The Coming Android Mini-Tablet Flood

October 27, 2009

I predict that by this time next year we’ll be wading in Android mini-tablets up to our knees.

It’s going to be the next Netbook Flood.

Why I say this is due to two things.

Click for those two things

Archos 5 Internet Tablet Notes For Sunday October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009

We kick off with some news I tripped over on Twitter:

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This is the link, and here is that photo:

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iSilo is just about ancient software. People used it back in the days of the original Palm Pilot. I think many people will be surprised to find that it’s still being used — and has been ported to Android. Talk about staying power!

Myself, I could never get into using it. I can’t recall why now. Perhaps it’s worth another shot when/if I get an Android OS device. If you are using iSilo, leave a Comment with the hows and whys.

Next up, I hypnotized Judie Lipsett of Gear Diary to do my evil bidding and fondle an Archos 5 Internet Tablet while she was at B&H Photo helping to pimp Windows 7. She sent me some photos:

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Wait. What?

Click to see Archos shoot itself in its foot

Dell Tops The Archos 5 Internet Tablet

October 21, 2009

Not all the specs are in, but it has one key thing I wish the Archos 5 Internet Tablet had: a camera. And it’s a five-megapixel camera too!

Here’s a video that originally appeared on SlashGear, which has more information:

And some screensnaps after the break.

Click for screensnaps

Android OS Aldiko ePub Display Challenge

October 15, 2009

Sometimes it can be a real crapshoot to get ePub to display properly. Even Adobe’s own ePub rendering engine tends to make the best designed eBook look nothing more than generically fugly.

So when Chippy did his test of Aldiko ePub reading software on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet, my curiosity was sent into gear.

For Research Purposes Only, I took two highly-stylized ePub eBooks from a professional publishing house and, um, massaged the files to display on the Archos 5 Internet Tablet.

There are photos of the test results after the break.

Click for the photos

Archos 5 Internet Tablet: Will It Be Stable Now?

October 13, 2009

Archos kicked out a firmware yesterday for the Android-powered Archos 5 Internet Tablet. See the Changelog.

I was viewing a near-endless live video session yesterday by JKK and Chippy, watching with several hundred other people as a Finnish device I won’t name was demonstrated. Afterwards, Chippy finally heard of the Archos firmware update and decided to tape the process.

Two very instructive videos after the break!

Read the rest of this entry »

eBook Notes For Tuesday October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009

Women, Gays Apparently Ruining Sci-Fi For the Rest of Us
— which critiques this post:

The War on Science Fiction and Marvin Minsky
— which actually does raise one interesting point here:

What has happened is that science fiction on television has for the most part become indistinguishable from most other television shows which are written for women filled with moronic relationship drama.

Lifetime in Space!

Twitter’s unlawful Newsom contribution

Does being on Twitter’s SUL constitute a non-monetary contribution? YES.

Twitter is providing this free service to Gavin Newsom, a declared candidate for governor. Newsom uses Twitter to send his Twitter followers links to his campaign website and to campaign news stories promoting his candidacy.

It would be personally very satisfying to me to see the children who (mis-)run Twitter meet the real world of real-life consequences. I hope they get a big fat fine for this.

Remixing the Book

We’ve always had abridged versions and “selected-essays-from” and audio versions and made-for-TV adaptations. But in a more open rights schema (say, Creative Commons licensing), there is something thrilling about the idea that dedicated readers – the most engaged of all stakeholders, beyond the original writer & editor – might legitimately improve texts for certain audiences.

I’m both intrigued and horrified by this idea. Several weeks ago I was mulling over how I really hate fantasy novels — I just can’t get into them with their bizarre names and use of magic or other such things. Beneath that veneer, however, could lurk an actually good story. It crossed my mind that such writers might want to consider remixing their own works for fantasy-averse people like me. Take away the weird names and the other things I find too alienating and set it in the present day. The King becomes, say, a CEO or just The Boss, the magic becomes a lawsuit or some other real-world device … and now not only does the writer quickly have a second book out there, but one that might even attract me and others like me.

Click for more

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 Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009

A mixture of print, book-related, and e this time.

Muslim honour killing book cancelled over safety fears

Islamisation refers to small but significant erosions of our freedom, bit by bit, demand by demand, concession by concession.

If freedom of expression is the issue, distribute it via BitTorrent.

Film-writer Nick Rowntree celebrates release of £5m movie The Tournament

“The boy least likely to succeed – that’s what they said about me at school. … If any of my teachers knew that I was now a film-writer I’m sure they would drop dead from shock at the thought that I could even manage to string a punctuated paragraph together.”

Jordan book ban over 4th memoir

Bookshops are threatening to boycott Jordan’s looming autobiography – because it’s her FOURTH in five years.

Fine. Tell the bookstores to go to hell. Release it electronically.

Stickee goes multimedia to promote Conn Iggulden’s new book Tollins: Explosive Tales for Children

Harper Collins Publishers has unveiled the campaign,, to promote the launch of the book by Iggulden, whose previous works include The Conqueror Series and The Dangerous Book for Boys.

Very odd. Using basically a web-only digital book to promote a print book. This seems backwards to me.

Ads on the iPhone Makes Perfect AdSense!

As of today, publishers can now drop smart phone optimized AdSense ads inside their mobile content.

There’s the future of the “free” eBook — and “free” digital book. It will contain ads. See the screensnap at that link.

A Letter to 84 Charing Cross Road

Sixty years ago today, on October 5, 1949, Helene Hanff wrote a letter to a bookstore in London. Marks & Co. was located at 84 Charing Cross Road; Miss Hanff was located on East 95th Street in New York City.

This is such a beautiful, wonderful story. Get away from your PC right now and see the movie version of the story starring Anne Bancroft.

Why the Digital Revolution is Missing the Big Picture

Ebooks should expand the book buying market, not be used as an alternative for the print edition. Look at the ads for the iPod: they’re fun, they’re cool, they feature all sorts of (pastel-colored) people who are far funkier than anyone you or I know grooving to the licensed beat.

I’d find people dancing to reading material — e or p — very disturbing.

What is a Vook, and How Will It Change Publishing?

These vooks may not replace the mainstream novel but they could represent a smaller, short story based product that could make authors money in between novels.

Why We Need $4.00 Books

Most books are too expensive. Compared to lower cost alternative media sources, books are becoming niche consumables like caviar.

In my first job, as a temp, I made $5.00/hour. That was the late 1970s and that was great money, above the minimum wage. I could afford whatever mass-market paperbacks I wanted. Today the U.S. minimum wage is $7.25 — and that sometimes won’t buy somebody one mass-market paperback. Affordability is the key to reading, to getting people to build personal libraries.

Archos 5 Android Internet Tablet First Impressions. (Long!)

Good ebook reader s/w (FBreader and Aldiko work well and are very comfortable in the portrait format)

However …

My advise to potential customers at this stage though is to wait. V1.022 software is too buggy for most people and Archos don’t deserve an early rush on sales for such poor quality control. Take the time to check other reviews and opinion and stay tuned here. I’ll test each firmware as it comes out and give a thumbs-up when I think it’s ready. Disclaimer: I’m assuming I don’t have a faulty device.

Still, look at these photos:

Archos Android Internet Tablet _1_
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Photos stolen borrowed from the UMPC Archos 5 Internet Tablet Photo Gallery

I believe both of those are FeedBooks via the built-in web browser. Over at the UMPC Portal post, there’s also a one-hour embedded video which I haven’t yet viewed. Perhaps in that Chippy demonstrates both Aldiko and FBReader. I like the stats on battery life. With brightness turned down to an eye-friendly level, this could be very good for some formats of eBook reading — once the software is stable.