eBook Reader, The Last Millennium

December 15, 2008
Palm m500

Palm m500

Thank goodness for the endless march of technology, as it makes hugging the trailing edge so much easier for us tech laggards. I have used a wonderful palm as an eBook reader for many years now, however the wear and tear of everyday life has turned it from a solid companion to a slightly troublesome pal. Superglue and a homemade cable helped but I think that the inevitable progress of entropy cannot be ignored, so I suppose I need to upgrade.

And when I say upgrade, I mean upgrade like its 2001 baby! Frankly if it was good enough for Stanley Kubrick, It is good enough for me. Through the unregulated flea pit that is eBay I have bought a “New, Unused perfect condition Palm m500“. When I say new and unused, I suppose it was back in 2001 when it was shelved by Palm for obvious battery problems, thanks eBay seller! Thank goodness I have the correct screwdrivers and a will to tinker!

Reasons why I chose a palm m500.

It was the last palm to have a grayscale screen, and electroluminescent back-light. Much better to read off than a fuzzy TFT screen.

Palm m500 Backlight

Palm m500 Backlight

The SD Card Reader. It takes up to a 1 GB card with a free upgrade from palm. I used to have 2MB. Wow. I have 1GB SD Cards floating around like dust motes in a Hollywood animated movie. It is also very simple to upload eBooks to the SD Card with a standard card reader, I have almost 200 eBooks on my m500 and I have filled  a mere 10 percent of the card.

User replaceable battery. The original batteries had a slew of problems, however after the purchase of a torx screwdriver it is very simple to fix. New Batteries cost about 10 euros with twice the capacity of the original.

It lasts for a week, with medium to heavy use.

Its got USB. Although its only about 4 times as fast as the serial connector (Suspicions of some technical bodgery abound, naughty palm company)

Its not all good though, I dislike the fact it cannot take AA batteries, call me an dreadful Luddite. And the so called ‘Universal Connector’ on the bottom was universal for only a few years.

And the touchscreen isn’t as sensitive. Coupled with with the obvious overhead of running the SD card reader it makes the palm feel a bit slow to respond to input.

But other than that, there is no way you can find a cheaper eBook reader, it was about 40 euros in total cost, and I have filled it with open source translation dictionaries, and far more.  Plucker works great with the added speed of the pseudo-usb and the case has a timeless look of style about it.

And here is the list of recommended software, for those of you who like that sort of thing. Like Me.

Weasel Reader



Noah Pro

And if you need to fill your palm with eBooks,  excellent Public Domain and Creative Commons licenced offerings can be downloaded from the Gutenberg Project and the fantastic website of author par-geekiness, Cory Doctorow.


One Response to “eBook Reader, The Last Millennium”

  1. Arthur Says:

    Thanks for interesting posts about cheap DIY ebook readers… Now I’m reading all my books with Handspring Visor Platinium and Weaselreader!

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