Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Is there an eBook reader without screen flash ...?

Man, I have an AWESOME eBook reader. It was an anniversary gift from my darling husband. It was our 14th Wedding Anniversary at the end of the month as we do wedding anniversaries in a BIG way.

We make these pretty boxes at the beginning of August:

Then, once they are on the Piano we are NOT allowed to look inside them until BOX DAY on 30th August. All month DH and I fill the darling son's box. DH and DS fill mine and DS and I fill my husbands box. Often it gets a bit crazy as stuff doesn't fit anymore...

It's such an excellent thing to celebrate - something that we have actually achieved as opposed to something that is inevitable. This is all our Birthdays and Christmases rolled into one.

We also have a massive themed party and make it something to remember. I loved the gifts DH and DS bought me this year. They were really well thought out and I love them even more because of that. Last year I got a beautiful Diamond and Sapphire daisy shaped ring which I loved, but this year my eBook reader from DH and a lovely knife set from DS (SHOCK - THEY SOLD THIS TO HIM IN THE SHOP AND HE IS 12!!!!) are utterly the best pressies.

I also got an old antique cuckoo clock. A really old one in need of serious love and care to restore it, and an brand new - genuinely brand new - antique singer sewing machine. It is still in it's wrapping inside and has not even been touched. This was from my mum. I love hand sewing machines so much more than electric. I have struggled with mine for years, and I think mum saw this and knew it would be ideal for my Box Day pressie.

We spent an extortionate amount of money this year. I bought DH one of those generic iPad thingys as he keeps on and on about them. He didn't want an apple one though as he likes is android gizmo's. We got DS one of those super cool proper jugglers diabolo's and he loved it. We didn't really need to buy him anything else as that's all hes played with! We also got him one of those Nerf guns... the long strike was the only one he didn't have, so we got him that one. Card trick books, some animal from sesame street pyjamas but a digital camera with HD film capability for his main pressie. There was lots of other crap like Best Dad mugs and a pair of £0.99p slippers or me - still in the 99p bag from the shop. Classy!

Anyway, the reason I titled this post the way I did was because I had tried out loads and loads of eBook readers... Kindle, Nook etc and some other generic ones but they all had this seriously annoying backflash when you turn the page. There was one in Waterstones (can't remember which one it was now) (is that Barnes and Noble in the US?) which was mildly OK, but for over £150 I was a little bit wary. I thought that it would still get really annoying after a while. I read a few chapters of their sample book on it - why they put such crap books on there as demo's I will never know - and it kind of was Ok, but i just new it was gunna get on my tits proper after a few chapters. I would lose that flow I get from reading.

I am a fast reader too. On a 2 week holiday it's not unusual for me to devour 8 novels. Chunky ones too. Lugging a library around with me gets a little limiting when you fly with Easy Jet or other budget airlines and your luggage is limited to like 2 pounds or something. I had to get one of these things.

I thought before I bought one, that I would just search around online and see if I could find one that didn't have this crappy backflash. It's like, when you press the button to turn the page, it suddenly looks like it's broken or something for a nanosecond - turns black, flashes with words and then comes up with the new page... some call it ghosting, others black flash but I call it tripe!

If you imagine the screen of your computer with a loose connection  - flickering - fuzzing then going black and then all of a sudden coming back to life.... and doing it really quickly in like half a second... that's what it's like turning the page on a kindle. What the?

I cannot imagine spending a lot of cash on something that holds a lot of books - granted - but makes normal reading seriously annoying. I would rather just buy paper books. It was very difficult to find an eBook reader that didn't do this. Also it's made more difficult with the mix of UK and US pages - even though I specifically click "pages from the UK only". Google doesn't seem very good at sorting that out to be honest.

Then after ages, I came across a post summing up my problem exactly. Obviously a kindred spirit of mine in a far flung place was concerned about his reading flow too, and asked

"are there any eBook readers out there without an annoying backflash?"

                                                                                         ...and the answer was yes!

The ones with a flash or ghosting have something called eInk and it's infuriating. The person who commented on this question above listed 2 types that did not use eInk and they were the Jetbook from www.jetbook.net and Aluratec Libre from www.aluratec.com These use something else. Aluratec use ePaper and Jetbook uses high quality TFT screen a bit similar but definitely not as crude as a calculator screen. You can read it any angle, in poor lighting, full sunlight, it's not backlit and it doesn't strain your eyes. You can even change it to be lefthanded or righthanded for the button control!

Both seemed equally awesome, but Jetbook seemed like they posted to the UK and had some kind of affiliation to the UK as they were advertising a British website. Now, I was a little cagey, as I had bought many things from abroad and then been burned with the customs costs, but there were NO customs import duties on this eBook reader. It arrived in 2 days from New York, and I was impressed.

There are different types of jetbook. It would seem I have a slightly annoying version.. the cheaper jetbook Mini. The Jetbook and the jetbook lite seem to open eBooks with DRM (a digitally encrypted verson of the book which you buy) but mine will not open DRM restricted books. This is a bit pants, so I can only buy books which are non DRM or use a programme on my computer to remove the DRM. However, it is hard to locate books without DRM restriction as they don't advertise the fact. Now remember, I am not talking about Piracy... these are books you BUY but cannot read as they are locked to certain eReaders. My Jetbook Mini cannot read the book I downloaded from Waterstones and paid £3.99 for because my eBook reader is not 'supported' by Adobe Digital Editions - what Waterstones use to make sure you buy their readers (IMHO). Considering the amount of eBook Readers on the market, I think this is a little bit monopolising.

DRM or nonDRM is seemingly hot topic at the moment and rather political. I think it's just annoying for us genuine readers who, lets face it, probably are not going to spend 2 or 3 weeks reading manuals and being total geek nerds before making a purchase.

NonDRM restricted titles are few and far between... and to be honest not really the books I wanna read. I like the bestsellers and the chart list books. Thats just me. I could download the works of shakespeare for free or some random novel by random unknown and probably like it, but I want Marion Keyes, Joanne Harris, Martina Cole, Philip Larson etc. I want to big ones out right now!

Before I bought my first eBook I was oblivious to DRM. I thought:

I want an eBook reader.
My husband has bought me an eBook reader.
I have an eBook reader.
I shall buy an eBook.
I shall read the eBook on my eBook reader.
It will be easy.


If I had a Kindle, or other branded eBook reader (and paid heavily too) I would be able to do it with ease. But because I chose one that is easy on the eye, has no back flash, instantly loads pages and is all around awesome, I must just go through a little process first to convert my files.

Once I knew this (2 hours of head scratching yesterday), its a piece of cake.

1.) Buy book from anywhere
2.) click button on 'epubor' file convertor
3.) connect Jetbook Mini to computer
4.) open the OS CaLibre file handling system
5.) send my converted books to my AWESOME Jetbook Mini.

Yes it meant I had to buy a file converting programme, but ho hum. I like books. It's still cheaper than buying a kindle and less stressful than having back flash every 30 seconds as I turn pages.

Had someone else, for instance, my Mother, had this problem. She would have launched it into the nearest forest and sworn never to look at any electronic anything again for the rest of her life as in the good old days we just went up the library and borrowed 3 books and were done with it.


So anyway, my Jetbook Mini, although the other 2 types support this DRM stuff and mine doesn't yet, is AWESOME.

Yesterday I read Franz Kafka's Metamorphosis. I would not have done that had it not been pre loaded on my eBook reader. I also read Evangeline too. I am about to embark on my converted and unDRMed edition of Marion Keyes' The Brightest Star in the Sky. YAY.

Here is a picture of my beloved eBook reader. Oh and you can choose your colour!!!

 And here is a video of how it works...so for £99.95 I got a groovy coloured, seriously light, ergonomic, easy to use, no flashing, no ghosting, instant page turning, eBook reader just like.... A BOOK!

Oh, and the crap quality of the above is my camera, not the eReader! :)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Ramp it up

Well it's September and who would have thought that I would have had a relatively good year since I decided to sort my stuff out.

I haven't lost oodles and oodles, but I have lost 10kgs - 22lbs. That's not bad. I feel a heap better than what I weighed last September that's for sure. There seems to be a weight cutoff for me that I just feel so awful that I end up doing something about it. 122kgs seems to be about my limit.

The first time I got to that kind of weight I started this blog and slimmingworld and eventually, when that didnt work, I got the band. The second time I got to that weight was last September. Not a good feeling. I did have a FABULOUS eating fest though between April and September when Albert was totally de-filled! MMMmmm I remember those days!

I am trying to remember how I felt to be that fat though. Hot, sweaty, puffy and uncomfortable. Ugly, not feminine or sexy in any way.  Worried about dying of a stroke, looking like a loser who can't make good choices for themselves etc. Feeling like people looked at me as being ill educated too. Like I was so dumb that I didn't understand how to feed myself properly. Being verbally abused by kids at the park...

I felt horrible at that weight. I felt humiliated and embarrased and sick to my stomach. I felt worse last September than I did when I started my blog back in 2005 too... I think mainly because I was 5 years older, 5 years sicker with Lupus and it was just plain wrong to be carrying that kind of weight about.

I need to ramp this up though. I have stagnated now for a couple of months around the same weight. Losing 1/2 a kilo a month is pretty freaking poor show really.

We have had a LOT of takeaway food. The week before last EVERY evening meal was take out. Chinese, Fish and Chips, Curry, Pizza, Kebab... you name it. I don't know why but it was just so busy and I was shattered and no one complained about dialling dinner. But that has to stop  - if not only because my wallet is empty!!

In about 4 months we are going to be going on holiday again. We are looking at anywhere that is cheap, leaves on Christmas Day and is hot - even though I wont be able to sunbathe which is gutting.

It looks like Tenerife or Lanzarote. Both of which I have been to before, and they are fine. I would love to go somewhere with a bit of culture, sight seeing etc but DH wants to have a relaxing holiday rather than a driving about one, or a carting all over the place one. He wants to lie on his back for 2 weeks, and who can blame him!!

So that's 4 months to try and lose a bit more weight and see if I can look a bit better in a cozzy this year than last. Last xmas when we went to Fuertaventura I succumbed to buying a hideously expensive and ugly swim dress. Yes, it really had got that bad. I hadn't worn a swim dress since my bulk before the band... but it was a serious state of affairs and a normal cozzy or bikini was beyond imaginable.

This year it would be nice to not feel like a total whale and maybe wear a bikini again. Yeah, I know I am no twiggy, but I don't see why wearing a bikini rather than a onepiece has to mean you gotta be scrawny. I felt so much better in a Bikini than a onepiece. Theres nothing worse than peeling off a twangy tight wet onepiece in the ladies lavs to have a piddle and then trying to put it on again, cold and wet; stretching in all the wrong places and feeling rancid to the n'th degree.

The last time I wore a bikini was in Crete when I was a little over 17 stone - about 107kgs (only 4 kgs away!!!) - so it's not out of the question that I could do that in four months.

I am going to give it a big push and see what I can achieve. I am going to aim low and go for 1/2 a kilo a week. That means hopefully 8 kgs before xmas. I think that is a good target to aim for. I would then be around 103kgs (under 17 stone) and nearly under 100kgs, which would be nice progress. I want to get stuck in this year. The lowest I have ever got is 98kgs and I felt $1,000,000!!!

Although I have been banded for over 4 and a half years, I really do feel like this thing has been working properly now for the last year and Jane at www.gastricbandfill.com  is the one to thank for that. She has given me a lot of confidence, and let me decide on how much fill to have, or not have. I have got it just about right.

I have a perfect fill level for me at the moment. I am NEVER hungry, and I am only not losing weight because of the stupid choices I am making with my food and drink.

I still have to chuck sometimes and its all too much, I even had a day last week where I could - for absolutely NO REASON whatsoever- eat a single thing, or drink a drop of liquid at all!!

To this day I find the band a fickle son of a bitch and it's name - Albert Ladysmith Steptoe - is still as apt as the day I named him!

So, big push here we come!! I am going to use the daily plate again too to keep track of stuff. I find it much more useful to see where my calories are going and if I am getting enough protein and other nutrients.

Lunch today is a jacket potato with Tuna mayo. Mmmm.

OMG, just realised that if I lose 1/2 kilo a week from here on in... I will be back to my lowest weight (98 kilos) in 26 weeks... that's like mid February!!!!!!!!!!!! lets see shall we!