piranha: red origami crane (Default)
my kobo "wifi" is showing its age -- which is quite amusing, considering it's less than 2 years old. alas no more firmware upgrades seem to be coming along, since the company has now 2 further advanced models, and while always promising not to forget us "old" users, yeah right, i know insincere pep talks when i hear them. the interface is SLOW, parts of it are too slow for me to put up with anymore. organization? what organization. i have to modify filenames carefully so i can read them at all. also, the battery is holding less and less charge, and it's not replaceable.

i've taken to the ebook experience like a , uh, fish to water. ;) i hardly buy print books anymore, unless i know the author personally, or the book absolutely cannot be had in electronic format (and then i'll scan it). i love the light little thing; it weighs less than a paperback and it easier to hold, and takes less space to carry along. the e-ink is restful for my eyes. and i buy a lot of ebooks; more than i used to buy print books. there is no space issue with them. :)

so, i am thinking of upgrading. but i am not entirely sure buying another ebook reader is the answer. part of why i bought a kobo was that it was canadian, and i wanted to throw my purchasing power behind somebody other than amazon or sony, and hey, it was a nice thought for a "local" company to be successful in that market. which surprisingly they have been; in canada they have 46% of market share compared to 24% for amazon and 18% for sony. but now rakuten (a huge japanese conglomerate) owns kobo, so that incentive has gone away. sure, better rakuten than amazon, but still... no longer "local", no longer smallish. yes, i do have major peeves about large corporations.

still, the kobo "touch" looks decent, and it's come down in price which is now lower than what i originally paid for my first kobo. i am absolutely not going to buy a kindle, ever; amazon's walled garden philosophy makes me sick. am not all that interested in sony either. maybe a nook. maybe one of the "also ran" models, like from bookeen. or maybe i should be looking at android tablets? kobo's newest, the "vox", runs on android. that does away with the restfulness of the e-ink, and if android, why not get a real tablet then instead of a stunted ereader?

do you have an ereader and/or tablet? what do you love/hate about it? what would you buy instead if you were in the market? i'm not quite up-to-date with the tech anymore.
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firecat asked how the kobo falls short of my ideal, and a) it's a long list, and b) it's not that the kobo falls short in specific, but that all ereaders fall short at this point, so i thought i separate this from the reader review itself.

  • full text search.
  • full colour, high resolution, primarily to view images. though i could live with high-level grayscale instead and forget about reading graphic novels/comics on my ereader.
  • comics view functions, if i get colour e-ink.
  • foreground and background colour/contrast control.
  • intuitive navigation.
  • annotations: highlights, notes, drawings.
  • clipboard.
  • bookmarks.
  • integrated dictionaries of my choice.
  • wifi/3G/bluetooth (this is not a top requirement).
  • if the above, then also integrated google/wikipedia lookup.
  • integrated translation for several languages of my choice.
  • several fonts of my choosing, as well as sizing.
  • tagging of books.
  • handle the major formats so i can stop converting.
  • touch screen (pressure-sensitive stylus would work best for me, but multi-touch could make navigation very easy).
  • handwriting recognition.
  • split screen or easy switching back-and-forth so i can see different passages at once.
  • open-source OS.
  • external memory expandability.
  • good library management.
  • lightweight.
  • decent battery life (a full day would be acceptable, a week would be fabulous), and quick charge.
  • USB connectivity.
  • rugged.
  • well-priced (and naturally it should come with a pony).

i don't ask for much, do i. *snrk*.

i don't need easy integrated purchasing from anywhere i am, and i can totally live without wifi as well; that would just be nice for looking up information. i'm also fine without audio.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i bought a dedicated ebook reader. all this time i've been waiting for something close to my ideal to come along, but in the end i bought the one where the price was right, because i was tired of waiting.

kobo ereader

(next time i photograph it in actual daylight instead of in crappy fluorescent, trying to colour correct in p'shop, *sigh*. but it's closer to the actual colour than the kobo site's images, which are whiter.)

this is the brand-new kobo ereader. at this point only available to canadians. (now there's a rarity.)

(and yes, anah and dianne, i am reading one of yours, *grin*.)

review follows )
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
when the cover of a book features a grungy skull instead of naked torsos, you know this isn't your average erotica, even if it was shelved with the lovely smut when you bought it. which was a good hint for me to time the reading for an evening when i was looking for a good story instead.

blurb: When Craig Robertson's religious fanatic father disappears, Craig is forced to return to the home he'd left behind after an underage affair in order to look for answers. His new lover, private investigator Paul Maloney, agrees to help so they can continue to enjoy their fledgling relationship.

During his initial search, Craig finds items that belonged to Michael, his lover in that long-ago ill-fated affair, and soon discovers that Michael has disappeared as well. The search becomes an investigation into Craig's past, and, because of distressing gaps in his memory, he's terrified of the truths he might find. Finally Craig tells Paul his deepest fear: that Michael is dead and he himself is responsible.

While Paul refuses to believe his lover is a murderer, Craig's obsession with uncovering clues grows, and their fragile relationship begins to disintegrate. Now on his own, haunted and stalked, Craig has to face down the horror of his memories if he wants to have any hope of a future at all.

i thought it was rather a captivating psychological mystery. the whole thing was hard for me to read because it had religious zealots in it of the type of my birth family (the supremely self-righteous, god-fearing kind who think they must beat said fear of god into you). while there is some sex and not just fade-outs, it's not erotica, and while there is romance, it takes a back seat to the story of craig uncovering his suppressed past. i figured out early on who did what, but that didn't bother me, since this is less about whodunnit, but more about craig dealing with the slowly unveiling reality of what really happened.at times i wanted to shake craig, but i believe that was more a personality difference between the character and myself than bad writing. in many ways craig is stuck at the emotional maturity of a traumatized 17 year old, and even when i was an emotionally traumatized 17-year old, i was much more prone to using logic to attack my pain than hiding from it, suppressing my memories, and going "lalala, i can't hear you" to people who point at the logical flaws in my arguments.

to some degree i could identify much more with paul, the PI, who had different tools to cope with the things they find out. but he, too, has secrets, and it's not a simple task to mix romance and business, especially not when neither of you are gonna win a prize for good communication.

the writing was good. both main characters are complex and conflicted, the supporting cast features strong women (this is a positive marker for me; i hate gay fiction that casts women only ever into the role of villains), the plot holds together pretty well for something that's not genre mystery. the villain is a bit uni-dimensional, a bit too nasty, and he gets away with things that might make modern city folk raise their eyebrows -- but i am ok with that because hey, i come from that background, and it is so very nasty, and has such dark secrets behind every door that i am ok with the broad brush; it's even a bit cathartic for me.

the romance, while not being the primary line of the story, is still interesting. both men have secrets, both are gun shy, both aren't exactly great at communicating intimately, but i liked the slow development here, the fragility of a budding romance that comes under immediate pressure where the writer shows a delicate balance between the definitely possibility it will crumble -- or become a source of strength.

i'm shelving this under "gay fiction", and i'll be looking for more from this author. in fact i found out after reading this that there's a semi-prequel, paul's story before he meets craig: maloney's law. i wish i had read this beforehand, because i am sure it explains much about the baggage paul brings to his relationship with craig.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
like just now, when google mail popped up copia.

copia seems to be planning to build a social networking platform that lets you buy and rate books, create and join public as well as private discussion groups, and receive recommendations based on what you and your friends have been reading. sounds a lot like librarything / goodreads, yes?

but there is a hardware component. copia will sell a series of e-readers that carry its social platform on wireless. they look pretty nice.

i'll keep an eye on this venture that tries to marry content, delivery, social networking, and commerce.

private beta starts this month, public beta to open in march.
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with the boat work really entering the last stages now, i'm looking at my shelves full of books, and ponder scanning them. now, i have lots of experience scanning manga, as well as scanning prose and OCRing it. but the books i most want to scan myself because there are no digital copies out there are craft books.

which are often beautifuly laid out, and that presents a problem. of course the easiest is just making a pdf from the images, but that results in enormous files, and means the text can't be be searched. i'm big on searching these days, especially when it comes to patterns.

does anyone have experience with scanning such books and recreating something similar to the original before it went to press? any suggestions for software (i prefer mac, but can deal with windows and linux)? workflow?

[* = all knowledge is contained in dreamwith]
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
The following Alerts were triggered today:


TITLE: Farthing by Jo Walton
PRICE: $14.00 CATEGORY: Science Fiction
EPUBLISHER: Macmillan/Tor Books
DESCRIPTION: One summer weekend in 1949 ?but not our 1949? the well-connected ?Farthing set?, a group of upper-crust English families, enjoy a country retreat. Lucy...

TITLE: Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
PRICE: $15.95 CATEGORY: Fantasy
EPUBLISHER: Macmillan/Orb Books
DESCRIPTION: A captivating World Fantasy Award-winning novel about the social life of dragons returns to print in a trade paperback edition

yay! finally ebooks of some of jo's work can be bought out there in public!

unfortunately only in 2 DRMed formats, by publishers who think most ebook buyers are willing to pay these kinds of prices, while they don't even bother to clean up their blurbs. the current rebates at fictionwise are a massive 60%, so i was gonna buy the ebook of T&C anyway, to read on the boat (already have farthing as pdf from tor's giveaway).

but, alas we also have "GEOGRAPHIC RESTRICTIONS: Available to customers in: US" which i've never before seen at fictionwise.

*sigh*. i guess i cuddle up with my hardcovers for now.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i bought this as m/m, but it isn't really. i still view m/m as primarily erotica, and while this has some sex, it's not particularly erotic. i am trying to be fair to it even though it wasn't what i expected, especially not coming from extasy books, and described on the author's site as "sizzling and action packed" -- i guess he was being sarcastic, but not knowing him it just felt seriously misleading.

so that's what it is not. what is it then? it's an quiet little story about a boy's coming of age and growing up, with a wee bit of what could be seen as paranormal from his loving mother. but it's not a real coming of age story either, because it feels too light, too short; i remained at too much of a distance from the main character to feel his anguish. it's got more of a vignette feel even though it covers a much greater time span than a vignette usually does. it is well-written, and there was definitely an attraction there for me. i liked the depiction of both the mother and the father, and especially the quiet interplay between the mother and the main character. i sort of enjoyed it overall, but i'm unlikely to reread it.

oh, and warning: character death. it didn't hit me particularly hard because i stayed remote from the characters, looking into their lives from the frame of the vignette, but still.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
*gah*, i was gonna post these weekly, but have really fallen down on the job.

latest fictionwise m/m haul )

oh, and one non-m/m book. an old acquaintance has a new harlequin romance out, and hers are the only harlequins i ever buy: Kistler Julie - Scandal. yay, julie! i wish she wrote m/m, *grin*.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
need to find out more; this is just a marker:

magellan media partners are doing an ongoing study of o'reilly titles and the effects of piracy on sales, and the correlations look very interesting so far.

for example, from moment of first seeding, pirated books shot up in sales to higher than initial release.

the study is for sale for a mere U$99 -- at those prices i think i might look for a pirated copy, *snrk*. but i can download a PPT presentation if i sign up with my email address. ok.

via cory doctorow on twitter, here's the "moneyshot" from a presentation yesterday: http://tinyurl.com/yzlnj8e
piranha: red origami crane (Default)

hoh, baby. asus is about to shake up the ebook world with the release of a cheap reader.

at around £100 i'd buy it right away. it's larger than the ones out now, but it harkens back to one of the prototype models i was eyeing years ago, which never made it to market. i don't mind that it's larger; though it depends a bit on how heavy it will be as well.

here's an older image of the concept model, from CeBIT of march this year:

times online announcement

engadget's look at the concept model
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
and will never do so, no matter how spiffy they make them.

i don't want amazon deleting my copies because they've decided "there is a problem". that business model reeks to high heaven.

the whole idea that ebooks are licensed displeases me to begin with, but the big-brother approach amazon takes scared me off their product from the very start.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
in the slowly growing ebook reader field, the dutch "bebook" was a nice contender when it debuted. but it was way over my price limit, so i didn't even stop to drool. now that they've revealed their edition 2 at CEBIT, the price for the first one is right. it doesn't integrate with any specific book seller, but i consider that a feature (cf. amazon's "mothership" attitude, and sony's windows-only "solution").



  • Dimensions: 184mm(l)*120mm(w)*10mm(h)

  • Weight : 220gr (incl. battery)

  • Display: ePaper, 600*800 (6 inch) (E-Ink technology)

  • Internal storage: 512MB flash memory

  • I/O: 3.5mm audiojack, USB 1.1 Port, SD slot (extendable up to 4GB)

  • Power Supply: 3.7V Li-ION battery 950mAh


  • Easy accessible book library menu

  • Supported file formats: pdf, mobi (DRM), prc, epub, lit, txt, fb2, doc, html, rtf, djvu, wol, ppt, mbp, chm, bmp, jpg, png, gif, tif, rar, zip, mp3.

  • Built-in menu language support: English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch, Chinese, Russian, Greek, Ukraine, Turkish, Japanese, Korean, Bulgarian, Estonian, Polish

  • Change fonttype while reading

  • Increase/decrease font size

  • Add bookmark to a page

  • Zoom page

  • Sort library by title, filename, size

  • Play mp3 files and audiobooks

U$ 279. that's a whopping U$71 less than my previous top choice, bookeen's cybook gen 3.

they have a large, freely downloadable library of public domain books preformatted to display nicely on the bebook.

and apparently wifi support is coming soon, so they're not dropping support for the first bebook with the announcement of the second one. this link has lots of pictures (many more than the manufacturer's website; figure that).

check it out: http://mybebook.com/index.html
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
barnes & noble have acquired ebook seller fictionwise.

hm. didn't B&N try their own ebook store a few years back, in cooperation with microsoft? i studiously ignored that because a) microsoft and b) DRMed content only. i continue to ignore DRMed work, and usually buy my ebooks in pdf format, since the OLPC is happiest reading that. if i ever MUST have something that's DRMed i buy it in a format that's been cracked, and convert it as soon as i've got it downloaded. it's a pain, though, i usually just don't bother buying it.

i guess B&N trying again because amazon seems to really make a go of it, what with the kindle in edition 2 now. possibly the mainstream is waking up to the glory that are ebooks, now that the readers are getting cheaper and ebooks are easier to find.

i spend a fair penny at fictionwise these days; i hope nothing changes for the worse. of course their own announcement is filled with how this portents an exciting future -- but somehow that rarely seems to mean "exciting" in a way i'll appreciate.
piranha: red origami crane (Default)
i am getting really close to buying an e-book reader now. no, not amazon's newest toy (i don't want my reading tied to amazon).

the bookeen cybook gen3 is the latest shiny thing i am liking.

even if their website works like crap (the links across the top all error out; one has to go to the site map to access those pages, *sigh*). even if there is too much use of the davinci code in their promo shots. :)

about as high and wide as a MMPB, much thinner, and only half as heavy, 6" tall screen, 600x800 resolution (166 lpi), it uses e-ink (which means the battery lasts a very long time), it can display 4 levels of greyscale, landscape mode, it doesn't do its own proprietary crap (it can read text, html, pdf, palmdoc, gif, jpg, png, and mobipocket, as well as play mp3), it has a dictionary lookup function (your own downloadable dictionaries), it can change font family and size (your own downloadable fonts), zoom for images, it can bookmark, it can use intra-document hyperlinks, how much content it can hold is only limited by the size of the SD memory card you plug into it, USB slave connection.

that's not perfect (i have quite some list for my perfect e-book reader), but we're finally talking.




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renaissance poisson

July 2015

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