Archive for February, 2016

ILMK Reader Hero #4: Marley Dias

February 16, 2016

ILMK Reader Hero #4: Marley Dias

Readers make the world a better place. The I Love My Kindle blog recognizes those extraordinary few who make heroic efforts to expand their minds, their hearts, and their perspectives by engaging with the world’s culture through the experience of literature.

They are our Reader Heroes.

Marley Dias is an 11-year old who loves to read.

However, the assigned reading for school seemed to be pretty similar…as Marley put it, they were about “white boys and dogs”.

  • Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Sounder
  • Old Yeller

I’ve seen Marley interviewed a couple of times, and it’s important to note that our fourth Reader Hero is not saying that those books are bad…just that its good to be able to read books with characters who are similar to you, because you can empathize more easily with them and their situations.

A hero helps other people, and what Marley did in response is what earned that title from us.

Marley started a campaign

1000 Black Girl Books

not to grow Marley’s own library, but to donate to schools (including one in Jamaica).

Marley already had access to diverse books at home, and cites

Brown Girl Dreaming (Newbery Honor Book) (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) by Jacqueline Woodson

as a favorite.

That’s right…Marley started a campaign to get other students access to more diverse books.

I congratulate Marley Dias on achieving the goal of getting 1,000 books where “black girls are the main characters” to donate.

Readers of ILMK are welcome to express their congratulations to Marley Dias and to offer support and encouragement by commenting on this post and/or clicking on the poll below.

The project’s page also says:

“To support online tag your favorite book using hashtag #blackgirlbooks.
Twitter and IG: @grassrootsfound @kindredthewife”

We hope to send Marley a Reader Hero t-shirt in recognition (as we have done in the past with a Reader Hero), if arrangements can be made. If you can help with that, comments can be made privately to this post, and any personal information will not be shared with readers. Please indicate that the comment is private.

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

*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 EBR update 5.7.2 menu map

February 14, 2016

Kindle EBR update 5.7.2 menu map

Despite a near disastrous update to our sixth generation Kindle Paperwhite, I was able to get the new software version working. This is a significant update, affecting the current EBRs (E-Book Readers):

While there are different versions of the update (for example, different ones for the eligible versions of the Paperwhite), I think the end result is essentially the same. It makes sense to me that, where possible, Amazon gets that standardized. It can’t be exactly the same…the Paperwhites and Voyage need a screen light adjustment, the unlit “Kindle” least expensive model doesn’t. My guess is that this menu map will be helpful for anybody who can get the update.

In my Menu Maps, I go through the interface to find out where things are (there are sometimes new things, and sometimes things move), and give you some context. I’ve found some very interesting things in the past, and I’m curious as to what I’ll see here…so let’s get started!

Oh, one more thing: I did do a factory reset as part of my update, so my previous choices are likely not affecting this much.

Getting through the “sleep screen” seemed the same to me. I saw a Special Offer, I could have tapped on it, I swiped to unlock, and I could have a passcode required.

Once inside, that’s where the changes are first quite visually apparent.

There are “tiles” or sections of information.

At the top, there is

  • The device’s name
  • The wireless strength indicator
  • The battery level indicator
  • A clock

Below that is a toolbar:

  • Home
  • Back
  • Brightness
  • Goodreads
  • Store
  • Search (a magnifying glass)
  • Three dots, which are a menu indicator. Within that menu…

Menu

  • My Library
  • My Reading Lists
  • Kindle Store
  • Goodreads
  • Kindle FreeTime
  • Vocabulary Builder
  • Experimental Browser
  • Setting
  • View Special Offers
  • Create New Collection

There was also a tile with “MY LIBRARY>”, and it showed me three recent titles.

There was a tile for “MY READING LISTS>”. That showed me three titles from a Wish List, and noted that there were 99+ more.

A third title showed me  “BOOKS FROM GOODREADS FRIENDS>”, but I know that rotates.

Believe that was an ad (I have one of the more popular ad-supported versions).

Now, working through, starting with the toolbar:

  • The Home button just takes me home…it doesn’t, but the way, rotate the one which was currently “YOUR GOOD READS FRIENDS”
  • The left-facing back arrow doesn’t do anything until you’ve gone somewhere
  • The brightness setting (it looks like a sun…or, unfortunately, a bit like the settings gear we see in many programs) let me choose up to 24 levels of brightness. Basic rule of thumb: the brighter it is where you are reading, the brighter you want your Kindle. Your Kindle is fighting with the sun…in bright light, having your Kindle brighter will make it easier to read. In a dark room, you need less light on your Kindle to read. Tapping that also opened a choice to turn on or off Airplane Mode, to “Sync My Kindle”, and “All Settings”…which unfortunately, did use a very similar, if not identical, “sun” or “gear” symbol. I’ll come back to All Settings later when I cover Settings
  • Goodreads brought up the Goodreads app…which started with showing my personal recommendations. Tapping “Next” let me connect Goodreads to Facebook…I skipped that. Next, I was shown Readers to Follow. Next, I finally got to my information: Updates | Shelves | Recommendations | Friends
  • Store started out by updating my Kindle store experience. I then saw “Recommended for You”, and had a choice of Books | Kindle Select 25 | Today’s Deals | Kindle Unlimited | Editors’ Picks | Best of the Months. Scrolling down, I saw Best Sellers | Recommended For You in Kindle Unlimited  | For You in Science Fiction & Fantasy | For You in (a few genres probably based on my reading habits) | New for You. Scrolling further, I had More to Explore: Recommendations | Monthly Deals | Kindle First | New & Noteworthy | We Suggest | Kindle Singles | Magazines | Newspapers. Hitting the menu while in the store gave me an interesting different set of choices (the menu is “context sensitive”…it changes based  on where you are). They were: Storefront; Books; Kindle Unlimited; Newspapers; Kindle Singles; Magazines; Kindle Owners’ Lending Library; View Wish List; Store Settings; Gift Card Balance. Under Store Settings, I could change my 1-Click Payment Method and Country Settings
  • When I went to Search, I put in “Alice”, and it defaulted to “Search Everywhere”. That found me books in my Cloud (and it would have been on the device) with Alice in the title or in the author’s name, and suggested that it could search for “alice in wonderland” in the store. When I tapped the “Search Everywhere” at the bottom, I got much more nicely arranged search results. It broke it out into My Items (6), Kindle Store (9,221), Goodreads (22,878), Text in Books (0) (there may be a setting to change for that), and Dictionary and Wikipedia

Tapping the menu from the homescreen…

My Library

This one showed me ALL | DOWNLOADED (so I could choose), ALL ITEMS (3,229) with a dropdown (I’ll cover that display option shortly), and a sort choice which defaulted to RECENT.

Below that, by default, I saw the covers of recent books….and I was on page 1 of 539.

Tapping where it says ALL ITEMS, I get  the choices of

  • Grid View or List View | All Items, Books, Periodicals, Docs, Active Content, Collections. Huh…tapping on Active Content actually did show me choices. The Paperwhites haven’t worked with the Active Content. However, tapping on one just gave me an error message showing me that “This item is not compatible with this device”. In the past, I think incompatible items haven’t shown on the device. Does this suggest greater control of Cloud content from the devices?
  • Tapping on Collections (my normal view) showed me my Cloud collections when I was on ALL, and correctly told me I didn’t have any Collections on this device when tapped on DOWNLOADED. Tapping a Cloud Collection’s menu symbol, I as able to Add/Remove Items, Rename, and Delete…without having to download the Collection to this device. That actually concerns me…I’d rather that be only done by people who get to the account settings (they need the username/e-mail and password). Tapping one of the Collections, I could toggle between what was in the Cloud and what was downloaded…that’s something people wanted to be clear, and is quite helpful. As I would anticipate, if I download the Collection, that does not download the books in the Collection

My Reading Lists

Tapping the “>” for My Reading Lists showed me

  • SAMPLES (not just on this device)
  • GOODREADS WANT TO READ
  • AMAZON WISH LIST

and “Find books you want to read with Goodreads”

I’m going to jump down in the Menu to

Settings

  • Airplane Mode on or off (that will disable or enable wireless connectivity…having it off saves you battery charge)
  • Wi-Fi Networks: tapping it will give you choices of available networks. Tapping Other will let you get to Advanced, where you can manually enter parameters
  • Registration and Household: adjust Household and Family Library, or Deregister Device (this would be a register choice if the device wasn’t already registered)
  • Device Options: Device Passcode; Parental Controls (Kindle FreeTime | Restrictions to the Experimental Web Browser, Kindle Store, Cloud, and Goodreads)
  • Personalize Your Kindle: Device Name and Personal Info (I put my e-mail address there, in case the device is lost); Device Time; Advanced Options (Home Screen View…this is where you can turn off recommendations; Next in Series; Whispersync for Books; Special Offers…two choices here. One is o turn on or off Special Offer Filtering, which will allow you to hide offers which “may not be suitable for all audiences”, and the other one is to choose whether or not Special Offer Recommendations include personalized offers based on items browsed or purchased); Send-to-Kindle Email)
  • Language and Dictionaries (Language; Keyboard; Dictionaries

When I’m in Settings, and tap the menu, I get

  • Kindle Store
  • Update Your Kindle
  • Restart (you can do this any time)
  • Reset Device (this wipes your device, except for system updates…use with caution)
  • Device Info
  • Legal

Let’s take a look inside a book…

Tapping towards the top center of the book brings up a special toolbar. That includes

  • GO TO (Beginning; Page or Location; Cover; and the Table of Contents. There was a separate tab for Notes…that defaulted to Popular, but I could choose “Yours” or “Public” as well)
  • X-RAY (NOTABLE CLIPS, PEOPLE, TERMS, IMAGES)
  • Aa (Display Settings…FONT, PAGE, READING PROGRESS. There are nine fonts, which defaulted to Bookerly. An Open Dyslexic was also available. There were eight font sizes. Three page option sections had o do with SPACING, MARGINS, and ORIENTATION (no justification choice). READING PROGRESS gave a choice of Location in book, Page in book (if available), Time left in chapter, Time left in book, and None…you can also change that tapping on the display at the bottom of the screen
  • Share (Goodreads, Facebook, or Twitter)
  • Notes and bookmarks

The menu in the book gave me

  • Shop Kindle Store
  • Vocabulary Builder
  • Settings
  • Notes
  • About This Book
  • About the Authors
  • Sync to Furthest Page Read
  • Word Wises

At the bottom of the screen had the page flip feature, which lets you flip ahead or back without losing your place. I also liked that it showed me the title of the story in this case (chapter title, I would guess), author, location, time left in chapter, and percentage).

Long-pressing a word in the book (holding my finger on it for about a second) brought up

  • Wikipedia (I was wirelessly connected) on a card, which I could swipe to move o
  • Translation
  • Dictionary
  • I also had choices for Highlight | Note | Share | Search | Open Dictionary | and Report Content Error

Let’s go back to the recommendation strip at the bottom of the homescreen. I toggled the device on and off, and saw:

  • More by Isaac Asimov (one of the authors on the book showing as the last book read)
  • BOOKS FROM YOUR GOODREADS FRIENDS
  • RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

My overall impression?

It looks nicer. Access to some choices is easier. There is a lot of emphasis on discovery of books to read…people may see that as ads for things for you to buy, and much of it is…but I appreciate having Kindle Unlimited recommendations, which cost me nothing more.

What do you think? Do you have other questions? Have you found other things? Feel free to share with me and my readers by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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 #137: Brick and mortar bookstore sales up, chance to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate

February 14, 2016

Round up #137: Brick and mortar bookstore sales up, chance to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate

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

Netpop is doing an Echo survey and giving away 10 $50 Amazon Gift Certificates

I moved most of my coverage of the

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

to another blog of mine, The Measure Circle

It seems more appropriate there, but when I did, I told readers of this blog that I would link them to interesting posts I make about it there. The Echo does, after all, read books with text-to-speech and play audiobooks, and quite a few of my readers of this blog have them.

This is also a chance that you could win one of ten $50 Amazon gift certificates…and we could all use that. 🙂

Here’s the information:

Netpop is conducting a survey about the Echo with a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift certificate

You can see the details there, but I also want to thank Netpop for how responsive they were to a concern of mine. That is customer service!

If you win one of the gift certificates, I’d appreciate hearing about it. 🙂

For the first time since the Kindle was released, brick-and-mortar bookstore sales rise

The Kindle was released in 2007.

According to this Publishers Weekly article by Jim Milliot

the U.S Census Bureau has reported a drop in brick-and-mortar bookstore sales (I’m a former manager of one) every year since…until 2015.

Last year, bookstore sales rose.

While the post suggests that may be due to rising p-book (paperbook) sales and declining e-book sales, that doesn’t prove that people are abandoning e-books for print.

First, brick-and-mortar bookstore sales and p-book sales are decreasingly a one-to-one correlation. Barnes & Noble regularly touts how well their non-book sales are doing (games, toys, shirts, that kind of thing…I assume coffee counts). My guess is that’s contributing to their rise.

Second, I’ve mentioned before that e-book sales may be increasingly a shadow event…they may not be tracked by organizations that are reporting a slowing or decline in e-book sales. Yes, the Big Five (top US trade publishers) have reported declining e-book sales…but if people are buying more e-books from indies (independent publishers), there may not have been a decline overall.

I’m happy to see the increase…but I just caution about building a narrative that e-books are failing and people are returning to paper in mass numbers.

I expect some bookstores to thrive in the next ten years…but I also expect the percentage of books read as e-books versus p-books to also increase during that time.

Books I got for my birthday

It was fun to give away my books in my annual birthday promotion!

Happy my birthday, 2016!

I love giving things away!

However, yes, it’s nice to get things as well. 😉

My adult kid gave me eight (!) books in the

The Science Fiction MEGAPACK® (at AmazonSmile*)

series from Wildside.

Each book is an anthology of stories by a variety of authors, some well-known, some not as much. Many of the stories are, I believe, public domain, and some are not.

Authors in the first volume include Poul Anderson, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Philip K. Dick, just to name a few.

I’m really looking forward to reading these! I’ve already started, partially with text-to-speech in the car. My family knows that’s a habit of mine from when I was a kid…I at least briefly “use” every gift I get within a day or so. When we were kids, we were encouraged to do that so we could write honest thank you notes to everyone. 🙂 I don’t write paper thank you notes any more, but I still try to thank people.

My Significant Other got me a p-book, but as a collector’s item. 🙂 As regular readers know, I’m a big Oz fan, and have 100+ year old versions of the original L. Frank Baum books.

This is an autographed copy of

Dorothy of Oz (at AmazonSmile*)

by Roger S. Baum, a great-grandson of the original author, L. Frank Baum.

I’m going to get the Kindle version I just linked, so I can read it while keeping the other one in great shape. 🙂

Here’s one place Amazon’s X-ray for Books would come in handy!

I though the infographic in this

post by Ola Kowalczyk in EBOOK Friendly

was great fun for me!

It’s fifteen books with lots of named characters.

The Stand (at AmazonSmile*) by Stephen King

for example, has 463 named characters, according to this, and 1,344 pages…that’s almost one named character every three pages!

“18 Reasons Why Reading Is Just Like Exercising” at Book Bub

I know Book Bub as a place to get free e-books..I hadn’t realized it had become such a pop culture website full of listicles!

I enjoyed this:

18 Reasons Why Reading Is Just Like Exercising

I actually do exercise quite a bit (my baseline is ninety minutes a day), but I really appreciated these! Some are available as shirts or e-cards…

Lee Child on Amazon brick-and-mortar bookstores

I recently wrote

Rumor: is Amazon planning to open hundreds of brick-and-mortars?

I talked about what I thought it might really mean, and some possibilities for what I called “Amazon showrooms” might contain.

I thought this

The Guardian article by Lee Child

was…interesting. Child, a bestselling author, has voiced an opposition opinion to some of Amazon’s decisions in the past.

Honestly, this is an opinion piece…and I don’t want to say too much about it. It’s worth reading…I’ll just say we don’t see things the same way. 🙂

I did want to point out one thing…it’s a technique I’ve taught people myself.

I have trained trainers (and I’m a trainer myself).

One thing that comes up for trainers is credibility.

You can’t really get someone to adopt the behaviors you want if they don’t believe you know your subject.

There are a lot of little things you can do, but one is to use precise numbers.

When I taught Excel years ago, I would sometimes use this: “Does anybody know how many rows there are in Excel? 65,556.”

That’s not true any more, by the way, but just by doing that, I convinced people I knew Excel well.

Child says, “So now, rumour has it, Amazon plans to open another 299 physical bookstores (it already has one, in Seattle).”

299…a precise number, therefore increasing credibility.

I think the what set off the original broad coverage was this quotation

“You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400…”

reported in a

Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger

I did a quick search, and I’m not seeing another source for a precise number of 299.

I know that is, perhaps, nitpicky. 🙂 I’m not trying to argue the number…I’m pointing out that using any specific number when one isn’t known can be an intentional rhetorical technique.

I’m sure many of you will find the article worth reading.

What do you think? Do you find it confusing when books have lots of named characters? What do you think of Lee Child’s article? Why are bookstore sales reversing the downward trend? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

*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.

 

I updated a Kindle Paperwhite…and it broke it…and then I found a workaround!

February 12, 2016

I updated a Kindle Paperwhite…and it broke it…and then I found a workaround!

Well.

I recently wrote about a

Big new update coming to current Kindle EBRs in February

The Kindle Paperwhite I use is an older generation, and wasn’t eligible for this update.

My Significant Other had a 6th generation Kindle Paperwhite which was eligible.

My SO hadn’t used it in some time. I think unexpectedly, my SO now reads on a now discontinue Kindle Fire HDX…which is also a daily device of mine (and one I like very much).

So, I found it, charged it up, went to

February 2016 EBR Update Amazon page (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

double-checked that I was getting the right download version for the device, and manually updadoted it (following Amazon’s directions precisely…I generally do that, in part to test how clear their directions are for other people).

It went through the update process, but then…

Just as it would be going to the homescreen (that’s one of the big changes), I got an “Application Error” message box, that told me

“The selected application could not be started. Please try again.”

All I had was a blank screen…still illuminated, but blank.

I restarted  it.

Same thing.

I downloaded the file again from Amazon, went back through the install process.

Same thing.

I couldn’t do anything with it except use the power button to restart it, or put it into USB mode by plugging it into my computer.

Now, I often say how I generally find Amazon’s Kindle Support to be friendly and helpful, and that has been the case.

I went to

http://www.amazon.com/kindlesupport (at AmazonSmile*)

That worked in its normal satisfying fashion: my phone rang in seconds, and I was speaking to a person within a minute.

Well, I was with that person on the phone for close to an hour.

While it isn’t my primary job responsibility, I do phone tech support at work. I do think I know something about it, both as a user of phone tech support and to a small extent, as a provider of it.

Generally, Amazon is very, very good on this.

In this case, it could have been improved. They tell us that these calls could be recorded for training purposes. I honestly hope this is one of them.

It’s not just that the problem couldn’t get fixed…hey, sometimes, things are really broken.

It’s that the representative kept forgetting what my actual situation was.

More than once, the rep asked me to go to the settings menu…when I repeatedly responded that I couldn’t get to the menus at all, since all I had was a blank screen (no amount of swiping or restarting would change that).

I was asked if my wi-fi was on: I said I assumed it was. I was asked to verify it: I had to say (again) that I couldn’t get into anything that would enable me to check it.

The person with whom I was speaking was in what was probably a group chat, asking other Amazon employees questions. I have no problem with that: I do that myself. We can’t all know it all, and it’s great sometimes to have shared wisdom on a perhaps unusual circumstance (I’m sure many people have update sixth generation Paperwhites with no problem.

One creative solution was to rename the downloaded “bin” file, which is the update.

Unfortunately, that didn’t fix it, but it was a nice try.

I was asked if I had modified this Paperwhite: nope, this one is for my Significant Other, and I really, really don’t mess with those. I want unmodified ones precisely so I can have the typical user experience in situations like this.

Finally, after more than 45 minutes, I was transferred to someone who was actually an expert in this.

Within ten minutes, the verdict was, yes, it was broken. 🙂

I was out of warranty…so they offered me a discount on the purchase of a future device.

How much of a discount?

It seemed like $10 or $15, depending on the price of the device…and that they would send me an e-mail with the information.

I haven’t gotten an e-mail, as far as I can tell (I checked my spam folder, besides my inbox).

I’ve never had that happen from Amazon before, either…where they said I would get an e-mail, and I didn’t.

My Significant Other came home while I was on the second call, and could tell I was frustrated.

I almost never get frustrated, so that was a bit shocking. 🙂

I think I was still civil, although I was probably shorter with the second person than I should have been.

Bottom line: I do think I probably did as instructed by Amazon, and I do think it made the device unable to perform. Amazon could have, I think, handled my Customer Service experience better…and that is very atypical of my experiences with them in the past. I’m guessing (hoping?) it was just a fluke.

I’m letting you know, in part to say that perhaps manually updating your sixth generation Paperwhite may not be advised.

One additional point, and this is interesting.

I was getting the Special Offers “screensaver” before it would go to a blank screen when I swipe. Yes, I know, I know…the only thing working on the Paperwhite was the ad. 😉

However, it occurred to me that maybe I would bypass the broken application if I had it go to the offer instead.

I tried that this morning…and it worked!

From there, I could try getting to settings (not that I can do much there now), but that is only the store settings.

There was a “Home” button I could reach though…and I tapped it.

It took me to a “slideshow” about my update!

Hey, I just got through the slideshow…and I’m on the new homescreen!

I tested to see if that would persist by restarting it…and it failed with the same white screen and error message.

When I toggled the device on and off (using the power button), I got the Special Offers screen again…and by going through that special deal, I once again was able to get to the Homescreen!

I’ll let Amazon know about this “back door” method. That doesn’t fix the Paperwhite, but at least it is usable again.

I also want to mention that I did try downloading the other generation Paperwhite updates…and in each case, it correctly identified them with messages that they were the incorrect versions, so I know I had the right one initially…I was confident in that, but I wanted to test.

Hm…it is quite slow, so since I now have access to the menus, I’m trying to reset it to factory defaults to see what happens.

Okay, having gone through the reset, it does seem to work, and it tells me it is at the current version (5.7.2). I do have the new homescreen experience. One more test: I’ll restart it and see if it gives me that blank screen…

Well! So far, it all seems to work! I need to test it more, but virtual fingers crossed. Oh, and I did just put a passcode on it to test to see if that feature might have been what was broken, but that also worked.

I’ll contact Amazon directly and know about this…I will also offer them their discount back…presuming I actually get it. 😉 I now feel great that I solved the problem! Not great about the Customer Service call, but it’s hard to keep an optimist down for long. 😉

Bonus deals:

Today’s

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

includes ten books in the Brother Cadfael series by Ellis Peters by $1.99 each. A number of these are also available through

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

Another deal, no doubt related to St. Valentine’s Day (although it goes through March 3rd) is

99 Romances for $0.99 each (at AmazonSmile*)

Join thousands 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.

 

Happy my birthday, 2016!

February 12, 2016

Happy my birthday, 2016!

February 12th is my birthday, and continuing a tradition, I’m giving you presents!

This is to thank you for making another year of my life richer. I have a lot of fun writing this blog, and I sometimes get to help people…and what could be better than that?

Part of KDP Select (the program through which users of Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing make books available for eligible Prime members to borrow through the KOLL…Kindle Owners’ Lending Library) is the ability to make books free for five days (they need not be consecutive) in a ninety-day period.

Please check that a title is free for you before buying it.

I have asked Amazon to make them free on February 12, but I can’t say exactly when it will happen. I think they may also only be free to customers in the USA.

Some might be fun to give as a little Valentine’s Day present…you can buy it today as a gift, and schedule delivery for the 14th.

So, you can click on the titles before, but please make sure it is free when you click the 1-click buy button.

The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

When this one was first published in December of 2012, it was the number one bestselling book of quotations at Amazon…including paper! That didn’t last long, but it was fun while it did. :)

Love Your First Generation Kindle Fire: The ILMK Guide to Amazon’s Entertablet (at AmazonSmile*)

This one has been a bestseller. It was written before the Kindle Fire HDs and HDXs, so it doesn’t match up exactly with those. If you do have the first generation Fire, though, I think you’ll find it useful.

The Kindle Kollection: Three Early Books about the Kindle (at AmazonSmile*)

This one combines the three below into one volume:

* ILMK! (I Love My Kindle): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor
* Free Books for Your Kindle
* Frequently Asked Kindle Questions

ILMK! (I Love My Kindle!): Being an Appreciation of Amazon’s E-Book Reader, with Tips, Explanations, and Humor (Revised Edition)(at AmazonSmile*)

This has some fun stuff…and other things that are out of date. If you want The Happy Little Bookworm, this one has it. :)

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile*)

This is the first 101 posts in this blog. :) I did 101 posts so I wouldn’t cut off Doctor Watson’s Blog: A Kindle Abandoned (which is a four-part story). I’m still working, off and on, on a “best of” book. I’ll include posts that are less time-dependent…if you have any opinions on ones that you remember, feel free to let me know. I don’t know when that book will happen…as I mentioned recently on

My February 5th interview on The Kindle Chronicles

I am working on a different sort of project which should go live on February 29th. That is taking some of my focus (although this blog comes before that, of course). I’m guessing it might happen before it grows into the best of the first ten years, but we’ll see. 😉
Remember, double-check that they are  free to make sure before buying.

Happy birthday! ;)

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

*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.

All seven Harry Potter books in one download for $14.99…and an 8th HP book in July!

February 11, 2016

All seven Harry Potter books in one download for $14.99…and an 8th HP book in July!

Update: it looks like my glitch hypothesis for this pricing may have been correct. The price is back up to $56.64. My guess is that they accidentally priced the seven-volume omnibus with the price for the eighth book (see below…especially for those of using screen readers, I’ll link it here, too: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production (at AmazonSmile*)). Based on the reviews posted yesterday, some folks did get it a that price, which I consider to be legitimate (it’s the price that was posted…by accident, probably, but when you are buying the book, you don’t know that and shouldn’t be expected to evaluate it). Again, many thanks to jabag01 for tweeting me on this, so I could share it with you. Back to the original post…

Thanks to jbaga01 for the heads-up on this!

I don’t know why this is happening**, and I don’t know how long it will last, but it looks legitimate to me at first examination.

Harry Potter: The Complete Collection (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for $14.99!

That’s all seven of the novels from Pottermore!

Is it a glitch? Is it price-matching? Is it introductory?**

I don’t know at this point, but I’m getting this out quickly so you have a chance to get it at this price.

Remember that you can give these as gifts and delay them for the proper gift-giving occassion…and they are going on our guest Kindle!

Check the price before you click or tap that Buy button…e-book prices can change at any time and this might be only in the USA.

Enjoy!

**Update: this is probably why…a new, official eighth book in the Harry Potter series is coming out this July!

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts I & II (Special Rehearsal Edition): The Official Script Book of the Original West End Production (at AmazonSmile*)

You can pre-order now for that same price point of $14.99.

We have to be clear about what this book is (besides a super bestseller, of course). 😉

It will be a script, not a novel, and it won’t be the final script version of the play. It’s  so designated because the staged version will likely evolve. I’ve been in original scripted plays (I’ve written couple) and they can be like a TV show, where they keep handing you new pages (“Today we are using the green pages, we aren’t using the blue pages.”)

J.K. Rowling (the original Harry Potter author) is one of the writers credited on the story on which the script is based, but the script is by Jack Thorne.

None of that will matter much to the sales. 😉

Reading a script is a different experience…I enjoy it, but not everybody will. It’s much more structured than a novel, and that can take some people out of it (you keep seeing the name of who is speaking, for example, and there may be stage directions rather than a narrative description of something).

I’m also sure some of you are wondering if Jim Dale will do an audiobook version…

Regardless, this is exciting!

Join thousands 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.

Update your Kindle or lose access on it to your Cloud, the store, and other Kindle services

February 10, 2016

Update your Kindle or lose access on it to your Cloud, the store, and other Kindle services

Big thanks to regular reader and commenter Lady Galaxy for letting me know about an e-mail from Amazon about a looming deadline.

One of the other Kindle Forum Pros (we get that designation from Amazon for being helpful on the Amazon forums, but we aren’t employed by them) pointed me to this Amazon help page with the details:

Critical Software Update for Kindle E-Readers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

The basics are this:

For many older Kindle EBRs (E-Book Readers), if you don’t update them by March 22, 2016, they will no longer be able to access the Kindle services. You would still be able to read e-books from the Kindle store you have already downloaded to your devices, but…

  • You would not have access on that device to your Cloud: the books (and other items) that you have purchased from the Kindle store and are being stored for you by Amazon
  • You would not be able to buy new items from the Kindle store on that device
  • “Other services” would likely include subscriptions (including blogs like this one), Send to Kindle, Whispersync between your device and other devices on your account, and backing up your annotations

First, I do want to say that this is going to be a pretty small group of people (which does include Lady Galaxy). Devices generally automatically update “over the air”. I would guess that not one percent of devices out there are not updated.

However, people do choose not to update. For example, I know of people who chose not to update a device after Amazon allowed publishers to block text-to-speech access. That meant that they didn’t get the books wirelessly on those devices, they downloaded them with a computer and transferred them via USB…which is what could happen after this deadline passes, I assume.

What I don’t like here is that was voluntary: this won’t be.

Second, it’s important to note that Amazon is not taking away people’s purchases. They can continue to read them and they could do it using Amazon’s free reading apps.

The “however” on this one is that if they want to read those books on an e-ink device, they would have to buy another one (or have another one registered to the account).

Third, and significantly, this could lose people access to active content (games and apps) unless they update. You can’t use those in the reading apps. They don’t work on the current devices.

So, this is a takeaway, although not for very many people in many situations.

Still, I don’t like that. We don’t commit to updating our devices to continue to have the access we have when we purchase a license from the Kindle store.

Now, this may be unavoidable in some way.

Since this is going to affect all devices back to the 2007 model, it clearly indicates a change in the Kindle network/server side, not on the devices.

They aren’t suggesting that you have to get a new update, just the current ones.

Personally, especially given how small this group is going to be, I think Amazon should compensate them in some way.

One smart thing to do would be to offer them a small discount on a current device and to promote the trade-in.

Amazon could give them a $20 discount on the purchase of a new device. They don’t have to do that; Amazon is, I believe, within their contractual obligations to require this update. It would be good Customer Service (and Amazon has great Customer Service), and help alleviate fears that this might inflame about eventually losing access to your Amazon purchases. It’s not my intent, but this post may spark a bit of a tweetstorm about Amazon taking away access. Of course, it might not: I don’t get quoted all that often. 😉

I’m writing this to give you a heads-up so you can take some actions if you want.

You could download things to your current device. Downloaded e-books and active  content and such should continue to work (although features like Wikipedia look up and sharing quotes probably wouldn’t). You could then use them…until it died.

You could update it…while you might lose some things you like, it would be fully connected.

You could emotionally prepare yourself to switch to (or at least add) another device. 🙂

Even if Amazon doesn’t offer a discount to those affected people, there is a trade-in program (probably won’t get you much, but could get you something):

Amazon Trade-In Program (at AmazonSmile*)

Also, and I don’t think there is any connection, but most of the current line up of EBRs and Fire tablets are on sale right now.

I had started to write a post about that, but this story is important to me…so I’ll paste what I was writing here:

It’s not just KU that’s on sale: so are many devices!

I wrote recently about

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

 being on sale through this Sunday:

25% off Kindle Unlimited through Sunday

Many of the Fire tablets and Kindles are also on sale!

In terms of the EBRs (E-Book Readers), this is similar to a deal they did in November…$20 off, with the Voyage not on sale.

So, I’ll copy in what I said then:

Kindle, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $59.99 (down from $79.99)

The $20 off also means you could get it without the Special Offers ($79.99, down from $99.99) for the same price you would normally pay for an ad-supported model.

This is the entry level model, and it’s a good one. Here are some of the differences between this and the Paperwhite (which I’ll link below):

  • No frontlighting, so you read it like you would a p-book
  • Fewer pixels per inch (167 versus 300), so the image isn’t as sharp (but I would say sharp enough for most casual reading…you might notice it with images, like graphs)
  • Available only in wi-fi…no wi-fi and 3G option (for more money)
  • A bit less heavy, a bit thicker

Kindle for Kids Bundle with the latest Kindle, 2-Year Accident Protection, Kid-Friendly Blue Cover (at AmazonSmile*) $79.99 (down from $99.99)

This is like the above, but includes a ruggedized cover and an extended warranty…since each of those costs $20, this is a big savings, even without the discount.

Certainly something to consider for a gift.

All-New Kindle Paperwhite, 6″ High-Resolution Display (300 ppi) with Built-in Light, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile*) $99.99 (down from $119.99)

The Paperwhite (this is the latest generation) is a great model Kindle! I’d say it may be my favorite (price and everything taken into account), with the Kindle 3 (Kindle Keyboard) being second…well, wait, lack of TTS makes that a tighter battle. For sight-reading, it’s my favorite. 🙂

Why would you literally pay $100 more (right now) for a top of the line

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

?

You do get a few more things:

  • Adaptive light sensor
  • Page press buttons (in addition to touchscreen…these all have touchscreen)
  • Quite a bit less heavy and a tad smaller

Also on sale are the least and most expensive Fire tablets:

Note that all of these prices are for the USA, and are for a limited time…as always, check the price before you click or tap that “Buy button”.

Here is Amazon’s list of the devices affected by the deadline:

Device and Year Software Release Your Device Needs Update via wireless (3G) or Wi-Fi
Kindle 1st Generation (2007) 1.2.1 Use 3G
Kindle 2nd Generation (2009) 2.5.8* Use 3G
Kindle DX 2nd Generation (2009) 2.5.8* Use 3G
Kindle Keyboard 3rd Generation (2010) 3.4.2 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle 4th Generation (2011) 4.1.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle 5th Generation (2012) 4.1.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Touch 4th Generation (2011) 5.3.7.3 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite 5th Generation (2012) 5.6.1.1 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle Paperwhite 6th Generation (2013) 5.6.5 or higher Use Wi-Fi
Kindle 7th Generation (2014) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle Voyage 7th Generation (2014) No Update Needed No Update Needed
Kindle Paperwhite 7th Generation (2015) No Update Needed No Update Needed

* For these devices, even if you are running software version 2.5.8, if you have not connected to wireless (3G) since October 5, 2015, please connect now.

Let me be really clear: I’m not mad at Amazon about this. It’s clearly part of Amazon improving services for the vast majority of their users. Inevitably, that can cause some losses to some people. Building something that’s great for cars may be bad for people who ride horses. Building something that’s great for electric cars may be a negative for people who use internal combustion engine cars. I do think it would make sense for Amazon to give something to the people who are losing something, but I don’t think it’s required…

What do you think? Do you have one of these “unupdated” EBRs? What do you plan to do about it? Had you gotten the e-mail? Whether you have one or not, do you think Amazon should compensate people in some way for the change? Do you think we as consumers will see changes to the Kindle service on all of our devices after March 22nd, or is this just a “behind the curtain” change? If you do think there will be visible changes, what do you think they will be? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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.

25% off Kindle Unlimited through Sunday

February 9, 2016

25% off Kindle Unlimited  through Sunday

Sales on

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

have been quite rare, but there’s one going on right now for St. Valentine’s Day!

It’s 25% off pre-paid plans.

That’s

  • 6 Months: $59.94 – Now $44.95
  • 12 Months: $119.88 – Now $89.91
  • 24 Months: $239.76 – Now $179.82

I’ve been a happy member of Amazon’s subser (subscription service) for e-books  since it debuted.

I looked immediately to see if we could buy it at the discount to add on to our current pre-paid plan, but not too surprisingly, you can’t. The terms of the deal include:

  • Customers who are on a monthly plan and have previously purchased a pre-paid plan that is currently associated with their account and customers who have purchased multiple pre-paid plans that are currently associated with their account are not eligible.
  • Existing Kindle Unlimited subscribers with monthly subscriptions who have not previously purchased a pre-paid plan are eligible for this promotion. For those subscribers who choose to participate, automatic renewals will be temporarily suspended for the duration of the monthly package purchased and will automatically restart at its conclusion.

I definitely think it’s worth it, but I should explain that a bit.

Normally, you are paying $9.99 a month for an “all you can read” selection. You can have up to 10 titles out at the same time on one account (and typically, you could have an individual title on six devices on your account at the same time).

That’s out of 1,228,126 titles at the time of writing (in the USA…that’s what I’m discussing today).

One of the big things I see with this is that I get books I wouldn’t have read otherwise…often due to price.

I like public domain books, and I could read all I want without spending a dime, I think, by just reading those free out of copyright titles.

However, there are certainly in-copyright books I’d like to read. 🙂 I put some on my wish list for family members to see on gift giving occasions, but there are others that I’d just like to read.

So, with KU, it’s not that I get a book for which I would have paid for free (well, technically, for no additional cost)…it’s that I read different books.

My Significant Other, who isn’t a big fan of technology, is now also downloading KU books, mainly to read on the treadmill. 🙂

I’ve recommended KU books a number of times in the past…see the

category of ILMK posts.

Today, though, I thought I’d let you know what we actually have out right now. I think that may give you some ideas, and my feeling is that some readers like to see that little window into our lives. 🙂

I copied this from the listing…the dates are the dates borrowed. If it’s one I’ve read or am reading, I’ll give you some thoughts.

Before I start, here is an obvious question: why do we still  have the books if I’ve finished reading them? I tell myself that I’ll review all the books I read on Goodreads, but I don’t always get to it. I think I do tend to indicate I’m currently reading them, so at least there is that. You can follow my reviews on Goodreads here:

I do make an effort to write an “artful” and helpful review, which why I don’t just crank them out.

Okay, on to our borrowed books!

When I Found You
Ryan Hyde January 22, 2016

The Short Drop
Matthew FitzSimmons January 22, 2016

Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy from Mars
Daniel Pinkwater January 14, 2016

I’ve finished reading this one, and I did enjoy it. Pinkwater writes what are seen as young adult and children’s books, but I would say they are Baby Boomer informed. They are goofy and surrealistic. I wouldn’t say this was the best one, but it was worth it.

The Man Who Fell to Earth
Walter Tevis January 6, 2016

David Bowie was perfectly cast in the movie, and if I’d read the book, it was a long time ago. This was a case where both the movie and the book were good. I’d actually say the book had some superior elements, but this was a good, cynical read.

A Truth Worth Tellin’
Toni Teepell December 11, 2015

I really enjoyed this one, and it’s not science fiction or fantasy. 🙂 This is a book that could find an audience and become well-known, but it’s just a question of whether or not it breaks through.

Angles of Attack (Frontlines Book 3)
Marko KloosSeptember 25, 2015

I read all of these military science fiction books (well, the first three main books), and they were both old-fashioned (as in 1950s) and more modern. They have more character development and more human interaction elements than you might anticipate. Again, worth reading

Experiencing Lithuania: An Unconventional Travel Guide
Columbia Warren June 20, 2015

I had relatives going to Lithuania, and I was looking for something that wasn’t the typical guidebook. This fit the bill: it was much more experiential…what a friend would tell you who came back from living there. The only major gap I saw was no mention of the Three Stooges (the actual brothers, Moe, Curly, and Shemp are of Lithuanian descent). That’s a quibble; I thought it was fun and useful.

A King of Infinite Space (Long Beach Homicide)
Tyler Dilts September 6, 2014

Earth: An Alien Enterprise: The Shocking Truth Behind the..
Timothy Good August 14, 2014

Good’s Above Top Secret was one of the most popular books about UFOs and secrecy, and they are entertainingly written. I wouldn’t say it’s going to convince anybody who isn’t already leaning strongly in favor of the idea (not just of UFOs being genuine alien craft or some kind, but of the government covering it up). If you are in that camp, or if you want to just read it as entertainment, it works.

Whether this is for St. Valentine’s Day or not, I would think about this. We gave KU to a related family…mainly for the two kids, but the adults will get to use it, too. 🙂 I think that might have been my favorite gift that we gave this last holiday season.

Enjoy!

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

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.

Denver vs. Carolina: the super books

February 7, 2016

Denver vs. Carolina: the super books

I’ll freely admit that I’m not the biggest sports fan in the world. Oh, I have a basic knowledge of what’s happening in all the big sports. I’m a very broad based consumer of information: as the Doctor (on Doctor Who) once said, “Everything’s important.”** I know it’s an impossible goal, but I like it to be that I’m at the level where it’s not embarrassing in just about any endeavor. 😉

However, of the big American sports, in my life I probably have followed football more closely than any other (well, except the San Francisco Giants).

I’ve had this discussion with people several times: I think football is the most intellectual of the big sports.

I get pushback on that right away, because some people conceive of it as just big people crashing into each other, but that’s not it at all.

Name another sport where they stop every few seconds to discuss what they are going to do. 😉 I’ve seen a stat that in an NFL game, the actual time played, from snap to down, is about eleven minutes. I use that when I teach time management and project planning. 🙂

When people Monday morning quarterback, they don’t say, “We lost because they were bigger than we were.” They say, “They shouldn’t have gone for it on fourth down” or “What were they thinking, throwing that pass?”

Now, I will entertain an argument for baseball being as or more intellectual, since they do decide every pitch what to throw, who should throw it, where everybody is going to stand in the field, and so on. It feels to me like baseball may be more tactical (a move and response) and football may be more strategic (how does what we are doing now affect what happens several moves from now), but baseball does have some of that as well.

I’ll just put it this way: American football is an intellectual sport. 🙂

So, as someone who is certainly not an expert in today’s game (I do know the mythology of Newton vs. Manning), I thought I’d switch it up a bit.

Let’s look at the authors from the two cities, and see how they measure up!

The first thing I did was find the city for the Carolina Panthers. 🙂 Why are they named after the state instead of after a city? Is the thought that there will ever only be enough room in North and South (they don’t even differentiate that) Carolina for one football team? Anyway, it’s Charlotte, North Carolina.

Denver is Denver, Colorado.

Taking the field first are the authors from Charlotte!

Actually, I’m surprised at how few authors born in Charlotte I could find. There are certainly famous authors born in North Carolina (O. Henry, for one),  and Carson McCullers has a connection to Charlotte…but that’s not quite the same thing.

Writing children’s literature, it’s Newbery, Edgar, and National Book Award winner

Betsy Byars (at AmazonSmile*)

From works as varied as The Summer of the Swans, Wanted…Mud Blossom, and The Keeper of the Doves, Byars is a versatile competitor.

Next up is second generation author

Brendan Reichs (at AmazonSmile*)

Son of Kathy Reichs, they have co-authored books featuring the great-niece of the older Reich’s famous character, Temperance Brennan (Bones). Brendan is currently working on a solo Young Adult novel, due in 2017. Arguably less well-known, look for Reich’s modern thinking to throw the Coloradans…and the relative rookie might just go “Virals”.

Those are probably the two best known authors from Charlotte (there are others).

Now entering from the West side of the field…Deeeeeennnnnnnvveeeerrrrrrrrr!

With a massive eleven Hugo Awards and seven Nebulas, it’s SFWA Grand Master

Connie Willis (at AmazonSmile*)

Having written about time travel many times, Willis’ mastery of the clock should spell Doomsday (so to speak) for the team from Charlotte!

You don’t get much more Denver than our next “play”er Pulitzer Prize-winner playwright

Mary Chase (at AmazonSmile*)

With only two children’s books, the former Rocky Mountain News reporter might seem to have a lack of experience, but the massive hit Harvey just might let Chase pull a rabbit out of a hat!

===

For the half time show, here are lists of books set in the two cities:

Enjoy the game! I’ll have it on, but mainly for the commercials and the performances…and so it isn’t embarrassing for me when it comes up on Monday. 😉

What do you think? Have I left off your favorite Charlotte/Denver author? I didn’t talk much about the stories set in those cities…any recommendations there? Do you read fiction set in a city/country before you travel there (I have)?  Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

Join thousands 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! :) 

** Harriet Jones (played by Penelope Wilton): “Is it important?”
The Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston): “Everything’s important.”
The Beast Below episode of
Doctor Who
screenplay by Stephen Moffatt
collected in my book, The Mind Boggles: A Unique Book of Quotations (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

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.

My February 5th interview on The Kindle Chronicles: the annotations

February 6, 2016

My February 5th interview on The Kindle Chronicles: the annotations

I am the featured interview on Len Edgerly’s The Kindle Chronicles podcast for Friday, February 5th, 2016, and you can hear it here:

TKC 392 KINDLE BLOGGER BUFO CALVIN

It was a great experience!

Len and I exchange occasional e-mails, and I’ve been on the show a couple of times before. We’ve never met in real life, though…our mutual admiration comes from each other’s work. 😉

I also have to say that I think Len did a terrific job editing our interview! We actually spoke for well under an hour, so it wasn’t so much cutting out things as it was polishing them. I did make one mistake, and referred to our adult child by a gender specific term, which I don’t do here in this blog (I’ll explain in a moment). Len was nice enough, and skillful enough, to edit that out for me when I mentioned it.

On this blog, I don’t identify inherent characteristics, such as my own gender. There are some other things I don’t reveal as well. There are two reasons for that.

The first is that I want this to be a place where people can participate based solely on their ideas and feelings. When people make comments (which I always appreciate), I don’t want them to feel that they should reveal gender, or marital status, or age…or anything they don’t want to do. 🙂 They are welcome to do so if they want, but if I do it, I think people would be less comfortable not doing it.

The second reason is that it’s a challenge and fun. 😉 I’ve taught people how to use the same skills we use in improv to have better interactions at work. One of those is the ability to think about one thing while you are doing something else (for example, thinking about how what you are saying will affect someone at the same time you are saying it). One thing I’ve had people do, with no warning ahead of time, is stand up and talk for thirty seconds about what brought them to this place in their lives…without using the word, “I”. Great trainers (that’s my “day job”) can all do that pretty smoothly. Most people have a very difficult time.

While I definitely would like you to listen to the show, and I think I was completely fairly represented, I thought that some annotations might be helpful.

Here’s the first thing:

You can hear one of our dogs on the show. 😉

What you actually hear is Elf squeaking a favorite toy, a plush mustache which is about the same length as the dog (who, while a rescue and undoubtedly mixed, turned out to apparently be primarily Portuguese podengo pequeno wire-hair). It’s pretty quiet, but you can hear it in the background at one point. Elf will squeak it repeatedly for minutes at a time….I actually encourage that by saying, “Squeaky! Squeaky!”

Two things about that, and one which is not just about me. 😉

I did the interview at home. As I said, it took under an hour, so I blocked some time on my work calendar, recorded it during what was basically my lunch break, then went to my nearby office.

The second thing, and Len and I were both impressed with this, was that I did my end on my now discontinued Fire Phone (I was one of the few who paid the initial about $200 for one) with the earbuds and in-line microphone that came with it.

The sound quality is quite good! I use those earbuds at work, but I haven’t recorded anything for broadcast with them before.

We did the interview via Skype, and I tried a couple of other configurations first, including a headset I got for use with Dragon (a very popular speech-to-text program…you talk, it types)…but this was the best.

You aren’t going to buy a Fire Phone at this point, but you can buy the headphones:

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

At $14.99 at time of writing, I think they are a good deal. You could use them with other SmartPhones and devices…you know, unless the next iPhone drops the headphone jack, which is a rumor. 😉

We covered a lot of topics, and they tie back into five things you can read from me. Two are previous posts in this blog:

The first one we discuss explicitly. The second one addresses the idea of “inheriting” e-books…I wrote it back in 2009, but the basic information should still be current.

There also a question and some discussion about

The Collected I Love My Kindle Blog Volume 1 (at AmazonSmile*)

which you can read as part of

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

or it’s available in the USA for $0.99.

My other blogs came up a couple of times. I mentioned a funny statistic about my Sherlock Holmes blog, and my broader pop culture blog was named. Those are:

Another item that was mentioned was one of my sibling’s first novel

One Murder More (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I didn’t mention it by name, because I didn’t want this interview to feel like I was promoting items, but I did refer to it.

Not something I’ve written or that a family member or someone I know has written (you can see those at I know these authors!) but that I referenced was software that can give you a virtual background when you are on a video call. I’ve used

ManyCam

It’s free, and a lot of fun!

I do want to clarify something about that part of the conversation.

I said that I had used it at work to have an office background, and jokingly told Len not to tell my company. 😉

I’m a very honest person, as I think my readers know. I never did this to trick anybody. I was actually authorized to test out the technology for possible use at my company. Yes, I did “fake” an office background, but I would always tell them before the end of the call to get their feedback.

One question (about public libraries) was asked by a reader who was named on the show, but I didn’t get that question directly here, so I’m not naming names…I’ll just say thank you, and I’ll name you if you like. 🙂

I want to make very clear my gratitude to people who subscribe to this blog through the Kindle store! I mentioned that they really make it possible for me to do this, but I don’t think I said the words, “thank you”, so…thank you!

Finally, I mentioned a project I have that I will make public on February 29th. I think readers of this blog will find it interesting, and I’ll announce here it here when it is ready.

I’d be interested in any feedback you have for me about the show, or additional questions about topics we didn’t cover. Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

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.


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