Round up #94: free comics, GameCircle
Ring around the game app
There is a big announcement in this new
Amazon is introducing
It allows app creators to add a number of new social features. I think Kindle social features may be a big part of the future. It’s a place where Barnes & Noble is in the lead, with their “NOOK Friends”. NOOK Friends is a service where you invite people to join you. When they do, you can see what books they have to lend, for one thing…I’ve seen people ask about that in the Kindle forums.
After looking a bit more at GameCircle, it isn’t clear to me that the user specifies who is in their circle.
That’s what Amazon needs to do, in my opinion. You need to be able to set up groups of friends, for reading, game playing, video, and so on. I love what I call the “bookstream” on the Kindle Fire, which creates a live chat in every book.
The problem is that you see just anybody’s comments…and they may not have the same sensibilities or priorities as your friends.
To really embed people in Amazon’s ecosystem, Amazon could make it so that you hear from your friends first on your Kindle…not necessarily on Facebook or by tweet and so on.
Of course, people who just read might not want alerts when they are reading…what if it only showed up on your RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) on your homescreen? That might work, especially if it could be opt in.
On your Kindle Fire, you could have chat about games, and compete in the games. You could join fans of a TV series or a type of movie, and chat after watching a Prime video…or during it, I suppose (although viewing is asynchronous, so that wouldn’t work very well…unless Amazon starts doing live TV).
GameCircle doesn’t get us there, I guess, if you don’t pick whose best scores you see.
What it does do that is very significant, though, is back up your game progress and high scores to Amazon’s servers, so you can access them on a different device.
For those of you who aren’t gamers (and I know that this is going to be mostly a Kindle Fire post…but I’ll include something else, and I’ll try to do something different in the next post), you might not realize how important that can be to people. It might have taken you days of “labor” to get to a certain point in a game.
When there was the problem with the update to the Kindle Fire where one of the big answers was to reset it to factory defaults, there were people who absolutely did not want to do that, because they didn’t want to lose their game progress. It was possible to back that up, but not as a standard part of the Kindle Fire software.
Now, if a game developer has made their game part of GameCircle, it will have been backed up to Amazon’s servers, similar to your last past read page for books. If your Kindle Fire is lost/stolen/fails or has to be reset, you can pick up right where you were on a different device.
People are going to like that.
Public domain comics
I read comic books a lot as a kid, and I don’t really read the current ones. However, I really love forgotten popular culture. Whether that’s 19th Century literature or 1940s comic books, it intrigues me.
You can get free public domain comics from
When something is in the “public domain”, it is not under copyright protection. That may be because the term of copyright has expired, something wasn’t done properly on the filing or display of the copyright notice (those rules have changed, but that used to be a big thing), or nobody renewed the copyright when they had the chance.
Prior to the nostalgia craze which really came into being in the 1960s (thanks in large part to old movies being shown on TV), people figured that a lot of pop culture was truly ephemeral…it didn’t have lasting value. Who would want to read a comic book that was ten years old?
The Digital Comic Museum members scan and post public domain comics. The site says it tries to be very careful that the comics are actually in the public domain, and that looks likely from what I’ve seen. You do need to create a free account.
The comics are in CBR (Comic Book Reader) format, and you do need a way to read it. Calibre can convert CBR titles to Kindle-friendly MOBI format, but I haven’t tried that…not sure how well that will work.
I bought a comic book reader app for $2.99:
I’ve tested it out, and do like it. It makes reading the comic book on a Kindle Fire quite acceptable. Somebody with slightly better vision would like it even better, but it definitely works.
That’s not going to get you the contemporary comics, but this is a nice option.
Yes, I’m partially mentioning this because of
which officially starts tomorrow.
I just want to take a moment to say I was sorry to hear about the fan who was struck by a car and killed outside the con yesterday. My sympathies go out to the fan’s family and friends.
I had somebody recently say that a post of mine in the Kindle community was “disingenuous”, and I felt really bad about that.
I thought I’d state my feelings about honesty, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt for you to know my position on that.
I’m not going to lie to you.
Now, I know, that’s what somebody usually says just before they lie to you, but it’s the truth.
Wait, now that sounds like the famous paradox, “Everything I say is a lie” (which was used in a Star Trek episode).
There is also this famous mind puzzle.
You have two beings: one of them always tells the truth and one of them always lies. You don’t know which one is the liar and which one is the truthteller. You can ask one of them a single question…how can you determine which one of them is which?
I’ll answer that after I tell you a bit more about how I feel.
Lying is wrong.
However, we do need to define lying. For me, you lie when you deliberately tell somebody something that you know isn’t true…usually for your personal gain and their loss.
An unspoken truth, for me, is not a lie.
A carefully worded statement that leads people to think a particular thing isn’t a lie.
A joke or acting is not a lie: the person knows you aren’t actually telling the truth.
I’m a trainer. My job is to change people’s behavior. I know, that’s not how a lot of trainers think about it. For me, there is a very big difference between educating (which I also do) and training.
Educating is just giving people information…they then decide what to do with it.
Training people is getting them to do something specific. That very often involves educating people, but that isn’t all of it. I always say, “You haven’t trained a dog to sit if it just knows what the word means.” In other words, you may be able to say, “Sit” and the dog knows what you want, but the dog may not do it. That dog hasn’t been trained to sit.
That, by the way, is not to denigrate students. I don’t consider comparing a human to another species to be by definition an insult. I have considerable admiration for a lot of species.
When you train people, you need to convince them of the value of doing something a particular way. I don’t lie to my students…period. I do say things in a way that may make a particular choice feel positive to them…and I do feel it is positive.
Let me give you an example I’ve used when training trainers.
Let’s say you just learned something yesterday that you are presenting to somebody today. It’s completely possible for somebody to be able to train that well, depending on the complexity, of course.
If the trainer says, “When I was first learning this, I figured out that it was easier to do X,” that’s not a lie. The wording tends to suggest to the students that it was some time ago. If the same trainer were to say, “When I was first learning this yesterday,” it would make the students insecure. They wouldn’t trust the trainer as much to know the material, and therefore wouldn’t learn it as well.
“When I was first learning this” isn’t a lie. It is stated in a way that gives a certain impression.
Disingenuous to me suggested that I was deliberately lying, and I had a possibly undeserved emotional reaction to that.
So, I’m not going to lie to you. I may state things in a way to get you to think and feel the way I’d prefer, though.
Okay, back to that question with the truthteller and the liar.
The question is “If I were to ask the other being if you were the liar, what would they say?”
The liar knows the truthteller would give the true answer and say yes…but is going to lie about it and say “No”.
The truthteller knows that the liar is going to lie…and will say “Yes”.
There’s a good one to try on your friends.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.