Archive for the ‘Bufo’s Life’ Category

Recently added to my Wish List…but please don’t buy them for me (#1)

October 11, 2017

Recently added to my Wish List…but please don’t buy them for me (#1)

Amazon’s

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

are great ways to let people know what you might want…and to keep track of books (and other things) for other reasons.

Ever since Amazon enabled gifting of e-books back on November 19, 2010 (about three years after announcing the Kindle…and after Barnes & Noble had done it), I’ve put e-books on my “Bufo for the Holidays” list for my family.

Prior to that, my Significant Other always considered it a great victory when they could buy me a book I would like which I didn’t already have. 😉 I’m a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager, and suffice it to say, I have a lot of books. I also bought books pretty often.

Now, I rarely buy books for myself.

I don’t read less…it’s just that there are so many free books, and we are happy members of

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

Amazon’s subser (subscription service), an “all you can read” service for typically about $10 a month (although I usually am able to buy it on sale on “Prime Day”), that I don’t “piece buy” as many for myself.

For example, I recently finished

The Naturalist (Theo Cray #1) by Andrew Mayne (at AmazonSmile*)

which we got for free as part of

Kindle First books (at AmazonSmile*)

and I quite enjoyed. 4.6 out of 5 stars with 2,342 customer reviews at time of writing, I wasn’t the only one. I would say this is the book I’ve most enjoyed so far traditionally published by Amazon…I said to someone it was a bit like The Rosie Project meets Stephanie Plum, although not as cartoony as the latter (not that there is anything wrong with cartoons…or Stephanie Plum). It’s somewhat violent, but not grotesquely so…if you can handle Criminal Minds, you can handle this. I’m looking forward to the second book when it is published next year.

It is currently available through KU, and I would expect that to continue to be the case.

However, even though I don’t buy them for myself, I love hearing and reading about new books! That may happen when I flip articles into the free

ILMK magazine at Flipboard

or on the radio, TV, or in a magazine…or just talking to someone.

I’m excited to have them on my list…and my family is excited to be able to get me something I really want!

They also know that, at least when I put the books on the list, the publishers haven’t blocked text-to-speech access**. My family understands my position on that, but it isn’t always obvious to spot, and this way, they can shop without thinking about it.

They sort of feel like looking at my Wish List is like shopping in the exclusive “Bufo Store”. 😉

So, that’s one reason why I really don’t want you to buy the books for me (even though I know many of you are generous)…I want a nice full “store” for my relatives. 🙂

Recently, I’ve been hearing about some books which I thought would interest my readers (both for themselves and as gifts), and realized an easy way to share that would be to tell you about books I’ve added to my Wish List.

Oh, one thing to note: some of these are more than $10, and some of my readers may draw the line there. Just check the price before you click or tap that Buy button…in addition, these books may not be available in your country (I have readers around the world, which I always think is cool!).

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer (at AmazonSmile*)

As regular readers know, I’m a technoptimist (just compressing the term “techno-optimist”…you know how I like coining neologisms). 😉 I generally think tech is making things better in the world, especially for people of lesser means and those with various challenges. E-books have meant that people in remote areas where delivering p-books is hard have been able to get them (Worldreader.org is a non-profit which does that). People with print challenges have been able to read more easily again.

This book takes the opposite position, from what I can tell…and I love to read opinions which are different from mine, when they are done respectfully (that may not be the case here, based on the product page, but I don’t know). 3.9 stars with 14 customer reviews.

The Animals Among Us: How Pets Make Us Human by John Bradshaw (at AmazonSmile*)

I do love non-human animals, pretty much all kinds. Our dogs will soon have an Instagram account (Butterscotch Chaos [and friends]), and I take an inordinate number of pictures of lizards. I’m also very interested in how people and other species interact. This one sounds interesting…

It’s a pre-order for October 31, 2017, and already has 4.4 stars with 11 customer reviews.

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks by Annie Spence (at AmazonSmile*)

A librarian writing letters to books as though they were people? Yes, please! 4.2 stars, 18 reviews

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, Ella Morton (at AmazonSmile*)

I like “weird stuff”, and have for a very long time. Altas Obscura is a great website which shows you places which are…beyond the norm. That doesn’t mean just paranormal locations, it can be things which are just entertainingly odd. I was hoping to be in VR (Virtual Reality) on my last plane flight with Altas Obscura’s experience (that’s what apps are called in VAM [Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality space]), but I couldn’t get it to run on my Samsung Gear 1st gen. The book won’t have that problem… 4.7 stars, 671 reviews

The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People’s Lives Better, Too) by Gretchen Rubin (at AmazonSmile*)

The author of the hit book, The Happiness Project, continues looking at how humans think (and feel). That’s another focus of mine…my “day job” is as a trainer (I do more than that…workflow analysis, too), and it’s really necessary there to understand people. People, even business leadership, often confuse training and education. Education can be part of training, but education is teaching somebody something…training is changing their behavior. I’ve explained it this way: “You haven’t trained a dog to sit if it just knows what the word means”. 😉 Obviously, training people is different from training dogs…being of the same species, even though both are social species, we perceive each other in a very complex way. Anything that can help us understand each other can help us interact with each other. I don’t think any one system will be the answer to that, so reading more systems gives me a broader range of tools and perspectives. 4.7 stars, 86 reviews

Well, those are the five most recently added books to my Wish List! That was fun for me to do, and it’s the first time I’ve done it like this. Let me know if this is something you’d like to see it again (I wouldn’t do it for a while)…I do think one of the things I can do on this blog is to help you with discovery, which is one of the big challenges for readers now, when there are so many options.

What do you think? Were you considering any of these books? Were they new to you? Have you added anything interesting to your Wish List lately? How do you use Amazon Wish Lists? Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.


You can be part of my next book, Because of the Kindle!


My current Amazon giveaway:

Beyond Curie: Four women in physics and their remarkable discoveries 1903 to 1963 (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Giveaway:

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/b139e577ee333624

  • Winner:Randomly selected after Giveaway has ended, up to 1 winners.
    Requirements for participation:
  • Resident of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia
  • 18+ years of age (or legal age)
  • Follow Scott Calvin on Amazon

Start:Sep 25, 2017 5:46 AM PDT

End:Oct 25, 2017 11:59 PM PDT

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

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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! :) 

** A Kindle with text-to-speech can read any text downloaded to it…unless that access is blocked by the publisher inserting code into the file to prevent it. That’s why you can have the device read personal documents to you (I’ve done that). I believe that this sort of access blocking disproportionately disadvantages the disabled, although I also believe it is legal (provided that there is at least one accessible version of each e-book available, however, that one can require a certification of disability). For that reason, I don’t deliberately link to books which block TTS access here (although it may happen accidentally, particularly if the access is blocked after I’ve linked it). I do believe this is a personal decision, and there  are legitimate arguments for purchasing those books.

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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A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2017

August 11, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2017

This is one in a series of posts which I write about once a year. I do this primarily to give my readers some ideas they might use to get more out of their devices. I also think it’s interesting to go back and look at the previous ones, to see how much things have changed…last year was more revolutionary, I’d say, because it was the first year with an Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). This year, though, the Echo Show (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) has made a difference. Okay, let’s start a typical weekday in the Life of a Kindleer.

I wake up between about 2:00 and 3:00 AM…sometimes a little earlier, sometimes a little later (but I haven’t slept past 4:00 AM in years). As I explained last year, it’s not from an alarm or anything, it’s just my habit. I’ve had it checked out medically, and it seems to be fine. Asleep at about 9:00 PM, up at about 2:00 AM…that’s between five and six hours usually. When I wake up, I pick up my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7″, which is back to serving as my nightstand clock. I really don’t like how they changed the nightstand clock a while back…the minutes are very small, and the time moves around on the screen. I see really well in the dark (connected, I think, to my color vision deficiency), but I have always awakened a bit slowly…it takes me a while to get processing information. So, making it hard for me to read the clock doesn’t help. 🙂

I also pick up my Galaxy S7, which is also next to the bed…face down. It’s there as a back up. There is an alarm set on it for 5:00 AM, but I never use it…I let it go off, because that’s about when my Significant Other leaves, and on vibrate, it serves as a gentle reminder.

I go in the bathroom and do some wake-up things. On my Fire, I start my morning

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

read. That’s a big part of my morning, not just for myself, but for flipping articles into my free Flipboard magazines, including the  ILMK magazine at Flipboard.

I also use my Galaxy S7 before I come out: I check Twitter (just for notifications, really…I read tweets in Flipboard), I use the amazing Dark Sky weather app (not available through the Amazon Appstore)…remarkably precise and accurate, and worth $2.99 a year, and start checking my local news on the

ABC 7 News San Francisco (at AmazonSmile*)

app. I can also flip from there…many places I go allow me to flip. The ILMK Flipboard magazine has tens of thousands of viewers and is closing in on 50,000 stories. The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard magazine is closing in on 150,000 stories…it has a broader scope.

Before I come out, I turn on the light in the family room with the Wink app. I do often control it with an Echo device, but I don’t want to talk at that point…my Significant Other is still asleep, for one thing. Also, I talk a lot as a trainer during the day, and I know how to take care of my voice. I hum and do vocal warm-ups before I do much talking.

Next, I head out to the family room…and one of the dogs gets off the bed to come with me (I love hearing the dog do the shimmy, then land on the floor). The other dog is already in the family room, and the light coming on helps that one start getting up.

Our

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

is also in a sort of sleep mode, but still displays the time. I think it senses I’m moving around out there and wakes up. 🙂 When I’m not reading during the first part of my exercise routine (I exercise for about 45 minutes before I go to work), I glance at it. I really like what shows up on the display: the first event on my calendar, the weather, but also headlines.

After I’ve fed the dogs, I’m doing that exercise and reading Flipboard on my Kindle Fire.

I get to a point in the exercise where I can’t read (I can’t stand that close to the entertainment unit, where I stand up the Fire in its Amazon Origami cover). That’s when the

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

first comes into play. I watch live CNN on the CNN Go app with Bluetooth headphones.

I will usually finish my exercise and at least start eating breakfast before my SO is due to get up. I have the headset on, and I’m back to the Kindle Fire. If I finish Flipboard, it’s WordPress, Maxthon browser for the

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

and the IMDb app (IMDb is owned by Amazon).

At some point here, it’s gotten to 3:45 AM, when my SO gets up. It is really cute, though. The more intellectual of the two dogs has a “trick” here. When we hear the alarm go off (and this is my SO’s favorite thing), I say, “Wake up call!” I open the door, and the dog (all 14 pounds) leaps on the bed and vigorously licks my SO in the face!

This dog also learned another cool thing recently. We walk our dogs at a giant leash-free dog park in Richmond on the weekends (Point Isabel)…we’ve seen it ranked as one of the top ten dog parks in the world. The other dog, who is more impulsive, may see a favorite treat giver (you get to know the regulars) and take off running…and it could be 50 yards away (by the way, I’m converting to English measurements…I usually use metric). My SO has to chase…I walk with a cane. It’s hard to catch up: so the more intellectual dog learned a trick. We can way, “Cut her off!” (Yes, I am revealing the gender of the dog here, but that’s the command…we also prefer the term “communication” to command, because they are often more of requests). The more intellectual, faster dog runs full tilt, gets in front of the other dog, and turns sideways and stops! It’s like a highway patrol officer cutting off a speeder on the freeway. That sort of “breaks the spell” so my SO can catch up…and maybe carry the other dog back.

I may be still reading, but I may also have some questions for the Echo Show.

Eventually, I go back to the bedroom (I tell the Echo Show to “Trigger turn off the TV”…that uses our Harmony remote with IFTTT to do it)…I do some exercise there, too, and that’s where I get dressed and such. In that room, we have a

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

and our

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

I usually put CNN on in there (using the Fire TV…we don’t even have a cable for that TV). I may ask the Echo Dot for my schedule for the day.

Oh, and at this point, I’m using an Echo device to turn on lights, including in the bedroom, by voice.

I do some more reading while I brush my teeth (which I for about twenty minutes…I’m pretty obsessive on that), but that’s likely to be on a

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

I recently finished We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (at AmazonSmile*)

and am now reading Red Mars by Kim Harrison.

When I’m ready to go out front…and I say, “Alexa, trigger watch regular TV,” and then “Alexa, turn off everything” (which gets the lights and such).

By the time I get out front, the TV is on…the intellectual recognizes those things I say to Alexa (and others as well).

I may get some writing done before I have to leave. When it’s time for me to go, I say again, “Alexa, trigger turn off the TV”, and both dogs know that I’m about to leave.

In the car, I’m listening to books on my Kindle Fire, using text-to-speech through the car’s sound system. I just started a book I got as a Kindle First book…not liking it too much so far.

At work, I use our

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

to listen to music, and sometimes to set alarms.

I could just listen to Prime Music on my computer, but it’s great to be able to tell Alexa to pause…especially because at lunch, I’m exercising while watching video in Virtual Reality. 🙂 I do floor work…about a half an hour. Yes, I exercise quite a bit…it helps with my chronic condition, and keeping the weight off (I lost forty pounds a couple of years ago) is also important for the same reason.

Sometimes at work I use the “drop in” feature in the Alexa app on my Galaxy to look at the dogs. 🙂 They are typically asleep in the same places on the couch.

I may also set timers/alarms there.

Update: I forgot to mention two magazines I read on my Kindle Fire, and that could be on a break at work or at home. One is ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), which I’ve read for many years. The only time I don’t read every word is when it may spoil a movie I intend to see and haven’t yet. I rarely go back to the back issue to read those articles after I’ve seen it, but I have done that. The other one is the marvelous Fortean Times, which I read on the Zinio app, which is available for some SmartPhones through the Amazon Appstore, but not for the Fire tablets. I get the app directly from Zinio. I recently gave a subscription to FT to a sibling: it is probably the most information dense magazine I’ve ever read of any kind. There are some ads (or adverts, as they would say), but not like most magazines, and the writing and research are often superb. You don’t have to be a “believer” in Fortean phenomena to enjoy it. My one quibble: sometimes they are directly quoting Americans, and it gets presented in “British English”. I find it unlikely that an American in Arkansas actually said, “I got off the lift and looked into the car park to see a grey-coloured Bigfoot by my caravan.” 😉 That’s not an actual quotation from the magazine, to be clear, and it is hyperbole to illustrate the point. That is just a tiny issue…FT is a great value, with historical and current events perspective in addition to the “weird world” topics.

On the way home, I listen to the book more.

When I get home, I ask Alexa to “Trigger watch Fire TV”, and “Turn on the family room”.

We typically watch Hulu at night.

I also sight read more before heading to bed…but that’s also usually when I do a lot of writing.

I normally start to bed at 8:00: I’m up a bit later tonight finishing this, since it’s a long post. 🙂

Once I’m actually going to sleep, I read on our

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

I’m still re-reading the original fourteen Oz books.

That’s basically the weekday routine.

At some point on the weekend, I may listen to the excellent

The Kindle Chronicles

Next year, I’m guessing one difference might be me doing stuff in Amazon’s Virtual Reality (I’ve predicted that they do something significant with that this year). 😉

Hope that helps! If you have questions or comments, 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!

All aboard The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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 you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help! 🙂 

 

What I’ve been reading lately

February 19, 2017

What I’ve been reading lately

Every once in a while, I like to share with you what I’ve been reading.

I guess the main reason for that is that I hope it’s a form of discovery for you…that you might find something to read based on what I’ve mentioned.

It’s also, though, in a way, deeply personal. You can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to read, of course…and while there are elements of my life I don’t share with you, I don’t mind sharing what I think. 😉

I’m only going to count books and magazines…not websites and news apps (although I read a lot there, too).

There are two real ways I read: one is sight-reading, which I’ll do at home (for example, in bed before I go to sleep, but other times too) and at work on breaks, and in transit (when other people are driving/piloting). Oh, and I read when I’m waiting for something…in my job, that does happen from time to time. 🙂

The other one is listening to text-to-speech, software which reads a book out loud to me (unless the publisher has blocked text-to-speech access). I end up driving quite a bit, and I listen to my books as I drive: a real luxury and pleasure!

Let’s get the magazines out of the way first.

There are three magazines I read regularly: one of them is a subscription through the Kindle store, one is from Zinio (a third-party magazine subscription service), and one is (gasp!) in paper.

The Kindle store subscription is

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I’ve been reading and subscribing to that for a very long time. I used to read it in paper, but switched to digital only back in 2011. I read every word…but if I think something is a spoiler, I’ll wait to read the article until I’ve seen/heard/read the work in question. This didn’t used to be true, but I can go back and read back issues if I want. I usually only keep one issue at a time on my device (I read it on a now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7″), since they do take a lot of memory.

Fortean Times is another magazine I’ve been reading for many, many years. I’m always impressed with it: there is a lot of writing, and it’s generally very good! When I read EW, there are a lot of ads…it doesn’t take me that long to read an issue. I’ll have several sessions with one issue of Fortean Times (it covers what I refer to as the “weird world”, although there is often crossover with more mainstream analysis). I also read that on my KFHDX, using the Zinio app which I got from the Zinio website. While there are some Fortean Times books in the Kindle store, they don’t carry the magazine or the Zinio app (in the Amazon Appstore). Again, I read every word.

I do like the experience of reading magazines on a tablet: I tend to make the text easier, but that’s simple to do.

You can read some magazines as part of either

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

or

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

although (this month, at least) not Entertainment Weekly.

The third one is People Magazine, which my SO buys at the grocery store and I get afterwards. 🙂

As to books…

At home, I’ve been reading

Freakonomics (at AmazonSmile*)

for the first time. I love that kind of data analysis, and I’ll admit that I had pretty high expectations. Their math certainly seems solid, but weirdly to me, they make these dogmatic statements about people’s motivations…and provide no data to prove the assertions. Their default position seems to be that people are immoral, or at least will behave in immoral ways (cheating, for example). That’s not my intuition or my experience, so I’d like to see the data that proves it. They can prove what appears to be cheating (such as in sumo wrestling), but I can come up with alternative explanations in terms of motivation.

I’m also re-reading the

The Wonderful Stories of Oz (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

although my version is different from that one (it’s “out of print”). I read part of a chapter before I go to sleep…it’s been handy as I’ve been watching Emerald City (which is running on NBC, but I see it on my Fire TV on Hulu). I’ve started comparing (in depth) the original “famous fourteen” Oz books, Emerald City, and the MGM movie with Judy Garland:

I’ve never really been much of a re-reader, but I am enjoying doing this.

I generally read books I already own (but haven’t read yet), books I borrow from KU, or gifts. Well, it was my birthday about a week ago, and I got three books I really wanted to read. 🙂 One was from my Significant Other, and two were from my now adult kid.

They bought them for me from my Amazon Wish List…which is perfect! I have so many books on there, it’s like shopping in a Bufo Bookstore. 🙂 They are all books I’d like to read, so I was excited to get them.

I’ve already finished

LIZARD MAN: The True Story of the Bishopville Monster by Lyle Blackburn (at AmazonSmile*)

It’s a contemporary investigation of a case from the late 1980s which made national headlines at the time…I remember it. I found it to be reasonably well-written, and it did uncover some interesting information. There were a couple of flaws. I’m going to try to let the author know one of them: twice, a movie is referred to as “The Horror of Beach Party” when the actual title is actually “The Horror of Party Beach”. 🙂 That’s obviously a little thing, but if you are presenting contextual information, I do think it should be fact checked.

I did find it worth reading, and may read others by the author.

I’ve started both of the others. I’m usually reading several books at the same time. One of these has a lot of pictures, so it’s not as suitable for text-to-speech in the car. That one is

Bob Burns’ Monster Kid Memories (at AmazonSmile*)

That’s fun, and has wonderful pictures! Burns is a super fan, like Forry Ackerman, who has quite a memorabilia collection.

The other one, which has been my main in-car text-to-speech book recently, is

The Fourth Transformation by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel (at AmazonSmile*)

So far, it’s excellent. I had previously read

Age of Context (at AmazonSmile*)

by those authors, and they have a good track record of predicting where tech and industries are going. This one is about the move to Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality/Mixed Reality, how businesses can anticipate and utilize the tech, and how long it will take. 🙂 I’ve started writing about that topic myself, and I think business people would find it insightful.

I have also recently spent a trip or two listening to one of my “emergency books”,

Ghosts: True Encounters with the World Beyond (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Holzer is amusing and urbane…I listened to that between books, and because I was in the mood. 🙂 I’ll be sad when I finish that book.

Well, there you go! If you have questions about those, or want to share something you are reading with me and my readers, feel free to comment on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* 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, 2017!

February 12, 2017

Happy my birthday, 2017!

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…for somebody on your account. I am updating this post because I suggested you could buy them for other people, but that appears to not be the case when the books are on this 1-day free promotion.

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 last year on

My February 5th interview on The Kindle Chronicles

I’m guessing it might happen before it grows into the best of the first ten years, but we’ll see. 😉 I’m not really actively working on a book right now, although I always have ideas on that. 🙂 This blog is my main focus on writing currently, although I’m also doing quite a bit of writing in The Measured Circle blog, including coverage of Virtual/Augmented/Mixed/Merged Reality. I’m also working on  The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip : there have been some real improvements at The History Project since I started it almost a year ago, and I’m pleased with what’s there (although it is certainly still growing). It hasn’t taken off yet, but I still think it might…maybe this year. Oh, and I do think I have a good idea for an app…I could write the content, but I’d rather sell it to some studio than program and market it myself. If you know someone who does that, they can certainly contact me by commenting (I can keep it private) on this post.

One other thing: if you, or someone you know, would like to make predictions about next week’s Oscar winners, or just see what my group of players is saying, I’ve done BOPMadness (Bufo’s Oscar Prediction Madness…more than two decades old, and last year, we were 90% accurate) a Google form this year to make it simpler:

https://goo.gl/forms/NqSNqNS6Y3ZS4Q232

That’s where I’ve been creatively recently (outside of my “day job”…I do get to do some writing there as well, although that’s not my main job description).

Remember, double-check that the books 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.

 

Some random thoughts on Harry Potter

November 11, 2016

Some random thoughts on Harry Potter

With

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

opening in the USA in a week, I thought I’d just put down some thoughts about the Harry Potter book series:

Harry Potter: The Complete Collection (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) (doesn’t include Cursed Child, or the other ancillary titles…this is the first seven books)

  • For a long time, a big thing for Kindleers was that J.K. Rowling wasn’t allowing e-book editions. I wrote about it myself more than once, encouraging Rowling to make them available. I understood the author’s feelings about wanting children to have a similar experience to what Rowling had as a child, but not having e-books disadvantaged those with print challenges.ll and the author had a laudable record of support for those with special challenges. I checked my own posts on Harry Potter, and the e-books were announced in June of 2011 (the Kindle was November 2007…around the same time as the release of the last of the original novels). They finally came out in March of 2012
  • When they came out through Pottermore, that was innovative…and strange. However, over time, that seems to have worked out well for e-book readers
  • Rowling has always been supportive of the fan community, which is great! The author has explicitly allowed fanfic (fan fiction) with certain reasonable restrictions. Rowling has interacted with fans through social media…I admire that
  • One of my relatives had someone tear one of the hardbacks into pieces…because it was too big for that person to physically handle. Not easy…we all love books, and doing that to a book was a difficult choice. That’s another reason why the e-books were important
  • The HP books have now been very available as e-books…they can be borrowed through Kindle Unlimited (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*), and the first one is part of Prime Reading (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) this month (and I think it will generally be part of that)
  • I loved that they decided to stick with British slang for the American editions after the first book or so!
  • I didn’t have any problem with the appearance of any of the characters or things in the movie versions…probably largely because I generally don’t visualize when I read
  • I liked the movies 🙂
  • The books were, as I understand it, meant to mature along with the characters…and the readers. They become very dark, scary, and depressing…amongst the most disturbing images in books. Not Snape or the unnamed one for me…Dolores Umbridge was absolutely terrifying
  • I’ve been happy to see Rowling continuing the series, keeping it alive. One of my favorite book series is the original Oz series (fourteen books), and Baum actively tried to kill off the Oz series. Rowling did end it…but embraced the ongoing fan love
  • Speaking of Oz, the fandom reminded me of the Oz contemporary fandom. People lined up outside stores for the next Oz book. There were Oz clubs. Children wrote suggestions to Baum (almost like fanfic). There were movies, and Baum was involved in them. There was a stage show and merchandising and ancillary titles
  • The Potter books were ostensibly for children…and not only did they encourage children to read, they got adults to admit and accept that they read books intended for children
  • I think that, like the Oz books, they will still be a vibrant part of our popular culture 100 years from now and more

What do you think about the Harry Potter books? What are your memories of reading them? Feel free to tell me and my readers by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

 

 

I had my first experience with an Amazon locker and it was…

September 16, 2016

I had my first experience with an Amazon locker and it was…

…super frustrating! 🙂

The smiley face is there because it ended up okay and I got my packages, and I usually can’t stay frustrated for more than a few minutes.

So, here’s what happened…oh, and I’d better explain what an Amazon Locker is. I wrote about it in more detail here:

Amazon Lockers come to a Safeway near us

You order something from Amazon, and have it sent to an Amazon Locker. Our closest one is in a 24 hour Safeway. Then, you pick it up there.

Why do that?

There are several reasons, but a big one for us is that we’ve actually had Amazon packages stolen that were mailed to our house. We solved that by having packages delivered to my Significant Other’s office…but that’s not a perfect solution. It has to go through central receiving, so we often get it until the day after it was actually delivered. Obviously, if I get home first, I don’t have it. Also, my SO always knows when I’ve ordered something, which isn’t as much fun for gifts.

Setting up the locker thing was easy.

Ordering it was easy (you basically add your locker to your address book).

Finding out that the package was delivered was easy…I got an e-mail and a notification from the Amazon shopping app. The e-mail even has a barcode I’ll be able to scan, in addition to a code I could enter manually.

I’m in a hurry to get home, and the Safeway is pretty much on the way home. I walk with a cane, and I have a nice big bag that slings over my shoulder, so I brought that into the store. Interestingly to me, Safeway doesn’t mind if I put things into the bag while I shop…Whole Foods doesn’t allow it.

I get to the locker and as goofy as it is, I’m really happy to use it. I mean, I seriously was showing people at work a picture I took of the lockers as I tell them about my exciting adventure ahead.

What could go wrong, right?

The touchscreen doesn’t work.

Well, that’s not entirely true. It recognizes my touch to start the process, but after that, it’s hopeless. If I try really hard it may enter one character out of the multi-character code. Sometimes it puts up the wrong code. I can’t even cancel the process.

I figure I might be able to use the scan code instead, so I go to my Amazon shopping app..it’s not in there, as far as I can tell.

I’ve been there for at least a few minutes, and people are staring and smiling. 🙂

I call the number on the machine for help (since the help on the touchscreen won’t respond).

The rep agrees pretty quickly it doesn’t work. I ask where the scan code is…it’s in the e-mail, and nowhere else, apparently.

Fortunately, I have that on my phone…a lot of people would probably have deleted that.

It takes a little maneuvering, but I get the scanner to read.

So, I’m good. It was nice to only have to scan one code to get my two different items from two individual orders. The door popped open automatically on the proper locker…that was also cool. 🙂

The rep wanted me to stay on the line to help the tech fix it, but it was going to be a couple of minutes…and my chronic condition means that standing for a long time is hard. I’d already been standing there long enough that it was difficult.

I explained that to the rep.

Would I use the locker again?

Absolutely!

There are tons of these lockers across the country…the touchscreen thing had to be a fluke. I noticed that the panel that hold the touchscreen seemed like it was ajar…might have been an issue there. Now that I know how to use the scanner, it would be fine without that anyway (as long as it recognizes the touch enough to start and finish the process).

I’ll let you know how it goes next time…

Bonus news: I just wrote about the

All-New Echo Dot (2nd Generation) – White (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and the two versions (black and white) are the number 1 and 2 bestselling electronics at Amazon.com! Looks like a hit…I use the 1st generation every day, and I’m quite satisfied with it.

Bonus book item: I like to try to give you a book/book reader story every time, although I don’t always manage it. The Echo Dot can read you books, so that could certainly count, and you could have an EBR (E-Book Reader) or tablet delivered to a locker, but I still wanted to do a little more. 🙂

search for “omnibus” in the USA Kindle store (at AmazonSmile*)

An “omnibus” should be several books which were published separately, and are related in some way, in a single volume. It’s sort of like a short story anthology…except with whole books instead of short stories. 😉 Some of these are highly rated with thousands of customer reviews…and 872 of them (at the time of writing) are available in

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

at no additional cost.

Enjoy!

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Power out

August 7, 2016

Power out

Someone apparently stole a car and crashed into a power pole near our house last night. So we have been without power for about 10 hours. That obviously means that I won’t be doing as much online I normally do. Hopefully I will be back up soon and have normal operations.

Update: it wasn’t a car, it was a truck:

IMG_0240

Here’s the story, and it will relate to this blog in some ways. 🙂

I was in the garage, taking clothes out of the dryer and folding them when I heard a bang and the electricity went out. My Significant Other in the other room heard it, too.

We both thought it was a transformer blowing at first.

This was around 7:00 last night.

My SO does insurance claims for a living (working for a broker…my SO often helps claimants get the money by finding coverage. It’s a “hero” job), and asked me to go outside to see if it was on fire. It was still light at this point.

When I stepped out there, I could see other neighbors coming out on the street…for blocks around.

A neighbor had some sort of police scanner, and said two people had stolen a truck and crashed it into a power pole (and knew the street).

My SO went up there to see if they could help the homeowners with any claim which might happen.

I heard later that there were police, fire, and PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) up there already…in fewer than ten minutes, I’d say. The people in the truck had run away, reportedly.

Okay, here’s how this story might help you: what were we going to do without electricity?

It means for us:

  • no lights, power to the refrigerator/freezer, stove, air conditioning (fortunately, it was a relatively cool night…it’s been quite hot lately)
  • no internet
  • no phones. We don’t have a landline, and we only get phone reception through a mini-cell tower AT&T gave us because the service is bad. We can go outside a half block or so and get reception

The bad thing is that a relative got me a back-up power supply (a UPS…uninterruptible power supply) so we wouldn’t lose phones…and I just had never set it up.

The good things…

I have a small Doc Savage worthy tiny hand-crank flashlight next to the bed. You would need Doc Savage’s muscles to use it for much, since you have to crank it a lot to get bright light for long. 😉 I was a conga drummer, though, so I can crank it for a while.

Using that, I retrieved a booklight from the library (we have it there for guests)…and got a charged power bank and cord from my laptop case. I keep it charged enough for emergencies: that means we could have used it for our phones the next day and then some. I strongly recommend having one in what we Californians call a “go bag” (for earthquakes and such).

I normally would have been using my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX, but I switched to reading my

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

only had about two-thirds of a charge, it could last weeks. My Fire would last a lot less.

It was interesting: we did get decent illumination from our Kindles for other uses. 🙂

So, the Paperwhite (or Voyage or Oasis) is great in a power outage. 🙂 If you don’t have a power bank, I’d recommend one.

By the way, we could also have charged things in the car,  if necessary. We could also have gone to our offices to charge things.

One other unrelated thing: I’m finally giving up on our Tivo. I think we’ve had it for ten years, and it’s been great. It’s been acting up for some time, not always switching to the right channel in an unpredictable manner.

For the past week, it hasn’t been recognizing that it has a network connector, although it does. That means it was running out of the ability to get program information.

Today, it basically said, “I was about to blow up, so I shut down instead.” 😉 Not exactly…but it did say it was overheating.

I’m going to give up on it altogether.

I recabled things a bit, but I’ve got more to go to restore control to everything. The TV ran through the Tivo first, so our

Logitech Harmony Home Control – 8 Devices (White) (at AmazonSmile*))

isn’t set up properly to control our TV…until I fix that, we’ll use the Harmony for controlling our

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

and the cable box TV for non-Fire TV content.

I was surprised that my SO thought just having the Fire TV would be fine. My SO isn’t super techie, so I thought “regular TV” would be more appealing.

We could cut the cable altogether…but it’s pretty much included with our internet, so  we’ll keep it.

The power came back on after at least ten hours (we were at the dog park when it happened).

One other nice thing: our Ikea refrigerator/freezer apparently has a good seal…we had just shopped for groceries that day, so it was great that everything appears to have stayed frozen for that whole period! We don’t have meat (we are vegetarians) and very little dairy, so we didn’t have to throw much out. We were careful not to open the freezer: keeping the refrigerator/freezer closed during a power outage is important!

An interesting adventure…

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

The Olympics are in Brazil…and so is Amazon!

August 5, 2016

The Olympics are in Brazil…and so is Amazon!

Brazil has a rich literary history, and reading is a strong part of its culture.

However, it wasn’t until late 2012 that it got a Kindle store of its own…more than five years after the USA. This

Amazon press release from December 6, 2012

began with this paragraph:

“SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Dec. 6, 2012– (NASDAQ:AMZN)—Amazon today launched the Brazil Kindle Store (www.amazon.com.br) with the largest selection of the most popular books, including the most Veja best sellers and lowest prices of any eBookstore in Brazil. The Brazil Kindle Store offers over 1.4 million books, now available to Brazilian customers priced in Brazilian Reais (R$), including more than 13,000 Portuguese-language books, 49 of 60 Veja best sellers—the most of any digital bookstore—and the most free books in Portuguese. In addition, Amazon announced that Kindle—the world’s #1 best-selling e-reader for five years running—will go on sale in Brazil in the coming weeks with a suggested retail price of R$299. For more information, and to begin shopping in the Kindle Store, visit https://www.amazon.com.br/. “

With the opening ceremony for the Olympics on Friday, I thought I’d take a look at the Brazilian site to get a sort of current sense of play.

I don’t speak Portuguese, by the way, but I used to speak some Spanish. I’m guessing I can tell enough to be able to identify navigation and sections, but I’ll use a web translator if I need to do that.

The first thing that struck me is how much it looks like Amazon.com…really pretty similar, which helps with the navigation.

The second thing is that the new version of the Kindle is $299…the same price as when it was introduced more than three years ago. The 1st generation of the Kindle in the USA was $399 and you can get the

All-New Kindle E-reader – Black, 6″ Glare-Free Touchscreen Display, Wi-Fi – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for $79.99.

However, that’s not the best comparison. The technology of the Kindle improved considerably from 2007 to 2012 in the USA. The new Kindle in 2012 in the USA was $69.99 (for the ad-supported model)…so it’s been similarly stable, with increase (and some subtractions) in capability and hardware during that period.

In terms of books, that seems very different.

The monetary unit, the real, is roughly three times the US dollar.

The number one seller in the store (not just the Kindle store) is the new Harry Potter play. The list price (what the  publisher says is the “normal” price for the book) is R$99,07. In the USA, the list price is $29.99…so it’s relatively higher in Brazil.. In the USA, the book is discounted to $17.99 in paperbook (p-book) at the time of writing…and in Brazil, the discounted price is R$89,90…relatively much higher than the conversion rate.

The other thing? No Kindle edition in Brazil…and the USA has it for $14.99:

USA Kindle edition of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (at AmazonSmile*)

That might seem odd…that the p-book is in both countries at the same time, and the Kindle edition isn’t. It could be that the publisher of the p-book in Brazil (Arthur A. Levine) doesn’t have the e-book rights for Brazil.

Looking at the Kindle store in Brazil, there are 4,373,482…that compares to the USA at 4,686,432, which is quite close.

Looking at the best sellers (Mais vendidos), it seems similar to the USA, but the top 20 gives me a few different impressions.

  • None of the top 20 are close to $30,00…which would be about $10 USA. I’m guessing they are all independently published. In the USA,  four of the top 20 are over $10
  • All of the top 20 e-books in Brazil are in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subscription service. In the USA, only six of the top twenty are in KU
  • It was interesting to me that a classic, Jack London’s Sea Wolf, is in the top 20..and at R$24,85 is relatively expensive

So, my guess here, and my Brazilian readers may be able to clarify, is that as far as the Kindle store goes, they’ve really embraced the indies (independently published books). They do read some books published outside Brazil…and even English language books can be best sellers.

There’s a little Kindlish background on Brazil as the Olympics’ opening ceremony is almost upon us! This is the strangest Olympics I’ve seen, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be interesting and that I won’t watch.

By the way, I have been to Brazil…and it was the site of my most interesting “traveler’s tale”, but to be clear, this is real. Also, I’ll warn you: it can be disturbing.

We were on a houseboat on a tributary to the Amazon (just as tourists).

More of the local people than was normal weren’t coming back from hunting. There are a lot of risks, so not everybody comes back, but this was unusual.

They had some possibilities: giant catfish (a couple of meters…six feet) were supposedly one possibility.

Well, in addition to the houseboat we had a couple of little boats.

One of them hit some logs…and a body came up.

They could tell by looking at the body, that the killer was a caiman…like a crocodile, sort of. Caimans can’t move their jaws side to side, just up and down. Crocodiles solve that problem with the “death spiral”; grab a limb and spin around to tear it off.

Caimans put you somewhere until you get soft.

They asked us to help look for the caiman.

At night, we went out with other people from the houseboat with flashlights (we were all in boats). We were supposed to be able to tell how big they were (it had to be a big one) by how far apart the red dots were which were their eyes. We were terrible at it…one of my siblings thought they saw a big one…and a crewperson brought it over to us, at about a meter long. 🙂

At one point, they told us to go back to the houseboat.

We did.

The next morning, the Captain told us what had happened.

They thought they had the right one (I’ve never known how, and what was going on was quite emotional, so I didn’t interrupt the story and ask).

The captain said something like, “I got in the water and–”

At  that point, we did interrupt!

“Why did you get in the water?”

Captain: “If I am in the boat and I miss it, I don’t know where it will go. If I am in the water and I miss it, it will come after me, and I will get a second shot.”

This was all said quite matter-of-factly.

They cut it open at the site and confirmed there were human body parts in it.

They brought back the head for us to see…it was about a meter/yard by itself.

They told us that from the tip of the tail to the tip of the snout, it was about 5 meters…about sixteen and a half feet.

It was certainly a tragedy…and really shows us how differently people live their lives around the world. That one of the amazing things about reading…it gives us, in some small way, a chance to experience the thoughts and feelings of people from around the world.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2016

July 18, 2016

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2016

This is one in a series of posts which I write about once a year. I do this primarily to give my readers some ideas they might use to get more out of their devices. I also think it’s interesting to go back and look at the previous ones, to see how much things have changed…last year, it wasn’t that much,  but this year there are a lot of changes. In part, that’s because of the Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)…actually the whole family of Echo devices. I didn’t have one last time I wrote one of these…I now use three typically every weekday. Also, my Fire Phone (now discontinued) died…I replaced it with a Galaxy s7 Edge. That didn’t just affect my phone use…having the Play Store has meant that I’m not using the Amazon Appstore as much. Okay, let’s start a typical weekday in the Life of a Kindleer.

I usually wake up between 2:00 AM and 3:00 AM. That’s not with an alarm or anything…it’s just when I naturally wake up. I usually try to be asleep at 9:00 PM (although tonight it will be a bit later, due to writing this). That means I get five to six hours sleep a night. I’ve talked to my doctor about it twice (it’s been going on for more than a year), but based on the fact that I haven’t really seen a decrease in how well I function and I’m not falling asleep during the day, we’re not worried about it.

I no longer use my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX as my nightstand clock: I use my Galaxy S7, which can display a clock while the phone is asleep, and that takes very little power…usually about 3% of the battery charge lasting my whole sleep cycle. It also gets dim in a smart way, which works for me.

I go in the bathroom and open the

CNN Breaking US & World News (at AmazonSmile)

on KHDX. I want to be clear, my KFHDX is still a great device for me! I’ve bought the current generation of Fire tablet as well, but I like my KFHDX better…partially, that’s the interface.

I can “flip stories” from CNN into my

free Flipboard magazines

and e-mail them to people I know. I do that quite often.

I usually get through the Home section before I’m going to move into the family room.

I turn off the lights in the bathroom (I see quite well in the dark, apparently related to my color vision deficiency…colorblindness) and head out. Oh, and I’ve already turned on the light in the family room using the Wink app. I have it on my Fire, but I use the Galaxy S7…that’s easier, so I don’t have to leave the CNN app.

One of our dogs will have still been in the bed, as is my Significant Other (who doesn’t get up as early as I do). That dog will follow me.

The other dog, and we don’t know why, has decided to sleep in the family room rather than in bed with us. We think maybe Patty is protecting the house out there…or maybe Elf claimed the bed somehow. They get along very well, but I could see that happening. We  are always amused when Patty is sleeping on a blanket on the couch, and Elf comes up and very deliberately pulls the blanket out from under her. 🙂

Once I get out there, I take the dogs outside with me for a bit (only Elf usually comes with me…Patty wakes up more slowly). They get a snack, and I get a bag of almonds. I’ll switch to reading the KGO News App on my phone…for some reason, it’s stopped working on my Fire. I’ll play around with that, but given that the Fire is a discontinued model, I might not get it going again.

Then, exercise…and I can read on my Fire while I do quite a bit of it (by setting the device on a shelf at eye level). I exercise, on average, over two hours a day, including walking…it’s a baseline of ninety minutes of my own routine, sort of like calisthenics. I have a chronic condition which affects what I can do, but I seem to have a pretty effective fitness routine. I used to use the

Review: MyFitnessPal

as I’ve reported here, and I lost about 40 pounds…but I don’t use it any more. It seems to have taught me what I need to know. I’m not perfect on fitness, but in pretty good shape at this point…and have been for a couple of years.

When I do exercise where I can’t read CNN or

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

any more, I fire up (so to speak) the

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

in the family room, and listen on Bluetooth headphones while I do exercise which takes up more room. That’s typically CBSN, the CBS news app.

Flipboard, CNN, and the Fire TV will have gotten me through exercise and breakfast…and my SO will be waking up.

We still use Comcast, so I’ll switch to CNN on cable. I like that better than the news app, which will eventually run out of stories.

Next, our

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

in the family room is part of the plan for the day. I’m typically asking for the weather, although I may do other things, too.

Back in the bedroom/bathroom, I use our

Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote (at AmazonSmile*)

and our

Echo Dot (at AmazonSmile*)

I usually watch the Popular on YouTube feature on the YouTube app (I like to stay up to date on pop culture).

I take our

Amazon Tap (at AmazonSmile*)

to work. The first time I did it, it was sort of an experiment…but I ended up using it a lot. I may listen to music, or something like the Kindle Chronicles podcast. I also use it to set alarms, among other things.

In the car, I listen to text-to-speech on my KFHDX, through my car’s audio system.

On a break or at lunch, I may sight read a book on my KFHDX.

 I use the Tap and my tablet throughout the workday.

Once I’m home, I also use the Echo to turn and off lights.

At home, I sight read on two devices: a

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

and a

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

I read the latter in bed before going to sleep. I’m loop reading the original 14 Oz books on that device. By that mean I read it until I finish it, then start over. I’m trying to go to sleep, so it doesn’t hurt to read something familiar. 🙂

So, I’d say the Echo family is a big change since last year. They have become a significant part of my day.

I think those are the key things. I also may

  • use the shopping list feature on the Echos
  • read Entertainment Weekly on my Fire
  • read The Fortean Times in the 3rd party Zinio app on my Fie tablet
  • use some other apps

Well, I hope that helps! If you have any questions, or want  to share your Amazon device day with me and my readers, feel free to do so by commenting on this post.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project! Do you have what it takes to be a Timeblazer?

* 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.

Thank you to my high school teacher, Mrs. Church

May 4, 2016

Thank you to my high school teacher, Mrs. Church

This week (May 2-May 6 2016) is Teacher Appreciation Week.  With yesterday being Teacher Appreciation Day, it got me thinking about a very influential high school teacher in my life, Mrs. (Jeanne) Church.

I’ve always loved learning, but I think I had a good understanding of what works for that when I was quite young. My parents are educators, and that was the family business.

I think like a lot of people, I was smart enough for high school, liked parts of the high school experience, and didn’t always get great grades. If something was somewhat non-structured, I did well. If you were supposed to follow specific rules, that didn’t always work for me (although I am a rule follower now…not sure about that conflict).

It particularly dismayed me when I came to the conclusion that the way English was generally being taught was slowing down my reading speed. There was a lot of emphasis on the micro, and not so much on the meta. When you took a test, you had to know who did what when…not why they did  it. The tests were, perhaps, more about proving that you’d read the book than that you understood it.

However, I was lucky enough in my high school that we could take some “electives”.

One of those was Science Fiction (I think it might have been the History of Science Fiction, actually), taught by Jeanne Church.

There were maybe eight to ten of us in the class. We were pretty much social misfits…we weren’t the jocks or the brains or the theatre people or the popular kids or the stoners or the hippies or the radicals. We were used to what we read (Heinlein, Asimov, Burroughs, Piers Anthony, and many more) being dismissed by our English teachers.

Mrs. Church was different. It wasn’t that Mrs. Church just embraced science fiction. It was that it was respected in that room…which meant that we studied it. We looked at the evolution of science fiction, and the influence. It wasn’t treated with less or more respect than a more traditional literature class would have done.

I learned that evaluation and enjoyment can go together: that you don’t have to analyze the life out of something, but that you can learn more through examination of something you love.

I remember discussing the same books together, but also being given a broad range of titles from which to read, and being able to argue for reading titles of our choice.

This class wasn’t just about reading, though. We formed a science fiction club, with Mrs. Church as the requisite sponsor. We eventually were given a small store room, like a closet, which we used for a library (I was the club librarian). Perhaps just as importantly, we wrote. We published a magazine…two different ones over time, as I recall. We actually sold Paradox-1…for 50 cents a copy.

That was my first experience as a writer for the public. We had an editor (that wasn’t me). We had discussions about the title, the appearance, the lay-out.

Not every teacher would have done that.

I also appreciate that Mrs. Church would correct me. I remember once saying that I was “raised in the South” (I lived in Virginia until I was four years old), and Mrs. Church saying (in a put on Southern accent), “Cotton is raised, you were reared.” 😉

I can’t guarantee that this recollection is correct, but my memory is that Mrs. Church was being given a short ride around the parking lot on a student’s motorcycle and fell off and suffered a head injury that may have ended classroom teaching (and perhaps it did something worse, I don’t remember for sure). Not everybody wore helmets back then, and this was impromptu.

I owe a lot to Mrs. Church. When I was being turned off school and literary analysis, Mrs. Church was an inspiration. I learned that discipline and devotion can walk hand in hand. I learned that being respected doesn’t mean being coddled. I learned that science fiction was a worthy type of literature, with a long history. I learned to work with others in creative endeavors, which is a difficult lesson indeed.

Thank you, Mrs. Church, for all you did that you didn’t have to do.

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

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

*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.


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