Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Digital Experience, So Far

I've got a few ideas for blog topics rattling around my head, but first I want to update this blog's design. And to do that, I need to figure out how to make the changes I want to the design. And that may take a while, because my internet service out here in the sticks is spotty, at best. So, I'm going to save those topics for a later time.

In the meantime, I'll give you a quick update of how my digital experience is faring so far. In case you didn't know, I bought an e-reader a little over a month ago. I purchased a Sony Reader Touch because I got it for fairly cheap. I had been waffling for a number of months between the Sony and Amazon's Kindle. The deal I got on the Sony, and its accompanying accessories, sealed the deal for me. At least, it did at the time.

My biggest gripe with the Kindle was that you could only read Kindle files on it. I guess I'm still a bit wary about that. But, in just the last month, it seems the Kindle train has been gaining speed, and it isn't any longer a matter of "if" the Kindle wins out, it's a matter of "when." There's a number of factors that make me believe this, but that's for another post. Needless to say, you would think I'd be ticked about buying a Sony. But I'm not.

Sure, my Sony has its quirks, but for the price I got it at and the content that's available for it, I'm pretty happy. Some of the file types don't do so great on it, and the one I'm most disappointed about is .pdf. They look fine when you load them, but most of the time the font size is too small to read. And when I zoom in, things get really strange. Indents and line breaks disappear, and the text becomes jumbled together. So now, I avoid .pdf files like the plague. I prefer using .epub, .lrf, and .doc files.

Yes, I did say .doc files. The Sony converts the .doc file to a compatible format when it's downloaded to the reader. And honestly, .doc files have performed the best on the reader. Which is a good thing for me, because the manuscripts I've been copyediting have been .doc files.

And the reason I most enjoy my Sony e-reader is the touch screen. It took me a little while to get used to using it for notes, but now I LOVE using the touch screen. It's made working on copyediting projects much easier, because I don't like reading on a regular computer screen for too long. The reader is easy on the eyes and taking notes is a breeze with the touch screen.

I know I'll end up with a Kindle at some point. Probably in the not-too-distant future. And my wife has decided she wants one too. In the meantime, I've downloaded the Kindle for PC and use it to open the few .mobi files I have. Plus, it gives us a chance to try out the Kindle interface for free.

But I'm not disappointed in the least about my investment in my Sony Reader Touch. It's proved to be a useful tool so far, and as long as it holds up, it should continue to be useful in the future. But unless you plan on doing a lot of note-taking or reading of MS Word documents on your reader, I'd recommend the Kindle to everyone. Eventually, it will win the e-reader "war," just like Blu-Ray beat out HD DVD's.

One thing I'm sure of, though, is that I'm sold on e-books. I didn't know what it would be like reading books on an electronic device, but it's become an absolute pleasure to me. I actually prefer to read my books in e-book format now. There is none of the eye strain that you get from computer screens. Heck, I don't notice any additional eye strain when I read on my e-reader.

I didn't think it would happen so quick, but it has. I'm a born-again e-book believer.

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