Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Kindle makes the top 25 Gotta have travel gadgets
Time Magazine has posted the top 25 travel gadgets and its interesting read- listen closely to the descriptions and see if there is a difference between their attitude and those heard in by library staff... while these are travel gadgets, it is a good example of what people are looking for in their products. I hear easy to use, convenient, comprehensive, time savings- as we develop our products and services we need to recognize these are factors that matter to people... a lot.
Kindle- Books to go
Amazon's first-generation e-book reader certainly needs improvement — the page-turn buttons are awkwardly placed, among other things — but anyone who likes to read on the road should consider it an essential companion. That's because you can take a veritable library with you. The 10.3-ounce device holds around 200 books; infinitely more if you load books onto external SD cards. Better yet is Whispernet, Amazon's built-in wireless service — it piggybacks on Sprint's EVDO network — that delivers books on demand in seconds. (If you have access to an Internet-connected computer on the road, you can even add books in areas where Whispernet isn't available.) You can also email Word documents to an Amazon service that automatically translate them to Kindle's format and send them to the reader. Buyers beware however: new and improved Kindles are on the horizon, with some expected in the fall, 2008 and another in early 2009. (Listen carefully.... these books are here to stay... how are libraries going to get on board with this new wave? We are still reeling from the fact that we couldn't get audiobooks on iPods and ended up having to buy MP3 players as give-a-ways! ALA- are you listening? We need you to help libraries get access to Kindles!!!)
Flip Mino- Finally, a video camera so easy, a technophobic wife can use it. That's precisely the point of Flip's Mino, a cigarette-pack sized video recorder that's basically built around a big, fat, red RECORD button: Better to have a cute video camera that you'll toss into your pocketbook and use, instead of a big, complicated beast that stays home. (Do you hear the easy is better argument here?)
Play Station Portable- Discussing the relative merits of videogame platforms is a little like arguing about what's better, Catholicism or Judaism. People tend to stick with whatever they started with. (Note there's no debate here about using video games..)
The Clear Card- All the various mobile apps that track the speed of airport security lines may be useful — but they're not as useful as skipping the security line. The Clear Card ain't perfect, but at 20 airports around the United States flashing one allows you to cruise past most of the queued up suckers. (Saves time and makes life easy...)
Menospeak book- A high-end translation device is essential when you want to dive into a new culture, but when you just need to get to the bathroom there are faster, less expensive ways to communicate your urgent need. The Menospeak books may sound like they were inspired by Mickey Rooney in Breakfast at Tiffany's, but they're a simple, culturally respectful way to navigate through China, Japan and Thailand — where the degree of difficulty on the language barrier is compounded by the fact that most English speakers can't even read signs. Each passport-sized book has clean illustrations and critical phrases about food, money exchange, transportation and bathrooms, printed in English and the local language, so all you need to do is open to the page and point. (Easy communication process..)
Franklin 12-language (Speaking) Global Translator- are we using these in libraries where staff doesn't speak the languages of their customers?
Posted by Nancy Dowd at 7:37 AM