iPad Kindle Update

This is just a quick post for any of the Amazon iPad Kindle Reader developers out there that might be listening. As someone that has purchased and read hundreds of kindle books, the latest update is a step backwards.
Instapaper has better reading options and that’s a done by a single developer. The margins change is really bugging me. I realize that you just cant pick a single setting that is going to make 100% of the people happy, so there should just be a slider for margins. Then everyone can choose what they’re comfortable with. A slider for brightness and a slider for font size. Then you could let people choose their favorite font and you’d have the perfect reader.
I know that some of these changes are difficult. How would you calculate page numbers with infinite variations in the text? But making difficult things look easy is why Amazon is great.

Just ordered a new kindle

I just placed a pre-order for Amazon’s newest Kindle the other day. This one is to replace Jaimie’s Kindle since she was still using the very first generation model and there are quite a few updates in this newest version. Supposedly much better battery life, better contrast, and faster page turns, all great things for a power reader.
We also decided to go with the wifi only model, which is cheaper, but most of our book reading is at home where there is total coverage. If we’re out and about we read on the iPhone and then sync back to the kindle to continue reading at home.
Hopefully this latest version will arrive before the next round of books that we’ve been waiting for. I’m waiting for The Evolutionary Void and we’re very happy that MockingJay will also be released in a kindle version.
I was happy to hear that Bezos was focusing on creating the best book reader instead of chasing yet another tablet.

Kindle for the mac

Kindle for the mac was just announced last night. I was really excited and downloaded it immediately.
The software is still listed as beta and definitely has a rough around the edges feel. But it does all of the basic things that kindle for the iPhone does. It allows you to pull in any of the books from your amazon archive, sync locations between different devices, change the font and reading formats to fit the device, and sync notes between devices. The main disappointment that I had was that the mac version doesn’t appear to have a book search feature. The laptop version of the software is the ideal place to be able to go back into your books and take notes or look up relevant parts. Without a basic search feature though this is severely hampered.
Up until now I’ve been splitting my two basic classes of book purchases, books that I’d just like to read from cover to cover and books that I need as reference material. I still purchase in physical form most of my computer books because I want to be able to look something up quickly and flip to exactly the point that I need. This is not an ideal use case for the kindle though, which is really good at reading from cover to cover. If the laptop software had a good search feature I would definitely start looking at purchasing reference books in digital form. It would be a great tool for looking things up and taking notes.
Well, hopefully Amazon listens and gets search implemented. It’ll transform the laptop software from a curiosity into a really powerful tool.

Kindle syncing

I’ve had a kindle since they first came out, I’ve loved it since day one and use it pretty much every night to read for hours on end. In the past I would leave the wireless off though. With the 1st Gen kindle you could get a lot longer battery life if you didn’t turn the wireless on. Once you were reading a book, you could read for several days without needing to connect to Amazon’s servers. Only once you had finished a book and needed to add more did you need to turn it on to sync.
A few months ago, I downloaded Amazon’s kindle app for the iPhone, more out of curiosity than anything else. Initially I just couldn’t see myself reading books on such a small screen, especially one that was backlit and would cause eye-strain. However, in the last couple weeks I’ve discovered how seamlessly Amazon has made syncing devices and reading locations. Since during the day, I pretty much always have the iPhone with me, I can just pull it out and start reading. The iPhone is perfect for the situation where you might only have a few minutes and might need to put it away very quickly. I was getting my van washed yesterday and was able to read for 5 min at the car wash. The magic happens though when you get back home, turn on your kindle and it knows to sync your reading location up to where you left off on the iPhone and vice-versa.
I’m now finding that I’m able to get even more reading done during the day. Filling in small breaks instead of waiting for a single block of reading before bed.

Kindle Time

Amazon has really got to think about updating the software on the kindle to allow the reader to display the current time at the top of the device. I’ve spent way too many nights reading for way too long and then not gotten enough sleep. I really end up paying for it the next day.
I was up till 1:30am last night reading and am having serious trouble moving today. All of this could have been avoided if I had known that I had been reading for 4 hours straight.
Of course you could say that I should just put a clock in the family room and solve the problem, but then I’d have to go grab a new clock and that’s not nearly as easy as writing a blog post.