Sony Reader, how did I live without you?

I spent all day Thursday playing with my Sony Reader. And I do mean ALL DAY. If anyone else is thinking about buying one, here are some helpful hints:

  • I have a ton of scholarly journal articles in PDF format that I wanted to read on the Sony Reader. It is possible to read them, but the font is a bit small. Sometimes the zoom function doesn’t work well with PDFs since it basically reformats the flow of text, but you can also hold down the zoom button for 5 seconds, and it will change the orientation of the page to landscape, which makes the font slightly bigger (you will have to hold the Reader sideways, of course). I haven’t had any problems reading my PDF files so far!
  • I did have a problem with the metadata in PDFs though. When authors of PDFs save their files, sometimes they don’t fill in the title and author fields in Properties. The Sony Reader uses this information to store the files (by title or by author). So if these fields are missing, or if these fields contain something else (the file’s location, the file’s actual name, etc.) it will majorly screw up the list of “books” on your Reader. And of course, unless you have the full version of Adobe, you cannot change this information. However, I found a program called BeCyPDFMetaEdit that does allow you to update the Metadata for PDF files. I have been able to change the titles and authors of all of my journal articles, except for two (because they were password-protected.)
  • The actual Sony Reader format for books is LRF (also called BBeB book). You can use a program called Calibre to convert files to this format, but it didn’t seem to work well for my PDF files, so I have just left them all as PDFs. Also, it will not convert image-based PDF files. Calibre is designed to be a “complete e-book library solution” so you may like it better than the eBook Library Software that comes with the Reader.
  • If you want to make your own “books” for the Reader, it will also accept EPUB, TXT, RTF and unsecured DOC formats. The Word documents will be reformatted to RTF files for you during transfer, so you must have MS Word on your computer. Personally, I’ve just been using OpenOffice to create my own PDF files (with a font size of at least 24 so it can be easily read without having to zoom), but the text-based files obviously show up just as well.
  • You can also play audio files with extensions of .mp3, .mp4, .m4a, .mov, and .qt (you must listen with headphones as there are no speakers). It is possible to read a book while listening to the mp3, so it may be useful for podcasts. You can also view pictures with extensions of .bmp, .gif, .jpg, or .png (in black & white, of course) and you have the option of turning on a slideshow.
  • The internal memory is 210 MB, and you can also use PRODuo and SD memory cards if that’s not enough space for you.
  • There is no back light, so you must have another source of light (remember, it’s just like a real book!)
  • If you buy the Reader before March 31, you can download 100 free classics from the eBook Store for free. Granted, these books are all in the public domain and so they are free anyway (through Project Gutenberg), but they’re already in the LRF format and specifically designed for the Sony Reader. There are 930 books to choose from, including a few political documents, such as the Constitution of the US and even the Patriot Act!

If anyone has other questions about what the Reader can do, let me know.

Sculpture of European Stereotypes: Get angry or just laugh?

A Czech artist, David Cerny, was supposed to lead a project to create a sculpture to represent all 27 member states of the EU, working with an artist from each country.  Instead, he worked with two of his friends to produce a sculpture that shows a (usually insulting) stereotype of each country, because he wanted […]

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Appareil à Hot Dog

I saw this at Darty tonight and it made me laugh. A hot dog in a baguette is just wrong.

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Exam time… and now more vacation time

Today was the big phonetics final exam for my first year students, and I worked for 5 hours straight with a seemingly never-ending number of students. The actual test only took them about 5 minutes to do, but I was supposed to figure out their grade in the one minute before the next student started […]

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French Phonetics: Listening & Repetition Exercises

Have trouble hearing the difference between les and lait ? How about jeune and jeûne ? Um, yeah, me too. Still can’t say bûche correctly? How many silent letters are there in prompt ? Do you want to cry when you’re forced to pronounce serrurerie ? Since I’m still on vacation, I’ve been working hard […]

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Les Hiverts Les Plus Froids ! Mais c’est quoi, un hivert ?

As spotted even over in Montreal, France 2 must have lost their spellchecker along with the commercials.

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Strike Time

Pôle Emploi, which is replacing ANPE & ASSEDIC, is already beginning its first days with a strike even though the organization doesn’t technically become effective until Thursday. The employees of the organization that is designed to help you find work refuse to work so that you cannot find work because they are upset about their […]

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Restless in Annecy

I think I’ve decided to do a Master’s in France starting this fall. I should be able to start with an M2 and just do one year of coursework and then write my mémoire. It will be extremely cheap compared to North American tuition, and I’ll have a research paper in French to bolster my […]

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What’s Changing in France in 2009

France no longer holds the presidency of the European Union. The Czech Republic takes over for the next 6 months, followed by Sweden. Twenty universities will be autonomous and independent from the state. They will be able to make their own budget and charge their own fees & tuition. If all goes well with these […]

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As 2008 Ends…

I’ve got 2009 already planned as the Year of Travel. The second semester begins January 19 and finishes at the end of April. We’re going to the Dominican Republic during spring break for my brother’s wedding. I’ve got a few exams – maybe two days? – to proctor in May & June, but in the […]

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Why is Jennie no longer in France?

I created this blog in September 2006 when I moved to France from Michigan to teach English. Many of the earlier posts are about my personal life in France, dealing with culture shock, traveling in Europe and becoming fluent in French. In January 2010, I started focusing more on teaching and learning languages in general. In July 2011, I relocated to Australia to start my PhD in Applied Linguistics. Although I am no longer living in France, my research is on foreign language pedagogy and I teach French at the university so these themes appear most often on the blog. I also continue to post about traveling (though now my trips are usually in Australia) and being an American abroad.

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My Say it in French phrasebook and Great French Short Stories dual-language book (both published by Dover Publications) are available at Amazon.com.

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