Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bookmobile.

I nearly broke my laptop screen trying to give my friend Brigid a simpatico fistbump when I read these lines:
Nothing for me is worse than being in the back of an airplane or at a hotel with nothing to read. When in one mountainous far off place, I had to downsize a bag as the little airplane being piloted by what I believe was a Yeti, was weight restricted and my books were left behind for materials I had to have for the mission. I almost would have given up my tools, my poncho and my hiking boots than my little collection of paperbacks, of Earth Abides and Stranger in a Strange Land and a small leather bound book of Shakespeare sonnets.
If Bobbi and I are leaving the house to go eat at a sit-down-type restaurant, the phrase "Do you have a book?" usually comes immediately before or after "Do you have your keys?" on exiting Roseholme Cottage.

While I still generally prefer books of the paper variety, I will admit that reading electronic books, first on the Kindle Fire and then the iPad, has largely replaced them for out-of-the-house duties. Due to the unique properties of the tablet, whether I am currently reading a hardback or paperback book no longer dictates where I go eat or what I order when I get there anymore.

There was still a final book frontier, though... There were those times when I'd leave the house for what was maybe intended to be a quick errand and, since I was only going to be gone for a few minutes, I'd leave my turse at home and, one thing leading to another, find myself grabbing lunch in a restaurant across town hours later with nothing to read, or I'd be in an airplane seat and the snoring 300+ lb. sprawler in the seat next to me made accessing the laptop bag fully stowed under the seat in front of me a choice between waking them up and asking them to shift their carcass, or the WWF main event.

I may have mentioned before how handy I quickly found my first smartphone, an LG Optimus V? It was billed as a great entry-level smartphone. Little did I realize that they meant that in the same way that the Reefer Madness crowd calls marijuana an "entry-level drug". It was cool and it was handy but... it... was... so... sloooowww. And the screen was a bitty 3.2-inch one, which was fine for checking email or reading blogs that were mobile-friendly, but marginal for regular internet use.

Then, shortly after Samsung released their newest and greatest model, my no-contract cell carrier put last year's newest and greatest model, the Galaxy SII, on sale. Yeah, yeah, faster processor, better camera, lots of slick little features, rave reviews, but! The big difference is that 4.5" screen which, while pushing the limits of pocketability, is easily big enough to turn the Kindle Android app from a cute gimmick to a viable reading option. I've since found myself reading off it on planes, in the dentist's chair, at the BMV...

I may sometimes not have a book or tablet, but I never leave the house without the phone, and now that means I always have a library at my fingertips. I am loving your future world! Show me more!

27 comments:

Carteach said...

I am there as well. While I usually have a book or three within reach, even in the car, the phone is my go-to backup.

My last phone, a Droid X, handled the job decently. My new phone, a Samsung Note II acquired just days ago, has a LOT more real estate on it. It's honestly a crossover tablet/phone..... and will have my library install as soon as I figure out what all these glowy buttons do.

Along those lines.... first accessory for the phone? Two spare batteries and a charger... I can read all day without a hiccup, no matter where I am at.

NAVIGATOR said...

SEE THE CLASSIC FILM "TO THE ENDS OF THE EARTH"

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Hmph. The ONE thing I learned from Amy Carter was to never read at table. Based on how appalled the adults were when a picture of a family meal at the Whitehouse was released.

Now, if you insist on emulating Amy Carter, I guess that's up to you. Bless your heart.

Matt G said...

NJT, I let my daughters read at the table, unless there's a real conversation.

The rule is "Don't be rude." Thus, you don't read your iPhone or gizmo while in a social setting, but you can slurp your book while slurping your soup, assuming your dining partner is, too.

What confuses me is when I'll see four guys go get lunch together, and all four are engrossed silently in their smart phones. Why go together?

Farm.Dad said...

I long ago tired of ruining books toting them along in whatever machine i was running , or pitching them in the gobag that got tossed around in the squad . Then along came the Ereaders . Nowadays even more than Tam my Phone is the thing that is with me , and it's my library. I went to far as to raise the bar with it higher by going with the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 last upgrade . Its a micro tablet that also makes calls and that suits me fine since when i am out and about or on a trip its likely the only device you will find me with . The wife still likes a smaller phone and a tablet to read on though .

Anonymous said...

I started out reading books on my phone and found it so handy, I decided I needed a dedicated e-reader. I didn't want a tablet, being inundated with computing devices already. Wifey gifted me with a Kindle Paperwhite for Christmas. I love it. The e-ink screen is much more readable than any phone or tablet screen, battery life is better than any multifunction device, and I can carry a library with me.

I still prefer dead tree books for those that I want to add to the "collection", but stuff that I'd read, then give away or sell at McKay's, I'd just as soon get in e-book form. However, some works are only readily available electronically (past and present titles). There are also a bunch of great titles available free electronically that you'd have to pay for in paper format (Our Southern Highlanders being a recent example for me).

I've "discovered" so many great authors because their books were a mere $1.99 on Amazon.com (folks here would like DJ Molles' series on the zombie apocalypse, only available for Kindle apps and devices).

Chris

Erich505 said...

I bah-humbugged Kindles and Nooks for years, but there was Kindle software installed on the smartphone I picked up last year.

And, gee, there were free Amazon books on Kindle. Might as well put a couple on for those times when I'm stuck in line or waiting for court to start. (I, too, was someone unable to go out of the house without a book since childhood - sort of a security blanket against boredom thing.) What the heck . . . .

And, gee, there is a decent selection of books on Kindle at my local library. And, gee, I don't have to worry about picking up cooties or cat hair from the Kindle books.

And yesterday I find myself One-Click downloading Chris Hernandez' book on your recommendation (thanks again!) after glimming the preview from Amazon.

I have Kindle software on a couple of portable computers, but don't have a dedicated reader machine - and I almost only use the Kindle system on my phone on the bus home. Nice to find that new tech fills a niche . . . yet another good thing about our personal positional monitors, erm, smartphones.

cheers, erich martell
albuquerque, nm

BobG said...

I don't use a phone enough to get a fancy one, but I do like to carry my Nexus 7 with me a lot of places. I tend to wear a vest with pockets most places, so it is no problem taking it places with me.

Al T. said...

Tam, not sure if they were there when you were, but it will always amuse me that Byron had books in his deer stands. I like to dine alone, so there is always a book (or two) in the truck as a back up if I forget to bring one.

sepulvedasrevenge said...

Thanks for the headsup! As it stands now, I'm the only jobless... fool in America paying for an Obama Phone replica.

docjim505 said...

Books are only the start. If one is interested in learning things beyond how to catapult birds at pigs, the smart phone is a handy gadget. I've got a few apps on my Droid to help me try to learn Mandarin; it's a damned sight easier to tote my phone that a stack of textbooks, a CD player, and a pair of headphones around.

sobriant74 said...

Right there with you; I made fun of all my iPhone carrying friends for years and then got one issued to me by my job back in the fall and now I carry my 'kindle' with me everywhere I go and haven't been happier.
Now being a voracious reader doesn't also result in a backache.

og said...

I read at least ten of the discworld books on Kindle for my Droid razor. And I have a spare 8 gig chip (The size of a dime!) with even more books on it.

Mattexian said...

I was so proud to feel like I'd joined the 21st Century too, after getting my Samsung Galaxy Nexus (the ugly twin sister to your S3). I was thrilled to find the reader program on it, already loaded with Three Musketeers, Treasure Island, & Alice in wonderland, which the first was one that I'd resolved to eventually finish reading after having to return it to the library before getting halfway. I'm impressed that this little thing has as much computing power as my first HP with it's Windows 98, and yet I find myself passing short moments of waiting by playing solitaire, much as I did on the old machine; longer waits are filled with reading, and I'm finding I appreciate Dumas much better this time. My only aggravation is not being able to load all my music collection onto it for remote listening-- the Google Play Music Manager program for the home computer hasn't DL'd properly after multiple tries, and supposedly that's the only way to upload music from one's computer to the phone. (I *do* have music on the phone that I've purchased; nothing like blowing a metalhead's mind by cranking up some bluegrass covers of AC/DC and Led Zepplin!

Jennifer said...

I no longer need to carry a book to the doctor's office. I love living in the future.

Anonymous said...

I've carried book way off into the bush when I was worried about weight. Who needed that third pair of socks? Never had to turn my book off in preparation for take-off or landing.

Reading from a phone is a crime against Guttenberg. You have been warned!

Gerry


og said...

"Reading from a phone is a crime against Guttenberg. You have been warned!"

Yep. because ereaders are going to replace books.

Just like escalators replaced stairs. I have recharged my Kindle solely with a solar panel now for almost a year. When they make a Kindle whose screen is also a solar panel we will have arrived at the future I want. I can carry with me so many books I need never run out of material, and I'm boggled by the number of new books I find free every day.

montieth said...

What, you were putting books or other reading content on your Apple Newton back in the day?

ScottH said...

I'm waiting for a tablet sized device that can run Solidworks and not need recharging every 15 minutes. You won't be able to take that from me without a fight - I love reading but I love making things for 3D printing even more.

Steve Skubinna said...

I was agnostic about the Kindle, even after my sister gave me one last Christmas... okay, one before that. But I travel a lot, and it meant that not only could I lighten my baggage, and save on shipping books back and forth, but now I can carry around books I have in hard copy and would like to have but under no circumstances would go in the suitcase. Things like Gibbon's Decline and Fall, Momssen's History of Rome, Thucydides, Herodotus, Suetonious, Tacitus, Mahan, Corbett, Conan Doyle, Stevenson, Twain and lots of other old gems.

Best of all, most of them are so old that they're in the public domain and are free or nearly so. I spent a total of $1.99 downloading both Gibbon and Momssen.

Old NFO said...

Agree with all, and at least I can 'port' my Nook books between my Nook and phone. But there's still pleasure in actually being able to turn the page...

J.R.Shirley said...

I bought the original Galaxy Note since they were selling them on clearance. It's huge.

Buzz said...

montieth,

Does a Casio Zoomer count?

Mike said...

I've always been a 'reader' - as a kid, I would read the cereal box.

Currently have about 250 books on my Sony reader (PRS-T1).

Justthisguy said...

I feel for you, Tam. I am of exactly the same persuasion. The best time I ever had eating dinner with a woman was on an occasion at which each of us had books in our hands, and barely said half a dozen words to each other. Both of us had a good time, and enjoyed excellent digestion.

Anonymous said...

I will not tell you how any good pants I have ruined by keeping a paper back in the hip pocket, but when I discovered Mobi Pocket for the Palm, it trimmed pounds of paper out of my luggage weight and I always carried it so as to have a book. And yes, I even keep a couple of paperbacks in zip lock baggies in the Bubba truck in case I get caught somewhere and the batteries die.

But while I still buy dead tree editions of the books I like (and reference works), Having dozens of books in my phone (now that my Palm is dying) makes my life so much easier.

-Bubba Man, one of the Bubba's of the Apocalypse.

atlharp said...

Tam, I have the SII as well, but through Boost Mobile. I mainly use the Nook app, but there are plenty of free epubs on Google Books and the "Aldiko" app is able to display a whole bunch of non-DRM books as well. I most of Larry Correia's stuff on epub as well as alot of Sherlock Holmes and Poe. The best part about alot of the "classics". They're free. :-D

Wait till you discover ODIN with that Samsung SII. Head on over to XDA and let the fun begin. ;-)