Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category

Amazon updates Kindle Personal Documents

April 17, 2014

Amazon updates Kindle Personal Documents

In this

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

Amazon announced some significant changes to their Personal Documents service.

Previously, you had the ability to send documents to your Kindle. You could e-mail them to a special e-mail address your Kindle has, or use the “Send to Kindle” feature:

send to kindle (at AmazonSmile)

and they would be stored in your Cloud/archives. One place they were available was at

http://www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle (at AmazonSmile)

You could also download them from your device.

For example, I keep the configuration information for my routers there. That way, I can access it from any of my devices. That means I have the information on my phone or tablet when I set up a new device.

As of today, though, they are also stored in your Amazon Cloud Drive, in a folder called “My Send-to-Kindle Docs”.

That does give you the advantage of the additional organizational capabilities of the Cloud drive (you can add folders, mass delete, move and copy, and so on).

Nice enough, I suppose, to have it in the same site as personal photos and documents you’ve uploaded directly to the Cloud drive.

By the way, I’ve seen a lot of complaints today. That seems to be the normal thing with any update…”Though Kindle updates, may bring the pain…” ;)

Some people appear to have gotten tons of documents this way, and a few people mentioned .png files. Those are “Portable Network Graphics” files, and I’m guessing what happened there is they uploaded a file with pictures in it, and the Cloud drive broke each picture out into its own file. That didn’t happen with me, by the way: my new drive looks very much like what I would want it to do in this case, with the appropriate number of files.

The other big part of this announcement, though, is that files will stay in their native formats.

What that means is that, if you e-mail a Word document to your Kindle, it will be converted to a Kindle friendly document…and it will be available as a Word document in your Cloud Drive. I tested it, and that is what happened. That is an easy way to use your Cloud Drive somewhat like Dropbox (without some of the features of the latter).

If they were to incorporate this into the

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

I would actually find that quite useful.

I do presentations. I could e-mail a presentation to my Kindle Fire, and on a Fire TV at work, I could display it on an HDTV. Of course, I could mirror from my

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

to the Fire TV, but that would commit the resources of my Kindle Fire to that task…and I might want to use it for something else. I wouldn’t even have to be where the Fire TV was, if someone else was using it.

It wouldn’t surprise me if that’s in the offing.

I also like the idea that I could carry a document on my Kindle (Fire or not), and easily access the same document in full-featured Office on my desktop/laptop/two-in-1.

I think this is one of those that may take a while before people really realize the benefits.

Feel free to let me and my readers know what your experience is with it!

* 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 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.

Massive new update for 1st generation Paperwhite

March 6, 2014

Massive new update for 1st generation Paperwhite

Join the party, KPW1ers! ;)

Amazon has just added a new update for the first generation Kindle Paperwhite. That’s in addition to the update for the second generation…and I’ve added some of my testing on that to this post:

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update available

This brings the 1st gen inline with the second on many features. You can just wait and your KPW1 should update automatically (eventually), or you can do it yourself from:

Kindle Paperwhite 1st Generation Software Updates (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

What do you get?

  • Kindle FreeTime (separate profiles and tracking)
  • Goodreads on Kindle
  • Cloud Collections
  • Page Flip
  • Enhanced Bookmarks, Highlights, and Notes
  • Smart Lookup
  • Vocabulary Builder

That’s a lot!

Update: while it wasn’t listed, you apparently also get “inline footnotes”. Thanks to Phink, one of my regular readers and commenters for mentioning that. I’d seen that it was included in an update document which appeared on my KPW1 with the update (which is greatly appreciated, Amazon!). I’m not sure what book I’d use to test it, but you can see a screenshot here:

http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=176060&p=irol-imageproduct25

What it means is that (if the book if formatted for it), you can read footnotes without going to the back of the book and then having to return. That caused a lot of people problems in the old days…they’d jump to the end to read the footnote, and then let the Kindle sleep without returning to home first. I believe that would reset their “furthest page read” to the end of the book.

This is version 5.4.4.

Our “Guest Kindle” is a KPW1, so I’ll be testing it out soon…still working on testing the update to my Significant Other’s KPW2. :)

I do want to thank Amazon and point out that updates do come out for earlier models…you sometimes see that criticism. That doesn’t mean that your 2007 Kindle will get these updates…it couldn’t handle it technically. Amazon has in the past, though, updated discontinued models, and continues to do so, at least for a while.

Let me know if you have questions or observations…

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* 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 Paperwhite 2 update available

March 5, 2014

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update available

I haven’t had time to download, install, and test it yet, but there is a new update available for the Kindle Paperwhite 2…and it looks promising!

Download KPW2 Software Update 5.4.3 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

As usual, you should be able to just wait for the update, if you want, or you can get it and install it manually at the above link.

Amazon says it has:

  • The ability to manage your Cloud Collections. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen the term “disaster” applied to the way Cloud Collections first worked on the KPW2. I’ve found them very useful on our Kindle Fire HDXs. This says that you’ll be able to “star” Collections to make them favorites…uniquely on that device. I’ll have to test this out to see if it resolves people’s concerns…let me know what you think!
  • You’ll be able to see your Notes in a book from “the Reading Menu”. Does this mean you’ll be able to see them along with the text? My guess is no, that it is just an easier way to access them (rather than using “Go To”). Update: I can confirm: it’s just another way to get to the Notes. I don’t remember being able to select between Your Notes, Popular Notes, and Public Notes, but that’s now a choice. You could also use this technique to get to the Table of Contents
  • PDF improvements
  • You’ll be able to cancel the purchase of a book you do from a sample, as long as you do it before it finishes downloading

More information later, but I know people like to get these right away. :) If you have feedback, feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

Update: I have now downloaded and installed the new update.

It went as expected, using the link above: the whole process was under five minutes, I’d say.

The first obvious difference was a series of dark stars appearing on the homescreen, next to each of the Collections (I have the Kindle sorted by Collections).

Unfortunately, the directions at Amazon only apply to when you are seeing covers on your device, which is not my choice. It talks about the star being in the “…bottom-right corner of the collection cover”. However, it’s obvious in either view.

I long pressed (holding a finger in my case, or you could use your stylus, on a Collection for about a second).

One of the choices is to “Show Only in Collections View”.

I did that with my TBR Collection, since this is my Significant Other’s Kindle Paperwhite 2. I was looking to make it not visible on this device (to simply things for my SO).

I got a message:

“This collection will only be shown in the Collections View. Select Collections under My Items to see it. You can press and hold on a Collection to change its view options.”

I tapped “OK”.

At that point, the Collection disappeared from the  homescreen…the result I wanted. :)

To see it again on this device, you go to where it says “My Items” at the top of the homescreen…not where it says “Collection” on my currently (the sort order).

If I go to All Items under My Items, it shows up again.

That seems reasonable to me. You could switch to Collections to download things from a Collection which you don’t normally want to see. For example, you could have a “Read” Collection, and only invoke it when you want to re-read it.

So far, I like it. It’s not intuitive, but I think it works.

When you are sorted by Collections and filtered by My Items, you now see both Collections and items not in Collections…that’s going to confuse some people.

I think this may require a bit more explanation…unleash the tabular format! ;)

Filter Sort Count Comment
My Items Recent 24 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items show both inside and outside Collections, sorted by downloaded or accessed dates
My Items Title 24 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items show both inside and outside Collections, sorted by title (no separation for Collections and individual items
My Items Author 24 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items show inside and outside Collections, sorted by author (with Collections appearing after the individual items and the Collections also sorted alphabetically)
My Items Collection 14 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items in Collections do not show outside them, sorted by Collections first, then individual items (looks like by Recent)
Books Recent 12 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items appear and outside of Collections
Books Collection 5 Unstarred Collections don’t show, items in Collections do not show outside them, sorted by Collections first, then individual items (looks like by Recent)
Collections Recent 9 Unstarred Collections show, no individual items show

I didn’t do all of the options there (yet), but here’s the bottom line: for most people, you wanted the filter to be by Books and the sort to be by Collections.

More later…

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle. You can also now recommend a child to be the recipient.

* 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 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.

Round up #228: Silk fix, what did Melville make?

December 18, 2013

Round up #228: Silk fix, what did Melville make?

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

Coming in 2014: Give a Kid a Kindle

I’m going to give away a Kindle to a child in 2014 (I hope to do it every quarter), and you’ll be able to help.

You can nominate a child that you know, by commenting on this page:

Give a Kid a Kindle

which I have just made public this morning.

Nominating comments can be made now (see that page for more information), and I will begin displaying those nominations (which may be edited) on the page in January.

Readers will be able to recommend a child for the Kindle in March of 2014, by using a poll which will be on that page.

There is no charitable organization involved in this, and there won’t be any tax write-offs associated with it…it’s just something that I want to do personally (and I’ve discussed with my Significant Other, of course).

I’ve tried to keep this simple. I just want to do something nice. :)

I think reading is important, and that readers can (but don’t have to) change the world.

I’d appreciate any comments or suggestions you have for this. I can certainly see some challenges in doing it…

Amazon promises Silk “accordion” fix

It has seemed pretty obvious lately that Amazon needs to do more testing before they release updates.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting free updates with new functionality! It’s just that you don’t want them to make things worse. That’s clearly how some people are feeling about Amazon’s updates…I know of people saying that they are afraid to turn on the wireless, because they don’t want to get a new update.

Recently:

  • A Kindle Fire update appears to have made wireless connections unstable…I have to frequently toggle the wireless on and off now
  • The introduction of Cloud Collections to the Kindle Paperwhite in a recent update has been widely criticized as confusing and unwieldy
  • An update to the Silk browser caused pages to “accordion” as you scrolled, making it impossible to read them

As to the last one, Amazon had now addressed it in this:

Kindle forum thread

They’ve said that a fix has been released, and that the Fire should automatically update within the next few days.

I really appreciate that Amazon employees will go into a public forum and make a statement like that…but it would be better if the problems were discovered pre-release, and fixed.

I’m guessing that when Amazon gets a little distance on all this after the holiday season, they’ll re-evaluate their quality control and testing for updates. That might mean we get them farther apart, but I think that would be worth it.

Hugh Howey writing in the world of Kurt Vonnegut

My feeling is that Kindle Worlds has been a bit slow getting off the ground. This is Amazon’s bold venture to mainstream fanfic (“fan fiction”), in a sense, by licensing properties from the rightsholders and then letting anyone write within those worlds (within certain guidelines), and splitting the royalties.

I’ve been following the forum at the

and after some initial activity, it’s been quite slow.

The bestselling Kindle Worlds books tend not to break the top 10,000 in the Kindle store. That doesn’t mean that can’t be profitable and popular, but my intuition is that Amazon would like more out of the program.

Part of this is chicken or the egg: they may need hits to get people interested in the program, and people need to be interested in the program to write those hit titles.

Well, this title should help.

Hugh Howey (at AmazonSmile) is a best-selling (New York Times and USA Today) science fiction author. I’m reading Wool Omnibus Edition (Wool 1 – 5) (Silo Saga) (at AmazonSmile) myself, although it’s not first in line for me (I’m reading a galley copy of something right now, as part a “beta reader”, and then there is always the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library book to finish). My guess is that I’ll finish the five books in the next few months.

Howey is writing a Kindle Worlds’ title in the world of Kurt Vonnegut:

It can be pre-ordered now, for delivery on January 14, 2014.

Howey’s books are well-reviewed on Amazon, and this announcement has gotten some media play. It’s an interesting mix of inspiration (Slaughterhouse-Five (at AmazonSmile)) (which is only $2.50 at time of writing) and author. Howey had a personal experience with the September 11th World Trade Center attacks, which may certainly inform this piece.

Janet Dailey reported dead

We sold a lot of Janet Dailey (at AmazonSmile) when I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore…and we certainly weren’t the only ones.

Reportedly, the author’s books sold something like 300 million copies, certainly making the romance novelist one of the best-selling novelists of any kind.

Amazon lists over 100 Janet Dailey titles in the Kindle store, including at least some of the Americana series (Dailey wrote a novel for each state).

Dailey began writing in the 1970s, and the latest book from the author was published this year.

New York Times article by Paul Vitello

Herman Melville’s Lifetime Literary Earnings

Bibliokept has this nice

post

which shows you how much Herman Melville got paid for writing. While not complete, let’s just say that the figures might be surprising…you do have to remember that we aren’t talking about constant dollars, though. Money went further back then. Still, being an author is rarely one of the best paid occupations.

* 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.

Round up #226: E-book settlement, B&N investigation

December 11, 2013

Round up #226: E-book settlement, B&N investigation

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

Kindle Fire update in “the coming weeks”

In this

press release

Amazon announces an update coming to the Kindle Fires “… just in time for the holidays”. Of course, they don’t say which holidays. ;)

The PR focuses on some important and interesting changes to Kindle FreeTime, which helps guardians set limits on the use of the tablet. One interesting one is the ability to require a certain amount of “educational” use before you can use it for “entertainment”.

As a trainer, I can tell you that you really can’t have much education without entertainment, but that’s another discussion. ;) I’ve asked people to remember back when they were in elementary school: very few of them recall sitting in the classroom…most of them first remember playing with their friends. Kudos to their teachers if their now adult students do think of that first!

While this is great in and of itself (and they promise more improvements after that for FreeTime), I’m also excited because it’s quite possible (knock virtual wood) that the upgrade will contain bug fixes. As I’ve mentioned (and others have also said they have this issue), my wi-fi won’t stay connected since the last upgrade (Amazon is aware of the problem). I have to toggle Airplane Mode on and off many times a day…virtual fingers crossed that this upgrade might address that as well.

ITYS*: raptors will attack PrimeAircraft

When I wrote about Amazon’s PrimeAir reveal (delivery by small “octocopters”), I said:

“Certainly, dogs would pose a risk, as might bird strikes (perhaps even intentional ones, in the case of a raptor), but I’m not convinced it would be inherently more risky.”

I was pleased to see that this

Slate article by Nicholas Lund

not only agrees with me on the bird risk, but has video to prove it!

Also on the “drone” front (I don’t consider artificially intelligent craft to be “drones”, but I know many people define them as simply craft without humans on board…whether they have remote pilots or not), I saw this news today, and later saw a comment from one of my readers about it:

CNN article by Ann Cabrera

A town called Deer Trail in Colorado is going to vote (it was postponed) on a law allowing residents to shoot down drones.

Quite simply, I’m horrified. :( Even though this is aimed (so to speak) at government drones, there is no question that it would result in commercial drones being shot down as well (and kids’ toys, for that matter). I’m thinking that there would be a lot of mistaken identity (possibly even resulting in bird deaths), even though the bounty (really!) is higher on a complete drone with government markings.

Sure, shoot down the drone delivering a shut-in’s medicine, or the book a poor child saved up for six months to buy. Sure, those are “slippery slope” examples…even just the destruction itself makes me unhappy. This is specifically designed to destroy other people’s property…I think that puts it in a different category than a lot of other questions people might see as related.

On a lighter note…

Amazon Rockets parody on YouTube

My favorite clock is a Kindle

This seems a bit bizarre, but they gave us a new (free) clock app with the last Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers upgrade. Yes, it appears to have caused the wi-fi glitch I mention above, but there were a lot of good things about it. This app is one of them.

I’ve mentioned before that I have some color vision deficiency, and my understanding is that connected to that, I have superior night vision. Any light in a room (or the room next door, or down the hall…) can bother me at night.

We also got a used bedroom set. It’s nice, but it was hard to conveniently plug in a clock, just because of the design.

Well, the clock app on the Fire solves both of those problems. It has a “Nightstand” mode, which has the time (and a postmodern clock design…that one takes some getting used to, but I don’t typically use analog clocks anyway) in red. With the brightness turned down all the way, it’s been the most pleasant clock. I was also a bit worried about running it not plugged in, but it consistently takes about 50% of the charge over night (it hasn’t taken more than fifty). Again, I have the brightness turned down all the way (a big battery charge life saver), and the wi-fi off.

If I wake up in the middle of the night (we have a new dog…yes, in bed with us, so it happens), I can see the time without it seeming too bright.

Oh, while I’m talking about apps for the Fire, let me also mention

This is a goofy free app, but might be great for a little holiday fun. You can use video backgrounds, characters, and objects they supply…or you can add your  own pictures. Then, you animate them in a very simple way and do a voiceover. I found it to be easy to use…for example, the character will automatically flip to face the other direction, depending on how you move. They have licensed images from Pacific Rim. You can share your videos publicly, but that’s up to you.

State e-book settlements approved…pay-outs coming in 2014

According to this

Publishers Weekly article by Andrew Albanese

my favorite Federal judge (what…you have one, right? ;) ), Denise Cote, has approved the pay-out plan for the settlements between the States Attorneys General and Macmillan and Penguin (which completes the group).

That was on December 6th, and then there is a thirty day period, and then a bit of time after that…I’d say those of us getting pay-outs will see them…oh, by early February. Amazon told us before that they will show up as credits, and I expect the Smilin’ A (I’ve recently started calling Amazon that…I like it. ;) Feel free to let me know if you like it or not) to be one of the fastest at doing this.

Well, at least B&N hasn’t been in legal troub—uh, oh

Barnes & Noble has been in a bad news factory lately, with a particularly poor quarterly financial report…and I’m afraid to see what this quarter is going to be for them.

They didn’t need anything else to spook investors, but they got it.

According to this

Wall Street Journal article by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg

and other sources, Barnes & Noble is under investigation by the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) for questionable accounting practices.

A really healthy company could probably handle that better than one that is walking on such thin financial ice already…share prices are down.

Keep the text by blocking the tip

Just a little tip for you: when you want to listen to text-to-speech in the car, lock your device so it doesn’t auto-rotate. When a Fire autorotates, text-to-speech stops playing. I simply lock my rotation (swiping down from the top, or using the Settings gear, depending on your model) before starting TTS. That way, it doesn’t stop when I set it on the seat for the drive.

What do you think? Is shooting down a drone a legitimate thing to do? Is the the straw that breaks B&N’s back? Do you care about the refund you might get from the settlement? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* I Told You So ;)

** 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! :) NOte: you can select WorldReader.org as the non-profit you support, if you want.

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 #222: Mark Grist, Paperwhite update

November 19, 2013

Round up #222: Mark Grist, Paperwhite update

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

Major Paperwhite update

Yesterday, I wrote about a major Kindle Fire update.

Today, Amazon announced a big update to the new Kindle Paperwhite (new Kindle Paperwhite at AmazonSmile: support a non-profit by shopping) in this

press release

There are three main features:

  • Goodreads integration
  • Kindle FreeTime
  • Cloud Collections

Goodreads and Cloud Collections were part of the update to the new generation Kindle Fires yesterday, and they already had Kindle FreeTime.

I do have a Kindle Paperwhite expected to arrive today (I was able to get it for $19 in a recent promotion…it replaces one for me which was recently stolen during a home break-in). I’ll be able to look at these more carefully after I get it.  If you want to get it right away and install it yourself, you can go to

Kindle Software Updates page

Here is part of the press release Amazon sent me:

===

Goodreads Integration

Goodreads on Kindle Paperwhite brings together the world’s largest e-reading community and the world’s largest community of book lovers. Join more than 20 million other readers on Goodreads to discover great books and have discussions about what you’re reading. Features of the new Goodreads integration, available exclusively from Amazon, include:

- Share favorite passages with your Goodreads friends without leaving the book.

- See what your friends are reading, read their reviews and discover new books to read.

- When you finish a book, immediately rate it without putting down your Kindle.

- Keep track of all your reading activity—update your “Currently Reading”, “Read”, and “Want to Read” shelves directly from your Kindle. Easily add your Amazon book purchases, print and digital, to your Goodreads account.

Kindle FreeTime

Built-in parental controls have been extended to give parents a simple way to encourage kids to spend more time reading. Parents can set daily reading goals for their kids, hand-select books for their kids to read, and track progress against goals. Children earn achievement badges for hitting reading milestones—for example, reaching and exceeding their daily reading goal, and passing big milestones like “Read 1000 pages”. A progress report keeps parents updated on total time spent reading, number of words looked up, badges earned and books finished.

Cloud Collections

Organize your books, newspapers, and magazines in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices.

===

“I Like a Girl Who Reads”

There is a great video linked in this

Huffington Post article by Sarah Barness

It’s a poem by Mark Grist, and it has to do with what’s attractive…and that isn’t always the physical.

I will warn you that it is NSFW (Not Safe for Work), although you could probably hear it performed on network TV.

Although I’m not a fan of calling adults by words meant for children, I think that the poet is trying to make the point that someone who uses the common vernacular can also be drawn to the intellectual…and that’s important to express.

“How to Open a New Book”

This

EBOOK FRIENDLY post

reproduces a quaint, illustrated explanation from a bookbinder about how to open a new hardback properly.

I must say, I didn’t do it that way. I generally didn’t open the book all the way, the way it is shown here. I sort of peeked into the middle, tilting the book back and forth for each side, so that I didn’t break the spine. I was going to say “never”, but I did open them fully for some things like coffee table books. Novels, though? Not usually…

Bookstore sales buck general retail trend…by going down

For the third month in a row, according to this

Publishers Weekly article

U.S. bookstore sales were down..a lot. 4.5% year over year…we are also down for the whole year so far.

Overall, retail is up…this is particularly a brick-and-mortar (I’m a former manager) bookstore issue.

I do think this may be the last holiday season that we see Barnes & Noble in its current configuration. Amazon is doing more and more for us, and there are independent bookstores that are growing…I just don’t see investors looking at this holiday for B&N thinking that it’s worth keeping up the support.

That could mean that the chain gets sold to someone…or even that we know it will largely close. If the latter is the case, I think we would see one more holiday season out of them, but knowing that it was going.

I have given some ideas earlier about How to save large bookstores, and it’s possible Barnes & Noble will pull a phoenix on this…but you don’t see a lot of phoenixes around. ;)

The Onion goes all digital

I remember seeing a stack of copies of The Onion in a bookstore, just like any other newspaper.

Now, after 25 years, according to this

USA Today story by Roger Yu

it’s going to stop publishing on paper. It’s only been doing that in three cities recently, but this is another example of a major print publication dropping that format to go for all digital.

I also remember the day this blog passed The Onion in the Kindle store! That was exciting for me, and I wish them the best in the future.

“Apple Seeks to Knock Out E-book Class Action Suit”

Legal issues have been part of publishing for a very long time, and there is not indication they are going away any time soon.

They certainly go back more than a century, when the Supreme Court ruled that a store could discount books without the publisher’s permission (creating the “First Sale Doctrine”) in 1908. There was a battle that lasted more than a decade over whether or not Captain Marvel infringed on Superman, which meant the “Big Red Cheese” was off the stands for a long time.

In this

Publishers Weekly article by Andrew Albanese

we learn that Apple is basically arguing that the “class” in class action suits against it for e-book pricing is…I guess, ill-defined is a good way to put it.

My intuition is that they won’t prevail in getting the case dismissed, and that (if they don’t settle…they didn’t in the Department of Justice case, but did in the European Union) will have a trial in maybe May of 2014.

What do you think? Will Barnes & Noble exist, largely as we know it today, into 2015? How much does whether or not a person read affect how you feel about them…both as a friend and a potential partner? Stating a more simple (and narrow) version of that, is reading sexy? Did you try to keep a book in the same condition it was when you bought it, or did you curl the cover under, dogmark pages, and make marginalia? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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. I recently polled my readers about my linking to AmazonSmile, and while more than two-thirds of the respondents said they would like it or didn’t mind (and about 15% didn’t know), there were enough people who wouldn’t like it that I’m not going to just jump into it and do it for everything. I’m going to try doing both links in this post, and see how hard and/or confusing that is for people. You can let me know how you feel about having both links by commenting on this post.

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.

Big Kindle Fire update is here!

November 18, 2013

Big Kindle Fire update is here!

IMPORTANT NOTE: FIX FOR UPDATE PROBLEM AT THE BOTTOM OF THE POST.

Note: this post has been considerably updated as I have been working with the new version.

This is the big one!

Amazon announced a “mid-November” update to the new Kindle Fire operating system when it released the new generation of devices.

This one brings a lot of significant new features, which I will list for you shortly.

First, I know some of you are super anxious to get it, so here is the

Kindle Software Updates page

If you are willing to wait until it shows up on its own (which might take weeks), you can certainly do that.

Otherwise, you go to that page and select your model. The ones affected by this update (in all their memory storage/special offer/4G or not configurations) are the:

This update is just for the models with the new operating system. Some of it might possibly get to older models, and the Cloud Collections part will affect other devices.

Here is the

press release

Update: here are the features mentioned at the update page:

  • Find and share books with Goodreads: Goodreads on Kindle lets you connect with the Goodreads community to follow friends and see what they are reading, and share and rate books on your Kindle Fire. Bufo’s comment: this is an app, located on your Apps tab. It has the letter “g” on it. You’ll need to be connected to wi-fi to use it. You can create a new account, or connect to an existing account. I entered my Goodreads e-mail address and password, and then I was given a screen to enter books from Amazon (both physical and e-books). You have to indicate whether you “Want to Read”, are “Currently Reading”, or have “Read” the book. You can also rate it. I could also choose “Readers to Follow”. You are given a choice to “Add Freinds from Facebook”. Tap the menu (three horizontal lines in your top left corner) to see more. You can also get to your Kindle library from the menu.
  • Organize your content with Cloud CollectionsOrganize your content library into collections like “Favorite Books” and “Sports Apps” that are synchronized with compatible Kindle devices and reading apps. Bufo’s comment: “long press” (hold your finger or stylus on it for about a second) a book on your Books tab (either in the Cloud or On Device), and you’ll get a chance to “Add to Collection”. Collections showed up from other devices here, and I could create a New Collection. I could also add to a Collection from the Carousel. It worked with e-books and apps (haven’t tested other content).
  • Watch movies and TV shows on another device with Second ScreenFling movies and TV shows from your Kindle Fire to your 2013 Samsung Smart TV or PlayStation 3 using Second Screen. Bufo’s comment: not tested yet. Here is the Second Screen help page
  • Learn more about books with Smart LookupWith the Smart Lookup feature, you can quickly look up words in the dictionary or Wikipedia or translate text in a book. Bufo’s comment:  highlight  text in a book. I did that with “The Breakfast Club”. It brought up “cards”, sort of like you see with Google Now. The first one was Wikipedia information and a link to go to Wikipedia. Swiping to my left, I got the Bing translator (in Spanish: “El Club del desayuno”). I tried a single word, and the first card was a dictionary. Swiping got me to Wikipedia, and then to the translator. The translator even has the option to speak it out loud for you (at least it did in Spanish). There was a toolbar that allowed highlighting in different colors, adding a note, sharing, starting text-to-speech (it’s a play button), and searching
  • Print from Your Kindle FirePrint Word, Excel, and PowerPoint documents, photos, e-mails, calendar events, and contact information from your Kindle Fire to a printer that supports mobile printing. Bufo’s comment: not testted yet
  • Free up storage space with 1-Tap ArchiveWith 1-Tap Archive, your Kindle Fire groups all content that has not been used recently so you can move it to the Cloud with just one tap. Bufo’s comment: Home – Swipe Down – Settings – Device – Storage.  Note: check te results carefully: it may want to archive a lot of things you don’t want archived.
  • Enhanced enterprise featuresManage security certificates and connect to your company’s Wi-Fi network—whether you’re at home or at work—with remote VPN capabilities. Bufo’s comment: not tested yet.
  • Set alarms and view additional time zones with the Clock appUse the all-new Clock app to check the date and time, set an alarm clock, and more. Bufo’s comment: another app, with a lot of options! If you tap the menu, you can set it to Alarms, Nightstand, Stopwatch, or Timer. Update: love this app! There are many choices for sounds for the alarm (including a rooster!). Some of the sounds create a doppler sort of effect, like the sound is moving from one side to the other. The nightstand mode has a cool, futuristic clock (no hands, just arcs). I tested it: you would need to have it plugged in to go overnight. Even with the brightness all the way down (which would be fine in a dark room), twenty minutes of running took about 3% of the battery charge. I could set up multiple timezones (although the choices of specific cities were limited) and see more than one at once, if I wanted. That will be nice when our adult kid is in Europe.

Update: the press release talks about a lot more than the update page does. I’m excited to try the dictation! That’s speech-to-text (the opposite of text-to-speech): it converts what you say into text. English will be available offline, and more languages available when online. This may also open the door to voice commands for the Fire, which is one area where I really wanted to see improvement.

Here are the additional features mentioned in the press release:

  • Cloud Collections helps you organize your books, newspapers, magazines, and apps in customized collections for easy reference, and Amazon’s Whispersync technology synchronizes the collections across your Kindle devices and reading apps so they’re available on all of your devices. Bufo’s comment: see above
  • Voice dictation converts your speech to text—available in all languages when online; offline support available in US English. Bufo’s comment: you’ll new see a microphone button to your left of the comma (at least that’s where I’m seeing it) on your keyboard. Tap that, pause a second, and then say something. It seems to work quite well. You can say some punctuation, like “exclamation point” and “smiley face”. I’ve done a bit of testing: I’m impressed!
  • 1-Tap archive which frees up space on your Kindle Fire by identifying items that have not been recently used and provides a 1-tap option to store them in the Cloud for later retrieval. Bufo’s comment: see above
  • Wireless printing of photos, PDF, e-mails, contacts, calendar and docs. Bufo’s comment: see above
  • New accessibility enhancements that enable blind and visually impaired customers to save a separate accessibility profile for children in Kindle FreeTime, scroll lists automatically when swipe navigating, hear enhanced sound feedback and screen orientation changes announced, and have more control when editing text and navigating web content. Bufo’s comment: not tested yet
  • Dozens more new features, performance and battery life improvements, and bug fixes. Bufo’s comment: as I find things, I’ll add some of them below

Update: I’m working with Kindle Support right now, because you can’t install the update following the directions on the webpage.

Important update: we got it to work! Please feel free to spread this solution around, because it’s a bit weird.

My Windows Explorer would not let me drag and drop on to the Internal Storage drive. After the person helping me, John, got a management team involved, they suggested copying and pasting the file, instead of drag and drop…and that worked!

It’s installing now.

I’ll update this post shortly, but wanted to get this out right away.

Update: lock screen improvements: my lockscreen now shows me the day, date, and time, the battery level…and if I have any new e-mail (in the e-mail app).

Update: battery charge life seems much more robust! I’ve done things which I would think would have run it down significantly without much impact.

Update: very pleased to say that I went to go update my Significant Other’s Kindle Fire HDX manually…and it was all done! It had been plugged in, with wi-fi on. There was a notification explaining that the update had taken place…another nice touch.

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.

Collections come to a Kindle reader app

September 18, 2013

Collections come to a Kindle reader app

Well, well, well!

One of the main concerns people express when they go from an RSK (a Reflective Screen Kindle…not a Fire) to a Fire is that they don’t have a way to organize their books on the device. There have been some third-party (not Amazon) apps to try to address it, but they’ve had real limitations.

In this Amazon Kindle Forum thread

What’s New in Kindle for iOS Version 4.0?

they announce changes to the iOS (mobile Apple devices) app.

Most of it is appearance and interface (how it looks and menu changes), but the Collections addition is new functionality.

We have it on current RSKs: it lets you create “Collections” (sort of like folders in Windows, although they work differently) such as “To Be Read”, “Romance”, or whatever you want.

Does this mean it will come to other apps…Blackberry, Windows for PC, Windows for Mac, Android…and the Kindle Fire?

Well, it shows that they are working on Collections, but you can’t easily take something you built for iOS and presto changeo make it work for another platform. It would be like…designing a play in American football, and trying to use it in rugby. ;) The basic goal might be kind of the same, but how you get there is very different.

My guess is that the next generation of Kindle Fire (which I think may be announced soon maybe might have Collections, and this again shows that there is an effort to get Collections into apps…but we’ll see.

They haven’t updated the page on Amazon yet, but the iTunes listing does show the information on 4.0:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id302584613

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


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