Archive for the ‘Poll Parties’ Category

Poll Party #6

March 19, 2015

Poll Party #6

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been a year since I threw the last “Poll Party”!

My regular readers know that I really like to hear your opinion. I often ask for it at the end of posts (and I try to give you conversation starters), and I love reading (and responding to) the comments.

I know not everybody wants to, or has the time and energy to, write something like that.

That’s one reason I love the polls we do here. It gives people another way to be heard. Even though we certainly aren’t a scientific sample of the mainstream, I find it interesting to see what we are saying. I suspect we might even be predictive as a group, as far as e-books are concerned, but I don’t really know that.

I like to find a theme for these (although I may throw in some “odd ducks” that don’t really fit).

This time, I wanted to explore the two sides of the Kindle for my readers. No, no, not the screen and the back. 😉

The Kindle is tech and the Kindle is about reading and books.

Those two work for me. I’m really a booklover, and I’ve worked with tech for a long time…although I’m not as much of a hardware person as a lot of people might think.

Yes, I was a Microsoft Certified Professional…I even still have the card I got. That makes me a card-carrying geek…and guarantees me a seat by the kitchen in restaurants. 😉

However, my part of that was more software (including programming) than getting out a…what are those called? Oh, yeah, screwdrivers. Actually, and this is true, I literally have a screwdriver scar from trying to use one of those things, slipping, and digging out enough of a chunk of my hand so that it literally “left a mark” (as in “that’s gonna…”).

I mean, it shouldn’t be that hard! I had a blue and gold macaw for quite a while.

When I first got the macaw, I was reading a book (naturally) on training them. It said that if you pressed a dowel gently against their chests, they had to step up on it, and you could start training them to get used to being carried around, and eventually, used to being on you.

Well, my macaw (“Perry”) was in a large cage at that point…maybe four feet high, with a small door. I reached in, pressed the dowel…and Perry proceeded to run up my arm on to my head! Yes, passing through the little door.

You can’t grab a macaw and force them to do something. First, they can easily break a finger of yours if they want…they can crack Brazil nuts, after all.

Second, they are birds…inherently fragile.

There was simply no way to make Perry go back through the door…the large bird would have to duck, and if it wasn’t voluntary, it wasn’t going to happen.

I got a relative to use the dowel to scoop Perry off my head and on to the top of the cage.

Then, I figured I could take the top off the cage. I unscrewed a couple of screws…and that wore me out. 🙂

So, I stepped out for a minute.

When I came back, Perry had unscrewed another screw…and was working on an additional one when I saw it!

Yep…holding the screwdriver with one foot, and turning it by mouth.

I know: I’m not as mechanically oriented as a bird…

We say, “How many software people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, we don’t do that…it’s a hardware problem.” 🙂

A lot of what happens with a Kindle or a Fire tablet (or the Fire TV, or the Fire Phone, or the Amazon Echo) is about software. Not very many people are taking theirs apart (although some do).

For me, that tech element is part of the fun…as, clearly, is the element of books.

I’m curious about you…

On this first one, note that you can make more than one choice…so picking the first two is fine, if that fits you.

I’d pick both of them.

Now, let me ask you a book quantity question:

My answer on that one? More than 10,000. We have one room dedicated as a floor to ceiling library, and the books are on shelves horizontally, vertically, two deep…there are a lot. 🙂

A quantity question on the techie side…think about your typical day. How many tech gadgets do you use? I would include:

  • A SmartPhone
  • A Kindle
  • A tablet
  • The Amazon Echo
  • A Fire TV (or other TV device)
  • A wearable (including a fitness tracker)
  • A gaming console
  • A desktop computer
  • A laptop computer

and so on…you get the idea. If you use two different ones of the same category, count it as two.

For instance, for me…let’s see.

I use my Fire tablet, my Paperwhite, my personal Fire Phone, an iPhone for work, a Fire TV, a Fire TV stick (two different rooms), a Tivo, a laptop computer, a desktop computer, and a two-in-one (a convertible computer that can become a tablet or works like a laptop)…I think I’d say that’s it on a pretty much daily basis. I know you may have to make some guesses as to what counts: that’s up to you. I’m interested in your own impressions of what you do as well as objective reality.

Here’s something which some people might think would help define someone who is “serious” about books.

For me, it’s more than 100 years old. I have some of the original Oz books, for one thing, and I have one volume of the Britannica which is a 19th century edition.

Now, let’s get a sense of your computer history. With this one, I’d like it to be something that was on the computer in its time…not that you used it in a computer museum, or something like that. It should be something that you used practically.

Interesting…I’ve used all of these except one. I never had or regularly worked with a computer which used tape reels…punch cards, the floppies, an optical drive…sure. Some of you might assume everybody has worked with a computer which had an optical drive…it will be intriguing to see what the poll says.

This next one is actually making me nervous just writing it…

I used to joke about being “web blind”, and saying my hands would start shaking. 😉 I mentioned that today, but noted that we are almost never web blind (without internet connection) for long at all these days.

I’d hate that I’m going to say this, but I think I’d have to go without the reading. Aarrgghh!

Why do I say that?

With the internet, my writing would proliferate like beetle species during the Triassic period!

On the other hand, I could write and just not publish it for a day. That way, I could read books and write…using a computer, but not connected!

Yep, I change my mind…I’m going without the internet, and submerging into a day of reading and writing…but I do want them both.

Okay, one just for fun:

I think it’s better that I don’t reveal my answers on this one. I will say that I can legitimately say four of these…and often more than once.

Looking forward to what you have to say! If you can’t find answers that fit, feel free to comment on this post…I never seem to be able to design polls where the questions satisfy everybody, and the reasons people give me for that help me make better polls in the future.

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

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

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

Poll Party #5

December 13, 2013

Poll Party #5

My regular readers know that I really like to hear your opinion. I often ask for it at the end of posts (and I try to give you conversation starters), and I love reading (and responding to) the comments.

I know not everybody wants to, or has the time and energy to, write something like that.

That’s one reason I love the polls we do here. It gives people another way to be heard. Even though we certainly aren’t a scientific sample of the mainstream, I find it interesting to see what we are saying. I suspect we might even be predictive as a group, as far as e-books are concerned, but I don’t really know that.

This time, I really wanted to focus on some trends, comparing this year to last. I’m starting to see those “Best of” 2013 lists, and I don’t tend to do those.

I do look backwards in my The Year in E-Books posts, but it’s not really about what is best (I always find that to be very subjective…what’s best for one person is not best for another). I also try to do those very late in the year…some surprising things can happen in the last weeks. 🙂

However, I do think you have a pretty good idea about how some things will have played out for you by the end of 2013, and hey, I was in the mood. 😉

Reading Increases by Format

My intuition has been that reading (of full-length books) has been on the rise since the introduction of the Kindle in 2007. That’s not just e-books: I think that e-books have also resulted in a more general acceptance of reading, which has likely resulted in more people reading p-books (paperbooks) and audiobooks as well.

For this question, I’m interested in which formats you find yourself reading more…not more compared to the other formats, but more compared to last year. I’m not looking so much of a shift from, say, paper to e, but whether you are reading more: you could have increases in all of the formats.

Source of Books

I actually think that traditionally published books may be reversing a trend, and getting market share back from independently published books. Some of them are starting to figure out the digital world, and they have a lot of resources (including relationships with brand name authors) to bring to the playing field. HarperCollins, in particular, seems to be experimenting with some interesting things, participating in Kindle Matchbook and Scribd’s “all you can eat” plan.

Voting with Your Dollars

Lots of times, we think we have a particular opinion…perhaps that we revere one thing more than something else. When we look at actual expenditures, though, it may turn out that we are supporting different things than we would have guessed.

Length

There is quite a bit of argument over whether or not there is a renaissance in short stories.

Genres

While I generally consider myself an eclectic reader, I do think that e-books have broadened my horizons. I think I’m reading more books of different types, and due in part to independent publishing, more books which can’t be easily classified.

I’m going to take the categories from the Kindle store, although I won’t necessarily take them all.

Quality

Totally subjective, but I’m just curious…

Remember, you can comment on this post if you have more to say about these choices to me or my readers.

* 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.

Poll Party #4

September 14, 2013

Poll Party #4

My regular readers know that I really like to hear your opinion. I often ask for it at the end of posts (and I try to give you conversation starters), and I love reading (and responding to) the comments.

I know not everybody wants to, or has the time and energy to, write something like that.

That’s one reason I love the polls we do here. It gives people another way to be heard. Even though we certainly aren’t a scientific sample of the mainstream, I find it interesting to see what we are saying. I suspect we might even be predictive as a group, as far as e-books are concerned, but I don’t really know that.

Kindle MatchBook

Amazon recently announced Kindle MatchBook, a service (starting in October) that will allow you to buy an e-book at a reduced price if you have bought the p-book (paperbook) from Amazon. Not all books will be eligible, but eligible purchases will go back to the beginning of Amazon.

There has been some interesting responses to this, in particular, I’ve seen articles that question whether or not this is even something people will want.

Idle Kindles

recently wrote about the many kinds of Kindleers, and it was a bit of a trip down memory lane for me.

I tend to keep all my Kindles, partially to have them as reference for questions.

However, I can honestly say I haven’t tried to turn on my Kindle 1 (the kind released in 2007) in over a year.

That got me thinking…there must by now be a lot of Kindles sitting unused in drawers and such.

Amazon’s Publishing Efforts

A lot is riding on Amazon’s publishing efforts, both as a traditional publisher and as a publishing platform (Kindle Direct Publishing).

In the past, pretty much every time Amazon has gone up against the publishers, they’ve lost (text-to-speech, the Agency Model…the latter wasn’t fixed until the Department of Justice intervened). It’s pretty simple: in terms of books, Amazon has needed the tradpubs (traditional publishers).

As Amazon continues to produce their own books, though, they need the publisher less…potentially shifting that balance.

That only really works if we buy the books, though…

I realize many people may not know (or care) who published their books, so here are some links to the options in the poll, in case you want to check:

Your Reading Profile

I’m just curious about this one…I always assume the readers of this blog tend to be “serious readers”, but I like to get more data.

Comfort Level with Your E-reading Device

When I started this blog over four years ago, I was doing a lot of basic “how tos” and tips and tricks.

Over time, my sense has been that the devices have gotten easier to use, and people come into them knowing more about them. That doesn’t mean that I don’t go back to the basics…I know that you always should do that in every endeavor, and that you are far more likely to overestimate people’s knowledge of a topic you know than underestimate it in most cases.

So, I’ll ask…

Used to Uses

Bookstore sales continue to drop this year (down 6.3% in July, according to this Publishers Weekly article). That’s leading some people to say that p-books are going away. I don’t think that myself, although I do think that how they are going to be used may change dramatically. For example, I’ve been suggesting that we may see $50 as a common price for a hardback novel by a brand name author (with better materials and manufacturing, and more of a luxury feel).

Another factor that got made me want to do this poll was that it is the 50th anniversary of the audiocassette (depending on how you measure it, of course). I remember when something came up with my now adult kid about an audiocassette, and my kid had no idea what they were…despite having frequently used an audiocassette player at maybe five years old (and something like ten years before the question about them).

That doesn’t mean they aren’t still around…somewhere…but they seem to be not much in the public consciousness of New Millenials.

I was also amused to a reference recently to an animal having a “…nose like Jimmy Durante“. I wondered how many people reading that story online got anything out of that line!

Glass Check

I’m often described as an optimist, and I wouldn’t argue with that. It sometimes suggests that I’m living in a fantasy world and am deluded about reality…I might want to refute that point. 😉

How about you?

I certainly expect the fewest answers on that last question, because most people aren’t gong to want to define themselves that completely…they are going to see themselves as a mix, or undefined. We’ll see, though. 😉

Polls are certainly just one way to express your opinion. I know some of you will have more to say on these, and may question my wording and options (which is fine, of course). Feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

I’ll be interested to see what results we get!

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


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