Tag Archives: ebooks

Filling up iPad Storage

Biscuit gave me a 64G iPad for Christmas – that was three months ago. Since then I’ve been on a mission to use up at least HALF of the iPad’s storage space. There’s no obvious way to fill the iPad up using Apple software: iTunes assumes that people select files and dump them into a tablet one at a time. If your average file is 1/4 MB long, you’ll have to drag and drop over 250,000 files onto iTunes to use up 32GB.

I poked around on the Internet for ideas, and came up empty. Then I contacted the folks at Tekzilla, a web video magazine on tech that streams onto our Tivo. They made some suggestions that helped a little – but not enough – and asked listeners for other ideas.

Last week, the listeners came through. The winning suggestion was to use the incredible capabilities of GoodReader to upload hierarchies of files. I’ve been using GoodReader for several weeks, but hadn’t dug deeply enough into it to appreciate these features. Thanks to GoodReader, I’ve finally filled up at least half of my iPad!

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Saving the News

There’s an article in Atlantic about the decline in the news industry and the rise of Google, news and all. The article, like most Big Media coverage of the topic, focus on the risk to Big Media news operations, like offices in Kabul or investigative pieces on government waste and coverups.

When I look at Google News, what I most often see are 1,200 copies of locally-published articles that are in fact Associated Press stories. These are classic “straight news” reports: announcements by officials describing crimes, legislation, accidents, celebrity activities, and so on. It is in fact rare for Google News, or any other news source, to produce the sort of in-depth reporting that might vie for a Pulitzer.

Yes, the traditional funding sources of such things are drying up. Yes, they play an essential role in self-government. But somehow we’ll find a way to pay for these things. Maybe Google will trip over a new business model as they blunder about, or maybe someone else will.

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From Treo to Storm II

Last fall, Alex warned me that Apple was dropping their support for the Palm Treo. I couldn’t upgrade to Spotted Lynx, or whatever the latest OS-X is called, until I switched phones. While I had been hoping to hold out for a Verizon iPhone, my patience ended a couple of weeks ago. After a weekend with a Droid, and a brief flirtation with the Palm Pre Plus, I settled on the Blackberry Storm II.

Aside from the built-in contact list and calendar (oh yes, and the phone) I rely on a smart phone for two other things: an ebook reader and a password manager. And I also want to feel some comfort for the phone’s security model. And, oh yes, I need easy access to contacts and calendar on my desktop, presumably through a sync feature.

I didn’t warm to the Droid because it’s too much like having a laptop on your pocket. And since the Pre Plus was a complete rework, I figured it wouldn’t be that similar to the Treo in practice. There was a period of suspense after acquiring the Storm, since I wasn’t sure it would in fact do all I wanted, but things eventually worked out.

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Reading ebooks on the Storm II

I read a lot of ebooks on my smart phone, and they all come from Project Gutenberg. In other words, they’re all free. When I recently migrated from my venerable Palm Treo 700 to a new phone, a good ebook reader was a high priority.

In fact, finding a good ebook reader was deal breaker – I wouldn’t keep a phone that didn’t have a good reader. I settled on a new Blackberry Storm 2 and Amazon’s Kindle for the Blackberry. While not perfect, the Kindle software serves its purpose well. And I still haven’t had to pay for a book.

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Reading Alcott

My secret vice is that I read adolescent fiction on my smart phone. This awful habit started years ago. I have the collected works of Louisa May Alcott and Lucy Maud Montgomery and I pore over them when stuck in line or waiting for food at a cafe.

Now I find that Bear is likewise reading reading Eight Cousins on her smart phone.

This is particularly interesting because the womens’ roles in Alcott’s fiction tend to be super-traditional, while Bear’s politics are “progressive” to put it mildly. I generally agree with both Bear’s attitude on womens’ rights and her attitude towards Alcott: who cares if her female characters are so traditional!

I think we both appreciate Alcott’s underlying themes: the pursuit of moral ideals over superficial values (despite the difference in moral values) and the fundamental rights of women to self-determination (despite the different view of womens’ roles). Alcott portrays “strong minded” women as positive role models despite the negative reactions of conventionally attractive male characters.

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