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So despite the fact that the prevailing opinion from my Twitter contacts and friends alike was that I should wait for the Kindle to grace the shores of the UK, the holiday in Denmark with three bulky paperbacks squeezed into a too-cramped rucksack and the impending implosion of my bookshelves into some minor singularity broke me, and I picked up a Sony PRS 505 from Play.com about two weeks ago. I’d seen my friend Rob with one and had a pretty good idea it would be decent, which its proving to be, and I had a feeling that the Kindle would be some time coming…

Here’s what’s good about it:

1) It stores lots of book in a sleek, elegant casing. I’ve shoved a 1GB SD card (at a cost of a not so princely £4) in there, which will cover me for at least 1000 books but potentially as many as 3000 – which is probably more than I’ll need on there

2) It works well with the open source Calibre, even under Windows7 RC1 64bit, which is something of a relief (as I gather the Sony software is its usual bag of decaying tripe)

3) The screen is amazing. E-Ink works like an etch-a-sketch, so reads well in any light. It also makes for…

4) …awesome battery life. Due to the etch-a-sketch nature of the device, it only draws power when turning pages. So one charge (by USB cable), will give you room for about 4000 page turns

5) You can get books. Waterstones has many, even if Amazon is probably banking on the arrival of the Kindle in the UK at some stage.

The not-so-good

1) I’ve already mentioned Sony’s software… the navigation on the device itself is not brilliant, no way to go directly to a page (that I’ve found as yet), not until you’ve made bookmarks (although it remembers what page you were last reading), and there’s no search functionality, ability to make notes etc. I’m also having some fiddling with page alignment (page numbers in middle of page, NBSPs, etc)

2) There’s no wireless connectivity – hence awesome battery life, but hey, if I want wireless, well, that’s what the iPhone I’m planning on getting will do…

3) The page-turning is not that speedy, although its not terrible

All in all, it’s up there with my Netbook in all-time useful purchases. I carry it around daily, have got through two novels on it in two weeks and will probably maintain close to that rate, saving valuable bookshelf real-estate, holiday packing and being stuck on the bus in between books…

Here’s a quick video demo from some dude on Youtube:

Cross posted on Division6.

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I’ve just started following Sci-Fi author John Scalzi on Twitter and reading his blog.

The man’s very entertaining… having started reading him thanks to his Hugo Award nomination for The Last Colony (don’t start there if you’re interested, start here)…

Two posts that particularly caught my attention this week; first, his column on Sci-Fi Scanner, which has a look at a few sci-fi technologies we could probably do without. I’m with him on Star Trek’s transporter technology (“99.9 percent accuracy would mean you’ve been turned into a screaming lump of meat”) and flying cars (“We already know how badly people drive in two dimensions. Do you really want to add 50 percent more dimensionality to drive badly in?”)… but am a little bit more optimistic about humanity’s prospects for dealing with intelligent robots and warp drive.

The second post was this brilliant conversation with a stick of butter. It makes little sense and follows on from a poll he conducted on his blog, but is hugely entertaining and reminds of me Scary Duck, who is also Awesome.

Worth checking out if you like sci-fi, or things that are awesome.

H/t to Flashboy for introduction to all things Scalzi.

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