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  I do love the classics, and do like the fact that others have done the heavy lifting of getting them into electronic format for me.  8)

Cover for MobileReference e-book edition of Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle e-book edition by MobileReference

  Unfortunately, we often get what we pay for, and sometimes I would rather pay for some added features or quality.  I have more than one copy of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, to include some electronic ones.  I decided that I’d like to see about selecting a good quality, well formatted electronic version, that also included some of his other works, such as his well regarded historical adventure, The White Company.   I ended up purchasing the MobileReference version from Amazon for my iPad/iPhone Kindle apps, and read again the first Sherlock Holmes novel, A Study in Scarlet.  I was happy with the MobileReference edition, especially with the added value of the index which links to the start of the story, allowing ready access to each one.  They also do a good job with providing footnotes, especially for the errors in the text which they identify based on their goal of making an accurate electronic version of the published edition they are using as their source material.

Cover for MobileReference e-book edition of Twain

Mark Twain e-book edition by MobileReference

  What with Spring, and the promise of Summer coming on, and perhaps also due to publicity over the recent 100 year anniversary of Mark Twain’s death, I felt in the mood for some Huckleberry Finn, and some Tom Sawyer.  Being now a satisfied customer of a MobileReference e-book, I’ve gone back to Amazon and have now also purchased and downloaded their Mark Twain edition.  It also contains “Following the Equator“, which I have in paperback but for some reason have not yet gotten around to reading, altho I’ve always wanted to … I do, indeed, have way more books than time to read them, alas.

  I was saddened to hear this news earlier this week.  I’ve always held Turbine in high regard, and appreciated the fact that they were an independent studio.   

  I’ve felt that Blizzard suffered when the “suits” at Vivendi bought them out, and I expect that it’s obvious that Vivendi has been siphoning off cash from World of Warcraft for years, to fund what appears to be unreasonably high salaries and inept ventures.  I don’t know if it could be termed a greed or incompetence “tax” on WoW subscribers, but think what more they would have if they got an honest return on their subscription dollars?  And, the poor Blizzard employees who have to now suffer with clowns like Bobby “The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games” Kotick.  :(  

St. Patrick’s Day in Puzzle Pirates

    Altho, to be fair to Warner Bros., it’s not always corporate greed that hurts studios like Blizzard and games like WoW.  I do like the Three Rings Design studio, but they’ve poured millions into their Whirled game project, and it does seem that Yohoho! Puzzle Pirates would have benefitted from having those resources invested back into it.  Three Rings has acknowledged issues in Puzzle Pirates that have gone unaddressed for years, such as significant issues with their Atlantis rewards allocations which they are finally actively working to fix.  I do like the independence that Three Rings has, so while I’m not often in the mood to puzzle for hours, I do not mind occasionally sending them some money to participate in and casually enjoy Puzzle Pirates.   8)

  I found Boneshaker to be an entertaining read, Cherie Priest tells a good story.  Unfortunately, I found the teenage boy annoying and the chapters that focused on him disappointing, which leads me to believe that I’m not her target audience.  I do like the alternate-history setting with the steampunk flavor she’s created and termed “The Clockwork Century“.  Depending on the amount of involvement of teenage protagonists, I’m looking forward to further adventures in her world.

  I also enjoyed Jon Foster’s cover art, kudos to tor.com for releasing free wallpaper downloads.

Jon Foster's Boneshaker cover, as wallpaper

Jon Foster's Boneshaker cover, as wallpaper

  … and walked out with a 16GB iPad.  The previous day’s announcement of multitasking coming this year in iPhone OS 4 did have me more receptive to the potential of the iPad when I gave it a hands-on test drive.  8-)

  I have Stanza, eReader, and Kindle apps on my iPod Touch, but did not own a larger screened e-book reader.  I surely do love the font resizing, and the larger screen of the iPad over my iPod Touch.  My initial e-book reader thoughts are that the iPad is an ideal complement to my iPod Touch, especially when used with an app that exists on both devices.  A book purchase or download is then readily available whether you have the larger or smaller device with you, which is a good fit for me.   

  The Kindle app offers the additional benefit of not only having a version specifically developed for each device, but also syncs your progress between them. So, if you are reading on your iPad, you can then easily pick up at that exact spot if you later find yourself unexpectedly with time on your hands and your iPhone / iPod Touch handy but not your iPad.  (Or with your BlackBerry, if that’s your smartphone.)

Cherie Priest's Boneshaker novel

Cherie Priest's 2010 Hugo Award nominated Boneshaker

   Apple’s iBooks app for the iPad appears to be well implemented, but since it is currently without a companion iPod Touch / iPhone app it doesn’t fit my situation as well as the Kindle app.  Which is why I purchased Cherie Priest’s 2010 Hugo Award nominated* Boneshaker via the Kindle from Amazon, instead of Apple’s iBookstore (it was the same price from Amazon and Apple, with Amazon having the notation “This price was set by the publisher“).   

  Of course, this is a dynamic situation.  Apple plans to bring out their iBooks app for the iPhone / iPad Touch with iPhone OS 4, when it arrives later this year.  Amazon will continue to add features to their iPad Kindle app, like the announced “Search and instant dictionary lookup” features.  I would hope to see the option to choose fonts in the Kindle app, like you currently can in iBooks and Stanza, as a feature for future development.   The Kindle app does let you resize the font, and it allows you to have white text on a black background, a feature I liked to use in Stanza on my iPod Touch in low light reading situations.  I did not see a white text option in iBooks, something I hope to see them add as they continue development.  

  I was sorry to see that my favorite iPod Touch e-reader, Stanza, upon initial inspection did not appear to do well with the size doubling feature (same situation exists with Barnes and Noble’s eReader), and causes Lexcycle’s Stanza to fall out of favor, for me, on the iPad.  Perhaps there are font choices that will do better with size doubling?  I do like Amazon, but was saddened to see that they felt compelled to buy Lexcycle last year, and the lack of current work at Lexcycle to customize Stanza for the iPad may be the fallout for us.  Hopefully the Lexcycle expertise has and will benefit the Kindle app development, to include future font options? 

  Naturally, in addition to considering the iPad as an e-book reader, the fact that I could also utilize my other iPod Touch apps, to include my puzzles and other games, had a major influence on the attraction of the larger screened iPad.  8-)

* We won’t know until this year’s Worldcon in Melbourne, in September 2010, who the winner is.

… what a long, strange trip it’s been”

  And, as the Grateful Dead would also tell us, the journey continues on.

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