Archive for October, 2009

Kindle vs Nook (vs iSlate)


A few lucky early adopters have already received the Kindles down here in deepest darkest Africa, but as much as I want to get my hands on an ebook reader immediately, I’m going to try to fight the urge until there a few more killer devices available locally. The Barnes & Noble Nook was recently announced and will be available soon in the USA, but no word yet on availability internationally. I’m pretty sure that they will want to distribute the device as far and wide as possible, especially if they want to compete with Amazon.

If a had to choose a device today, I’d snap up a Nook in a second. It has features that the Kindle doesn’t have and just looks like a much better device. I haven’t used either device yet, but when it comes to the actual reading of books, I suspect they will be pretty much on par as they share the same size screen powered by the same E Ink technology.

One thing I don’t really like about either device is that the content you purchase from the respective online stores isn’t portable. It’s the whole DRM saga all over again. We’ve been through this with the purchasing of online music already. It doesn’t work. That’s why you can now buy your music DRM free from iTunes. I know it just comes down the publishers being a little nervous having their content out there in the wild west, but in the end I want to be able to take my ebook content from device to device without being locked into a specific technology platform.

So there is a lot of buzz about the Apple iSlate/iTablet at the moment as well. A few media slips over the last few days seem to confirm that we should see something early next year and that there will definitely be some reader functionality built into the device. If Apple continue the trend of providing DRM free content from the iTunes store maybe this will be the first platform where I will be able to purchase an ebook and transfer the content from my iSlate to whatever my new ebook reader of the future will be.

I’m gonna hang on a bit longer before I make the leap.






Screen Size

6 inch E Ink

6 inch E Ink / 3.5 colour TFT

Touch Screen


Yes (Colour)



not expandable


Expandable up to



AT&T 3G and



Barnes & Noble

Supported Formats

Kindle (AZW), TXT,
Audible, MP3,

ePub, “multiple DRM
solutions,” PDF

Supported via


Word, more to come

Web Browser



Sync with

iPhone, iPod Touch

iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, PC, Mac OS

Last page read
Last page read, notes, annotations
Lend ebooks



Nov 30 ‘09

Top 5 (almost) local tech podcasts


OK, so only two out of the five are local.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been searching for the best local and international technology podcasts. I’m tired of listening to the same fools drone on on our local radio stations. Cape Talk isn’t bad and some of the presenters are pretty sharp, but they hardly cover technology at all. Their 3 minute “Hard Drive” slot every afternoon is pretty useless, but I understand that it may appeal to their less tech savvy listeners.

For my trip into work and home each day I wanted to find a few podcasts that could keep me up to date with the stuff I care about. At first I tried to limit my selection to local content only, but there simply isn’t much out there. Unless I’m missing it.

My search has by no stretch of the imagination been extensive, but the list below is what I’ve settled on for the time being. If anyone has any suggestions on other podcasts I should listen to, especially if they are local, please leave comments below.

zatechshow.png 1 – ZA Tech Show. Currently my favorite weekly podcast.It’s local and covers a wide range of technology and technology news. Hosted by Simon Dingle and a few other local journalists and tech junkies it provides a good laugh and even some great insights. As long as there is beer… Subscribe here. Or here with the direct iTunes link.
buzz-out-loud.png 2 – Buzz Out Loud. CNET’s Buzz out load has been around for a long time. They have done more than 1000 episodes to date and as long as you can surive the American accents you’ll love the show. Subscribe here. Or here with the direct iTunes link.
engadget.jpg 3 – The Engadget Show. They have recently relaunched this podcast in a new live format. The first one featured a long interview with Steve Ballmer on the day of the Windows 7 launch. I hope they keep the quality of the show and caliber of the guests this high. Subscribe here. Or here with the direct iTunes link.
majornelson.png 4 – Major Nelson Radio. A little niche, but since I do all my gaming on the platform I find it very informative. He runs a good show and often has exciting guests. He actually works for Microsoft, so although he doesn’t provide you with the inside track, he usually has has facts straight. Subscribe here. Or here with the direct iTunes link.
macabout.png 5 – mac:about. The only other local show my list. They have only done one episode so far, so it remains to be seen how long the show will last and how it progresses and matures. It’s Apple centric, but that’s a good thing. Subscribe here. Or here with the direct iTunes link.

QOTD: Muhammad Ali


Muhammad Ali: “‘My toughest fight was with my first wife.'”

(Via Quotes of the Day.)

How to clean your Apple Mighty Mouse


The little scroll wheel/ball on my Mighty Mouse gets lazy every few weeks and only lets me scroll in one direction. Sometimes only up, sometimes only down. Side to side never seems to be a problem.

A simple fix I learned about to solve this problem meant I didn’t have to keep phoning Digicape to complain about repeatedly being sold bad mice…

Simply turn your Mighty Mouse off (by sliding the cover at the bottom closed), turn the mouse upside down onto a piece of paper and move the mouse around putting pressure on the scroll wheel so that it makes solid contact with the paper.

As you move it around you should see it leave a gorgeous trail of finger dirt and residue. Depending on how bad it is, you may even be able to spell your name before it’s clean.

The video below demonstrates the process:

Apologies for the poor quality. I whipped this up quickly on my iPhone 3GS.

Geotagging for everyone


For people like myself that are stuck with a digital camera that was built before anyone had even thought up the term “geotagging”, there is finally a solution that will enable you to have location information for all your snaps.

There are a number of original manufacturer and 3rd party solutions available for a handful of the higher end cameras, but most of them are quite expensive and are most certainly not readily available locally.

This device requires you to sync your computers time with it and to take it with you on your shoot. When you get back you need to download the photo’s into the PhotoTrackr software which will add all the relevant location information to the EXIF data before you import it into your favorite photo organising/editing software.

At $69 we can expect to see it at around R700 locally. I doubt you’ll find them at your local electronics store, but the specialist photo stores should be carrying them later this year.

Looking for a geotagging solution that doesn’t discriminate based on what kind of camera you have? Looking for one that can fit snugly into your Fifth Pocket? The PhotoTrackr Mini looks to be that very device, boasting a diminutive thumb drive-esque appearance and the same geotagging technology as found in the original. Put simply, the device works by syncing the time of your camera with bundled software; when you’re back from a shoot (a shoot where your device also was), you just allow the application to figure out where a given shot was snapped at what time. There’s also Mac and RAW file format support on this model, neither of which were compatible with the prior version. Pre-orders are being accepted now at $69, and the first shipments are expected to go out next month.

Continue reading PhotoTrackr Mini geotagging device shrinks down, adds Mac and RAW support

(Via Engadget.)

QOTD: Fran Lebowitz


Fran Lebowitz: “‘All God’s children are not beautiful. Most of God’s children are, in fact, barely presentable.'”

(Via Quotes of the Day.)

O’Reilly continues awesomeness


I have a number of O’Reilly books myself and I must admit, when their spines are all nicely lined up, they look awesome on my bookshelf.

They are now running a promotion that allows you to download an electronic version of any of the paper books that you own for only $4.99 each.

I will almost always want to own the paper version of these books, but having a portable version that is searchable makes access to the information I need extremely convenient.

Promotion ends at the end of October, so hurry along.

cover-scalaAs one of the programmers here at Unclutterer, I spend quite a bit of time educating myself on new technologies. My bookshelf is pretty crowded, mostly with books that I’ve already read, and now only need to refer to once in awhile.

I’ve been looking for a good way to unclutter my programming bookshelf, so I was excited to find out that O’Reilly, one of the foremost publishers of technology books, is currently running a promotion to allow owners of paper versions of their books to buy ebook versions at a substantial discount of only $4.99 per book.

While many people prefer paper versions of books for readability, ebook versions have a few notable advantages that make them particularly useful when it comes to technology books.

  • Tech books are typically big and take up a lot of shelf space. Ebook versions are quite a bit smaller, and take up approximately zero shelf space.
  • Code samples cannot be cut and pasted from paper books. Some books include an additional DVD, or link to a website, that contains sample code. This is unnecessary with an ebook, and can save a lot of time when trying to learn new concepts quickly.
  • Ebook text can be searched much more easily than paper text. Especially across multiple books at once.
  • Ebooks make it possible to take your bookshelf with you on the road, and nobody wants to be anchored to an office just because that’s where his books are.

To take advantage of this offer:

  • Visit and log in to your account, or create a new one.
  • Register each book you own using its 13 digit ISBN number.
  • Find one of your registered books in the O’Reilly store and add the ebook version to your shopping cart.
  • Enter the discount code 499UP during checkout.

The promotion runs through the month of October.

(Via Unclutterer.)

Windows 7 looks expensive and confusing


I just finished reading an article on MyBroadband where they have listed local pricing for the different Windows 7 options from a variety of brick and mortar and e-tailers.

We will rob you.

We will rob you.

Firstly, I had no idea that there were so many options to choose from, again. Did M$ learn nothing with Vista ? There is no way the man in the street is going to have any idea what the difference between the different options are. You’ll realise that you are getting more when you buy the “Ultimate” version, but without doing some research you’ll be nicely in the dark.

Secondly if you want all the bells and whistles you will be forking out between R2337.00 (e-tailers) and R3199.95 (from Incredible Connection) for the Ultimate version. That’s a lot of money. I mean, you can pretty much buy a PC for R3000, probably not one that can run Windows 7 though…

I’m sure lots of people are going to buy Windows 7, but I think most of them just want to upgrade from their 8 year old XP installations.

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