The Saga of the eReader, part two

Turns out that there is a learning curve involved in operating the Sony Touch.  Or maybe it’s just me.

It took me ten minutes to borrow  a book from my library’s ePub service—mostly because it’s a very popular service so a lot of the books were already out— and two hours to figure out how to transfer it to my Sony Touch.  Or, rather, to get the Adobe Digital Editions software to even give in and admit that the Touch was plugged into my laptop.

It also took several frazzled calls to my friend Grace, during which I became a little testy, for which I apologize (sorry, Grace!).  But with her help, and a quick scan of the Sony forums, the trick was revealed:  download the Reader Library software from the Sony site, which is probably what I should have done first, anyway, and Adobe finally figured it out.* 

If you’re wondering which book I chose, and who wouldn’t, I went with an old favorite of ours:  Leaping Beauty  by Gregory Maguire (yep, that Gregory Maguire).   I can’t decide whether this is an adult book borrowing a children’s format, or simply one of the more cynical children’s book ever written, but I suppose it’s possible for a parody of fairy tales to be both, especially if they star a variety of anthropomorphized animals.  

And are written by Mr. Maguire.

Jane likes Cinder-elephant, Hamster and Gerbil, and So What and the Seven Giraffes, but  I prefer Goldifox and the Three Chickens, as it explains the importance of keeping one’s temper, not judging by appearances, and the value of a good night’s sleep.  

My next step is buying a book, which I think I’ll choose from the Sony store.*   Baby steps.


*I have no idea why this worked.  Maybe the ADE software gets jealous?

**Jane’s pushing for Ivy+Bean, but I think I’ll choose something a little  further inside my demographic this time.


The Saga of the eReader, part one

I resisted eReaders for a long time.   I don’t know if it was fear of change, the relatively low quality of fiction when eBooks first hit the scene, my love of reading in the bathtub (and the relative safety if I forgot where I was and took a book into the shower with me), or simple job security.

But my fear of change annoys me.  Most of my favorite authors are now releasing electronic versions of their books and a few have completely switched over.  I can be taught to take only hardcopy books into wet places or, possibly, to not multitask while bathing—odds are, I’ll only mess up once.

And since my library started offering downloadable eBooks* through Wilbur and NetLibrary, I’ve learned that the public still needs librarians—especially librarians who know a data port from a power port.** 

An eReader takes up less space, too.  I’m getting tired of lugging around reading material and manuscripts in my shoulderbag, not to mention the wear and tear—if I had a chiropractor, he’d be torn between his Hippocratic Oath*** or putting his kids through Yale.

Decision made.  Now, which one to get?

This was tough—so tough that, as I think I mentioned before, I e-mailed the tech-savvy and extremely patient Sarah Wendell over at Smart Bitches and told her what I needed in an eReader.  She suggested Sony or the Kindle.  My friend Grace had a Sony Touch and she showed me how easy it was to make notes on a pdf file.  Sold!

Except I’m on a budget.  So I started saving up the money with the goal of giving myself a useful Christmas present . . . and frittered most of it away on four all-weather tires earlier this month.   I sighed and started over, figuring it would make a good birthday present.  And it wasn’t like I really needed an eReader.  It’s a luxury item.

But it turns out that the finance people over at Honda forgot to stop taking car payments out of my account and I forgot that they aren’t supposed to do that anymore.  So a nice reimbursement check arrived last week that wasn’t earmarked for anything. 

Seriously.  Nothing.  Checked with my husband first and everything.  And I placed an order for a brand-new, shiny Sony Touch, a charger, and a carrying case before the words, “I don’t think so,” were completely out of his mouth.  I might have done a few steps of the New Toy Happy Dance.

Because a true story without a touch of slapstick isn’t one of mine, I must mention that one hour and seventeen minutes after I received notice that my order shipped, the clothes washer^ disgraced itself all over the floor and suffered a nervous  breakdown from, I assume, sheer embarrassment.

But that’s tomorrow’s post.

My brand-new, shiny Sony Touch arrived today.   And now all I have to do is learn to use it.  

Perhaps while waiting for the repairperson to arrive.  Or at the Laundromat.

Either way, I’m determined to have something to read . . . even if it’s only the user’s guide.


*If your public library doesn’t, you might want to say something to your director.   If they don’t know there’s a need for a service, they won’t provide it.

**Because, you know, they teach us to read labels in library school.

***Do chiropractors do this?  Do physicians still do this?  Because they damn well should.

^It was a ticking timebomb anyway—the warrantee and the service contract expired a while back.

Random Thursday, with 76% more Technology Content

After much debate and a desperate e-mail to the fabulous and infinitely patient Sarah Wendell over at Smart Bitches, I’ve decided to get a Sony Touch.  I thought I might spring for the Daily Edition with free 3G and WiFi, but I’ve decided that it’s not worth the extra bucks.  All I want is to conserve shelf space by keeping as many virtual reference books as possible and save on chiropractors by not lugging my manuscript or Netbook around in my bag when I want to make notes or edit on the go.  Don’t need bells and whistles for that.

Besides, I’m beginning to think that WiFi is the root of all time suck . . . Wow—that sounded a lot dirtier than I thought it would.


My family is on a Shel Silverstein kick right now.

I love all of Mr.  Silverstein’s  work with the sole exception of Runny Babbit.  I’m incapable of reading it the way it’s printed on the page and trying for more than three minutes gives me stabbing pains in my left eye and a queasy stomach.

Naturally, my children adore Runny and his aneurysm-inducing adventures , so I have passed the responsibility for the reading of this book to the other adults in our immediate vicinity, in addition to Fox in Socks* and Amelia Bedelia.**


I was searching the 1930s newspaper microfilm the other day and caught sight of a one-panel cartoon called The Girls, which features ladies of a certain age and outlook.

In this one, the lady was trying on hats in a shop and telling her impatient husband in the caption, “No, I’ve made my final decision.  Now I have to make every decision that comes after that.”

It may have been microfilm-daze, but that sounded incredibly profound to me.


Twitter-training this afternoon for the library’s new feed!  Judging from the verbal staff observations around here, it’s just as well our tweets are moderated by the PR department.  Our library already has over 200 followers.  I have no idea whether that’s good or not.

The training was so interesting that I thought about reactivating my personal account, which I let lapse after three days of absolutely nothing to say—stop laughing.

I don’t know if I need to be on Twitter right now—I do follow several people, just not through an account.  Blogs are honestly more my speed.

If my phone could do anything but make phone calls, I might consider trying again . . . but on second thought,  see unfortunately-phrased time-suck comment above.

Plus, there’s a certain observer-mindset that comes with twitter . . .  I’d like to think that if someone fainted in front of me, I wouldn’t be too busy tweeting about it to help them.


Someone left a gold glitter pen at our public desk a few days ago—we had a crowd of junior high school students on Saturday.  No one called to ask about it so it’s mine.

It has an incredibly smooth flow, which is my excuse for using it for everything from initialing order forms to taking meeting minutes.  I’m planning to go to the office supply store and see if there are any available without the glitter, but if not, well  . . . do they sell navy blue or black glitter pens?

This isn’t a mid-life crisis, by the way—I don’t have one of those scheduled for another forty years.  You might want to stick around—it’s gonna be a doozy.  And mostly likely will not involve glitter pens . . . though I’m not entirely ruling out their use.


If you hover over my avatar in the left-hand corner up there, supposing I haven’t changed my blog theme, you’ll see the name of the song I’m currently whistling or humming under my breath. 

See?  Who needs Twitter? 


*Except for the Tweedle Beetle Battle, which in our household is traditionally done in Rock Horror-style chorus.

**After seven years, I’m tired of Amelia Bedelia—but these books  seriously drive my mother up a tree. “She’s just so dumb,” she wails, when presented with one of Miss Bedelia’s adventures by one of her insistent grandchildren.  “Any normal human being would stop and think.”   I believe that my mother’s secret reason for supporting early childhood literacy is so kids will quickly learn to read this series all by themselves.  Silently.