enjoying Stanza


2008-12-12

One of the things I hoped to be able to do with my iPod touch was to read eBooks - like while lying snuggled up in bed. There are several (free) choices for reader apps available, and following the recommendations I downloaded and tried Stanza which seemed like the most flexible if options.

The very first impression? Ouch... small fonts, Times New Roman, eeek ;) Remember your's truly is not only slightly visually impaired, so smallish fonts on a smallish screen are painful. Lucky for me I endured and read up on the style options!!! Now I've got nice large fonts, light text on dark background and all :) Reading on a small screen is still not what I would call 'relaxed' but now at least this is all down to my own limitations. There's a reason I've discoverd audio books recently.

What I really love about Stanza is the easy way to get you own texts (or ones you already have in various formats) onto your iPhone: there is a desktop app (Mac & Windows) with which you can open and read quite a lot of formats, and then also 'share' then on the WiFi network. You would then use the iPhone version to download selected shared texts from machine(s) on the same WiFi network. Btw: the desktop app has the option to require that you allow a certain device to acces it, or you can enable anon sharing too. A book once downloaded to the iPhone app need no longer stay shared either. Additionally you can create special links to files on a standard web page so that Stanza would be used to open the link (thereby downloading the book). As Stanza can read PDF, DOC, RTF and also plain HTML or text, this open up quite a number of possibilities.

Reading in Stanza very much reminds me of my beloved Tofu reader, as it conveniently strips out 'pretty formating' and concentrates on the pure text for easy reading. Oh, you CAN have it display styles and images too if you so choose.

So, does reading in bed on an iPhone/iPod touch work? And does it beat reading on paper?

What this will really be very useful for s this: In LARP or plain RPG sessions as GM I often have a ton of reference material in written form, that I usually keep in my head as reading on paper just doesn't work for me 'on the go'... I'd beed proper lighting, my reading specs and all that. Not a good thing for a quick check of background material etc. With Stanza nad the ipod touch I can just prepare the data as HTML pages on my desktop and load them into Stanza on the iPod, read to go whereever I go. I was tempted to schlepp my laptop for these uses, but that's just a number too big really. With the mobile device I can just hand a player the relevant section and have them read it etc.

So yeah, the iPod touch (or iPhone) is no Kindle for sure, But hey! I can load any file I can create into it! That's worth quite a load I'd say.

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