Not really related to grad school, but a fun post relating to the title of this blog.
Re-posted from Wired Blog
The iPod Touch makes a great e-book reader, with a large, high-resolution screen and touch navigation. You’ll need to jailbreak it first (find out how at the Wired How-To Wiki) and install either the free Books application or the $35 i2Reader (both of which are found in the Installer). Any text file can then be loaded up and you simply swipe through the pages. I2Reader also lets you bookmark pages to go back to later.
That’s fine, but the little iPod gets uncomfortable to hold after a while, and it lacks the presence of a real book. Imagine seeing an attractive girl (or boy) sitting outside a pavement café, drinking an espresso, smoking a Gauloise and reading a tatty paperback. It’s a romantic image which is shattered when you swap the book for a PDA. I decided to disguise my iPod as a book, and if that wasn’t pretentious enough, I put it in a modded Moleskine, the notebook of choice for fops and dandies the world over. Follow along to see how it turned out.
One Moleskine sketchbook, chosen because it has less pages than the notebook. When you have to cut a square in every one, this makes a difference. One jail-broken iPod Touch, one X-acto-type knife and some PVA glue.
The Moleskine is the perfect size. It seems pointless putting a small iPod inside a bigger book. The next stage was to draw around it with a pencil and then get cutting. I put a couple of index cards in between the last page and the thicker flyleaves so I didn’t cut through. In fact, the back part remains intact and the Moleskine’s pocket is still accessible.
Cutting the Holes
This takes a while, and is best done using a straight steel edge as a guide. I used a plastic one and ended up taking chunks out of it, which, as you can see, doesn’t make for a very clean edge. Still, the plan is to cover this up at the end, so it doesn’t matter too much.
Gluing the Pages
This looked like it would take even longer than the cutting, so after around ten pages I mixed some of the PVA with water and used a wadded up kitchen towel to brush the liquid in from the side. This soaked the pages a little, so I slid in two index cards at each end to protect the front and back pages. Then, the whole lot went under a stack of books for a few hours.
Here’s the book after being glued, with a nice little iPod-shaped hole in the middle. Let’s see if it fits…
Strangely, the psychological effect of a real book is quite strong, and I kept forgetting that I had an iPod in there. Which meant it kept falling out every time I tipped the book. The book is still a little messy, too, so I thought I’d add a flap to the top edge to keep the iPod in as well as tidying things up.
There it is. The next step is to cut a (neat) hole in the front page and glue that down.
The Finished Product
There it is. The top strip works well to keep the iPod in place, and holding a book is a lot more comfortable and natural than a bare iPod. The book, by the way, is Cory Doctorow’s new novel, Little Brother, freely available as a download from his website. I recommend it.
MkII of the Moleskine case is already underway. It needs a better way to hold the iPod in place, and there will also be a hole drilled top left where I will mount the clicker mechanism from a ballpoint pen to press the on/off switch. Right now, though, I’m off to a bar to see if my new pickup scheme works.