Tag: Kindle


How To: Getting Personal Documents on Your Kindle

If you have a Kindle this is a must read…  The Gadgeteer, one of my favorite tech blogs, has a great writeup on how to get just about any document on your Kindle.

Incidentally, The Gadgeteer, founded by Julie Strietelmeier,  is based out of Columbus, Indiana.  Not exactly a place were you’d expect one of the big tech blogs to be located!

There are several ways to convert and transfer documents to the Kindle.  Some methods are free and other cost a few pennies per MB.  Either way you do it if you want the most convenient way to transport and access documents while traveling the Kindle is definitely the way to go.

The Amazon Kindle

I’ll be the first one to admit it… I don’t read for fun nearly as much as I should (or want to).

When Amazon launched the first Kindle in late 2007, I really didn’t take notice.  By the time Generation 2 came out in early 2009 I knew I had to have one.  I was traveling weekly for work and found myself with more downtime in the evening than I normally had when I was at home.  Being limited to a book or magazine in my suitcase was not the preferred option as my preference for subject material changes quite frequently.  It’s not unusual for me to have several books/magazines going at one time.

The clincher for me was the “Whispersync” technology that keeps all of your various reading material synchronized between devices.  By devices I mean not only the Kindle but your PC, Blackberry, iPhone, iPad, Android and iPod Touch.  This feature allows you to purchase and share kindle content among the various electronic devices you use every day.  A prefect example of this in use was when my wife wanted to read a book on the Kindle.  I was able to grab the laptop and continue reading my own book that I had been working on previously.

Whispersync is the feature that pushed me over the edge from “want to need” and convinced me to purchase a Kindle sight unseen.  They were not available in the traditional brick and mortar stores until recently so I read enough positive reviews that I took the plunge.

The Kindle display uses Electronic Ink which is amazing.  After spending all day working on a computer it’s actually refreshing to stare at the Kindle screen.  It looks like ink on paper and works perfectly inside and out.  There is a slight “flash” as the page refreshes as you turn the digital page.  It’s noticeable at first but you end up not even noticing it after a while.  The Kindle only uses power when it’s refreshing the screen or communicating wirelessly.  When it’s “off” there’s actually pictures (screen savers) on the screen.

Speaking of communicating wirelessly, the Gen 2 version I own has a built in AT&T 3G data card in it.  It’s free to use for the life of the device and allows for the wireless sync as well as some basic web browsing via the built in browser.

Battery life with the 3G radio disabled is measured in weeks (2-3), even with daily reading sessions of an hour or more.  With the 3G turned on your battery life drops to 4-5 days.

The new Generation 3 devices have an even better display and a lower cost from the previous generations.  I could go on and on about what a great device the Kindle is.  It only does one thing but it does it very well.

My Kindle – Finale

Continued from part 2

Back in December I started writing about the new amazon Kindle eBook reader I purchased.  It’s been about 6 weeks and I thought I would do a follow-up post.

Although I have not had as much time to read as I would have liked, I’ve spent considerable time with the Kindle in a lot of different environments.  My favorite place to read is the comfy leather chair in my living room illuminated by a 40w bulb in the Pharmacy Floor Lamp.

When not curling up with the Kindle at home I’ve done some reading while riding in a car, enjoying a quiet lunch at the cafe near the office and in my second home, the hotel.  The Kindle performed well everywhere and the wireless connectivity never missed a beat.

By making use of the ample storage in the Kindle I always have something available to read.  Fiction, history, newspapers and technical manuals have all found their place on the device.  I currently have around 200 titles loaded and I’m not even close to making a dent in the memory.

If you are looking for some classic reading you can’t go wrong with Project Gutenberg.  All of the titles here are public domain (free).  You get what you pay for though as several titles I have obtained from here had some typo & formatting issues.  Overall it’s a great place to pickup some good reading materials.

Another tool I have found for the Kindle (and just about every other eReader out there) is a software application called Calibre.  Calibre is an eBook Management tool that allows you to catalog, edit and convert electronic documentation into the format needed for your particular eBook reader.  You can use Calibre to upload and download books to/from your devcice as well.  it’s an OUTSTANDING piece of software that the developer, Kovid Goyal, offers for FREE!  If you like the software you are encouraged to make a donation to help with future development.

I hope this brief 3-part review of the Kindle gives you additional information on this amazing piece of technology.  If you love to read you’ll love the Kindle!

My Kindle – Part 2

Continued from Part 1

Ended up going out of town the day the Kindle was delivered.  Did not get to check it out until last night. I hate it when UPS doesn’t match their delivery to my schedule (ha)!

First impressions:

  • Small
  • Light
  • Thin
  • Solid

This thing is a LOT smaller than I expected.  The screen size is about the same as a small paperback book.  Once you start using it you forget about the screen size.  The display is truly amazing!  Packaging was very minimal (green). and the unit was already hooked to by Amazon account when I powered it on!

I had my doubts about how much better the eInk technology would be when compared to any other computer screen.  The best way i can describe it is like this; Analog TV vs. HDTV.  There’s a huge difference between what you are reading on the screen right now and the quality of the text on the Kindle.

One of the great features of this device is the ability to download samples of books before you buy them.  You get a chapter or two delivered instantly to the device and you have the option of purchasing the book to continue reading.

There can be conversion issues with documents.  I purchased the 9/11 Commission Report for $0.99 and after a couple of hours reading the formatting errors are driving me nuts.  Mainly the lack of space between sentences and missing hyphens.  This is a by-product of PDF conversion to Kindle format.  I’ve seen this with other forms of electronic books.

The seamless integration to your Amazon account makes purchasing content on-the-fly as simple (or dangerous) as pushing a button.  I have quite a backlog of books I want to read so the get-it-now feature is going to be hard to resist!

I’m going to log some time using the Kindle and publish a third and final post/review in a few weeks.

Part 3

My Kindle – Part 1

The Amazon Kindle 2 is a second generation eBook reader that uses the latest in eInk technology.  With a built-in cellular modem, storage for 1500 books, and support for PDF, MP3 and Audible files this marvel of technology seems to have it all.

After numerous recommendations and a lot of research I finally broke down and ordered  my Kindle last Thursday night.  Because of the holiday season, I ended up getting 2-day shipping included in the $259 price!

While I won’t actually get my hands on the Kindle until tomorrow I thought I would share what I have learned so far.  Believe it or not, there’s more to the kindle experience than just the physical reading device!

The “back end” of the Kindle system relies on a cellular connection from AT&T (they used to use Sprint but ended the relationship earlier this year).   Dubbed “Whispernet” the EDGE/GSM wireless modem allows the Kindle to be used without a computer.  Books, and periodicals can be downloaded any time the modem has a signal.  Amazon claims a mere 60-seconds to download an averaged sized book.

Whispernet is also used to synchronize bookmarks, notes and overall progress of your reading.  Amazon has made a stand-alone application available for the PC and iPhone.  Mac and Blackberry support “coming soon”.  These stand alone applications allow you to pick up where you left off on the Kindle.  Read a few more pages on your PC or iPhone and your progress is synced to the Kindle the next time you access it.

The ability to preview books is another feature that I think I’ll be using a lot.  I already have several previews set to download once I get the Kindle tomorrow and activate it with Amazon.

[Part 2]

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