So. First, an announcement: I’ve decided to start making flashcards (well, not really flashcards as much as “crash course survival phrases that can fit on one 4x6 index card”) in 32 languages, or what were 32 languages last I counted: The phrases come from here, and the “incomplete,” ones that don’t have the selected phrases I’ve decided on using (about twelve of them) I’ll get from somewhere else, and the languages are (in alphabetical order): Arabic, Bambara, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Burmese, Estonian, Filipino, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hausa, Hindi, Hungarian, Indonesian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Laotian, Malayalam, Nepali, Persian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Spanish, Swahili, Thai, Turkish, Urdu, and Vietnamese.
The only issue is, I have JUST enough room right now to be able to get in everything I need to have in, plus a few lines for notes. The cards are in two columns with some empty lines at the bottom of the right-hand column for extra stuff, if I come along something notable. Here’s the thing: for languages I cannot read (yet), like Hindi, Japanese, Burmese, Laotian, and other Indian or Asian languages, or other languages that don’t use our alphabet (with the exception of Slavic languages, because I can read those) I have got to figure out how to incorporate room for a phonetic spelling in the Roman alphabet. So that’s in the works, but I’ve got seven or eight of them saved on the compy already.
More about my new toy: first the bad. It crashed on me once, but that was a quick fix. It also wouldn’t turn off one time, and I just had to hit the reset button to restart it; when this happens, it takes a good five minutes to reboot and “recover,” just like your computer scans the hard drive for errors or such, so that was a little irritating. You also can’t use the device when it’s plugged into the USB, which is inconvenient, but not enough to be severely important. Also, there’s a dongle that plugs into the bottom of the device that allows a place for the charger, the USB cord, and an A/V out cord to plug in. I haven’t checked to see if these are available individually, but it would be nice to have one at my desktop, one in my room, and one at the stereo so I didn’t have to keep up with it, although the A/V out I haven’t used yet… So those are some irritations.
The screen is remarkably clear. It seems nearly absurd to watch a movie, a clip, a downloaded episode of your favorite television show, or anything else, for that matter, on something the size of a cassette tape with a screen that’s even smaller, but it become highly reasonable when you see it. It’s also not one of those really soft screens like for your monitor, and since it’s not a touchscreen, it’s not horribly sensitive to pressure. It seems far more sturdy (I just realized Italian isn’t on my list of languages; make that 33 unless I take out German, which I’ll explain later) than most other device screens. I’m told it scratches easily, though, but I haven’t noticed that yet, probably because I haven’t taken of that plasticky rubberish screen cover that comes on most cell phones and alarm clocks and things. I figure I’ll do that if I decide to keep it (and I am, but just for good measure, they can’t say I damaged it if I freakishly decide I don’t like it). I like the FM tuner/recorder for OBVIOUS reasons. Even though I don’t listen to the radio, the recorder feature is super duper for some talk shows or things on NPR or whatever that are worth listening to. Oh, it’s a little hard to use with one hand, unlike the Karma, and it may be easier to use with smaller hands, but it’s a little awkward for me to get my thumb to the scroll bar with it in the palm of my hand without dropping it. The clarity, I think, is as good as most anything I’ve heard without being live, or on a CD. The picture functions are actually pretty sweet: rotate, zoom, set as wallpaper, as well as creating slideshows to music (a function that has to be done on the computer). There are also a lot (from the little bit that I’ve looked) of coolish clips, cases, and thingys for this device, like one for the iPod, a carrying case, but also a hard case with a kickstand to set on the tray table (or office desk) while you watch a video, so you don’t have to hold it the entire time, instead of hovering over it lying flat. It also fits perfectly into the leather holster for my PalmTreo®, and the headphone jack matches perfectly with the hole where the earpiece is supposed to go thru to the bottom of the phone, so I’ve been using that until I get around to getting one for this (if I decide to). The buttons aren’t super sensitive, so they don’t get mashed by accident (except for the scroll bar, which I’ve already mentioned is moody and takes some getting used to). It’s sleek and fits comfortably into every pocket I’ve put it into (except for the teeny tiny one inside the right pocket of every pair of jeans. You know: the one that’s only good for a stick of chapstick, or that you can’t get the quarter out of the bottom of? Yeah, that one), so it’s easily tote-able. I love it.