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!


Vincent said...

It's good to hear of your experience, & find it is so very similar to my own.

You can actually browse the net from your kindle as well and therefore (using Webmail) write and read emails. And I have managed to comment on a blog via Kindle.

To reach the browser, it is Home/menu/Experimental/launch browser. But you can't have more than one window open at once--which rules out using sites which need to open new windows whilst leaving an existing window open.

There's an easier way to access the Web on your Kindle though.

Create a Word document with all your favourite sites in it as hyperlinks. Email the doc to your Kindle.

When you want to browse the Web, open this document from the list in Home and click on the link you require.

ashok said...

Congratulations for the Kindle Rebb. Must get one myself soon.

I have just added a blog list on my blog and your new posts show up the moment you post them.

ashok said...

Thanks for all the info Vincent

Rebb said...

Vincent. Yes, I'm glad we've had a positive experience. I must admit I'm also very curious about the Apple IPad, but I don't want to be too tied to a computer type gadget--I might lose myself! :)

Also, thanks very much for your great tips!

Rebb said...

Thanks, Ashok. When you do get one, it will be great to hear your experiences too.

It seems like e-blogger has all types of improvements and/or features to get to know.