Galerie

Heckler und Koch Volkspistole 70Z and HK4. I was awfully tempted, because they were in the awful Cameron’s Aliens and in a french noir novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette. 

Galerie

I was very conservative the day I chose to buy my CZ 75, but this HK P9S was one of the alternative I seriously thought of.

Galerie

I really thought it was the only uncool Ferrari of the eighties, but it was only because I never saw one in the street.

Galerie

Marcello Gandini’s ALFA Romeo Montreal  in Moudon *2014-09-17

Galerie

Victorinoxes in my pockets. Victorinox Soldier ‘08 from 2009 and Victorinox Stayglow Huntsman.

Galerie

A little (but rather bad) feedback about my Aqua. As I feared, I managed to kill it less than two months after buying it. 

If my Pro602 destruction was rather violent (think kicked-in-the-head violent), Aqua’s end was more peaceful. As carefully as usual, I put it in sleeping mode. When I woke up the morning after, I reached for it and trie to awoke it, with no result. At first, I thought it was freezed frozen. Since there is no paperclip-reset hole on this model, I asked for advices at Pocketbook, and to their credit, they were quick to answer me.

There were several exchanges since proposed solutions weren’t working, and the situation wasn’t resolved to my satisfaction, to be honest (and the fact that it was my fifth order in the same shop have also the consequence this was my last).

 It seems that I broke the screen, which I’m highly doubtful of since, barring the hypothesis of a leprechaun’s rave party on my bookcase, there is no reason my e-reader took an impact or was twisted during the night (and it was working reasonnably well until I put it litteraly to sleep) ; also, the device is fubar, unable to connect or be detected by my computers (and all my other broke screens devices were reacting when connected to a computer).

 Of course, there is this darkened lightened area in the bottom-right of the screen, but I strongly suspect a water infiltration (it would be consistant with my experience of drawned lcd screens and the fact the Aqua e-reader is fried). I won’t know since after my proposition of sending back the e-reader for tests was accepted by customer service, it was nullified by another branch with a lenghty explanation about my clumsiness and stupidity (i.e. I broke the screen). I’ve got in exchange an offer for a 20 % discount on my next Pocketbook e-reader – an offer I would have find fair if I felt responsible of the Aqua’s failure.

I don’t really blame them, they probably must deal with this problem on a daily basis, since those e-ink screens are rather brittle. But since I don’t like losing time (and I spent half an hour preparing the return package) and felt offended to be called at best an idiot, at worst a liar, I just sent the Aqua e-reader to the recycling bin and they received a not very diplomatic response.

So, after two month of not that bad experience, I need to point that :

– either my Aqua got trouble with water, and then is rubbish ;

– either I broke my Aqua’s screen (and I won’t mind admit it if I was thinking it was really the case) even if I never has treated an electronic device with more caution (it was more in the range of what I do usually with eggs, except I didn’t store it in my fridge or ate it)… and then it’s extra rubbish because it’s just not daily-use proof.

As far as I’m concerned, Pocketbook Aqua is revised to 0/10.

 That doesn’t mean I’m done with this brand. In fact, a week after I broke my Aqua, I bought my seventh Pocketbook (over nine in total), a TouchLux2 aka [Pocketbook 626], which is mostly an unwaterproofed Aqua, with the advantage of having an optional memory extension with its 32 Go micro-SD card slot and a sturdier frame (at least it feels like it, when comparing both devices) and a screen illumination. Once burned, twice shy, I also bought a Mulbess leather cover and some 3M screen protection. The Mulbess cover comes with a surprisingly useful stylus, is as good as the EOM Pocketbook one (and costs half as much), even if it’s a bit thicker (a nice feature in my mind) and stank of chemicals for a while. The screen protection is a bit shiny, but not to the point you can’t read in the sun.

Comparing the new 626 with the old 602, the screen is way better but the frame feels a bit cheaper and a lot weaker.

 My new e-reader got a touch screen with the same very good resolution and fast reaction as the Aqua and an integrated lightning. The soft light is fully adjustable, and is very useful for low-light situation. My only reservations lie in the impact on the battery life and the risk of excitation of the optical nerve by the exposition to light by reading just before going to sleep.

 The Aqua got awkward ergonomics, but it was in part due to stupidly hard physical keys (that went a little softer after several weeks of daily usage, to be fair), and part due to my own stupidity, since it’s possible to configure physical buttons with useful shortcuts. I’m only using the misplaced on/off button to boot the e-reader, and the touchscreen to play Klondike, bookmarking a page or navigating footnotes. For all other actions (turning pages, going to the menu, shuting down or standbying it, turning the light on or off…), I’m using the physical keys. I’m still hoping for a touchscreen locking mode ; a touchscreen is a nice option, but for a linear navigation (as in reading a book, not screening a pdf file) it’s kind of overkill.

 The TouchLux is bit slow to boot (about 11 seconds in average) but it’s the only part where it feels that way. Reaction time is rather good. Even various applications are not that bad (still, it’s not a tablet and using it as such would only bring frustration).

 Since it got a very useful micro-SD card slot, I have disabled all wifi connectivity in order to spare some more battery life. I’m not really using  the Dropbox integration, neither the send-to-pocketbook nor the Pocketbook Sync but I like to have those options, nevertheless. 

On the other side, I tried Pocketnews application, which is a RSS reader. It just didn’t work (I liked the idea to have some news to read while offline after downloading them, but it seems you have to use the awfully buggy browser and be online to use it). In fact, I’m sure some people will have the use of this application, but in my case, I see it more like a distraction than an effective tool. So, if you need it, prepare to be disapointed, if not, you won’t miss anything – after all, you’ve got hundred of books in your device !

I really like the idea of being able to read a lot of file formats, but I have to admit I’m using less and less this capacity with the market share increase of epub (and as a PDF file reader, I can’t think of anything better than a first-generation iPad).

 The best feature Pocketbook have in my opinion is the ability to present books with their file names, instead of their metadata. I rely a lot on a well organized files library, and I seriously despise and hate people using Calibre. Seriously, if you had to look for a specific book in a physical library but books were organized alphabetically by first names or book titles, you would probably hunt the librarian down the building with a chainsaw or a hammer. I know that in the modern world, you can use the filesearching capabilities of your software or operating system, but it’s an anti-antifragile, non-reliable option, non-universal solution and very energy and time consuming task if you have more than one hundred books in your collection (I have more than 60 Go of books in mine).

 This e-reader is strangely more reliable than Aqua. In almost the same timespan, I’ve got only two crashes instead of about fifteen (i.e. unexpected reboots, suprise resets or disabled sd card). As far as I know, they were using both the same OS.

 One thing I really don’t like is the inability to configure book formating. Most of my epubs come with the small margin and a size 36 sans serif font, so I have to format each book in order to have what I want (medium margin and a size 48 serif font). It’s a bit dumb.

 While I was e-readerless between the crash of my Aqua and the reception of my new TouchLux2, I went back to my old Samsung tablet and used the excellent [Moonreader app]. Apart from the facts I really don’t like to read on a screen, the reading panel is ugly as hell (it looks like it got the same designers as an old Netscape website in 1997 – parchment background, seriously ? just look at the Kindle or iBook apps and steal the style) and bookmarking a page is borderline tedious (you have to click thrice to have it), it’s one of the best way to electronically read. It’s of course very reactive (since it’s using a good processor), Dropbox integration is remarkable (when online, it’s able to stock notes and bookmarks in the cloud), it got a lot of features (e.g. very low intensity backlighting, a working text-to-speech function – like in the old Pocketbook Pro602, but not buggy – or a very cool text-streamer, so useful when your hands are occupied, like while driving*) and you can pre-format your books. I really like to see this application in a good e-ink device, instead of the traditional Kindle or Adobe software.

Should you buy a Pocketbook TouchLux2 ? 

At only CHF 119 it’s a very good value for the money and you won’t depend on Amazon or any other e-bookshop to  manage your library. Of course, if you’re an Amazon/B&N addict, it’s a bit less practical than a Kindle/Nook  (in my case, I download the books, de-drmize them with a cool tiny software – mostly by principle, Pocketbooks can read drmed files – and transfer them on my sd-card), but I think you could live with it. 

If you’re a bit autistic like me, you’ll appreciate to be in control of your files and their organization.

Is it pleasant to read an e-book ? Of course. Its e-ink screen is at least as good as its competition’s. It’s not sturdy, but neither is its competition. I’m waiting for a metal frame e-reader with Gorilla glass (think, again, of a Casio G-shock kind of device) using AA batteries, but it seems I’m the only one.

With that in mind, I’m glad to be able to buy them in Switzerland, so I can avoid punishing importation and postal taxes. But of course, if it doesn’t last at least a year, I’ll give this brand up.

 

(*) I’m kidding.