Archive for the ‘Booklovers’ Category

Round up #218: Fire vs Air, help with images?

November 5, 2013

Round up #218: Fire vs Air, help with images?

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

Glitch or techno-tulpa?

So, this one is weird, and I thought my readers might be able to help.

I’m reading a pre-publication copy of the sequel to Crash Gordon and the Mysteries of Kingsburg. After I wrote the review I linked there, the author, Derek Swannson, commented on it. I sent my proofreading notes from reading it (as I’ve done with other books). Outside of a bit of e-mail correspondence, we still don’t know each other, but Derek asked me if I would read the upcoming sequel and again give proofreading notes (and perhaps editorial suggestions).

Proofreading is fun for me (it’s multitasking while reading…two things which I think play to my strengths), and I wasn’t given a timeline, so I agreed. After all, I thought parts of the first book were excellent.

Here’s the strange part:

As I was reading the book, shortly after a section that mentioned Akkadian (an ancient language from Mesopotamia, two “pages” of largely non-English text appeared in the book on my Kindle Fire HDX 7″. It replaced some of the narrative.

Given the reality twisting nature of the book, I thought perhaps they were intentional…maybe it represented a psychological or dimensional shift, and that it would be explained to us later.

I e-mailed Derek: that appears not to be the case, and it seems it hasn’t been reported by other people with galley copies.

I took screenshots of the mystery pages. You do that by doing the power button and the volume down* button at the same time…you’ll see an animation of the page to let you know it is happening. I’m going to reproduce them here, but I have to warn you first: if you can read them, the material might include obscenities and explicit content:



I’m not an expert on languages, even though my adult kid is a linguist. The first one looked to me like simplified Chinese, with overlapping characters. The second one sort of looked like Thai, but I wasn’t at all sure.

I thought maybe some of you might know. I did ask Derek’s permission before publishing it here.

It was a good thing I took those screenshots, because it disappeared afterwards!

If I go to home and reopen the book, the text looks normal. I’ve also had it happen where mostly just the font (and the second sample may be just a weird font) changed. Go to home, reopen, and it looks okay.

I have never seen this in any of my other books.

It seems possible (both to Derek and me) that it’s just some sort of glitch. The Kindle Fire has some translation ability (“long press”…hold your finger or stylus on a word for about a second, then tap “Translate”), and perhaps it was just translating the text for some reason.

It also just seems oddly appropriate to the book. 🙂 That’s why I humorously coined a new term for Derek, a “techno-tulpa”. As I understand it, a tulpa is a concept in Buddhism wherein someone brings something into physical being by thinking about it. A “techno-tulpa”, then, would be something you bring into existence in technology by thinking about it…sort of like the old concept of “thoughtography”. I know, I know…some of you (a very, very few) are saying to me right now, “You can’t be Serios.” 😉

Others of you are ready to move on to another story 😉 so I’ll do that. If you do have any insight into those images, I’d appreciate hearing it.

Fire beats Air

That headline sounds like something out of rochambeaux, or perhaps a battle of elementals in a role-playing game (RPG). 😉

Instead, it’s how the reviews seem to be going on the Kindle Fire HDX versus the iPad Air.

That’s not good for Apple: you don’t want your competition to be seen as cheaper and better.

Oh, it certainly doesn’t mean that the Fire is better at everything, but let’s take display quality as one element. That’s a place where Apple was clearly perceived as being a market leader.


c|net story by Brooke Crothers

reports an assessment by DisplayMate that ranks the KFHDX 8.9″ as better than the iPad Air.

In the original

detailed analysis by Dr. Raymond M. Soneira

you’ll see the Fire besting the iPad Air repeatedly (the Google Nexus 10 is included in the comparison, but it is due for an update, being a year behind, and doesn’t really challenge the others).

I strongly recommend the article for those of you who want the technical comparisons. For everybody else, there is this quotation (and it wouldn’t surprise me if you see it excerpted by Amazon):

“Most impressive of all is the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9, which has leapfrogged into the best performing Tablet display that we have ever tested, significantly out-performing the iPad Air in Brightness, Screen Reflectance, and high ambient light contrast, plus a first place finish in the very challenging category of Absolute Color Accuracy.”

When you add in Mayday (the live tech help on the Fire), I think we may see Amazon gain quite a bit of marketshare. Doesn’t make me worry about Apple, of course, but it makes me feel even more secure about Amazon’s future in the hardware business.

A reader also sent me this

ZDNet article by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes

in a private e-mail (thanks, reader!).

It’s a lot less geeky, comparing things that “regular folks” want to know, like battery life and accessories. The conclusion includes:

“The iPad Air is a great tablet, but the Kindle Fire HDX is better.”

Again, that’s a plus for Amazon…

Buzzfeed: “The 23 Best Parts Of Being A Book Lover”

This one is for fun…

by AriannaRebolini

It doesn’t really focus on e-books, though. Hmm…let me throw in a few of those:

  • Never being without something to read
  • Having the freedom to read from five different books…on the same errand
  • Not having to worry about cracking the spine
  • Sharing books with your family…across the country
  • Reading classic books from around the world…for free

Mackenzie Bezos gives The Everything Store 1-star

This does strike me as a bit odd.

In Amazon’s review guidelines, they say that this is not allowed:

“Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product)”

I think it’s reasonable to suggest that a review by the Significant Other of the subject of a biography would fall into that category.

That’s why it feels a bit strange that the first ever 1-star review of

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

on Amazon comes from MacKenzie Bezos:

1-star reviews of The Everything Store

There are two other 1-star reviews: one dated the next day, and one which references MacKenzie Bezos’ review.

The book averages 4.4 out of 5 stars with 52 reviews (it’s worth noting that MacKenzie Bezos’ review has 78 comments…more than there are reviews of the book itself).

I’m certainly not arguing that MacKenzie Bezos shouldn’t express an opinion…even publicly. I think a dialog is great for the readers. I’m just not sure that a customer review is the right place for it, given the guidelines. Balancing that, though, I have to admit that I like reading Jeff Bezos’ own reviews…and arguably, the Amazon CEO has a financial interest in the success or failure of any products Amazon sells. That seems a bit more removed than this, though.

What do you think? How important is it to Apple that tech reviewers think their products are the best? What are the best things about being a reader (or specifically, an e-reader) for you? Is it legitimate that MacKenzie Bezos do a customer review of a book about Jeff Bezos? What are those images from the Crash Gordon book? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* This might be me, but I always feel like the volume rocker is backwards on the Kindle Fire. With the screen facing me, and the camera on my left, I push the left-hand button and the bar extends to the right, and the right-hand button and the bar shrinks to my left. The buttons “go the right way” if I have the Kindle Fire upside down from that (with the camera on my right), but that seems to be “wrong way round”. For one thing, Amazon’s own Origami cover opens like a book (moving the cover to your left) only in the first position. Anybody else feel like that? Maybe the Origami cover was designed for a right-to-left language…

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 #200: Bookshelfies, my new hero

August 24, 2013

Round up #200: Bookshelfies, my new hero

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

Special note: 200! I’m glad to have done hundreds of these since the first one back on October 18th of 2009. 🙂 They can be challenging, but in a very different way from an analytical or opinion piece. It can be hard here to choose what to include and what not to include. I appreciate, though, that I often get comments on them, and I know it is a popular feature (they were the third most popular category of posts the last time I polled you readers). Thanks for the support!


Okay, time traveler from five years ago, let me first explain a couple of things. 😉

A “selfie” is a picture you take of yourself.

Tumblr is a blogging site where people post pictures, sometimes with small captions.

Ready? Good. 😉

is a Tumblr blog where people take pictures of themselves in front of their p-book (paperbook) filled bookshelves. They often then list some of the books, sometimes including links to purchase them at Amazon.

It’s a cool idea, although somewhat corrupted for me by the fact that many of them seem to be done for commercial purposes. I suspect it was much “purer” originally, but has gone beyond that.

Still, it’s worth seeing.

Would I do it? Nope, because I like to let people keep their personal characteristics off the web, if they want, and you’d learn some significant things about me from a picture of me. 🙂 By the way, there is at least one picture that says it’s of me on the internet, but it’s not. Can’t always believe what you read…even on the web. 😉

I like the idea of showing off bookshelves, though. Maybe I’ll do that for this blog at some point…but it would take a lot of pictures to do it justice!

Lawrence Tabak: “Goodbye Old Friends: On Selling My Books”

In this

The Millions essay

Lawrence Tabak has a moving and insightful piece on selling your p-books (paperbooks).

I still can’t imagine that. Giving them away? Maybe, just maybe…but selling them? That seems very hard to me.

I have bought multiple copies of some books to have ones to give away, but that’s different. Outside of that, I haven’t gotten rid of books. I imagine that, if I could digitize them, I could donate them. I want access to them myself, but I also really want them preserved. I have some that would certainly be seen as ephemera, and I feel like, if I don’t preserve them, they are likely to be lost to the world. That’s probably an egotistic fantasy, but it does make me feel heroic. I mean, it’s that or be Batman, and Ben Affleck just got that gig. 😉

I recommend the article.

Guardian: “Amazon Kindle: why I finally went over to the dark side”

Thanks to Publishers Weekly for the heads-up on this

Guardian article by Charlotte Harper

It’s always been pretty simple for me: the more you love books, the more you love e-books.

Certainly, some people were openly disdainful of people with EBRs (E-Book Readers) in the beginning. In my opinion, that’s largely a holdover of the elitism of reading, or rather of owning books. There have been people who see owning books as a sign of superiority. They don’t want the experience to be democratized, anymore than they want everybody to own a Mercedes…it dilutes their special status.

Why else make leatherbound copies of books that cost $100? Why display them, sometimes ostentatiously? I do think there is some class consciousness there, or at least there was in the past and the echoes still remain.

Everybody should have books…and everybody should, in an ideal world, have access to all books. Actually, everybody in an ideal world should read all the books in the world, but that is impractical for several reasons. 😉

In the article (which I recommend), the author admits making a sibling cry by denigrating an early Kindle…saying that the sibling should sell it, essentially because, well, it was evil.

Fortunately, Harper eventually overcame prejudices and learned to love the bomb…er, the Kindle. 😉 At least, that’s how I would put it.

Keyboard shortcuts for the Kindle Fire’s Swype keyboard

Who knew?

Okay, maybe if you were using Swype on another device before it appeared on the Kindle Fire, you did, but the techniques on this

Amazon Help Page

were a revelation for me.

The Swype keyboard lets you “type” things by sliding your finger or stylus across the letters. It’s much faster than tapping each one individually, and pretty intuitive.

However, you can do a lot more things…here are some of the best:

  • Select all – Swipe from ?123 to a
  • Copy – Swipe from ?123 to c
  • Cut – Swipe from ?123 to x
  • Paste – Swipe from ?123 to v
  • Insert a period and a space (at the end of a sentence) – Swipe from . to Space bar
  • Bring up the Number keypad – Swipe from ?123 to t

New York Daily News: “Librarian slams 9-year-old for reading too much”


According to this

New York Daily News article by Margaret Eby

the director of the Hudson Falls Public Library in New York asked a 9-year old to stop participating in a reading contest each summer…because the kid won five years in a row.

Wait a minute…this kid first won the summer reading contest at…four years old? Tyler Weaver, you are my new hero. 🙂

Kindle Fire loses half of its marketshare

Thanks to Alexander Turcic of mobileread

for a heads-up that led me to this

Jumptap graph

of tablet marketshare, 2012 versus 2013.

The big news: only one tablet on the marketshare, dropping from 21.5% of the total to 10.1%.

The NOOK tablets? Increased marketshare more than 1000% (from .1 to 1.2).

It’s worth taking a look at the graph to see what doubled its share to pass the Kindle Fire…

This may change if Amazon introduces a new model, of course. Not that other people won’t also release new ones, but it could shift the balance.

RSK Accessory Store at Amazon

I wanted to make sure to give you an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) story this time, so here’s a link to the accessory area at Amazon:

Kindle E-Reader Accessories

For example, here’s a cool looking polka-dotted sleeve for $14.99 ($10 off right now) that fits the Paperwhite, Touch, and Mindle. It’s not only a sleeve, it says it has a stand as well. 4.5 stars with 390 reviews…impressive!

BUILT Neoprene Kindle Slim Sleeve Case, Scatter Dot, fits Kindle Paperwhite, Touch, and Kindle

What do you think? Should a child who always wins a reading (or any, for that matter) contest step aside so others can win? Is competitive reading a good idea, or does it devalue the act of reading? Have you done a bookshelfie? You can put a link in your comment, and if it isn’t commercial, I’ll probably approve it. Have you gotten rid of your p-books? If so, did you sell them or give them away or…? Do you have books that you’ll keep, even if you never read them again, because of what they mean to you? Did anybody ever shame you for having a Kindle? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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