John’s Kindle

Amazon’s Kindle eReader

I saw the current generation Kindle, actual size, and color on the back cover of Time Magazine in late Summer. Actual size – my paperbacks fit into that space but the Kindle is much, much thinner. It was cool! Flashback to Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the starship USS Enterprise-D getting a status report on a hand-held device from Commander Data. What was Data reading, I now wondered?  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? Cleopatra – A Life?

I saw my first Kindle in the hands of a passenger seated next to me on a flight to Chicago. It was the small version of the big white one that Amazon was selling at the time. Note to Jeff Bezos: Come on, even Steve Jobs admits to improvement and names his toys uniquely; to wit, Apple’s, iPod, iPod Shuffle; iPhone, iPhone 2 … iPhone4. Give us a break!

Anyway the old model was way ahead of the other reader I saw from Sony. The Kindle was easy to read, and light weight. I liked it; however, tt around $300, I didn’t like it that much. 

Apparently, someone read my thoughts or was it the fact that Barnes & Noble entered the market with the Nook. Or was it  the fact that Apple introduced the over-sized cell phone, the iPad? Ops, you can’t make a phone call on the iPad.

We now have some serious competition and Marketing hype being generated and some serious demand being created out there for content. Didn’t Gillette pioneer that idea with the give-away razor or how about HP with the inexpensive inkjet printer and those oh so, expensive inkject cartridges? Genius!

After my partner, Laurel, purchased one and wouldn’t share with me, I broke down and bought one at Best Buy in November. Gotta love those Reward Zone points!

I purchased the basic, small-sized, wi-fi model. The other choice as wi-fi and 3G. Why would I need 3G? Anybody? Bueller? Anyone?

At Laurel’s suggestion, I purchased a cover, aka “jacket” from M-EDGE while I was at Best Buy. Check out the M-EDGE online store for other cool accessories, like a small reading light.

First thing good partners do is share content. We discovered that because we registered each of the devices independently to our respective Amazon store accounts we were unable to share content with others. What were we to do? The ads said you could share but reading between the lines, it turns out you can share but only up to five Kindles if they are registered to the same store account. OK, It makes sense. We’re now joined at the account level but my Kindle’s name is “John’s Kindle” and Laurel’s is “Laurel’s Kindle.”

Since then, I’ve been reading something beside the standard ten pound tech book which turns into a door stop after six months.  Imagine, returning to those wonderful school days reading the classics as part of your liberal arts curriculum. So three novels down and here are my thoughts:

Easy Reading

Did I say I like the Kindle for the form-factor and the ease of reading the text thanks to the ePaper technology? Easy reading options include changing type size, line spacing, typeface, the number of words per line and the screen rotation.

Easy to Use

I found Kindle extremely easy to use. Page through an article using the back and forward edge levers (page turners) located on either side of the device. Click the “Menu” button while in an article and you get options for navigating the document and  search, among others.

You use a “5-way controller” located in the lower, left-hand corner of the device to move the selection indicator on the display. To make a choice, press the center button on the 5-way. Move the selector through an article to invoke the dictionary feature. I’ve become acquainted with many new words. Previously, I’ve been content to let them slip by because I was too lazy to find a dictionary in paper or digital form and look them up I’ve now been re-acquainted with familiar but obscure words. You can also select a passage and highlight it, bookmark it or leave a note for yourself.

My next favorite is the “Back” button. Why? Because it takes you back to what you were reading before you got side tracked. I mean it takes you to the page you left. The corresponding functionality is it’s uncanny habit of taking you the very page you left when you turned it off or when you let it time out through no activity.

The “Home” button gets you to the Kindle’s “table of contents”. Here you’ll see the content loaded on your Kindle and make selections on what you want to read. As I mentioned, it remembers where you’re at in an article so, this is the button I tend to not use much. I hope I don’t wear out the page navigation buttons too soon.

Connections

I mentioned that I chose the $139 wi-fi model. It was a snap to connect to my network. The setup wizard discovers your wireless router and offers a place to type in your pass code. By the way, I find typing on the physical keyboard to be quite acceptable. I don’t need to tap on a pop up on-screen keyboard – the tactile touch of the buttons is fine.

Once you’re connected, use the gateway to shop at the Kindle store, search the web (google and wikipedia) or just go to the Experimental section and launch the built in browser.

Content is delivered over the wi-fi connection. If wi-fi is not turned on, Kindle will ask if you want to turn it on. Delivery is fast. Laurel found that if the wi-fi left on, it will drain the battery in a day. Turned off, my Kindle lasted over two weeks between charges. Also, charging takes just an hour or so.

The power supply uses a USB cable connected to the power adapter to charge your Kindle. Separate the adapter from the cord and connect your Kindle to your computer as a USB disk. Windows recognizes the Kindle as a disk drive. You can drag and drop files that you downloaded or any PDF, MP3, WMV file from your computer’s hard disk. Kindle has a built in speaker and sound capability so it can read your books if they are enabled for audio, play music as background and play video. You can very the playback speed and volume and select between a female and male voice.

Connections of another kind

Ok, I’m a Luddite when it comes to Facebook and Twitter but the folks at Amazon aren’t. You can share your notes and highlights with your friends or followers on Facebook and Twitter – “…having kabobs and reading Silence of the Lambs … and loving it.” That’s a bit overboard but once you set up the accounts, you can share your thoughts.

Conclusion

Is there one? Probably not. This is my first impression of the Kindle reader after reading only a few books. As a result, I’ve let copies of Time, Redmond Magazine, Windows IT Pro, National Geographic stack up in the corner and find I’m not missing out on all the news. Even National Public Radio has taken a back seat. But I am enjoying the simple pleasure of letting my mind wander in fiction.

Back to reality.

This posting is provided “as is” with no warranties, guaranties or any rights whatsoever. All content is based on the author’s experiences and opinions and is not intended to influence the actions of the reader.
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2 Responses to John’s Kindle

  1. Zoe says:

    This is a great review, but I don’t understand one point–the comment you make to Jeff Bezos, “I saw my first Kindle in the hands of a passenger seated next to me on a flight to Chicago. It was the small version of the white one. Note to Jeff Bezos: Come on, even Steve Jobs admits to improvement and names his toys uniquely; to wit, Apple’s, iPod, iPod Shuffle; iPhone, … iPhone4. Give us a break! It was easy to read, light weigh – I liked it. At around $300, I didn’t like it that much. ” I lost you on this one. What point were you trying to make?
    Otherwise, a great read–thanks for the info!

    • John says:

      Thanks for your comment, Zoe. Let me clarify, if I can. The Apple iPhone went through a series of improvement over the model that was initially introduced: the iPhone. In subsequent years, we had the iPhone 2, iPhone 3 and the latest, iPhone 4. Microsoft releases their Server Operating Systems with a year designation, 2000, 2003, 2008. I was referring to questions posed to me about which Kindle I had? I didn’t have the original as it was too pricy. I liked it but not the price. Then came another iteration and the current one. So do I have the Kindle 3? I guess I do.

      Now that I think of it the “Newhart” TV show of the 70’s that starred Bob Newhart as a proprieter of a small B&B in a Vermont town had three characters in the series cast named “Darryl”. I guess life imitates art.

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