New toy – iPaq hx2790

Anyone who knows me (particularly the Minion), knows how excited I have been about getting a new pda and it finally arrived last night.  I would heartily recommend an iPaq to anyone who is thinking about getting a pda, they are fantastic.  My previous one was an old one that work let me use (because no-one else wanted it), so it is a massive step up to go from that to this one.

The hx2700 series is a fairly expensive, top-end business oriented pda so it comes with extra memory, serious security features, wireless – the whole 9 yards basically.  Luckily, I picked one up on ebay for about 200$ below retail (they have just released the 2795 with a few updates, such as a longer battery life).

I chose this particular device for a few reasons – the reason I chose this one above its cheaper siblings was simple – it runs windows mobile 5 instead of windows mobile 2003.  This means it runs on .Net 2.0.  This is a bother in some ways, as hardly any software is aimed at that platform (some older programs work fine, some dont), but that is cancelled out by the fact that it will be a brilliant testbed for me to try out some mobile and ubiquitous programming – something I havn’t dipped into much so far.

But, over all, I bought it to read.  I am a big fan of books, and since first owning a pocket pc (a very old hp one I picked up for next to nothing), i’ve been a huge fan of ebooks.  I have a lot of them, and it is very good to be able to carry around a small library in my pocket.  When I was younger I was one of those people who always had a book in my bag for any waiting period that mighjt occur – whether its riding a bus, or just kicking back after dinner at my parents place in the warmth.  Now I can carry a whole bunch of books.

There are other benefits too.  I am a huge laurell k hamilton fan for instance and read every one of her anita blake novels.  Every one that is, except Micah – her latest, which still isn’t available down here.  However, I can pick it up at fictionwise for cheaper than i’d buy it in paperback, and download it instantly, and be reading it a few moments later.

The main downside is of course that not every author is available as an ebook.  For instance, one of my favorites – Steven Erikson – doesn’t seem to have embraced the ebook revolution.  This is unfortunate, as if he did, i’d immediately buy downloads of every single one and load them all onto my ipaq tonight.

Because he doesn’t, it means I probably wont read his books anymore. At least, not straight away.  A friend of mine got me on to him, so I can always borrow them from him when he is done.  See Steven (or Tor), lost a sale.  Actually, lost about seven sales.

I spent about $520 on my ipaq.  I do spend a lot on books, but when I buy fiction books it varies from about $15 for a mass-market paperback to about $40 for particularly expensive hardbacks, which I dont buy that often.  So I’ll set an average at about $20 per book.

I need to read 26 books on it to make it worth it, purely as an ebook reader, without spending any more money on books. Turns out I have 26 books sitting there unread in ebook format.  The first is accellerando, by Chris Stross, who released it under creative commons.  I’m about halway through it already.

Of course, 26 books is assuming I only used it for books, which as i’ve said, i’m not.  Library of books in your pocket is cool, but Monkey Island on the go? That is beyond cool.

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