Thoughts on Reading Audiobooks

Reading books used to be time consuming. Not so with audiobooks – but does the new format deliver!?

Around the 2009 presidential inauguration of president elect Obama, Amazon.com-owned Audible.com started sponsoring Slate.com. I heard about it in the Slate Political Gabfest podcasts. In true internet fashion Audible.com were giving away a book if you’d sign up for a test membership.

For a few years now getting the time to read books has been very challenging, but staying up to date with news on business and politics has been no problem thanks to podcasts, and for a while they have indeed dominated my listened tracks.

So if there is time to listen to news, there will probably also be time to do that and read a book per month, and I went to the special offer at Audible.com and downloaded my first book.

I’ve now been testing the format for about a week, and I’ll comment a bit on the format.

While you can consume a book without stopping whatever else you’re doing – cooking, cycling, walking, etc. – and while you do get the same content, the format of Audiobooks – for all its advantages – also has some shortcomings:

  • if you’re listening to a book, which has interesting graphs, you don’t get those
  • if you’re interested in quoting from the book you’re reading you’ll have to write the actual quote by listening and writing, listening and writing, until you get it right.
  • BIG ONE: you can’t easily search through an audiobook. I’m listening on an iPod Nano, and it just doesn’t have the entire text of the book in the “show notes”, and the chapters don’t necessarily come with easy navigation either. So flipping an audiobook open and finding a specific reference is tedious, and can’t be recommended.

There are probably plenty of other reasons that audiobooks aren’t even close to replacing books at this point, but I’ve downloaded my first audiobook and trying it out. It’s a very recent book by Jeff Jarvis with the title “What Would Google Do?

I’ll get back to that book and talk a bit about it in a future post – for now, I just want to get on with the book!

To all you spreadsheet junkies out there

Take your Google spreadsheets with you and edit them on the go.

Google has added mobile editing for its Google Docs spreadsheets. This means that you can now edit all your spreadsheets on the go. Symbian S60 phones – like the Nokia E71 – support this new feature. In fact the only ones left in the dark are Blackberry and Windows Mobile users. Thanks to Maarten and Adam for this!

Nokia Sports Tracker – now with maps

Many Nokia users will recognize the Nokia Sports Tracker applicaton – especially popular with Nokia users with GPS-enabled phones. In fact Nokia has taken this great little application and added integration between the Polar Wearlink Belt for Nokia and the Nokia N79, so training freaks can now be 100% mobile with their phone while training: listen to music, receive calls, know the distance and how the body reacts to the entire thing.

Now, for those of us not lucky enough to have an N79 or the special Wearlink Belt from Polar, there’s no need to be too disappointed. Nokia added a missing feature to its Sports Tracker Beta v. 1.82 in October of 2008 – they now support maps!

Little known to many, but posted here, the “new” beta is not available of the official Nokia Sports Tracker website. You have to go to Nokia Research and download it. Then install it to your Nokia S60 3.1 device (N82, E71, N95, etc…).

If you’re completely new to how Nokia Sports Tracker works go ahead and have a look at their website and of course make sure to look at some of our family runs – like this and this. Looking forward to more like this from the good folks at Nokia (and Polar).

10 years of Thusgaard.com

Yesterday was the 10-year anniversary of Thusgaard.com, and today it’s time for something new.

Thusgaard.com has been many things in the past 10 years: the domain has served and serves as email server for a number of people whose names fit the domain name; it’s been a plain website in the days when website design was difficult, portal page, and for the past 7-8 years WordPress has been installed on Thusgaard.com. During the entire 10 years the content has been hosted by six different companies, and for the last 3,5 years Unoeuro.com does an excellent job of keeping the site running.

Most notable appearance on the site in terms of content, has been my sister Astrid’s blog which she recently started under her own domain name at http://connectingthedots.dk. During that period we were running WordPress multi-user, keeping the door open for anyone with a desire to start their own blog.

Recently when Astrid moved out, she mentioned that the newest version of WordPress looked a whole lot better than the lacking-behind dashboard of WPMU.

So as Astrid has moved out, an none of all the other Thusgaard.com users are actually maintaining websites at Thusgaard.com, I thought I’d skip the jakob. in my URL and start the website design of Thusgaard.com all over again. As I’m writing this the new design is far from finished, but as always with WordPress it works.

So the website has changed once more – on to the next 10 years.