SWMBO is complaining that the library is turning more and more to
ebooks (do away with the brick&mortar facilities and let amazon
act as the "library" -- some sort of contract they've hammered out).
She's not keen on giving up look/feel of paper. But, figures there's
no other option for some of these titles (if library has it in *any*
form, they will not process a request to find a "paper copy" at some
OTHER library in the next town, etc.)
I've moved much of my technical library to electronic form (simply
can't afford to keep all that paper on shelves, here!) and do so with
a "tablet PC". It gives me a decent screen size (~12") so that I can
view typical 8.5x11 pages/sheets in full size (assuming there is a half
inch margin on the page -- which the display doesn't need to reproduce!).
Also gives me color, the ability to make annotations with the pen,
support for external media, non-proprietary file formats AND other
utilities -- things that aren't usually present in an eReader (which
tries to be smaller, lighter and run for long periods off battery).
I offered to build her an identical machine but she's not keen on
the size (she's used to reading paperbacks or hard-bound editions
which typically don't have/need the larger page size that the materials
I read require). And, the things she reads tend not to have illustrations,
charts, "color", etc.
So, anyone with a fair bit of first-hand experience willing to share
observations as to what they like/dislike about *their* eReader
(make/model)? ISTR at least one unit only allowed you to put
materials onto it via a wireless link -- to a *vendor*! I'm not
sure how that will work with the library's offerings. Nor how
you can later "backup" those acquisitions onto some other media
(lest your eReader *fail*).
[These are all issues that my "solution" avoided...]
I've got the cheapest Kindle and even though the screen is only 7 inches
it is very readable because you put books in their format.
I'm sure their Kindle Fire is better as there is a touch screen and color.
Amazon will let you download the reader to any machine as they want to
sell books but there is plenty of free stuff from them or others, e.g.
the Gutenburg project - http://www.gutenberg.org/
Then there is free software where you can inter-convert formats for the
reader programs - http://calibre-ebook.com/
Yes, for "novels" you can afford to reflow text somewhat arbitrarily -- no
illustrations that you have to shrink or "pan" to fit onto a smaller
display (or, one with lower resolution).
I can't see the need for either -- if reading "novels". There's no/few
illustrations that could benefit from color (unlike my technical literature
which might use color to convey information). And, I can only see a
touch screen as a frill to allow for gestural "page turning".
But, can you freely move documents onto and off-of the reader? A friend
had me set up her nook some years back and the only way on/off the device
was via wireless and a connection to their "store".
Yes, I already use that on my tablet PC as I have to address documents in
multiple formats (though I favor PDF for a variety of reasons).
That is not true for the Nook. I have two Nooks (epaper) and both
of them show up as a disk drive when plugged into a USB port and
you can copy epub's to and from them at will.
If you buy epubs from B&N via the wireless, you may or may not be
able to copy them off your nook (depends on firmware version and
amount of free built-in storage space).
B&N no longer lets a purchaser download the epub and sideload to the
nook, but you can buy from google play or baen or find them on
alt.books then sideload them.
On 1/13/2016 4:28 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org (Scott Lurndal) wrote:
"Welcome to Baen Ebooks, purveyors of DRM-free ebooks. This means you
can enjoy your ebooks on as many eReaders as you choose for no
SF & Fantasy mostly. Their "Free Library" is here - check it out.
I download to my desktop and transfer them to the Kindle. Don't like
using Kindle or tablet to download as browsing is a PITA.
Don't know anything about the Nook but see that their format is .epub vs
.mobi for Kindle. My Kindle will read .mobi and .pdf but may do .epub
too. Calibre can inter-convert them. Most .pdf's are big for the
Kindle but I have a couple in the form of hunting maps on them.
I'd go with Kindle papewrite for general or recreational reading. I
spend a lot of time outside and you can read it perfectly even in
brightest sunlight. I haven't tried it for technical or other intensive
The main problem I have with the Nook is that Barnes and Noble owns
but doesn't quite know what they want to do with it. Just over the last
couple of years, they have said they love it, said they wanted to spin
it off into a separate company, said they didn't want to spin it off. I
am not sure I want to spend all that money on something even the owner
isn't sure it wants to deal with.
My Kindle is in my fanny pack and I read it when in a deer stand. Takes
up half the space of a paperback and is readable in bright light and
even at sunset.
At home, I prefer books in book form.
I know you can sign up with the county library and download books for
the Kindle over the internet but they treat it like you borrowed a
library book and it has to be renewed every two weeks. Not worth the
bother for me as I don't set a time limit on reading a book.
Friend used to go to library for books on tape which could be put on an
MP3 player. Think this could also be done on a tablet or Kindle Fire.
Ah, OK. We don't have any magazine subscriptions. She just recently
commented on yet another attempt to get her to RE-subscribe to a magazine
she had years ago: "I saved the old issues and all they do is
recycle the same articles..."
Ditto. I find that if I have to spend any time with a document,
I will print a copy -- then "recycle" the paper when I'm done with it.
Some of the datasheets for the components that I use might be 1000+ pp
so this leaves me cringing (even with a duplex printer, that's a whole
ream of paper!). But, there's something special about being able to
flip back and forth between relevant sections just by sticking a
finger "in" the document at the right spot(s).
[E.g., it may describe the device pinout in one chapter and details
of a specific *set* of pins in another; and details of yet another
set of pins in a third!]
OTOH, keeping paper originals of things eats up shelf space at an
incredible rate (a few feet per project)! So, digital forms for
"long term storage" seem to be best.
[E.g., I think my MULTICS manuals are about 2 feet of shelf space]
I found that a long time ago except for the magazines covering a moving
target. It's rather like the school system; they start a beginning
class, work them through to more complex matters, and then restart the
cycle in a year or two.
I'm down to 'Circuit Cellar', 'Motorcycle Consumer News', and 'Guns &
Ammo'. I don't even remember subscribing to the last one. I certainly
haven't paid for it in years but it keeps coming like some of the trade
In her case, she's interested primarily in art and various media.
Ain't much "new" happening, there! "Look! We've discovered
a NEW COLOR!!! Eeeewww! Metallic Chartreuse!!!"
Exactly. The articles may get rewritten (different authors?) but the
material is largely the same. That's not to say that the new rewrite
might be better or more easily understood...
"Circuit Cellar" became a manual for how to ASSEMBLE things many years ago.
It's the nature of the beast; you can't really write much where you
expect your readers to have lots of resources at their disposal!
"Using your scanning electron microscope, locate the gate region
of the FET controlling the output stage. Now, engage the laser
to vaporize the connection from this to the output pin. Then..."
Heck, I suspect many of its readers can't use a soldering iron -- esp
on SMT devices!
Most magazines have to pander to too wide of an audience. So, they waste
a lot of time covering "basics". Then, don't have enough space left to
really address the "meat and potatoes".
I spend most of my reading in journals -- where the authors can make
some reasonably safe assumptions as to the minimum technical abilities
of its readers and jump right into the "interesting parts". This
cuts down on a lot of preliminary fluff which makes it easier to
spend time thinking about the *substance*.
E.g., SWMBO's magazines might spend (waste?) time telling you how to
*hold* a pencil! (you hold a pencil differently when drawing than
when writing) Why can't they assume a reader has this minimum level
of proficiency? Instead of wasting space on it?
It's a nostalgia thing for me. Back in the days of Byte Ciarcia's column
was my favorite. I don't know how well I would do with SMT. You have to
see it to solder it. I was happier back when processors had 40 pins on a
.100 grid that I could wire wrap on the kitchen table. Or even whip up a
circuit board that wasn't 10 layers with more vias than Rome.
Well, sort of. I have a steromicroscope that I use to place components
(I think 7x to 30X) and a Leister hot air iron for one-offs and repairs.
But, I now prefer to come up with designs that I can use to solve multiple
projects (differential stuffing options) -- mainly to make it affordable
for me to have the boards produced (cost of QTY 4 is essentially the
same as QTY 10... which is almost the same as QTY 100!).
E.g., each time I finish a "proof of concept" prototype for some component
of my automation system, I make a note of what hardware resources were
required. Then, dismantle the prototype, using its parts to build the NEXT
prototype. When done with all of the designs (there are, conceptually,
22 designs involved), I'll see how much I can combine into "universal"
designs so I can reduce the number of different designs AND increase the
quantities (discounts!) to make my life easier (and control the overall
I still keep a collection of "legacy" components -- to repair old designs
as well as throw together "one-offs" (where performance is not an issue but
ease of prototyping would be.
I've got my Gardner Denver WW gun. Plus a slit-and-strip bit (insert
kynar wire and it cuts it to length as well as stripping insulation
*as* it wraps).
You'd be amused by the design for my "network speaker". Several TINY
boards in a sandwich -- so the total volume/shape resembles a duplex
receptacle (so I can cram it into a 1 gang Jbox!). No doubt, someone
with deeper pockets (and HUGE volumes!) could make it cheaper and possibly
*half* the size (but no smaller!). But, I'm not in the retail market so
why waste my re$ource$ just to prove I can do it??!
Time to pull the biscotti out of the oven...
My gun was a graduation gift from a buddy I worked with.
So, despite rarely (never?) needing it, I keep it tucked away.
I also have a delightful pair of needlenose that have been
machined inthe jaws to *perfectly* strip #30AWG kynar.
Even better than NoNiks!
Always terrified that, someday, I would forget they are a precision
tool and use them to tighten a nut or something :<
+1 on Calibre, Don. It's a FANTASTIC program. Also, if you have access
to the usenet (doh!) there are a number of binary groups there that post
books in the epub and mobi format. Regardless of what reader SWMBO
winds up with, Calibre will catalog them, convert them to the needed
format and load them to your device.
She's like paper books? Help her with the transition and recommend that
no matter what reader she buys, that she buys a "cover" for it. I went
with Barnes and Noble's Nook reader and was quite happy with it. Then I
bought an iPad 3 and have abandoned the Nooks in favor of the iPad.
Love it and works fine for me. With the cover you can hold the Nook or
iPad as if you were holding a book. Makes getting used to the eReader
On 1/13/2016 7:51 PM, Unquestionably Confused wrote:
Yes, as I mentioned in my reply to Frank (alongside this reply of yours),
I already use it on my tablet PC. My technical library is a hodge-podge
of different formats (cuz folks can't seem to PICK ONE! :< ). I have
PDF, MOBI, EPUB, PS, DJVU, CHM, CBR, INFO, man(1) pages, etc. I've been
slowly trudging through it and converting everything to PDF -- so I can
just use a PDF reader to access all of that content.
I don't think she is interested in accumulating ebooks. Rather, just
wants to be able to *access* them -- without being chained to a PC.
We've been steadily working on ridding ourselves of paper (books,
magazines, bank statements, financial records, canceled checks, etc.)
though she still has a rather large collection of "art" books
(probably 40 linear feet) and I still have (a similar amount) of
technical references that simply aren't available in other forms.
[OTOH, I managed to get rid of nearly 80 "xerox boxes" of paperbacks
over the years!]
All she wants is to be able to grab a book from the library and *read* it.
With the *paper* books, this was easy: wait for book to arrive, check
it out, read it, return it -- done! No technology involved beyond
her library card.
But, it's clear the library is looking to shed staff and facilities
and moving to a virtual library is one big step in that direction
(I think we have ~20 branch libraries *in* town -- lots of staff
and facilities to maintain)
So, on the iPad, you have to invoke an *app* to get at the books?
I don't understand why the "cover" makes a difference? E.g., with my tablet
PC, I just set it on my lap, counter/desk or against my propped up legs
(if reading in bed). Holding it in my arms would be tiring as it is
I can't see how putting it *in* something would make it any better (?)
[Though I have a screen protector film on the display to keep the
pen from scratching the plastic]
Nope. I use Calibre to email an epub to a mail account accessed
exclusively on my iPad. I click on the attachment and select "Open in
iBook" (a native application on iOS) OR, if I am home and access the
home network, I just point Safari to the Calibre server and I can
search, browse, etc. all my books. Click on the one I want and tell
Safari to open it in iBooks.
Once you accept it either in email or Safari a copy is stored on the
iPad until such time as you delete it in iBooks.
Depends on the size of the tablet or reader I suppose. That tip was
given to me by a friend who suggested that having a cover to hold it
like a traditional book is a more natural transition to an ereader from
a paper book. It worked well for me, but, as always, YMMV
On 1/13/2016 9:22 PM, Unquestionably Confused wrote:
This seems like a roundabout way of doing it (?)
Why aren't you just "copying" it to the iPad? Why go through the email
step? Is there no other way to move files onto the iPad? (dunno, never
I only use Calibre for (one-time) conversions. My library is mirrored
(currently on two drives, but that can change) as are most of my
"precious" files. But, I have a "distributed" RAID array, of sorts,
(too "involved" to discuss here) and just copy the file(s) of interest
onto whatever device needs them (e.g., the tablet PC if I am just
trying to read something)
So, what happens when you run out of disk? Can/do you move that copy off to a
How is it "inadequate" without the cover? Too small? Too slippery?
I.e., does your iPad have/need a cover for similar reasons?
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