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I Came This Close… January 9, 2010

Posted by gordonwatts in eReader, physics life.

With the release of Barnes & Noble’s e-reader, the nook, I came very very close to getting one for myself this Christmas. When it finally arrived in stores I went to look… it is tiny. Really tiny.

I have no idea how I’d really use one of these eReaders until I get it, but I’ve been wanting them to fix one big problem in my life: the shear number and weight of magazines I carry back and forth every time I go to Europe. I get the New Yorker and the Economist – both weeklies – and often I have a stack of 10 or 15 of them that I try to read while on the plane or while drifting off to sleep in a hotel room. Storing them on a eReader would really help quite a bit.

The good news is that both the New Yorker and the Economist are available in eReader format. But… !!! Most pictures are not in the Economist version and most cartoons aren’t in the New Yorker eReader version! Sorry – I’ll have to stick with paper. I wonder what it is about the eReader format that makes it so unfriendly to this sort of thing.

A third thing I’d like to be able to do is read my physics papers on them. These are usually stored as PDF’s and can be downloaded from just about everywhere. The main problem here is that PDF files do not reflow the text – so that full 8.5×11 image will be on the screen all at once, or a portion of it will be on the screen and I would have to constantly scroll. On a slow eReader that would be very painful. I would really need to have something like the Kindle DX or one of these new ones that is coming out soon (maybe at the CES shows that are going on right now?).

The other thing holding me back is the general dissatisfaction I hear when these devices are used for text books or other scholarly journals. It sounds to me like the current design has really nailed reading a simple book of text (novel, etc.). But almost nothing else.

Yet. 🙂