to read A Hymn Before Battle (Posleen War) which seems to follow the same basic premise,but instead thrusts an ill prepared human race straight in to an off-world conflict.

So far I’m loving every minute of it, and will be reading many more of Ringo’s works in the coming weeks.

Have you read any good books recently?

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