Pirate or Gentleman?

February 22, 2011 3 comments

I’ve always thought myself to be a modern day pirate. I’ve downloaded and hacked(in the sense of using hacks not creating them) my fair share of hardware/software during my life but in these last few years I’ve felt somewhat conflicted with what I had been doing.

My “Pirating career” started with my Playstation 1. I was a very nerdy kid and I had quite the videogame addiction so obviously my parents limited my gaming time and only bought me a few games a year. I was about 14 at the time and had no kind of revenue apart from the occasional birthday party or personal celebration in which my grandma would give me a few thousand lira (games used to cost around 50-100 thousand Lira at the time).

This scarcity of videogames led me to become very well read in the videogame sector. I read reviews on magazines and spoke to my friends to see what games they were playing and which ones they liked, only to ponder at which game would be my next choice to communicate to my parents so that they could buy it for me. I was probably more “in the know” than most videogame writers were at the time – maybe an exaggeration but… I was 13 years old!

This kind of tactic always landed me games like Final Fantasy VII, Metal Gear Solid and Gran Turismo. Not too shabby a tactic after all!

 

A year later news came through about this new kind of hack. One could “Chip” your Playstation so that you could play ripped games. I never even knew that was possible! Internet had just become mainstream in those years but only privileged people with fast ISDN 128K connections could even ponder downloading or even uploading ripped copies of videogames like they do nowadays. This meant the whole copying and selling of ripped Playstation games was something much more personal and always involved a middle man. I’d compare it to buying drugs.

I remember I had a friend who directed me towards this tiny Electrical Repairs Shop near the town in which I lived at the time. I would never even call the guy up. I’d always have to ride my scooter (an orange Aprilia SR 50cc. I loved that thing.) to his shop and give him the list of videogames I wanted.

If they were common requests he would remove the metal foot-cover from one of his display stacks only to reveal an enormous amount of copied CD’s only to take out the one I wanted. It really was a drug dealer kind of relationship. If it was an uncommon request you would have to come back after a few days so he had time to contact his people to find an original copy of the game do rip.

You couldn’t speak on the phone, his products were hidden inside a hole in his display rack, and none of this had to happen while he had usual customers. He even used to stop making copies when he felt the “heat was on him” or when other CD rippers in the area had been caught and fined.

He used to make me pay 5,000Lira for each game. I was amazed at the new horizon that opened up in front of me for such a cheap price. I didn’t have to decide on which 3 videogames I would buy a year… I could actually try them out without even reading reviews and make my own mind up about them. This is when I really learned to appreciate what videogames could offer and it changed the way I’d look at videogames and other media entertainment forever.

The way I appreciate videogames and films is that I tend to love the films and videogames that I’ve never heard before more. Don’t get me wrong… if a game is shit… it’s probably still going to be shit. But I think that reading up on videogames… reading other people’s reviews and points of view about a videogame or film influences you in such a way that you will end up thinking the same exact thing the reviewers thought when they wrote the review even if you don’t want to. If you read a lot about the game you’re playing, you’re inevitably going to be influenced by what you read and it won’t be the same experience you could’ve had by playing the game or film without any prior knowledge about it.

To return on topic, I was having a great time pirating my Playstation game until the whole thing reversed on me. The ripped CD’s were, without my knowledge, making the Playstation CD drive laser work overtime. This resulted in having to flip the Playstation upside down or on its side so that the lens was closer to the piratedCDs so that they were easier to read and inevitably, my Playstation broke.

 

It was a sad day for 16 year old Riqz. I managed to repair it in the end, sold it (kept my favourite games and sold the rest) and I bought a Playstation 2. I promised myself I’d never again modify the hardware of my home consoles because it would probably break them. I returned to a fairly steady 5-6 games a year now but at least my PS2 was in pristine state (still works today) and I knew that I was giving money to the people who actually made the game I loved. This ensured that the game developers somehow knew that I bought the game and hopefully they would work on something new thanks to my contribution.

My break from pirating didn’t last too long. While I never chipped my PS2 I also was the proud owner of a Gameboy Advance. I fell prey of the handheld addiction and I kept on wanting more. I heard there was this new thing… flash cards. I didn’t know it was something that already existed back on the NES and SNES etc (even if in smaller quantities and much bootleggery). I spent something like 150,000 Lira to buy this 256K flash cart into which I could put about 5-6 normal sized GBA roms.

Internet had improved since the 90s and even if I was on a crappy 56K modem connection I could still download the GBA roms, being only a few megabytes each. It cut out the middle man that I once had with the Playstation and I didn’t have to spend a single dime to get what I wanted. That 150,000 Lira investment was quite fruitful after all. I think I also made a total count of how many games I had downloaded, and how much I would’ve spent if I had bought all of them instead. It was quite scary. I probably had downloaded 200 games or so in a year. They used to cost about 50,000 Lira each. That’s 10,000,000 Lira. That would’ve been around €5,100 at the time. Something a 17-18 year old could only dream about. What was different from the Playstation incident? Well the hardware wasn’t modified and the handheld still exists and works today. I was sure it wasn’t going to break and I was sure I was doing the right thing because games were stupidly overpriced.

I won’t bore you with my future pirate endeavors which involve a PSP with Custom Firmware, an Xbox360 with flashed dvd-drive (and a subsequent xbox live ban), a DS with a flash cart etc. Those are stories for another day.

The point of this story is to introduce the way I feel about Pirated games now. I have become quite the videogame collector having had videogames since I was a child. The whole act of buying a game with a case that has art drawn on it, with an instruction booklet and a printed DVD or cart, is something you don’t get with pirated games. I love to show off my collection of videogames starting from the Atari all the way up to PS3s and Xbox360s. That too is something I can’t do with pirated games. I love to know that I’m showing the game developer that I love their game by buying it.

Having a job now that I’ve grown up helps of course. I don’t have to ask anyone to give me money to buy videogames. It’s one of my passions and if I want a game I buy it. It’s different from when I was 13 and had no money at all.

To be honest, I couldn’t live without my hacked PSP that lets me play Sega CD games or Sega Mega Drive games on the go. But I also feel that buying a game is better than pirating it…sometimes. It’s a topic that baffles me because I can’t seem to decide which side I’m on. I guess the recent videogame price drop is helping towards the good cause, but stuff like SONY suing Geohotz for hacking their system only adds to the bad cause.

Maybe a balanced diet is what I should keep on having.

What do you guys think about Pirated games?

0/

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Update: Awesome iPhone Games

February 15, 2011 3 comments

Upon popular request… Here’s an up-to-date list of what games I love most on my iPhone.

Words With Friends – Free

This game summarizes what multiplayer should be on the iPhone. It’s a turn based multiplayer scrabble game. All you do is add your friend’s nickname (or choose random matchups) and you can play a versus match of Scrabble on the go. Push notifications will alert you when it’s your turn. You can also send messages in the in-game chat. Best part about it is that it’s completely free. You can pay for the full version with no adverts. Send me your nicknames so we can play a match together!

Chess With Friends – Free

This game is exactly the same as above but it’s Chess. Well worth the download.

Mirror’s Edge – €3,99

I rarely trust big name retail games ported to the iPhone but obviously there are exceptions. Mirror’s Edge is one of those. If you’ve played the console counterpart you’ll know what this game is about. You’re a free runner (expect a lot of parqeur) and you have to run in 2.5 dimensional levels. You can run left or right, jump, wall-run, wall-jump etc all with extremely well programmed touch gestures. I feel it really captured the essence of the console game while also making it feel like a completely new and exciting experience.

Fruit Ninja – €0,79

If you have an iPhone, you HAVE to have Fruit Ninja. The simplicity of this game only adds to its addictiveness. You practically have to slice up fruit that pops up and try not to hit any bombs that fly around. It’s great for those “waiting at the post office” gaming sessions. An absolute must. You really have to try it even if I don’t make it sound that exciting.

Train Conductor 1 & 2– €0,79 each

These two are pretty obscure games. I don’t think they received the glory they could have with more publicity. Friends now about my strange addiction to train simulators… yeah let’s glide over that. This game isn’t a train simulator. It’s a train CONDUCTOR simulator. Meaning you have a few rows of train tracks and trains coming from left to right. You have to direct the numbered trains to the corresponding numbered tunnel. It’s quite addictive especially at the higher levels.

There is practically no difference from train conductor 1 to the sequel. It’s just more levels… which is always good!

Tilt to Live – €2,39

Tilt to live is a great little game that takes advantage of the accelerometers in your iPhone. You are a little mouse pointer-shaped ship that has to destroy an army of dots by using different kind of powerups. As soon as they touch you, your ship explodes in little specs of dust. You control the speed and direction of your ship by tilting your device accordingly. Very addictive and very much worth the expense. There’s a LITE version for free if you want to try it out.

Cut The Rope – €0,79

Another recent “blockbuster”. You probably own this already, but if you don’t you’re absolutely missing out. The objective of the game is to feed your little green alien his ball of candy. The candy however is usually dangling from a few strings or floating inside a bubble being pushed by some fans. It’s a great puzzle game that will keep you entertained for hours. The amount of levels you get for €0,79 is amazing, although it does get sweatingly difficult towards the end levels. This one has a free LITE version too.

Hook Champ – €2,39

Hook champ is not as popular as Cut the Rope or Fruit Ninja but I’m sure it will surprise you once you try the LITE version. You’re a little guy that looks like Indiana Jones, that uses his hook to roam around the many levels on offer. You touch the screen and your little guy sends his hook flying making you swing like Tarzan.

The point of the game is to reach the end of the level as fast as possible without dying and picking up any powerups on the way.

Game Dev Story – €0,79

I can’t stress the fact that this game is so awesome it should be worth much more than €0,79 enough. This is definetly my favourite iPhone game EVER and I even put it in my top 10 games of 2010 list a month ago! I’ll start by saying it has a free LITE version so you have no excuse for not trying it.

The game is an old-school “Tycoon” management kind of game. You’re the manager of a startup game developer company and you have to do all it takes to gain fame and money in order to expand your game dev abilities and increase your fan base. You have to create games that the public wants, promote your name in fairs and expos, hire and fire people, teach them new skills, send them on holiday to relax… There’s so much stuff to do, but it’s never overwhelming. You can ask my girlfriend.. this game kept me hypnotized for a whole weekend reducing my speech functions to one word…

League of Evil – €0,79

I’ve obviously kept the best for last with Game Dev story and League of Evil. This game is pretty new. It’s a platformer and it takes a lot of inspiration from Super Meatboy if you’ve ever played it (again n°1 game of 2010 in my list). You have to run through smallish levels collecting a suitcase and killing the scientist at the end. You can double jump, wall-jump and punch/kick. It’s the first game with a virtual joypad that I actually enjoyed. You absolutely need to try it… and again there is a LITE free version so you have no excuses.

Hope you enjoyed the list. I’ll be running a few of these as time goes by.

o/

The day Riqz lost £5

February 11, 2011 4 comments

Hello everyone. This is just a short post today, and is a lesson about never ever challenging a slightly drunken Englishman to a dare in a pub. Some time ago, I was in a pub. I bet you didn’t see that coming did you, quite the twist in the story already. I can’t say it was for the ambience or for the taste of the fine wines, it was mainly because Weatherspoons is a chain of pubs which usually does the cheapest beer on the High Street. I’m classy like that, but let’s get to the £5.

Myself and Riqz would therefore often go to this pub, with or without the company of some other friends. The people we’d go with would usually vary, because I suspect they often had better things to do than be seen with me. I digress. How did Riqz lose £5 I didn’t hear you cry.

Now I don’t know if you get tartare sauce in Italy. However, in the UK it’s eaten a lot with fish. It’s basically vinegar mixed with an indeterminate amount of vegetables which turns into some sort of foul smelling gloopy mess, which if you go and Google it, will look like white sick. It’s lovely, seriously. I can’t help it I don’t work for the British Food Council (if such a place exists) so I can’t describe food in a loving way. However, such was my cunning that I was pretending it was vile.

Riqz was by now becoming well versed in British culture, for example he had significantly lowered his expectations of girls and was even beginning to find some of the female patronage of Weatherspoons attractive. God bless the power of beer eh?

Oh right, yeah the £5. So we were sitting in the pub, and basically Riqz bet I couldn’t eat a whole pot of tartare sauce, but I so did. I won £5. It’s not much of an anecdote, but what’ya gonna do?

The lesson here kids is never assume that the person sitting opposite you doesn’t like vinegar based condiments. Sometimes they do, and the crafty ones will deny it to profit from it.

The colour Red, PSP’s and Tablets

February 10, 2011 6 comments

A few weeks ago I went to the post office to pay a bill and I found it real funny how this woman’s hair was exactly the same colour of her Jacket.

So yeah that was interesting. Especially trying to take a picture in a crammed post-office making me look like some kind of perv.

I also managed to film my turtles doing a kind of mating dance ritual. Experts tell me it’s either something a male does to a female to attract her or it’s something a male does to another male before they kill each other. Since they are both still alive and well, I’m hoping it’s the first hypothesis.

Here’s the video with some bonus Muse song in the background:

This month I’ve also been very excited about the new PSP2 which was announced by Sony. So excited I decided to finish off some old PSP games in my collection. That includes God of War: Ghost of Sparta, Riviera, Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Little Big Planet, Final Fantasy Crisis Core, GTA Chinatown Wars and the list goes on way too much. I’d rather link you my (shameful) complete backlog of videogames: http://www.backloggery.com/riqz

The new psp is a gamer’s dream in theory. I mean, big screen, DUAL ANALOG STICKS, front and rear capacitive screens, quad core cpu, mic, front and rear cameras, Wi-Fi, 3G. Hopefully they won’t be concentrating on simple PS3 ports like they showed at their conference. Crossing my fingers for this one.

Moving on to other news I’m also going to be visiting the UK again in March with my girlfriend Gloria. I’ll be meeting Bludgenous (our new co-author), Brodos and the gang, hopefully Harlow, Matthew, Ruth and all the Uni gang.

I’ll also be bringing Gloria to the Ramsay Restaurant in Chelsea to get all my money ripped out of my wallet. So much so that I had a nightmare with Gordon in which I was supposed to cook some Italian food for him and failing miserably only to be told to fuck off and stick that shitty food up my arse.

This month’s dilemma concerns tablets. I’ve decided I want to buy a tablet this year and sell my netbook. I’ve been pretty sure about buying an iPad2 until a few days ago. Seeing the new Motorola Xoom has really made me think about what I’d like to buy. Spending around €800 for a tablet really brings on a few questions and the Xoom is definetly looking avantguarde compared to the current iPad.

The Xoom is really looking good sporting Android 3.0. It’s really looking like a great OS. The real question is…Will it have a great battery? I really want these batteries to last a long time and for now… only the iPad has that kind of thing with 10+hours of battery life in its shell.

I’m going to wait out and see what Apple present at their upcoming keynote and then make up my mind.

Lettera al Comune di Budoia

January 25, 2011 1 comment

Sorry for all non-italian speaking readers but it’s quite an important post for me. It’s a letter sent to the Budoia Town hall. The town in which my parents will live their retirement not to mention where my father was born. They want to keep creating housing estates by cementifying the countryside.

Ciao a tutti,

ho ricevuto le e-mail di aggiornamento alle riunioni a cui sono mancato causa la mia partenza.

Anche se da lontano, vorrei far arrivare la mia voce che è anche quella di un cittadino nato a S. Lucia e che fra poco verrà ad abitarvi stabilmente. Sono inorridito all’idea della potenziale colata di cemento che potrebbe ricoprire tutto il lato sud-est di S. Lucia. Di scempi ne ho già visti tanti nel mondo. Cerchiamo di essere più propositivi verso l’ambiente e verso il futuro pensando anche ai ns. figli ed eventuali nipoti. Non roviniamo per favore quel poco che ci circonda. Vogliamo togliere veramente tutti i prati per far colare il cemento? Allora ribattezziamo anche il paese, lo chiamerei “S. Lucia del cemento” o la via Gluck di S. Lucia o qualcosa di simile .
Bisogna combattere l’ idea di cementificazione selvaggia che ha portato sul lastrico intere nazioni (vds. ultime Portogallo e Spagna non appena è scoppiata la bolla immobiliare).

Le motivazioni per non edificare ulteriormente a S. Lucia sono note e validissime come già rilevato durante le precedenti riunioni:
1) Se vogliamo recuperare il centro storico occorre incentivare tale recupero e non aprire ad ulteriori aree fabbricabili che creerebbero solo dei quartieri dormitorio. Ed è qui il punto centrale su cui bisogna insistere con i ns. amministratori.
2) L’attuale popolazione del comune di Budoia di ca 2500 persone è più che sufficiente al territorio e se vogliamo lasciarla incrementare fino a ca 3000 persone basta l’incentivazione al recupero del centro storico prima che questi ne diventi invece un ghetto a causa delle continue costruzioni periferiche. So che non è facile recepire incentivi ma è questa la strada da percorrere.

Per quanto riguarda l’eventuale utilizzo per cave di amianto etc oppure di inceneritori, non scherziamo per favore. Mi auguro proprio che affiori un po’ di buon senso in tutti i cittadini ed anche alle nostre amministrazioni comunali, provinciali e regionali e che concordino unanimemente che ciò può essere fatto soltanto in zone molto isolate e lontanissime da quartieri abitativi allo scopo di evitare eventuali e inevitabili inquinamenti.

Occorrono delle motivazioni più valide per salvaguardare il ns. territorio? Non mi sembra, è già stato saccheggiato sufficientemente da renderlo irriconoscibile a chi ci viene periodicamente.

Infine, riguardo al progetto per creare una piazza a S. Lucia, appoggio pienamente l’idea dello studio da parte di neo architetti prospettata con l’Università di Sassari. Personalmente offro già la mia disponibilità ad ospitarne uno (a partire da settembre prossimo), magari straniero visto che io e mia moglie ce la caviamo con l’inglese ed anche con qualche altra lingua.

Mi auguro, pure se assente, che la mia voce venga riportata alle prossime riunioni. Per favore non cancelliamo già ora con le nostre mani il futuro.

Un caro saluto a tutti.

Bludgenous has connected

January 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello there!

The eagle eyed among you will notice that I’ve been kindly invited to co-author this blog. This is just a little in the way of an introductory post while I settle in here, admiring the wallpaper and putting my feet up by the fire. So, gather round, gather round and I’ll tell you a story of utter tedium which is my life.

I’m from London and I’ve known Riqz for over 6 years now, having met early on at university. The first time I met Riqz was in the first couple of weeks at university as he was friends with another Italian chap whom I was living with in halls. We bonded (in a heterosexual, manly way, I hasten to add) over beer, our seemingly perpetual inability to successfully converse successfully with ladies and the fact that his new Nokia phone was able to play the original Game Boy Super Mario Bros. This last point was particularly important, as despite being in our first weeks at university and being surrounded by a plethora of beautiful, and frankly horny, young ladies, we spent some time in the pub remembering where the mushroom power up was and which pipes had the secret coin filled chambers in them. This kind of behaviour would eventually lead to a dramatic increase in gaming time, but that’s a story for another day.

honey bee on a flower

Now then I’m not quite sure where I’m going to take these blog posts at present, however I’m sure there will be no small part in reminiscing about some of our finer moments whilst at university as they were indeed the best days of my life. Now if that sounds terribly self-indulgent, well it kind of is, because that’s what blogs are for right? Seriously though, I hope to make it an amusing read for you all as a lot of the shenanigans were tragically funny, in no small part due to my ineptitude in coping with modern life and generally being a bit of a tit. I’ll probably jump about chronologically, writing stories and anecdotes as and when I remember them. I’ll also pepper it with my more recent experiences of generally not understanding people, because the general public are an ongoing mystery to me. Oh, and plenty of rants about public transport too.

We’ll see how it goes, as I’m sure I know many of you the readership already, and if I don’t know you, then you can listen to the ever-so-slightly unhinged commentary from a vaguely eccentric Englishman.

I felt the need to add an image to the blog, and I’m not really creative in that way, so here’s a picture of a bee on a flower I took in my garden last summer. Lovely. Irrelevant loveliness.

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The Amazon Kindle 3G Review

January 13, 2011 2 comments

A few months ago I bought one of those new Amazon Kindle e-book readers everyone’s raving about… Well ok… Not everyone.

The Kindle 3G

I always had my eye on these new e-ink e-book readers but they used to cost quite a few pounds so I never really ended up buying one.

Recently, maybe thanks to the whole new tablet market, the kindle price got slashed and I bought one for something like 180 dollars shipping included. If you live in Italy, like me, there’s no way to buy one from amazon.co.uk or .de or .fr or .it as it will automatically redirect you to the american amazon.com website.

Upon receiving the kindle it came in a simple but sturdy amazon box with a simple leaflet explaining how to start it up. First thing i did was try to take of the thin sheet of plastic these kind of gadgets have on the screen when they are new… you know that thin plastic layer on your new phone’s screen or on your new iPod. To my dismay it was a trap!

There was no screen protector. What looked like a FAKELY written phrase (you know the fake screen printed on a thin sheet of plastic to act as an Ikea-style product demo) saying “please attach your kindle to a pc usb port to charge it” wasn’t fake at all. This was my first ever experience with E-ink technology. I was truly amazed.

The new Kindle screen looks like paper. Absolutely no distinction. It has no backlight it has amazing contrast… Damn this thing is like…MAGIC.

I bought the 6″ screen Wi-Fi version (i don’t see why anyone in the world would buy a 3G data plan version) which is the size of a normal paperback book page. I quickly pop it on my pc (immediately recognized by Windows 7) and register it to my amazon account. I am then given a list of free un-copyrighted books that I can download. Such old classics as Treasure Island, Sherlock Holmes, The Mysterious Island and many others. I immediately downloaded Treasure Island to try it out.

The feeling the Kindle gives you is just what you would feel reading a book but better. There’s no screen glare that you can have with iPhones or iPads and the Kindle is very light so it won’t strain your hands while reading in bed like a book usually does to me. Another plus is that there’s no more of that easy page/hard page while reading on your side. Depending on what side i’m lying on there’s an easy page (where the side of the book rests on the bed) and a hard page (when you have to hold the whole book up to read the other page with your hand turning into a Dr.Zoidberg claw), making me toss and turn in bed like a maniac. Glad that’s gone…

Amazon offers an amazing variety of e-books so you’re going to find pretty much everything you want, except more obscure books. Nonetheless it has accepted any e-book format i’ve been throwing at it including .azw (obviously), .epub, .mobi and .pdf so you can buy an e-book from anywhere else on the internet and pop it on your kindle by dragging and dropping through the usb cable. If your e-book is unsupported you can send it to your kindle email and it will be converted into a usable format and sent automatically to your Kindle.

Speaking of transfering e-books to the kindle, Amazon does a great job with what they call “Whispernet”. When you buy an e- book off amazon.com it will ask you where you want it sent. You can send it to your registered kindle, your iPhone, your Android phone or even your Kindle app on your PC. By simply connecting your Kindle to your Wi-Fi network you can sync all your items with a push of a button. Not only does it sync all your books, it also syncs all your highlights, popular highlights by other people and what page you were on last time you read the book so that you can pick right up from where you left if you want to read from your iphone or from another PC.

One of the nicest perks you get on the Kindle (and on most ebook readers for that matter) is that you can move your cursor right next to a word you don’t know and it will give you a quick definition on the internal dictionary and if that’s not enough it’ll let you search it on google, wikipedia or anywhere else you want on the internet. I’ve never been the kind of guy to pick up a dictionary while reading so this is a great addition.

There are a few drawbacks to the Kindle and I believe it isn’t just a Kindle problem… With a paperback book you can buy it and read it. The best thing about paperback books is that if you like them you can tell other people about it and do something that used to be regarded as granted… LEND IT.  Unfortunately Amazon and many other e-book retailers have put DRM protection on all of the e-books they sell. This is absolute bullcrap because I wanted to lend an e-book i bought to my mother recently and realised the only way was to make her buy it again for her kindle… Which to me sounds stupid. I know this DRM crap is all about stopping pirates but come on!

Apparently Amazon is working on a “Lending” option for e-books but they still haven’t enabled it for European users.

I also noticed that the price of e-books is variable. Most of the ones i’ve seen cost more than their paperback brother. Some people say other books cost more than their e-book version. Nonetheless I’ve always paid something more for my e-book than I would have paid for my paperback which does piss me off a bit.

The Kindle is a great e-book reader then… yes… but unfortunately for me, it’s quite a nightmare for manga afficionados.

Manga on the Kindle

Not because you can’t read them… not at all… but because of the tedious convertion you have to go through. I haven’t found any legitimate source to BUY e-manga. Not the ones I like anyway so I had to go and find illegal scans. After downloading the scans you have to convert them into something kindle-friendly with a program called Mangle (Manga+Kindle aaaaah) which isn’t really always 100% perfection. It sometimes mixes up page numbers and you end up having to delete all your converted images and start again. I have officially given up on converting manga scans for the Kindle. Too much time and not much reward. You can read this if you are interested.

The Kindle has some other minor and hidden features such as an experimental (but very good) internet browser, a minesweeper game, a text-to-speech reader and an automatic Twitter/Facebook updater (sends your highlights to your feed).

Oh I nearly forgot!! The kindle also sports a pair of speakers from which you can hear your text-to-speach voice, mp3’s and audiobooks. A nice addition even though you have to watch your space as the Kindle has 3Gygabytes of internal space which isn’t expandable.

One small tip. Don’t buy an original amazon.com leather case. Apparently they’ve been making Kindles freeze without any explanation. Not to mention they cost like £30-£50. I ended up making my own carry case for the kindle by carving an old Diary:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can definetly reccomend a Kindle if you are an avid reader and interested in new technology/gadgets.

o/