Sunday, May 3, 2015

News scraps and Kindle tips: Kindle Convert software ... New features for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick + availability in the UK and Germany ... Echo's new social network features and its If This Then That 'recipe' capability ... May's free contemporary Kindle books


The big news this week is what's happening with Amazon's Echo

But first, a couple of things that have happened with Amazon products in the last couple of months that weren't reported here yet + the regular beginning-of-month searchable links for free contemporary (non-classic) Kindle books:

May's free Kindle books (contemporary or non-classics)
    April 2015  May 2015.
    Also, all currently free non-classics sorted by:
    Publication Date   Bestselling    High ratings

  As ever, there are only a few shown on the first few days of any month, and these include pre-orders due that month -- most of these are listed as "free preview" of whatever chapters chosen, some are short stories, and a few (overnight) not-entirely-family-safe titles may show up.  Since this is May 3, the listing will not include more already available, full books.

Kindle Convert - new software
Amazon announced back in February -- in a Kindle Community Forum post -- new software that, for PC owners, will help you convert print books and printed personal documents into Kindle files that can be read on your Kindles.  The forum link just above is to a description of what the software, Kindle Convert can do.  The first paragraph:
' ... a new software application that allows you to convert scans of your most treasured personal books, documents and keepsakes into high quality Kindle books so you can digitally safeguard and enjoy them forever. Kindle Convert preserves all the things that make your books and documents unique, such as hand-written notes, autographs, photos and images, so you can maintain the look and feel of your printed books. '
The forum post explains more.
I didn't blog on this because initial reports and reviews cited difficulty of the process involved in doing this, and I felt later updates may improve the process.

  But I'm mentioning it here because there were a number of reports that "pdf files" did not convert well after all the effort.
  However, the software focus is on valued printed books and documents that you want to be able to read and keep on the Kindle.

  We already have an easy way to get PDFs converted to Kindle book format.  Amazon's own "Send to Kindle" programs works for documents from a web browser, an Android tablet, your desktop, and most of all, from your email.

  We all have Kindle email-addresses assigned to our Kindle devices.  It's in the format [you] and can be found at the Manage your Devices and Content page (formerly called "Manage-your-Kindle" page).

  There, under the image of each of your devices, you'll see the email address for your devices.  You can edit your device's email address name there to something that's easier to remember than the automatically assigned email address.

  Only you can send documents or books to that email address (which wind up in your Cloud area) so that no spam can invade your Kindle or Android tablet (my Windows phone doesn't get one of these addresses) and you can designate those whose email addresses can send docs to your Kindle (if, for example, doing a subscription not available from Amazon Kindle store).

  VIA EMAIL to your [] Kindlebook-reading email address, you can send any personal text file or *.mobi book file (often an eBook in .mobi format acquired from a non-Amazon source) to your Cloud, to read in Kindle format, with annotations posible.

  Amazon converts these emailed documents for your Kindlebook-reading device.
  If you send a PDF to an email address for an e-Ink reader, it will arrive as a readable PDF on the Kindle and if you put the word "convert" in the Subject field of the email, Amazon will automatically convert the PDF to a searchable Kindle book format but the PDF's special layout of tables or charts and columns will be different.

  For a novel for and one-column docs, this usually won't matter and is free although the older Kindle Keyboard devices with only 3G wireless used will see a 15c fee for a novel-sized file.  It's cost-free for WiFi readers otherwise.

PDFs are easily readable on tablets via a number of PDF-reader apps.  Scanning print books to PDFs yourself can be an arduous task but likely worthwhile for very valued print books you want to have in eBook format.

Bew Features for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
In late March, Amazon announced the following new features for Fire TV and Fire TV Stick
' Amazon Fire TV adds expandable USB storage and private, wireless listening with Bluetooth headphones

Watch on the go—Fire TV and Fire TV Stick now support captive portal so you can connect to Wi-Fi at a hotel or dorm room that requires web authentication

Fire TV Stick now available in the UK and Germany — Amazon Fire TV already the #1 streaming media box on Amazon in the UK and Germany '

For now, I'll just link you to the Businesswire announcement for the details on all this.

NEW ECHO FEATURES announced this week
The Verge's Josh Lowensohn reported that the Amazon Echo, usually called 'Alexa' by its owners, will now work with Twitter, Gmail, and Evernote plus a few others, thanks to the newly installed feature of "If This, Then That" ("ITTT")

  Lowensohn mentions the recent updates already reported here, "things like Pandora, traffic reports, sports scores, and support for Belkin's WeMo and Phillips's Hue products" and describes the new features' capabilities:
' ... the IFTTT 'recipes' for Alexa let you send your shopping and to-do lists out to third-party services like Google Drive, Evernote, and Todoist

... There are 54 combinations in total.  Enabling them requires signing up for IFTTT, then linking it up with your Amazon account. You also need to go through the motions of activating the various third-party app channels, and approving your accounts there so IFTTT can link everything up behind the scenes. Some of the really good examples so far are:

. Adding your Echo shopping list items to Evernote
. Sending someone a short email with your voice
. Sending someone an SMS with your voice
. Adding Echo shopping list items to the iOS Reminders app
. Adding Alexa to-dos to Microsoft's OneNote '

See the Verge's full article for illustrations and more details.

  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular
The Kindle Daily Deal
What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care
Highly-rated under $1,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
   Top 100 free
USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard(U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

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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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Michael, I clicked on the wrong link and am trying to get back your comment, as it's not actually deleted. But I hope you did note that I said why I had not blogged on the Kindle Convert software previously and that was due to the reports mentioned. Also, the reason I gave for mentioning it now is that we have an older, easier process for converting PDFs to Kindle format. But I am still looking for your comment before I rush to an appt. If I have to leave before I find it, I'll look tonight.

    2. I don't think I can get it back. Please feel free to re-post and I'll be back later to release notes that aren't spam. Thanks. Apokogies for the carelessness.


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