03 July 2009

Finally the Digital Book Reader - Part II

    One month is gone and I had a great time playing with my Sony Digital Reader – overall is a nice experience, reading in the evening before falling asleep became actually more pleasant, the reader weighting less than some of the books I’m having in my small library. As often I’m using the laptop only for reading electronic documents, the Reader helped me to reduce the number of hours spent In front of the laptop, and that’s quite a deal considering the huge amount of time I’m spending daily working on computer. The device proved to be also useful while using the medical bike, being much easier to fix it on the bike than a normal book.

    Excepting the creation of Knowledge Maps with Digital Readers disscussed in the previous post, on my wish list for future Reader devices and services appeared a few more points appeared since then:

    1. A dictionary that would show a definition or synonyms for the highlighted word. The existence of bilingual dictionaries would be a plus, a tool like Babylon on a reading device would be more than appreciated.

    2. The possibility to categorize notes, for example in key-words, concepts, quotes, unknown words, etc. This shouldn’t be limited to predefined categories, custom categories could be used in combination with predefined categories; the user for example could assign a set of categories to a set of buttons for faster response, thus not needing to select a category from a list each time the assignment is done.

    3. The possibility to save multiple bookmarks – now the device stores the last visited page, great thing, though if for example I click on saved notes, the previous bookmark is lost. This could be covered somehow in point 2, though I considered it deserves a place of its own in my list.

    4. Improved view/editing capabilities, right now there are cases in which the Reader fails to select the exact piece of text I want, most probably because of documents’ format, the same could be blame also for the strange display of text when increasing font’s size. This includes cross-page text selections – right now I find it quite difficult to select a text found on two consecutive pages.
    It won’t be bad if the files’ name and other metadata could be modified directly in Reader.

    5. Internet browsing and the possibility to save content on the local device, for beginning read-only capabilities for simple HTML Web pages would do, though, on the long run, it would be nice if a Digital Reader could dispose of read-write capabilities.

    6. A wider digital display to allow at least normal read of small-format books;

    7. A longer battery duration - because I’m using the stick to select text, the energy consume is higher, after a few hours being requested to recharge it. I wonder whether solar energy could be used to recharge Reader’s battery…

    8. Collaboration between content Vendors, right now vendors like Sony and Amazon providing content only for their products, on one side this strengthen their positions on the Readers’ market, though limits the accessibility to content consumers, market which could prove to be more profitable than the one of the Readers.

    9. Global services – I was quite disappointed when I wanted to buy a book and I couldn’t because Sony offers content only for the Canadian and US market. I understand that this is a new market which might not be mature enough, though I think that such Vendors should be a little more aggressive.

    10. Processing tools that allow processing the content created with Readers (e.g. Notes), exporting it for example to other types of files,

    I see the Digital Reader device playing a more important role in learning, not only simple reading, Reader Based Training (RBT) could have maybe the same impact on users as Computer Based Training (CBT) or Web Based Training (WBT) services, on a Reader being maybe more easier to consume such content.

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