A Look at What's Coming Soon to Armchair Arcade - Let's Hear Your Thoughts

Bill Loguidice's picture

Hopefully you all have been enjoying my Photo of Week entries. The next one should be up in a few days. The idea behind the Photo of the Week was to give me the ability to generate quick, yet useful content, with the resources I have access to, namely my collection, my camera and my paid Flickr account. This gives me the ability to be active beyond commentary posts, while not taking away from other pressing projects I'm working on, like the book.

My next idea, which I'll be implementing within the next two weeks, will be the "Scan of the Week". I have a large collection of magazines, books, flyers, catalogs and other do-dads that just beg to be scanned. However, not everything is conducive to being scanned on the typical flat bed scanner. While mine also has a sheet feeder and works at relatively high speeds, the other problem is (and has been) that I refuse to destroy any of my vintage scannable materials in order to scan them (not until there is a truly perfect portable color digital reading system). That's where the Planon DocuPen RC800 portable scanner comes in, the type of device I've been waiting for for ages. Essentially, it's a battery powered wand that accepts standard mini-SD cards and allows you to scan anywhere, anytime, and then later transfer what you did to the computer. While it takes some practice to get a decent scan and the quality is probably only about half that of a typical flat bed, all things considered it serves a very real need. So I'll again be leveraging my collection, the DocuPen and my paid Flickr account to bring additional unique content to Armchair Arcade on a weekly basis. I'll probably initially only scan articles or specific sections, but may eventually move to full publications depending on how things go. Again, the quality might not be satisfactory for archival purposes, but it still gets the content to you in a readable form and that's what's most important. I'll begin this after the device arrives, which may be as early as next week.

I'd also like to do a "Video of the Week", but right now I think that would be too time consuming, as there would be a requirement for at least minimal editing. However, I now have a video capture device that should be able to capture output from nearly every videogame and computer system I have that does not have either a proprietary output or its own display device. Obviously I'll leverage You Tube for this activity, but right now I think I'll limit it to the occasional gameplay insert within a "Photo of the Week" post, since that would involve little-to-no-editing. Once the book is finished I plan on working on major projects that will allow for more free time, including new "high production value" videos. So in the mean-time, video will be limited, but it will be there, perhaps as soon as the next "Photo of the Week" entry.

So, with all that in mind, what do you all think of that plan? Is there something you think I should be doing differently. Do you have ideas for me or the other AA staff? Let us know! Without your feedback, it gets pretty lonely around here and often makes us feel like we're doing this just for ourselves, which isn't a bad thing in some ways, but sure isn't as motivating as knowing there are people out there looking forward to this stuff, so sound off!

[By the way, we still do plan on bringing you Issue 8, with dozens of previously published and new blog posts, features and articles, but you'll have to wait just a few more months for that...]


Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
Joined: 12/31/1969
Sony Reader and other e-Reader thoughts

In reference to my blog post above, I briefly mentioned the perfect portable e-reader. If indeed there was a device of roughly magazine size that ran on batteries, supported many different formats and had a paper-like color display, I would then, and only then, consider taking apart my magazines to scan them at a high resolution through my flat bad scanner's sheet feeder. There is no such device at the moment and may not ever be (a Tablet PC like the one I have from Gateway comes close, but it's not a dedicated device, which I think is important - it MUST be dedicated).

Anyway, what IS available are devices like the Sony Reader, which I recently traded in my credit card points for to order from Sony Direct. This nifty device is about the size of a paperback book and uses e-ink technology, which, essentially, after it displays a page, draws no additional power (obviously making battery life tremendous). E-ink technology also is as close to looking like print as just about any electronic device has yet achieved. The nice thing is that besides Sony's own proprietary formats, it also displays more universal formats like PDF. It also has secondary functions as a picture viewer and music player (through headphones) and supports two different types of memory cards. The nice thing is that right now if you register your Sony Reader by July 31st, the Sony e-book store will give you $100 credit towards classic e-books, and $50 credit towards any e-books, including bestsellers and new releases. Unfortunately right now my order has been pending since before last week, so Sony may be trying to pull a fast one with delaying my order until after the credit offer, but I really want the device anyway. Obviously its smaller screen size means that a typical book's word count per page does not translate directly to this device, but that's not much of a bother as even with PDF's, there's a way to convert them to a more readable form on the device. The device can also be used in landscape mode to get a larger left-right readable area if one so chooses.

So no, not perfect yet, but highly functional and a way to cart a large library of books and reading materials around in a portable form. For an ADD-like reader like I am, this is a very good thing. And also, since I work with a lot of vintage computers and videogames, this is a good alternative to using my Tablet PC for using reference PDF's. Again, having the dedicated device is considerably more convenient and the Tablet PC is there when I really do need the full-size, full color alternative.

By the way, for those interested, these are two excellent free e-book sites that automatically convert their content to a variety of formats:

http://manybooks.net/ (I'm presently reading Harry Harrison's "Planet of the Damned" from here on my Cingular 8125 Windows Mobile Phone, in RTF format in Microsoft Word (sadly the best way to read e-books on the device))

Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.


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