Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Kindle part 5 - Other things you can do with it

The Kindle is an electronic book reader produced by Amazon.

Over ten years ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She fought it and fought hard.  The chemo took her hair and her stamina.  She bought a wig that made her look like Mary Tyler Moore.  Her treatments caused her lymph system to swell one of her arms until she was embarrassed by it.  Through all of that she fought...and won.

For a while.

Some evils can never be destroyed.

A few years ago it came back.  This time it was lodged firmly within her liver.  She fought again.  It was much harder this time, but she fought and fought.  My final journey home before her defeat and quiet passing contained within it a small item germane to the topic this month.

The home of the second half of my youth is nestled within a no-man's land of wireless signal.  The high speed cable stops a mere few hundred yards from the house and the cable company has refused for years to extend it.  Internet connectivity can be accomplished in one of two ways: outrageously expensive satellites or outrageously slow dial-up.  The phone needed to be kept clear therefor my options were zero.

Except that they were not quite zero; enter the Kindle.

Does anyone remember a time before Mozaic when the majesty of the new internet was navigated with Links?  Links, for those that do not know or do not recall, is a text only browser for the webs.

The Kindle, at least my version one, is hit or miss on surfing the modern web.  Most sites break and I have no idea how exposed it is to maliciousness.  However, I had dropped everything and ran home with my Kindle as my only piece of tech.  I had my laptop but without a net connection it was not much use to me.  This was a few weeks before the start of my I-phone days.  I needed to get messages out, needed to post what the hell was happening, and I only had my Kindle.

I was just enough.

I located the spot in my home where my whispernet ran full bars, punched through to a message board I frequent, and got my messages out.  It is not the greatest browser in the world, in fact it is probably one of the worst.  Butwhispernet is clutch.  Amazon eats the cost and it works in interesting places.

It seems like these feature pieces are merely one bullet blown out into a long-winded story followed by three more, less represented points. Ok...it is exactly that.  Here are some of the other interesting things you have at your disposal with a Kindle:

  1. Note taking (cumbersome and awkward but functional)
  2. Dictionary lookups (I have used it a few times for real words I did not know, but mostly as a whiz-bang for demos)
  3. Dogearing pages (I need to get more in the habit of this because every time I let someone monkey with my Kindle I spend minutes trying to find my place in my book)
  4. Music (if you care to spend the time to burn and rip your music out of your I-tunes proprietary format into something more universal.  I have exactly one album on my Kindle and I only use it to demo the sound)

And so on...and so on with a handful of small, semi-useful features.  Honestly, the Kindle, and most book readers, are odd devices in today's tech landscape.  They are mostly one dimensional.  The Kindle does one thing well...it displays pages of a digital work.  All of the other devices in my life are multi-purpose.  This is probably the second biggest long term weakness of the device.  The first would be the "have to have a stable society that provides electricity and content" thing.  The second, in my opinion, is the convergence toward multi-faceted tech.

I have recently downloaded the Kindle app to my I-phone.  The screen is smaller and it does not sync well with the version one (because of battery life and the related fact that I rarely turn on the wireless).  I prefer to read books on my Kindle, because it is the better device for that purpose, but I am already experiencing situations where I leave the Kindle on the table because of where I am going or what I am doing ... and the I-phone Kindle app has me covered.

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About Me

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Geek - Gamer - Librarian - Writer. Only awesome at one of those things at a time, unfortunately.

About Fading Interest

After writing op-eds and travelogues for several years, after finishing a few books, and after failing to get the ball rolling with project after project I stumbled into an idea that might just hold my interest long enough to enjoy some level of satisfaction with my writing.