July 16th, 2010

iPad pre-review

The previous was posted from my iPad: yes, I bought a maxed out iPad (3G with whatever the most memory was when I ordered it) and a nice man from FedEx thumped on my door hard enough for me to actually hear it (probably because B.'s car was in the driveway so he was fairly certain someone was inside). Very nice man, that means I _got_ my iPad today, instead of waiting until they came back or having to drive some where to pick it up or whatever. Yay, FedEx. Given the numerous egregiously awful experiences I've had with them, this goes some ways to ameliorating my dislike.

The onscreen keyboard is something I may or may not ever adapt to. In any event, I didn't adapt fast enough to want to type in a full review on it, which says something.

I had to set up an account with the iTunes store in order to download the (free) kindle app. I'm not even gonna go there. Further, I had to reconfirm payment information with Amazon (that, at least, makes some sense) to use it. Once I had the kindle app downloaded omg I can see why people think the iPad is going to kill in the ebooks market. They are totally wrong, and here is why.

That screen is like going into a stereo store (which they probably don't call that any more if indeed they still exist, because even 10 years ago, bi-channel was dying a sad, quiet death) and listening to bright (that would be a technical term) speakers. They knock you back, make you pull out your wallet, and when you bring them home, they are so fatiguing to listen to you quit listening to music altogether. Which may explain in part why crap like the mp3 format has such legs.

The "bright" part of the analogy is that when you look at your list of books on the iPad kindle apple, you see beautiful, colorful, detailed, cover art. Yummmy. And the layout of the page on the screen is great. I haven't had a chance to check any of the oversize charts that are unreadably small (and font size manipulation does not increase the size) on a regular kindle -- a problem that was causing me to contemplate buying a DX even tho I still have my kindle 1 and my replacement kindle 2. I _did_ however check how recipes look on the iPad kindle app: and they are absolutely usable for cooking. If you can stand the thought of having your iPad anywhere near cake batter, say, we _finally_ have a viable cookbook replacement. And one that you don't have to break the spine on to get to stay open, because the idiot publisher couldn't be bothered to make a spiral edition for those of us who _use_ cookbooks instead of just wanking off while looking at the drooly food pictures. Which appears to be the market some cookbooks were aiming for.

But wow, it only took a few pages of reading on that thing to realize that I was not going to be voluntarily reading two novels a day on that thing. Or, really, even one.

However, having been suckered into setting up an iTunes store account, there's a chance I might start watching video on this thing. And it absolutely is going on vacation with me. If there's too much competition for it with the kids, maybe I'll buy them a cheaper one.

Should you buy one? Look, if it was a good decision for you, you already have. They're probably too expensive still. Just think of what's going to be out there in a few years tho...

ETA: the slider bar to go elsewhere in the book in the kindle app is awesome.


And you may interpret that as an adjective or a noun, as pleases you, because this is about the noun and the feeling.

I've been fiddling with the iPad in a relatively non-directed way. I say relatively, because by the end of the day, I had incoming (easy) and outgoing (puzzlingly difficult to get this to actually work -- I still don't know which setting I had wrong much less what fixed it. *shrug*) mail set up, downloaded the kindle app, downloaded weatherstation and the farmville app and bought a single edition of The Nation. I'd fired up the browser a few times, and synced with my computer so my itunes catalog is now on it. I think I checked out the mapping app, but I haven't run YouTube yet.

I had to actually set up an itunes store account, which I had never done before. And looking at the itunes storefront, or whatever passes for that, I felt perversely compelled to buy the advertised V.V. Brown, who I had heard and watched on Jools Holland's show. That is such a weird reaction, that I put the iPad away for a while to go contemplate just what the video on demand options are out there.

Back when I was catching up on NCIS, I exploited some of these, but refrained from buying episodes from Amazon's service, because it seemed to expensive, compared to getting the netflix discs. And I'm still having that feeling. Even cheap episodes are $1.99, and more typically $2.99 -- if you look at what it costs to buy a season on disc through Amazon, it seems like each show should be around $1.80 or so, which makes the $2 seem okay and the $3 sort of offensive. The apple version of video on demand gives no break on buying a full season; at least some of the time, Amazon will give you a break on the price to buy the full season (altho the amount of savings they say you get vs. what my math tells me I'm getting does not match. At all.). I was extremely uncertain how apple curates purchases -- I've been told they don't, and if you lose something, you can't re-download it free of charge. I have not yet investigated the truth of that. Amazon definitely curates; I bought an episode of Eureka on our Tivo HD. And this is where things get really weird: I bought it in HD for $2.99. When I looked in my Amazon Video On Demand library where Things Live Forever (in theory), I had both the HD and the regular version. When I later bought two more episodes (using some promo codes, one of which was from today's purchase, and one of which was from something else a while back), I didn't realize the difference between HD and regular, and bought the episodes in regular format, for $1.99 each. This was also the point at which I saw the break on the full season price.

So there's definitely some potential for confusion. That potential turns out to be aggravated on my laptop, in that there seems to be a display problem with the full season list on Firefox on my mac: it only shows episodes 1-11. Safari displays it correctly, so if I want to buy episode 12 (I just did), I either would have had to interrupt my husband watching cycling (surprise) or use safari (which is what I did). That used up the remaining .02 of my applicable promo code, but I now have the rest of season 1 to watch at will.

What have I learned from all this? So far, the takeaway on video matches the ebook experience: apple stores provide huge temptation, but Amazon is the same price or cheaper, and I know how to recover from data loss with Amazon. Also, I know that I can watch the Amazon content on my Tivo, my laptop, my iPad. That might be possible with itunes; I'll let you know if I find out.