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Toybox

Commentary on the Sony Reader (which you can get at Borders in the Cambridgeside Galleria right now, if you don’t feel like waiting till December for it to ship online):

It’s better than any e-book experience I’ve ever had. The form factor is superb; it’s a smidge larger than a normal paperback, and much thinner. There’s very little distraction from the screen. The screen is excellent — e-ink is way easier to read than an LCD screen. The only quibble I have is the flash when you turn a page. I think it’s just how e-ink works, and I think I’ll get used to it, but it’s a tad annoying right now.

It is not a magic bullet for reading PDFs. In particular, gaming book PDFs will probably be too big to read on the screen. World of Darkness was illegible, as was everything else I tried except Dogs in the Vineyard. That PDF is formatted for smaller pages, so it’s not awful on the Reader. But it’s not great, either. The best bet for publishers who care would be to release PDFs formatted for the screen size, which may be a problem for books with lots of tables and such.

Also be aware that a lot of game publishers don’t put a rational title and author in their PDF metadata. Most users never see this; the Sony Reader relies on it for the list of books on the device. This is sort of irritating — I want to be able to click on the title of a book in the Sony Connect software and edit it. However, PDF Info allows you to edit metadata on the PC side, which solves the problem. I haven’t found a free program that does it on the Mac, although I haven’t looked very hard yet, but since you have to use a PC to get files onto the Reader it’s sort of a null point.

Yes, the Reader plugs in with a USB cable but it doesn’t show up as a storage device on the Mac. That’s a shame. You could copy files over to a SD or CF card, and then move the card to the reader, but then you don’t get the nifty categorization functions. This may not actually be a big deal to me, though. We’ll see. In the meantime, that’s why my Mac dual boots.

Since Sony is being fairly relaxed about people hacking the Reader, I expect we’ll see Mac support from the community sooner or later. See also this forum.

All in all, me and S. are very happy with ours. Light, easy to read, not too much of a pain in the ass, and yeah. It’s a rocking device even though I want native Mac support and a couple of tweaks.

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