Cool Gadget Alert – Fujitsu Flepia Color e-Book Reader

There is a whole lot of pretty going on with Fujitsu’s fancy color e-Book reader, the Flepia. With an 8″ screen that displays 260,000 colors, wireless connectivity via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, a mini USB port and touch screen, the line between e-Reader and mobile computer tablet starts to blur. The unit has an on-screen keyboard and a big battery life of 40 hours continuous use. You buy the books on SD card and load them through the unit’s card reader.

The tablet comparison is not far off – the Flepia is loaded with a version of Windows called CE 5. This will enable e-mail, web-browsing and other more computer-like pursuits. Plus, you can’t deny its physical good looks.

Unfortunately, all this beauty comes as a price: just over $1,000. Plus the cost of the books. Not terribly competitive with the Kindle or the new Sony / Google pairing, which will enable free book downloads from Google’s electronic library to the Sony reader.

However, if Fujitsu can work on that price, this reader may make some heads turn, particularly those heads that are looking for gadget convergence and a few less electronic doohickies taking up valuable pocket and bag space.

[Fujitsu Flepia]

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Vindication: Sometimes What Sounds Right Is Right

Image via Wikipedia

John McIntyre, a self-proclaimed mild-mannered copy editor for the Baltimore Sun, raised the topic on his blog today of how to deal with use of the words “they” or “their” instead of “he or she” or “his or her.” McIntyre mentions the conventional options of how to deal with this”a or b” situation: (1) use the male pronoun in all instances (nope, not for me); (2) use his and her, no matter how awkward the resulting construction (nah, offends my lyrical and musical sensibilities); or (3) convert everything to plurals so that “their” can be used acceptably (hmm, cumbersome).

There must be a better way … and, there is! McIntyre suggests that you actually can use “they/their” with a singular antecedent. Damn the formal rules, apparently, and use what sounds right and true and musical to his or her or their or my or your ears. It has been used and accepted for centuries – heck, even the English use it with honor. So, then, why can’t we?

I didn’t realize this, but Bryan Garner (of substantial legal writing, grammar and general usage fame) calls this conundrum and its singular solution the “most likely solution to the single biggest problem in sexist language,…” I have never even thought of it that way.

The only argument against the singular solution is logic and adherence to arcane grammar rules. Since when does logic prevail over form? Well, perhaps to a certain degree it must in legal argument crafting. However, when attorneys stick to “logical” grammar rules when writing their briefs, motions, letters and memoranda, they run the risk of drying out the prose, so to speak. Stiff language saps the power of the idea. It forces the reader to spend precious brain cells parsing the words, rather than their meaning. Why detract from your argument just so you can claim grammar compliance?

If it works for Bryan Garner and John McIntyre, by Gum, then it works for me!

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I Spoke Too Soon – Somewhere Out There Someone is Tethering Their iPhone

This is a feature I definitely want: the ability to tether my iPhone to my laptop so that I can take advantage of the 3g connection AND the big beautiful tactile keyboard and screen, anywhere I can find signal. While wi-fi certainly is proliferating, I still can get more cell signal in more places. If you travel with your work and need to compute, tethering is a great option.

I have missed the tethering ability I used to enjoy with my Treo 750 and PDAnet. And I thought tethering remained an impossible dream with a law abiding, non-jailbroken iPhone. Apparently, I misunderstood. Apple is taking down the barrier to tethering but has placed the details firmly in the hands of the carriers that must supply the necessary bandwith. And if the bandwith issues ATT suffered at SXSW were any indication, a sudden influx of tethering might upset the applecart, so to speak.

However, all over my RSS today, tech talking (or would that be typing) heads were reporting that someone heard that someone somewhere had successfully tethered their iPhone equipped with 3.0 software. Lifehacker has the story here, but I saw it at Gizmodo and other sites as well. Both Lifehacker and Gizmodo remarked that tethering might be available via USB, which would be great for preserving power and connection. Gizmodo also indicated that the tether might also be available via Bluetooth. That will be great for my little Eee PC but not so much for my Lenovo which lacks blue teeth.

Tethering is such a killer feature for professional road warriors who cannot rely on hitting a wi-fi spot while they follow the trail to there and back again. Let’s hope that ATT can figure it all out and unlease the tether on tethering sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: Techcrunch has the how-to right here.


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