Friday, December 31, 2010

Getting into Overdrive at your local library

Well, Christmas is in the rear view mirror and the New Year is here, I bet many of you have some cool gadgets to play with this year. If you got an ereader for Christmas you may want to check with your local library, many use a program called Overdrive where you can check out books onto your ereader from their Overdrive catalog. I have done this several times with my Nook and while it is not the most intuitive program it is doable. I have some tips below to help you get reading for free (and who doesn't like free) from your local library.
  1. Download and install Adobe Digital Editions to your computer, PC, Mac or laptop. It is important to have your Nook plugged into your computer via your USB cable while downloading so that the software will install simultaneously on both the Nook and your computer. On the right hand side of the screen you will see  "Download Now" Once you click on the download button it will lead you through the rest of the process for downloading and installing the software. The steps are the same for PC and Mac users. (insert your favorite smiley face here).  
  2. Once the software is installed you will need an Adobe ID, don't panic, this is very easy to do if you don't have one already. All you need is a valid email address, then click on the link for "Get an Adobe ID online". 
  3. Now here is a nice feature, Adobe Digital Editions should automatically recognize your digital reader and ask you if you would like to authenticate your device. Naturally you do. If for some reason it does not automatically recognize your reader, just close and reopen the program (Adobe Digital Editions). 
  4. Now we are ready for the fun part, you will want to access your Library's Overdrive site. Sign into your library account. Search the Overdrive catalog and place items into your cart. Now if you are like and like to browse here is a helpful reminder items will only stay in your cart for a certain number of minutes, so don't browse too long before checking out your selections. Once the item is checked out it should be available for download. When your computer prompts you for which program to use to open the ebook, make sure you choose Adobe Digital Editions. The library book will download to your computer, then you simply transfer the book to your Nook, by dragging and dropping it into your Nook icon on the left hand side of the program. 
  5. On the Nook these items will appear in your "My Documents" tab. If you do not see your library book, clink "Check for new items" and it should appear then. You can also return the book early if you finish it to opening the Adobe Digital Editions program on your computer and click on the drop down arrow on the left hand side and selecting "return the checked out item" 
There you have it in five easy steps you can get free books from your local library (provided they have the Overdrive program) onto your Nook or other device that will recognize the epub or pdf format. This does not work however for the Kindle. At least not at this time.

A couple of helpful links can be found here at Slide Share (for PC users).

For Mac users, Slide Share (Mac Version).

~ the Tech Savvy Knitter

Sunday, December 26, 2010

More Snow..

At 4:30 I measured 9 inches of snow on the patio, the most snow we have had in 21 years!

My Jasmine Vine

There's a car under there somewhere

And it is still snow, and I am still knitting! 

White (day after) Christmas

Saturday, December 25, 2010

White Christmas

I can't remember the last time we had a snow for christmas, we are getting snow tonight. They say we will be snowed in tomorrow. I can't believe it. I will believe it when I see it. The day has been wonderful already. Filled with knitting and audio books.

I am attempting to knit a stocking for next year and the pattern is giving me a fit. This is my third attempt, if I don't get it this time I am going to try a different pattern. This one is making me crazy!

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nook, iPad, Nano, Knitting and more.....

Merry Christmas to All! It is Christmas Eve, hopefully everyone is ready, but I'm sure there are a few last minute gifts to buy.

As always electronics are hot items, here is my take on some of them.

The Barnes and Noble Nook, I have one of the original devices with WiFi and 3G. I have not yet used the color Nook yet. First, the pros, I like the newsprint style screen, it makes it very easy to read outside by the pool, beach or park. The buttons for turning the pages are easy to use, and it is light weight and easy to carry. Mine fits nicely in the side pocket of my Namaste Knitting bag. Searching for new books to download is also very user friendly and purchasing is a breeze once you have your Barnes and Noble account set up. Of course when you take your Nook into Barnes and Noble there are always coupons and free downloads of the week to try. You just show your Nook to the cashier for the coupon code and you are on your way. Customer service is top notch, I had a problem with my nooks and within 3 business days I had a replacement Nook and the return shipping code. No hassles. Also the Nook will accept other formats, I load pdf's of my knitting patterns on it to make them more portable.

The Cons, my nook received a stress fraction at the button I used most for page turning, but as stated above, the customer service people were excellent and replaced my Nook hassle free. It was a reconditioned Nook but I found no issues with it, it was like new and I have not had any further problems. Also the new color Nook resolves this problem by having a touch screen to allow you to turn pages without the button as well as the software upgrade to the existing models of the Nook.
The web browsing on the Nook, is not worth your time, at least not on the pre-color models, the navigation is done through the 2 inch screen at the bottom and is more frustrating than anything. It is not worth the time or effort, if you want to web browse I suggest another device. Things like games on the Nook seem pointless to me, since they are very limited in type and quality of the graphics.

Overall impression of the Nook, it is great if all you want to do is read a book, nothing else. If your expectations are simple then the Nook is a great device. I can also see it as an excellent device for school children and young people.

The iPad, I have a new model 32g iPad purchased at the Apple Store. The Pros, I will try to limit my thoughts here, but I must say that I love my iPad. I used it constantly and find it hard to remember life without it. First, if your a reader, you can download the Nook, Kindle, Blue Fire and other reader apps to your iPad, thus not limiting you to one source for your ebooks. I also have a reader app Good Reader, that also you to highlight and mark up pdf files, I have found this invaluable for my knitting patterns. The iPad is easy to use, everything is done by touch, no buttons to push or break. Of course, you have access to the App Store, with a host of products for productivity. The graphics are typical Apple, excellent! This is not a review of the various apps, available because some are clearly better than others. There has been some question as to the portability of the iPad, my rule of thumb is that if it fits in my purse it is portable, and my iPad fits in my purse.
The iPad is also great for those who are not computer savvy, you don't have to strong keyboarding skills to be effective on the iPad in fact it is great for people who only type with two or three fingers. I do pretty much anything on my iPad that I do on my laptop. I also like the screen size of the iPad, it makes it easier to see recipes and knitting patterns without having to enlarge the font or pictures. I would not enjoy a 7" iPad. Again, customer service with the iPad is terrific and with all Apple products I would imagine. I purchased mine at my local Apple Store and the process was very painless and the staff very friendly. My iPad account was active, and set up before I left the store.

The Cons,  the cons are that it is a bit heavier than the Nook, and if you carry yours in your purse as I do, you will notice the difference in weight. The button on the side that used to control the internal gyroscope as changed in the last upgrade, to turn it on or off now is a four step process. I find that very unfortunate. The reason to turn it off is if you are reading a book if you tilt your iPad too far it will turn the page for you and you may not want this. It was nice before when you could just press the button on the side to control this feature. The lack of flash capability is some what disappointing, although many sites are moving away from using flash, there are still plenty out there that do, but if you are away that your iPad will not support flash before you go looking for a certain site, it can be handled, if you can find the information from another source rather than a flash site.

Overall impressions, I love my iPad and frankly it has replaced my Nook as far as reading books, the larger screen the ability to turn my book to portrait or landscape mode is a plus for me and the ability to have a variety of eReader formats and sources for ebooks is a huge plus for me. The touch screen makes this device easy for anyone to use and I would highly recommend it for someone perhaps a senior citizen with prior limited computer experience. I believe they will find it easy for them to use and allow them access to their email and information sources they may have previously shied away from.

The Nano, the new 6th generation Nano, is one of my favorite new devices. The Pros,  The size is awesome, you can take it anywhere and there are a number of wrist bands and cases to make it even easier. I have the 16G model and it has replaced my iPod Touch as my music device I use daily. I plug it into my car, my speakers at work and also use it with my earbuds. The graphics on the screen are  great for the size.  The Cons,  the size is a trade off for capacity, 16G is the largest offered. For me the 8G just wasn't enough space as I found with my 8G iPod Touch. Also, the charging devices are not interchangeable between the Touch and the Nano, so if you are adding one of these devices to your collection be prepared to add new support devices as well. This is also true for non-Apple accessory products, for example I have an adapter for my car that allows me to play my music through the car stereo speakers; with the Touch that adapter also acts as a charger while playing the music, but not with the Nano, again, the small size has it's trade offs.

Overall impressions, if you are a runner, walker or active person you will want this new Nano, the size is perfect, it is light weight and much easier to use while exerising than its longer counterparts with arm bands etc.

If you have an iPad or iTouch, keep on the look out for new knitting related apps. As I mentioned I love Good Reader for my iPad, allowing me to read and mark up my knitting patterns that I have downloaded in pdf. Also Vogue Knitting has an app for both the iPad and the iTouch, that allows you have have a portable inventory of your stash and needles, plus a very nice stitch dictionary!

And there you have it, my little take on technology and knitting apps.

Now go have some fiber fun!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Moose Tracks

We have had two snow falls already this month here. Snow doesn't fall that often here and almost never in the month of December. Snow is more likely after January, so this year has been usually cold and wintry. It comes with mixed emotions, since we do not get snow that often when it does fall it is quite exciting and even the most mature person has the urge to run out and play in the snow. On the other had, trying to commute to and from work in it, jades my opinion of snow very quickly.

But, one of the fun things about snow is that it allows you to see things in a different light, you can see the tracks of animals normally hidden in the leaves or grass like these......

Moose Tracks?
Okay so they aren't moose tracks, but of a more lovable creature....


The wintry weather has added to the Holiday spirit and even our Tuesday Knitting Circle had an impromptu party, with our dear friend Jennifer surprising us all with these awesome knitty gifts! 

Pencils, note cards, note book and note pad all with a cable pattern! How clever!

Well all the packages have been sent, all the cards mailed, time to relax and knit without a deadline! Whew!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Holiday in Lights

As there are only 17 days left until Christmas, the spirit of the season is everywhere. Especially at this house in my neighborhood!

And my Christmas knitting is done, represented here are scarves, hats, pedicure socks and soap sock.