On this edition of the Knightwise.com podcast KW has a co-host! Keith & Knightwise delve into the use of “squares” and how the proliferation of screens has led to both the generalization and specialization of devices.
- Lindsey Stirling & Peter Hollens – Star Wars Medley [YouTube]
- Episode produced by Keith Murray
Books : Some like the smell of paper, the sounds of gentle footfalls in the hushed silence of libraries, some like flipping though pages and the rustling sound of paper turning in the night … I’m not one of those persons. To be honest : I’ve been reading digital books since the beginning of this century. From devices as primitive as the Palm to my much beloved Sony PRS-505 I am proud to say that I only read about 2 paper books in the last 12 years. My latest device of choice on which I have devoured many a book was my iPad mini. ( I had ‘loaned’ my Sony eBook reader to my 86 year old gran .. and she’ll never ever give it back). But where the iPad mini shines in the dark (its active screen is great for reading in the bedroom) it gleams in sunlight (its reflective glass is terrible for outside reading). So with my holiday coming up and plenty of reading to do .. I thought I would try out something new.
It was in fact Niejana who pointed out the Trekstor Pyrus Mini on our last visit to our favourite geek-friendly store in Aachen. Three things immediately made me fall in love with the device : The size (It reminds me of my trusty Palm devices) The color and texture (It has this rubbery enclosure thats a dark blue) and its price : 49 euro’s ! I mean : What could go wrong for 49 euro’s ?
The Pyrus has a 4.3 inch 800 by 600 Pixel E-Ink display. It has 2 gigabytes of onboard storage that you can extend by shoving in a micro SD card. There is no Wifi, Bluetooth or 3G connection. Just some buttons to navigate pages and adjust things like character size and the language of the interface. In the end this device is horribly horribly simple .. and that is just brilliant ! The Micro Usb connector is used for charging and adding titles to the onboard memory and since the screen is pretty small .. the battery time will last you quite a while. It can read all popular formats (it does have a hard time with large PDF’s) but can not read .mobi (Epub is fine though).
But aside from the price, the one thing I love more about this gadget is that its so small, thin and light that you can just slide it into your coat pocket and whip it out anywhere without having to bother with lids and casings and having enough room on the bus to read your book. At the size of a smartphone it might appear to small to read on, but the variable character sizing does make up for that. The screen has a very good contrast ratio and not a micron of ‘glare’.
Sure its not as robust as some of the ebook readers out there, sure it does not have all of the functionality of a Kindle or a Fire .. But for 49 euro’s this is the “paperback novel cousin” to the “hardcover collection” ebook reader that you can find on the market today I’m NOT afraid to use it, loose it, break it or get mugged for it. It just lets me read my favourite collection of Justin Bierbers Fanfic .. anywhere.
We got a nice and juicy hardware review for you on one of our favourite topics : Laptop bags. We take a closer look at the 13 inch Macbook pro and iPad attache Case (what a mouthful) from Thule. We take a good and decent look at the appearance, style and finish of Thule’s carry-case for the Macbook pro .. but most importantly we answer the question no-one dares to ask : Is it waterproof ? All of that and more in this weeks Knightwise.com podcast.
Well, not really… but I did buy a new bag and did some tweaks and additions to the gear I drag around all day long. Time to check out the pic and run down the list.
Laptop : 11.6 Macbook Air 4 gig Ram, I5 , 128 SSD. : This is my mobile base of operations. Although I have a 13 inch Macbook Pro at home, the 11.6 goes with me on the road most of the time. Its small, light, pretty powerful, and versatile. The Snow Leopard install is ideal for the podcast production process, but most of the time I run Ubuntu on it. (I dualboot) After the upgrade from 12.04 to 12.10 the Macbook air runs very smoothly under Ubuntu, except for the hypersensitive touch pad so that explains the extra mouse.
Cables : For those places that only have wired internet (Believe me, I know some of those) I drag around my Usb to Ethernet adapter. I also have a small 5 port USB hub for to expand the two onboard usb ports on the Macbook. The 16 gigabyte USB stick makes sure that I can store some additional data, but is equipped with at least 5 different live versions of Linux like Ubuntu, Backtrack, Clonezilla, Mint and Crunchbang linux. With this stick, “All your computers are now belong to me” The micro usb charger also makes sure I can just plug my phone into any usb port to charge or exchange files.
Phone : Not in the picture : My trusty Galaxy Nexus phone running Android 4.2.1. I just pimped it with a 3800 Mah ‘fat battery’ for extended battery life.
Tablet : Yes : that is a 64 gigabyte Wifi only iPad mini. I still use the Nexus 7 at home a lot, but because I need the storage, I switched to a bigger tablet on the road. The iPad mini houses my books, a lot of music, all of my audio and video podcasts and a ton of pdf files. In short its my digital portfolio for everything. In the car I hook it up via Bluetooth to my car stereo to play podcasts and music. At work I plug in my Apple ear buds (or ‘earpods’) to zone out and knuckle down.
Bag : Samsonite V7609007 : Not a very exciting name but a pretty cool bag. Slung in ‘portrait’ mode instead of landscape mode its a lot lighter to carry the setup. There is not a LOT of room for extra cables and cruft, so I’m forced to keep the setup lean and mean.
So .. whats YOUR setup for the road ? Share it with us in the comments.
We have previously talked about the ZOOGUE range of iPad and iPhone cases on Knightwise.com, so when Tim and his crew came out with a new version of their ZOOGUE Smartcase for iPad we were tempted to give the new case a try. This time we decided to give Knightwise.com Lab rat “Fiddler” a crack at their new toy.
Fiddler is an avid user of his iPad3 and has used Apple’s standard magnetic cover in combination with a hard-shell transparent cover for the back of his iPad. A couple of coffee-spills and a near catastrophic drop later, Fiddler was ready to try a new case.
The new edition of the Smartcase has “The edge”. And I mean that in a literal way. The one flaw of the pervious version of the Smartcase was that there was an insufficient “edge protection” of the iPad. When the Zoogue Case would have an unscheduled appointment with gravity, there was a risk that the iPad’s “unprotected” corner would take the brunt of the fall. After hearing the suggestions from their users (and the sounds of breaking glass) Zoogue redesigned their new Smartcase. The new case now boasts a wider edge, allowing the iPad to “Sag” a little during an accidental fall, without hitting the pavement right away. The upside is that this gives the iPad some extra protection, the downside is that it makes the case even wider.
In all the new Smartcase is a welcome upgrade to the previous design and adds an “edge of security” to the otherwise versatile product Zoogue has to offer. At 49.99 it is not the cheapest nor the thinnest case on the market but it does bring the same high quality and ease of use to your tablet experience.