Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kindled ~ Reflections

So far I am enjoying my Kindle. I'm trying to think about what a morning is like with it. In the beginning I was worried about whether I should power off completely or just put it to sleep. Little silly things. I decided after reading up about it that putting it to sleep is a little bit better than just completely powering it off, but that powering it off at least weekly is good for Kindle.

At first I thought I would use Kindle a lot to read the newspaper. Then I realized that it was hard to keep up, just like with the regular paper. I didn't want to spend too much money on new Kindle books, so I tried to find some freebies, and that was exciting. It's always nice to be able to get something for free.

What took me so long?

Not exactly sure what took me so long. I had a deep resistance to buying the Kindle. I think I was afraid that I would ignore my books but that's not the case. I tried to think of excuses to not buy the Kindle, even when I looked at the store model at Target, I tried to convince myself: “Oh, the screen is not really that great to look at, and look the screen is ghostly and the words don’t even look real.” But really in Target those florescent lights make anything difficult to see. At the same time that I was taken aback at the whiteness of the page, I was also in awe—to look at this page that looks so much like a page—this e-ink technology was something special. Of all the e-readers that I’d heard about, by far, the ease on the eyes of the Kindle, and that I love Amazon so much sealed it for me.

Kindle is yet another book on my shelves, a book within books, neatly stored. Here I sit with Kindle, and I still have a few books checked out from the library and I continue to check them out and read them alongside Kindle.


Some of the highlights for me are of being able to sample books before you buy them. A big bonus for me is that little did I know that I would start using my Kindle as a sort of CD player. I had previously downloaded audio books from the audible site which is also part of Amazon, and I haven't actually listened to them much because I don't own an MP3 player and I don't have a portable CD player, nor one in my car. Now with Kindle I can easily download or transfer my audios to the Kindle. I’ve been listening to an audio book on my morning drive to work on Kindle. It’s a short drive, yet I manage to chip away at the audio, whereas before it just sat there on the computer or a CD, untouched. The speakers aren't that loud so it's difficult to hear with the noise of the car and the traffic outside, so I tried it with my headphones and now it works much better.

I've always enjoyed reading out loud and being read to. And a book that has come up again is called Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. I own the book and it sits on my shelves. I came across this book many years ago at a bookstore in Berkeley and the idea of it grabbed me right away. I began reading it, and I loved the story and how the author weaved a philosophy course into a story that could easily be read by adults and young adults alike. This is one of the books that I have revisited in audio. The narrator brings it alive in such a way that I wasn't able to get when I read it myself; even though I enjoyed it when I read it, now it’s so much more. There are certain books that I would not choose to listen to in audio, certain books where I choose to be the voice of the book, even if inside of my own head. But with this book there is something about it that beckons to be read aloud, and it could be because to some degree it follows the way a conversation would have gone if you are sitting down with Socrates. So that has been a real treat. It's amazing how much you can read, even in those little moments when you're sitting at the stop light.

Here is the website if you’d like to have a listen to the sample of this book.

One new item that I learned about through a blog called, “A Kindle World Blog” that I subscribe to via the Kindle is an application for the Kindle called Notepad by 7 Dragons. It’s a somewhat raw App. that allows you to tap down notes through your Kindle pad. Many people have Smart phones and other gadgets, but I do not, so it’s an attractive feature for me—to take my Kindle one step further. I can then hook Kindle up to my computer and transfer the note to computer, edit and voila!

The other cool thing about the Kindle is that you can actually e-mail documents or pictures to your Kindle e-mail address and then it arrives on your Kindle, so the you can read it on your Kindle. It does cost a small fee which I learned by surprise, but I didn't go crazy so it wasn't a big deal. And you cannot e-mail from your Kindle so you can only e-mail documents to it.

I like that there is a web browser in the experimental section. It's not perfect, but it’s nice to know it’s there. It works well if you need to look something up, and of course it functions better if there are not a lot of images on the page.

I have not transferred any MP3 music to the Kindle because I don't usually like to listen to music while reading, but that is also a nice feature.

Text to speech is a great option when publishers enable this feature. It would be great if in future generations of the Kindle they were able to improve upon the voice and not make it sound so electronic.

All in all Kindle works well for the ways that I read which is to dip in and out of books. On the other hand, I become stuck because there is such a variety to choose from that I've downloaded that it's almost hard to really keep up. I'm glad that I bought a Kindle and as I said, and as I'm sure most people feel, Kindle does seem to act more as a supplement, not a replacement, to regular books and reading.

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Little Drops of Writing

I am trying to get my writing out, even if in little drops. I have written snippets in my little notebook. I’ve noticed that the last two times were in the doctor’s office, a time and space where there is quiet, and rather than flip through a magazine, I unzip my pouch, pull out pen and notebook and just go—write and write what will come out. I wrote a few snippets that I had intended to post because it’s nice to share and it’s nice to have a place where I can find things more easily than on my computer in the many folders and many documents that become muddy and forgotten. Just yesterday, I reread a small free write that came to me. It felt like it was only months ago that I wrote it and intended to post it. Had it been that long? It was dated 2009.

This morning, I sit here. I began by looking through the writing prompts on my new Kindle—another topic I’d like to write about: My reaction to being Kindled. I sit here typing to Bossa-Nova playing in the background. It is my morning groove into each day, my cup of coffee close at hand.

The writing prompt book didn’t help this morning. I flipped through the e-pages and decided to set it aside and write, tap out whatever thoughts came to my mind. I knew that the music was calling me, coaxing me to do what I haven’t done consistently in so long, to get those words out, to keep sharpening the edge. I have still been true to my passion for writing and reflecting, but it has mostly stayed in the notebook in my head; now I must start clearing those crevices and revisit some of the thoughts in the notebooks that I kept. There are still many more to toss out—that will be for another day.

Happy day and Happy writing.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Tiny Musing & A Little Light

It feels like it’s been so long since I’ve written any words on the page. Today, I’m running late for work, but I want to post an image that brings me calm and lights me up inside and maybe will offer a little light to those out there who happen upon it.

Plan. Don’t “they” often say to have a plan? Yes, plans are good, but sometimes, one doesn’t know until the very moment. There is no plan for sudden death; there is no plan for natural disaster. Sure, there may be certain things we can do that will help, but all we have is that point in time when it occurs and then, the plan is tossed aside because it becomes irrelevant and plans don’t always cover the detours that life takes.

From my little spot over here, I send out white light and positive vibrations to the world.

I took these photos at the California Academy of Sciences. I have always been fascinated with Jellyfish and I could watch the fish swim all day.