eBook Readers for Me?

Sony ebook readerI am an avid reader. I read a book every two weeks or so. I would say that there were people that read more than that but I can only fit that amount of reading in. Originally I was of the opinion that I liked my paper books and that the “feeling” a “real book” could give could not be replicated electronically. But with the up and coming release of the SONY reader I have been reevaluating my opinion.

The SONY reader has got me thinking that it might be something I would actually use. I like the concept of having lots of books in the palm of your hand. I also like the idea that multiple formats are supported. But the idea that appeals to me the most is the ability to integrate the on-line experience to make my life easier and more fun. This also means a saving of cash, books are expensive! I also tend to read a lot of fantasy and that means large books, so my bag gets lighter. In addition there is the idea of browsing the shelves in the comfort of your home.

But the major drawback for me at this present time is the fact that there is not a huge range of books supported as yet. I have searched for some of my favourite authors and come up with zip. I can also see that authors like Terry Brooks have jumped on board and seem to be supporting the concept. Overwise offerings at this point in time seem to be limited at best. The authors that are on offer seem to be either the most popular or ones looking for any avenue for distribution in order to become known.

Considering the demographic of fantasy readers I find this to be quite strange. There would be a large number of geeks among the genre. Especially in science fiction.

This state of affairs could be due to the fact that when something is new they direct their marketing at the largest possible user-base and what they know will sell. It makes sense. But then again if that is what the major vendors are offering, it opens up a great opportunity for a niche market to be targeted, if executed properly.

So with the SONY offering on the way and the $466 AU price tag or there abouts, I think I need to be a little more convinced that the technology is for me. But not because I don’t like the idea, just the variety on offer. Until there is a much wider variety of offerings I think I will sit out until there are more adopters.

Unless anyone knows of great places to buy eBooks, fantasy ones?


The Hardest Edit Yet

You guys are going to think I rabbit on about the podcast a lot. Well simple truth is that I do. Reason? Well I (we) have a lot invested in it. It is a labour of love admittedly, but when you spend so much time on it; it makes it matter more. This week that is especially true.

This week we did our first interview for the show. It was with Dick Hardt of Sxip Identity, the CEO. Skype was a complete bastard, for what reasons we do not know. In addition to that the audio was less than perfect. As well as that I was learning my way around some new software. All up this meant for me a huge job. It took hours and hours of editing, and re-editing. I had to correct the audio levels and make sense of garbled Skype noise to extract the content. That is an added step that I don’t normally have to worry about.

I edited the interview once and on a listen I thought I could do better. I originally edited the raw data in Audacity then on the second I tried out Sound Forge by Sony. The wave patterns are easier to read in Sound Forge I think. That meant the second edit did not take as long. But a lot of the crackles and peaks were taken out. The software is very, very powerful and that meant that I had to learn a lot of new techniques for doing things. The help files are great and that helped. There are a few things that I could not help or eliminate, like the alternating volumes that can be heard. That was a result of the fact that no compressor on earth could have made up for the level differences between us and Dick. But overall the result is great compared to what I had to work with.

Then came the task of throwing it all together. Sebastian and I recorded our bit last night. That went so well it was smooth as silk. We knew our stuff and Seb was a great asset (as always). At one point my web page would not load. It was my story and once Seb knew I was having trouble he just stepped in and took over, magic. It just worked. Then after we finished I started to edit our bit and exported it as a .wav file. I put all the components together in Acid Music Studio, again Sony. It kicks butt and a serious time saver.

Audacity does multi-track badly. So this was a nice change. Again a powerful program and I was pulling my hair out with some things. Like if you change a track from a one-shot as opposed to a loop it changes the way the audio sounds. If it is supposed to be a one-shot, it sounds like crap as a loop. What I did not know was that it automatically loads some sounds as loops. So I spent about an hour trying to find out what the go was with Sebastian sounding like a Darleck! The other thing that this label of loop or one-shot does is changes the tempo of a track. So I was adding audio and it was either too fast or too slow! Again, pulling my hair out but got the two problems sorted when I realised the difference between a loop and a one-shot. Over all though I would say that software is very intuitive and easy to use. Despite my issues, which were minor. Organising and arranging your work is a snap and the ability to zoom and scale is priceless. I can now fit over ten tracks on the one view, much easier.

In addition to this the two programs work seamlessly with each other. Need to edit a track while working in Acid? No problem just open it with a right click on the file name, edit it and close and keep working on the project in Acid, awesome! The only thing that it won’t do is encode the .mp3, for that I am now using RazorLame.

RazorLame worked wonderfully. The file was encoded at 64kbps with a 44100khz sample rate. Another first for the podcast. I figure that it is a toss up between file size and quality and marketing. I think a smaller file size might mean more listeners. My only criticism of the file was that some kooky shit happened in that there is a bit of an echo in the first half of the podcast but then the rest is fine. Not sure what that was about but I think it might have something to do with modulation. So I have decided that for the next podcast record we will under level the audio, this will give the final product some headroom and take out some of the fluctuating echo. I say this because the audio of the interview which was under-modulated is fine.

And that’s a wrap. It was indeed the trickiest podcast to edit and toped with that was the new software and methods. I am proud of what has been produced. This is why we have a vested interest and maybe you can see why we are passionate about what we are doing. It represents a huge investment of time and energy. The reward is for people to listen to it.

Head on over to The Global Geek Podcast to check out the show!