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iPod Touch

I did a post a while back on the Kindle and trolled around looking for opinions on it. One of the interesting things I came across was people talking about reading on the iPod touch. What surprised me most was how pleased they were overall with the performance and readability.

So today’s post is from guest blogger and good friend, Max, who recently bought an iPod touch and downloaded a couple of books and did some reading. Here’s what he had to say:

I spent most of my flights on the way home reading Sage using the Kindle Reader app for iPHONE/iPOD Touch. Just a little on the flights up.

For the flight back, I’d turned the brightness setting for the screen down to 1/6 in order to help conserve battery life. The default setting of 1/2 brightness really sucks the battery down fast. While reading, I had music playing in the background the entire time. Contrast and readability on the plane was great with this setting – I’d left “auto brightness” enabled so I’m sure it automatically cut the display further once the sunlight disappeared. BlueTooth and WiFi were both turned off.

Battery life under these circumstances was great. According to the iPOD, I’d used around 1/8 of the capacity after about 5 1/2 hours of use.

If the iPOD reader app supports text-to-speach, I’ve not found it yet.

Finding and downloading “Catch An Honest Thief” was a breeze.

The actual “reading” experience was very good overall. Hard to find much fault with it – so far. The one thing that was a bit frustrating was that the reader doesn’t seem to allow for “copy and paste” functionality.

Thanks for the input! I’m hearing that people are sometimes happier with using the iPod touch–more functionality than just reading. I’ve heard from both Kindle users and iPod that emailing is possible (I don’t know if Kindle users versus iPod users are happier with that particular function.) Interesting little devices.

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Posted: August 13, 2009
Filed in Project E-books
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  1. The mail client seems to be fairly decent. Interfaces smoothly with my Yahoo! account, my home POP/SMTP account, and I’ve also got it setup to connect with work through IMAP.

    With my Yahoo! account – it seems to be doing HTML rendering and looks just like what you’d see reading with a normal browser. Don’t know if it will do the same with my others – I seldom get anything other than plain text on the home account (used a text based reader).

    It doesn’t seem to have a way to download and view attachments, such as attached pictures.

    The Safari “full web browser” does a reasonable job – it’s a little awkward, but still quite usable for most things. There are a few things that don’t seem to work on the FB website, but otherwise I didn’t have problems using it. The browser doesn’t have enough FLASH support to do more than display a few banner ads – so websites that are FLASH based don’t play well.

    There is a dedicated app for playing around on YouTube – clicking on links in the browser will launch it to display content if needed.

    Of course, there are downloadable free apps for ‘major’ websites and web services such as FaceBook, AOL Instant Messenger, Fandango, my online brokerage, etc – that are often more convenient than dealing with through the Safari browser.

    I downloaded the new Sirius/XM streaming application – only to find out that my existing XM streaming account doesn’t work with it, apparently there’s a “premium” tier you need instead. Not much clear info about it on the XM website or on the app page. Had me a little miffed. Looks like several of the “for purchase” online radio apps have support for (standard) XM streaming – so it looks like I might have to shell out a couple of bucks if I *really* want that capability.

    There doesn’t seem to be any provision for printing from the iPOD via WiFi, Bluetooth, even when directly connected to a computer. I think I may have seen an HP app that supports printing, but have not investigated yet.

    To date, the only *big* issue I’ve had with the iPOD Touch is that it refuses to behave properly when attempting to connect to WiFi at a Starbucks. Cannot successfully connect and authenticate with the access point. This problem appears to be new to the, current, 3.0 firmware revision. Judging from sites I’ve visited looking for a solution, lots of folks are having this problem – and it did not exist in the previous release. Guess I’ll have to shell out another $10 to get the next update once Apple gets around to fixing the problem.

    The location-aware apps/services seem to be “spot-on”, from my experience thus far. From what little I read in the user manual – the iPOD Touch uses WiFi to approximate your location. This feeds into their standard map app (of course), and other apps such as Zillow’s, Google Earth’s (if I remember correctly), AAA’s app, and others. You seem to be always presented with a choice to provide your position to apps – so you can decline should you desire. Apparently, the Google Website now has a location aware feature for iPODs as well.

    If you aren’t near an area where the WiFi access points haven’t been surveyed and coorelated with GPS coordinates – you can’t get the location. Should work well in dense downtown type areas where GPS is flakey.

    Comment by Max Power — August 13, 2009 @ 6:00 pm

  2. Max! Thanks for stopping by with the update. I’m pretty impressed with what such a little device can do–of course paying for an update–that part stinks. Bad idea, bad apple!

    Comment by Maria — August 13, 2009 @ 6:05 pm

  3. It is incredible – 32GB of storage at that. When we had to buy my daughter a TI graphing calculator for highschool – it was Z80 and it’s speed, memory, and storage capacity far out stripped the CP/M systems I used for *real* work. The calculator cost probably 0.25% the price of the CP/M machine.

    Comment by Max Power — August 13, 2009 @ 6:20 pm

  4. 32 GIG?? I made Randy go look that up. I thought you mistyped.

    Comment by Maria — August 13, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

  5. Yep – 32 Gigs. Don’t that beat all. I (re)ripped my entire CD based music collection and have only half filled it. Sweet.

    Have an update on the WiFi connectivity issue with the current (3.0) firmware – I just got home from Barnes & Noble and had the exact same problem there as as Starbucks. The common element seems to be the AT&T WiFi Hotspots – just can’t link up with the authentication screen.

    Otherwise – I’m amazed at the WiFi. It has incredibly fast network identification and connection. All you Windows WiFi driver writers should go hang your heads in shame. The iPOD Touch is INSTANT for all practical intents and purposes.

    Comment by Max Power — August 13, 2009 @ 9:09 pm

  6. Seems to me like you are owed a free bug fix. 🙂

    Comment by Maria — August 14, 2009 @ 11:48 am

  7. I managed to establish a successful internet connection at Starbucks this morning. In order to do this, I had to toggle the WiFi off and on and allow it to connect to attwifi a few times before the access point’s authentication screen successfully loaded.

    I’ll try this at some other *$ locations and try the B&N again to see if this trick is reliable or not.

    Oh – I found one thing I don’t like about the iPOD Touch’s Kindle reader: There is no text search function that I’ve been able to find so far. Probably would not use it often, but it would be nice to have.

    Comment by Max Power — August 15, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  8. Good on the connection!

    I suppose you can’t highlight either if you can’t copy/paste. A few word processing features wouldn’t be a bad thing. I think it has note taking ability but I’ve seen the question a lot about how to download the notes (to send) and how to delete them later.

    Comment by Maria — August 15, 2009 @ 5:33 pm

  9. Nope – no provision to highlight or underline a section of text. I’ll have a tendency to do this from time to time if I come across something I’d like to be able to locate later by thumbing through a book. I suppose you can kind of approximate that by dropping a bookmark… I wonder how many bookmarks you are allowed per title.

    Comment by Max Power — August 15, 2009 @ 5:37 pm

  10. If you can add notes…I would guess that would be the same type of thing. It must mark somewhere that there is a note. I want to say 6 or 7 bookmarks…I *think* I read that on the Kindle boards. But I could be completely wrong because my memory ain’t what it used to be…

    Comment by Maria — August 15, 2009 @ 5:40 pm

  11. Effortless connection at *$ and B&N this morning. Maybe AT&T rolled out an update to their access points.

    Comment by Max Power — August 16, 2009 @ 1:21 pm

  12. After reading this and other reviews…I think as a potential buyer, I’d lean towards the Touch over the kindle. BUT I’m holding to see what the Apple Tablet is all about. It sounds like it might be a bit too big (the 6 inch Kindle screen seems ideal and that is one feature I like about Kindle better than Touch–the other is the better web-browsing features of Touch.)

    Onward Technology. Bring us the best!

    Comment by Maria — August 17, 2009 @ 12:20 pm

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