So, Santa — in the form of the girlfriend — was good to me this year, and gifted me a shiny new Kindle 3. Yeah, I threw ‘gifted’ in there because, well, you don’t really see it used as a verb very often.
Anyway: it’s a good present for me. Reading and gadgetry in one slim package? Yep, don’t mind if I do.
Aside from my personal tastes — she reckons I have a fetish for electronics; sometimes I’m not sure I disagree — this also promises to come in useful for college work. The Thesis is starting to loom ever closer and I’ve a nasty feeling that I’ll be doing a lot of reading in the months to come. Being able to throw a load of PDF journal articles onto this device and thus read them without either A) blinding myself through staring at a screen, or B) bankrupting myself through the printing of small rainforests-worth of paper can only be a Good Thing.
As a gadget, it’s very satisfying on a purely aesthetic level. It’s slimmer than my phone, the size of a paperback, and fits quite nicely into the hand. The interface is pretty straightforward (at the end of the day, you’re mostly going to be opening books and pressing Forward or Backward), though it’s hard in this day and age not to paw clumsily at the screen and wonder why it doesn’t respond.
A Clue: not everything is touchscreen in this world.
In terms of its functionality (and how I despise that word): it’s seemingly quite good indeed. The screen refreshes quickly, you can customise the font size, line spacing, and portrait/landscape display.
While a big problem the last time I looked at e-readers was the format war between ePub, Mobi, Amazon, and whatever else is out there, it’s all been made irrelevant by a lovely wee open-source programme called Calibre. Calibre sorts all that mess out for you by quietly converting any format into any other format. This is a big relief, as you don’t have to worry about whether your favourite author is in the Waterstones or Amazon camp.
To start with, however, I’m going to work my way through the classics available for free from the likes of Project Gutenberg: copyright-free works that ought to keep me going for 2011 at least.
And of course, this being the Internet: number one most-downloaded book on Project Gutenberg? This one.