Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Round up #262: $100 off Kindle Fire, update for Kindle Paperwhite

July 22, 2014

Round up #262: $100 off Kindle Fire, update for Kindle Paperwhite

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

Kindle Paperwhite 2 update 5.4.5

Amazon has released a new update for the KPW2:

Update 5.4.5 for Kindle Paperwhite 2 (at AmazonSmile* Benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

You can wait and it will eventually happen on its own (that can be weeks), or you can go to the above link and update manually

It brings three main changes:

  • Sync on Your Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile): honestly, I’m not quite clear what the difference is here. I usually don’t bounce between devices when reading, and since my Significant Other and I may be reading the same book at the same time (so we can talk about it afterwards), we have Whispersync turned off. I’m not clear on what this is doing now that it didn’t do before. One interesting thing, though. I’ve always recommended that people return to Home after a reading session if they may need to sync, and the video on this page recommends the same thing
  • “When viewing a PDF in pan-and-zoom mode, you will now see a small preview window in the margin of the screen”: this one sounds helpful!
  • Read While Your Book Ships (at AmazonSmile): for those of us who answer questions on the official Amazon forums, there is a tendency (which can be avoided, with effort) to develop canned responses. One thing has always been about where you find sample in the Cloud. We would say they weren’t stored in the Cloud: I’ve likened it to getting a free sample at Costco…there’s no record of that in your account, either. ;) One reason is that it lessens costs to not do the processing of the transaction and the storage of the sample. Well, now, when you buy a p-book (paperbook), you can often choose to “Start Reading Now”, and you get the sample of the e-book on your Kindle (so you can read while the p-book is on the way). Those samples (and only those samples), are going to be available in the Cloud: Read While Your Book Ships (at AmazonSmile)

Video: “When the Words Stop”

Thanks to EBOOK FRIENDLY for the heads up on this great video!

When the Words Stop by Epic Reads

I think a lot of you will appreciate it…it’s a humor piece about that deflated feeling you have when you finish a book…when the words stop. Back in the paper days, I remember feeling a great anxiety sometimes when I realized there was only maybe ten percent of the book left to go. With an e-book, I have to say, I find so often that it ends much before the percentage would indicate (because of back matter, or a preview, or something like that), that I can’t really judge it. I’ve had books finish at maybe 66%! This is funny and worth watching, in my opinion.

Gold Box Deal: $100 off Kindle Fire HDX 7″ 4G LTE

This is a today only deal (that’s how GBDs work):

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers (at AmazonSmile)

It’s $100 of the models with 4G (like a cellphone connection to wireless, instead of just wi-fi…this has both). I tried having 4G on one of my Fire models, and didn’t find it was worth the monthly service plan cost to me. However, I’m in a pretty techie area, and there is a lot of wi-fi around here. For some people, having 4G makes a big difference in convenience, and they are willing to pay for it. It’s also nice for people who aren’t as techie, but want to be connected…no wi-fi required to use it (if you have a signal for 4G at home, you don’t have to enter passwords or anything to connect).

The least expensive configuration of this deal is $229…which makes it the same initial cost as having a wi-fi only version.

Kindle Unlimited mini-roundup

I’m still going to write another big post on Kindle Unlimited soon (following this one)

It’s official! Kindle Unlimited is here with 639,621 titles

including what I think the impact will be on authors (some will benefit…a lot), but I did want to hit a few high points:

  • Audiobooks: I’ve seen interest in the comments on the blog in the audiobook part, and that is something that makes KU stand apart from other subsers (that’s what I call subscription services) .ike Oyster and Scribd). As is, unfortunately, not uncommonly the case with Amazon, people want to do it…but have trouble finding instructions on how to do it. I’ve done it successfully, but it wasn’t as easy as going to “audiobooks” in KU and picking one. What I did was first find an e-book in KU that was set up for “Whispersync for Voice”. You can do that with this link: Kindle Unlimited Whispersync for Voice titles (at AmazonSmile). The e-book has to say that it is “with narration”, otherwise you might pay extra for it. I downloaded the e-book (one that I’ve read before, by the way…I don’t like listening to audiobooks if I haven’t already sightread the book). Once I’d done that, the audiobook was available to my Audible app…including on my Galaxy S4 (which should be, sadly, replaced later this week by my Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile). I’m not sad to be getting the phone: I’m excited for that! I’ve just really liked the S4). So, the counterintuitive part was getting an e-book I wasn’t going to read so I could get the audiobook. After that, it worked fine. One of my readers commented that they couldn’t get the audiobook part to work, even with help from both Kindle and Audible reps…but I still don’t quite know why. Might have been a different phone, or they weren’t following the above sequence
  • How authors get compensated: I will do a big post on authors and KU generally, as I’ve mentioned, but for indie (independent authors) using Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, they split part of a pool fund (the same way they get compensated for borrows from Amazon Kindle Owners” Lending Library)…but they don’t get the cut until the borrower has read ten percent of the book. Tradpubbed (traditionally published) authors will have a different deal, and we won’t know the details…the publishers don’t usually release royalty contract terms. I did check, by the way: if someone borrows your book, reads ten percent of it (triggering the royalty), return it, borrows it again, and ten percent of it again, you don’t get a second royalty…in case you were planning to game the system ;)
  • Confusion for people who are both KU members and KOLL eligible: this has been very confusing, engendering many threads on the forums! I’m hoping they make this clearer…and soon. The KOLL has not gone away, and there hasn’t been an indication that it will. The BUTTON to borrow for free, however, has gone away in many cases. What I understand at this point is that, if you’ve already borrowed your KOLL book for the month, the button will convert to a “Read for Free” button, and it will be one of your KU borrows instead (assuming the book is in both programs). If you don’t have KU, clicking the button will take you to some place to sign up. If it actually works that way, that’s not too bad. However, I did see “The Artist” on the forum say that they had not yet borrowed a KOLL book in the month…and clicking “Read for Free” made it the KOLL borrow. That would be bad: what you want to borrow from the KOLL and what you want to read from KU may not be the same. You can have up to ten books out from KU at a time, and when you return one you can get another one. That seems to me like a generous amount for one person (unless, perhaps, you are going on a trip where you won’t have wireless access), but if you have five people on the account (and there is no limit), you may often bump up against that simultaneous ten limit

Wow! There is a lot happening (Fire Phone for hardware, KU for services), but what do you think? Have you ever feared reaching the end of a book? I know people who don’t want to buy a book unless there are more books in a series, just to try and stave off the eventual “separation”.  Do you find 4G worth it for a Fire? Are you weighing keeping Audible versus going with KU? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think 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.

In-Book purchases

July 3, 2014

In-Book purchases

This piece was inspired by news I heard today about Amazon being “deeply disappointed” that the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) was going after them for in-app purchases. The way that IAPs often work is that you download an app for free. Then, you can buy things from within the app to get or do more…you might buy a virtual weapon, more lives, or a new “land” to explore. That got me thinking…what if they did that with books?

Pat: “Hey, Kris! Do you want to go to lunch? I’m buying.”

Kris: “Where are we going…the Emerald City?”

Pat: “Is that a restaurant?”

Kris: “No, I just meant that if you’re paying, we must not be in Kansas any more.”

Pat: “Ha, ha. I just realized that I’m saving a couple of hundred bucks a month on books, so I can afford to splurge a little.”

Kris: “What, did you stop reading?”

Pat: “Lunch is off. Ooh, what you said!”

Kris: “Sorry. So, what did you do?”

Pat: “I’m getting all my books for free. Even well-known ones and bestsellers.”

Kris: “Well, I know you, and you aren’t pirating them. How did you manage that?”

Pat: “It’s the latest thing: IBPs…In-Book Purchases. I can get the book for free, and then if I want certain things, I can pay for them. I just don’t ever pay.”

Kris: “Pay for things? What kind of things?”

Pat: “Oh, all kinds. Mostly, it’s just stuff to make things easier, and I don’t need that.”

Kris: “I still don’t get it.”

Pat: “Here, take a look at this:


Kris: “What in the world is that?”

Pat: “And you’re supposed to be the bookworm! It’s Charles Dickens…A Tale of Two Cities.”

Kris: “Oh, yeah, I see it now. What’s wrong with the formatting?”

Pat: “Nothing. I just haven’t paid to unlock punctuation, spacing, or capitals.”

Kris: “That’s nuts!”

Pat: “You get used to it. It’s not that hard…just takes a little mental discipline.”

Kris: “And you are the master of mental discipline.”

Pat: “As you wish.”

Kris: “How much did you save?”

Pat: “Five dollars for spacing, three dollars for punctuation, and two dollars for capitals…although I could have gotten the whole pack of them for $7.50.”

Kris: “You know you could have gotten this entire book for free, right?”

Pat: “It’s a new edition with a special introduction and illustrations.”

Kris: “How much did you pay for those?”

Pat: “They were free. Of course, the illustrations are behind the text, and the introduction doesn’t have any vowels in it, but it works for me.”

Kris: “You are one sick bird.”

Pat: “Oh, and I finally got around to reading Harry Potter! You recommended it to me years ago, but it was always too much money. Now…free!”

Kris: “What did you think?”

Pat: “I didn’t really get it. Those kids don’t really do much.”

Kris: “Don’t do much?”

Pat: “Yeah. I mean, they can’t really get much done at Hogwarts with all those ghosts and things watching them all the time.”

Kris: “That’s why they have a cloak of invisibility.”

Pat: “Huh. Maybe I should have paid to unlock the cloak after all.”

Kris: “Sigh.”

Pat: “How about the ring in The Hobbit? They wanted ten bucks for that…was it important to the story?”

Kris: “Is bamboo important to a panda?”

Pat: “Got it. I also decided to read Stephen King last week.”

Kris: “What have you read so far?”

Pat: “All of them.”

Kris: “All of them?”

Pat: “Well, the first three chapters of each one…that’s all that’s free.”

Kris: “This is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done.”

Pat: “You’re not going to say that when you’re eating your slice of pizza, paid for by yours truly.”

Kris: “You’re right…I won’t say it. But I’ll be thinking it…”

Pat: “Close enough. I’ve got this new place I want to try. We can get a large pizza for three dollars.”

Kris: “Three dollars? Is that all?”

Pat: “Unless you want to pay extra for a crust…it’s ‘in-meal purchasing’.”

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

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 Double Positive Game

May 18, 2014

The Double Positive Game

Sage: “Do you want to play a game?”

Casey: “Not really.”

Sage: “It’ll be fun!”

Casey: “Okay. I guess so.”

Sage: “It’s called the Double Positive Game. The last person who says something negative wins.”

Casey: “That’s a stupid game.”

Sage: “I win!”

Casey: “That’s not fair! I didn’t know we were playing yet…you cheated!”

Sage: “Ha! I win again!”

Casey: “Wait a minute, let’s start over.”

Sage: “Sure.”

Casey: “Are we playing now?”

Sage: “Yes.”

Casey: “You look good today.”

Sage: “Thanks! So do you!”

Casey: “Oh, I haven’t been able to get to the gym lately…I think I’m starting to look fat.”

Sage: “I win!”

Casey: “Why? I didn’t say anything negative about you!”

Sage: “The game doesn’t say it has to be about the other person…just something negative.”

Casey: “So, if I said it looked like it was going to rain, I’d lose?”

Sage: “That depends…”

Casey: “On what?”

Sage: “On whether or not rain is a good thing. If you were in a drought, that would be a positive.”

Casey: “I think this game is in a drought…a drought of fun.”

Sage: “I win!”

Casey: “Stop that! Hey, you keep calling me a loser…that’s pretty negative!”

Sage: “Actually, I’ve only called myself a winner…I haven’t said anything about you. You could be happy for me that I won, right?”

Casey: “That’s not how winning and losing works! The loser can’t be happy for the winner!”

Sage: “Why not?”

Casey: “Because then why would anybody try to win?!”

Sage: “So that you could both perform better than you have before?”

Casey: “Yeah, that’ll get people motivated…not! You’d make a lousy politician.”

(Sage just smiles)

Casey: “Aren’t you going to yell that ‘you won’ again?”

Sage: “Actually, Casey, I’m going to take that as a compliment…”


The Double Positive Game is something I just invented. The name is a play on “double negatives”, and I’m hoping the post makes you smile…but I also hope you try playing it with people you know, especially on line. Feel free to spread it around. One note: the rule is that it is “the last person who says something negative” who wins. I wanted to phrase it in a positive manner, rather than determining who lost…so I wouldn’t say it as “the first person who says something negative loses”. Here’s hoping you have some very long lasting games! :)

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

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

Kindle book authorship as a way to get rich quick

May 7, 2014

Kindle book authorship as a way to get rich quick

“Psst! Hey, buddy…c’mere! You look like somebody who’d like to make a lot of money without a lot of work. Am I wrong? I thought not. Here’s all you gotta do…just follow this advice, publish your book on Amazon, and watch the royalties roll in…”

I don’t think any of the advice books in the Kindle store on how to publish a book there say that exactly…but it sort of feels like some of them should. ;)

I did a

USA Kindle store “publish Kindle” search (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and got 2,339 results.

The first couple are free and published by Amazon…sure, those make sense? Why not?

After that, though…

You start investing something. Not just your money, but your time, and yes, your heart.

I don’t think this is how the average person imagines authors getting started, or what they think that their goals are (or should be).

Let’s take a look at a few of these books:

How To Publish More Kindle eBooks Faster: How To Write 7,000 Or More Words Every Day by Marc Guberti $2.99 4.5 stars out of 5, two customer reviews

Yes, because when we’ve all read books, we’ve often thought, “I wish this book had been written faster!” ;)

7,000 words would be a lot, but if you weren’t working you could do it. I told myself (not my readers) when I started this blog that I would average 1,000 words a day…and I do that. However, that’s on top of a family, a full-time job, and volunteering as Kindle Forum Pro. If I was a full-time writer instead? I suppose I could write 7,000 words a day…but they wouldn’t be my best words. ;)

These blogposts, of which I am proud, are much more stream of consciousness than I do when I am writing a book.

How To Publish and Sell 100 Copies of your Kindle Book with No Money Down: Detailed Step By Step Plan by Diana Heuser $2.99 4.9 stars, 10 customer reviews

This is a realistic goal…but it wouldn’t surprise me if half of the Kindle Direct Publishing books don’t make it. If this author helps people do that, that is impressive…but I am alos looking at these listings as a reader. What I hope the advice in all of these books is going to at least include is, “Write well.” ;)

Behind the Kindle: How I Published Four Best Selling Books on Amazon, Made Money, and Only Told A Few Lies by Prentice Prefontaine $3.01 4.5 stars, 20 customer reviews

The fact that the author admits to lying would simply make me reject this. While there can be a lot of definitions of lying, if we are going by the simple one of “deliberately saying something which is not true with the intent of someone believing it in order to take advantage of them”, I don’t do it. When I’m training people, I certainly may say things that are intended to get their thoughts going in a certain direction, and which may even lead them to conclusions which are not correct…but I won’t do it by lying to them.

Self-Publishing: How to Publish like a Pro for a Fraction of the Cost by Donna Joy Usher $0.99 5 stars, 5 reviews

This one cuts to the heart of the matter for many people…how can I publish a book more cheaply? I don’t have a problem with that…one of the great things about the e-book liberation is that people can publish and reach readers when money matters would have made it extremely unlikely before.

How To Select Best Selling Nonfiction Ebook Ideas To Publish On Amazon’s Kindle (Kindle Self Publishing Clinic Series) by Lisa Angelettie $2.99 5 stars, 3 reviews

Again, looking at publishing as a mercenary endeavor, I guess it makes sense to pick topics which will sell…rather than writing about topics which you know well and for which you have a passion, and hoping they sell. We had a cat who had to go to a feline cardiologist. I was curious, so I asked the vet: how did you pick feline cardiology? The vet basically said, “I went down the list of specialties, and it was the one that made the most money. A cat can have a cardiac condition for a long time. They can do okay, but still treatment. A dog just doesn’t last as long.” That was a practical choice, I guess, but not what I imagine as the motivation.

Kindle Free Promo Hacks for Authors – 10 Sure Shot Ways to Reach the Top #100 Free & Make a Killing! by Andrew Scott $3.49 4.6 stars, 50 reviews

That’s relatively a lot of reviews. I just wonder how many of the authors we see in the forum making missteps with self-promotion are following advice from other people. I’m not saying that about this book (I haven’t read it), but it would be pretty easy to give advice which would take more than seven days to test…and then the book couldn’t be returned for a refund.

In fact, this topic is so big that I found a free book parodying the whole idea!

J’APE: Just Another Publicity Excuse – How to Publish Your (Kindle) Book for Shameless Self-Promotion and Profit Robert C. Worstell, Richard Saunders free 3.7 stars, 11 reviews

The title is a play on Guy Kawasaki’s

APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book (at AmazonSmile)

which I had sort of mini-reviewed here.

According to at least one review, it’s not a direct parody of that, though.

Looking at the reviews, I’m guessing some people didn’t get the joke…

I’m not going to pretend to be able to give advice about how to make your Kindle book a bestseller. Yes, some of my titles have been bestsellers…my book of quotations (at AmazonSmile) was number one of all quotation books (including paper) when it was first released, but that didn’t last long. Others of my books have also done pretty well.

This blog? It’s been a bestseller in the Kindle store for more than four years.

That doesn’t mean, though, that I can tell you how to do that.

I write because I like to write. :) I like to help people…that’s the most personally rewarding thing I do. Is the money nice? Sure, it’s a validation…but I couldn’t come close to living on my royalties. I spend some of it buying Kindles and such…so I can write about them. ;)

If the royalties stopped, would I keep writing? I’d do something creative…I always have. Writing seems likely, sure. I might not be able to devote as much time to it, though. I justify the time it takes away from the family in part because the royalties contribute to the family. The same could be said for my day job (which I also enjoy).

I don’t mind people writing for the purpose of making money…as long as they want to do that by giving the readers something of value. If you just “gotta write”, write. If it makes money, that’s a bonus. If you want to make a living as a writer, you do need to approach it a bit differently…and hey, if you aren’t sure what to do, there are plenty of people with books in the Kindle store who would be happy to give you advice…not give away, mind you, but give. ;)

* 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.

Clash of The Tech Titans

April 1, 2014

Clash of The Tech Titans

April 1, 2014 (AFD News)

The Atari Network is launching its original television programming slate with a reality competition show, Clash of The Tech Titans (CoT3).

Hosted by software pioneer and international fugitive John McAfee (via Skype from Belize, Montreal, and other exotic locations), the program pits top executives from today’s leading technology companies in wacky contests to see who will come out on top.

Celebrity contestants announced for the first season are:

  • Russ Grandinetti (Amazon): “I’ve testified before Congress…this should be a piece of cake (which we can deliver to you via AmazonFresh).”
  • Eddy Cue (Apple): “I don’t remember any conversation in which I agreed to be on this show.”
  • Randi Zuckerberg (formerly of Facebook): “As a Marketing Director, I’ll make you think you won…even if you’ve only been liked.”

While the show is still in the production phase (and may be until Atari can figure out where they are going to show it), a proposed episode guide has appeared on various tech blogs:

  • “IPO-oh”: in the pilot episode, the “contechtants” have to get investors to put money into their companies. Showing a profit is not allowed
  • “OOPs-date”: Contechtants must update their software in a way that breaks the most existing functions, introduces new and confusing features, and loses them the lowest number of customers
  • “Just Another Manic Merger”: Contechtants compete to buy the weirdest companies for the most money. During the secret filming of this episode, Amazon bought Kiva, an industrial robot company, for $775 million; Google bought Boston Dynamics, a military robot company, for an undisclosed amount; and Facebook bought Oculus Rift, a virtual reality company for $2 billion. SPOILER ALERT: Boy Genius Report obtained a shooting script showing the win going to Facebook
  • “Don’t Burn Your Bus Bridges”: Contechtants face a panel to defend their past actions. Celebrity guest judges include Steve Wozniak, and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (the “Winklevii”)

Contechtants are competing for a donation to a charity of their choice, a blog post on Wired, an Atari 2600, and a 25% marketshare for one year.

Happy April Fool’s Day! :)

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.

Judge dismisses dinosaurs’ case against Mammazon

February 26, 2014

Judge dismisses dinosaurs’ case against Mammazon

NEW PANGAEA – February 26 225000000 B.C.–Triassic Judge Denise Jaket has dismissed a suit brought by the American Association of Dinosaurs against Mammazon, the largest mammal company in the world.

“The defendants failed to demonstrate illegal tactics on the part of the mammals. While we are sympathetic to their loss of dominance and recognize the worthiness of their concerns about future ecological impact, we can only rule on the merits of the case as it exists today.”

“Naturally, we are disappointed,” said Rex Tee, President of the AAD. “The mammals have benefited unfairly from new regulation…body heat regulation…and from changes in the global climate. They may be able to reproduce more quickly, but our culture needs the slower, traditional exploitation of dinosaurs. They may be small and seemingly insignificant now, but in time, they may develop into larger beings, perhaps even becoming bipedal like many of our members. At that point, their rapid breeding and constant tinkering with the environment may place unsustainable burdens on our planet. We plan to appeal to the Cretaceous court, although we realize that may take tens of millions of years.”

Mammazon CEO (Chief Executive Organism) Jeff Biezotherium declined to comment on the case, citing the ongoing appeals process. In an earlier interview with Charlie Cenoz, Biezotherium said:

“We don’t set out to disrupt anything. We just look for the best ways to do business. We think adaptability is key, and that has enabled us to cope efficiently with changes that others have found challenging. Doing things the old way, like lying on a sun-warmed rock to maintain your body temperature, is certainly one strategy. We prefer to invest now in anatomical structures that allow us to be more independent of external fluctuations.”

Experts we consulted for this article had mixed responses.

“It’s ironic that the dinosaurs are complaining. They conveniently leave out their impact on the trilobites and the other invertebrates. There are lessons to be learned there,” said Arthur Pod.

“I don’t think we are afraid enough! The dinosaurs based their complaint on breeding speeds and fur, but they ignored the mammals speedier and increasingly complex processors, ” warned Ted O’Saurus. “We’re already seen what they can do with their current state of physical development. Imagine what they are going to do with those increased brain to body ratios and whatever that new brain thing is they have on top of regular brains if they ever get big enough to break some trees!”

We will continue to watch this developing story.

Update: I forgot to give thanks to Edward Boyhan, one of my regular readers and commenters, who said something that in part inspired this post…thanks, Edward!

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

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, 2014!

February 12, 2014

Happy my birthday, 2014!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This one combines the three below into one volume:

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

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

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

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

This is the first 101 posts in this blog. :) I did 101 posts so I wouldn’t cut off Doctor Watson’s Blog: A Kindle Abandoned (which is a four-part story). I’m coming up on the five year anniversary of the blog, and I’m considering doing a “best of” book. I’d include the posts that are less time-dependent, I think…if you have any opinions on ones that you remember, feel free to let me know.

Remember, double-check that they are  free to make sure before buying.

Happy birthday! ;)

I also wanted to add something different to the post this year. I suppose I can’t help being a little reflective on my birthday, and I was just thinking…

If I wasn’t a reader…

…more people at work would understand me, because I wouldn’t offhandedly drop a 19th-century term into a conversation

…we would have bought a smaller house (we bought an extra bedroom just to be a floor to ceiling library)

…people wouldn’t keep asking me how to spell things

…I wouldn’t mispronounce words as much (because, as I told the parent of a child who mispronounced something in the brick and mortar bookstore I managed, that’s the sign of a reader…it means you’ve read the word, but you’ve never heard it said)

…I would never have been to Oz, or Narnia, or Barsoom

…I wouldn’t have learned to speak Mangani (the language the “great apes” in Tarzan speak…I used to know all of the original words)

…I wouldn’t have become the Education  Director of a non-profit corporation (I was reading a magazine that happened to do with the focus of the group when I was in a park, and one of the members approached me)

…I would have needed one less suitcase when I traveled pre-Kindle

…I wouldn’t have had the example of Doc Savage to help make me a better person

…I wouldn’t spell something the British way and some things the American way

…I wouldn’t be nearly as good as I am at Jeopardy (and trivia)

…We wouldn’t have friends who swore they would never help us move again

…I wouldn’t be a writer

…I wouldn’t be me

Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) By the way, it’s been interesting lately to see Amazon remind me to “start at AmazonSmile” if I check a link on the original Amazon site. I do buy from AmazonSmile, but I have a lot of stored links I use to check for things.

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

In a future English class

January 22, 2014

In a future English class

Teechur14: Hi, stoodunts! This week’s grat* is bout a buk I red wen I wuz smal: The Wizard of Oz. Bleev, I red it as a buk mayd out of paper. 2day, u reed it as a ap. Hoo haz sumthing 2 say?

Stoodunt8: I red part of it.

Teechur14: How far r u?

Stoodunt8: The Tin Man, the lyon, and me r at the Wizard.

Teechur14: Gud! Hold…wayr is the scayrcro?

Stoodunt8: I cudnt get him of the pol.

Teechur14: Y not?

Stoodunt8: I wuz 2 short.

Teechur14: Dorothy shud be tal enuf.

Stoodunt8: I playd as a munchkin.

Teechur14: Y?

Stoodunt8: Mor fun. Dorothy dint no aneething. Shes not frum Oz.

Stoodunt93: Teechur14, I red the hol buk! I red it in th old Murkin.

Teechur14: I can cownt on u! Doo u no how 2 spel Murkin in Murkin?

Stoodunt 93: A M E R I C A N.

Teechur14: Gud!!! Did u hav ?s?

Stoodunt93: Buk kewl. ?  Wer Dorothy’s garsibs** seks wurkers?

Teechur14: No, thay wer farmers. Member we tawked bout farming?

Stoodunt93: Y. U gro food. I thawt that wuz onlee in open plases, not al city like Kansas.

Teechur14: Kansas wuz open in old daz. Y seks workers?

Stoodunt93: They lived in “ho use”. I thot that was seks plas.

Teechur14: Thats how they speld “hows”.

Stoodunt93: O.

Teechur14: NE1 els?

Teechur14: NE1?

Teechur14: Stoodent 11? U red buk?

Stoodent11: Y. Startd.

Teechur14: How u lik Oz?

Stoodent11: I stayd in Dorothys hows. Dunno Oz.

Teechur14: U dint want 2 splor?

Stoodent11: I dont go outsid IRL***. 2 skary.

Stoodent 43: I beet 1st bos. Hows fel on wich.

Teechur14: Y. NEthing els?

Stoodent43: I met platypussy…kat with beek.

Teechur14: I don member platypussy wen I red buk.

Stoodent43: U mus not hav unlokd. I pade 1000 koins for it.

Teechur14: K. Nks, klas. Nx week: The Odsee.

* grat = “group chat”

** garsib = “guardian siblings”…instead of “Aunt” and “Uncle”

*** IRL = “In Real Life”…that one is in use today, the other two I made up for this post

For this post, I was thinking about what happens when books become more interactive. What will an English class be like when the book is a different experience for everyone who reads it, the way that videogames are now? That’s certainly one possible way for things to evolve, although I don’t think the traditional narrative will vanish.

It was really hard to write in my revised spelling and lingo! I tried to simplify spelling, somewhat the way that Noah Webster tried in some ways to make it easier. I dropped duplicate letters, for example. I also eliminated apostrophes.

Well, I hope you had fun with that…or at least, that it didn’t make you violently ill! ;) If you have any questions about the dialog, feel free to ask. :)

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.

New menus at the Amazon Diner

December 17, 2013

New menus at the Amazon Diner

Note: this is a work of humor. There is no Amazon Diner program at this point.

Pat: “I can’t wait to try out this new Amazon Diner!”

Jan: “Is everything Amazon with you?”

Pat: “Not yet…but I’m hoping.”

Jan: “Ha, ha. I don’t think they’re open…I don’t see anybody.”

Pat: “No, you just sit down anywhere you want, and open up the app.”

Jan: “On your Fire? What if I don’t have a Fire?”

Pat: “They have the app for a lot of devices…I think I also saw a Kindle Fire vending machine outside. They do rentals…”

Jan: “Never mind, you go ahead.”

Kindle Waiter (appearing on screen): “Hi, I’m Fiona. I’ll be your waiter today. Would you like to see your menus?”

Jan: “Whoa! What are all those things on your Fire?”

Pat: “I guess those are the menus. Wow, there are a lot of them! Where do I start?

Fiona: “Well, are you looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or some other option?”

Pat: “Um…let’s start with breakfast.”

Fiona: “Here you go. These are the breakfast menus. You have 347 breakfast menus available.”

Jan: “Can I just have some eggs?”

Fiona: “You have 62 egg choices.”

Pat: “Why so many?”

Fiona: “These menus represent every time you have ordered eggs in the past. You can choose from all of the methods you have selected before. If you prefer, I can connect your device to the Chef’s Plaza. Then, you can select a Chef, and try your eggs a new way.”

Pat: “No, no, I’m sure there is something I’ll like here. I can’t imagine there are many kinds of eggs I haven’t tried.”

Fiona: “You’d be surprised.”

Pat: “I’ll just pick one at random. Jellied eggs? I don’t eat jellied eggs.”

Fiona: “You must have, at some point.”

Jan: “Don’t you remember? We used to have them when we were kids, at the cabin.”

Pat: “Oh, yeah! Wait, I must have been…what, like nine or ten? This menu has every kind of egg I’ve ever had?”

Fiona: “Yes. Isn’t that convenient?”

Jan: “Not really.”

Pat: “Sh. Let me take a look. This one must be a mistake! I can guarantee you that I’ve never eaten eggs with green tea and soy sauce!”

Jan: “Hey…isn’t that what your cousin did…the one who lived in Japan?”

Pat: “I don’t think they even eat them like that in Japan! Besides, why would my cousin’s eggs show up in my menu?”

Fiona: “Is it possible you ate with your cousin?”

Pat: “Sure.”

Fiona: “Would you have paid separately?”

Jan: “We haven’t seen that cousin since we were kids.”

Fiona: “Would you have paid separately?”

Pat: “I guess one of our parents would have paid.”

Fiona: “That would explain it, then. We would consider that you were on your parents’ account, so all those menus show up.”

Jan: “Can’t I just order without a menu?”

Fiona: “Something new, or something you’ve eaten before?”

Jan: “Before.”

Fiona: “Pat, if you start flipping through the menus, you’ll find individual items at the back.”

Pat: “After the 347 menus?”

Fiona: “Those are just the breakfast menus. Individual listings are after all the menus.”

Jan: “How many is that?”

Fiona: “17, 432.”

Pat: “Hey, look! They have pizza. I love cold pizza for breakfast! Nature’s perfect food!”

Jan: “Riiight.”

Pat: “Wait a minute…there’s nothing on the pizza menu.”

Fiona: “That’s because this restaurant isn’t compatible with pizza. We don’t have a pizza oven.”

Pat: “Then I’ll just delete that menu…at least I can clean it up a bit that way.”

Fiona: “Warning: if you delete that menu, you will delete it from all of the restaurants in the Amazon Diner system.”

Jan: “Well, that menu doesn’t do much good if there’s nothing on it!”

Fiona: “There would be something on it, if you were in a pizza-compatible restaurant.”

Pat: “So, if I delete it from here, I won’t be able to order pizza anywhere else, either?”

Fiona: “Your Kindle waiter would be able to direct you to the Chef’s Plaza.”

Pat: “I don’t want that. I guess I’ll go with the jellied eggs. Can I send them back if I don’t like them?”

Fiona: “Certainly. Just let me know, and I’ll e-mail you a label you can print out. You just stick it to the plate.”

Jan: “Where’s the printer?”

Fiona: “Under the table.”

Jan: “Let’s make this easy…I’ll have that, too.”

Fiona: “People who ordered jellied eggs also ordered Canadian bacon, orange juice, and paper clips.”

Pat: “Just the eggs, thanks.”

Fiona: “If you order one more set of jellied eggs, you’ll be eligible to order lunch at 25% off.”

Jan: “I think we’re good.”

Fiona: “Would you like the orders separately, or should we combine them to save delivery costs?”

Pat: “Delivery costs? I have Prime.”

Fiona: “Yes, you do. Your delivery costs are included in your Prime membership.”

Pat: “Then how would I save on delivery costs?”

Fiona: “Not your costs…our costs.”

Pat: “Whatever is easiest.”

Fiona: “Coming right up! Thank you for your order with Amazon Diner. Your default payment method has been debited.” (disappears from the screen)

Jan: “I wonder if Fiona included a tip?”

Pat: “No, there’s no tip…one of the advantages here.”

Jan: “So, they’ve already collected the money…I guess we won’t see Fiona with the bill.”

Pat: “I don’t think Fiona is here…I think all the Kindle waiters are in Seattle.”

Jan: “Really. I was wondering why Washington’s unemployment rate was dropping so much. I heard it’s like 2% lower than California’s. I suppose we’re only going to see a waiter when they bring our food.”

Pat: “I guess so. Hold on, do you hear that?”

Jan: “What?”

Pat: “That buzzing sound…”

Jan: “You mean…”

Pat: “Yep…eight tiny helicopter rotors. I guess we won’t be seeing a waiter after all…”

This post was inspired by people’s reactions to a recent update bringing Cloud Collections to latest generation of Kindle Fires and of the Paperwhite. On the Paperwhite, something similar to what I’m describing here happene, with some people getting dozens of Collections they had created on devices in the past…in some case, devices they didn’t even have any more. I’m hoping they make some changes to Cloud Collections in a future update

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

Kindle Spectrum: stories your way

November 12, 2013

Kindle Spectrum: stories your way

Note: this is a work of humor. THERE IS NO Kindle Spectrum PROGRAM. It is a work of fiction intended to bring a smile to your day.


Kindle Spectrum: stories your way announces a new program allowing customers to seamlessly switch between modes while enjoying their favorite works of fiction

Launches in Q1 2014 with three titles

SEATTLE–(SILLINESS WIRE)–Dec. 17, 2013– (NASDAQ: AMZN)– today announced Kindle Spectrum. This new program will allow customers to switch between different media mid-story, so they can experience it in the way that best suits them at the time.

“At Amazon, we love books, but we also love movies, music, and apps. With Kindle Spectrum, you’ll be able to have all those great experiences with the same story,” said Ahmni Vohr, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Books are wonderful, but it isn’t always convenient to read, and it’s hard to share. With Kindle Spectrum, you can read one chapter, and then watch the next scene as a movie on your TV* to share with your family. Then you can go right back to reading when you don’t want to disturb your loved ones.”

“I’m excited to be able to bring a musical dimension to classic literature,” said famed composer John Williams (Star Wars, Jaws). Williams’ score for War of the Worlds will be part of the first Kindle Spectrum title released.

Customers enjoying the Kindle Spectrum edition of War of the Worlds can read the classic text by H.G. Wells, watch the 1953 movie starring Gene Barry**, listen to a brand new music suite by John Williams***, view an interpretative dance choreographed by Mia Michaels (So You Think You Can Dance), hear the Orson Welles’ 1938 radio broadcast, explore through a section in a role playing game by app studio PopCap, or see the story enacted by traditional Balinese shadow puppets.

“There is really no limit to what Kindle Spectrum can do,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement. “Our customers love all types of content, and we are looking forward to working with creators to give them a full range of options.”

The first three Kindle Spectrum titles, announced for the first quarter of 2014, are:

  • War of the Worlds
  • Romeo & Juliet
  • The Odyssey

Rightsholders interested in participating should contact Kindle Spectrum. Independent creators can publish elements in any format through the KSP (Kindle Spectrum Publishing) program.

* Watch on TV option only available with some devices
** Movies only available to eligible Amazon Prime members
*** New music is unrelated to the score produced by Mr. Williams for the 2005 Tom Cruise adaptation, which we are pretending doesn’t exist

About Amazon, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. In fact, we’re so big, we can sell you pretty much anything you want: movies, books, music, clothes, food, server space, human antibodies, quarks, unobtanium, and magical rings. If you don’t want us to sell your stuff, that’s up to you…but good luck with that. Our customers love us, and people keep investing in us even though we just spend all their money buying cool stuff to give to our Prime members. We’re all about the love, baby.


Just to reiterate, this is a work of humor. ;) All names used are used in a fictitious way, for the sake of parody. I hope you consider it a compliment…and I actually did enjoy the 2005 War of the Worlds movie. :)

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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