Archive for July, 2010

Freebie flash! Warrior’s, Widow, Face

July 31, 2010

Freebie flash! Warrior’s, Widow, Face

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.

In the Warrior’s Bed 
by Mary Wine 
Published by Kensington Books (a genre and romance publisher)

Wine is a romance author…but the kind where you need to be 18 years old to view the site.  ;)  This is an historical, with clan lairds, and a follow up to In Bed with a Stranger.

The Sari Shop Widow
by Shobhan Bantwal 
Published by Kensington Books (a genre and romance publisher)

Set in New Jersey’s “Little India”, this is a contemporary fiction novel.  I must say, Kensington is doing some interesting things with pricing.  I got this one free about a year ago…haven’t read it yet…

Face of Betrayal 
Triple Threat #1
by Lis Wiehl with April Henry
published by Thomas Nelson (a faith-based publisher)

Wiehl is a trail lawyer and FoxNews commentator.  Henry is a mystery writer.  In this book, a Senate page goes missing.  Another book in the series is due in December.

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

What we accepted about paperbooks

July 30, 2010

What we accepted about paperbooks

I’m starting to see a whole new set of people considering e-book readers with the introduction of the “Kindle 3″.

As an inveterate booklover, I’ve addressed this a few times before.  I have something like ten thousand paperbooks in my home, some of them are over one hundred years old, and I’m a former bookstore manager. 

I don’t miss anything not buying new paperbooks. 

I talked about the relative values of p-books and e-books in this one:

“What’s it worth to you?” The relative value of e-books and paperbooks

I addressed it in a humor piece with:

If e-books were first…

 Since the issue has come up again (and will later, when prices drop more and when color comes in, among other times), I thought I’d approach it from a different angle.

We get used to things.

We get so used to things, we can become actually blind to them.

As an educator, I run into that frequently.  I can ask people to use something (let’s say, a button on a computer screen) that has been on the screen in front of them every day for years…and they literally can’t see it.  I have to point to it or tap on it or explain precisely where it is.

The same thing goes with problems.  If they never change, we simply accommodate ourselves to them…and completely forget about them.

WARNING: IF YOU READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH, YOUR LIFE MAY CHANGE FOREVER…SERIOUSLY.

I read a great science short story years ago.  Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of it or who wrote it…if you recognize it, feel free to let me know.  Anyway, this character wakes up one morning.  He just has the sense that something is missing in the room.  He’s trying to figure it and trying to figure it out, and he finally realizes.  What’s missing…is the blurry outline of your nose you can always see.  He has become invisible.  After reading this, you will probably find at random times during the rest of your life that you are suddenly aware of seeing your nose.  :)

END OF LIFE-CHANGING PARAGRAPH

Back with me?  :)  Good.  If you did read the paragraph, don’t forget, I warned you.  ;)

So, let’s take a look, a real look, at what we accepted and pretty much forgot about the negatives of paperbooks:

  • You accepted that, you had to choose which ones to take with you when you went out (I always had at least two, to avoid the horror of finishing a book and not having another one before I got back from the grocery store). 
  • You accepted that, as your eyes got worse as you got older (not everyone’s do, of course), you are going to need more and more powerful glasses. 
  • You accepted that, when you moved, either your friends were going to hate you, or you were going to pay a moving company a lot of money.  :)
  • You accepted that, when you wanted to find a quotation in something you read years ago, you might have to flip through it page by page.
  • You accepted that, if the house burned down or got flooded or animals got to your books, nobody would replace them for free for you
  • You accepted that, when a super-hot book came out that two people in your family wanted to read, you either had to take turns or buy two copies
  • You accepted that, when you wanted to own a classic book, you had to pay for it ;) 
  • You accepted that, if you wanted to keep your books, you had to pay for bookshelves (if you wanted to keep them handy) and rent/mortgage/property taxes/the storage place to keep them…for the rest of your life
  • You accepted that, you probably couldn’t even read them once without damaging them (especially paperbacks)
  • You accepted that, if you didn’t know what a word or phrase meant, you had to go to another book or a computer to find out
  • You accepted that, you couldn’t read the book while you were driving
  • You accepted that, if you left them in the garage or basement, your books might really smell!
  • You accepted that, especially if they were paperbacks, they were probably going to fall apart no matter what you did
  • You accepted that, you either had to drive some place to get them or wait for them to come in the mail
  • You accepted that trees, toxic chemicals, and gasoline we’re generally going to be used to get books to you
  • You accepted that, you only had a limited time to buy the book new before it went out of print…and then you had to search for it
  • You accepted that, which books you got to read was largely up to the big publishers
  • You accepted that getting books to disadvantaged areas was an on-going, resource intensive activity that some places and people couldn’t afford
  • You accepted that you couldn’t annotate in the book without damaging the book

Let me be clear, I love paperbooks!  I still love going into my floor to ceiling library and just soaking in that they are there.  I love taking a book off the shelf and flipping through it.

I also accept the following things about e-books;

  • I accept that you need to have a device on which to read them, and that may be a considerable initial investment and on-going expense over time
  • I accept that not all books are available on all devices
  • I accept that I can’t get an autographed copy (but they’ll figure that out at some point)
  • I accept that I can’t sell them or give them away
  • I accept that they can’t match the current quality of illustrations (but I think that will change)
  • I accept that publishers can prevent me from doing non-infringing things with my books
  • I accept that I need to use electricity to be able to get and read my books
  • I accept that there are millions of books that are not available in e-book form
  • I accept that I have to be somewhat more careful with my e-book reader than with a paperbook

Well, those are a few of the things that come to my mind.  Anything that particularly strikes you that I didn’t say?  Feel free to let me know.  :)

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

What’s new in the K3

July 30, 2010

What’s new in the K3

I’ve decided to combine all this into one post, and I’ll add to it if I discover new things.

I’m using the term “K3″ to refer to the two Kindle models shipping August 27, 2010.  They could just as easily be called the K7 and K8, but if we look at it as two lines, the Kindle and the Kindle DX (which is how Amazon refers to them), there have been three morphologically different Kindles.  In that categorization, there have been:

Kindle: Kindle 1, Kindle 2 (Kindle 2a added the international radio, but the shape was the same), Kindle 3 (which comes in both wi-fi & 3g and just wi-fi configurations)

Kindle DX: There has been the Kindle DX (one added international access), and one could argue that the Kindle DX Graphite is a different model (because the screen technology is different), but the shape is the same, so I’m just going to consider it a variant.  ;)

The other choice is this:

  • K1
  • K2
  • KDX
  • K2 International
  • KDX International
  • KDX Graphite
  • K3 wi-fi and 3G (although that comes in either white or graphite colors)
  • K3 wi-fi only

You need this version to get…

  • Wi-Fi
  • Support for Cyrillic for Russian, Chinese (traditional and simplified), Japanese, Korean
  • Audible menus
  • Sans Serif font
  • A microphone (but it isn’t enabled yet…it’s for future functionality)
  • The ability to see the download status while something is downloading

This version improves upon…

  • PDF reading: with this one, you can make notes, use the dictionary, and so on
  • The speed of “page turns”
  • The speed of the web browsing
  • The button noise (it’s quieter)
  • On-board memory (goes to 4gb)
  • The “footprint” (it’s smaller)
  • The dictionaries (it comes with two, now…one is the Oxford English)
  • Availability from England: it can be purchased in pounds from http://www.amazon.co.uk
  • There are now three fonts, including the regular, the condensed, and the sans serif
  • Downloading audiobooks…if you use wi-fi, you can now do it wirelessly (looks like Audible books may be in the Kindle store)…you used to have to download and transfer
  • The progress indicator now shows how much you have read in this session (not just in the book overall)
  • Battery life: it’s supposed to run a month (!) without Whispernet, up to ten days with it

Changes you might not like…

  • They took away the number buttons: you now use the symbol key to enter numbers (like the KDX), or use an Alt+a letter in the top row combo

Changes you’ll have to try out to decide…

  • The “page turn” buttons are much smaller
  • The power switch is on the bottom
  • The Home, Back and Menu buttons have been moved to the keyboard
  • The 5-Way has been changed from a joystick to a rocker
  • The volume controls are now on the bottom
  • The “page header” disappears when you go to the next or previous page after opening the book.  You can display it again by hitting Menu

It still doesn’t have…

  • Color
  • A touchscreen (but you may not want one)
  • EPUB support
  • A backlight (but I wouldn’t want one unless I could have a reflective option as well)

In case you are interested…

Kindle 6″ wi-fi and 3G $189

Kindle 6″ wi-fi only $139

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

More on new Kindles: Russian, Asian fonts! 3 English fonts!

July 29, 2010

More on new Kindles: Russian, Asian fonts! 3 English fonts!

Now that the product pages are up, there is more breaking news!

Kindle 6″ wi-fi and 3G $189

Kindle 6″ wi-fi only $139

The new Kindles will

  • Have support for Cyrillic (for Russian), Japanese, Chinese (traditional and simplified), and Korean…horosho!  This is really big, and really opens up the market
  • Have user selectable three fonts, including one that it Sans Serif (that’s been a request…some people find those easier to read
  • Allow searching of samples

Next stop…I’m going through the User’s Guide, as soon as I can.

EDIT: I’ve started to look at the User’s Guide…I’ll add points as I go through it:

  • Manual time setting!  Woo-hoo!  This has been a big problem with people who didn’t have Whispernet access…it could really mess up sorts if your Kindle forgot what time it was
  • Two dictionaries!  The New Oxford American Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary of English
  • There will be a dedicated British version of the Kindle…don’t know yet if it uses the British English voices from RealSpeak.  It will be available from Amazon.co.uk

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

Flash! Pre-order links for the new Kindles!

July 29, 2010

 Flash! Pre-order links for the new Kindles!

Heya, heya, step right up!  Pre-order the new Kindles!

Kindle 6″ wi-fi and 3G $189

Kindle 6″ wi-fi only $139

Seriously, this seems like as big a change as the K2 was over the K1!

Which one to get?

The 3G means you can get books pretty much where a cell phone would work…in a car, in the park, and so on.  Wi-Fi only needs a wi-fi location…like a Starbucks.  Wi-Fi only is cheaper, but not as flexible for reception. 

Be the first on your block!  ;)

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

Flash! Endgadget has video, more info, and press release on new Kindles

July 29, 2010

Flash! Endgadget has video, more info, and press release on new Kindles

Okay, now I know Endgadget’s ahead of me in line for info.  ;)

Endgadget link

Actually, Amazon never contacts me directly with this sort of thing…but enough about me.  ;)

The main interface change that I see is the 5-way being changed to a rocker.  It looks sleeker that way, and hopefully, as responsive.

The buttons are considerably smaller…I hope they aren’t harder for those with disabilities, but again, sleeker.  :)

They also have what they say is the press release, and I expect it will be up shortly.

It’s going to be faster, lighter, smaller…and have 4gb of storage!  It’s the Bionic Kindle!  Not six million dollars, though…the same price ($189) for 3G and wi-fi, and wi-fi only for $139.

It’s got all kinds of fancy geeky stuff:

  • the sharper Graphite DX type screen
  • faster page turns
  • some proprietary thing that will make fonts sharper
  • quieter page turns (some people have really wanted that)
  • interactive PDFs!  Dictionary, notes, highlights…and compatability with password protected pdfs!
  • new webkit based browser…faster, easier
  • text-to-speech menus!  That’s been a sticking point for those with print disabilities, and kept the device out of some colleges!  Cool!
  • A lighted case!

I’ll post as soon as I can after the links become live!

Really great stuff!

Hey, Amazon…want to loan me one for review?  ;)

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

Flash! WSJ: new Kindle announced!

July 28, 2010

Flash! WSJ: new Kindle announced!

Well, there isn’t a press release from Amazon yet, but I’d expect it shortly.

In this

Wall Street Journal

they say that Jeff Bezos has announced the next Kindle model.  I’d move this beyond a “rumor” to a “report”…I’d consider this reliable.

It’s going to come in two flavors: one with wi-fi and 3G for $189 (the same price as the current Kindle six inch), and one in wi-fi only for $139.

The battery will last a month!  That’s about twice what we get now without using the internet.

It’s going to be slightly smaller than current models.

Pre-orders Thursday (tomorrow…July 29th…I’ll give you a link when I can), shipping August 27th.

Woo-hoo!

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

A personal note July 28 2010

July 28, 2010

A personal note

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I was going to be distracted for a while.  I let you know because I thought it might affect my writing, and I might respond less frequently.  Some of you nicely expressed concern so I wanted to let you know what was happening, now that it’s over.

I do want to warn you that this is not a comfortable topic, and some of you may want to just skip this one.

I was on a jury.  This isn’t my first time on a jury, and I don’t try to avoid them.  It’s inconvenient, but I do think it’s a responsibility and an important duty.  I also figure, if not me, then it will be someone else.  It could certainly be harder for that person than for me.

This particular case was very stressful, though, and stayed with me at night and on the weekends.  It was an extreme case of child sexual abuse.  No such case would be easy to hear, but I think this was particularly difficult.  There’s no reason for me to go into details.  The perpetrator (guilty on all counts) was in the room with us, and the victim testified.

One of the hardest things for me was not being able to talk to my Significant Other about it.  I don’t like being away from my SO, and this was a bit like that in a tiny way.

Well, I just wanted to let you know…I thought some of you might be wondering.  It will take me a while to recover, honestly,  but I am glad to have it behind me.  My participation in this, of course, is nothing compared to the people actually involved.  My heart goes out to all of them.

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

Flash! KCS: you do not have to deregister to release a license!

July 28, 2010

Flash! KCS: you do not have to deregister to release a license!

This is huge, huge, HUGE!

Sean C., of Kindle Customer Service, has just confirmed in this

Amazon thread

that you do not need to deregister a device to release a license…woo hoo!

Whoops, slow down there, Bufo…tell the people what that means.  ;)

Deep breath.  Okay, when you buy a book from the Kindle store, you are actually buying licenses to read that book.  How many licenses is set by the publisher, but unless it says otherwise on the book’s Amazon product page, that number is six.  Some titles are fewer (I’ve seen books with one license, but that’s rare), some are unlimited.

So, if you get a book with six device licenses, you can put it on (for example): 2 Kindles, an iPad, an iPhone, and 2 Kindle for PC applications.

They do all have to be on the same account, though.

What happens if you want to put that six-device license book on a seventh device?

In the past, Amazon had said you had to delete the content and deregister the device. 

That worked fine if you wanted to upgrade to a new version of the Kindle, or if you sold a Kindle or had it lost or stolen (or it failed).

However…

We can now read Kindle books on a bunch of device types:

  • Kindles
  • PCs
  • Macs
  • iPads
  • iPhones
  • iPod touches
  • Blackberrys
  • Android devices

A family of four could easily shoot past six devices, even if they weren’t all reading the book at the same time.

It would have been awkward to have to delete the content and deregister the device to free up the license.

Now, we have confirmation that isn’t necessary!

That has some other very important applications. 

One is the classroom.  Let’s say a teacher has thirty students in a class.  The school assigns a book, and the students all have Kindles borrowed from the school (and/or the school has the Kindle reader app on school computers, including laptops the students take home).

The school buys the book…let’s say they pay $10 for it, and it has six device licenses.

They put it on the teacher’s computer, and five student-available devices.

So far, great…they’ve saved a lot of money.  It only cost them about $1.66 per device.

Having to deregister the devices would be a bear, though, for the next set of six students.  Oh, mechanically it isn’t that hard, but it does confuse things.

Now, as the students complete the book, they remove it from the device they have and sync.  It’s like they read a copy of a paperbook and then bring it back for someone else to borrow.  If the class only has one account available, it will take a while for all of the students to have read the book that way, but if they had two accounts, it wouldn’t be that bad.  Let’s see: eleven students the first time, twelve students the second time…give them two weeks to read the book…everybody has read it within six weeks, at a cost of $19.98 divided by thirty…sixty-seven cents per student.  They don’t have to buy it again for the next class, either, and the books aren’t damaged or lost.

That’s really big!

Now, another option would be to just keep loaning out the same six Kindles…but the students might be using the Kindles for several classes.

Also, hypothetically, you could now have twenty co-workers registered to the same account.  You’d have to take turns reading some books, but that could be an amazing savings! 

Before you ask, Kindles can only be registered to one account at a time.  Being in a Kindle Kooperative (as I’ve previously called it) takes some planning, because of the finances.  I’ve asked Kindle legal about who you could have on an account, but I haven’t heard back on that. 

Still, this is a big relief.  It does mean I’ll have to go back and update some of my other posts, though.  :)

I want to give a special shout-out to Thomas Palmer on this.  He mentioned how he had tested this method when he was helping someone with a question in

this Amazon thread

 I’ve been reading Thomas’ contributions for some time in the Amazon Kindle community: the posts are always clear, well-reasoned, and often documented.

We have sharply disagreed on some issues ;) , but not in an ad hominem or uncivil way.

I would not have asked Kindle Customer Service this question at this time if Thomas had not taken the time and made the effort to post this, just to help someone.

Thanks, Thomas!

Don’t worry, Thomas, I’m sure we’ll publicly disagree on something else in the future.  ;) 

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

Freebie flash! Folks, Secret, Okra, Shoes, Score, Flower, Web, Truth

July 28, 2010

Freebie flash! Folks, Secret, Okra, Shoes, Score, Flower, Web, Truth

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.

Special note: I think this is my fiftieth Freebie Flash!  :)  I’ve started having some fun putting together messages with one word from each book title as the post title…don’t know if I’ll keep that up, but I had fun with this one.  ;)

The Goddess of Fried Okra
by Jean Brashear 
Published by BelleBooks (a publisher of “Southern Fried Fiction”)

On a journey of self-discovery, a former cocktail waitress encounters the fiction of Robert E. Howard.  I don’t know how really geeky this is going to be, but the reviews are good at Amazon.

A Flower Blooms on Charlotte Street
Ociee Nash #1
by Milam McGraw Propst 
published by Mercer University Press (a university publisher)

This is contemporary fiction.  It’s interesting: on her site, she says that the Kindle store is giving away 10,000 downloads.  I haven’t really heard of them limiting a giveaway to a certain number of downloads before, but there’s no reason they couldn’t do that.  Well, I’m not sure how they would manage the 10,001 customer: what if you clicked when it was free and someone else had just bought the ten thousandth?

Marketing in the Moment: The Practical Guide to Using Web 3.0 Marketing to Reach Your Customers First
 by Michael Tasner 
Published by FT Press (a business and finance publisher)

Tasner is an expert on using the Web and social networking.

Your Credit Score, Your Money & What’s at Stake (Updated Edition): How to Improve the 3-Digit Number that Shapes Your Financial Future 
by Liz Pullman Weston
Published by FT Press (a business and finance publisher)

Weston is reportedly the most read personal finance columnist on the Internet.

The Truth About Managing People 
by Stephen P. Robbins
Published by FT Press (a business and finance publisher)

I saw one site that said Robbins had sold two million copies.

How Zappos Shoes in Success 
by the editors of New Word City
Published by FT Press (a business and finance publisher)

How do you know you are a successful, innovative web business?  When Amazon buys you.  ;)  Amazon bought Zappos a while back.  This is a short, by the way: 106kb.

Rorey’s Secret 
Country Road Chronicles #1
by Leisha Kelly
published by Revell (part of Baker, a faith-based publisher)

This is the first in a series (but I think it’s not the first series with the characters) set in 1938. 

Curious Folks Ask: 162 Real Answers on Amazing Inventions, Fascinating Products, and Medical Mysteries 
by Sherry Seethaler
Published by FT Press (a business and finance publisher)

Seethaler seems to be a science writer and columnist.  This sounds like a fun one…don’t know how good it is, but I like this kind of thing.  :)

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


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