Gadgets I MUST have

June 22, 2009

The idea of a Kindle, or any E-book reader, has always put me off. I couldn’t imagine that reading text on a screen would be as satisfying as holding the heft of a book, turning pages, and even being able to easily annotate.

But I’m re-evaluating my position, after watching someone use a new Kindle on a plane the other day. And after hearing avid readers wax eloquent about how much they love theirs.

We’re going to northern Italy in the fall for a relaxing 10 days. A long flight, long lazy days in the countryside… wouldn’t it be nice to have a lightweight Kindle loaded with digital books, rather than carting a ton of paperbacks?

So I did a little online research.

The new Kindle is criticized for lacking backlighting, which helps clarity in low-light situations. Apparently the text technology prevents backlighting.

Sony solved this with its Digital Reader, apparently, by offering it with a case that lights, which lights the book.

Sometime in the next few weeks, I’m going to do a little in-person reconnaissance before making a decision. These devices don’t come cheap. It’s one of those purchases in which the little personal preferences will make a difference.

Lacking ANY sense of direction, and having been steered wrong by Mapquest too often (no pun intended), I also badly need an aftermarket navigation system for my car. I bought my 2002 car before navigation became standard in luxury cars. It’s in such great shape I can imagine keeping it at least five more years and maybe even 10. So a nav system would be great.

One complaint I have about some aftermarkets is their screens are too small. The Acura’s navigation system is one of of the best I’ve seen. Being built in, it’s got good size and I can actually read it.

Garmin’s a big name in Nav, but their display graphics seem a little clunky. Another friend likes the portable Garmin she just bought at Radio Shack. I haven’t seen it, yet, but my fear is that it’s too small for me.

Our California realtor has an aftermarket system that sits low in her console, so it’s not that visible. And it requires a remote to input info.

Another thing I need to shop for, because user-friendly is a personal thing.

If you have any experience with either of these gadgets, drop me a note.

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