Saturday, February 26, 2011

Borrowing library e-books

You would think that book publishers would have the library thing figured out by now, after all, I've belonged to a library since I was 5 or 6. You get a card, borrow books, return them on time or pay a fine. Libraries purchase books (through special licence I assume) and lend them out until they are tattered then sell them to raise funds to buy more books. Online, I've used the Baen Free Library for years now, sometimes buying and sometimes just borrowing. Now, through chatting with a member of the cairn list I am on, I've found out about borrowing e-books through the library. This is fantastic and is done through Library2go. I used my library card to register then installed the Overdrive media app on my Galaxy Tab. Software is available for PCs, Android devices and, of course, the iPad. The person I got the info from has it direct to her Nook e-reader and Kobo e- reader is supported as well.

How slick is it? Well pretty slick. I can look at the catalogue on my computer or my GTab then select books for check out. I can get up to 5 at a time for either 7 or 14 days. There is a range of stuff available. Check out, down load and poof - new books to read. The reader software is good; has night and day settings, font size adjustments, automatic bookmarking and smooth, responsive page turning. On the splash page,there is a list of books you have out and the amount of time left to read. At the end of the borrowing time, the permission to read is removed from your device - I'm not sure how that works since I haven't gotten there yet. Really the best part is no more late fees - I had to pay $8 in overdue fees to get my library card updated (and I hadn't been to the library for a couple years!). If you're not going to pursue people minimize late fees.

The catalogue is pretty good. I read mainly SciFi and YA. As I get older I find I enjoy stuff I've read in the past (I think people call them classics) so recent publication isn't that essential. I've never read an entire library although I have gotten to the point where I'm waiting for new books a lot. I love the idea of reading different authors through the library. That's how I found Sharon Lee and Steve Miller One library read and I've bought e versions and paper versions of many of their books.

So why do I question if the publishers are "getting it"? Random House is apparently having a problem coming to an agreement with Overdrive. They want e-copies to expire after 26 lends. Why? It's not as if the download files degrade. You are getting libraries to purchase several licenses so they can lend the same book several people at a time when everyone could download from the same file almost at the same time. I get the part about editing etc but people do still buy books that they've borrowed from the library, just like they did with the hard copies.

I hope e-borrowing through your local library really takes off. It may help preserve library access for communities with reduced funding and brings relevance to those of us who don't *need* the library to access the internet or have a quite place to study. It's part of my muni-taxes but I could see this being a value added fee service if it would provide more in house services.

Now I must continue to read The City The City.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

On life and death

Today in the news there were two stories about how people treat their loves ones at the end of their lives. What ties them together is that the ones dying were unable to give consent. One because of due to advanced cancer and one  because of extreme youth.

The first was a man who administered a lethal injection to his wife who was in extreme pain and suffering from terminal cancer. She was not going to recover so he administered a lethal injection and later gave himself up to police. He is wracked with guilt because, even though he acted out of empathy, they hadn't talk about end of life scenarios. It would be hard to know if you did an action like this for the sufferer or yourself. I've taken a sick dog in for euthanasia. I had to know he wasn't going to get better and his quality of life would rapidly deteriorate - my job to ensure he has a  good life, including a reasonable end of life. I couldn't ask his opinion. I can only imagine how his man feels.

If euthanasia was legal the couple could have gotten some end of life options as part of the treatment discussion. Now he will never know, for certain, whether she would rather have died in peace or struggled painfully to the end.

The other story is also sad. A dying infant, in a near persistant vegetative state. Except there is no doubt at all about selflessness. The parents want to give the infant a tracheotomy so the he can die at home. After the procedure the he would in pain unless medicated and the procedure would do nothing to extend life. Courts have said no (legitimate since this would be on the universal healthcare dime). The lawyer of the parents hasn't read the court decision but can't understand why anyone would prevent a this since the infant is near vegetative. Perhaps because it would cause unnecessary pain and suffering to a life?

Another case FOR euthanasia law. By treating euthanasia as simply a medical treatment; human dignity is retained, lines are drawn. As people who love, we have a hard time seeking past our wants to the needs of others. Sometimes an input from someone not emotionally involved adds clarity.

Links
Adult - http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/story/2011/02/24/ns-liverpool-euthanasia-claim.html
Infant - http://www.vancouversun.com/news/canada/Father+dying+Windsor+baby+says+hospital+treating+like+criminal/4328772/story.html

Friday, February 11, 2011

Galaxy Tab = laptop replacement?

The thing about buying new tech for fun is that you never know when you will break your old tech and really finding out whether you need to replace said old tech. Yesterday I decided to clean between the keys on my laptop and snapped one of the clips for the space key. I can use the space key but what better time to see how functional my Tab is. There are all sorts of new android tablets coming on the market and of course the next generation of iPad. Can tablets replace the net book? Right off the bat I can say this is faster and more responsive than the netbook I tried. Also its easier to tap the screen for the cursor than it is on my Galaxy S.
I posted before about the on-screen keyboard. Since then I've changed from the Samsung keyboard to Better Keyboard. I seem to hit the keys better. I also ordered a case with built in Bluetooth keypad from Brando since I do miss the keyboard. I'm not a big fan of how smudgy the screen gets after some data entry and I have a protector and dry hands. Editing is actually easier in the Tab than on my laptop. Perhaps because it's more like natural reading for me.
I'm using Dolphin HD so I have the option of surfing in mobile or desktop mode. Since I have apps like Tapatalk and Plume I am using the web version. I purchased my keyboard from my tab using PayPal and had the same experience I would have had on my laptop with some pinching to zoom. Not bad at all.
The thing about the Tab is the portability. I'm no long tied to my desk so...no longer tied to my balance ball. I can use my tab while lounging but that's not doing much for fitness and I think doing crunches would be out of the question, maybe some stretches though. The dogs are really liking it because we can all pile on the same chair.
We shall see how this goes. I can still use my laptop and probably will but I can also check stuff at work so I may not miss it such.

Eek I have a neck like a turtle!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

6 words to yourself at 14

If you could go back in time to talk to your 14 year old self, what would you say? What could you say that you would have listened to? Would you be you or an interested stranger? Would you try to change things?

A lot of this depends, of course, on what your childhood was like and how things have panned out. Looking back from the age I am now, I think I had a great childhood. We were never well off and my parents didn't always get along but I had a lot of freedom. I grew up in a tolerant time of increasing civil rights in a peaceful country. Same evil people in the world-there was a rapist free in our area so girls were told not to go to the bathrooms alone even at school-and one of the teachers at my Jr. High was later found to be a pedophile. When you're a kid you are blind to that stuff if its not happening to you.

And now things are good as well. I appreciate having a good life. I've ridden out bad financial times and emotional losses. I may not be as generous as I'd like to be but its somehimg to aspire to.

So in the end I have nothing to say to my 14 year old self. She made pretty good decisions.