08 September 2009

Final Review for Johnny 505

I read somewhere that the ancient Greeks had dozens of different words for types of love. There was brotherly love, romantic love, the love one feels for a battlefield comrade, etc. I’m not sure what the word is for the love one feels for an electronic reading device – but I’d bet it has ‘kos’ in it somewhere.

The reader does what it says on the box, and it does it (almost) perfectly. It’s easy to use, mostly intuitive, and very sleek and very very pretty. Actually, after the chorus of angels finished their refrain of ‘ah-ah-ah-ah-ah’ when the box was opened one alighted on my shoulder to mutter a cooing ‘aww...’. I’ve found I can read about a thousand pages worth of text before I lose the first bar. The final bar lasts right around that, maybe 850 pages. This is an easier way for me to gauge the battery than time as I tend to read during breaks, only 15-20 minutes at a time. The only reason it gets an (almost) perfect, rather than a perfect is that there is sometimes a significant lag when you ask it to turn a page. If I own a device that is meant to perform only one function, I want it to perform that function in a timely manner.

The Sony e-store software is very slow, but the interface is easy to use. It could be much better, and I look forward to a revamp when they release the new line of readers. However, if you are not running Windows, you are SOL in regards to your reader.

I made the switch back in July to Ubuntu which is a Linux based OS. Also, it’s awesome . The Sony e-library software is worse than useless on it however. The recommended alternative, Calibre, was supposed to be the best program for your reader evah! Instead, I got an obsessive, controlling, and manipulative program who wanted oversight over my every reading need. Not cool, Calibre, not cool.

I kind of wish there were a way to just go to a bookstore and wave my 505 in front of the book I wanted and voilĂ ! It will be on it. That may take out some of the ‘convenience’ of it though. I don’t know. If I were smart enough to solve these problems I’d be a whole lot richer than I am.

The thing is... when I’m not trying to put books on it, buy ebooks, or deal with my 505 in relation to another piece of hardware – it’s the most amazing gadget I’ve ever had the pleasure to use. It’s so convenient and I cannot tell you how great it is to be able to change books in the middle of a workday because the first lost my attention. The reader just lives in my purse, holding all the wonders of the world.

If all of the problems I have with the actual ownership of the reader were overcome (starting with the price, good god!) I would gladly purchase three of these. I’d be the coolest nerd in the archaeology department, not a difficult title to hold actually. As it is, I shall yearn for the days I can justify owning one as it is still definitely a luxury good and my student loans think I’m an idiot for even considering shelling out the moolah for something I don’t really need.

But man oh man, I want.

Update 29 Sept 2009: As I am not taking out a loan for my MSc (as I'm not doing my MSc), I went ahead and bought Johnny. Save 20k, spend a hundred bucks. not a bad trade. Insert picture of us running through fields of wildflowers here.

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