Yay Literacy!

So this is the first post in a new category I’ve created. Gadget Fetishry. Pretty self-explanatory.

The most recent piece of gadget pr0n that has caught my attention is the Sony Librie EBR-1000EP.

Basically its an e-book reader. Fundamentally, its a device that will allow you to read texts, manuals, novels, manga, comics, etc., on screen so sharp and crisp that it will put many monitors to shame and has a weight equivalent to a lightweight book (300 g/10.6 ounces).

I believe it was released about a year ago exclusively in Japan, with no word on any type of international release. The device’s popularity has been steadily growing overseas. A group of Librie fans calling themselves the Librietarians have set out to make the Japanese device more useful through software developement and have released a firmware upgrade. Recently the MAKE:blog on MAKE Magazine‘s website posted an article on how to upgrade the firmware on the gadget to the new version released by the Librietarians. This basically upgrades the device to English since most of its user interface is in Japanese.

This upgrade fixes one of the largest cons to the device. That said, it still has its faults. The Librie reads a specific type of e-book standard that was created by Sony and a number of content publishers. This format renders the e-book useless after a two month period, more or less creating a rental type of system. This is unfortunate, but you can still read plain text files. Considering I have a number of books in just a text file format, this would still be useful. I’m sure it will only be a matter of time before the format of the e-book is broken and we’ll be able to read pdfs and files in other formats.

I would say the largest con of this device is its prohibitive cost. In my research of the device the prices range from US$419 and up. Even at this price its a still a tempting prospect considering the amount of time I commute and read on the subway.

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