What’s Your eBook Reader of Choice?

I've admitted before that I'm not a big book reader. I read all the time, every day, just not novels. I read magazines, news stories, blogs and even certain chapters in instruction manuals. Therefore I've never had any real interest in eBook readers. I remember when the iPad was announced in January and shipped in April that some were predicting that it would be the end of Amazon's Kindle. After all, certainly no one would be interested in a "one trick pony" if you could get a device that did almost everything and in color to boot. Fast forward to December and Amazon continues to report that Kindle sales are stronger than ever! So it would appear that there is still a healthy market out there of people that want a lightweight, low cost eBook reader. As a matter of fact my college age daughter is a prime example. She has absolutely ZERO interest in the iPad or any other "tablet". She has a MacBook, an iPhone and a 3G Kindle. She's completely satisfied reading books on her Kindle and doing everything else on the other two devices. Some of my relatives opted for the Barnes and Noble Nook this past holiday season. They preferred color and some of the built-in book sharing (LendMe™) features of the Nook as well as being able to check books out from their local library via the device. 

 

The battle is just beginning

I think we're a long ways away from seeing a clear "winner" in this category and I think the one thing that's going to keep this market going is PRICE! The Kindle starts at only $139 and the Barnes and Noble Nook starts at $149. While the iPad starts at $499. If all you care about is reading, then a stand alone eBook reader makes sense over a tablet like the iPad. If nothing else from a sheer cost savings and lighter weight. I think it was also smart of Amazon to make the Kindle App available for multiple platforms (Mac, PC, iOS, Android, etc). It's clear that Amazon has more to gain by selling their titles/content than they do the hardware. By allowing you to buy and read books on just about any device including smartphones, you'll feel more comfortable building a library in that format. 

 

Which one do you prefer?

Since I'm not a "book reader" I'll leave the floor open to you in this case to make your recommendations to my readers. My daughter has a Kindle and loves it. I've played with it and while it's fine for her, I would probably want color. When I do buy eBooks I'm more than likely going to buy them in Kindle format and read them on my iPad. 

 

What I think it would take to kick this market in to high gear

  • EPUBS are designed to reflow based on the device's display size. That's cool, but I would love to see the option to see the book in it's original printed layout too.
  • While you can technically put video/audio in an EPUB, it's not currently part of the EPUB spec. I'm sure it will be in the next rev of the spec in 2011, but we need to see more multi-media "options" sooner rather than later.
  • B&N has the right idea with their book sharing feature. This option should be standard across the board.
  • Lower costs for the titles. As an author I hate to say it, but eBooks can't and shouldn't cost as much as the printed versions. 

These things will come over time, but the market it ready for them now!

 

Sync Your Photos From Lightroom 3 to Your iDevice

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5sRD-siAzE8

 

In this episode of the Adobe Creative Suite Podcast I'll show you how to sync your photos from Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 to a folder and then sync that folder via iTunes to your iDevices. Taking advantage of Lightroom 3's Publish Services we can now publish images to a folder and then automatically update those images with any changes we make in Lightroom. 

 

See more of my Adobe Creative Suite Videos on my Adobe Creative Suite Podcast

and get the App here. It features EXCLUSIVE CONTENT that no one else gets to see:

Learn Adobe Creative Suite with Terry White - Wizzard Media

 

24 Hours Without Using My Laptop

When I got my iPad back in April I questioned whether I could get by sometimes with just using my iPad instead of my MacBook Pro. Since that time a lot more Apps have come out and a lot more functionality is there. I don't see the iPad replacing my laptop any time in the near future, but I could certainly see using it solo on short (non business) trips where running my full range of Creative Suite desktop apps is not needed. Last week I took a pleasure trip to New York for a day. Before I left I thought about what I would be doing on this trip and figured that there was technically nothing that I would "need" my laptop for. I knew I would be checking email, social networking, responding to blog comments, browsing the web, reading my RSS feeds, etc. I couldn't think of a single thing that I would "need" to do that I couldn't do on the iPad. So I decided to force myself to use just the iPad the entire, albeit short trip. Just in case: I did bring my MacBook Pro too. However, my goal was to never take it out of the bag. 

 

I did it

I got through the entire trip without touching the MacBook Pro. I have the WiFi-3G version and I was able to be connected anywhere I went. However, AT&T service in the Times Square hotel I stayed in was horrible. For this reason I pulled out my AirPort Express and connected it to the room's ethernet cable. This gave me much better wireless internet in the room. The only time I was tempted to pull out my MacBook Pro was when I need to type large amounts of text in responding to an email. While I can use the onscreen iPad keyboard just fine, I don't enjoy using it for more than a few words at a time. I was thinking that I should have brought along my keyboard dock.

 

The next thing I bought

Although this little experiment was a complete success, I saw the immediate need for a keyboard. While I already own the Apple Keyboard Dock, it's not really designed for travel. Then I remembered a Bluetooth Keyboard/Case that a buddy (Mike) showed me and I thought, this is the one I would want to use on my next trip.

I bought it in the airport Brookstone (yes I paid too much) on the way home! They even offered to sell me one that was charged up. I declined as I wasn't going to use it right then and there, but that is a great thing that you do for your customers. Kudos!

I didn't test it until I got home and charged it up. It connected/paired as advertised. However, I hit an immediate snag on the very first thing I typed. I went to repsond to a Twitter comment with "Thank You" and I noticed right then and there that there is no Shift Key on the right side of the keyboard. I thought, "you've got to be kidding me?" Sure enough there are arrow keys, a return key and all the other keys you would expect, but no right side Shift Key. I happened to be on the phone with Scott Kelby (a popular writer/author) and I thought for sure he would share in my shock and frustration and he said "I never use the right Shift key." That floored me! I wondered was I the only one using both Shift Keys on a standard keyboard? Anyway, I can certainly train myself to use just the one on the left, but I thought it was an odd sacrifice for space. Otherwise the keyboard is comfortable and easy to type on. It rocks an impressive 90 hour battery life on a single charge! 

While this case/keyboard is GREAT, it does add a little extra weight onto the already slightly heavy iPad. This will not be my day-to-day case. It will definitely become my travel case!

Brookstone charges $99 for their version of this keyboard/case, but you can get it here for only $69.

Downsizing My Carry On Laptop Bag

I do a fair amount of Travel for work. I hit Delta's Diamond Elite status by the end of June this year. I typically travel with two carry ons. One is  standard Swiss Gear 20" rollerbag (that happens to have a laptop compartment) and the other is my favorite laptop bag of all time. It's the Skooba TSA Friendly Check-through rollerbag.

While this combination has worked great for me and my travels all over the world, it looks like I'm going to have to give up my Skooba rollerbag for now. The bag is great. The problem is having less space under the seat in front of me these days. Delta Airlines (I live in a hub city) has given us a mixed blessing. On the one hand I applaud them and THANK Delta for the swift move to outfitting the vast majority of their domestic fleet with Gogo inflight Wi-Fi. I use it all the time when I fly domestically and now I pretty much expect to see it when I board my flight. While this is great, Delta has also been busy upgrading their fleet with an in-flight entertainment system. This upgrade hasn't been getting much press and even Delta seems to be pretty quiet about it. 

The new system gives each passenger an LCD on the seatback in front of them and access to movies, TV shows, satellite TV, music, games, etc. AWESOME! Great, what's the downside? The downside to this upgrade is that the electronics for this system at each seat is being housed under the seat itself, significantly reducing the storage space under the seat for carryons. With my last few flights I've had to resort to putting both of my bags in the overhead bin because my laptop bag simply just won't fit under the seat anymore. So far I haven't been yelled at. However, I want to be fair to my fellow passengers and put my second bag under the seat as everyone should. Unfortunately for me this means going with a smaller bag. 

 

 

Time for a NEW Skooba TSA Friendly Bag!

Luckily Skooba does make a smaller TSA Friendly Laptop case. I swore I would never carry a shoulder bag again. I still don't want to and the good news is this bag is designed to slip over the handle of your rollerbag. You can still carry it with the supplied shoulder strap or the built-in handle. Although this bag is about half as thick as the Skooba rollerbag, I should still be able to carry my usual amount of gear give or take a DSLR body/lens. 

The beauty of these bags is NOT having to take your laptop out when going through a TSA checkpoint. I could never go back now after zipping right through for a year!

You can get the Skooba Checkthrough Executive Brief Small (for 15/16" or smaller laptops) here on sale for under $100 or

You can get the Skooba Checkthrough Executive Brief Large (for 17" laptops) here on sale for for about $105.

You should also check out the ThinkTank 50 Cable Management Bag for all that little stuff that causes you to get a "bag check" by TSA.

Thanks for a Great Adobe MAX 2010!

I wanted to take a few minutes to thank those of you who attended my "Creating Interactive Content Without Writing Code" session at this year's Adobe MAX. This session was sold out and I apologize to those that wanted to attend that couldn't. Based on the evals this content was right on the mark. I must admit that MAX isn't necessarily a show that I look forward to based on its traditional "Developer" focus. However, as a Design Evangelist I was jazzed by the creatives in the crowds and I was really inspired by everything that was shown during Monday's keynote! If you want to see where Adobe is headed around publishing to multiple devices, Flash, AIR, HTML 5 and more, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch the Keynote replay here.

I've taken the liberty of embedding my favorite part of the keynote below. We had a surprise guest Martha Stewart and she took the wraps off her NEW special digital edition of Martha Stewart Living running on an iPad and created using the NEW Adobe Digital Publishing Suite:

 

Adobe Launches Its Digital Publishing Suite: InDesign CS5 to iPad

It's been talked about since the release of the Wired iPad App, and now it's here for you to see and explore. Adobe is taking the wraps off the Adobe Digital Publishing Solution today that will allow Magazine publishers to publish electronic versions of their publications as iPad Apps/Issues. Rather than talk about it, I recorded this video to walk you through the process:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HlxqsN7HZyU

 

You find out more as well as download the necessary components for InDesign CS5 to get started here.

Download the Adobe Preview Tool for iPad for Free here from the Adobe

Photographers: MacBook Air vs. iPad

When the iPad arrived in April I had high hopes (I still do) for it to become a great tool for photographers and in many ways it has. More photographers showed their portfolios at Photoshop World this past September electronically than they did in print. Just recently I published my list of 8 Must Have iPad Apps for Photographers. Yes, progress is being made, but yesterday Apple released the long awaited update to the MacBook Air and the more I looked the specs the more it made me think about this new MacBook as a better choice for photographers in the field. 

 

The iPad appeal

The iPad is/was appealing because it was small, lightweight, has a relatively long battery life, relatively large display and is capable of importing images via the Camera Connection Kit. It can do moderate photo editing on the go. Also the instant on and not having to manage a file system are pluses in many ways.

 

The NEW MacBook Air offers so much more for not much more money

The most fair comparison I can make is to compare the 64GB iPad Wi-Fi model ($699) with the new 64GB 11.6" MacBook Air ($999). Yes, the MacBook Air is $300 more and weighs 0.7 lbs. more. The MacBook Air is also a few inches bigger.

 

MacBook Air iPad

Size and weight

Height:
0.11-0.68 inch (0.3-1.7 cm)
Width:
11.8 inches (29.95 cm)
Depth:
7.56 inches (19.2 cm)
Weight:
2.3 pounds (1.06 kg)1

Size and weight1

Height:
9.56 inches (242.8 mm)
Width:
7.47 inches (189.7 mm)
Depth:
0.5 inch (13.4 mm)
Weight:
1.5 pounds (0.68 kg) Wi-Fi model;

 

 

Once you get past the slightly larger size and weight of the MacBook Air, you can then start to justify it for what it offers over the iPad. The MacBook Air (MBA) has the ability to run your standard Mac applications (or even Windows Applications using Parallels or other Virtualization apps). So instead of trying to find replacement Apps on the iPad, it can actually fun Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5. Instead of having to use the Camera Connection Kit with low power/speed CF Cards/Readers, you can plug in any standard USB Card Reader and Import photos from any memory cards. With the MBA you can also more easily offload your images onto another hard drive just by plugging it in to the USB port and doing a standard file copy. Also since many photographers publish their websites using Adobe Flash, you can view those sites on the MacBook Air by installing the latest Flash Player if you choose to. Lastly, and probably one the biggest reasons is that the you can shoot tethered to a MacBook Air and see your images on the nice big 11.6" display. Lightroom 3 already does native tethering and that means that the MBA can already do this. Yes, the MBA is $300 more, but you get a much more capable device for that $300.

 

What I would have liked to have seen

There are two things that I would have liked to have seen on the MacBook Air. The first is a built-in option for 3G connectivity. That's one of the things I love about my iPad is that I can take it out of my bag and get online pretty much anywhere. Sure I can use my MiFi or a 3G USB Stick, but a contract free 3G option built-in the MBA would have been killer. The next thing I would have loved to have seen is a TRUE HYBRID between these two devices. Imagine a MBA in the same form factor, but if you open the lid and flip it over it becomes an iPad and can run iOS Apps. While it's true that a touch screen on a vertical display would be a pain, there's no reason that the display has to stay vertical if it swiveled and reversed. That would have truly been the best of both worlds!

 

What will I do now?

Believe it or not I have no plans to get a MacBook Air pretty much for the same reasons that I didn't buy myself the first model. When I travel for business I need the most full featured and powerful MacBook Pro available and the MacBook Air just isn't enough muscle for what I do. Since it's not going to replace my current MacBook Pro I see no need to travel with TWO laptops. A MacBook Pro and iPad will continue to be my tools of choice. However, if you're a photographer that doesn't demo software for a living like I do, then the MacBook Air might be a GREAT tool for you! If I didn't need the power of a MacBook Pro, I would seriously consider the Air!