Archive for the ‘A Day in the LIfe of a Kindleer’ Category

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! 🙂 

 

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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.

Round up #311: Orwell, Open Road

October 29, 2015

Round up #311: Orwell, Open Road

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

Getting comfortable with the 7″ Fire tablet

I’ve had the

Fire, 7″ Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB – Includes Special Offers, Black (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) $49.99

for about a week now, and I feel like I have a pretty good sense of it.

I would describe the device itself as serviceable, and the Fire OS 5 (which will come to some older models) as superior.

I certainly miss having dictation for the keyboard, and trace typing (like Swype…you drag your finger around to make words). I use both of those a lot on my now discontinued Kindle Fire HDX 7 (which is still what I’ve been using most of the time.

The biggest problem I’ve had with it, and I called Kindle Support to check it with them (no almost instant onscreen Mayday help), is that I can’t use it as a nightstand clock.

My Kindle Fire HDX is my nightstand clock. I have it (unplugged, just running on battery) next to the bed. The native clock app has a nightstand mode. The numbers are red, it’s dim, and it stays on all night. It takes about half the battery charge, which is fine…it charges up quickly enough in the morning.

With the new Fire, the clock app has a Night Mode…but it doesn’t override the autosleep timing! In other words, when I’m sleeping, it’s sleeping, too: no display. I don’t know about you, but I want to be able wake up groggily in the middle of the night, glance over, see what time it is….and decide if it’s appropriate to wake up the rest of the way and get out of bed. I don’t want to have to wake up the tablet to decide that.

One issue is that you can’t set the autosleep on the device to “Never”, which is my preferred setting. I’ll put my devices to sleep when I choose. 🙂

It’s a minor irritation, and I’m still using my KFHDX7 next to the bed.

Outside of that, it’s pretty good. I’d feel fine with having it for a guest or in  doctor’s waiting room. We don’t call them that any more, by the way…it’s a negative connotation.. They probably say you are “in the lobby”, in the “reception area”, or just “out front”. I loved a cartoon that I saw years ago which has a patient saying to the doctor, “If you want me to be more active, why have I been sitting in your waiting room for forty-five minutes?” 😉

Jane Friedman sounds like someone I would like to know

Jane Friedman is the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Open Road Media.

That’s been one of the best publishers for e-books. They typically publish backlist titles (older titles…the books that aren’t in the front of the catalog), and they secured the e-book rights for those when the bigger tradpubs (traditional publishers) were still hadn’t really awakened to the need.

In this

The Bookseller post by Porter Anderson

Friedman talks about the philosophy of the company.

I agree with a lot of it!

It’s definitely worth a read: this is a company that is still “…chasing profitability”. It has a clear-eyed view of the glory of resurrecting p-books (paperbooks) for the digital era. Plus, the good-humored CEO has close to 10,000 p-books at home…I can empathize. 😉

Orwell again

One of the most infamous incidents for Amazon and the Kindle was when they removed copies of a certain edition of George Orwell from customers’ Kindles.

No doubt, the irony of it being George Orwell added to the coverage of it.

Amazon apologized, compensated customers, and even Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos called it “stupid”. They said they wouldn’t do the same thing in the same circumstances again, and to my knowledge, they haven’t.

Now, my understanding is that what happened was that a publisher had this book in the Kindle store, but specifically for the Australian market where the books are in the public domain (no longer under copyright protection, so no permission is needed). Amazon apparently accidentally made them available in the USA, where they were (again as I understand it, unintentionally on the publisher’s part) infringing on the rights of the estate.

In trying to rectify that, Amazon reached into customer’s devices, and deleted the unauthorized file.

Possessing that file on your Kindle, by the way, was not illegal. In

Dowling v United States

the Supreme Court of the U.S.A. found that possession of infringing copies of a copyrighted work was not the same as possession of stolen goods (despite people commonly conflating the terms “theft” and “infringement”, they are different…that’s not to say that one is less “bad” than the other, but they aren’t the same).

One of my first posts, more than six years ago, was a parody about this situation:

All’s Well That Orwells

Well, recently, there’s been another story involving Orwell’s works and alleged infringement.

In this

TorrentFreak post by Ernesto

it’s reported that “internet radio host Josh Hadley” had some designed removed from an online retailer (one I’ve used) because of a complaint supposedly from the Orwell estate.

The design had the number 1984 prominently, and I think most people would see it as a clear allusion to the Orwell book.

However, allusions are not illegal…and you can’t copyright a title.

You can trademark it, but that doesn’t seem to me to be what’s being suggested here.

On the basis of the limited information in this article, it does appear to have been an overreach…the kind for which Disney has been famous.

The retailer is within their rights (and may be wise) to remove an item when they receive a legitimate looking claim of infringement.

They are under no obligation to carry anything. If they did continue to distribute something after having been told it was infringing, and that did turn out to be the case, they could be liable.

So, irritating as it might be, someone can make a claim of infringement, and most retailers would, I think, remove the item.

I’ve made a claim like that myself to Amazon, and a work (which was infringing) was removed.

I did have to attest that I was the copyright holder, and I had to send them evidence. Amazon could have hypothetically gone after me if I had lied to them (and I didn’t and I don’t). 🙂

Just based on what I’ve seen, Hadley was probably within rights to make the design.

The retailer was within rights not to carry it.

If the estate did not file the complaint in good faith…I’m not sure what the legal ramifications could possibly be. Restraint of trade?

I’ve had the same sort of thing happen to me a couple of times when I was reasonably sure I wasn’t infringing.

One was a t-shirt design where I used a public domain illustration. Somebody complained, I guess, and it doesn’t even have to have been the rightsholder.

I basically shrugged about it.

The other one was more amusing.

We did a t-shirt that said, “Frickin’ panda heads”. Yes, that was a reference to playing on the Wii Fit. I don’t think that’s an infringement…but, oh well.

It might be different if I was designing t-shirts for a living…if my family depended on it. Then, it might be worth fighting for it.

For me, it wasn’t.

Supergirl and Pat Savage

I know some of my readers are fans of Doc Savage, who is one of my fictional heroes. If you are, you might be interested in a piece I recently wrote in The Measured Circle:

Supergirl is a hit! Thanks (again), Doc Savage

What do you think? Should I have fought the takedown notices, in order to defend people who do rely on it? What should retailers do with infringement claims? Do you use a tablet a nightstand clock? Do you have an app you like that overrides the global sleep setting? 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.

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2015

March 15, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2015

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…and it’s always a lot.

I have to say, though, I’m surprised how much it is the same this time as last time. I did it last year pre-Fire Phone, and that does affect it. I’m doing it this year pre-Amazon Echo (I could have mine within a couple of weeks), so I wanted to get this done before that new device changes things.

I usually wake up between about 2:00 and 3:30 AM. That’s hours before I need to go to work, but I get a lot of things done (including writing) during that time.

I know what time it is because I have my

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

set up next to the bed as a clock. I use the built-in clock app, set in nightstand mode. There is no problem at all in reading that in the dark, although it would be quite dim (it’s lit in red) in a normally lit room…there are other clock options for other situations. The battery will have gone down about 40% (or somewhat less) since I went to bed.

They changed the clock app since last year, and I have to say, I don’t like the change as well. Weirdly, the time moves around on the display…it’s not always in the same part of the screen. Also, the minutes are in small writing. When I’m looking at a nightstand clock, I want it to be as easy to read as possible (so I don’t have to wake up all the way to figure out what it says), and this does make that harder…tolerable, but harder.

It’s in the

Origami case (at AmazonSmile*)

from Amazon, in a configuration that makes it stand up. I did think that case was expensive (it’s $44.99 right now…$5 less than I paid for it in October of 2013..and $5 more than it was last year when I did one of these), but I have to say, it’s held up very well and I do use its features.

I pick it up facing me, so it won’t bother my Significant Other (it wouldn’t anyway, but I’m just being cautious) and head for the bathroom.

The two dogs we have now (Elf and Patty) don’t get up when I do that: they can be incredibly active for an hour or so at a time…but they also sleep better than most humans. 😉

I have a Cloud Collection with my morning apps. I’ll prop the Fire on the towel bar, and start with the

ABC7 News San Francisco (at AmazonSmile)

That’s the free app from my local station. I check that first in case there is anything that’s going to mess up traffic, but it is quite well designed. For one thing, I can flip articles from there into my

free Flipboard magazines

and e-mail articles easily to people if I want.

For another, they always have a text version of the story…I never have to launch a video to find out what is happening in the article. CNN (see below) doesn’t do that.

Oh, I should mention: before I start using the apps, I turn the wireless back on (I leave it off at night to save battery), increase the brightness from the lowest possible setting to about 25%, and turn off the orientation lock (I don’t like the clock flipping around while I’m carrying the Fire to the bathroom). I do all that by swiping down from the top.

After that, and while I’m doing some other morning tasks, it’s on to the

CNN Breaking US & World News (at AmazonSmile)

app. Again, I can flip and e-mail from there. I typically read the following sections:

  • Home
  • Featured
  • World
  • Entertainment
  • Tech
  • Health

I won’t finish all that before I head for the kitchen, dogs thumping on to the floor and “shaking it out” (I hear the dog tags jingle) to follow me. Well, we don’t go to the kitchen first: we all go outside for a bit. I start my morning exercise there. I do about 45 minutes, twice a day…as the baseline. I track that with the free

Review: MyFitnessPal

app. Over the course of more than a year, I’ve lost more than forty pounds. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, and eating wasn’t really the issue for me: it was doing regular exercise. This app has kept me on track with that, entering my food and my activity. I haven’t lost a lot more weight since last year, but I have gotten into better shape.

We come back in and I feed the dogs. I eat a small bag of almonds myself (Trader Joe’s sells these “handful” size bags), a slice of Veggie Go pepper jack cheese, and half a spinach bolani (yes, I’m  a creature of habit), then back to finish the exercise. I set the Fire up on the entertainment unit and keep reading while I work out. That’s not always convenient: I can only really change the pages between reps or sets (I’m doing my own brand of calisthenics, really…I walk with a cane, so I need to come up with things that will work and still burn the calories).

I’ll run out of CNN before I run out of exercise, usually, so it’s on to my morning

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

read. Again, this is a free app. I highly recommend it: you can customize what you see, and it very much fills the void of having a morning newspaper. I flip articles from into my magazines also.

Somewhere in here, I finish the exercise, and make and eat breakfast…still reading Flipboard usually.

I also have CNN on the TV…with the sound muted during some of this. There are exercises where I just can’t read my Fire…so at least I can read a news crawl. 😉

Update: since last year, we bought an inexpensive Element TV (that’s a brand I like…not super fancy, but it works). It has a really cool feature: you can set it so that when you mute it, closed captioning automatically comes on, then goes off again when you unmute. I suppose I could get bluetooth headphones and listen to the audio, but, I like reading. 😉 I also like at least two things happening at once, and the captioning, the crawl, and the video (as a combination) works for me.

In between exercise sets, I turn on my

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

That’s not only my cellphone…it’s our house phone, too. Yep, we don’t have a landline…haven’t had one for years. I do turn it off at night, but my Significant Other has a phone on…in an emergency, someone could reach us.

I don’t like my Fire Phone as well as I liked my Galaxy S3 (which I gave up for this), but it does work and has some cool features. They have also improved it, and I think they’ll continue to do so.

After Flipboard, it’s on to the

WordPress (at AmazonSmile)

app. That’s where I’m going to approve your comments.

I honestly like to have seen the news myself first, before I get comments on it. That gives me a better perspective, and often makes it easy for me to make a valuable reply. I love it when a reader gives me a heads-up for something which I haven’t seen yet!

I’m not quite writing replies, yet, unless something urgent arises. If that happens, or if big enough news was revealed in the free apps, I’ll go to…a desktop. Yep, an actual desktop computer. While the built-in dictation app on the Fire works remarkably well (easily translating my spoken words into text), it’s faster for me to type on a full-sized keyboard.

New since last year?

The Washington Post (at AmazonSmile*)

I got that free for having a Kindle Fire tablet. I’m honestly not sure I’ll renew it when the time comes to pay for it. It has some interesting things, and I do look through it all every day, but I’m not sure I’d miss it. I can flip things from there, though, so that’s been nice (book reviews on the weekend, for example). It also has some clunkiness. The worst thing, and I know this is a small thing, is that the back button doesn’t work as I would expect it to work. When I have the table of contents open, I can tap and go to a story. The default view is two stories on the screen, which is too small for me, so I tap a single story to enlarge it. When I use the Fire’s back button, it doesn’t take me back to the table of contents…it makes it two stories again. If I remember to go to the table of contents instead of back, I’m fine, but that goes against the back button habit…and that habit is part of Amazon’s own operating system.

I also now go to the

IMDb Movies & TV (at AmazonSmile*)

They’ve improved the app, and I can flip stories from there into my Flipboard magazines.

Next is the Maxthon browser. I’m pretty sure I got that from Amazon originally, but it isn’t currently available for the KFHDX. It is my favorite browser, and the one I also usually use on the desktop (I’m using it right now). I believe you can get it at 1Mobile for the Fire. I like the privacy mode (Silk now has one, by the way), and I like how it syncs my favorites easily between devices. I also have Chrome, Dolphin, and Silk available to me on my Fire, but don’t use them much.

I hit some favorites in Maxthon:

  • I go Amazon and get the free app of the day (almost every time)
  • I check the Kindle Daily Deals
  • I check BoxOfficeMojo
  • I check my Flipboard magazines reader counts (I now have thousands of readers for them)

One more morning stop: the built-in e-mail app on my Fire, where I check my incoming e-mail. Again, I won’t tend to respond there, but it’s a great place to read the mail.

Now, let me point out: I’ve been reading the Fire for over an hour at this point…and it’s all been free items.

Then, it’s usually on to the desktop to write. I may have the Fire open alongside that, but usually not. At this point, it’s charging. It doesn’t take it very long to charge to 100%…I don’t think it’s an hour. I use the

Pwr+® 6.5 Ft AC Adapter 2.1A Rapid Charger (at AmazonSmile)

I like it a lot! I broke one (not the device’s fault…the Fire slipped off the arm of the couch and slid between the arm and the cushion: that, not unreasonably, bent the jack) and replaced it.

If I have more time to read before I leave, it may be sight-reading a book (some times borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, or now, from Kindle Unlimited). I may also read Fortean Times using the Zinio app, which you get from the Zinio site. I pay for that, and I may have paid for the book I’m reading (or I’m reading it because of Prime or Kindle Unlimited…that’s no additional cost, but there has been a cost). I also do read books I’ve gotten for free. Oh, and I also read

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile)

I’m not averse to paying for content…it is nice that a lot of what I like is available for free to me. 🙂

Heading off to work (and my commute varies, since I go to different places…it can be an hour), it’s text-to-speech in the car, so more book time. 🙂

I have my Fire with me all the time at work. I can sometimes get by with that rather than with my laptop: I work in cramped spaces sometimes, and it’s a relief.

I use

OfficeSuite Professional 7 (at AmazonSmile)

sometimes (which I got as a Free App of the Day) to do viewing and light-editing of Microsoft Office files), and I use

ColorNote Notepad Notes (at AmazonSmile)

(yet another free app) to make quick notes, often using the dictation feature again (speech-to-text).

I have Evernote, but I’ve never gotten into it, for some reason.

Mainly, though, I’m reading at breaks and at lunch. 🙂 I am not normally connected to wireless, so I use my phone to approve comments and check things.

When I get home, I turn airplane mode back off, and it’s back to e-mail, checking the web, and reading.

It’s probably worth noting that I use the

Safeway (at AmazonSmile)

We do seem to save a lot of money with it (it’s free)…and it lets us know what savings it has on things we have bought before. That’s very convenient!

As a nightly thing, I switch to the

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

for actually reading in bed before going to sleep. I’m usually asleep by 9:00…I get about four or six hours sleep a night. Just three years ago, I regularly got eight hours (9:00 PM to 5:00 AM), but I don’t know if it’s the lost weight or just getting older, but I don’t need that much any more. I wake up naturally…no alarm. I did talk to my doctor about the relatively short sleeping period…seems to have no ill effects at this point.

Something which has changed a lot since last year: the amount that I use our

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

and we have also gotten a

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

In the bedroom, we’ve “cut the cable”…well, we hadn’t had a cable in there for years, really.

All of the content there is through the Amazon Fire TV.

During the morning routine or at night, I usually first go to

YouTube (at AmazonSmile*)

I want to see what is trending…I often enjoy that, and it keeps me pop culture current. 😉 I will sometimes search for something, but not that often.

We also now pay for

Hulu Plus (at AmazonSmile*)

I’ve never had such a steep learning curve with a TV-related product! It’s quite odd and different from most other things. I’m used to being able to catch up on a program whenever I want, either by watching it on demand from Comcast, or recorded on our Tivo. With Hulu, they only keep a handful of the most recent episodes of really popular shows, from what I can tell.

Dropping cable altogether and just using the Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick would be less convenient than Tivo with Comcast for that sort of thing, but could work.

Right now, I watch current shows (Gotham, The Walking Dead) on the Tivo, and go through older shows (The Time Tunnel, My Living Doll) on Hulu.

I also watch

Watchup (at AmazonSmile*)

which I find to be a pretty good news video app, including clips from well-known sources. It also can do some coverage of more offbeat things. I could probably improve its choices for me, but it only gives you three seconds to vote thumbs up or thumbs down on a video…if I’m getting dressed or brushing my teeth, that’s not enough time.

I don’t watch it every day, but I do watch

BBC News for Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

I do like that perspective, but I like the shorter more variable news segments better on Watchup for the times I’m watching.

Although, in writing this post, I just checked to see if BBC News is available for the Fire TV Stick (it wasn’t for the last of the Day in the Life posts), and it is! Hm…it’s possible with that I could drop CNN in the family room (if it will do the closed captioning…might not).

We are going to look at cutting the relatively small cable package we have now, but it might not save us much: it’s bundled with our internet, and we don’t have anything fancy. If we dropped it, I’d say the biggest loss would be Ellen…I watch every episode, usually while exercising. I can adjust, though. 😉 I’m not aware of a legal place to watch it on demand, which seems odd.

Although the

TED app (at Amazon Smile*)

and Netflix are both in my Recents, I haven’t watched them recently.

Interesting for me to note…Prime Video isn’t even in my recents. I was watching that quite a bit last year. I do still use Prime Video sometimes: I’ve downloaded Warehouse 13 episodes to watch at lunch at work (while I exercise, sometimes…yeah, I guess I’m exercising quite a bit).

Let’s see what else I use on the Fire:

Oh, I use

AccuWeather (at AmazonSmile)

every day…consider that part of the morning routine. I didn’t think of it at first, because I don’t invoke it: it’s in my notifications. I find it to be pretty accurate…and again, it’s free. I have it set in centigrade: I decided to convert to that a while back. I have trouble thinking of the temperatures in Fahrenheit now, so it’s nice that it has the option. Centigrade is just simpler: zero is literally freezing, ten is cold, twenty is fine for most people, thirty is hot. That’s rule of thumb, but works pretty well.

I tend to use the calendar on my phone, rather than on my KFHDX, but I will check an app which is no longer available. It shows my Google calendar: I could do that in the built-in calendar app, but this one had a nicer format.

I also suggest you use

Clean Master (at AmazonSmile*)

I use it more than once a week to clean up junk files on my Fire, and it seems to work very well. Guess how much it costs? 😉 Nothing…

I also use

Fandango Movies – Times & Tickets (at AmazonSmile)

on the weekend (not to purchase tickets, just to get times), and without thinking about it I use

Battery Doctor (at AmazonSmile)

The only reason I even notice it is it places a little tone when the Fire is 100% charged: nice to be able to hear it when I’m working on the desktop.

Finally, I use Prime Music from time to time…I’ve listened to playlists, and I have tried and enjoyed some of the new stations. That’s not super common, though…maybe when I’m writing. It’s text-to-speech in the car, and usually video when exercising.

As to the Fire Phone…

I check my e-mail and the comments on this blog quite often. I also have written blogposts on it (using the dictation feature), although that’s not as good as having a keyboard.

I don’t tend to do that on my Fire tablet when I’m out, because I’m not always connected to wi-fi.

Others I use on the Fire Phone:

  • the built-in calendar: shows my Google calendar appointments nicely
  • maps: they’ve made that work quite well, I’d say better than what I had on the Galaxy
  • texting…every day, with my Significant Other usually. It’s likely to be a quick text, dictated, when I’m leaving work (that varies)
  • photos: I love that photos I take on my phone or just available on our Fire TV and Fire TV Stick with no effort!
  • the phone…I’m hoping they’ll eventually let us use the Echo to make phone calls and send texts, perhaps through a Fire Phone (and maybe through other brands eventually)
  • IMDb news
  • Maxthon
  • MyFitnessPal
  • the built-in notes app
  • alarms
  • an app for my medical provider
  • Magic Bubbles (at AmazonSmile*)…that’s an augmented reality app. AR overlays something virtual on the real world…in this case, I can blow on a virtual bubble wand, and bubbles float across the room (apparently). I can pop them, if I want. It intrigues me that that is the only “game” I’m using much at all. In addition to managing a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I used to manage a gamestore…I would have though I played more 🙂

Whew!

Now, some of you may look at all that and worry that I don’t get enough time “unplugged” (even when I read, I’m doing it on a screen…not technically plugged in, but I think that counts).

One thing I really like is we’ve been going to a great dog park near us, usually both weekend days. We drive about half an hour to get there, but it’s been ranked as one of the best dog parks in the world. I think it’s very natural feeling for our dogs to rove over two or three miles with us (we have to zig zag through the park, which is huge, to get that much…but not back and forth over the exact same path) with it being familiar territory. They are super happy there! We like the walk…even with the cane, I walk pretty well (my SO says I’m much faster with the cane than I was without it), and I enjoy that. We see birds, and I keep looking for a marine mammal…no luck yet, but I’ve heard it has happened there.

I’ll check in with this again next year…and we’ll see if the Echo has replaced any of my app use. Oh, for those of you who use audiobooks (I prefer TTS…I don’t like the actor/author interpreting the characters for me, unless I’ve already read the book), there is now an Audible streaming service:

http://audible.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/4304/~/the-audible-cloud-player

Yes, you can listen to your Audible audiobooks in a browser!

I mention that here because that might mean that Audible books will come to the Echo, which I’d like to see…er, hear. 😉

If you have questions about this, or thoughts about your Kindle (and other Amazon devices) in your daily life, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2014

July 21, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2014

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…and it’s always a lot.

I usually wake up between about 3:00 and 3:30 AM. That’s hours before I need to go to work, but I get a lot of things done (including writing) during that time.

I know what time it is because I have my

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

set up next to the bed as a clock. I use the built-in clock app, set in nightstand mode. There is no problem at all in reading that in the dark, although it would be quite dim (it’s lit in red) in a normally lit room…there are other clock options for other situations. The battery will have gone down about 40% since I went to bed.

It’s in the

Origami case (at AmazonSmile)

from Amazon, in a configuration that makes it stand up. I did think that case was expensive (it’s $39.99 right now…$10 less than I paid for it in October of last year), but I have to say, it’s held up very well and I do use its features.

I pick it up facing me, so it won’t bother my Significant Other (it wouldn’t anyway, but I’m just being cautious) and head for the bathroom.

The two dogs we have now (both new since last year) don’t get up when I do that: they can be incredibly active for an hour or so at a time…but they also sleep better than most humans. 😉

I have a Cloud Collection with my morning apps. I’ll prop the Fire on the towel bar, and start with the

ABC7 News San Francisco (at AmazonSmile)

That’s the free app from my local station. I check that first in case there is anything that’s going to mess up traffic, but it is quite well designed. For one thing, I can flip articles from there into my

free Flipboard magazines

and e-mail articles easily to people if I want.

Oh, I should mention: before I start using the apps, I turn the wireless back on (I leave it off at night), increase the brightness from the lowest possible setting to about 25%, and turn off the orientation lock (I don’t like the clock flipping around while I’m carrying the Fire to the bathroom). I do all that by swiping down from the top.

After that, and while I’m doing some other morning tasks, it’s on to the

CNN Breaking US & World News (at AmazonSmile)

app. Again, I can flip and e-mail from there. I typically read the following sections:

  • Home
  • Featured
  • World
  • Entertainment
  • Tech
  • Health

I won’t finish all that before I head for the kitchen, dogs thumping on to the floor and “shaking it out” (I hear the dog tags jingle) to follow me. Well, we don’t go to the kitchen first: we all go outside for a bit. I start my morning exercise there. I do about 45 minutes, twice a day…as the baseline. I track that with the free

Review: MyFitnessPal

app. Over the course of more than a year, I’ve lost more than forty pounds. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, and eating wasn’t really the issue for me: it was doing regular exercise. This app has kept me on track with that, entering my food and my activity.

We come back in and I feed the dogs. I eat a small bag of almonds myself (Trader Joe’s sells these “handful” size bags), then back to finish the exercise. I set the Fire up on the entertainment unit and keep reading while I work out. That’s not always convenient: I can only really change the pages between reps or sets (I’m doing my own brand of calisthenics, really…I walk with a cane, so I need to come up with things that will work and still burn the calories).

I’ll run out of CNN before I run out of exercise, usually, so it’s on to my morning

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

read. Again, this is a free app. I highly recommend it: you can customize what you see, and it very much fills the void of having a morning newspaper. I flip articles from into my magazines also.

Somewhere in here, I finish the exercise, and make and eat breakfast…still reading Flipboard usually.

I also have CNN on the TV…with the sound muted during some of this. There are exercises where I just can’t read my Fire…so at least I can read a news crawl. 😉

After Flipboard, it’s on to the

WordPress (at AmazonSmile)

app. That’s where I’m going to approve your comments.

I honestly like to have seen the news myself first, before I get comments on it. That gives me a better perspective, and often makes it easy for me to make a valuable reply. I love it when a reader gives me a heads-up for something which I haven’t seen yet!

I’m not quite writing replies, yet, unless something urgent arises. If that happens, or if big enough news was revealed in the free apps, I’ll go to…a desktop. Yep, an actual desktop computer. While the built-in dictation app on the Fire works remarkably well (easily translating my spoken words into text), it’s faster for me to type on a full-sized keyboard.

Next is the Maxthon browser. I’m pretty sure I got that from Amazon originally, but it isn’t currently available for the KFHDX. It is my favorite browser, and the one I also usually use on the desktop (I’m using it right now). I believe you can get it at 1Mobile for the Fire. I like the privacy mode, and I like how it syncs my favorites easily between devices. I also have Chrome, Dolphin, and Silk available to me on my Fire, but don’t use them much.

I hit some favorites in Maxthon:

  • I go Amazon and get the free app of the day (almost every time)
  • I check the Kindle Daily Deals
  • I check BoxOfficeMojo
  • I check my Flipboard magazines reader counts (I now have thousands of readers for them)
  • I may check IMDb.com news, but one negative for that is that I can’t flip from there into my magazines…for that reason, I may wait until I’m on Chrome on the desktop…and that’s the main reason I use Chrome, is for the Flipboard extension

One more morning stop: the built-in e-mail app on my Fire, where I check my incoming e-mail. Again, I won’t tend to respond there, but it’s a great place to read the mail.

Now, let me point out: I’ve been reading the Fire for over an hour at this point…and it’s all been free items.

Then, it’s usually on to the desktop to write. I may have the Fire open alongside that, but usually not. At this point, it’s charging. It doesn’t take it very long to charge to 100%…I don’t think it’s an hour. I use the

Pwr+® 6.5 Ft AC Adapter 2.1A Rapid Charger (at AmazonSmile)

I like it a lot! I broke one (not the device’s fault…the Fire slipped off the arm of the couch and slid between the arm and the cushion: that, not unreasonably, bent the jack) and replaced it.

If I have more time to read before I leave, it may be sight-reading a book (some times borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, or now, from Kindle Unlimited). I may also read Fortean Times using the Zinio app, which you get from the Zinio site. I pay for that, and I may have paid for the book I’m reading (or I’m reading it because of Prime or Kindle Unlimited…that’s no additional cost, but there has been a cost). I also do read books I’ve gotten for free. Oh, and I also read

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile)

I’m not averse to paying for content…it is nice that a lot what I like is available for free to me. 🙂

Heading off to work (and my commute varies, since I go to different places…it can be an hour), it’s text-to-speech in the car, so more book time. 🙂 My adult kid did get me an Audible subscription recently…I used my first credit to get a Pimsleur beginning Japanese course. I’ve listened to that in the car (using the Audible app), but it’s much more likely to be TTS.

I have my Fire with me all the time at work. I can sometimes get by with that rather than with my laptop: I work in cramped spaces sometimes, and it’s a relief.

I use

OfficeSuite Professional 7 (at AmazonSmile)

sometimes (which I got as a Free App of the Day) to do viewing and light-editing of Microsoft Office files), and I use

ColorNote Notepad Notes (at AmazonSmile)

(yet another free app) to make quick notes, often using the dictation feature again (speech-to-text).

I have Evernote, but I’ve never gotten into it, for some reason.

Mainly, though, I’m reading at breaks and at lunch. 🙂 I am not normally connected to wireless, so I use my phone to approve comments and check things. Starting later this week, that should be my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile)

I’m excited for that!

When I get home, I turn airplane mode back off, and it’s back to e-mail, checking the web, and reading.

It’s probably worth noting that I use the

Safeway (at AmazonSmile)

We do seem to save a lot of money with it (it’s free)…and it lets us know what savings it has on things we have bought before. That’s very convenient!

As a nightly thing, I switch to the

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

for actually reading in bed before going to sleep. I’m usually asleep by 9:00…I get about six hours sleep a night. Just two years ago, I regularly got eight hours (9:00 PM to 5:00 AM), but I don’t know if it’s the lost weight or just getting older, but I don’t need that much any more. I wake up naturally…no alarm.

One more thing which I use a lot more on the weekend than I do during the week:

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

I do use it some during the week. In one of our rooms, we do not have cable access at all: we just use the Fire TV. I watch Amazon Prime video on it. For one thing, I’m working my way back through

Red Dwarf (at AmazonSmile)

Some of it is quite ahead of its time! I just got to enjoy some SmartWatch jokes…with the AI (Artificial Intelligence) in the watch not enjoying what it sees when, for example, the wearer puts hands in pockets. 😉

I also use Netflix, and a couple of apps which didn’t come with it:

AOL On (at AmazonSmile)

Once again, it’s free…and it’s a good source of news stories (I like keeping up with the news). I can start a category of news story, and it will play them like a playlist…not that different from watching a news channel. There are some ads, but it’s not like the amount of commercials on a cable channel. The only annoying thing is that you may see the same short commercial over and over again. One tip: if it, or any app on your Fire TV locks up, you can go to Settings – Applications, and similar to on a Kindle Fire, clear the cache and/or force stop it.

YouTube (at AmazonSmile)

It’s a decent interface (although I wish it had voice search), and it’s good for something short. I usually check was trending, and I may search for something, although it is often obscure (I recently watched Frank Gorshin doing impressions on the Dean Martin show, for example).

Let’s see what else I use on the Fire:

Oh, I use

AccuWeather (at AmazonSmile)

every day…consider that part of the morning routine. I didn’t think of it at first, because I don’t invoke it: it’s in my notifications. I find it to be pretty accurate…and again, it’s free. I have it set in centigrade: I decided to convert to that a while back. I have trouble thinking of the temperatures in Fahrenheit now, so it’s nice that it has the option. Centigrade is just simpler: zero is literally freezing, ten is cold, twenty is fine for most people, thirty is hot. That’s rule of thumb, but works pretty well.

I tend to use the calendar on my phone, rather than on my KFHDX, but I will check an app which is no longer available. It shows my Google calendar: I could do that in the built-in calendar app, but this one had a nicer format.

I also suggest you use

Clean Master (at AmazonSmile)

I use it more than once a week to clean up junk files on my Fire, and it seems to work very well. Guess how much it costs? 😉 Nothing…

I also use

Fandango Movies – Times & Tickets (at AmazonSmile)

on the weekend (not to purchase tickets, just to get times), and without thinking about it I use

Battery Doctor (at AmazonSmile)

The only reason I even notice it is it places a little tone when the Fire is 100% charged: nice to be able to hear it when I’m working on the desktop.

There, I think that’s about it! I do some shopping from Amazon it, but I think that gives you a sense of a day in the life of this Kindleer…2014, and pre-Fire Phone. 🙂

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

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

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

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2013

March 29, 2013

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2013

How things have changed since I did my first

A day in the life of a Kindleer

back in 2010!

I followed that up in 2011 with

A tale in the life: the Enhanced Reading Experience

but I thought it was worth doing another one.

One of the key changes, of course, is that I’m mostly using a Kindle Fire, rather than an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle).

The goal here is to give you an idea of how I use it, so you can maybe get some ideas and/or ask some questions. I’m going to describe a typical workday.

===

I wake up, usually on my own before any alarm. My Significant Other is out of the house at the gym swimming before I get up. We now have two older dogs, and when I want them up, I’ll get them…they don’t try to wake me up early.

I pick up my Kindle Fire 8.9″ from the nightstand. I leave it hanging off the edge by an inch or so…otherwise, it’s heavy enough that’s it’s hard to scoop up.

I have an autowake cover…I just have to open it, and the Kindle wakes up.  I use this one: CaseCrown Ridge Standby Case (Purple) for Amazon Kindle Fire HD 8.9 Inch (Built-in magnet for sleep / wake feature). Even though I keep the brightness turned down (partially to save battery), I still have to cover my eyes when I flip open the cover. I’m pretty light sensitive, though, which may have to do with some color vision deficiency (“color blindness”).

I open up Flipboard, and give it a bit of time to update. I do leave the wi-fi connected when I go to sleep. It could take, oh, twenty seconds or so for the “spinners” to stop, and everything is updated.

I head into the bathroom, where I exercise (I don’t want to get the dogs going yet).

I work out for about forty-five minutes or so. During most of it, I am reading Flipboard with my Fire on the towel rack. I “favorite” things on Twitter that I might want to write about later…I’m actually pretty disappointed when I can’t favorite a specific article.

I read both the “cover stories” and my Twitter feed. The author Amanda Hocking really knows how to use Twitter! I look forward to those tweets every day.

I also check a few other things with the Fire on the towel rack. I use the WordPress app to check for comments that happened over night, and generally approve them. I’m not going to reply until I can sit down. 😉

I use the Maxthon browser (which I think I sideloaded for this model of Kindle) to check the Free App of the Day (which I almost always get…it takes some pretty bad reviews to get me to skip one), and Kindle Daily Deal. I might buy something from the KDDs right then.

Again, using the Maxthon browser, I check IMDb. I know there is an app for it on my Fire, but I prefer looking at the full site. I might also check BoxOfficeMojo (also owned by Amazon), which is linked at the bottom of the IMDb page.

I’m probably through with that part of the exercise by then, but I may also check my e-mail using the built-in e-mail app. I’ve said this before, but I am far more responsive to comments on the blog than to e-mails… occasionally, a reader finds my e-mail address and sends me something, and it may be days or longer before I respond to it. 😦

For the next part of the exercise, I can’t stand next to the towel rack (I need more room). So, I put the Fire on the counter, and open iSpy Cameras. I get to my favorites, and while they are still in “thumbnail” (which is actually pretty big), I can see what the weather is like where my adult kid lives. Then, I usually open up the Snooty the manatee cam. There is more than one manatee, actually, and they can be pretty active at that time of day. It’s fun to watch them swim around, slowly…like dolphins in slow motion (without all that jumping). 😉 I also, love, love, love to see the dogs swimming in the Olde Town Pet Resort pool, but there’s usually nobody there that early.

Then I finish getting ready to that point, and wake up the dogs for breakfast.

If I haven’t read my e-mail, I do that during breakfast. I also plug in the Fire…it will fully charge before I get to the car. Before I leave the house, I’ll also play some Dabble…that tends to wake me up. 🙂

I’ll still use the desktop to deal with the forums and usually to write replies to comments and a blogpost. I can do it with a Bluetooth keyboard and my Fire, but it’s easier on the desktop.

I check my daily schedule using the built-in calendar app, which draws from the Google calendar I use for work. I have an irregular schedule, and want to make sure I don’t go to the wrong place. 🙂

Off to work…I put the Kindle Fire in Airplane Mode to save power, and then it’s text-to-speech in the car. I use my Coby CA-745 Wireless FM Car Transmitter and a car charger. We are thinking about getting a new car…this one (a Scion) has over 150K on it, and it’s still doing okay, but it’s about time. I presume my next one will have Bluetooth, or at least an audiojack. 😉

Park the car, go in…well, one more game of Dabble first. 😉 Hey, I’m always early. 🙂

During work, I’m not typically connected. I do have a 4G model, but don’t use the 4G much at all. If I need to use any documents, I will have e-mailed them to myself (using my regular e-mail address…not sending it through the Kindle Personal Document Service, usually) when I was at home…that’s usually the easiest. I download them at home. Then, I open them with OfficeSuite Professional 7 at work. I do that for PowerPoint, Excel, and Word.

If I need to make a quick note at work, I still use ColorNote Notepad Notes, which I first started using on my Kindle Fire 1st generation. I have Evernote, which is a lot more robust, but I rarely need all that. I’m just jotting down a few words, and ColorNote is simple for that.

I don’t like to read Flipboard at night…I’m treating it like a morning paper, and I want to make sure there’s enough of it to read. 🙂

So, I am reading books on my Fire at home. I do use an RSK (Reflective Screen Kindle) a bit every day, but the bulk of my reading is on my Fire. That certainly surprised me!

I’m also likely to read magazines on my Fire…Entertainment Weekly every week, TV Guide, Fortean Times (which I read in the Zinio app…it’s not available in the Kindle Newsstand).

End of the night, I exercise again. The dogs are awake, so I’m not doing that in the bathroom and reading, usually, for most of it. When I do part of it with the Kindle on the towel rack (and while I brush my teeth and such), that’s usually a book.

Go to bed, play a little Dabble, read a bit more…put the Kindle Fire back on the nightstand, with a bit of it hanging off to make it easy to lift the next morning…scratch one of the dog’s heads thirty times before going to sleep: we have that ritual. 🙂 My  Significant  Other doesn’t think the dog can count that high, but I can…

That’s not all that I do with the Kindle Fire during a week…the weekends are different. For example, I’ll use Fandango to check movie times on Saturday…we go almost every week.

Well, hope that helps! If you have any question, feel free to comment on this post. I can just hear some of you now…”Scratching the dog’s head the same number of times each night? Hm…” 😉

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

A tale in the life: the Enhanced Reading Experience

February 5, 2011

A tale in the life: the Enhanced Reading Experience

I got good response to a post I did a while ago (suggested by Denise, one of my readers) in which I described A Day in the Life of a Kindleer

The goal was to give people some idea of the functions of a Kindle besides just reading on it.

I deliberately didn’t get too technical on that one.

I was thinking it might be good to use a post to put some of the reading functions in context.  That can help people remember. 

So, here we go…the Enhanced Reading Experience (ERE…I just made that up…it sounds sort of literary).  😉

Oh, and I’m describing a Kindle 3, the latest model. 

===

I wake up the Kindle by holding the power switch on the bottom edge to my right as I face the screen for about a second, then releasing it.

(You can tell if the Kindle is asleep or turned off because it will have a “screensaver” ((a sleep mode picture)) on the screen if it is asleep, and it will be blank if it is turned off.  Amazon says it is generally better to let it sleep than to turn it off)

The Kindle wakes up very quickly.  I see my homescreen with the list of books on my Kindle, with my Current collection at the top.  It’s already selected with a thick underline, so I just click (by pushing the middle of my 5-way navigation device).  The Current Collection line turns black for a split second, then the entire screens turns black for an even shorter time, then the Collection opens. 

(I usually go to Home when I finish reading.  You don’t really have to do that…I’m just being overly cautious, in case the Kindle resets and forgets where I was in the book.  If I hadn’t done that, the last page I was reading would be displayed on the screen when I woke it up.  The Current Collection is just what I named a Collection I created.  Games, subscription items, and files that you put in the Audible folder will also appear on the homescreen.  Music you put into the Music folder will not)

With the Current Collection open, the book I was last reading is highlighted.  It also shows me the second line of information about it (below the title).  I can see the name of the Collection above the list of books, and above that, a count of the number of items and the sort order.  That’s the book I want, so I click.  The line turns black, and then the entire page is very briefly black.  The page opens.  At the top of the page, I can see the title of the book, my wireless status, and how charged my battery is.  At the bottom, it tells me what percentage I am into the book, what locations are displayed on this page, and how many locations there are altogether).

(My wi-fi status is off…I usually leave it off to conserve battery.  If the Kindle needs it to be turned on for something, it will ask me to do it.  If I send a personal document wirelessly to my Kindle, or just want to pick up my daily blogs, I turn it on by doing Menu-Turn Wireless On.  I try to charge the battery in the middle half…not in the first quarter, not in the last.  I have my Kindle sorted by Collections, which puts my books into their Collections, but also by Most Recent)

The text size is a little large.  I was reading it last right before bed, when I was a bit tired.  Increasing the text size makes it easier to read.  I hit the Aa button and select a smaller size with the 5-way.  As I make the selection, I can see a preview of what size it will be.  I get to a comfortable size and click.

(The Kindle 3 has eight text sizes.  The largest is very large.  There are people who read on the smallest size and there are people who read on the largest size). 

I read until the bottom of the “page” and hit the Next Page button (with “>” on it).The screen inverts the color for a very short time (it looks like it has a black background).  The next page is displayed.  The information at the top of the screen goes away to give me more reading space.  I can hit Menu to bring it back…and to see what time it is.

(I tend to push the next page button with my thumb.  I’m ambidextrous, and might use either hand when I’m reading, and push either Next Page button.  I tend to read one-handed).

I see a word and I want a definition of that word.  I use my 5-way to get in front of it, and the definition appears at the bottom of the screen.  The definition is a bit small for me to read, so I hit the Enter button.  I’m taken to the definition in the dictionary.  I’ll see all the detail…it’s not unusual for it to have more than a page of information.

(I don’t use the dictionary very much, but it does happen.  You can either go from the top or the bottom of the “page”.  If you approach the word from the bottom, the short definition pop up will be at the top of the screen instead of the bottom).

I like to keep track of which words I’ve looked up in the dictionary, so I bookmark the page.  I use Alt+B.

(You can also click Menu-Add a Bookmark.  When you come back to the dictionary, you can do Menu-View My Notes & Marks to review the words you’ve looked up before)

To get back to where I was reading, I hit the Back  button (under the 5-way).

(You can hit the Back button more than once…sort of like Undo in a Microsoft Office document…it will keep going back, one step at a time.)

I see a name (first and last).  I recognize the name, but I want some more information.  I click in front of the first name and move past the last name.  I don’t click, but I hit the spacebar.  The highlighted name appears at the bottom of the screen in a box.  I click down to where it thinks I want to save a note, then click right until I get to Wikipedia.  I click on Wikipedia.  Since my wireless is off, it asks me to turn it on.  I click to do so.  The Wikipedia page for that name opens (it may take around ten seconds).  The writing is too small for me to read comfortably.  I hit the Aa button and choose a higher zoom percentage.  I read the information.  If I want to save the page, I do Menu-Bookmark This Page.  I hit Back to return to where I was reading.  I do Menu-Turn Off Wireless.

I read some more. 

I find I quotation I like (I collect quotations).  I click in front of the first word of the quotation, use the 5-way to get to the end of the quotation, and click again.  The quotation is now highlighted with an underline.

(Not only will I see that highlighting again if I re-read the book, I can see all of the ones I have in a book by doing Menu-View My Notes & Marks.  I’ll see the highlighted section, and be able to jump to that.  Annotations Backup is turned on by default…that means that Amazon backs up my highlightings for me.  If I download the book to a different device on the account, I’ll still have my notes.  It also means my notes are contributing to Popular Highlights.   To turn that off, go to Home-Menu-Settings)

I’m not sure I’ll remember who said the quotation years later, so I add a note.  My 5-way is already at the end of the quotation: I just use the keyboard to type the character’s name.  A box appears at the bottom: I select “save note”.  A note indicator appears at the spot.

(Now that I’ve added that note, I can do Menu-View My Notes & Marks, and see it.  The notes and the highlighting appear in order…when I have that note spot selected, I can see my note at the bottom of my screen…letting me identify the speaker of the quotation.  I also had the option to “Save & Share”.  If I’d done that, a pointer to the quotation could be posted to Twitter or to Facebook, if I’ve set up those options in Home-Menu-Settings.  I can share a note later by doing Control+Enter ((I’d be prompted at the bottom of the screen)).  These notes and highlightings, if they were made on Kindle store items, are also at http://kindle.amazon.com , at least after you’ve synced with Amazon.  They can be copied and pasted from there  There is a limit as to how much you can clip ((which will send it to that Kindle.Amazon site)).  When you’ve reached the clipping limit ((you clip the same way you highlight)), the highlights will still appear in the book…but won’t appear at Kindle.Amazon or in MyClippings.txt in your Kindle’s Documents folder.  The clipping limit is set by the publisher…five to ten percent is common, but it can be between zero and 100 percent)

I decide I want some music while I’m reading.  That might be especially true with non-fiction for me.  I do Alt+spacebar to start the music.  If I don’t like that track, I do Alt+F to jump to the next song.

(Background music should be put into your Kindle’s Music folder)

I run across a reference to something earlier in the book.  I highlight the reference and hit space.  That note box opens at the bottom of the screen…I click right to select Find.  I get a list of references in the book, with the earliest reference first.  I see a bit of context.  If I’m good with that, I hit back to get back to the book.  If I’m not, I can click on a reference to go there.

(If I want to see a reference to that same thing in other items on my Kindle, I can select to search “my items”.  If I think I might want to buy a book about it, I can choose to search the store)

If this is a non-fiction book, I might want to know if there is a reference to a particular topic anywhere in the book.  If it’s fiction, I might want to see if a particular character appears.  I can do Menu-Search This Book. 

I have to get in the car to go on an errand.  I don’t want to stop reading, though.  I connect my Kindle to my car’s sound system.  I start the text-to-speech with Shift+Sym.  If I need to pause it while I’m driving (if I have to pay the parking attendant, for example), I hit the spacebar to pause it.  It starts reading where I was in the book, and “turns the pages” so I’ll be able to sight-read where it leaves off.  I put the Kindle to sleep before I start driving (by holding the power button to my right for a second and releasing)…the Kindle will keep reading while it is asleep.  That makes it use less of the battery charge.  When I’m done listening, I wake up the Kindle again and hit Home.  That stops text-to-speech and returns me to the homescreen.

(Many people don’t like the text-to-speech, but I listen to it for hours a week.  When the text-to-speech is running, you can hit Aa to adjust the speed and choose a voice.  There are six options…three speeds and two voices.  There are several ways to run  your Kindle through your car’s sound system.  You can use an FM transmitter if you don’t have an Aux jack…if you do, you just need a 3.5mm male to male cable.  Anything that says it is okay for an iPod is okay for the Kindle.  Plug the cable/transmitter into the headphone jack on the bottom of your Kindle.  There is also a volume rocker switch there)

I get to where I’m going and continue sight-reading.  When I’m done, I hit the Home button.  I slide my power button to the right for a second to put the Kindle to sleep.

===

I hope that’s helpful.  🙂  I think those are the main functions I use.  I haven’t listed everything or every way to do things I did list.  If you do other things while you are reading on your Kindle, it would help other people if you left a comment.  I didn’t address subscription items, like blogs or magazines…they work a bit differently.  If you have a different model of Kindle and want to know the equivalent method, feel free to ask.

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

A day in the life of a Kindleer

September 7, 2010

A day in the life of a Kindleer

4:35 AM: Cat meows to get me up.  I try to ignore it.

4:40 AM: Cat burrows under my hand and flips it up in the air like a dolphin would do.  Cat walks on me, and starts sandpaper-licking my head.  That’s loud!  Dog comes over to help get me up before they all starve.  Fortunately, I keep my Kindle under a tissue box so the cat can’t sit on it. 

4:45 AM: The alarm goes off.  I slide my Kindle* out from under the tissue box and head for the bathroom.  I turn the Kindle on and read a little bit (we’ll leave out the details about where).  That’s usually short articles, not too involving…right now, it’s Curious Folks Ask, which I got for free).   I turn on the Whispernet so it can pick up my blogs while I feed the animals.

5:00 AM: I turn on my work laptop and check e-mail and such.  I turn the Whispernet back off.  I also watch the 24-hour news (yes, I don’t only read).  😉  I shower and get ready for work.  I drape my Kindle over the towelbar, securing it in place with my m-edge platform cover (works very nicely for that).  I read while I brush my teeth (that’s probably a novel or something more long form…right now, it’s I Remember Lemuria, which I got free from Sacred-Texts.com ).  It takes me about fifteen minutes to do the whole teeth thing.

6:45 AM I’m all ready to go and get in the car.  I plug my Kindle into my car’s sound system, using my Coby 745 FM transmitter.  During my more than an hour drive, I get a lot of reading done.  Recently, it’s been Autobiography of a Yogi  (which I got for free) or The Classic Mystery Collection (over 100 books and stories for $2.99).  As a change of pace, I may listen to some music I have on my Kindle, or an old time radio show (again, on my Kindle in the Audible folder).   Usually, it’s a book, though.  I really like not having the commercials.

8:00 AM: I’m at work and get my laptop going.  It takes a couple of minutes to boot up…I might read while I’m waiting.  🙂  If I need any special information for the day (like how to contact Security to get into the building), I have that on my Kindle…I put it on there in a text file.

8:02 AM to 12:15 PM: I have to stay alert and involved with the people with whom I’m working today.  I do carry my Kindle around with me: I sometimes make notes on it for things I need to remember later.

12:15 PM: lunch-time.  I have my Kindle set up in the Break Room, in the cover’s nice reading easel position.  I get some long-form reading done, but also get to answer some questions about the Kindle.  😉  While I’m reading, I highlight a passage or two for my collection of quotations.  I could tweet those, but I usually don’t.  I don’t use the dictionary very much, but what’s a clevis?  I use Wikipedia to learn a little more about the author.  If my offspring’s flying in, I might check the flight status.  If we’re going to a movie, I could check Fandango…but that’s mostly on the weekend.

1:00 PM: Back to the laptop.  I check in on the forums and maybe send out a newsflash.  I do those on my laptop…ironically, that works a lot better than on the Kindle itself.  That might be different with the K3. 

1:15 PM: Back to work officially.  If the Kindle needs to be charged (that’s not very often), I’ll plug it into the USB port on the laptop to charge. 

2:30 PM: Take a break.  I might play some games, like Shuffled Row or Gomoku…or Every Word (I got it before it was withdrawn).  I may read a bit, too, but I often get interrupted, so the games can be better.

2:45 PM: Back to work.

5:00 PM: Head back to the car for the drive back.  I hook up the Kindle to the sound system again.  I turn on the local drive time station first…I want to check the traffic (I have more than one choice going back).  I hear about an interesting book when they talk to the author…I figure I’ll download a sample later.  Traffic sounds okay…I switch back to a book.  I like that so much better than hearing all the commercials on the talk radio!

6:30 PM: I greet all the animals.  I put the Kindle down on the end table by the couch and out of the pet zone.  I feed all the pets.  During this time, my Significant Other comes home.  I get a kiss, 🙂 and we talk about our workdays.  I set up the laptop: I mostly write at night.  I check my personal e-mail, and, yes, my work e-mail again.  We watch some TV: I can write while I do that, depending on the topic.  I check the forums again, read a few blogs.  I may do the latter on my Kindle…I’d downloaded them in the morning.  Of course, I could have listened to them in the car, too, but longer form is better for the drive.

9:00 PM: If I don’t have to get up that early, it’s time to start for bed.  I do shoot for eight hours of sleep a night…if I have to get up at 4:30 AM (which happens), I actually do try to get to sleep by 8:30 PM.  I read my Kindle again while I’m brushing my teeth, and I read it in bed before I go to sleep.  I start to drift off, so I hit the Home button, put the Kindle in sleep mode, and slide it under the tissue box.  I turn off the light, settle into the position the other cat likes, and go to sleep. 

Well, even though I’ve been blogging for over a year now, I never thought I’d write about brushing my teeth!  😉  I’d like to thank one of my readers, Denise, who suggested this post.  I’d written a post about how an acquaintance of mine with a Kindle didn’t know about the latest (but not that recent) update.  Denise suggested that a “day in the life” post might be a good way to show how experienced Kindleers use the devices in somewhat more sophisticated ways.  This is a reasonable representation of a recent day for me…my commute isn’t always that long.  I left out some of the personal stuff, obviously.  🙂  Do you do something different with your Kindle?  I can see somebody using it to check stocks (although maybe not buying them that way).   I’m hoping I can use the forums better from my K3 than I’ve been able to do from the K2…although that might not be a good thing.  😉

*The link is to the current model, a K3, although this day describes my use of the K2 (a recently retired model).  My K3 is scheduled to arrive on Tuesday.

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


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