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Tag Archives: eBooks

Tech Toys – SanDisk iXpand

I love my iPad.

I love using it to keep up with my blogs. I am surprised how much I enjoy watching movies and TV on it. I particularly enjoy reading on it. Which is a good thing since I have a large collection of ebooks and .PDF books. The iPad is my weapon of choice among tablets for a number of reasons: It’s reliable, sturdy, has a beautiful display, integrates with iTunes, and just works well. I highly recommend them for anyone interested in getting a tablet.

Yet despite my love for the device it is not without its flaws. Chief among them, for me, is space management. There’s no way around it, iPads are not cheap and getting one with a high capacity drive is a significant expense. However getting a more affordable model means you’ll frequently have to manage what you have installed on it. If you share the device with your family this becomes an even more significant problem.

There are ways around this issue to be sure. Aside from using your computer there are wireless hard drives and cloud storage options but those are only helpful if you have access to a WiFi connection, which may not be an option on trips. It has always been a point of annoyance that Apple is dead set against allowing direct connection storage devices while many Android tablets come with USB, SD, and MicroSD ports built in. An early model Android tablet that I own offers all three and I happily kept extra books on flash drives. I’ve been baffled that nobody has come up with a reliable solution to allow this with the iPad.

SanDisk to the rescue!

The new SanDisk iXpand line offers exactly what I’ve been looking for. These flash drives, only slightly larger than a regular drive, have both a USB and Lightning connection. By downloading an app to your iPad you can plug the iXpand into your device and get down to business. You can read, listen to music, watch videos, and look at images stored on the iXpand drive from the application and the performance is excellent. You can also transfer files to and from the iPad, which also allows for quick and easy backups. It also works flawlessly with your Windows desktop.

There are still some limitations to be aware of. First, there are only three sizes currently available; 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. They’re more expensive than regular flash drives, but not unreasonably so. The 32GB model retails for around $80 and is currently on sale for just under $50 at Best Buy. Also the drive is FAT32, which will limit the size of individual files to under 4GB. If you’re looking to store high definition movies on it you’re probably out of luck, but standard video files won’t be a problem and .PDF junkies like me will be just fine.

The position of the iPad’s Lightning connector can be a problem when you’re reading, since the disk sticks out from the bottom of the iPad, but you can always turn the tablet upside-down and get used to the various buttons being in different locations. Also, since the iPad uses the single Lightning port for everything, you can’t have the iPad plugged into a power source while using the iXpand drive. This might be a problem on the road, or in my case when I get home from work and my kids have drained the battery watching YouTube videos all afternoon.

With those limitations in mind I am still delighted and I spent last night dumping files onto my new 32GB drive and put it through its paces.

Image from http://www.pdclipart.org/

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2015 in Cool Stuff, Reviews

 

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More eBook Sources

In my previous post I talked about the glorious resource that is Project Gutenberg (projects Gutenberg?).

If that’s not enough to satiate your thirst for eBooks here are a few more resources.

The Eldritch Dark:  Are you a fan of Clark Ashton Smith?  If not, it’s probably because you haven’t read his work yet.  Smith was a contemporary of H.P. Lovecraft and Robert Howard, writing weird tales of horror and science fiction.  These day’s he’s not as well known as Lovecraft which is what the people at Eldritch Dark are trying to help correct.  Smith’s stories of the dying Earth setting of Zothique are some of his best tales and his necromancers stand up against any others found in pulp fiction.  I highly recommend getting familiar with Smith’s work.

For the most part these stories are formatted to be read on-line, but if you want to read them in another format a quick Copy/Paste into a file and saving them in your preferred format will do the trick.

The Cthulhu Chick:  Speaking of H.P. Lovecraft, the wonderful host of the Cthulhu Chick site has compiled his stories into an omnibus eBook edition which you can download from her site.  Lovecraft’s work is in the public domain so this is a great way to fill your library in one easy-to-use file.  The collection does not include the works he co-authored or ghost wrote for other people.  The Cthulhu Chick is also one of the hosts of The Double Shadow, a Clark Ashton Smith podcast.

The Baen Free Library:  Baen Books has an extensive store where you can purchase their books in eBook format.  They also have a sizable collection of eBooks they offer for free.  Often these are the first books in a series.  Not sure if you want to dive into David Weber’s Honor Harrington series?  Download the first book and give it a read.

Black Mask:  Looking for noir and pulp adventure that has fallen into the public domain?  Check out Black Mask Online.  Because it’s a blog it’s a little harder to navigate when looking for books.  Conversely the site offers more than just eBooks, regularly updating with news and discussion about pulps and writing.  Definitely a good site to add to your RSS feed.

One more often overlooked resource for electronic books is your local library.  Many public libraries now have systems to allow you to check out eBooks with the same ease that you check out hard copies.  Best of all your library’s eBook program won’t be limited by Public Domain laws.  Check your library’s web site and you’ll probably be happy with what you find

This is just a taste of what’s out there in the dark corners of the Internet.  It’s a great time to be a reader.  Got any more good resources?  Feel free to add them in the comments.

 
 

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Project Gutenberg

This is a great time to be a reader.

Especially if you’re a fan of older works, classics and forgotten wonders that have slipped into the public domain, and one of the greatest resources for these books is Project Gutenberg.

Founded in 1971, the Project is dedicated to preserving and making books available via digital format and distributing them freely over the Internet.  According to their Wikipedia page, as of 2013 they have 43,000 works in their collection.  Most of their offerings are available in multiple formats; including PDF, HTML, and EPUB.

There are some real treasures available thanks to the Project; from swashbuckling classics like The Three Musketeersand Captain Blood, to early science fiction works such as those by Jules Verne and H. G. Wells.  Hard to find masters of the weird like Lord Dunsany and William Hope Hodgson also have stories available and for more contemporary science fiction you can acquire books by the great E. E. “Doc” Smith and H. Beam Piper.

In addition to the original Project Gutenberg there are two other affiliated projects worth looking into; Project Gutenberg Australia and Project Gutenberg Canada.  Each has its own library and if you can’t find what you are looking for on one you may have luck with the others.

So grab your tablet, e-reader, or laptop of choice and dig in.

He’d be proud of his legacy.

 
 

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