Sunday, May 02, 2010

3D Reader Reviewed!

I'm so excited! Matt Debenham's latest, The Book of Right and Wrong, has just arrived. But without an electronic device, how am I to enjoy it?

Thursday 3:43 PM
USPS Delivery Person arrives. In my mail, this appears:

Can you feel the excitement? Actually, I'm guessing at the time of arrival. I was still at work.  Luckily no one pilfered my mailbox, claiming the package was left in a Starbucks or something.

Thursday 5:45 PM
I arrive home. I check my mail and am elated with the delivery, but wisely decide to leave the box in a pile of other unopened mail in my foyer because I'm struck that I should share this unveiling with the world.

Saturday 6:30 AM
OK. Elated might have been a slight exaggeration. I wake up out of habit induced by a Mon-Fri 9a-5p work schedule and realize it's Saturday. I  go back to sleep. The unveiling will just have to wait.

Sunday 6:30 AM
I believe we've covered this.

Sunday 1:30 PM
I start writing this blog because I feel the world is ready. Or perhaps, I just feel like it.

Sunday 1:35 PM
I don't care if it's cute or too reminiscent of a Nike swoosh, I like the Amazon smiley on the shipping box. It pleases me.

Sunday 1:36 PM
Dammit! Where are my scissors? Can we please leave them in one place?

Sunday 1:42 PM
OK. I'm back. The great unveiling. Here it is! A portable device to read content on pages that actually reach out and touch you in 3-D!

Sunday 1:43 PM
Paper cut suffered from the corrugated cardboard edges of the shipping box, as I clumsily grab the contents with no regard for personal safety. Where are the GD band-aids?

Sunday 1:47 PM
Newly bandaged, I soldier on. I carefully remove the contents of the box. For comparison purposes, I place it next to my company-provided Blackberry. Wow, could you imagine trying to read books on that? Now I need to carefully remove the plastic wrapped around my book. Just need the-- seriously? Where are the freaking scissors?!

Sunday 1:48 PM
Oh. My apologies. I've still got 'em. I remove the plastic wrapping to reveal more plastic wrapping.

[Moment of seriousness. Dear Amazon: cool it with the extra wrapping. If you ship millions (or hundreds) of books each year, you could help reduce excess waste -- isn't any waste excess?]

Sunday 1:50 PM
I remove the final layer of plastic. Now I think it important to show you the width of this old school reading device, because that's what all the other tech blogs do. It's actually smaller than my Pentel EnerGel 0.7mm ball Metal Tip gel pen, an awesome, old-school writing device in its own right. Don't just take my word for it. See number three in Yvette's 5 Things You Need To Try.

Sunday 1:56 PM
But, Mike. How much does this antiquated device weigh? I find a simple kitchen scale. By comparison, the Barnes & Noble Nook weighs 12.1 oz (343g), the Amazon Kindle 2: 10.2 oz (289g), the Apple iPad: 1.5 pounds (24 oz., 680g). This book: less than 8 oz (under 200g).

Sunday 1:58 PM
Show us the damn thing already. The reveal! Although no instructions were included with this device,  the same skills required to read a set of instructions are required to read this book. Open it beginning with page one, and read top down, left to right. Although it does have a feature for viewing two pages simultaneously, I prefer to read just one at a time.

Sunday 2:00 PM
The outdoor test! I hear the iPad blows outdoors because of the glare. How did the book do? Swimmingly. [I've always wanted to use that word in a blog. Finally the opportunity surfaces. ;-) ]

How much did Steve Jobs make off of the purchase?
Nothing, but I think he'll be OK.

How do I carry this portable device? Certainly there must be required accessories?
It requires no special carrying case. Just drop it in your purse, laptop bag, messenger bag, or shoulder backpack you've been rocking since high school and don't realize everyone's laughing at the fact you still carry one in your 40s (I don't care - I love mine!).

What's the charge/standby time?
Believe it or not, this device requires no charging. It has a virtually indefinite standby time, other than the natural breakdown of organic materials (I don't know, 200 years?).

I like to consider myself green. How do I properly dispose of this device after I'm done reading it?
You can store it on a shelf for repeated readings. You can pass it along to a friend. You can share it with your local library (INSIDER TIP: Other devices just like The Book of Right and Wrong are available for lending at local libraries for FREE!). It's made of 100% recyclable materials, so you can always recycle it, too.

What's the book about?
Excuse me? We don't talk about content on tech blogs, we talk about devices. But I'm sure it's quite good. The title rocks! Better than "iPad".

Who the hell is Matt Debenham?
Matt is an "author". It means he created the content found in this device. He's also my twitter friend (@debenham) and I felt why choose any old book for this tech post when I can do someone who is very kind a solid.

That's a snazzy pic on the back of the book. Is it you?

No. Even though devices like iPods can be personalized, the picture on the back of the book is usually the author, as it is in this case. To date, it's the only known public picture of the author (see @debenham on Twitter).

What about eyestrain?
I've heard for some people, electronic devices can cause eyestrain or contribute to headaches over time. Though often that may be a side effect of the content itself, the printed-on-paper pages are quite easy to read and cause very little eyestrain.

OK, it can't be all good. What are the cons?
Unless it's a compendium of several books, it can only hold the content of one book at a time. Luckily, that's the way I prefer to read.

How do you read it at night?
It does require assistance. I recommend by incandescent light, or by candle. Though, honestly, reading at night is like a sleep aid to me. I get through about three pages before I'm sawing logs.

How do you post comments after reading?
I prefer in the margins. Or by email to the publisher. Or by driving all night to the author's house, thinking at the time and after several beers that it was a good idea, and because we connected when I read it, it would instantly transpire into a friendship. I don't recommend that approach. It doesn't work with celebrities either. [Note to anyone who appreciates their privacy: tweeting or posting your location on Facebook, especially exact coordinates with a date/time stamp and a handy pop-up Google map, may not be the brightest move.]

Why don't you write a book?
Excellent question! Perhaps I should.

Any closing words?
iPad SchmiPad. Just had to be said. [Doesn't mean I don't still want one. Badly.]


melaniet42 said...

Fantastic review! I am looking forward to sitting down for my own 3-D Viewer experience this evening. BTW, I recently resurrected my high school backpack in place of the more traditional mommy diaper bag. Seriously, how did I ever live without it?

Mike said...

LOL. Thanks, Melanie! I remember the diaper bag too. I guess I had switched for a while. My kids are grown so I'm back to the Jansport. OK, Swiss Army.

Erik Deckers said...

I think you may be on to something with the steampunk, old-school technology. Truly a marvel. It's great how everything old is new again.

And I am still rocking my backpack at age 42. It carries my MacBook and a Moleskine notebook. Basically, it's my office in convenient backpack form. I get to use it anywhere that has free wifi, like my favorite local, independent coffee shops.

Mike said...

Thanks, Erik! Free is good! I guess I forgot to mention the book is not 3G so revised edition updates of non-fiction works are not downloadable. For works of fiction, they aren't given a do-over.

One Wink at a Time said...

Mike, this was truly great writing. I would A) never have the foresight to actually "plan" an unveiling such as this to share with my blog- Mostly because I'm a) not a planner and b)too selfish, I guess...
and B)never be able to wait as long as you did to open a package.
Those differences aside, I'm completely with you as far as heralding the old school ways. I love the feel of a book and the whole "real" reading experience. I'm the same way with "real" musical devices such as cds, vinyl and cassettes.
Backpacks rock as much as Pentel writing tools.
Thanks for this, fellow dinosaur : )

Mike said...

Thank you so much, Linda! I was pretty jazzed (another dinosaur term) when the idea popped in my head. I had pre-ordered Matt's book so I had some time to think about it. I love my vinyl and terribly miss album cover artwork. Getting your CD or iPod autographed just isn't the same.

One Wink at a Time said...

I have the day off today, I really should make the time to do a good, old-fashioned, long-overdue blog post. ; )

Count Sneaky said...

As an unstructured, rather forgetful individual, It's much, much cheaper to replace a book than it is a marvel of modern portable technology
(portatech?.) As the beaver said, "Now where did I leave my dam keys?" Funny, funny blog! My best.

Mike said...

I love that joke, Count! And I feel the same way. I purchase cheap sunglasses instead of the "good" ones so there's no stress when I sit on them or lose them, which happens too often. Cheers!

ncp4eva said...

This is hilarious. I love the way you bring out the truth of the matter, lmao. Book and candle Vs Expensive gadgets that require expensive maintanance, lol.

Mike said...

Hi Haille! Thanks for the comment! I'm glad you appreciate the depth of my sarcasm. Cheers! :-D