Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Techie? Who Me?

Most of you probably know (or have figured out by know), that I'm not the most technologically advanced creature on the planet. I'm not a gadget guru and I tend to like to do things the "old-fashioned way". Well, the times they are a changin'. Recently I've found myself using (and enjoying!) two technological gadgets! Go figure.

It all started at the beginning of July when I realized that the fact that my walking buddy was not available was not a good reason to stop exercising. (Canceling my membership to Curves was not a good excuse, either. Whatever). I had to do something.

From past experience, I know that walking by myself is just too boring. I get about 3 1/2 minutes from home and I'm wondering if I can turn around and still count it as a workout. I considered listening to books while I walk, but I don't have an iPod and even if I did I'm sure I wouldn't be able to figure out how to download books to it. I've tried walking with a CD player in the past and that just doesn't work very well. Too much jostling. Then I discovered the most wonderful new gadget. Playaways! Digital books that can be checked out of the library! How perfect is that. Each Playaway contains one complete book and is about the size of a deck of cards (see image above). Now I can hardly wait to get out there and walk in the mornings. How's that for multitasking - reading and exercising all at the same time. Can't beat it.

And if discovering Playaways wasn't enough, I also think I've fallen in love with my Kindle. I know, I know. I never thought it would happen. When I bought the Kindle last summer to take on vacation I thought I would hate it and was surprised that I didn't. But I still considered it solely a tool for traveling. I used it again on this vacation and decided that I actually do like reading on it. I even downloaded and read a book on it after I got home. Holy moly, what's happening to me? I don't think I will continue to do that, however. I'm not accustomed to paying for books and even with the discounted Kindle price, I can't see myself spending $50-$60 a month to read. I just can't get my mind around that. Maybe I'll use it for really hot new books. Then I won't have to wait to get the book from the library. We'll see. In any case, I'm a little surprised by all this. Who says you can't teach a old dog new tricks?

How about you? Do you prefer to read the old-fashioned way or are you totally techno? Have you tried Playaways? I'd love to hear what you think.


Sue Jackson said...

I'm sort of halfway there, Pam - I love my laptop and have become good at certain things - like making photo DVDs for my family - but I'm completely ignorant about other things - like how to do anything with my blogs except using the basic templates provided!

I haven't tried playaways yet. I still use CDs for most of my audios. But I DO have an iPod. You should try one! They're really easy to use (all Apple products are). Besides downloading audio books, I listen to a couple of wonderful podcasts about books - I download them each week and listen while I cook!


Sue Jackson said...

Oh, and I haven't tried an e-book reader yet for the reason you cited - too expensive for me. I have nothing against them and one of my friends LOVES her Kindle, but now I get my books free mostly - from the library, as gifts, or from publishers for review - and I can't afford to pay $10 for every book I read! The technology looks cool, though.

Anita said...

I am going to check out play aways at the library. I haven't loaded an audio book on my iphone yet, but I think I could do that too. I love audio books in the car if I am alone.
I liked the kindle I borrowed, and as you know, I'm seriously considering the Nook, when I get through my already owned stack........that's my plan!

Anonymous said...

I never used to be a techy-gadget person, until I go my iPhone a year ago. And now I'm all about the iPhone and the convenience of it. I just love it. I have the Kindle app on my phone, and while it's not great to read on such a small screen, it has come in handy when I just didn't want to wait for a book to come by mail.

My girlfriend got a Kindle for Christmas. She's the kind of person who picks her books based on feel (I know odd!) so I've been really interested to see how much she has fallen in love with it. I might have to jump on this bandwagon.

Sandy said...

I have begun carrying my Kindle with me much the way you always have a book with you. I guess that means I'm enjoying it. And I can't wait to try a Playaway. And what a great name!

Anonymous said...

Libraries, such as the one where I work, are adding ebooks to their collections. The ebooks can be downloaded to your computer and then transferred (if desired) to a portable reader. However, the ebooks that libraries offer are not compatible with the Kindle. They are compatible with the Sony Reader, the Barnes and Noble nook, and the Kobo, as well as other portable ebook readers. And you can download the books you want for free (but they expire after the usual loan period and can usually be renewed like a physical book). Borders has an ereader (Aluratek) that is $119 and comes preloaded with 100 books -- not sure if it is compatible with library downloads in epub format.

If all that sounds too techie and confusing, just go to your library and talk to your friendly reference librarian. He/she can tell you whether they have ebooks (yet) and what you will need to be able to use them. And how to do it. As many times as you need it explained or demonstrated. REally, if you don't make use of the librarians in your community, you'll find that they'll disappear. The city or county budget people will cut their jobs before cops and firefighters and zoning enforcers and sewer technicians. If you want your library to be there for you and your children, write a letter to the community newspaper to say what you appreciate about it. Tell the people who control the budget (not just the library director, but her/his bosses) what a valuable community resource it is and why you believe it should be supported.


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