Subtitle 1: E-Book reading. Looks like there’s no turning back (for worst-moi).
Subtitle 2: A pseudo-review of e-readers.
I first started e-reading on a Kindle 2. I loved the design of the Kindle 2, especially the analog page change buttons and the odd but fully functional keyboard that enabled the best note-taking (at the time) while reading electronic books. Luckily, including voice dictation, I think I’ve finally found a viable replacement for the only Kindle I’ve ever loved. More on that in a sec. Because the battery died on my Kindle 2 and Amazon offered no upgrade, I broke down and bought a Kindle Paperwhite while it was on sale. From day one I’ve hated the thing. Talk about technology going backwards! Ok. Ok. The “Paperwhite” screen is pretty good, especially during night reading. But to be honest, that really doesn’t matter until night lamps go the way of the Dodo. Also. What can one expect from a guy like Jeff Bezos, the greatest mooch and scavenger capitalist the world has ever seen? Or do you actually believe that hijacking already marginalised capitalism from the likes of Walmart and retail, physical book stores is really such an ingenious endeavour? Please. Amazon and Bezos suck bat balls on account he’s only found a way to lead in the race to the bottom. But before I get to far off subject.
I’ve pretty much given up on Kindle as my e-reading device (for now). Here a few reason:
- Eco-system. There’s basically three digital eco-systems that I would consider using. Amazon and Google have lost out to Apple (for now). But to be honest, if/when I have to change eco-systems, my next choice will be Google.
- 3G. When I needed it, it never worked. I remember once traveling through Asia and not being able to download a book for a research project. Not only that, when I finally connected to WIFI in an airport lounge, Amazon wouldn’t let me download the book that way either–something about copyright. Go figure!
- Performance and obsoletism. We’ve had three Kindles in our family so far. Sure, they are relatively cheap devices but now that Amazon has gone full expensive with their newest fancy-pants Kindle (as of 2016 or so), where’s this gonna go? Their colour screen tablets are a joke. They can’t make a phone. And that voice-AI speaker thing… No thanks!
Of all the Kindles we’ve had (I can’t remember exactly but it’s somewhere between three and four), they are all, after eighteen or so months, great door stops. The third gen Paperwhite in the pic above is also so incredibly slow that it’s no fun to use. Yeah, Jeff Bezos. Innovation ain’t just about bringing something to market but also making it better without breaking the bank.
I gave up using an iPad 4 three years ago. The main reason for giving it up was because 1) I’m a Mac guy and 2) I have an iPhone. Although I did learn to appreciate the iBooks interface and preferred it over the Kindle, the iPad 4 was just too heavy as a reading device. There are times when I read for more than two hours. But last year after my wife upgraded from her shattered iPad Air 2 to an iPad Pro, we also discovered in a drawer her shattered first gen iPad Air. We traded in the shattered iPad Air 2 and she got a pretty good deal on a new iPad Air Pro. But since Apple only lets you trade in one device for another device, we put the shattered first gen iPad Air back in the drawer. While visiting our local Apple store a few months later, I happened across a conversation with one of the dunces in the blue shirts. When I mentioned that I still had a shattered iPad Air he quickly checked inventory and told me that if I trade it in, he’ll sell me a brand new one for €250,-.
A brand new what, I asked.
Oh. Sorry, he said.
Even though Apple had just announced their new low-end iPad line which had a better processor and more storage, the hundred to hundred-fifty price difference wasn’t a factor. Reason? I don’t need an iPad. I especially don’t need a low-end iPad. I mean, let’s face it. As much as I fight it, it looks like Macs are doomed. Apple is going full iOS. I’ve since learned from my wife’s multiple iPad to iPad Pro experience, that I’m eventually gonna have to give in. Of course, it’ll take till iPads can drive a second monitor–as that’s the way I use both my 2016 MacBook and my 2015 MacBook Air–I’m putting off full iPad integration into my life. Again. All I really needed was a new e-reader on account of how much I hate the Kindle Paperwhite!
Long Apple-Store story short: I went home and got the shattered iPad Air. I traded it in and nervously paid €250,-. Gee, I thought, I just got the best e-book reader there is, didn’t I? And not only that. It really was a brand new first generation iPad Air with 32GB and cellular. It’s not even a refurbished one. Say what you will, dear worst-reader, about my lack of scruples when it comes to consuming tech $hit. I mean, I could have easily afforded the new iPad. I just don’t need a new iPad for anything but watching the occasional video while it’s propped up in the kitchen and I’m cutting onions or I’m consuming lots and lots of research, reading, study, etc. Since the newest Kindle (that’s waaaay overpriced one) cost almost the same… Yeah, it was a no-brainer.
I think I lucked out. I’ve had the iPad Air (version A1475) as a news reader, the occasional Plex client, definitely a useful you-tube watcher and, when needed on account I’ve already purchased books there, it’s great with the Kindle app, for about six months now. And to be honest, I’m enjoying reading/using Apple’s iBooks more and more. Not only is the iPad Air much lighter than that iPad 4, but its also got a much better screen. The only negative with the iPad as an e-reader is the battery life. Yeah, Amazon does have the advantage with that one. Which means I have to charge the iPad every night… along with all the other krapp I have to charge. But then again, compared to the Kindle, it’s a fcuking computer beast.
As stated, I really like to interact with what I’m reading. I like to write short notes in the margins of pages (of real books) and also underscore text. The iPad does that huuuuuugely better than the Kindle. In fact, with the iPad I can highlight text and if I have a comment about the text, I then call up the note function and instead of using the cumbersome iPad keyboard, I just dictate my comment and voice recognition transcribes it. Also, if I need to write anything longer, I can immediately go to Apple’s Note app, which I’ve actually become more and more dependent upon even when using my Mac. So I’m really digging Apple’s eco-system right now. It works great when reading.
Who knows how long relations with Apple’s eco-system will last. Btw, I’m still not using iCloud for all my files. I prefer Dropbox for that. Also, as far as home media is concerned since we stopped watching TV ten years ago, I haven’t and don’t plan on upgrading my old AppleTV3 anytime soon. For one thing, as stated, we don’t consume TV anymore. When we do watch stuff, we do so through the internet or our Plex server which is on a 2010 headless MacPro in the basement. Replacing our living-room TV with a new bookshelf system where my wife and I are able to combine our entire (physical) book collection into a really, really cool private library, has been one of the best choices we’ve made yet when it comes to life and living at home.