Archive for the ‘Kindle Fire’ Category

Round up #262: $100 off Kindle Fire, update for Kindle Paperwhite

July 22, 2014

Round up #262: $100 off Kindle Fire, update for Kindle Paperwhite

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update 5.4.5

Amazon has released a new update for the KPW2:

Update 5.4.5 for Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile* Benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can wait and it will eventually happen on its own (that can be weeks), or you can go to the above link and update manually

It brings three main changes:

  • Sync on Your Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile): honestly, I’m not quite clear what the difference is here. I usually don’t bounce between devices when reading, and since my Significant Other and I may be reading the same book at the same time (so we can talk about it afterwards), we have Whispersync turned off. I’m not clear on what this is doing now that it didn’t do before. One interesting thing, though. I’ve always recommended that people return to Home after a reading session if they may need to sync, and the video on this page recommends the same thing
  • “When viewing a PDF in pan-and-zoom mode, you will now see a small preview window in the margin of the screen”: this one sounds helpful!
  • Read While Your Book Ships (at AmazonSmile): for those of us who answer questions on the official Amazon forums, there is a tendency (which can be avoided, with effort) to develop canned responses. One thing has always been about where you find sample in the Cloud. We would say they weren’t stored in the Cloud: I’ve likened it to getting a free sample at Costco…there’s no record of that in your account, either. ;) One reason is that it lessens costs to not do the processing of the transaction and the storage of the sample. Well, now, when you buy a p-book (paperbook), you can often choose to “Start Reading Now”, and you get the sample of the e-book on your Kindle (so you can read while the p-book is on the way). Those samples (and only those samples), are going to be available in the Cloud: Read While Your Book Ships (at AmazonSmile)

Video: “When the Words Stop”

Thanks to EBOOK FRIENDLY for the heads up on this great video!

When the Words Stop by Epic Reads

I think a lot of you will appreciate it…it’s a humor piece about that deflated feeling you have when you finish a book…when the words stop. Back in the paper days, I remember feeling a great anxiety sometimes when I realized there was only maybe ten percent of the book left to go. With an e-book, I have to say, I find so often that it ends much before the percentage would indicate (because of back matter, or a preview, or something like that), that I can’t really judge it. I’ve had books finish at maybe 66%! This is funny and worth watching, in my opinion.

Gold Box Deal: $100 off Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 4G LTE

This is a today only deal (that’s how GBDs work):

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile)

It’s $100 of the models with 4G (like a cellphone connection to wireless, instead of just wi-fi…this has both). I tried having 4G on one of my Fire models, and didn’t find it was worth the monthly service plan cost to me. However, I’m in a pretty techie area, and there is a lot of wi-fi around here. For some people, having 4G makes a big difference in convenience, and they are willing to pay for it. It’s also nice for people who aren’t as techie, but want to be connected…no wi-fi required to use it (if you have a signal for 4G at home, you don’t have to enter passwords or anything to connect).

The least expensive configuration of this deal is $229…which makes it the same initial cost as having a wi-fi only version.

Kindle Unlimited mini-roundup

I’m still going to write another big post on Kindle Unlimited soon (following this one)

It’s official! Kindle Unlimited is here with 639,621 titles

including what I think the impact will be on authors (some will benefit…a lot), but I did want to hit a few high points:

  • Audiobooks: I’ve seen interest in the comments on the blog in the audiobook part, and that is something that makes KU stand apart from other subsers (that’s what I call subscription services) .ike Oyster and Scribd). As is, unfortunately, not uncommonly the case with Amazon, people want to do it…but have trouble finding instructions on how to do it. I’ve done it successfully, but it wasn’t as easy as going to “audiobooks” in KU and picking one. What I did was first find an e-book in KU that was set up for “Whispersync for Voice”. You can do that with this link: Kindle Unlimited Whispersync for Voice titles (at AmazonSmile). The e-book has to say that it is “with narration”, otherwise you might pay extra for it. I downloaded the e-book (one that I’ve read before, by the way…I don’t like listening to audiobooks if I haven’t already sightread the book). Once I’d done that, the audiobook was available to my Audible app…including on my Galaxy S4 (which should be, sadly, replaced later this week by my Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile). I’m not sad to be getting the phone: I’m excited for that! I’ve just really liked the S4). So, the counterintuitive part was getting an e-book I wasn’t going to read so I could get the audiobook. After that, it worked fine. One of my readers commented that they couldn’t get the audiobook part to work, even with help from both Kindle and Audible reps…but I still don’t quite know why. Might have been a different phone, or they weren’t following the above sequence
  • How authors get compensated: I will do a big post on authors and KU generally, as I’ve mentioned, but for indie (independent authors) using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, they split part of a pool fund (the same way they get compensated for borrows from Amazon Kindle Owners” Lending Library)…but they don’t get the cut until the borrower has read ten percent of the book. Tradpubbed (traditionally published) authors will have a different deal, and we won’t know the details…the publishers don’t usually release royalty contract terms. I did check, by the way: if someone borrows your book, reads ten percent of it (triggering the royalty), return it, borrows it again, and ten percent of it again, you don’t get a second royalty…in case you were planning to game the system ;)
  • Confusion for people who are both KU members and KOLL eligible: this has been very confusing, engendering many threads on the forums! I’m hoping they make this clearer…and soon. The KOLL has not gone away, and there hasn’t been an indication that it will. The BUTTON to borrow for free, however, has gone away in many cases. What I understand at this point is that, if you’ve already borrowed your KOLL book for the month, the button will convert to a “Read for Free” button, and it will be one of your KU borrows instead (assuming the book is in both programs). If you don’t have KU, clicking the button will take you to some place to sign up. If it actually works that way, that’s not too bad. However, I did see “The Artist” on the forum say that they had not yet borrowed a KOLL book in the month…and clicking “Read for Free” made it the KOLL borrow. That would be bad: what you want to borrow from the KOLL and what you want to read from KU may not be the same. You can have up to ten books out from KU at a time, and when you return one you can get another one. That seems to me like a generous amount for one person (unless, perhaps, you are going on a trip where you won’t have wireless access), but if you have five people on the account (and there is no limit), you may often bump up against that simultaneous ten limit

Wow! There is a lot happening (Fire Phone for hardware, KU for services), but what do you think? Have you ever feared reaching the end of a book? I know people who don’t want to buy a book unless there are more books in a series, just to try and stave off the eventual “separation”.  Do you find 4G worth it for a Fire? Are you weighing keeping Audible versus going with KU? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

July 10, 2014

The reading experience: Paperwhite vs. Kindle Fire HDX

I very often see people in the Kindle forums asking what they should get: a

Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

or a

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile)

I have to admit: I always find that a somewhat odd question.

It suggests that there is either one correct answer, or that complete strangers on an online forum know you well enough to know what’s better in your situation. :)

People are often helpful on the forum. One of the first comments you’ll typically see is, “If you want it mostly for reading,  you should get the Paperwhite.”

Is that true, though?

Like a lot of people, I have both an HDX and a Paperwhite. I actively use them both…and yes, I actively read on them both.

My Fire is what goes with me when I leave the house…I need its other capabilities (like viewing and doing light editing of Excel files), and an important one I’ll mention a bit later in the article.

I read my Paperwhite in bed before going to sleep.

I don’t think it’s a matter of a simple black and white answer (and I’m not talking about the grayscale of the Paperwhite). ;) The Paperwhite is better for me for some reading tasks, the Fire is better for others.

In this post, I’m going to compare the two.

Let’s get one thing out of the way first: the screen technology.

The Kindle Fire has a “backlit” screen. You read what is on it by a light coming from behind the image: the text is between you and the light source.

That’s how a lot of technology works: laptops, desktops, TVs, SmartPhones (at least, all the popular ones at this point).

You read what is on a Paperwhite by light bouncing off the screen from the front: the same way you read a p-book (paperbook).

Before the Paperwhite, you needed an external light source to read a non-Fire Kindle.

The Paperwhite has a built-in light…and that light is in front of the screen, not behind it: it’s “frontlit”. It’s on the same side of the screen that you are (like a booklight would be that you clip on to a book).

Some people don’t like reading backlit screens for long periods…they say it tires their eyes (or gives them headaches…I’ve heard both). That’s understandable: if you stared at a flashlight or a lit lamp for a while, that would tire you, too.

I don’t think the Fire is as harsh as a lot of devices: you can change the brightness, and have different text backgrounds…so I don’t find that it bothers me.

Backlighting takes up a lot more battery charge life than the Paperwhite’s frontlighting. A backlit screen requires a constant application of energy to maintain the image. With the technology in the Paperwhite, it “draws the page”…and doesn’t need more energy to maintain the image. The Paperwhite is like an Etch-a-Sketch in that way. It takes energy to draw a house on an Etch-a-Sketch, but if you don’t shake it, the image will stay there with no more effort.

A backlit device is like a garden hose: the Paperwhite is like a puddle.

It’s a huge difference. I charge my Fire every day. I charge my Paperwhite every couple of weeks (reading on it every day…although not for more than a half an hour or so).

The last thing on this screen technology is reading in bright light. A backlit device (the Fire) has to compete with light hitting the screen from the front…and it’s not going to win against the sun. :) More light makes a Paperwhite easier to read, and because it has that frontlit screen, it’s also easy to read in a dark room. The Paperwhite is the most comfortable reading experience I’ve had…including paper.

I’m always able to read on my Fire outside, but it’s not as easy. Crank the brightness up all the way, and keep the device between you and the sun. If it feels like you are shading your eyes with your Fire, you are in a good position. For example, you might be leaning back, holding the Fire above chin level, with the bottom of it farther away from you than the top. Of course, don’t set it up where you might slip and end up looking directly into the sun!

Okay, let’s say you’ve got the lighting where it works for you. What about options when you read?

Fonts

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 7
  • Paperwhite (I’m using the latest edition): 6

Font Sizes

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 11
  • Paperwhite: 9

Font/Background Combination Options

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 4 (including white on black)
  • Paperwhite: 1

Margins

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 3
  • Paperwhite: 3

Line Spacing

  • Kindle Fire HDX: 3
  • Paperwhite: 3

The Fire wins on three of these, and it’s a tie on the two others.

Text-to-speech

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: no

The Paperwhite doesn’t have any audio capabilities. My guess is that they did that to make it cost less, and to reduce battery drain. This is the thing I said I was going to mention later. :) I use TTS (software which reads the book aloud to you) pretty much every workday for an hour or more a day in the car. I love this! I like to say that driving is no longer wasted “non-reading time”. ;)  The TTS on the KFHDX is much superior to what we had on the Kindle 2 (it sounds more natural, makes fewer errors, and there are more choices), and it’s better than what we had on later non-Fire Kindles with TTS.

The Fire wins this one…hands down.

Oh, and that also means no immersion reading for the Paperwhite (where you can hear a voice and see the words at the same time), which the Fire has.

X-Ray (gives you information about the book)

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: yes

It’s a tie.

Annotations: Notes, Highlights, Bookmarks

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: yes

I like the experience of Notes better on the Fire. It’s one tap to get to the Notes icon, and it’s two on the Paperwhite. You have multiple color highlights on the Fire. The interface with the notes and highlights seems easier on the Fire: long press (hold your finger or stylus on it for about a second) and you can view, edit, or delete. On the Fire, Bookmarks are labeled as Bookmarks…not on the Paperwhite.

I’m going to give this to the Fire.

Look-up

  • Kindle Fire HDX: X-Ray (including a Shelfari link), Dictionary, Wikipedia, Translation, in the book, and on the web
  • Paperwhite: Dictionary, X-Ray, Wikipedia, This Book, All Text, Kindle Store

The Fire seems to do this faster, and has more information (Shelfari has some great stuff), but I do like being able to search the Kindle Store on the Paperwhite. Still, I’d give this to the Fire.

Color, embedded or linked video or audio

  • Kindle Fire HDX: yes
  • Paperwhite: no

You might not use this much. Still, it’s nice if you are reading about Martin Luther King and can actually jump to the dream speech. This one goes to the Fire, although again, you might not care about it.

Sharing

  • Kindle Fire HDX: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook
  • Paperwhite: Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook

It’s a tie.

Report a Content Error

  • Kindle Fire HDX: no (if you know of a way, please let me know!)
  • Paperwhite: yes

This one goes to the Paperwhite.

Overall? I’m actually surprised that the Fire wins in so many categories. That doesn’t mean that I don’t recommend the Paperwhite: the more comfortable reading experience and the long battery charge life are strong pluses. Also, a lot of people like the lack of distractions (although the Fire does have a “Quiet Time” setting.

What do you think? I’m sure some of you want to leap to the defense of the Paperwhite, and I understand that. :) Have I missed any advantages? I suppose I should have said that the Paperwhite is smaller, although the weight isn’t all that different…the KFHDX wi-fi only is 10.7 oz (303 grams), and the Paperwhite wi-fi only is 7.3 ounces (206 grams). I’ve heard that ten US pennies weight about an ounce, if that helps. ;) The Paperwhite is cheaper ($119 vs $199 in their cheapest configurations at time of writing), but I don’t know if I’d consider that part of the reading experience. ;) Are there other advantages you see with one or the other? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post. You can also let me know if you have other comparison questions about them that way.

Update: thanks to reader burmmom for a comment which improved this post!

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

 

“Back to School” Kindle Fire sale…in July?

July 9, 2014

“Back to School” Kindle Fire sale…in July?

I don’t even think that if they mean summer school that makes sense. ;)

Still, it’s a good sale, even if I don’t understand the way Amazon labeled the sale. They actually have that label in more than one place…maybe people are shopping now for the fall year? Maybe it’s for modular schedules? Oh, well…

Back to School store (at AmazonSmile)

You can get $50 off some Kindle tablets (and $30 off some) and 20% off some accessories:

Kindle Fire HD 7″ (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

From that page, you can choose the configuration you want:

  • 8 GB, with or without Special Offers, $20 off (as low as $119)
  • 16 GB, with or without Special Offers, $40 off (as low as $129)

Kindle Fire HDX 7″ (at AmazonSmile)

  • 16 or 32 GB, with or without Special Offers, with or without 4G, $30 off (as low as $199)
  • 64 GB, with or without Special Offers, with or without 4G, $50 off (as low as $259)

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″ (at AmazonSmile)

  • Any configuration $40 off (as low as $339)

What do I have? The Kindle Fire HDX 7″ with 16GB and Special Offers without 4G, but different people will have different use cases.

I don’t put a lot of movies and such on my device at a time, so the memory has never been an issue for me.

I tried using 4G for a year…it wasn’t worth it for me (you have to pay for a data plan for that). There’s just too much wi-fi in my area to make it a big issue.

I like having the Special Offers…and that’s especially true on the Fire. They do these Limited Time Offers (often, they sell out in seconds…and you get maybe an hour’s warning that it’s going to start)…we’ve literally saved hundreds of dollars that way.

I prefer the HDX over the HD for a number of reasons, not the least of which is Mayday, the live onscreen help option.

I’ve had a Kindle Fire with a bigger screen…I didn’t find that the extra weight and awkwardness of carrying it was worth it for me. I do have the

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

so it’s easy to throw it on a big screen if I want to do that.

Weirdly, I can’t easily find which accessories are 20% off. There would normally be a link or a section promoted on the main accessories page.

This is advertised as a limited time sale, and may not apply in your country. As always, check before you click or tap that Buy button.

To Kill a Mockingbird (at AmazonSmile) is now for sale legally as an e-book…and at time of writing, it’s only $3.95!

Definitely think about this one as a gift (the price will likely go back up…this is probably a result of price competition at launch)…you can delay the delivery to a date you choose. It’s also a good one for your guest Kindle.

Right now, it’s number 113 paid in the Kindle store. I’ve said I think it may be one of the bestselling e-books of the year, and I’m sticking with that. I think it will have legs (keep selling for a long time), and again, should see an upsurge at gift-giving times.

There was a time when a lot of people were surprised by how expensive older books could be for the Kindle, but I’d say there are some bargains out there now.

I ran a search for literature classics prices from $0.99 to $3.99, and tried to filter out public domain titles:

Under $4 classics (at AmazonSmile)

I did this using

eReaderIQ

which I consider the most valuable resource on the web for Kindleers (I am not associated with that site except as a user, although we have had some correspondence).

Some titles standing out to me in the search:

  • Marathon Man by William Goldman for $2.51 (I wouldn’t consider this a classic, but the publishers get to define the categories for marketing reasons)
  • The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck for $3.50
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston for $1.99
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for $2.50
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath for $2.99
  • As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner for $2.50
  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (that was one of the most wanted on Kindle for a while) for $2.99

If you’d pay that much for a new book and you haven’t read one of these (or you want to re-read it…or give it a gift), why not pay for one that has stood the test of time?

I can tell that, at least in this case, excluding public domain didn’t work very well. :) Many of the books in the search results are in the public domain (not under copyright protection). You can often find those free: but it can be nice to have, say, 10 books in a series in a single volume. That kind of thing is showing up a lot.

Enjoy!

Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #257: things like us, Colbert & King

June 6, 2014

Round up #257: things like us, Colbert & King

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

For my UK readers: KFHDX 20% off

Amazon.co.uk is having a Kindle Fire HDX sale through 12 June:

Kindle Fire HDX (from Amazon.co.uk)

You can get the 7″ (gee, do you call it a 17.78 centimeter?) from £159.20, a savings of about £40.

The 8.9″ is from £263.20 (a savings of about £66).

You can also get the first generation (so, not the current one) Kindle Fire HD 7″ for £99! That’s a savings of £60.

We aren’t having an equivalent sale in the USA, but I thought my UK readers might appreciate the alert. :)

It’s ba-ack! The Kindle DX available again new from Amazon

Thanks to Andrys Basten of the

A Kindle World blog

for the heads up on this…and it would have been tough to find!

The larger (9.7″) non-Fire Kindle is back on sale new from Amazon…and for a good price of $199.

Kindle DX

You are definitely dealing with older technology here, but it a large screen non-backlit device with text-to-speech (although an older and less sophisticated version than we have on the Kindle Fire HDX) and a physical keyboard.

Maybe I should find somebody with a different first name…

You know how, for some people, e-books made books a whole lot cooler?

Well, we know that book issues are part of the mainstream…because celebrities are commenting on the Hachazon War (that’s what I call the disagreement going on between Amazon and Hachette, a publisher).

First, let’s mention Stephen Colbert, who did a pretty lengthy (3 minutes and twenty seconds) segment on the Hachazon war:

Comedy Central video clip

Colbert’s books have been affected by Amazon’s “tactics of mass inconvenience”, causing delays in getting the faux pundit’s books.

The weird thing is that you can get Kindle editions of the books right away…but they appear to only be the enhanced versions (meaning they’ll audio/video content). The two in particular that I’m seeing have text-to-speech access blocked, so I’m not going to link to them…but they say they are only available on these devices:

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9″
Kindle Fire HDX
Kindle Fire HD(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire HD(1st Generation)
Kindle Fire(2nd Generation)
Kindle Fire(1st Generation)
Kindle for Windows 8
Kindle Cloud Reader
Kindle for Android Phones
Kindle for Android Tablets
Kindle for iPad

Since they list no non-Fire hardware Kindles, it makes me think these are only available as enhanced versions…and it is possible that that is a different deal with Hachette.

If you want the hardback new from Amazon, you have to wait: “Usually ships within 3 to 5 weeks.”

However, here is something else interesting. On the product page, you can get a used copy from Amazon for $9.50…and they’ll ship it with Prime!

Used books usually don’t go Prime (where you pay nothing additional for two-day shipping beyond your annual Prime fee).

That’s a fascinating approach on Amazon’s part!

The publisher, of course, doesn’t get an additional cut for a used book…and the author gets no royalty.

Amazon has found a way to get you the book (albeit, a used copy) just as quickly as if you bought it new…and pay Hachette nothing when you do it.

Colbert was funny, and put a lot of effort into this, I’d say. I did like this line (which I’ve edited slightly from the live delivery):

“This is a big blow to my bottom line because Amazon controls around fifty percent of all book sales. That’s right: thirty books a year.”

Colbert also has a printable sticker you can put on a book that says, “I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon.” You can get it at the site above.

That reminded me of the statement that Psychotronic Video used to put on the cover: “Still not a part of AOL Time/Warner”.

This segment clearly presents the authors as victims. The piece doesn’t make Hachette blameless, but mostly mentions Amazon.

I did think it was nice that they arranged a deal with Powell’s Books (one of the great bookstores) so you can order the book through the Comedy Central website above.

Sherman Alexie recommended boycotting Amazon until this was over.

The other famous Stephen who recently commented on the Hachazon War is Stephen King.

I was reading (as I do every week)

Entertainment Weekly (at AmazonSmile)

(specifically, the June 13, 2014 issue), and the cover had a link (I’m reading it on my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) )

to a commentary by the prolific author called, “Stephen King Sounds Off on Amazon” (which is actually a sidebar on a longer article by Karen Valby about the Hachazon War).

I’m not seeing it as available on the EW website, but I’ll give you a small excerpt:

“In a sense, it’s like a hoodlum in the protection racket strong-arming one small-business owner so that all the other owners on the street — we could call it Book Street — will fall into line.”

While I have found some statements aligning with Amazon, I’d be happy to find one by somebody who has a voice outside of books and the publishing/bookstore world. Stephen King is an author, of course, but is known to people who…gee, how do I put this…don’t read.

Amazon has recovered from other public relations issues in the past (such as the removal of an unauthorized George Orwell book from people’s Kindles…although I just saw someone raise that on the Kindle forum again, without mentioning what I thought was a good resolution and apology), and if the gadget which is announced in about a week and a half is buzzy enough, it may turn the narrative.

Barnes & Noble partners with Samsung for future tablets

NOOK tablets did not go well for Barnes & Noble. People doubted that Amazon could do hardware at all before the Kindle…after all, it wasn’t their area of expertise. However, they did do it quite successfully.

For B&N, it makes sense to turn over tablet manufacturing to an experienced partner (resulting in a co-branded device)…and Samsung is a good choice for that.

PC Mag post by Angela Moscaritolo

In fact, my intuition here is that Samsung may greatly improve the NOOK tablet reading experience…which might drive improvements in Kindle tablets as well.

Why does Samsung want to do it?

Why not? :)

They get to be seen as saving Barnes & Noble’s NOOK, and people appreciate that. They don’t have to invest a lot of money…it sounds to me like they’ll basically take existing hardware and add NOOK software to it. Of course, you can already get NOOK software on a Samsung tablet…but they will brand it that way.

While B&N hypothetically gives up the income stream from NOOK tablets, it hadn’t really been working out as a plus…

Kiva robots going to work at Amazon

Robots to the left of me
Robots to the right of me
Into the Amazon warehouse rolled the ten thousand…

Thanks to the reader who alerted me in a private e-mail to this

EXTREMETECH article by David Cardinal

I write about robots (and lots of other things) in my

The Measured Circle blog

and “flip” lots of articles about them into the free

The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard

Well, this brings together Amazon and robots.

Amazon spent a lot of money (about $775 million) for a robot company, as I wrote about back in 2012:

I, Amazon: the e-tailer buys a robot company

The article has a great video of the Kivas at work, but also points out some important things.

Sure, people worry about humans losing jobs to robots…and that undeniably happens. The thing is, though, that people also gain jobs because robots are working…and they may be jobs which are better suited (and feel better) for humans.

Robots aren’t cheap, but there are some huge savings involved with them. You often hear people say that they don’t get sick, although they do need maintenance. They don’t need some kinds of leave, though…and they don’t need raises.

Perhaps not as obviously, the Kiva robots can cut down on utility bills. They probably don’t need lights, for example, and from what I’ve read, you don’t have the same air conditioning issues (which has been one of the major complaints for humans working in Amazon warehouses…they can get hot!). They aren’t like mainframe computers, which often need quite a bit of climate control.

Isn’t that a weird thought?

Tourist: “Hi, I’m here for the Amazon warehouse tour.”

Tour Guide: “Great! You’ll need these night-vision goggles, and this personal-cooling suit.”

Tourist: “My what and my who?”

Tour Guide: “This warehouse has been optimized for our silicon-based workers. What do you see through this window?”

Tourist: “That’s a window? I thought it was a TV that was off.”

Tour Guide: “No, that’s the interior of the fulfillment center. It’s just that dark.”

Tourist: “Can’t you turn the lights on?”

Tour Guide: “There aren’t any lights.”

Tourist: “Um, okay. Why the suit?”

Tour Guide: “Well, the suit isn’t strictly necessary, but it is about 40 degrees in there.”

Tourist: “Wait, didn’t you say it was a cooling suit?”

Tour Guide: “Oh, sorry…forty degrees  Celsius. It’s about…104 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Tourist: “Why so hot?”

Tour Guide: “That’s just because of the temperature outside…we don’t heat the floor.”

Tourist: “I’m from Phoenix, I won’t need the suit. How long does the tour take?”

Tour Guide: “About seven to nine minutes.”

Tourist: “That’s it? Don’t we get to see the whole place?”

Tour Guide: “That is the whole place…well, all of it where a giant biped like you will fit. The rest of it is all Kiva height.”

Tourist: “You know, I think I’ll skip it.”

Tour Guide: “Suit yourself. The next shuttle for downtown is in two hours.”

Tourist: “Two hours? I knew I should have driven!”

Tour Guide: “You can’t…there’s no parking lot.”

Tourist: “No parking lot?”

Tour Guide: “No need for one. Do you know how much land like that costs? Not to mention the expense for damages, the danger to people walking to and from…this is much simpler.”

Tourist: “What about you? Where do you park?”

Tour Guide: “Oh, I don’t park. I just live here. I’ve got everything I need…and AmazonFresh brings me my groceries. It’s actually cool. I’m the only human most of these Kivas have ever seen.”

Tourist: “I wonder if they think all human beings look like you…”

Tour Guide: “I doubt that’s the case.”

Tourist: “Yes, that’s silly. Robots don’t think.”

Tour Guide: “They think…they definitely think. They just don’t think about things which are insignificant to them…”

Speaking of thinking, what do you think? Will Samsung keep the NOOK brand for tablets alive? Will B&N farm out the non-tablets to somebody else? Will Amazon ever run out of Kindle DXs…or replace them with another big screen non-backlit device? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Heads up: Fire LTO. 256 GB drive at 530 Pacific

May 27, 2014

Amazon: Upcoming Limited-Time Special Offer on Kindle Fire: 256 GB Solid State Drive for $49. Deal starts at 8:30 PM ET/5:30 PM PT.

Update: sorry I had to be really brief on this one! Not only was I on my phone, but I was in a place where I couldn’t speak out loud…so I couldn’t use speech-to-text! That really limited my ability to input the information. In fact, all I did was copy and paste the text I got (see below) into the post. I was really in the middle of something…

These are special limited time offers, which are only available to Kindle Fire owners.

What happens is you can get a text to alert you to an upcoming deal (details in the links below). You don’t get much warning…maybe an hour (about half an hour in this case).

The deal also appears on the sleep screen of your Fire, and you can find it under Offers on the homescreen (all the way at the end).

Then, you say you want to “learn more”. You’ll get to a screen with a countdown clock. As soon as the clock gets to zero, you need to click to have a chance to get it.

They have typically been selling out in seconds.

Here is information on the program:

As I’ve written before, I look at these LTOs (Limited Time Offers) sort of like buying a lottery ticket: I don’t expect to get one (win), but its exciting if I do! Of course, the “ticket” doesn’t cost me anything.

These LTOs are one of the best arguments for having Special Offers…and yes, a good argument for having a  Fire (at AmazonSmile)!

Did you get one? Do you have any other comment on this? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

One more thing: I’ve had a couple of readers say that they never even saw the offer. As far as I know, these go out to every eligible Kindle Fire in the USA. A few possibilities occur to me:

  • They either bought a Kindle Fire without Special Offers, or bought out of the offers later. You have to be subscribed to those in order to get these deals
  • They weren’t connected to wireless in time for it to update
  • They didn’t check the Offers tab (I don’t always see it on the sleep screen)

It might not have been any of those, but those three would have done it.

===

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Gold Box Deal: refurb KFHD8.9 with 4G…for $219!

May 19, 2014

Gold Box Deal: refurb KFHD8.9 with 4G…for $219!

One of today’s

Gold Box Deals (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

is a Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ (the bigger screen) with 4G (like a cellphone) and wi-fi connectivity for $219.

That’s $80 off the current price…and less than half of what it cost when it was introduced in late 2012.

This is not the current generation (no Mayday, for example), but it does have the HDMI out so you can use a cable to attach it to your TV.

The Gold Box Deals sometimes sell out (there was another Kindle Fire deal today which is already gone).

This is a good deal, although if you are going to use the 4G (you wouldn’t have to do that), you would need a data plan, which you would pay for monthly (and they don’t have the same deal they did when it was introduced).

In terms of refurbs (refurbished units), I’d be very confident in them. They have the same warranty as a new one, and my feeling is that they are probably more carefully reviewed, since they are treated individually.

People are likely to also opine that this means the retirement of some models and the introduction of new ones, but they’ve been doing lots of discounts lately…I wouldn’t count on new ones because of this.

There already is an 8.9 HDX, so a newer version is already on the market.

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Amazon Fire TV is here: Amazon’s TV gadget!

April 2, 2014

Amazon Fire TV is here: Amazon’s TV gadget!

“This is your captain speaking…we are now leaving the rumor zone!”

Amazon has just announced its TV gadget:

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I can’t link to it the way I’d like yet, but I went ahead and ordered it with expedited shipping for myself. :)

I’m going to post this first so you hear about it right away, then update the post.

press release

Update:

Okay, one of the first things to note is the price: $99. That makes it close to three times as much as the $35

Google Chromecast (at AmazonSmile)

which was so popular at that price, it knocked Amazon’s own Kindles off the top spot for electronics…sold at Amazon.

What does this do that will make people think it is three times as good as Chromecast?

Well, first, that’s not really the calculation for most people…just the fact that it is Amazon will get a lot of people to buy it (honestly, that’s why I jumped on the Buy button, and “splurged” for 1-day shipping so I can write about it sooner).

They seem to be highlighting a few things:

  • Integration with Prime video (of course). Prime just signed 24 to be an exclusive, and they have a lot of popular exclusive titles…it comes registered to your account (assuming you have one), so you can just plug it into your TV, connect it to your wi-fi, and you are pretty much good
  • Voice search. Is that a killer app? Maybe…Xfinity promotes theirs a lot. They say they are the only “streaming media player with voice search”. They have a good commercial with Gary Busey (all of this is on the product page), extolling the benefits of “talking to things”
  • They are touting their tech specs, and they do look good
  • They have “ASAP” (Advanced Streaming and Prediction), which will predictively load what you want to watch, to reduce download speeds. I wouldn’t say that the predictive thing in Silk was a big hit, but I could see how this could work. I work my way through series (like Arrow), and it would be nice if when I finished one episode, it just downloaded the next one…for the next time I wanted to watch it. I’m not quite sure if it works that way yet, of course
  • The remote connects via Bluetooth, which is a nice touch…that means no line of sight required (my Roku doesn’t require that, either)
  • They are really pushing this as a gaming device, which some people thought might be done separately. You can use the included remote for some games (I’m thinking simple things like Angry Birds…simple in terms of the needed user input). They also are selling (for $39.99): Amazon Fire Game Controller (at AmazonSmile). That’s a more full-featured controller, so you can do those button-mashing combination moves ;) I wasn’t going to get one, but I might…they have a special deal that gives you 1,000 Amazon coins (basically, $10 for purchase of apps and in-app buys), and their new exclusive game, Sev Zero. That deal is good through May 2nd, so I don’t think I’ll order the controller right now
  • It does music, with several big name services
  • It can display your pictures and video
  • Amazon FreeTime, parental controls, are coming next month
  • Yes! It will mirror the Fire…and do “second screen” flinging, too! I mirror my Fire pretty often, sometimes to watch internet videos. The “flinging” part includes X-Ray, powered by IMDb (owned by Amazon). That’s a great way when you want to find out more about an actor in a scene, for example

Their list of games and apps is impressive! I’m not sure people will see it as blowing away the Chromecast, but remember that with mirroring, anything you see on your Fire you can see on the screen. I can’t plug in an HDMI cable and watch the Xfinity app (at least, I couldn’t last time I checked) because it is blocked then. I can mirror it to my TV, though, using my Fire.

The apps (and other things you can use) include:

  • Netflix
  • Amazon Instant Video
  • Hulu Plus
  • Crackle
  • YouTube
  • Showtime Anytime
  • WatchESPN
  • Bloomberg TV
  • Vevo
  • Pandora
  • HuffPost Live
  • I Heart Radio
  • Vimeo
  • TuneIn (I use this app sometimes…to listen to radio stations)
  • NBA Game Time
  • Red Bull TV
  • Plex
  • Now This News
  • AOL on
  • Flixter
  • Qello Concerts
  • Frequency
  • Minecraft Pocket Edition
  • The Walking Dead (the Telltale game)
  • The Game of Life
  • Riptide OP 2
  • Sev Zero
  • Daily Burn
  • Tasty Trade
  • Asphalt Airborne 8

On many of those, I’m just copying from the logos shown on the page…you may need to pay extra (like a subscription fee or a one-time purchase) for some of them.

They appear not to have worked out a deal for HBOGO, yet.

Formats? It says:

Video: H.263, H.264, MPEG4-SP, VC1
Audio: AAC, AC-3, E-AC-3, HE-A, PCM, MP3
Photo: JPG, PNG

Note! You will need an HDMI cable (not included) to use this, from what I am seeing. They recommend this one

AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters) – Supports Ethernet, 3D, and Audio Return [Newest Standard] (at AmazonSmile)

which I already own. :)

I suspect we’ll see a lot of complaints on the forum that it doesn’t come with one…people will get one expecting to use it right away, and then have to get a cable. If I were Amazon, I’d make that a very clear “package” option.

Update: right now (6:00 PM Pacific on Wednesday) Amazon Fire TV is the number one item in electronics at Amazon.

  1. Amazon Fire TV
  2. Google Chromecast
  3. Kindle Paperwhite (wi-fi only) ad-supported
  4. Roku 3500R streaming stick
  5. Kindle Fire HD2 7″ 8GB
  6. Roku 3 Streaming Media player
  7. Apple TV
  8. Kindle Fire HD2 7″ 16GB
  9. Kindle Fire HDX 7″
  10. Kindle Paperwhite (wi-fi only) full price

There you go! Whew! What do you think? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Kindle Fire HDX update this morning

April 1, 2014

Kindle Fire HDX update this morning

Just a note that my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

updated to version 13.3.2.2 this morning, at 4:29 AM PDT.

This is from 13.3.1.1…I’m not seeing anything talking about new features yet.

At the update page:

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates(http://smile.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile)

it just says

“The software update includes general improvements and performance enhancements.”

which typically means bug fixes, rather than feature adds.

I was alerted to the update on my Kindle: it happened automatically.

If you notice any changes, or that it has happened to other models of Kindles, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

I’ll also let you know if I find out anything more. :)

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Kindle Fire update now available!

February 25, 2014

Kindle Fire update now available!

It’s he-ere! ;)

You can now do the manual update for the Kindle Fire HDX from

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (http://smile.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’m most interested in it because it is supposed to address wireless connection instability, from what I’ve heard.

Amazon says:

“The software update includes general improvements and the following feature enhancements:

Protect your device with encryption
You can now encrypt your accounts, settings, and downloaded apps and their data, media, and other files on your Kindle Fire. To learn more, go to Protect Your Data with Security Settings.

Test your knowledge with Flashcards for Kindle Print Replica textbooks
Create flashcards to help you learn more about key terms and concepts in a textbook. To learn more, go to Reading Enhancements.”

I’ll get it updated and then update this post with my experience with it, but I figured you’d want to know right away.

There should also be other updates available for other Fire models…you can get to it from the page I linked above.

Update: I was also able to download it the easy way…by doing

Home – Swipe down from the top – Settings – Device

and then having it check for System Updates.

It found it, and then started downloading it.

Before the update, I was at 13.3.1.0. I believe this will be 13.3.1.1 (on my Kindle Fire HDX 7″).

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Kindle Fires on sale (again)

February 3, 2014

Kindle Fires on sale (again)

Did you think big sales on the Kindle Fires were going to be over after the holiday season?

Well, this isn’t even the first one since then, but you can certainly save money on them:

The first model there (the KFHDX7) is the one I use, but I’m particularly impressed with the price on the last one…I had one of those, before it was stolen in a home break-in. It has the HDMI out on it, which many people miss on the newer generations (although I like the new gen better).

The price here for the KFHD 8.9″ is $10 less than the Kindle DX (at AmazonSmile)…and the same as the Kindle Paperwhite 3G (at AmazonSmile).

Now, those are all different devices…you can’t do a direct comparison.

One of the arguments in favor of non-Fire Kindles, though, was that they were less expensive than having a tablet. While that’s true for the cheapest as both, you can see that isn’t as clear a statement as it used to be.

This is for a limited time (they don’t say how long), and sure, it’s possible they’ll do more sales (maybe Valentine’s Day is next?). It’s a good deal right now, though. :)

Check the price before you buy: it may be different in your country, and we don’t know when it will go up again.

Enjoy!

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,317 other followers

%d bloggers like this: