Friday, August 5, 2011

My Comcast WiFi is down - UPDATE: Kindle News, Kindle books, magazines

Down for several hours. My neighborhood, apparently. So, my desktop, laptop, and Nookcolor aren't connected.  I'm using my Kindle 3's 3G to do this very brief blog entry. Can't do copy/paste with it, so this will be it. They say it'll be another 3+ hours. At least I can get on to read a bit! More when I get WiFi back!

Comcast restored the network connections after 8 am.
  While on my Kindle 3G, I found that some formerly problematic pages seem to load faster now, although image-heavy sites will still take forever to load, so stay away from those.  A Kindle World's main page is outrageous in length (because I found that people will, more often than not, skip reading rather than click on 'more' or 'next' and so I never go to the webpage when using the Kindle -- but I tried it last night to confirm that my brief posting went through and found that it actually loaded quite a bit faster than in the past.

Still, people should stick to mostly-text pages when using the Kindle web browser.  Again, try the free, downloadable Kindle Mobiweb file of links that you can just click on, to get to mobile-device optimized pages, which include umbrella pages made by others that are themselves collections of good pages to access via the Kindle.

While experimenting, I wanted to see if I could click on a link from the Kindle-Edition of the blog (which opens a "new window") and maybe download a book, since in the past that was not doable.  I clicked on the first book in the list of HarperCollins "Perennials" -- their favored backlisted books and new books for including in the collection of 20 ebooks for $20 during August.  I did get to the Amazon page for the ebook and it allowed me to buy the 99c book that way.

With the Kindle 3, the initial webpage is seen in full width, which means the words are so tiny you can't read them!  So I pressed the 'Aa' key and chose the "zoom to '200'" option and read the book page that way.

 Since I had no other way to connect, I thought I'd explore.  It turns out the first book (apparently it's one that was wanted by some members of the discounted-books forum thread that I link to each day) is a memoir, about an advertising agent who spends nights doing gay clubs as a drag queen -- likely not everyone's cup of tea.  But it has 90 customer reviews, and a 4.5 star average rating.

  Title: "I Am Not Myself These Days (P.S.)" - which could be a good title for main characters of the two being-cancelled soaps, AMC and OLTL, both spinning (in) absurdly plotted whirlwind endings which actually are tickling audiences to the point the two 30+ yr soaps have been picked up to be continued as online web series by former Disney people.
  ... But, that was certainly a digression.

  Back to the book.  Per review blurbs, the Chicago Sun Times reports,  "It's one hell of a spellbinding read.  Engrossing..."  and  Library Journal says "...darkly hilarous and entertaining."

Blog subjects - Bits and Pieces
Later, I got back on my desktop to do a new blog entry, only to find that the 7 tabs with article subjects I'd collected was not restorable.  I'm not going through my browser history right now to find them.
  But I see some new minor stories, such as the seattle pi one about four central New York school districts getting a total of 84 Kindles, all with 3G.

  I also see that refurbished Kindles pricing has dropped when they're available (not often, though there are a couple of stores on that).

Kindles for Australia
For those in Australia, Kindles are arriving in Dick Smith and Big W stores, as well as Woolworths.   Strangely,  they'll cost a little more that way than if ordering directly from Amazon U.S., but the pluses are said to include local customer service and local returns if a unit breaks, plus there'll be additional accessories that can be viewd. The Kindles for purchase in Australia's stores won't be there until August 31.  'Countdown' stores are included also.

Paper computer, ultra flexible
This is a very weird one.   The Atlantic has a story and video about a device developed by researchers at the Queen's University Human Media Lab in Ontario -- it's an e-Ink prototype "that responds to bend gestures."  They explain that a flexible circuit with sensors records, in the software, various bends that, when repeated, can trigger an action on the device.

  "If incorporated into an e-reader, a flip-of-the-page motion could signal to the device that you're ready to move on."  [It] "looks, feels and operates like a small sheet of interactive paper," said creator Roel Vertegaal, who added that you can flip the corner to turn pages or write on it with a pen.

New TV ad company to be used by Amazon
Adweek's Andrew McMains says Amazon has gone to a new agency for their Kindle ads -- and by that, the article seems to mean the TV ads.

  They'd previously worked with production companies like Eyeball, but will now work with Walrus, which has done work for AMC (specifically for Mad men, Breaking Bad and The Prisoner) and The Economist.  I have no idea what it all means but I had  liked the recent TV ads of the guy with his Kindle and the gal who is more brick & morter bookstore inclined.   Personally I love visiting physical bookstores, so I'm hoping that the Borders fiasco was due most of all to bad and negligent management (which seems to be the going sentiment) which ignored the growing draw of e-books rather than including them as B&N has done.

Barnes and Noble - the sale to Liberty Media - is it happening?
A Nook and a Crack in the Deal for Barnes and Noble? - This one is a mobile web-link that Kindle-Edition subsribers can click on and read easily with the Kindle web browser (with Wireless 'on' of course) ...  (Choose Menu/Article Mode, once there, to get the most readable font and layout).

  The story is about the unexpected length of time it has taken for Liberty Media to effect the anticipated $1 billion acquisition of B&N, and the complexities involved, causing problems.  Liberty has been expected to get financing to buy 70% of the company, with BN founder Len Riggio staying on with 30% holdings.  Ron Burkle, as ever, is a possible spoiler.

A new Amazon subscription model being tested?
Amazon is offering the Digest edition of Fantasy & Science Fiction magazine, which Stephen King deems "the best fiction magazine in America."

  It's now "exclusively available" in the Kindle Store's magazines area.  Unfortunately, the title of Amazon's press release doesn't indicate it's a Digest rather than the full magazine although the first sentence does make that clear and then describes what is available in the digest and what isn't.
' ...access to all of the magazine's editorial content - editor's recommendations, "Curiosities" (odd books of enduring interest), film reviews, book reviews, cartoons and humor, and "Coming Attractions" (highlights of each issue) - along with one short story [from the current full issue], all at no cost...: '

  The full magazine ("Extended Edition", published bimonthly at $12/year for the Kindle edition), contains "several additional short stories and novelettes."

  Right now, the reviews for the free digest-edition are either highly favorable or are 1-star rants about feeling misled, maybe by the resulting word of mouth via forums and email -- but Amazon should change the title of the press release that's in their archives since it'll continue to be referenced (and is not exactly accurate), and we can see that many haven't gone on to read even the first paragraph of the release.

 The title of the the free digest, as advertised in the Kindle Magazine editions area, is "Fantasy & Science Fiction, Free Exclusive Digest" [Kindle edition], by Spilogale, Inc.  It would appear to be a way to interest people in getting the full or 'extended' product, which customer reviews indicate is happening.

Forbes: British pair with Kindle book land a 6-figure 4-book deal with HarperFiction
An eBook by British writers Louise Voss and Mark Edwards zoomed to the top of the Amazon UK Kindle bestseller's list (for all of June)  ("Catch Your Death" (UK, also at Amazon U.S.) and, as a result, they now have a six-figure four-book deal with HarperFiction.

  The London Evening Standard has a story on how they did this, which includes learning how to publish their own material, with a low price ($1.99 U.S.), and promoting the book by social networking.  Of course the book has to really interest a lot of people and generate word of mouth -- most e-books, including low-priced ones, languish under the giant growing mound of self-published Kindle books while authors try to self-promote on the forums and are often treated as spammers.

  It's an interesting article.  The London Evening Standard (or article almost treats her as sole-author, though they mention she has a partner in writing the book.

Photo credit:

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's)   K3 Special ($114)   K3-3G Special ($139)   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. Thanks, Carol :-)

    When I go out I don't, unless looking up info, think about the Net at all. But if I'm home and my wifi goes out, it drives me batty. (Especially when I should be getting blog entries done.)


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