What I Did Last Summer

(Article written by Future Howard after summer has ended. By some fluke, it was sent back in time, so I thought I’d publish it. ;)

On the first day of summer vacations, I woke up. Then I went downtown to get a job. I wonder how many great essays start off this way? Surprisingly, waking up wasn’t the hard part last summer. I am fortunate enough to work all summer long and be around teachers who still like to learn. That and my conference schedule kept me pretty busy.

What I never would have guessed back in early June was that I picked up a new hobby: Reading. Sure, I like reading good books, but I never have that time while the kids are here and it relaxes me too much at night and I don’t turn too many pages before singing with the Sandman. What changed that?

Stanza for the iPad is a great eBook Reader! An avid eBook fan at work shared and re-shared the app until I got it on my iTouch. It looked neat, but was just too small for me. When the iPad came in, he was joyously sharing the big, readable version and it’s many features again. I bit this time.

Unlike the iBook reader from Apple, Stanza will accept books from many different online book sites. There are a lot of libraries out there that legally share their resources.  The free Stanza app helps me use free book documents and it’s, um, free!

Back in mid-June, Stanza even upped the ante by releasing a native iPad version, so the text is crisp, pictures are clear, and the Cover Flow is beautiful.  You also now have support for the popular eComic formats, pdf files, and Stanza will open any of these from anywhere on the iPad, including your email.

I immediately like the book marking feature when I started using it. However, in July, I started taking advantage of the annotation tool. I was reading Dante’s Inferno in Russian (multi-language support with the app) and realized that I needed more information for certain sections. A quick highlight and click later, I was typing notes about the section that would be automatically added to my list of annotations. Linking notes to the original text is a wonderful tool.

Now that school has started back up, I hope I continue to find time to read books I found on the online catalogs. Of all the things I did last summer, this ranks just above winning the lottery back on August 4th.  
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