Thursday, November 8, 2007

You'll Never Be Rid Of Me Now

I was contacted a while back by a fellow named Nicholas Bennett, who had built a little java program for reading e-books off of cellphone displays. He'd already ported a few hundred public domain titles onto this website for free download (including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea), and was hunting more recent, Creative Commons releases. He wanted to add Blindsight and the Rifters books; I told him to go ahead. (I notice that Karl Schroeder's Ventus is also up there). One nifty little feature is that you don't have to load a separate program; the reader is integrated into each downloadable book.

I myself have not tried out these freebies because my cell — like my Internet connection, my landline, and my cable — all hail from Rogers, and Rogers (being the avaricious and duplicitous scumbags that they are) sold me a phone that only plugs into a proprietary Rogers cord that costs an additional eighty bucks, which I refuse to pay. (I could surf wirelessly, but even the otherwise-sleazy salesperson who sold me the phone warned me that Roger's charge for that service would take me up the ass like a Carlsbad Stalactite.)1 But I admit I'm curious, so if someone out there wants to try out this product and let me know how it runs, I'd be grateful. My cellphone-ready books are here; download instructions, over here.

1 I really, really hate Rogers. I hate them as much as I hate Dell. By the end of this month I hope to be free of them forever. Except for Cable. Still no real alternative for cable.

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13 Comments:

Anonymous magetoo said...

It seems to work just fine; although ironically, that dedicated book reader is not as nice in terms of navigation and text display as the web browser I used to download it with. Speaking of working fine, apparently I can use it to post comments here too, something that the recently-introduced captcha prevents me from doing in my regular browser. (The interesting part: both are flavors of Opera. I don't get it either...)

November 8, 2007 at 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully ßehemoth won't complain too much about the crappy ringtones or the cramped lodgings. ;)

November 8, 2007 at 10:02 PM  
Anonymous Jason said...

Works on my phone. The phone is a Motorola, and the carrier is Sprint, for anyone keeping score.

November 8, 2007 at 10:33 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Any particular reason why you don't just pitch cable? For what the average home pays on cable a month, you could pick up 1-2 seasons of a show on DVD. And then at least actually own something for your money.

And if its new programming you're hooked on, torrents of the newer stuff go up the same night as it comes out, so then it's just a question of downloading what you're interested in.

November 9, 2007 at 8:40 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

I actually torrent lots of stuff that gets delayed airing in Canada (South Park, stuff from the BBC), but the files you get online tend to have lost res in favor of saved bandwidth. BSG, for example, has much to commend it beyond FX, but I'd still take sharp-focus star fields over black velvet with a few dim smudges any day.

Beyond that, though, the next time someone blows up a building or releases some tweaked meningitis bug into a daycare (or even spikes children's beads with rohypnol, for that matter), it's always nice to get that coverage live — or at least relatively unfiltered. You only have to look at how the suits disappeared Jon Stewart's farewell on the Daily Show, just before the writer's strike began, to see the advantage of a fast turnaround time.

November 9, 2007 at 3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've recently ditched my cable and I'm feeling pretty pleased about it. Having to escalate my tier package to the top so that I could get 16 HD channels all airing America's Top Model or Extreme Makeover Home Edition was just too much for me. I used Shaw for cable (West Coast) but I hear Rogers is the same way.. we need some competition in the cable department it seems...

PS: the above jason.. not me. and google has still not released my account nor giving me any communications on it..

The real Jason :)

November 10, 2007 at 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Christian said...

Memo to self: don't drink tea and read Mr Watts blog at the same time. The line about the Carlsbad Stalactite entered my cerebral cortex just in time to release tea over keyboard and monitor....

November 20, 2007 at 4:41 PM  
Blogger Olman Feelyus said...

Sadly, I've done Telus and Fido as well as Rogers and they are all the same, technology-hating monopolies clinging to their protected market, preying off of wimpy, turn-the-other-cheek Canadian consumers. There are murmurs that the government might finally unlock the market for some competition, but I'll see it when I believe it.

November 27, 2007 at 10:51 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Well, the Feds have made an official announcement, and ther Big Three are excluded from biddiong on the new wavelengths, so that much is right with the universe. And I'd never go for Bell or Telus or any of the other behemoths. Maybe Yak for the landline. And there's some little ISP that could whose name I forget, but it comes highly recommended.

November 30, 2007 at 4:56 PM  
Blogger Torbjørn said...

Just finished reading Starfish on my sony ericsson. Great book, and good enough reader. It was impossible to get the book in any local store, and on Amazon.co.uk a used, mass market paperback version was almost 50 pounds, so a free, electronic version was a nice treat :)

January 25, 2008 at 8:21 AM  
Blogger Peter Watts said...

Fifty pounds. Man. To get royalties off that sale...

Glad you enjoyed Starfish.

January 26, 2008 at 2:49 PM  
Blogger Johan said...

I actually found you through that booksinmyphone site.

I downloaded Cory Doctorow's Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town" a while ago and read it on my cell phone. I liked the experience of always having a book with me, being able to read whenever there's a wait for something. It also saves me from having to carry a physical book on my daily commute to work.

Looking for something else to read on the phone I stumbled upon Blindsight. I really like it so far, having read a third of it. Like it enough to look up your site and from there found this blog. I am now working my way backwards through your postings, and I am really enjoying it.

Thanks for lots of interesting reading!

February 4, 2008 at 4:16 AM  
Anonymous dell battery said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

May 27, 2008 at 10:09 PM  

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