Sunday, December 19, 2010

Reading Between The Irony

I purchased my Sony Digital Reader Pocket Edition (PRS300SC) with 5" Screen - Silver last winter using some cash I picked up teaching Safety Procedures classes for my school district.  It isn't a top 'o the line gizmo or anything, but I liked it well enough.  In fact, I even recommended it to my Cheerful Teaching Assistant since I knew she was in the market for such a device.  Frankly, I didn't think she'd go for it what with wanting a Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, White, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology so badly, but she ended up purchasing the pink version of my own device.

We were happy and life was good.  For a while at least...

Then, tragedy struck.  I crashed my laptop and couldn't use my tethered reader unless I wanted to just keep reading the same stuff that was already on there over and over and over.  The CTA left her reader behind while on vacation and didn't even have the old stuff available to her anymore.  We were thrown back to the ancient practice of turning pages.  Somehow, we both managed to survive.  But it was a dark time.

Finally, the CTA decided that this was a sign from the fates that she was really meant to own the Kindle all along and went ahead with the purchase.  It arrived, complete with a fancy decorative skin and she happily settled back into the digital age.  I observed this from across the classroom and realized that I was in trouble.  It was shiny, it was slick, it had WiFi.  I was enamoured.

I needed to do something quick.  Christmas is breathing down my neck and there is a limit to how many handknits you can give.  Ditto for "Hug" coupons.  Furthermore, the mechanics are predicting dire things if I do not purchase four new tires some time in the immediate future.  If drastic action wasn't taken, it was very likely I might succumb to the siren song of wireless reading devices. 

I did what I had to do.  I rummaged around in the depths of the closet and dragged out the old IBM ThinkPad.  I plugged it in, forced it to accept an internet connection against its violent protests and introduced it to my little ereader.  Software was downloaded and I was back in the game.

Not happily, mind you.  I hate the old laptop.  It is clunky and slow and it is the sort of thing you pass on to your grandmother so she can get email.  Not that it matters.  She won't use it.  She will call it a contraption and recall how her friend Ida's son was arrested because he clicked the wrong thing and ended up getting porn while the government was monitoring his machine.  She will not understand wireless and fear the radio waves she is now inviting into her home.  She will call you sixteen times a day because she can't make the dad-gummed thing work or figure out where you insert the sheet of paper.

I am NOT a grandmother.  I am a young and vibrant woman with the technical savvy to crash a MacBook Pro all by myself, thankyouverymuch!!!!!!!!  I should not be subjected to this given my level of computing experience.  And now I'm all worked up.  I'm going to need my pill. Where's that bottle?  And will somebody PLEASE tell me why they put the lids on so tight and when they started making the print on the label so danged small????

But I digress...I'm fairly certain I was going somewhere with this.  Oh, that's right!  The tale of the ereaders! 

So here's where we stand:

The CTA has her Kindle.  However, she has confessed to me that she truly misses her little pink Sony with its simple, no-frills approach to reading.  She liked the way it felt in her hand and how easy it was to navigate without all the bells and whistles.  I, on the other hand, have moved heaven and earth (not to mention taken several steps backwards computer-wise) in order to reconnect with the very same reader my friend so misses, yet still can't help but think hers is way cooler.

I suppose that, in a perfect world, we could just swap them and carry on with our lives.  But it is never really that simple.  Our tastes in books aren't exactly the same and I'd hate to lose my entire library as much as she would miss the one she is currently rebuilding. And neither of us is so unhappy with our reader that we are ready to fling ourselves into an endless abyss.  Besides, it's taken a great deal of emotional effort for us to get to where we be at the moment.  I can't speak for the CTA, but I don't have the energy for much more in the way of change.  I'm just happy to have my reader back up and running. 

It is, however, ironic. Great story material what with all the angst and whatnot.  We should write a book about it.  Maybe even publish it digitally...

SA

12 comments:

Knitting Linguist said...

I'd download it onto my Nook ;) I think I'd probably cry if the Nook crashed...

Jeanne said...

I'm too addicted to flattened wood pulp and glue to be sucked in by the eBook craze just yet. Besides, page-turning is about all the exercise I get anymore.

What is it with computers crashing and forcing us to bullwhip the retired, geriatric left-behinds just for an internet connection? My G5 is spending the weekend at the computer hospital for diagnostic testing as the thing appears to have developed early onset Alzheimer's, and I vainly attempted to play FarmTown on a G4 running Panther (about three OS's behind). Can't even install the latest Flash player in that OS. It was a no go.

I think Santa needs to bring all of us the technology of our dreams on Saturday.

Kath said...

I'm still happily turning pages. But I am starting to fantasize about having internet access on my phone!

Karen said...

I am still stuck in the land of paper books with pages you turn yourself and the ever possible paper cut.
Dare I ask how you crashed your MacBook Pro? Have you spoken with the Genius at your Apple store? They can work miracles.

Mouse said...

I have a kindle reader on my ipod touch that I received for my birthday this past year but I admit that I would much rather purchase my paper books from the thrift store rather than buy ebooks.

trek said...

Love the flexibility of the library/ereader combination.

Have fun in theworkshops!PS - Knew the CTA was coming to the dark side. Tell her we are sending cookies.

Donna Lee said...

My kids (the real technical generation) love their nooks. That's all they talk about. I'm not ready to make the leap and will wait until I have to do it.

Cursing Mama said...

I am envious of you both and despite having saved the required pennies to purchase just about any ereader I'm too scared I'll buy the wrong one...so I still turn pages.

kmkat said...

I get 99% of my reading material free from the library so it would be silly for me to buy an ereader cuz then I would have to buy books (again). But when the library starts having downloadable ebook, watch out -- I'll be right there in ebook land with you.

I have 3 or 4 different ebook reader apps on on my iPod touch -- maybe I won't bother with another device.

Beth said...

I'm still turning pages. My deep desire is for an iPhone. A nicely shaped box arrived the other day then I saw it again later - wrapped and under the tree. Trying not to get my hopes up...

Leslie said...

I would read your book on my Kindle that I adore (but not as much as the husband, kids, and cats!)

I do call it my bankruptcy machine as I generally read one novel a day during the work week, and two or more a day on the weekend. Fortunately, I do find free books. Yes, I work full time and still read a book a day. I've always been a very fast reader.

I love always having a book available, especially since libraries in our area in California are rarely open any more. :o(

Anyway, for what it's worth, I recommend the Kindle! Sorry to be an enabler. :o)

Julia G said...

Sometimes simple is best.

There's no substitute for the heft of a book in your hands curled up in your favorite chair on a rainy/snowy day. Still, I'm dying to try an e-reader for the convenience of always having something to read at hand, plus there's all kinds of scanned out-of-print books to download for cheap. Santa? Bueller? Anyone?