In recent headline news folks around here know I'm pretty excited about the Sony Digital Reader I was sent to review. I'd seen these jobbies (that's a word me mum uses--it means "thingamabobs" or "doohickies") over at the bookstore but I thought, "I hate reading books on my Palm so why would I spend money on a digital reader?" I didn't go into the experience with what you'd call an open mind.
But I have to say it's pretty slick. I mean slick. First of all I have to point out that Sony's reader is one of the less-expensive models you can buy and though I haven't looked at any of the others out there for comparison with the Sony reader you can load up to 160 books and the filing system has been very comfortable.
What I mean is that you can easily flip around between books and bookmarks and places you've been reading with ease which kind of surprised me--I expected it to be harder to navigate, like my Palm. It's not good if you're trying to search for a particular passage, as you would looking up something in the dictionary or a Bible because there isn't a search feature but for straight reading it works like a charm.
I like the feel of the unit, it has a nice weight to it, and it came with a lovely leather cover. The screen is nice to read, not the irritating display that my Palm has that makes reading more trouble than it's worth, this one actually looks like a page. It's nice to have so many books in so small a space, I can read several at once without having to tote them all around which will be particularly nice when I travel, no more guessing how many books to squeeze into my luggage. Supposedly the battery works for 7500 page turns on one charging and it seems to last plenty long so far.
Though here's a warning: when I took it out of the package the first thing I did was to plug it into the computer's USB port for a good charging but don't do that! At least, first turn the unit on, then plug it in, otherwise when it arrives in the sleep mode and is plugged in the unit locks and won't turn on at all for 40 minutes until it's completely charged. I thought I'd got a broken reader at first because it wouldn't turn on while it was plugged in and it wasn't until I went back and checked again later that I got it to turn on.
Irony is, the place in the directions where it tells you all of this information is in the User's Guide installed on the reader. Not on the quick start pamphlet you first see when it comes out of the box. Hmmm. . . maybe putting that tidbit on the pamphlet with a big "Don't plug it in until you've turned it on or it locks up" would be helpful rather than leaving that info on the locked-up reader.
Anyway, it worked wonderfully once I figured out what I'd done.
A couple other things to keep in mind: First, it doesn't have a light. WHAT? No light? I know, that surprised me too that you can't have a light for reading in the dark but apparently it's to maintain the page-like quality of the screen. A bit of a downside--though as I said, that screen is a beauty so maybe it's a fair trade-off.
Second, Sony ebook software that comes with the reader isn't Mac compatible. It took a bit of figuring out to get books into my library but apparently the best thing to do is to download the free application at Calibre which allows you to manage your ebook library on your Mac and then there are plenty of places such as manybooks.net that allow you to quickly download free ebooks. When you select the format you wish to download, choose the "Sony.lrf" option and that'll do it.
Anyway, if you're looking for a Father's Day gift this might be a nice little way to guarantee you a spot in Dad's will. I'm just saying . . .
I carry mine in my purse all the time now and love it. The Sony site also has a refurbished section where you might get some good deals if they get one in stock (and we all know how I'm a refurbished freak now with my new Macbook).
And to continue with the week of books ("books" seems to be the theme doesn't it?) yesterday's winner is Stacy of Stacy's World--please claim your books by emailing me your address--and for today book giveaway here's Growing up Green by Deidre Imus.
If you'd like a shot at winning today's book leave a comment on this post and check back tomorrow to see if you won. I'll take entries until midnight.
This is the second in a series of books called Green This! and apparently Imus is an environmentalist and child advocate who gives you the run down on how to protect your children from all sorts of environmental hazards.
I'm not sure I'm the best person to promote this particular book seeing that my kids have grown up licking the lead paint off the walls and riding without their bike helmets (though they have been properly vaccinated and they do wear their seat belts, thank you very much). I take most of the environmental dangers du jour with a big fat grain of salt and ignore most of the news programs that try to work me up into a panic over the latest toxin they've discovered. That said, I do think there is some merit to this book, judging from my peek at it.
For example, there are chapters on Autism Spectrum Disorders, the over-medication of children, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and the overuse of antibiotics--all valid issues in my mind. I'm less convinced about Imus' connections between environmental triggers of childhood cancers.
For example, she says, "Researchers have linked environmental exposures to a jaw-dropping number of health problems: learning disabilities, hyperactivity, headaches, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, autism, eye damage, pediatric cancer and even rheumatoid arthritis."
I have a hard time blaming radon gas, Nalgene bottles and pesticides for all of these problems because I've seen too many children stuck inside addicted to video games and Coke to go looking for some Secret Destroyer. I tend to wonder how many childhood issues would be corrected by a regular 10-12 hours of sleep, a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies, plenty of exercise and much less screen-time. However, it's easier and more profitable to tell parents to throw out all their plastic bottles than to tell them to take away the t.v. isn't it? It's much easier to hear "keep them away from lead paint" rather than "get plenty of exercise and avoid the junk food."
So there are some non sequiturs in the book. Take page 125 where it says, "If you study this long list of vaccines, you might reasonably assume that America's children, because they are the most vaccinated, are also the healthiest in the world. In reality, the opposite is true: As more and more vaccines have been added to the recommended immunization schedule, the overall health of our children has actually declined. Could there be a connection?"
This surprises me because it's so fallacious--yes, the overall health of American children has declined but to make the assumption that vaccinations are the result is illogical. Childhood obesity is so rampant, with one in three American children being overweight, that Type II diabetes, normally reserved for fat adults, is threatening children. The startling use of common drugs like caffeine and alcohol has shot up and binge drinking among teens is epidemic. Seems to me that vaccinations would be toward the bottom of a long list of possible reasons why American children aren't as healthy as they used to be--but once again it's easier to tell a parent not to vaccinate than it is to tell them to not let their child drink alcohol on the sly. Tell parents to do something that they can control rather than something that's nearly impossible to control and they'll feel that they're protecting their children and will sleep better at night.
So . . . having said all this, I think there is some merit to Imus' book--personally I'd always prefer a good home remedy for my cold symptoms rather than paying for a trip to the doctor for a pill--but be careful that it doesn't get you worked up over the latest thing to fear. We have enough real dangers in our lives today without worrying about the latest toxin that's coming to kill our children.
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