Saturday, May 17, 2008

Geekery Wins Out Every Time.

I'm a geek. I admit it. And I like gadgets.

Which is why it's a bit surprising that I bought my very first Palm Pilot (gasp) yesterday.

What finally pushed me over the edge?

Well... of all things, it was the search for an e-book reading device.

Just a few months ago I discovered that my local public library is plugged into a network of regional libraries with the capability of "checking out" e-books. For a while there, I had fun downloading and reading e-books on my laptop, lounging around in my bedroom. I can check out 8 books at a time, and they expire after 2 weeks, much like regular library books.

Then I got sick of schlepping the laptop around the house; plus, it gets HOT, so I kind of gave it up.

I did some research, and finally figured out my best (and cheapest!) bet for a reader would be a Palm Pilot Z22. It was in stock at the local Great Big Electronics Superstore, so I brought one home.

Then I found out that only one of the two e-book download formats available through the library would work--and that was, of course, the one with far fewer titles than the Adobe PDF versions. Supposedly, the latest (and allegedly greatest) version of Adobe Acrobat Reader (8.0) does not support transferring e-books to a Palm. Why, in heaven's name, I have no idea.

I got out my big shovel and after a whole lot of digging, found out that version 6.0 WILL support transferring to the Palm. The only catch is, you can no longer download version 6.0.

Here is where my famous pack-rat tendencies come in handy. I have gazillions of old files stashed on my computer... and among them, in my software download directory, is the install file for 6.0.

Since you can't run more than one version of Acrobat Reader at once... I uninstalled version 8.0, and then installed 6.0. Then I ordered it not to look for automatic updates.

And now I have two books in PDF format stashed on the Palm, as well as three in the Mobipocket Reader format. I'm partway through reading one book already. My only gripe is that the Adobe Reader on the Palm does not allow you to choose your screen colors so I am stuck with black text on a white background. In the other reader, I've got palest gray text on a black background, which is very easy to read and easy on the eyes.

And now, when I go traveling, I won't have to lug actual physical books with me. Yee haw!

Meanwhile... I have, of course, uploaded a Moody Blues concert photo into the Palm to serve as my "wallpaper." You knew I would. Admit it.

I have also figured out that I can actually make notes on the Palm much faster tapping the little on-screen keyboard than I can trying to use the Graffiti handwriting program. It's not bad but it's just a little fussier than I like, so it's the keyboard.

I also discovered it's really, really easy to misplace a black stylus when you set it down on your black computer keyboard, just above the function keys... so my stylus now sports two bands of magenta nail polish, and a white stripe made from wrapping a tiny sliver cut off the edge of a label. Now I can see the darn thing a lot easier.

It's been an expensive month so far, because only a week ago I brought home a new faux-pod to play with. The week before that, it was a new portable hard drive because traveling or not, the work never stops.

They talk about boys and their toys. What about girls and their toys??


Bum said...

My gutter mind reeled at you last sentence/question.

on-my-mind said...

You're gooooood! I'm techno-illiterate, so I'm marveling at your success. I like your practicality, too. Bravo!

carl said...

I use Mobipocket reader on my palm. It works very nicely. Go to Project Gutenberg and you will find lots of books that you should have read by now but didn't.

janice said...

have you heard of the Kindle?i dont know anyonewith one but they look interesting...expensive but interesting, i dont know if they work in the subway and i dont mind carrying a book or magazine, so i don't know if i'll get one

janicef said...

hi carolyn, i got my palm z22, i so want to be like you lol,it's nice so far...can you tell me the name of the books download address you've used? you mentioned it in TER the other night and i should have written it down. i see above someone mentioned project gutenberg so i will check that ourt too.
take care!

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