Sunday, June 15, 2008

Chocolate Fondue with Angel Food Cake

funny dog picturesEver wonder what your blog looks like to search engines? Well, the how-could-I-survive-without-him Peter Chen at Blogger Tips and Tricks found a site that can show you! Key your URL in at SEO Browser. Default display is "Simple" but click on "Advanced" in the upper right corner for more detailed info. It looks like search engines probably aren't too happy about all the special characters I use around here. But the good news is that I can pop anything I want into scroll boxes and the search engines will still find the content!

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real.jpgLast month, Jane at Dear Author highlighted some upcoming e-ink ebook readers from Astak. They should be available in a basic 5" size shortly, then later on this year, a 6" and 9" size with wifi and bluetooth should be released. Of particular note is the price range of the Astak devices- the 5" will be under $200!

Now here's why I've been keeping an eye on these Astak devices-- they are multi-format!
OS system: Win CE5.0
Language support: English, Spanish, Deutsch, French, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese
Format Support:
E-Book formats: TXT, PDF, RTF, HTML/CHM
Image formats: BMP, JPG, GIF
Sound formats: MP3

Note that even though the 6" and 9" size both run on Windows CE, there is no mention of Microsoft Reader or .LIT support. So last week I emailed Astak with a plea to offer .LIT fans a vision-friendly alternative to our PCs and PDAs. And to my surprise, I not only received an answer from Robert (Bob) Barry, Director, Global Bus. Development, but they are forwarding my email to TPTB at Microsoft.

Turns out, Astak DOES want to include .LIT support but Microsoft works very slowly in deciding who they grant licenses to and hasn't given Astak either a yes or no answer yet.

Now, here's what I don't understand: Right now, the e-ink ereader leaders are the Sony eReader and Amazon's Kindle-- both use proprietary formats and are not compatible with .LIT (unless the files are run through a converter). As far as I know, there are no e-ink devices that are compatible with .LIT. So wouldn't you think that Microsoft would realize that, if they wish their Microsoft Reader software and .LIT file format to remain relevent, they should ENCOURAGE companies with e-ink products to use the Microsoft format?

Yes, there are now UMPCs that are the size of a trade paperback, and they do have the advantage of being back-lit, but I have to admit that it's time for me to think of easy on the eyes, easy on the wallet, and easy to use devices. I have seriously cut back on ebook reading because it's getting harder to read from my PDA, the damn screen is just too small and the letters not sharp enough. So it becomes a trade off between font size and the amount of words that can fit on a page at any one time. Not to mention that every single problem I've ever had with any PDA has been problems with the PDA and my desktop "talking" to each other. Eliminating the PC from the equation by instead using a direct download device sounds like a less frustrating idea for me. And reading entire books on my desktop or laptop? UGH! Only if I'm desperate.

So my fingers (and toes) are crossed hoping that MIcrosoft will decide that they want to continue to support Microsoft Reader and .LIT files. The only way that I see that they can accomplish that is to allow e-ink ereaders to use their products.
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Your Ice Cream Personality:

You are an incredibly modest person. You don't feel comfortable bragging about yourself... or even receiving complements.

You are incredibly cautious. You rather miss out on something than make a mistake. No one would ever call you wild... but they would call you responsible.

You are a somewhat open minded person, but deep down you're fairly conservative. You don't like trying new things very much. And if you do find something new you like, you stick with it.

You tend to have a one track mind. You prefer not to multitask.

You are a serious and contemplative person. You definitely do your own thing in life.

That is eerily spot-on in this stage of my life. I have a feeling that my answers may have been a bit different in my younger days.


Madame Butterfly said...

Hey Bev, I've used Peter Chen's tips as well. Thank God for people like that. Makes blogging life so much easier.

That Astak reader looks promising. I just got an ebookwise not long ago, mainly because I do need the back light. I read a lot in the dark. And it can also use multi formats. I always download in HTML. I figure if I get another ebook reader such as this Astak one, then I'm good.

I would think Microsoft would be all over this stuff as well, but who knows what they are doing. Maybe they are coming up with their own device?

I hear you on reading on the computer. I just can't. It hurts too much and totally agitates me.

My Ice Cream Test results. Actually, mine was the same as yours but when I back paged, I found that I had missed 2 questions. I wonder what THAT says about me? LOL

You like to think of yourself as a fairly modest person. And it's true that you don't talk yourself up... but you're also pretty happy with who you are.

You have a wild reputation, but you're not as wild as you seem. You take risks, but only measured risks.

You are a somewhat open minded person, but deep down you're fairly conservative. You don't like trying new things very much. And if you do find something new you like, you stick with it.

You are a natural multitasker. You feel alive when you're doing more than one thing at a time.

You are fun loving and sweet. You tend to enjoy joking around and teasing people.

I'd say it's kind of close. How do they do that?

Bev(QB) said...

You know, I always swore I wouldn't get an e-ink ereader until they figured out a way to backlight them. Now, I'm so desperate for an easy on the eyes/ easy to use alternative that I realized that I can't read a print book in the dark either, so I'll just be happy if I can read .LIT in e-ink. Besides, clip on book lights will probably work better on those flat devices than they do on a print book.

Man, I sure hope Microsoft doesn't dick around until it's too late and they are left in the dust.

And, yeah, that's weird how, every now and then, you get one of those quiz results that is just scary-right. Who knew ice cream choices could be so revealing?

Kris said...

LOL, thanks for the pics!!! That second on is sooo cute. *hugs*

I will have to head over to the ice cream thing, i love ice cream.

Bev(QB) said...

Yes, go eat ice cream! I'm not an ice cream addict, but I will admit to a weakness for Coldstone.

Although, now that they no longer have the Guilt-Free Vanilla (they replaced it with Sinless Cinnamon- whyWhyWHY?!), it means less guilt-free trips there.

I always got the guilt-free vanilla with graham cracker crust and pecans. But we went on Father's Day and, with guilt-free vanilla gone, I got the Sweet Cream with graham cracker crust and pecans... but wait... I then decided to get wild and crazy and had them add strawberries, too!! Oh man, a new favorite!