eBook Use On The Archos 5 Internet Tablet

October 7, 2009

E-book Reading and the Archos Tablet.

Steve Paine, aka Chippy, over at UMPC Portal has done a post and video demonstrating eBook reading on the new Android-powered Archos 5 Internet Tablet.

I’ve swiped his video:

I’ve been working my way through the Adventures of Tom Sawyer on the SmartQ7 and have tried to continue on the Archos 5 but I don’t get very far before I’m distracted by an email or twitter notification and then I’m off into one of those enjoyable but never-ending web journeys.

There’s the thing: Having wireless access can lead to wireless distractions. If I was using a device like that, I’d turn off the damned radios and concentrate on reading. Reading does take some force of will to do in this Age of Distraction.

I do like the sound of this, however:

Based on my experience with the Archos 5, its form factor, hours of using Google Reader (Android formatted) and the web browser I’d say that the form factor lends itself perfectly to 1hr reading sessions and that due to the weight (smartphone weight) and screen characteristics (200 ppi and well-aliased fonts and adjustable back-lighting) many people will end up doing more. What effect that has on your eyes is unknown to me but it certainly feels more comfortable than smaller screens I’ve tried.

Chippy, in the video, also reports he’s been getting seven hours of battery life with WiFi on and estimates anywhere from ten to fifteen hours with WiFi off and Brightness set to Low-Medium.

There was nothing to stop Sony from dumping its current eInk devices and releasing something like this. It probably would have been better, too.

Just remember: an 8GB iPod Touch now sells for only US$199.00.

Sony could have brought something identical to the Archos in at US$250.00 — with that same 4.8″ screen and all else. Too bad it didn’t.

After the break, screensnap pr0n!!

Read the rest of this entry »

eBook Notes For Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October 7, 2009

Foxconn said to be tapped to make Apple tablet PC, shipments expected to begin in 1Q10

The sources indicated they believe the tablet PC features will focus more on e-book functionality rather than music, and that based on Apple’s marketing strategy, long battery life, quick Internet connectivity and an easy-to-use user interface will be key features of the device.

I really feel sorry for all those people who are requesting a Kindle for Christmas.

doubleTwist Unveils An Alternative To The iTunes Music Store, Powered By Amazon MP3

Today, doubleTwist has revealed what it means by that: doubleTwist now includes an integrated Music Store, powered by Amazon’s MP3 Store. But unlike iTunes, this app will let you transfer your files to non-Apple devices.


In fact, it’s probably safe to say that the new doubleTwist music store is actually easier to use to download music than iTunes is, simply because there’s so much less going on.

Apple really needs librarians. The entire iTunes Store is a complete mess.

QR Code Generator from the ZXing Project

ZXing (pronounced “zebra crossing”) is an open-source, multi-format 1D/2D barcode image processing library implemented in Java. Our focus is on using the built-in camera on mobile phones to photograph and decode barcodes on the device, without communicating with a server.

Although QR codes are for print, I’ve seen flyers stuck on lampposts in New York City that use them.

The Periodic Table of Typefaces

The Periodic Table of Typefaces is obviously in the style of all the thousands of over-sized Periodic Table of Elements posters hanging in schools and homes around the world. This particular table lists 100 of the most popular, influential and notorious typefaces today.

If such a table was done for eInk-based eBook readers, it’d be very, very small.

HTML5 assault on Adobe Flash heats up with ClickToFlash

ClickToFlash allows Safari users to isolate Flash content on the web so that it only plays when they choose to allow it. Flash content is replaced with a bounding box that enables the user to ignore the item (such as with ads) or to click the placeholder to activate Flash playback as desired.

Additionally, the plugin can convert requests for YouTube Flash videos into requests for higher quality H.264 videos, allowing desktop users to bypass Flash the same way the iPhone does, and simply play any YouTube videos using the browser’s own built-in HTML5 support for direct H.264 playback.

Just when you think the world has devolved into Apple vs. Google vs. Adobe, the users themselves jump in to kick everyone’s asses.

New app turns iPhone into psalm pilot

Just watch the video:

“EBook Publishing Site Sees Huge Growth in Submissions”

Books are submitted to abook2read as email attachments to admin@abook2read.com and are read and fully assessed within 28 days. If accepted, the author is then invited to get involved in the creation of their eCover for their eBook and write both the description and biography that appears on the site. There are no charges to any of our authors and they receive 30% of net publisher’s revenue, which on a Pounds Sterling 3.50 book after Pay-pal charges and V.A.T is 82 pence per down-load.

Who Stole The Audience?

October 7, 2009

A few words with Garry Trudeau

Back in the late ’70s, I created an animated “Doonesbury” special for NBC. The network declined to order another because of disappointing ratings. The show had 21 million viewers. On an average night, “The Daily Show,” a huge hit, pulls 1.5 million viewers. It’s a different world.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

I’m constantly amazed at how ratings for “hit” TV series these days would be considered grounds for quick cancellation decades ago.

Time fragmentation — choice choice choice — has led to audience declines for everything except two things: games and porn.

All that time kids used to spend reading — reading “trashy” things like comic books? All that time has been taken away from reading and given over to games.

Need proof of that?

Sales Figures

I was in a recent discussion on a message board where someone was asking about sales figures now compared to the early 1990s. He was surprised to learn that even the top selling titles today are little more than half some of drek that was being published back then.

Here is some perspective to consider:

Marvel and DC sales figures

Our story begins in the early 1940s where some individual comics sold by the million. If memory serves, Superman’s top sales were 1.6 million copies an issue, but the original Captain Marvel hit the record at 2 million.

Bold emphasis added by me.

His memory is correct, too.

And some more perspective for recent time, from the same link:

In 1979 a typical comic sold 100,000 copies, and much more ten years earlier. But today, 20,000 is common, and comics only survive because they make extra sales in trade paperback compilations.

Boldfaced emphasis added by me.

And here is proof of that:

Top 300 Comics Actual–June 2009

These are estimates of the sales on comic books by Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores during June 2009.

The three biggest sellers are 168,604 copies, 112,287 copies, and 97,680. Look at the drop-off from each one! That’s a double-digit percentage drop!

I’ll leave it up to someone with spreadsheet and math skills to look at the sales figures of those 300 titles and draw the analytic conclusions. Let me just say that in the mid-1970s, I visited the offices of DC Comics with another fan (someone brighter than me at that time) and he knew the past circulation figures and was astonished back then at how sales had dropped to just one-tenth of what they had been in the 1940s. By the 1980s, the already-small sales of that 1970s day had been cut in half!

Several things, of course, happened at once:

1) People my age entered the workforce
2) Comics began to primarily go to speciality stores sales
3) Comics became expensive
4) The age of the computer and videogame was at hand

Today, a kid is more likely to encounter a videogame before a comic book. And which would he find more exciting, more interesting, and occupy more of his time before coming to a conclusion? And even worse: if the videogame is based on a comic book, what incentive is there for a kid to slow down to the speed of reading? Why look at, say, drawings of Batman when the game allows him to be Batman?

As for porn, it’s all free. No man wants to watch a full story when it comes to viewing sex. And this has led to carnage in the porn industry too — Recession, free sites hurt porn industry:

“It’s the free stuff that’s killing us, and that’s not going away,” said Dion Jurasso, owner of Combat Zone porn production company, which he said has seen business drop by 50 percent during the last three years.

I don’t have to provide links to anything. I will only note that sexual specialties that people would have had to pay high prices for are now available absolutely free in hundreds — if not thousands — of clips online without having to pay a single penny to see them. There are directory sites that are like the old Yellow Pages phone directories, slicing money-shot clips into very thin categories too. Since most people don’t give a damn who a porn actor is, these clips are age-free and endless competition.

It’s too bad there isn’t a way to gather reliable and comprehensive statistics about how every American spends a full month of time. I think such statistics would open many eyes and reveal where the audience has gone.

In 1985, the late Neil Postman wrote a book titled Amusing Ourselves to Death. Had he lived to see today, what kind of sequel would he have written?