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Kindle

Kindle Paperwhite, one week later
May 29, 2014 | 4:25 pm

kindle paperwhiteIt's been about a week since I have settled in with my new Kindle Paperwhite---much thanks and love to my sister Tammy for giving it to me! I have already posted a thorough review of the features. But now that I have settled in with it, how are things going? Are there are final thoughts I want to add now that I have had more time to read and enjoy? Yes, actually. There are a few little bugs which annoy me about my almost-perfect little reader, and a few hidden treasures I have found as I have explored further. Here they...

Whither the Kindle Killer?
May 29, 2014 | 7:01 am

Broken-KindleFound via Slashdot: Larry Press plaintively wonders why nobody’s come up with a “Kindle Killer” yet. He notes a whole host of ways the Kindle falls short of perfection—lack of voice recognition or full interface capability with a computer, for example—and thinks such a device really should be a “low-hanging fruit” for one of the big device makers. I’ll tell you why, Larry. The demand isn’t there. Maybe folks like you who like to get the most out of their devices would want such a thing, but the vast majority of the lowest-common-denominator general public—the ones who actually buy...

Which Hachette books are affected by Amazon spat, and why Kindle users are locked in
May 29, 2014 | 6:34 am

Here’s some more assorted Amazon/Hachette coverage. First of all, Gizmodo has some examples of the books you find on “Amazon’s hit list,” with charts comparing pricing and availability at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The article itself is rather slanted, concluding with the call to action, “Amazon has every right to fight dirty. And you have every right to show them the consequences.” Nonetheless, the charts are interesting. It’s also interesting to look at at where the story slants are. You see plenty of pro-Hachette/anti-Amazon stuff in the media and the commercial blog networks (Gizmodo, GigaOm, etc.) and the...

E-book review: The Chronicles of the Kencyrath is fun, dark fantasy
May 26, 2014 | 2:22 pm

godstalkIf you’re looking for something interesting to read, I’m going to talk about an underappreciated, inexpensive series of e-books from Baen that I’ve grown to love. It’s called the Chronicles of the Kencyrath, and the first book, God Stalk, was written by Patricia C. Hodgell back in 1982. Go and buy and read it right now, links are at the bottom of this post. You want me to tell you more about it? What, don’t you trust me? Well, all right. I first came across God Stalk back in the late ‘90s, as one of the top-ranking books...

Today only: Amazon knocks $80 off 8.9” Kindle Fire HD refurb
May 19, 2014 | 6:28 am

Just got notification of Amazon’s latest Gold Box deal: its 8.9” 4G LTE Kindle Fire HD tablets, refurbished, at $80 off retail. That knocks the 32 GB version from $300 down to $220, and the 64 from $350 to $270. Full 1 year warranty included; the AT&T 4G LTE data plan costs extra. Not really sure this is necessarily a huge bargain. $80 isn’t all that big a discount for a refurbished product, Also, the Fire tablets are too closely tied to Amazon’s own content ecosystem to count as a true general-purpose Android tablet; one of the attendant problems...

Look who’s…not here yet
May 15, 2014 | 2:44 am

lookwhosbackMost of the time, geographic restrictions on book publishing and e-book sales work against people outside the USA who want to get the latest book from the USA that hasn’t been published where they are. But every so often, it goes the other way around. A book that has picked up a lot of press over the last month or so is a satire by German author Timur Vermes called Look Who’s Back (or, in the original German, Er ist wieder da, literally “He’s back again.”) As you might guess from the cover image, the “who” in question...

Turning off WiFi on Kindle Paperwhite
May 12, 2014 | 12:25 pm

Turning off WiFi on Kindle PaperwhiteNew owners often seem confused about turning off WiFi on Kindle Paperwhite. I see the question asked on KBoards and on other Kindle user forums. I think it's confusing because when browsing the Settings, there's nothing under WiFi about turning it off. For all the things Amazon does well for a new user experience, this one is counter-intuitive. You don't actually turn WiFi off. What you do instead is turn Airplane Mode on. So yes, turning an option on turns something else off. Perfectly clear, right? Just in case you find yourself needing to help a friend (or do it yourself--we won't judge you if...

Photos of Amazon 3D, 6-camera smartphone prototype surface
April 15, 2014 | 2:44 pm

bgr-a-phone-1-500x231There goes Amazon, changing the game again. I’ve noticed that when Amazon introduces its own spin on an already-established device, it likes to add some new and different feature from right out of left field to distinguish itself from the competition. With e-readers, it was the free 3G service to let people buy e-books and check their mail from anywhere. With the Fire TV it was the extensive gaming focus and voice search. Now, with Amazon’s impending smartphone, it appears to be six cameras and a 3D display. The Boy Genius Report has exclusive photos and more information about...

Amazon to purchase ComiXology e-comic-book store
April 10, 2014 | 6:24 pm

Looks like the Big Bad Amazon Wolf has just gulped down another hefty meal. Two weeks after rumors started going around (as noticed by Nate Hoffelder at the Digital Reader), Amazon has announced it will be acquiring ComiXology, the e-comic-book store that carries titles from Marvel, DC, Image, and a number of others. Although the various comic book publishers are trying to push their own stores, ComiXology has nonetheless become the best known source for e-books of popular comics. Now, like Audible and so many other brands, it is going to find a new home at Amazon. News is...

For Jeff Bezos, customer convenience is king
April 6, 2014 | 3:11 pm

Forbes has another profile of Jeff Bezos. Seems we’ve been seeing those a lot lately, what with that recent book on the man. This one looks particularly at Bezos’s intense focus on customer satisfaction. Actually, “satisfaction” doesn’t seem to go quite far enough, because “satisfaction” implies a middle-of-the-scale response. Bezos wants the customer wowed. He wants to make everything as convenient as possible, even to the point of shaving fractions of a second from page load times. That kind of obsession might be easy to make fun of, but give the man his due: he’s running a multi-billion dollar corporation that...

Amazon launches interest-free Kindle installment plan
March 14, 2014 | 2:20 pm

kindleinstallmentsAmazon just keeps coming up with ways to get its devices into more and more people’s hands. So maybe you can’t afford $139 for a 7” Kindle Fire HD tablet, or $69 for a basic Kindle e-reader, in one chunk. Now Amazon will let you pay it in five monthly installments. They aren’t even tacking on any interest. You pay 20% of the device price at purchase, then make four more equal payments in the same amount every thirty days, directly from your credit card. That works out to five $27.80 payments for the 7” tablet, or $13.80...

What if Amazon bought Barnes & Noble?
March 14, 2014 | 11:12 am

There’s a peculiar phenomenon by which year-old articles sometimes show up again in news aggregators and social network feeds that for some reason see the month and day part of the date and miss the year. (It’s gotten me in trouble before.) But today it brings up an interesting blog post I missed the first time around. And while a lot has changed since the post was written in March 2013, it still bears a little bit of thinking about: might or should Amazon buy the struggling Barnes & Noble? There’s been a lot of speculation...