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E-reader, I want one! Why does it have to be so hard?

So I find myself with stacks of pdf and articles that I want to read. I want books all in one place. I do not want to have to carry a mess of literature everywhere I go, advertising my interests. I do not need an e-reader but would love one for the reasons stated above. I was at CompUSA the other day and saw the Sony e-reader. Damn it was nice! The text looked like those graphical inserts you see on demo electronic devices that gives a better than actual experience of how the product will perform, only it was not! The text was readable from any angle and under any light conditions (well almost, no backlight so there goes late night reading in bed). It felt solid and balanced in my hand. It looked like an oversize communication pad you see Dr. Crusher used on ST:NG (damn, I’m a geek). I was about two seconds from buying one when I looked at the top edge of the product. It said Sony. Ok, ok, I know, I have a PSP and a PS3 that I love like a false god (ok that was a bit too dramatic, but the PS3 does kick some serious HD-HT arse). But Sony has a painful track record of not using open standards (memory stick, mini-disk, root kits on cds [LOL]). So with such a bad history I walked backwards, locking my stare on the device praying that it will not jump and forcing me to buy the offending creature.

I went home looking for ways to use what I have laying around as a potential e-reader. First up was my *ahem* Sony PSP. Ironic that I turn to another Sony product to assist with hopes of not spending more money with Sony. After much reading, there were quite a bit of resources out there to do what I wanted:

http://psp.manybooks.net/
http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=45839%20target=
http://www.drugster.com/psp/psp-ebook-tutorial_drugstercom.htm

There were ways to turn pdf to html, online books already converted and homebrew stuff to actually have a fully functional e-reader. I tried them all. It was a pain to get these solutions to work well and the buttons for gaming were not useful at navigating to the desired text. The PSP has a wickedly sharp screen and the text was readable but… it felt wrong. I love my PSP, but as a e-reader, it was not.

I have an old iPaq 5400 laying around not getting much use. I fired it up and try using MS reader again. I found books and loaded them. Once again, it felt wrong. Screen sucked compared to either the PSP or the Sony product and it was too small. Too much scrolling for my taste. Back to the attic you go…

Tablet PCs! That was the answer! I could just go out an get a fully functional pc that can do web surfing and email, and write…and chat…and…and…be a $2,500 e-reader…ok, that was a dumb idea. It was already hard to justify spending $350 for a device that just perform one function (a paperback is cheaper and does the same thing too, I know), so how can I justify spending even more? I can’t.

So I am back to the Sony e-reader. Why do you have to be so gentle on the eyes? Why do you have to be Sony? Where are the other e-ink readers? Why am I going to buy yet another Sony product? Why? As I fell to my knees and studied the ground that was before me, Sony’s God-like presence appeared and raised my head to say, “what other choice do you have my son?” Good point, what else is out there? (yeah, I see massive corporations as demi-gods. Sick? maybe, but it makes purchases kind of fun)

Then a thought came, “When in Rome…” Ah-ah! Just like my PSP and my PS3, I will hack my way into the Sony device and MAKE it support other standards! Yes, I will go out and buy the…e-reader and…give…my…hard (blood, sweat and tears) earned money…to Sony…to teach them…a lesson? Sure! Why Not!

Seriously I love the way the e-reader was on my eyes. I have visions of multiple books and files all at my finger tips ready for me to read. Something easy to carry when I travel. No more paper, no more small books. Just one solid device that brings me one step closer to being on ST:NG…beam me up.

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