Thursday, 2 June 2011


Hello, my name is Andy, and I am a technoholic.

There, I've said it.

I love gadgets. If I won the lottery my house would look like Q's laboratory but with a comfortable sofa. Streetlights in a 2 mile radius would dim slightly as I walked through the automatically operated front door after a busy day hobnobbing with Steve Jobs and Isaac Asimov*, due to the alarming array of devices that registered my presence and switched themselves on.

Despite this, I have never found a substitute for the humble paperback. I have tried using my laptop (too big and takes too long to switch on), my iPhone (always with me, but just too small a screen) and most recently an iPad (pretty good, but not really much use for reading in the sunshine due to the highly reflective screen).

Then I borrowed a Kindle to take on holiday with me. I wasn't full of hope as it looked like it had been designed during the early part of the 1980s by a YTS trainee. A non colour screen and a 'throw-a-six-to-start' menu system added fuel to the fire of my disdain. 

I loved it. The non-colour screen that was the subject of my scorn uses a very clever 'e-ink' system and is as close to reading from a printed page as makes no difference. The menu system that had me tutting like Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was only necessary when picking which book to read in the first place. After that, it's just a case of pressing a button to turn the page. It was lighter than your average Mills & Boon paperback and the battery life seems to be measured in months. Lovely.

So I now own one. I have more books than I know what to do with on it and I'm happy that some bright spark designer within Amazon stuck to his guns throughout the process of getting this thing to market. In this world of sleek design and 'wow-factor' bells & whistles, I had almost forgotten the engineer's mantra. Form Follows Function. I'm really glad he or she hadn't.


* - Yes, I am aware that one (or depending when you're reading this, possibly both) of these people is dead. If the lottery win is big enough I intend to get him (or them) re-animated. That's the way I roll.


  1. I love my Kindle! Best Christmas pressie ever!

  2. I have resisted because I like the tactility (shut up, that is so a word) of a book but as airlines seem to be charging so much for taking a case (on your holidays, whatever next?) I now will have to cut down on taking my obligatory booke per day and 2 spare. I think I might have to join the 21st century.

    ps I love your humour, the YTS, Skippy and the way I roll comments had me snorting coffee and that's such an attractive look on me!

  3. I am sooo jealous! I badly want a Kindle and stand an outside chance of getting one for my birthday (the Shah is also a Technophile (more evidence that you were separated at birth) only that means I have to wait till August :(

  4. Kindle...the word makes me come over all Barbra Streisand and 'papa can you hear me....'and yes I know the word is Yentl..... ahem......anyhoo...I do quite fancy one, sort of, but will have to have a play with one first....are they ok to read in the garden/sun?

  5. Laura - yup, mine was a pressie too and I'm loving it more and more.

    AG - I was worried about the tactilityness (hmmm) too, but the trade off is worth it for all the other benefits. And FWIW I think you'd be cutting a fine figure, even coffee-stained.

    CQ - Have you ever noticed that you never see The Shah and I in the same place, at the same time? Like Peter Parker and Spiderman. Just sayin'....

    Libby - Try as I might, I just can't imagine you in a Cartlandesque get-up! As for the kindle, they're great to read in the sun, the screen is a thing of engineering beauty and it's driving me nuts that I have no clue how it works!

  6. Libs - Ha! Cartland/Streisand error. Dear god, I'm turning into my Dad!