The review edition

It seems about time to discuss a variety of gadgets and doo-dads I’ve acquired over the past few months and give them the official TwShiloh stamp of (dis)approval:

The nook: I’ve had my nook for a little while now and have read about three books in it so it’s a fair time to evaluate it.  Bottom line:  I really enjoy it for several reasons:

  1. super convenient – it’s small enough to carry virtually everywhere and can hold enough books to let me avoid the quandary I occasionally have of having to rush out the door and knowing I’ll only be able to carry one book with me where ever I’m going.
  2. new reading material – the process of buying books through Barnes and Noble is really easy and with their inclusion of google books in their search means there are a huge number of free books that I’d probably never otherwise read.  So, in addition to books I was hoping to get around to and decided to add to the nook (the works of Saki, Oscar Wilde and others) I also picked up great sounding books like The History of the Zulu War or A House Boat on the Styx.  And if you read a bit and don’t like it?  No problem.  It’s free so just delete it and search for something else.
  3. the reading experience – I just got a cover for the nook and it’s amazing how much just adding and accessory like that can make reading an eReader simulate reading a proper book (of course, it also helped that I just found out that I can ‘turn pages’ by just swiping my finger over the touch pad rather than clicking the page forward/back buttons).  It does take about a second for pages to turn but I don’t find it distracting at all (and I’m generally a very fast reader).

But it’s not all peaches and cream.  The highlight function works but it’s nowhere near as easy as using an actual highlighter.  And it’s a hit on my conversion software (calibre) rather than the nook but conversions from .pdf to ePUB isn’t totally refined yet.  I’ve head some work perfectly and others with some annoying formatting issues.

Vibram five fingers:  I’ve been running with these for almost a year now and got a new pair this year so that I wouldn’t have to be seen in that horrid bright blue of my original pair.  I’ve never had physical problems from running so I can’t speak to how these are better for your feet or knees than regular shoes but I will say I enjoy running much more than I did when I used traditional running shoes.  while running shoes may not weigh much in the grand scheme of things, compared to the Vibrams, it feels like you’re running with cinderblocks on your feet.

X-mini:  The speakers on my laptop suffer from major suckage.  That’s unfortunate since I use my laptop for listening to music and watching movies.  The X-mini is a great speaker with amazing sound and a long battery life.  I’ve used it to fill up a good sized room with clear, full sound.

Zune:  I’ve had my Zune for 2 years and I’ve always been a big fan (especially since I hate itunes) and it’s been a great device for music, podcasts, audiobooks and videos.  Unfortunately, I’m starting to have some problems with the display.  I know we live in an era of designed obsolescence but portable media devices should last longer than 2 years.

To-Go Ware:  I used to use plastic utensils for my lunch but it never worked out well.  The fork would break in my salad, I’d run out of spoons when I need one and I’d always end up with a drawer full of plastic knives that I’d have no use for.  So, as a kind of an impulse item I picked up a set of these bamboo utensils (including chopsticks).  The holder is made of recycled PET plastic.  Look, I know this doesn’t mean a hill of beans in the whole ‘save the world’ thing and the knife won’t cut jack but other than that it works better than plastic ware and, hey, every little bit helps, right?

So, there you go kids, spend your money wisely…

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