Shiny Kit Attack

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Shiny Kit Attack

Post by Dave Webb on Fri Jun 19, 2009 10:44 pm

I thought it was time we had a thread where we could, with utter shamelessness, provide links to Shiny Kit.

To start the ball rolling:

I bought a bag. I have a lot of junk to tote around with me, and it seemed like a good idea. Having come into a bit of money recently, and also having decided that if I'm going to own a manpurse it had better be the manliest possible one, I bought a copy of a Mark VII Gas Mask bag. Which is basically the same as the one Indiana Jones is seen with in Raiders of the Lost Ark. I also bought a leather strap to keep it company. It seems to hold the rest of my shiny kit (Kindle 2, cellphone, Grail diary etc) with little or no bother.

The rest of that site, by the way, is also recommended. The products are gorgeous, and they have a nice line in 9th Doctor and 10th Doctor costumes (although I was drawn there for the vintage tuxes and other assorted 20s, 30s and 40s clothes).

Second - the Kindle 2 e-book reader. Bought because while in the USA it hooks up to something called Whispernet, which is essentially a 3g mobile broadband service that Amazon pay for. The K2 comes with e-ink display, simple controls and a web browser; the purpose of this appears to be to allow you to shop at the Amazon Kindle store. If you do, or even if you do while at a normal PC, e-books are delivered wirelessly to the K2 in the space of a minute or so. This is a shiny feature indeed.

You can also browse the internet. e-ink doesn't cope with colour too well, since it's greyscale, and there is no way to get flash working on it, so as long as you want to restrict yourself to text based sites it's just dandy. The intention is pretty clear - one of the preloaded bookmarks is for Wikipedia, and being a geek I have added H2G2 to the collection, just because Douglas would have been amused.

It can also reach twitter with very little effort.
Although why you'd want to when the thing holds a maximum of about 1500 books is more of a mystery.

With the wireless off, battery life is about a week (and this includes a couple of hours reading a night with a page turn about once a minute).

The 3g connection won't work outside the USA, so I will be bringing a crippled K2 with me. However, an entire library of free stuff from around the net means I probably won't want for entertainment for a while.

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Re: Shiny Kit Attack

Post by Graymalkin on Sat Jun 20, 2009 12:26 am

That bag is very, very, ace. Very ace indeed. I'm highly tempted to copy you shamelessly - my Manhattan Portage/ Rough Trade record bag seems woefully inadequate in the cool stakes now...

As to the reader, I keep being tempted by one, but there's something stopping me. I think maybe it's the lack of smell. Perhaps the next gen could contain a Glade plug-in with an 'old bookshop' fragrance?

It's also be good if it had a Last.fm-style 'scrobbling' feature for books, and updated LibraryThing automatically. I love Last.fm and use it constantly, but the biblioversion is just too much hassle to set up - who has the time to manually enter their entire library?

You should, also, be able to download books from the library that delete themselves automatically on the last date marked*...

Having said that, when I read on your 'blog that you were accessing the Hitchhiker's Guide on an electronic book I couldn't help but share your excitement...



*Actually, for all I know you can do both these things already...
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Re: Shiny Kit Attack

Post by Zoltar on Sat Jun 20, 2009 5:01 pm

Very cool bag, Doc. I've saved the site to faves and will investigate further when time permits.

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Re: Shiny Kit Attack

Post by Dave Webb on Sat Jun 20, 2009 11:21 pm

I think the thing that sold me on the K2, really, was the possiblity of it being a multitask device. It comes with a dictionary - not a great one, but a dictionary nevertheless. If I wait six months or so, someone with a hacker mentality will hack the Kindle 2 and I will be able to install a much better dictionary. That would be fun. Oh, and a thesaurus. I'm liking the ability to get to the internet right now; during a recent powercut, with sms texts costing 20cents each and with no power to the PC, I was able to use the K2 to get at my e-mail and twitter. No big deal, perhaps, but having the independance of a 3g network was nice.

I think the real allure is being able to have, as I now do, over 160 books I haven't read before in one place. I can flip between them if I want. Or I can indulge in a complete orgy of reading and plow through a couple in the course of a week. When the night light arrives - no point trying to backlight an e-ink display - I will probably stop sleeping altogether.

It also means that I can finally stop worrying about how much space all the books take up, and I have a way to preview certain books to make sure they deserve shelf space. Electronic editions are a really good way to sample an author's work, and with the short tail publishing model becoming more and more attractive all the time - and you can see it here, being modelled by the always lovely Sid Seadevil

- give us a twirl, Sid

- it's nice to have a way to access that content independantly of a PC or netbook. It turns out that it's well worth it, as assorted authors will find out in my post-migration book buying spree (I'll have shelves to stock!).

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