Wednesday, April 16, 2014

reading progress

As many of you faithful readers are aware, I use a reading machine supplied by a program through the Library of Congress (LOC).  This service has provided me with various reading machines on which I can listen to either tapes or digital recordings also provided by the LOC.  For an avid reader such as myself, this is truly a God send since without it I would be stranded; only my left eye "reads" although, for those of you who might find yourselves as a passenger in a car I am driving, I can actually see just fine for all other purposes.  It's just reading that's a problem.

This is the first reading machine I received, probably seven years ago.  It plays double-sided tapes that I either listen to through earphones or through the machine's own speakers. It is portable; the batteries last about 18 hours.  Then it has to be plugged in again and recharged.  When it won't hold a charge any longer, back it goes for a replacement.  All of the equipment, tapes, postage is free. I lugged it everywhere but thought it was such a great addition to my life.

After a few years of having this type, the LOC service began recording (and re-recording) books in a digital format on small cartridges.  I was asked if I wanted to try this new format and, of course, I did.  Here is what they sent as the latest iteration for listening to books.

Size-wise, it was like going from a big dictionary to a medium size novel.  The cartridges came in the mail, one book to a cartridge.  The cartridge is about the size of a credit card; I can also download books onto a flash drive.  The machine holds a charge for about 30 hours; then you plug it in, recharge it, and carry on.  I download books from the LOC site onto my computer, then dragged them onto a cartridge, which will hold as many as 10 books.  Now when I traveled, I could take a month's worth of reading along with me.  And if I wanted something else, I could go on to the LOC site and download a new title.

Then the service jumped miles ahead and announced that members could download books onto an iPhone, iPad or iPod.  Here's my new reader.  It fits in my pocket!

I went to the Apple store in Sacramento on Monday and purchased this little beauty.  Let me say first that it hasn't been easy to figure this thing out, but I finally was able to download the right App, get on to the site and download ONE book ~ Diane Johnson's L'Affaire, which I've already read but I was getting so frustrated I just downloaded the first book I found.  (For the sake of full disclosure I must add that I had to call Andrew for help!)  But practice will make perfect, I hope.  After watching the people in the Apple store ~ no one over 25, I'm sure ~ I've decided this tech stuff is for kids with really good eyesight (it's all so tiny even though I bumped up the font size) and tiny little fingers!  But I will persevere and, believe me, it's going to be worth it.

Here are all three machines.  Which would you choose?


john nelson said...

Take my word for it; There will be no going back...,

Liz said...

Susan-- this is SO interesting! I am so pleased that you have this increasingly useful technology. My sorority's (Delta Gamma) national philanthropic project is "Sight Conservation & Aid to the Blind." I have been involved as a collegiate & alum in raising funds for such things as your readers. In fact, a few years back I won an award for my efforts in No. VA. So rewarding to find that one of my dearest friends is a recipient of these devices!!!