Thursday, October 13, 2011

Kindle Touch models and the X-Ray reference tool - what it does


Laptop Magazine's Kenneth Butler describes the X-Ray feature and shows the video demo Jeff Bezos used to demonstrate how this works.  Those who watched the entire 52 minute presentation will have seen this in very low resolution.  Here's the YouTube video (Link: ) which is taken from the audience and is in HD with very good sound.  It fills my 24" monitor with extreme clarity (at least starting at 50 seconds in) if I choose '720p' at bottom right of the YouTube screen, which means I can read the Kindle text easily, sitting way back).

  Fixed a bad link Thursday morning
  There's also another video (Link: ), which shows the close-up video-demo along with Jeff Bezos at the podium although the contrasts in light can't be picked up well and the sound is so low it's hard to hear.  I liked seeing the full scene though.

Note to Kindle-Edition subscribers re the video links
  Those reading this on a Kindle-Edition subscription can type those two links into the browser when at a computer.  I have to say this because the Kindle blog dept regularly sends me demands to remove video links from the Kindle editions to meet quality requirements, which I can't do without removing them from this webpage blog itself (!), but I think it's better to let Kindle subscribers know how they can see a demo or tutorial if they want.

The added information shown by X-ray
  The X-Ray feature comes with the Kindle Touch models.  When you highlight a word to get more information on it (dictionary definition, or choosing to go to Wikipedia or Google), it won't need to connect you to the Internet to get information external to the book (unless you want it to) -- Amazon will (in late November) include with every book purchase "a small file pre-loaded with relevant Wikipedia content (and other information)."  As you can see in the video, some of that information can be descriptions of characters as seen on Amazon's Shelfari (Link: ), and when users request outside information, this additional file is accessed rather than the Internet.

Instances of word or character in sequence with links to pages
  While one of the features (pointed out by Consumer Reports) is that pressing to highlight a word lets you see, sequentially, all mentions of a character or phrase within a book, the Kindle has always done that and is one reason I like it.  Here's an example from Oct. 2009 as to how that works in all models currently.  Consumer Reports did not look at or report on features like this when doing e-reader comparisons in the last two years.  Nor did they mention these were presented by-book, in sequence and printable, on a private, password-protected annotations page given to Kindle customers in our Amazon areas.

X-Ray's new statistical information
  Amazon has mentioned that it can display statistics that include the frequency of appearance of a word or character in a book, or even in a chapter or on one page.  You'll see this in the video.   (I guess one can wonder if a character will show up again or is particularly important in the scheme of things).

What's involved in gathering the added information for the file
  Whatever algorithms Amazon uses to choose which words or phrases get the added information in the side-file, Amazon points out that the process of choosing and including this external information uses "its expertise in language processing and machine learning, access to significant storage and computing resources...and a deep library of book and character information."

Kindle Touch 3G   Kindle Touch WiFi   Kindle Basic   (UK: KBasic)   Kindle Fire
Kindle Keybd 3G   (UK: Kindle Keybd 3G)   K3 Special Offers   K3-3G Special Offers   DX

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. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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  1. Just dropping a note to let you know the 3.3 update is ready.

  2. K. Hugh,
    Thanks for the monitoring and heads-up! Will include that tonight.

  3. You're welcome, and thanks for the shout out in your post.

  4. """display statistics [...] of appearance of a [...] character in a book [...] (I guess one can wonder if a character will show up again or is particularly important in the scheme of things)"""

    will there be a spoiler warning? or kindle will show the data in the book only till i've read it by default?


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