Editorials

eBook Gains and Losses

Welcome to another installment of “State of the eBook”. A few quick news-y items, and then onto the major heart of today’s discussion, where we’ll be tackling the greatest debate in the book world today. Interested? Read on… First, in the “cut up your nose to spite your face” department, we have the news that both Sarah Palin’s book “Rogue” and Ted Kennedy’s book “True Compass” will not be released as eBooks until some time has passed after the hardcover release. Let’s consider that for a moment. At a time when people are looking for better deals, trying to find…


An eBook Introduction

Welcome to a new series we are starting here at Gear Diary called “State of the eBook”. Every two weeks or so (more if the news warrants it) I’ll be bringing you the latest news in ebooks, publishing, and the general digitization of our reading lives.


Dear Gossip Mongers Who Don’t Bother to Fact Check…

I ordinarily shy away from posting anything remotely political or religious on this site, unless it has a direct tie to something involving tech, and every writer on Gear Diary has been instructed to do the same. I do not need to know how anyone voted in order to decide whether we can break bread together, nor do I need to know a person’s religion (or lack thereof) to be able to tell if they are a good person. But today something happened that made me decide that it was time to break my rule. I have finally. had. enough.


Gear Diary Antique Roadshow

If you see a friend with a gadget fetish carrying something different, chances are it is something new and trendy. Gadget-heads are seen as fickle and trendy, and bitterly loyal … for about 30 seconds until the next bright & shiny object comes along. But I have typically held on to the stuff I loved the most, and recently I’ve been alternating between 4 PDA/handhelds – my Axim x51v, iPod Touch, Psion Revo and HP200LX. Made me wonder – what sorts of ‘old school’ stuff does the rest of the Gear Diary staff use? So I asked the question –…


Why Music Subscriptions Make Less Sense Than Ever…

As Larry just posted, Apple actually approved the Rhapsody app for streaming music if you have a RhapsodyTo Go account. So now we have RhapsodyToGo available in the US and Spotify available in much of Europe. That’s awesome, and a bit of a surprise but still… I don’t quite get it. Rhapsody to Go is $15 a month. That comes down to $180 a year or $360 over the contract-life of the iPhone. (As if iPhone ownership weren’t costly enough already.) Worst of all at the end of that year you own NOTHING! Contrast that to the Simplify Music app…


The Blurring Line Between “Smart” Phones and “Feature” Phones

My fiancée is on Verizon, and I use AT&T. It’s becoming clear that we really should just bite the bullet and move to a family plan on one of these carriers, as the combined savings would ease the pain of an early termination fee, plus we wouldn’t waste minutes calling each other from the grocery store. (This could also be solved by me simply writing down in more detail what we need before I leave, but that’s too easy.) Unfortunately for me, she’s very pleased with Verizon and is reluctant to leave. I tried enticing her by offering to purchase…


Is Rebel Scholar asking for negative reviews to be pulled?

Seems that Geardiary isn’t the only site to receive communication from Rebel Scholar concerning a case review. Below is the email Larry received concerning his review of the Rebel Scholar Door God. “Dear Larry,” Our legal team has closely monitored your post on: http://www.geardiary.com/2009/07/23/rebel-scholar-was-i-duped/ and has found your review unacceptable. In your post, you compare the product in the box to the picture on the site, and the title of your post further substantiates a malicious attempt to defame REBEL SCHOLAR without proper justification/replication of the lighting environment/equipment used to take the picture. We also back up our claim with…


Moving Back to Windows from Mac: Why I made the Move to Mac

I bought my first modern Mac in February, 2008, a 15″ MacBook Pro. At the time I was frustrated with the laptop I owned – a 17″ Toshiba X205 – which was running Windows Vista Ultimate in what seemed like a most underpowered way. I was tired of being told that there were no drivers yet available for my gear, I was tired of seeing notifications pop up asking me constantly if I was sure that I wanted to do something, and I was basically ready for a change. It didn’t help that I had already seen Mitchell and Vincent‘s…


Thanks For The Apology Mr. Bezos… Still… You’ve Been Served

Kindle-gate exploded when Amazon remotely removed a number of books by George Orwell. At the time  I wondered what would happen to any notes taken on those various books if such a thing were to happen again. And although Jeff Bezos apologized for the action and promised to do better in the future, the question remained. Well now we have an answer. A student was taking notes for an AP class and found that his notes remained. No problem right? Nope, big problem. It seems the pages referenced were left useless once the book was gone hence the notes themselves…


G-Map for iPhone vs. Mio – Fight!

iPhone owners have anxiously awaited the ability to run turn by turn GPS applications. AT&T has introduced a subscription solution, Tom Tom has announced a version coming soon and Navigon released their North American version last week.  G-Map from X-Road (read Chris G full review from April here) is yet another option and is notably less expensive than the others. G-Map downloads maps directly to the phone so, unlike AT&T’s offering, a data connection is not required. Price points vary as there are several purchasing options. $34.99 buys either a U.S West or U.S. East version. Six regional versions are…


Credit Where Credit Is Due- Bravo Mr Bezos

I still have questions about the various DRM restrictions and policies on books bought through Amazon for the Kindle. But with regard to the most recent issue, when Amazon remotely removed books from people’s Kindles… today we all received a direct, un-compromised apology from CEO Jeff Bezos. When was the last time you saw a CEO apologize without making excuses, sidestepping or softening the blow? A CEO taking full responsibility for a mistake… Now THAT’S refreshing. Bravo Mr. Bezos!


Rebel Scholar – Was I duped?

Rebel Scholar is somewhat new to the world of iPhone cases.  They feature a wide range of slider cases each with a unique design. The company touts itself, somewhat brashly I might add, as the clear choice over its main competitor the Incase Slider and features in their blog reasons why you’d be foolish to purchase an Incase instead of one of the Rebel Scholar products. I’m okay with companies being bold when it comes to their product, as long as they’re right, and as long as they back it up when they are not. I recently placed an order for…


Buying Prescription Eyeglasses Online – Why You Should Consider It

In 1999, I had Lasik surgery to correct my severe nearsightedness and astigmatism. At that time I was 32 years old, and I had been wearing prescription eyeglasses or contacts since I was 12. I have the ugly yearbook photos to prove it — just ask anyone who went to school with me in Eldorado. 😉 Because of my vision problems, it became a yearly ritual to go to an ophthalmologist or optometrist, have my eyes checked, get a prescription, and get a new pair of glasses; at best there may have been one or two years where I kept…


KindleGate Blows Up In Amazon’s Face

UPDATE: The following update appeared on David Pogue’s Times column. EDITOR’S NOTE | 8:41 p.m. The Times published an article explaining that the Orwell books were unauthorized editions that Amazon removed from its Kindle store. However, Amazon said it would not automatically remove purchased copies of Kindle books if a similar situation arose in the future. My Note- It doesn’t change the core issues here! Just a few weeks ago I posted on a series of encounters I had with Amazon and their customer service. The first post raised questions about DRM. The second clarified some of the initial misinformation…


Restoring Family Treasures: My Great-Grandfather’s Pocket Watch Restoration

A couple of months ago, I was given a box containing a treasure like no other. Inside were the remains of two pocket watches; both were in terrible shape, and both were obviously old. Since they came from my uncle’s widow, I knew that they were somehow related to my family, but there was no further information. One of these pocket watches would yield a most amazing discovery, the other is still a mystery. When I opened the box I was given, this large Waltham pocket watch was the first thing I saw. It was in pitiful shape, having no…


Is the iPhone 3G REALLY a Good Deal??

TechCrunch has an excellent post up answering the question “Should you get an iPhone 3GS” from a number of perspectives. Overall it is a fantastic piece that looks at a wide range of variables and offers answers to the question based upon each, and I must say I agree with the authors conclusions. Well, that’s not COMPLETELY true. He had me at “Hello” but lost me at the end when he wrote… Overall? Maybe. As I said, there’s really no clear-cut answer as to if you should get the device. You really need to look at the functionality above, and…


“There Is No Science Fiction”

The divide between our imaginations and our reality may not as be as wide as we think. Tonight’s “60 Minutes” had a repeat piece titled “Mind Reading” on the development of a budding technology referred to as ‘Thought Identification’ or in laymen’s terms – ‘Mind Reading’ – and it’s a technology that seems to work with a fair degree of accuracy.  As Lesley Stahl asks: “How often have you wondered what your spouse is really thinking? Or your boss? Or the guy sitting across from you on the bus? We all take as a given that we’ll never really know…


An Open Letter To Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

The following email was sent directly to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Dear Mr Bezos, My name is Dan Cohen and I am an editor for the tech website www.geardiary.com. I am also a proud Kindle owner. In fact, many of us on the site’s staff have, and love, our Kindles. I’m writing to you regarding an experience I have had over the past few days that clearly struck a cord with readers and Kindle owners worldwide. It began last Friday when I got a new iPhone and iPod touch and was unable to load some of my kindle books on them….


KindleGate: Confusion Abounds Regarding Kindle Download Policy

I’ve been on top of KindleGate most of the afternoon. It took speaking with three MORE customer reps today, plus the one yesterday, to finally get accurate, or what I hope is accurate, information. This sordid tale began last night when I was setting up my iPhone 3G S, and a book I went to download to the Amazon Kindle app would not download.  I called customer service to inquire about the issue. In short order the customer representative told me that each publisher determines the number of times a book can be downloaded, and once that download number is…


To Dad On Father’s Day- Thanks For All The Toys

I love technology and gadgetry. Even though I’m in a field that isn’t normally associated with such things I can’t get enough of it. For the longest time I thought that my interest had to do with my maturity level which, as my wife will tell you, can be rather low. 🙂 A while back, however, I realized that the real source of my interest was far closer to home. You see I grew up in a household with a father who was on the leading edge of new technology. We had a touchtone phone before it was even released….


Kindle’s DRM Rears Its Ugly Head… And It IS Ugly

I love my Amazon Kindle. I love reading with it, I love how light it is,  and I love the battery life. I also love the fact that it automatically syncs with the Amazon Kindle application on my iPhone and iPod touch. That means any book will open to the last page read regardless of the device last used.  it is an amazing bit of technology   that makes reading books across multiple platforms beyond simple. It’s a perfect situation — right? Well, it’s an almost perfect situation. This afternoon I discovered a huge Achilles heel in the whole Amazon Kindle…