Archive for June, 2010

Flash! Amazon adds video/audio to Kindle iApps

June 28, 2010

Flash! Amazon adds video/audio to Kindle iApps

Okay, I know…some of you are saying right off that you don’t want audio and video in your books.

Well, for me, it would depend on the book.  I think it could be very useful in some non-fiction.  For example, you could be reading a book about Martin Luther King, and be able to hear the I Have a Dream speech.  What if you were reading about how to put personal documents on your Kindle, and you could see a video that showed you how?

In a

press release

dated June 27, Amazon announced that it’s free Kindle reader apps for the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch will now be able to show video and play embedded audio.

The current state of the E Ink screen used by the Kindle (and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, among others) made by Viz Plex can’t show video.

The interesting question for me is why isn’t this available in the computer Kindle apps?  You would think if it works for an iPad, it could be made to work for a Mac.  A PC might need some different programming, certainly.

Well, my guess is that we will get it for those two apps fairly quickly.  :)

What about the content that’s available?

Amazon has set up a special page for it

Kindle Editions with Audio/Video

What kind of content?

Here’s one good example:

Bird Songs: 250 North American Birds in Song

 by Les Beletsky

The paper version has a built-in digital audio player to play the bird songs.

Other bird song books I’ve seen had included CDs.

The paperbook, at time of writing, is fifty dollars (discounted by Amazon to $31.50).

The e-book is list priced at $40 (that part is set by the publisher) and discounted by Amazon to $9.99…that kind of discounting probably can’t last.

That product page has a couple of updates features: a dropdown for the devices for which it is available, and a dropdown talking a bit more about text-to-speech being enabled.

Hmmm…it says it is available for the Kindle 1…but the audio won’t work on it, or on the other Kindles.  I think they’ll need to make that clearer in the dropdown.  There is a big statement on the page, though.

It also says you need wifi, which, of course, the Kindles don’t have.  You could presumably download it using your computer and put it on your Kindle…but you wouldn’t have the audio.

To be clear: the Kindle book is only fully functional on a large screen on an iPad.

Why couldn’t you download it by 3G?

Amazon pays for the 3G (although that might be effecting the initial cost of the Kindle and/or content), and they limit large files going on it.  For example, when you buy audiobooks from Audible.com (also owned by Amazon) for your Kindle, you can’t send them directly by 3G.

So, is this a big file?

Oh, yeah!

It’s 44.7mb…that’s 56 times the size of a typical 800kb book. 

Oh, that’s not huge by audio/video standards, but that is going to take up some room on your devices.

There’s a knitting book in the bunch (Knitting for Dummies) : it has six videos, and is 153.1MB.

All of the 13 books currently listed are $9.99…again, I would not expect that to last…not for all of them, anyway.

So, how big a deal is this?

That’s a little hard to judge.  At this point, it’s a toe in the multimedia water.  Paperbooks with audio have not been a huge part of the market.  But on a tablet computer, like an iPad, your books are competing with movies, TV…and websites.  If you were researching Kennedy/Nixon, would you go to a website first to watch part of the video of that TV debate?  Maybe, sure…but if it was already available in a book on the topic, that might make the book more attractive.

Want to learn how to play Stairway to Heaven on the guitar?  Having audio and video might make a music book a better bet.

What if you were reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream and you could see a clip of Jimmy Cagney as Bottom?  Okay, maybe that’s not such a good idea (and that was a real movie, by the way).

I don’t think this is going to be a big segment, but I do think there is a small market for it.  That sounds like famous last words, but we’ll see…

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! I try the PDF zoom

June 28, 2010

Flash! I try the PDF zoom

One of the new features in the Kindle version 2.5 upgrade is the ability to zoom and pan on pdfs (portable document format) files.

I’ve used pdfs on my Kindle quite a bit: the curricula we use at work are in a pdf format, and having it on my Kindle has been great.  I’ve generally converted them (Amazon will do that for you for free) to a fully functional Kindle file.

That way, I can search (which I definitely want to be able to do), make notes, and, importantly to me, use text-to-speech.  I find that listening to it in the car on the way to a class can be a great way for a quick review.  Oh, I wouldn’t learn it that way initially, but it’s a good refresher.

When our Kindle 2s got native pdf reading in a previous update, I tried it…but found it wasn’t really for me.

I don’t tend to read a lot of books that have heavy-duty graphs or intricate images.  Since we’ve had the Kindle for PC option, I’ve used that to look at images, when necessary.

Honestly, the unconverted pdfs just tend to be too small for me to see well.

Well, intrepid explorer that I am, I thought I’d try the zoom for you.  ;)

We were going on a walk through a large park where they had installed some art exhibits.  The walk was going to be a couple of miles or more.

I downloaded a pdf of the map the park had provided.  The map was 2,277 KB.  I also had it sent directly to the Kindle (I was in a bit of a hurry).  Pop quiz: how much did it cost me (a US Kindleer using US wireless) to send that document directly to my Kindle?

Forty-five cents: fifteen cents per meg (roughly a thousand kb), rounded up.

I wasn’t able to see how long it took for it to be sent, but even converting a file, it’s usually under a minute or so for me.  In the beginning with the Kindle 1, it could take hours, but that hasn’t been my experience in…oh, certainly months.

Here was the first negative: it literally took about twenty-two seconds to open the file.  It filled the screen, with some white (and I use that term loosely…whatever color the normal background it) border space.  The text was much too tiny for me to read…I would say I would have needed a magnifying glass, if it was on paper.

The next thing was to try the zoom.  I hit the Aa button.  My choices were:

  • fit-to-screen (the default)
  • 150%
  • 200%
  • 300%
  • actual size

I chose 200%.  I got a selection box, which I could move around with my 5-way.

Tip: if you hold down the shift (up arrow key) when using the 5-way, you can make in move in much smaller increments. 

 Here was another negative: it took more than twenty seconds (again) for it to enlarge that section 200%. 

A positive: once it was enlarged, it looked great!  I could read everything just fine, and had someone else look at it: yep, no problems. 

There are also “position bars” along the bottom and right-hand edges to show you if there is more above you, below you, to your right and to your left.  That was helpful.

Another negative, though…even moving to another section took a long time to repaint it…one of the sections (with a lot of dark) took twenty-five seconds.  It seemed to me like the more dark there was, the longer it took.

You could hit the Back button, and it went immediately back (well, part of a second…like a normal page turn) to the original image.

Then, Home got me right back to the homescreen, as you would expect.

So, my overall impression: as my offspring would say, “meh”.  Just like with the browser, it could be used, and it might save you at times, but most of the time, it would be a lot of work (for an image as intense as that map).

My feeling is that it would be much more effective with, say, a table full of numbers.  There wouldn’t a lot of black, so it would move from magnified section to magnified section much more quickly. 

A computer (even a tablet computer) is going to be better at this point for intense, natively-read pdfs…but I like my Kindle for converted pdfs.  :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! Evidence the Kindle price drop wasn’t planned

June 27, 2010

Flash! Evidence the Kindle price drop wasn’t planned

So, it certainly seemed like Amazon dropped the price of the six inch Kindle  in response to Barnes & Noble dropping the price on the Nook.  Yes, they probably planned to lower it before too long, but was that drop planned for that date or a marketing counter tactic?

It appears to be the latter.

The price in Target stores has also dropped to $189, which makes sense.

Ron in Richmond on the Amazon Kindle Community pointed out in

this thread

 that the Target ad for this morning still says $259.

If you go to the Target website and look for the Kindle, you find the $189 price.  If you read the online version of the weekly ad, it says $259.

This suggests that Target didn’t have enough forewarning to update the price…which suggests that Amazon hadn’t planned on dropping the price on that date, oh, six weeks in advance.

There’s nothing wrong with being a nimble company, but I do think Amazon has tended to steer the market on e-books: this is a case where they didn’t.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Flash! Display Kindle at Target had changing pictures

June 27, 2010

Flash! Display Kindle at Target had changing pictures

Well, this caught my eye!

We were going through Target, and I thought I’d pause for a few seconds at the Kindle end cap (the end of an aisle).

Last time I was at this Target, they didn’t really have anything except a picture and some pretty empty shelves.

This time, there was a special display unit.  It looked like a regular 6″ Kindle…not a mockup.

It said it wasn’t a functioning unit, and I did push a button and have it not respond.

But here is what was cool: the image on the screen changed every second or so!  Each image had a “call-out” (like a word balloon in a comic book) or something similar touting a features: free 3g; newspapers; and so on.

Well, there are a couple of possibilities to me.

One is that they were using the autoturn feature we have now, with the buttons disabled.  That speed might seem too fast, but if each page is an image, it wouldn’t take long for it to be “read”.

Tip: to do autoturn on any Kindle except a K1, start text-to-speech and just turn the volume down.  That’s one of the problems when publishers block text-to-speech…it means that those people with debilitating conditions (like muscular sclerosis) also lose the autoturn.  I’m hoping that when we get the audible menu update, we get non-dependent autoturn as well.

That seems like the most likely possibility.

On the K1, there also was an autoturn that went quite quickly…close to that speed, I think.  It doesn’t work on the K2, though (although they could have re-enabled it for a display model).

The weird thing is that if it wasn’t asleep already (which could portend the ability to have changing pictures on our Kindles in the future), why wouldn’t it go to sleep?

Clearly, it was a very special Kindle: a salesperson in EBR clothing.  ;)

I know, I know…I’m easily intrigued…  :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Review: The Twiller

June 26, 2010

Review: The Twiller

Title: The Twiller
Author: David Derrico
Publisher: none listed at Amazon, appears to be self-published
Genre(s): science fiction, humor
File size: 359kb
Release date: June 15, 2010
Price at time of writing: ninety-nine cents (introductory)
Also available as a paperback for $9.77

Science fiction can be profound, using a speculative framework to show us the deepest secrets in our collective psyche, and to perhaps serve as a warning of what our worst natures may bring, and an inspiration as to how the human imagination can bring about a better existence.

Or, you know, it can be silly and full of puns.  ;)

The Twiller, by David Derrico, is very solidly in the second camp.

While the author claims in his foreword to have “stolen” the funny parts from Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I’d say it is more of a Gulliver’s Travels for the 21st Century.

While there are certainly elements in common with Adams (an odd fascination with terry cloth, for one), the book’s hapless hero (Ian Harebungler) travels to a variety of “lands” (planets, in this case), each a parody of a part of the United States.  They also all have social commentary, although presented in a thoroughly inoffensive, whimsical manner.

For example, an alien society has political candidates whose political favor is openly purchased by special interest groups: to the extent of wearing corporate logos in “some bizarre combination of a business suit and a race-car driver’s outfit” and working commercials into their speeches.

When our nominal hero confronts an alien (who has been paid by its employer to be at a rally…in fact, its entire job is to support candidates on behalf of the corporation), they argue about the relative benefits of openly purchased politicians and the kinds of donations we see in American elections. 

The alien exclaims:

“Your planet must be backwards if the purchasing of favorable legislation isn’t even all out in the open!”

It’s that sort of thought (and discussion) that moves it more into Swiftian territory for me.  Oh, perhaps not with the universal themes of the classic work, but there is that flavor.

Whimsy, though, is also a key element.  Here’s a description of a hostile spaceship:

“The ship looked as if it were the sort of ship that was perpetually ready to pounce at any other starship, asteroid, or planet it saw, and as if it very much desired to do a wide range of not very nice things to whatever it pounced upon.  It always looked as if it were at the end of a very bad day, the sort of Tuesday afternoon that just dragged on with no redeeming qualities whatsoever.”

I think that gives you a good feel for it.  :)

It reminded me of some of the Oz stories (where they wander from one punny land to another), some of Arthur Byron Cover (the Platypus of Doom came to mind), and Daniel Pinkwater (The Snark-Out Boys).

Speaking of Pinkwater, who writes books classified as children’s stories, this book is also listed in the children’s category…but I can’t imagine it appealing very much to a ten-year old.  I doubt the Sisyphean task of reviewing commas in contracts is going to amuse your average kid.

However, it is nice to note that there isn’t anything inappropriate for ten-year olds.  You could probably hear all of the language on the Disney Channel (cr*p is as bad as it gets), and except for the unfortunate use of the word “retarded” as an insult (I’d say “stupid” could have served just as well), there really isn’t anything offensive.  Snarky, perhaps, but the overarching goal seems to be the production of mirth.  :)

One other point: I know some of you are reluctant to try self-published books because of a concern about proof-reading and such.  Relax: The Twiller is as error-free as any novel from a traditional publisher that I’ve read.  The author also understands formatting for e-books: the clickable Table of Contents is in the back (and reachable through the menus), which is also where you’ll find the author bio.  Why is that better?  So you can get a better sample.  You can also flick right (on any Kindle except a Kindle 1) to move forward through the parts of the book…a convenience many large publishers seem to ignore.

The paperback lists this as Volume 1, so perhaps we’ll see more of Ian Harebungler and his companion, The Twiller.  I’m sure that will depend in part on you, the reading public, and how well-received it is. 

So, if you are looking for a light and airy entertainment, a popcorn book with an intergalactic setting, The Twiller is a button-pusher that will keep you smiling. 

Full disclosure: I was given a review copy to read by the author.  Outside of that, we’ve never met, except for a few comments exchanged electronically. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Durgo’s Day Out

June 26, 2010

Durgo’s Day Out

I’ll stop talking too much about my newest Kindle soon.  :)  I think there may be value for you in some of it, though, and it’s…um, human interest (although I guess some of you may be neither human nor interested).  :)

I took Durgo* out of the house today, and with me to a classroom to teach (I was teaching, not the Kindle). 

Yes, my cover hasn’t arrived yet…that’s one of the disadvantages with free two-day shipping on the Kindle.  I could have paid for two-day shipping for the cover, I suppose, but that’s expensive. 

So, what did I do?

I still had a 6×9 padded mailing envelope from when I first got a K2.  It provides some decent protection, and I think I paid under a dollar for it.  It fits the K2 quite nicely.

I was also a little anxious because I don’t have a TrackItBack sticker on Durgo yet.  However, I wasn’t going to let my EBR (E-Book Reader) out of my sight.

How was having a Kindle with text-to-speech again in the car?

Wonderful!

It was so nice to be able to listen to a book rather than the radio or music!  I even found it…comfortable…when I heard idea pronounced “eye-dee-AY” again.  ;)

I parked my car a couple of blocks away from the building (that’s how this one is arranged), and wheeled my laptop.  That was another huge plus!  I was taking my Significant Other’s Kindle (my old K1) out of the house…I was afraid I’d lose it.  :)  I already felt like I was imposing reading on it at home…even though that had been my SO’s idea.  I had been carrying paperbooks (p-book) with me.  While it was possible to do, it was awkward to read a paperbook while wheeling a laptop.  Flipping the pages was hard.  A Kindle?  One hand all the way…cool!

One other important note: I did check, and my reception for AT&T out there was full bars!  I knew intellectually that it would be different in different places, but irrationally, I feared it would never be over one bar.  Science!

Oh, and with my K2, I’d always sort of slunk from shadow to shadow to avoid finding out about the sun fade problem.  Actually, I always slink from shadow to shadow…not a fan of sunshine, really.  My SO and I always say we’d be the only people to move to Seattle for the weather.  ;)  Well, as I walked through one avoidable patch of particularly intense solar radiation, I noticed that the sun was full on the screen…with no fading at all. 

All in all, not a bad first day out.  :)

* This is a tough one, so 100 trivia points to anybody who knows why this particular Kindle is named Durgo.  Remember, trivia points are null and void if you look anything up.  :)

Tip of the Day: If you have the 2.5 update, you can get your Kindle’s serial number through the menus.  Home-Menu-Settings, NEXT PAGE.  You should keep that number separate from the Kindle somewhere, so you have the information for insurance purposes and in case the Kindle goes missing.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Freebie flash! 45 new titles

June 25, 2010

Freebie flash! 45 new titles

As usual, I don’t vouch for these books, and they come from companies that are not (to my knowledge) blocking text-to-speech. As promotional titles, they may not be free for long. Note: these books are free in the USA: prices in other countries may vary.

Well, this was interesting, and a new trend!

Ellora’s Cave  is making a bunch of freebie shorts available.  A typical novel is about 800kb…these seem to be around 100kb. This is a publisher of erotica, but not necessarily as hard-core as you might think…they use the term “romantica” (and registered the trademark). It also can be genre stuff…science fiction and fantasy (but with explicit scenes, I assume).

Free Ellora’s Cave books in the Kindle Store 

Similarly, there is a series of free

Scinitllating Samples 

from Cerridwen Press.  This seems to be a related enterprise.  Cerridwen, by the way, is a character from Welsh mythology.  There are Ellora Caves in India, I believe, but I don’t know what the connection would be.

The other new freebie is

In-Between 
A Kate Parker Production #1
by Jenny B. Jones 
published by NavPress (a faith-based publisher) 

This is a well-reviewed (on Amazon) first book in a series with a young main character adjusting to foster parents (her Mom’s in jail, her Dad isn’t around).

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

I make my first Collections

June 25, 2010

I make my first Collections

I would guess that when the first Kindle user downloaded her or his second book, the desire for Kindle organization was born.  :)

For years, we could “tag” books.  Basically, you add a note, and then search for the note.  That worked (although it could be a bit dicey with Topaz format books).

With Version 2.5, though, we get a built-in system called Collections.

I talked about the techniques in this earlier post.

 I thought I’d give you a little bit more of a personal take on what I did.

Let me start out by saying I haven’t put any personal documents (except my review copy of The Twiller) on my newest Kindle yet.  Collections will be a lot more useful after I do.

For now, I had:

One personal document (The Twiller)

Two samples

One book from the Kindle store (The Great God Pan, a free classic)

Five things from Amazon: MyClippings; upgrading to Kindle; Welcome Bufo; Kindle User’s Guide; and The New Oxford American Dictionary

My three blogs

The first thing I did was create a Collection called **current.  I figured I’ll keep my current reading in there.  The two asterisks were so it would sort to the top if I chose to sort by Title.  The Twiller went in there.

I created a second Collection called *on deck.  That’s for the ones waiting to be read.  My one other Kindle e-book went there.  It has one asterisk so that, if I sort by Title, it will be below the **current Collection.

Next up, a Collection called Amazon.  I put the five Amazon documents in there.  One interesting thing: it gave me an Amazon logo when I look at the details of the Collection.  :)  Apparently, the Kindle knows the name Amazon.

I had noticed while I was adding items that my samples were being shown as a choice.  I didn’t really anticipate that: I’m pretty sure I had read that other people were unable to put samples into Collections, at least initially.  That’s nice!  I created a Collection called samples, and put them in there.

That was it for Collections…for now.

I tried sorting it alphabetically by title, but honestly, I didn’t like the look of it.  When you do that, the titles are both in the Collections and outside it…that looked messy.

I think it will be easy enough to keep my **current collection at the top.  The only trick will be when I download new books.  However, I tend to download those to my Kindle for PC, and just get them out of the archives when I want them.  That means I’ll deal with those one at a time, which should be pretty easy.

Here’s how it looks sorted by Collections:

 

Sorted by Collections

Here’s how it looks sorted by Title:

 

Sorted by Title

The one thing I wish I could do (but I understand why it would be hard) would be to be able to put my blogs in a Collection.

I did experiment a bit.  I tried a Collection title that was 70 characters long (to get past a possible 64 character limit): no problem.  I restarted the Kindle…my Archives went to zero (which they should typically on a restart), but my Collections were still visible.  When I synced, I still had my proper collections.  Some people have reported problems with that, but I was okay.

All in all, I can see how this will be useful as I more personal documents.  I tend to keep my Kindle store books in the archives, so it won’t help me too much with that.

But it is nice.  :)

Any experiences you want to share with creating your Collections?  Feel free to leave a comment. 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Is the Kindle doomed?

June 24, 2010
  • Is the Kindle doomed?

    No.

    Shortest article ever!  Woo-hoo!  ;)

    Well, let me modify that.  Not right away.  Not indicated by the price drops. 

    I mean, there is that whole entropy thing, and the Earth falling into the sun, and when they can beam information directly into our brains (which is all we are at that point…brains…which makes an attractive target for space zombies…but I digress).

    There have been a couple of articles recently from tech writers suggesting that dedicated EBRs (E-Book Readers) are doomed, and soon.

    “Ha, ha, silly readers!  No one will spend money on a book-reading device when they can have a tablet computer that shows books and movies and does e-mail!  That’s why they cut the prices…so they could get rid of that obsoletrons and put them in the museum with the buggy whips and 8-tracks!”

     Look, I get it.  You don’t like things that do only one thing.  You are multitaskers.  You don’t just want a Swiss Army Knife…you want a Swiss Army Knife with a 128mb USB flash drive!  You don’t want just a pen…you want a pen that has a stylus, and a flashlight, and, and, and…a laser pointer!  ‘Cause, you know, lasers are cool.  Oh, and all that despite the fact that you can’t think of the last time you even used a pen!  When somebody gives you a t-shirt, you say, “But what does it do?”  Detect wifi? Play my personal theme music and sound-effects?

    Believe me, I’m right there with you on the gadget thing.  I own that soundtrack t-shirt.  I carry two little multi-tools with me.  I always waited for the scenes with Q in the James Bond movies.

    E-book readers were around long before the Kindle.  I think one of the biggest reasons the Kindle slapped a defibrillator on the e-book market and shocked it into life is that it was easy to use for non-techies.

    “Yuck,” you say.

    “It should be smaller!  Faster!  Electronic!  And do more stuff!  Nobody reads any more!”

    Um, they do.  Readers spend a lot of money on paperbooks.  Oh, maybe not as much money as people spend on videogames, but the market is there.

    You know what?  Reading books is a quiet activity.  It’s a time to zen out, to let it all happen inside your head. 

    Screaming now?  Too quiet for you?

    I totally understand the “I love noise” thing.  I do usually read with other stuff going on.  I’m still freaked out by a Dexter’s Laboratory episode where nobody in the cartoon said anything for several seconds!  There was just some kind of little girl who just looked and blinked!  Aaaaahhhhh!  The silence, the silence!

    But…

    I love having an EBR.  I want to be able to just kick back and read, long-form.

    And I’m not alone.

    Would I like an iPad?  Sure.  I’d use it for e-mail and writing this blog and yes, movies.

    But I’d also want my EBR with me. 

    I think a lot of people will own both.

    Cars play MP3s.  Tablets and netbooks play MP3s.

    People still buy MP3 players.

    “But they cut the price!”

    Yes.  But that doesn’t signal the beginning of the end.  The price for the Kindle has already been cut several times (when it was introduced in November of 2007 it cost more than twice what it does today).

    Prices go down in electronics.  That’s the way it usually works. 

    Remember when you paid $2000 for a desktop computer?  $100 for a calculator? 

    Okay, a calculator might be a bad example…that market has dwindled, I’d say.

    Even a Kindle can do some calculator functions.

    Look, do you really think an 85-year old whose never been into tech (many of them have, by the way) would prefer an iPad to a Kindle?

    Yes, fifty years from now when the Boomers have all died out, things will be different.

    Things will be different tomorrow.

    But I don’t see the EBR going down in flames in the death spiral quite yet.  I think more of the devices will be sold in 2011 than in 2010 (and obviously, more in 2010 than 2009).  My guess is there is at least five years left in the market.

    You know, like cellphones.  When tablets can Skype effectively, does that mean cellphones immediately disappear?

    Not in my opinion.  A lot of people will stick with them for a while. 

    I could, of course, be totally wrong.  We’ll know in a year or so.  Maybe Amazon will just go back to being a content provider.  Maybe Sony will finally give up on EBRs, after all these years.

    Maybe.

    But sometimes, I do wish sunshine sold as well as gloom: that optimism outsold pessimism, and Chicken Little got fewer headlines than Pollyanna.

    Well, I could just say, “that’s not going to happen…if it bleeds, it leads.”

    But I think I’ll hold out hope.  ;)

    This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

  • Flash! My new Kindle is here!

    June 23, 2010

    Flash! My new Kindle is here!

    Happy dance!  :)

    Now, a few questions you might have…

    It did not come with the 2.5 update on it.  I ordered it on Sunday.  It came with 2.3.3.

    I did the manual update.  Downloading the file took about two minutes.  Updating took about seven.

    The User’s Guide I got is the 4th edition, not the new 5th edition one.

    My reception appears to be much worse with the international Kindle (at least where I often sit in my family room).  Four bars were common before…I had to switch carriers to get one bar this time.  My old K1 got four bars right next to the new one showing two.

    Oh, how do you switch carriers? 

    Home-Menu-Settings, type 311 (only on international Kindles).

    I think because my reception is bad, I haven’t been able to set up my Social Networks yet (I want to try everything…and I may use the Twitter one).

    All my archived items, of course, were available.

    I was able to change the name of this Kindle to the name of the lost Kindle.

    I have set up new subscriptions to my three blogs (hey, wasn’t that a show with Fred MacMurray?).  ;)

    I put on a password…but that may be a pain around the house.

    David Derrico had sent me a review copy of The Twiller.  I was curious about this (that’s the kind of person I am), so I put an untouched copy of it (from Derrico’s e-mail) on the new Kindle.  Then, I put the .mbp file on the new Kindle from the old Kindle.  As I expected, when I opened the book, it opened to the proper page…and had the highlight I had made.

    That’s important for teachers to know…you could make notes on a book, put it on your students Kindles, and they would have your notes.  You’d have to be careful about syncing, of course. 

    People have asked about the super-large font…looks to me like it is about size 32 (which is a nice binary number for it to be…2, 4, 8, 16, 32).  :)  It’s hard to tell exactly, because I don’t have the same font on  my computer, of course.

    It’s still charging (you can use it while it is charging).  It’s been about an hour…that seems like a long time to me, but it’s just a watched pot, I think).

    I cleaned up my Significant Other’s Kindle.  What I did first was Sync and check (so my places in the books would be the same).  Then, I checked for samples, and sent them to the new Kindle.  Next, I removed the books that wouldn’t interest my SO.

    So, it’s wonderful!  :)  It will be great on my next commute to have text-to-speech (TTS) back.  I’ll be more relaxed when I have my cover and a TrackItBack sticker on it.  I’m sorry I don’t have the custom skin from my offspring…that was lost with the old K2.  :(  I’ll have to put some personal documents and music on there, but that’s not too hard.  :)

    Oh, and it will be great to have Collections for my personal documents!  I teach a lot of different places, so I have information about the facilities in small text files.  Having those all in one place will be a big help.

    Thanks for all the concern everybody expressed (and felt but didn’t express) while I didn’t have a K2.  I still hold out hope the old one will appear…we’d probably donate one of the ones we have, in that case. 

    I’ll start experimenting more with 2.5 soon…I’ll let you know if I find anything useful…or just weird.  ;)

    This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


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