Monday, July 13, 2009

eBooks and the iTouch

I finally broke down.  Gave in.  Sold out. It was an offer too good to refuse and within minutes I was the proud owner of an iTouch (for about 1/2 the retail price). 

Like most techy geeks, I have been fascinated by the iPhone/iTouch since it first appeared.  This is a little strange because I may be the only person in America who hated my iPod.  I never could make the thing work right. . . Evidently click wheels and I were not made to co-exist on the same planet.  But I digress.

I have held out for months.  After all, I need another gadget like I need another hole in my head.  My Verizon family plan is cheap.  AT&T doesn't work well in my area anyway.  So as fascinated as I have been, I've managed to remain strong.  Although I have played with any iPhone/iTouch I could get my hands on.  But in a moment of weakness, and with an offer too good to refuse, I caved.

This is an amazing piece of technology.  I have used PDAs of all descriptions for years and years and this is hands down the easiest to use.  My biggest general complaint is that my fingers are a little big for the keyboard.  I spend a lot of time backspacing and starting over.

It didn't take long to sign in to the iTunes store and find the iTunes Aps.  From there it was a short search to find the eReader eBook software and get it downloaded to my iTouch.  Talk about easy!  It was the easiest installation ever.  I think it was even easier than getting it on my PC the first time.

Once it was loaded I went looking for the eBooks About Everything store.  Aside from the fact it was the first time I had typed it; it was easy.  My problem was the fat finger thing. 

The store opened right up;  I used my thumb and fore finger to enlarge it enough to see; went to my wish list and hit the Buy this item Now button.  Picked the version of the book in "Palm Pilot" format and added it to my cart.  Hit the Process Order button.  At that point I had to put in my user name and password and added my card's CID number.  And then waited a few seconds to be told the transaction had completed and that the book was on my bookshelf.

Went over to my Bookshelf.  The book was at the top of the list.  Hit the Download button and the book began downloading.  Within seconds I was opening the book, adding my name and password info (credit card number).  And I was able to start reading my new book.

Wow!  That was the most painless eBook transaction to a PDA ever!!!  And I mean EVERY!!

The reading experience can be customized in many different ways -- font, font size, screen appearance etc.  All very easy and intuitive.  The screen is small, but crisp and easy to read. 

The big difference in reading on this and any other PDA is that instead of pressing a button to turn the pages you flick the right corner with your finger and the page "turns".  The turning is more of a scooting motion; as if you were sliding the old page back to revel a new one.  I find this VERY annoying!  Not sure if it is because it is new or because it is really truly irritating -- time will tell.  For someone who reads very fast, and needs "largish" font size you spend an inordinate amount of time flicking and adjusting your eyes to the new page.  The annoyance is certainly worth it to have a book handy all the time with minimal weight and hassle. 

For long immersive reading my Cybook is hands down a better solution.  But it is one more electronic device to worry about and by comparison it is big a bulky.  I certainly won't be giving it up any time soon, but the iTouch is a nice addition. . .

All of this has left me, however,  with a bigger dilemma then ever.  Can I really live a happy life without an iPhone?

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