Archive for the ‘Kindle for iPhones and iPod touch’ Category

Round up #172: new features for a Kindle app, people who haven’t read a good (or any) book lately

March 25, 2018

Round up #172: new features for a Kindle app, people who haven’t read a good (or any) book lately

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

Today’s KDD: “Up to 80% off New York Times best sellers & more”


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

has really top brand name authors and other well-known titles! I’m quite impressed…titles include:

  • Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: City of Endless Night (Agent Prendergast) | 4.3 out of 5 stars | 615 customer reviews |  $4.99
  • Robyn Carr: What We Find (Sullivan’s Crossing) | 4.5 stars | 512 reviews | $1.99
  • James Patterson: All-American Murder | 4.1 stars | 232 reviews | $4.99
  • Sara Paretsky: Fallout (V.I. Warshawaski | 4.2 stars | 242 reviews | $1.99
  • David Baldacci: Guilty (Will Robie) | 4.5 stars | 4,232 reviews | $2.99
  • Clive Cussler: Shock Wave (Dirk Pitt) | 4.5 stars | 868 reviews | $0.99
  • Stephenie Meyer: The Chemist | 4.3 stars | 2,066 reviews | $3.99
  • Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins:
  • The Power by Naomi Alderman
  • Christina Baker Kline by A Piece of the World
  • Boundaries by Henry Cloud
  • Capital Gaines by Chip Gaines
  • Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall
  • The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
  • You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  • Let Trump be Trump by Corey Lewandowski
  • You Say it First by Susan Mallery
  • Love Does by Bob Goff
  • The Black Witch by Laurie Forest
  • Wanted by Maya Blanks
  • The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp
  • The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Walk to Beautiful by Mr. Jimmy Wayne
  • Finding Gobi by Dion Leonard
  • Willow Brook Road by Sherryl Woods
  • Private #1 Suspect by James Patterson

iOS Kindle app updated

The iOS Kindle app (for iPhones and iPads) was recently updated (March 19) to 6.5, and there are two particularly stand-out new things to me.

One is “infinite scrolling”. That’s something people wanted even back when the Kindle was first introduced in 2007. What that means is that rather  than reading it like a book, whiere you see a certain amount of text and then change to another block of text (like flipping a page on a p-book…paperbook), you can just scroll through the whole book, like one continuous webpage. I definitely see the attraction of that, even though it moves you further away from the “paper behind glass” feel.

The second one for me is that they’ve added an Arabic dictionary. There is a sense to me that Amazon may be working on an expansion into countries with a lot of Arabic-speakers, although Netflix also recently added more Arabic support. It is a top ten language in the world (I’ve seen both fifth and sixth largest cited) with hundreds of millions speaking it as their first language, so it’s worth noting that there are people outside predominantly Arabic speaking countries who also might like to read in Arabic.

The other two things they noted was swiping down in the library to refresh it, and support for split screen view on iPads.

Alexa, the protocol droid?

This was an interesting

Yahoo! Finance article by JP Mangalindan

It doesn’t surprise me that Amazon is working on Alexa doing real-time translation. It can do some minor pieces of that now through “skills”, but there are a lot of AI solutions for “universal translation” not far away (and some that work somewhat now).

What was more intriguing to me was the suggestion that Alexa would change what it gave you as a “translation” if you told it the role of the person. This can be very sticky in language (our adult kid is a linguist, and it’s an interest of mine): many people use overly familiar language, for example, when formal might be more appropriate.

This ties very much into their

Cleo skill (at AmazonSmile*)

What happens is that you have a conversation in a language of your choosing with Alexa. Alexa speaks English, you speak your language. What you are doing is teaching Alexa. It’s a crowdsourcing thing, and you actually get points. 🙂 While this should let Alexa learn about more natural language, there is also a serious risk that people will try to teach Alexa things as a joke…as Monty Python might say, “My hovercraft is full of eels.” 😉 However, I always believe the majority of people will have good intentions…so if enough people use Alexa, it should be fine.

I used to be “fluent” in Mangani, the language the “apes” speak in the Tarzan series of books. There aren’t that many words, and fortunately, the syntax is exactly the same as English. 😉  I couldn’t answer the sorts of questions Alexa will ask, though.

I have no doubt Alexa will learn Klingon…

Anyway, back to the protocol part: I assume this also means that Alexa could give you an idea of what to say in English in certain situations. “Alexa, I forgot our anniversary…” “Alexa, my boss caught me stealing…” 😉

Speaking of speaking, I really wasn’t pleased when our Alexa switch to the new “Brief Mode”. Instead of answering me with “Ok”, Alexa plays a note…a sort of muted “bing bong”; I’m fine with that being an option, but it opted me in without asking me. It told me it did it, but then it was done. I much prefer the “Ok”…it’s part of what makes Alexa special for me. I did go back into the Settings and Alexa Voice Responses to turn it off again.

I would really like Alexa to respond in a whisper when I speak to it in a whisper…I’ve been hoping with that for a while. 🙂

Does nostalgia not work for movies based on young adult novels?

While the market for movies based on young adult novels has generally cooled from the halcyon Hunger Games days, I’m wondering a certain part of it.

A Wrinkle in Time can be argued to be a box office disappointment. It has a 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, 53% on Metacritic, and 4.2 out of 10 on IMDb. This despite it being a beloved book with a cast of stars and a respected director.

That made me think of another recent movie that didn’t meet expectations for ticket sales: Ender’s Game. It was 61% on Rotten Tomatoes, 51% on Metacritic, and 6.7 on IMDb. The domestic gross was about $62 million on a reported budget of $110 million.

The Giver had a domestic gross of about $45 million on a reported budget of $25 million. It was 35% on Rotten Tomatoes, 47% on Metacritic, and 6.5 on IMDb.

I suppose we could go back to the 1939 version of the Wizard of Oz (even though that’s more of a children’s book series than a young adult series). It wasn’t a box office blockbuster when it was first released, and many readers didn’t like some of the things that had been done with it (and they especially didn’t like Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion).

Just wondering…

Almost a quarter of American adults report not having read a book in the past 12 months

There are some very interesting stats from this year’s Pew report on who hasn’t read a book:

article by Andrew Perrin

There are six categories, and the biggest disparity occurs in education. The three slots are: high school or less; some college; and college+. The difference between the highest and the lowest is 30%: 37% of people high school or lower reported not having read a book, where only 7% of “College+” say so. I’ll mention one more before leaving it to the article…adults fifty or older actually reported reading a book significantly less often (28% versus 20%) than younger people.

I’ll mention that fewer people are non-readers than was true in the past couple of years…

What do you think? Why are people reporting they are reading more? Are you going to help Alexa learn a language (or more than one)? Do you want e-books to try to emulate p-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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

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

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

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

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.


Updates for 7″ Kindle Fires, iDevices

December 6, 2012

Updates for 7″ Kindle Fires, iDevices

There are a couple of big updates available!

First, you can go from this page:

iOS app

to get the latest version of their app for iDevices (iPhones, iPod touches, iPads).

Version 3.5. brings X-Ray to the devices, which is a great feature! It allows you to get more information about characters, locations, and other items in a book you are reading.

It also improves rendering for Manga (Japanese graphic novels, basically).

There are also updates available for the current generation 7″ Kindle Fires:

Kindle Fire HD 7″ Software Update Version 7.2.2

This one brings a camera app (yay!), the Swype keyboard (I know people love it, but I haven’t tried it yet), and Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, which I wrote about earlier, and I which I think is truly innovative and a potential game changer.

This update for the least expensive current gen Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire (2nd Generation) Software Update Version 10.2.3

brings Swype and Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, but no camera app…since it doesn’t have a camera. 🙂

Those features aren’t available yet for the 8.9″ or the Kindle Fire 1st Generation, but I suspect the 8.9″ will get it shortly.

I’ll download the update to my KFHD7, and let you know what I think. If you’ve done any of these and have any comments, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post!

Thanks, Amazon!

Update: I hadn’t realized that the keyboard on my 8.9″ was Swype (I knew it was different and that I liked it better), so I have used it. 🙂

I’ve done the update…it’s a large file, well over 500MBs. If you download it manually, don’t forget to delete it after the update is complete. Update: it now appears that the file deletes itself after updating, which is a considerable advantage over the way it used to work.

I’ve played around a bit with Kindle FreeTime Unlimited. You are automatically subscribed for a free month. As I suspected, there is content in there I’ll enjoy. 🙂 For example, there was an old Speed Racer cartoon, and (Mr.) Peabody & Sherman.

Update: here’s some more information on the content in KFTU (I’m getting tired of typing “Kindle FreeTime Unlimited” 😉 ):

Books: there are literally hundreds of options. Give that they are for supposed to be curated for three to eight year-olds, I’m not surprised that I’m not seeing recognizable “chapter books”.  Lots and lots of licensed characters (Madagascar, Phineas and Ferb, Shrek, SpongeBob, Mater), many light non-fiction (a history series, “PUGS ARE THE BEST!”, Exploring Stems).

The videos included Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Reading Rainbow, SpongeBob, Dora the Explorer…and some older ones, like H.R. Pufnstuf and The Archies). I didn’t see almost any feature length movies.  It appears to me that they are only available streaming…not for download to view offline.

Apps: here you had Where’s My Water, Where’s My Perry, Cut the Rope, Magic Piano Kids, and other popular titles. There were also a number of adaptations of classic works, like Gulliver’s Travels and Moby Dick (is it just me, or does Moby Dick seem like an odd choice for five-year olds?). 😉

Overall, I’d say the choice of content is pretty good, and I would guess it changes fairly often.

I’d need to experiment more with the changes in the interface…looks like they might have made it easier.

I haven’t found a camera app yet…

Update: thanks to readers Jay R Bernhard and Ann Von Hagel, I now know the camera app is available by going to the Photos tab. Silly me, I was looking for what Amazon told was an app under Apps. 😉

When you tap on Photos, you’ll see a little icon of a camera up under the battery charge life indicator. Tap that, and you’ll activate the camera. There will then be an icon of a shutter (although how many people know what a physical shutter like that looks like any more?).

Tap the shutter, and your picture appears in a thumbnail strip. Tap the picture there, and then you get an e-mail icon, a trash icon, and a menu icon.

Tapping the menu icon gives you a choice to either Send it or get Help.

I don’t see any settings, or a way to access the video or panorama functions (which I’ve used with the camera with other apps).

The picture is then accessible to you through the Photos tab, where it will show up in a collection called “Camera”.

This is definitely a bare bones app, but it’s nice to have. Ann also pointed out that it is on the 8.9″.

That means that the update brought two things to the 7″ that were on the 8.9″ already: the Swype keyboard and the camera app. We should still see an update to the 8.9″ to bring the Kindle FreeTime Unlimited.

For other camera apps you can use, see this earlier post.

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

Cloud Reader, Kindle for iPad and iOS get update

June 14, 2012

Cloud Reader, Kindle for iPad and iOS get update

I don’t have time to check it right now (and I’ll only be looking at it in the Cloud Reader), but Amazon announced a new update:

Announcement Kindle for iPad and Kindle Cloud Reader Update

It brings the Panel Viewer (for comics/graphic novels) and improved children’s book display to the iPad, the iPhone, and the iPod touch.

The above post has links.

If you try it out, feel free to let me and my readers know what you think.

Update: I’ve tried out the Panel Viewer in my Cloud Reader on a desktop running Chrome.

I downloaded a sample of

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

Honestly, I was a bit disappointed (not with the book, which I really like, but with the Panel View).

This book has some very panel rich pages…there can be many panels.

When I double-clicked one, it did enlarge…but not all that much, in my opinion. I was expecting the panel to fill the reading area of the screen. If I zoomed Chrome up to 200%, it looked nice and large. However, the next page button was then off the screen, so that wasn’t really a good choice.

It might be pinch and spreadable on a touch screen device, but I haven’t tried that yet.

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

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