Saturday, November 27, 2010

eReaders

eReaders are being pushed as one of the gifts this holiday season. I bought one last summer and here are my personal impressions and thoughts about the device. They may help you in making a decision.

I bought a nook. I wanted e-ink; I spend all day looking at a screen and need to rest my eyes. This limited my choices to the Kindle, Kobo, nook and Sony readers. I wanted something open, something I could use to download books from my local library. That eliminated the Kindle. I picked the nook because it just felt better, it was really just a toss up. I did not get the 3G model. I think I made the right decision there, for me. I have plenty of books unread, no chance of being stuck without anything to read. Connecting it to my computer once a week or so works for me.

I've mostly been reading books freely available on the Internet. Project Gutenberg and eBooks@Adelaide have supplied many of my texts. Kipling, H. Rider Haggard, and Jules Verne are the authors I've been reading the most. I have downloaded a book from the library and it worked just fine. I also bought a book by Haggard that was also on Project Gutenberg, to compare them. Not much difference. I could have saved the two or three dollars.The texts do sometimes have odd white space. Long blanks might have been illustrations, they may be disconcerting for some readers.

On my computer I use Calibre to manage the texts. For the library book I had to use Adobe Digital Editions.

The nook comes with chess and sudoku. I tried them and that was it. I'd rather play on the DS. Maybe if I was stuck in an airport for a very long time I'd try them again. There is a very poor Web browser. Once again I'd rather browse using a DS. The nook can also play audio files. I have yet to try this, my mp3 player works just fine. (The DS is not a bad player either.) These features are fluff. The wi-fi works fine. Setting up a new connection is straight forward.


I have enjoyed my nook. It works for me. However, it does take downloading and installing programs that do not come with the unit. Also, unless you want to purchase all your books, searching for texts and downloading them in the right format is also necessary. They are not simple devices, they assume either deep-pockets or a fair bit of tech savvy.

Phone Apps

Since I asked for suggestions for a contact app for my Android phone it is only fair that I share the apps I use and find useful.
  • Key Ring. Scan your membership cards and have them in your phone. Prevents the Constanza Syndrome.
  • Light. Turns the whole screen white. Helpful for old tired eyes in dark pubs.
  • Memo. Just a very basic note taker.
  • Tripit. Pulls your confirmation notices from your email and presents the info in a timeline. It adds maps, weather. If you only travel a few times a year this is worth a download.
  • Ultimate Stopwatch. It has the countdown feature that I need for physical therapy.
OK, those are the ones I find very useful that are not obvious. I do have Twitter, Four Square, Flickr, Facebook and a slew of library apps.

I'd like to find a contact app as nice as my old Palm had. I'm also looking for a good backup app. Something that would copy my apps and data from from the phone/SIM card to the SD card.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Contacts

Anyone know of a good Android phone app that includes street address info? Thanks.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

HTTPS Everywhere

The EFF has a new version of HTTPS Everywhere.
This week, EFF launched a new version of HTTPS Everywhere, a free security tool that provides enhanced privacy protection for Firefox browser users. EFF built HTTPS Everywhere to automatically switch many of the websites you visit from insecure HTTP to secure HTTPS.

EFF and the Tor Project originally built the HTTPS Everywhere software to help users take advantage of secure web searching on Google and a few other sites. Browsers normally prefer HTTP, unless site operators explicitly redirect browsers to HTTPS. HTTPS Everywhere changes the browser to prefer HTTPS wherever it's known to work.

After researchers demonstrated major web security flaws on social networking sites, webmail and search engines, EFF was inspired to expand HTTPS Everywhere to include Facebook, Twitter, Hotmail, Bit.ly, Cisco, Dropbox, Evernote, and GitHub. In addition to making HTTPS Everywhere open-source and available for free, EFF has released a technical guide to help website operators implement HTTPS properly, which will improve security and privacy across the web.