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Old 03-02-2010, 09:51 AM   #1
beppe
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First impressions

One more of those ...

Originally, I wanted an open reader, not bound to a book distributor, without net connection, with a memory card slot, and with user-replaceable battery.

My initial choice was eSlick as I used to buy books from ebook.com (not anymore thanks to the geographic limitations). In Italy I could find it only in black. It looks plasticly.

Ferreting around the net, I stumbled upon the excellent review by Janet Cloninger

http://the-gadgeteer.com/2009/09/07/...reader-review/

which turned me on PRS-600, the red one. And it has been quite easy to get it in Italy.

(!) Looks. It looks much nicer and stronger than my initial choice. It is very basic. If less is more then the more is elegance. The design is excellent, both streamlined and comfortable. The back and the front panel are made in anodized metal with a matte finish, with the back panel painted by a felt like substance. They are separated by a layer of what looks like steel. A sandwich. It carries the outside interactors: charging light, power slider, PRO Duo slot, SD card slot, stylus. On the bottom edge: volume, 3 plugs, reset hole and the strap bar. Labels are neatly embossed.

(+) I got a red cover with the reader, the one from Sony and I am quite pleased with it.

Functions. Everything seems to work as promised.

(+++) Reading. There is some glare from the screen but it has not bothered me yet. The absence of light is not important for me, because I do not read in bed any more. Years ago, when I was still reading pbooks, I got these contraptions but I never used them really.
The 6” screen is an enormous improvement from the Treo I was using.
The dictionary is luxurious. Page turning and navigation is smooth, fast and how rewarding it depends on the book one is reading. Ah ah.

(+) Organizing the books. No folders but tags. Apparently unlimited in number. It works. I got a third level of hierarchy by the trick of naming:
1. Utilities
2. News

Fiction
Fiction. Author 1
Fiction. Author 2

Subject. Subsubject1
Subject. Subsubject2


May be some good soul will show me a smarter way of having more levels. For the moment it seems to work, although I have not mastered yet the technique of loading the books directly on the SD card and assigning them to the intended collection.

(?)Battery. I want to be able to load the books directly on the card in order to minimize the number of USB connections, as I am afraid that each connection, however brief, counts as one recharge. My hardware friends keep spreading the notion (urban legend?) that the physical life of the battery depends on the number of charges. That is why I wanted a reader with user-replaceable battery. The original battery of my Palm died in three years, exactly like the original battery of my Vaio. Both were easy to replace, although expensive. Sony lost a client for the Vaio as it has discontinued the model and with a new one I would have had to buy new docking stations (?!). I got a PC instead and gave up portables.

The charge lasts enormously, except when I write notes.

(-)Text memos. They are a pain, exportable but slow, slow and even slower. There is some hope of improvement from Sony as they have some intelligent software built in that suggests complete words. Not from a dictionary but from what it finds in collections and previous notes. To me it is useless but it shows that they have (had?) somebody thinking about it and possibly some handles in the software for future developments.

(++) Handwriting. This is a major plus. It is easy, neat and useful. I can write almost at normal speed, and doodle during meetings.

(?)Audio. I tried, it works, I do not use it. It has no hierarchy. I might to use it when I want to study a piece of music, let say a Beethoven quartet and read about it at the same time, or listen to a Cantata and read the verses in real time. I am not yet in that sort of trips. Music is so easy nowadays that I do not see the point of depleting the battery charge of the reader with it.

(?) Pictures. It’s OK. I dont’use it yet.

Desiderata.
1. To give up for good my beloved Treo, that is quite uncomfortable to carry around, I would like the reader equipped with a good calendar, with year month, week, day and pending views, just like the Palm which has the best calendar ever.
2. The possibility of editing metadata, including tags, from the reader itself.

Hopefully Sony will open the PRS-600 to applications.
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:44 AM   #2
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Great review! I'm of the same opinion you are with the PRS-600. It is simply an elegant device and I love the little sucker.

Could you elaborate a bit more on your hierarchal tagging structure? Are you doing this in calibre, or somewhere else?
Quote:
(+) Organizing the books. No folders but tags. Apparently unlimited in number. It works. I got a third level of hierarchy by the trick of naming:
1. Utilities
2. News

Fiction
Fiction. Author 1
Fiction. Author 2

Subject. Subsubject1
Subject. Subsubject2
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:30 PM   #3
beppe
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Hello chainring,

Up to know I have written tags with the Sony Reader Library that has a specific function to add a Collection. And it lets you edit them the way you like. Then I move a book there.

Next I will try to do it with Calibre, using my tags, and see if PRS recognizes Calibre's tags as collection. It should. I am pretty sure.

In the tags
I use numerals for subject that will not likely be changed, like utilities (I store there train time-tables, the PRS manual, factbooks, ...), news, scraps (things that I download before going home, lenghty emails from the administration ...).
I use letters for subject that I know might be rearranged. The reason is that with letters the sorting is authomatic. The numbers are listed first by default.

It's just a trick.
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:45 PM   #4
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I love the 600, Mine froze after 4 days, but I totally love the beautiful little baby,
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Old 03-02-2010, 03:47 PM   #5
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I love my 600. It was one of the coolest gifts I received in a while.
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:48 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chainring View Post
Could you elaborate a bit more on your hierarchal tagging structure? Are you doing this in calibre, or somewhere else?
I just tried with Calibre and it worked smooth and neat. Both adding books to an existing Collection and adding a book with a new one.
It helps that Calibre lists the books in the card with the tags that can be sorted.
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Old 03-03-2010, 09:55 AM   #7
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I'm really enjoying mine too. Although I have had a real hassle getting it authorised - odd set up, normally much smoother I have no doubt.
Design so sleek, and the glare is no big deal, I feel. So much wonderful stuff out there for free/donation. Manybooks/Gutenberg/Calibre, just excellent.
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