eReaders and stuff

This is a bit of a rambling post with photos at the end, feel free to wander off if you get bored, I won’t be offended.

What prompted this post, apart from taking advantage of the air time to promote my new eBook ‘My Patch’, now available at $1.99US, is to chat a bit about how best to read the things. People sit and read, or exercise and read, some drive and read but tend to end up in the median facing the wrong way so we’ll rule them out of any intelligent conversation. Many people read in bed and like to do so in comfort. They are usually over 22 years old, have had their fussy out of sex by then, ok, 23 then but come on, nobody is a machine! So what is available to facilitate that reading urge?

Not many people want to take a full-sized pc to bed so they can read an eBook. Some might take their laptop or tablet, but neither are that comfy to read on and an illuminated screen of that nature is not a restful sight before slumber, therefore reading in bed needs to be carefully thought about.  The ideal way to read any eBook is on a dedicated eReader and, at around $80.00 they are not bad vaslue.

Here is a link to the Kobo ones: https://www.kobo.com/devices#ereaders I chose these because Sandra has one and I can comment directly. I also have a Kobo, it’s a Vox and, while it is an adequate reader, it wants to do too many things such as tell you what you have read – is it me or is this pointless? Looking at their web site, they don’t seem to sell them anymore, which is a good thing because they were expensive, hyperactive junk. The screen on my Vox recently cracked and, while the words of the books I’m reading are not falling out, the crack is off-putting and my next reader will be a real one.

Sandra’s e-Reader is the Kobo touch and she loves it. Before this she got through three Sony e-Readers (The Sony Die-soon was the model I think),they are now no longer available (except at a dump near you!). Her little eReader folds like a book, the pages turn with a swipe or click of a button and they download wirelessly, just what you want really.

Back to my latest eBook ‘My Patch’ and here is another (and last) snippet to tempt you and, if you are tempted, just click on the cover on the side bar to go to the web site. For details of how to download to Kindles and the like, there is info on the eBooks page tab at the top. A lot of Kindle owners think that they can only buy from Amazon, this is not the case, Smashwords offer Kindle friendly versions of all their eBooks.

my patchsmall

The pain and ramifications of missing a patch tick:

You have watched your patch almost daily throughout May for the past ten years. One day you are told by your partner that the – whatever – needs fixing in your house, and that you have to shop for the parts NOW. As you negotiate the slow weekend traffic, it starts to rain, the start of some unsettled weather now arriving on a cool front after days of high pressure. In the DIY store parking lot you see a Blackpoll Warbler in the only tree to survive the erratic driving of the locals; a good sign for migration, bad news for you.

Your birding friend Dan has also noted the change in the weather and, as you browse the confusing aisles of the DIY store while the hailer goes on and on about customer service 6000, he is heading towards the scrubby edge of your shared patch. Within moments of arriving, Dan has started seeing birds and soon delights in letting you know via joyful texts to your phone.

While you patiently wait for the beeping monstrosity of a forklift to get out of the aisle, Dan is picking his way through a fall-out of migrant warblers when he hears a scratchy, chattering song from the scrub. He suspects that he knows the singer, cues up the iPod and attracts it into view, a fine Yellow-breasted Chat. Having had a good view, Dan texts you (again!) and tells you that it is there, exactly where it is and how well it is showing.

The chat is a provincial rarity, Quebec gets one most years but that is about it. Dan also knows that, because of your shared obsession, the skulking chat is a site first – therefore neither you nor anyone else have never seen one there, it is a patch tick for everyone. Dan now has it, you most certainly do not. You have read and re-read the text and have begun to perspire, despite the store air conditioning being set so low that it attracts complaints from the Inuit.

As you pick up the pace around the store you are wondering why every shelf that has the bit you so desperately need is empty, and why the weekend staff, who are obviously not applying customer care anywhere, have no idea what you are talking about. Eventually a grey-top shows up, makes the familiar sucking through the teeth noise, so beloved of people in the home repair field and leads you to a row full of stuff that will do the job but that is in an aisle labelled ‘Timber’.

You get home and do the repair, then get a barrage of texts asking where you are and telling you that the bird was still showing well until five minutes ago, but then got harder to find when the sun came out and the weather cleared, good luck when you finally get there!

You dash down to your patch, arm on the window playing it cool although you actually start playing the chat’s songs and calls on the iPod (loud) about three stop signs before the parking lot and you have all of the car windows open, just in case. You quick-march to the spot, then walk slowly around – playing the sounds of the chat and everything else that you can think of that might attract it or at least make it move, even Colima Pygmy-Owl, you never know. When you have tripped over the same tree root three times in five minutes because it’s now become too dark to see, you finally admit that it has gone and you’ve missed it.

You get home, struggling to hide your obvious despair and your partner commits the cardinal (Northern) sin and says “it’s only a bird”. Six months later you are living in Dan’s basement with a divorce on the horizon. Your now ex is dating the grey-top from the DIY and you are eating unhealthy microwave meals for one while sitting in your underwear, needle in hand as you try to move your pants’ button out another inch.

I have a couple of other writing projects on the go. One is a dragonfly guide, there is the cover, I’ll try to complete it before the first ode flies.

Odes cover small

Now to some recent birds. Yesterday and today I’ve been out looking for Grey Partridges around St-Clet. They can be elusive at the best of times but in soft, fluffy snow you have to hope that you are near enough to see a head appear. Snowy Owls are there in number though, 12 yesterday after 75% coverage, seven today after 35%. I only found Snow Buntings on Montee Chenier but around 250 so a nice flock.

Incidentally, I’ve been to Hudson a few times to try to snap Bohemian Waxwings again but the flock seems to have wandered off, or I’ve just not found them.

IMG_2799 (2) IMG_2805 (2)

These two Snowy Owls are sat on roofs which have areas without snow. The owls, sensible creatures that they are, only sit on the snow covered bits.

IMG_2872 (2) IMG_2876 (2) IMG_2903 (2)_edited-1 IMG_2931 (2) IMG_2945 (2)

I’ve not had any feedback from those who have bought ‘My Patch’ yet, if I do get printable comments I’ll air them here.

An no sooner do I make this aside that I get the following, unsolicited comment plus some advice re holding an eReader. Many thanks Richard and Jean:

Richard Gregson:  Somewhat plaintively (wink emoticon) Mark writes at the end that “I’ve not had any feedback from those who have bought ‘My Patch’ yet, if I do get printable comments I’ll air them here.” So, I laid out my $1.99, grossly inflated by the exchange rate to $2.57 in real money, and had a good read. What it says is all set out in Mark’s enjoyably, shall we say idiosyncratic, style and tells it the way it is as far as patch birding goes. Doesn’t pull many punches doesn’t our MD. A topic that is not so generously covered elsewhere. Anyway, I made it to the last page without any effort and I would say that anyone who thinks birding is half-way worth doing will enjoy the book …. even at the exchange-rate inflated price. A jolly good read … go and buy a copy before the store runs out of electrons and they have to order some more. (PS: iPads, better than plain vanilla e-readers – you can do your emails at the same time as reading your book.)

Jean Gregson: Mark refers to comfortable ways of holding e-readers – this works for me: http://thebookseat.com

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