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.
Dell Laptop Bombers no longer alone ?
Meanwhile in the real world Dell owners walk around with their laptop-bags with beads of sweat on their forehead. Packed with a heavy load of a overstuffed bag on one shoulder and a fire extinguisher on the other, their own mortality is very apparent to them As they leave for bed the laptop is stored outside, on an inflatable mattress in the middle of the swimming pool, if only to comfort its endangered owner that no indoor fireworks will go off inside the house thanx to of the Nr 1 hardware supplier DELL. It might sound funny, but just imagine having one of these baby’s in the house. Ok, on a statistical scale the rate of failure / explosion of a dell laptop battery is remote at best .. but still ! Would you sleep at night ?So yesterday when I read an article about Apple recalling 1.5 million (hello !) laptop batteries in the US, I was not really worried. Nothing to affect little old me here in downtown Belgium. Although I am an owner of one 12 inch Ibook (confiscated for personal use 6 months ago by my wife) I didn’t think much of it. But just to be on the safe side I surfed over to the Belgian Apple Site where indeed there was a link to the battery recall program. (you had to go under SUPPORT and hire a private detective to find the link, but none the less it was there). So i popped the battery from my wifes Ibook and law and behold the type number AND serial matched those of the ones that where franticly recalled to Silicon Valley. Imagine my surprise that 1.5 YEARS after selling me my Ibook, Apple suddenly comes to the conclusion that .. ‘oh yes .. there is a little issue of a Fire Hazard’ And if I would not have been an avid listener to Slashdot Review I would not have even found out about it.
FIRE in Babylon.
I mean : We are talking fire here people. We are talking Laptops that lie on the couch , are crammed in bags, lie in cars, or sleep UNDERNEATH my bed after a late night chat session. And the error here is not that the mouse cursor might go astray at any given time .. NO ! The flaming thing can BURN ! Its downright incredible that Apple only finds this out ONE POINT FIVE years after purchase AND does not yell “BEWARE ! FIRE ! “ on its homepage instead of hiding the recall program in some dark corner of the white website.
Laptop self-combustion risk… Nice .. very Nice.
Sure enough I entered the serial and got a nice little email that I will receive a NEW battery in four to six weeks. I was advised to remove the battery from the Ibook and work on main power until the new bugger comes. WHAT ? NOW i need to work without the battery ? For the last year and I have I have been a “human-with-laptop-self-combustion-risk” and NOW you tell me ? Djeez ! Now I Know the thing got HOT ( I made my wife use it on this little table whenever she wanted to set it straight down on the couch) but in my minds eye I see all the nights where the Ibook slept so near to flammable goods that my fire insurance policy is now stored off site in an Iglo !So BAAAD Apple for finding this out SO late and notifying its customers in a rather poor way. I’ll keep you posted on the whole story .. If my macbook does not decide to cremate itself while on my lap.
If you want more information about the Ibook and Macbook Pro issue go HERE and HERE.
Dell releases USB peripheral to battle exploding battery issue.
The first ever USB Powered Fire extinguisher. 🙂
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