Tech Days of Christmas – Day 1

In the week leading up to Christmas, we thought we’d do something fun and a little more in keeping with the holidays. We’re bringing you the “Tech Days of Christmas” featuring some of our favourite tech toys and gadgets. They are either items we already have, or items on our wish list.

With a staff chock full of tech-savvy software engineers and developers, you’re sure to get your money’s worth.

I have several items to start off this series.

First, there is a debate going on about which electronic book reader to feature on this blog. You see, I have wanted a Kindle, or a Kobo, for months and can’t decide which device I’d rather get under the tree this year.

I do already read some books on my iPhone 3GS (which I love, but would very much like to upgrade to iPhone 4), but the screen is awfully small, and the battery doesn’t last long enough, especially if I’m spending most of the day in an airport as I will be doing at Christmastime. I will definitely need my iPhone powered up to get through with my electronic boarding pass.

To help keep my iPhone charged on the go, I have a Brookstone Rechargeable Backup Battery – I use it all the time, it’s especially handy for traveling.

Back to e-readers — Tech Analyst Jam Hamidi’s advice is to get a Sony e-reader because it’s open-source-friendly. Apparently Jam has 100,000 books on an external hard drive and reads them on his Sony. He also points out that Gutenberg Project has thousands of classics available for free download. Also – weight is an issue. Especially if you read in bed. (Yes, this is a consideration for me, though any reader’s got to be lighter than the book I’ve been trying to read: David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest – a mere 1,079 pages.)

However, I have also heard rave reviews about the Amazon Kindle from Frank Giang, another tech analyst here. He likes the user experience: ease of turning pages and the easy-on-the-eyes reading: “I like the Kindle for its usability. You don’t even need to read the Quick Guide–just turn the Kindle on and start browsing the bookstore. Within a few minutes you can buy a book and start reading the new book immediately. The best of its usability is the fact that you can use it with only one hand, either left or right, whichever is more comfortable for you and turn the pages with the slightest thumb movement.”

The other contender is the Kobo, sold by Chapters/Indigo. It’s cheaper, with the ability to check out library books (something the Kindle doesn’t offer yet.) A friend of mine has one and is quite happy with it.

I’m undecided as to which e-reader I will choose, and probably will end up not getting one right now, because I already bought my daughter, who lives halfway across the country, a Netbook so she (and my little grandson) can Skype me regularly.

Posted by Tori Klassen