Sunday, January 17, 2010

January is here

January. Named by a dead Roman for Janus, their god of the doorway. His wife was not named Lintel as you'd expect but Camese. He got the gift of seeing the future and past which is why masks of Janus have a face in front and in back. You might have seen such masks at balls and I think there was one in Zardoz and Eyes Wide Shut.

The air in Utah is terrible due to our long-lasting temperature inversion that lets too little fresh air circulate into the system. Allergy and asthma sufferers are having a hard time so we're not enjoying it much and hope it snows soon.

My newest toy is the Witstech A81, aka Wirelession W1060. It's a mobile internet device, supposedly, with a 7" 800x480 screen. It's great for watching movies or tv shows, works good as an ebook reader and is very poor at surfing the web. Hopefully a firmware update will fix this and I bought it with the assurance they were going to add Android during December. Which still hasn't happened so it doesn't get much use beyond reading but I expect it will be handy on our cruise in February. I can play Bejewelled and it looks odd displayed on such a big screen and the stylus is required since the screen is neither transreflective or capacitive in the way the iPod Touch is. So reading in sunlight will be difficult. Ah well, it will do until Apple decides to offer the Touch with a bigger screen. It will at least play most codecs which is more than the Touch can do.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Sony Reader problems

My Sony Reader is the PRS-500 model, a couple of years old now. I was enticed by Sony into sending it in for a firmware upgrade so that it would read epub books as well as the other formats and since the Sony book store will soon only sell epub books, I didn't have much choice.

Big mistake. I got it back in under two weeks and had very high hopes since you'd expect an upgrade big enough to require you to physically send in the reader would be terrific. It was but in a bad way. Books that used to load in seconds now require up to 15 minutes and even changing the font size, which used to be very fast, now takes 10-15 minutes and often requires a reset. Some books that the Sony library software shows as 300-400k/bytes only show a single error page on the reader, even though they appear to transfer correctly. Without error messages at least.

This is obviously very disappointing and I'm left thinking that it may not be accidental. Do they want me to trade-in the 500 for a newer model so badly that they'd cripple an otherwise working model? I hate to think so but it's hard to believe anyone would put up with a reader that became so inefficient after a major upgrade to it's firmware. Maybe they did something wrong that can be corrected and I'll contact them to see what they'll do. All I know is this is my last Sony product, reader or otherwise, until I'm satisfied.

A search didn't show many people with this same problem but a lot have complaints about the screen breaking, either from pushing the reset button or from pushing the unit back into it's case after cleaning it or pushing the reset. That doesn't inspire much confidence and neither does the fact that nobody at their CS speaks English as a first language, according to many posts. I've dealt with companies that have "techs" read from a script that only covers a few points and then they either hang up on you or put you on hold indefinitely. I won't jump fully to any conclusions but I'm already very leery of Sony and it's alleged firmware upgrade. My reader used to work great and now it's too crippled to be used at all.