Saturday, March 20, 2010

First anniversary of the blog - Unique uses for the Kindle

Without realizing it, I celebrated the first anniversary of this blog yesterday, March 19, by spending some time at a park and then going next door to Costco, where I used the Kindle again to check product reviews on sales items.  (Until I received a note reminding me, late last night, I totally forgot it had been a year.)

At any rate, after you turn on wireless and wait for it to get a good 3G connection, you can google reviews easily from the Home Page by just starting to type the Search terms or Keywords.  In this case, I typed 'samsung' and then the model number, followed by the word "review" after it and then pushed the 5-way button to the right until it said 'google' and pressed down on the 5-way.

There's usually no need to do a log-in to read reviews, so you can do this in the 'Basic Mode' setting and it's a bit faster usually.  But I was in 'Advanced
Mode' yesterday at times too and it wasn't as slow as before nor did the colors always get translated into many shades of hard-to-read-gray on the review pages.
  But, normally, I recommend Basic Mode for this.

The web browsing experience, overall, seems considerably faster than it was last year.  I'd still never call it 'surfing' -- it can be more like swimming against the tide, but it's better lately.  I wonder if they're working on that a bit as part of the software updates.
  Getting the first page of results or of any article will take the longest because it's gathering the rest of the pages also.  After that, next-paging is as fast as on a computer now.

After you've clicked a link to 'jump' to a review and finished reading or skimming it, you press the 'BACK' button to get back to the search-results page where you can choose another link.

You can also view this in Landscape mode and be able to read more easily sometimes.  (Press the Aa key to rotate the display.)  I checked (not the mobile version, which doesn't work well with Kindle) in Landscape mode and was able to awkwardly get through its input blocks to read latest mail.  It's not fun but it's doable.

If interested in trying the web-browser feature, take a look at my tips on getting better speed with it.  The blog article also includes a downloadable file (free) with prepared links to webpages that are optimized for mobile-devices.

FROM THE FORUMS - Unusual/Unique things done with the Kindle
Today's blog entry won't be about other readers, tablets, or the book-pricing wars but -- in keeping with seeing how Kindle owners are enjoying their readers a year after I started this site -- this will feature what some of what people at the forums are saying the last 3 months about the unusual things they enjoy doing with their Kindles.  The topic has been going on for some time, with good ideas (recipes being a favorite, as well as searching for info as a rider in a car in a new place), but there are a few more uses.  These will be the latest from the message thread titled The Most Unusual/Unique Thing You Use Your Kindle For.
' [Starting with the most basic use]
A. Sisk says:
Most of things you all talk about I use my iPhone for...I just use my Kindle as ....well....a book.

And I love it.

A. Book Lover says:
Merriam Webster Spanish-English Dictionary ($6.36) works fine on my Kindle 2. I made it the default dictionary and it works as a translator at the bottom of pages in a Spanish language book I bought.

VKI says:
Okay, my children are Irish dancers. At their Oireachtas (regional championship), after I saw the competitor lists, I went online and looked up the results from last year. That helped me remember what name went with which dancer and about how well they were all dancing last year.

Maggie Leung says:
For travel, I compiled a file of handy foreign phrases and loaded it on my Kindle.

This is one source for phrases:

It has a bunch of useful phrases, plus this goofy one, which I'm looking forward to springing on someone:

"My hovercraft is full of eels."

techweenie says:
I put my lecture notes on my Kindle instead of printing them out every semester.

techweenie says:
... good idea. I also keep book lists on mine, so I know what the next book in a series is.

A. MacDiarmid says:
Techweenie: I do that too but also books by favorite authors so I can easily find which book I want to get next even if it is not in a series.

[Lead Singer 63 asked how the following was done from a previous posting by E. Sund that said:]
I used my Kindle to read a paper I wrote for grad school out loud to me because it was easy to catch grammar mistakes and awkward wording that I would have missed if I read it silently. I think I'll do it with every paper from now on!

A. MacDiarmid says:
Lead Singer 63: ... I use Open Office which saves files in ODT format. Calibre can translate that to a Mobi file which is readable by the Kindle. I just send it to the device and it translates and copies it to the Kindle in one click. Calibre handles a lot of different file types, so look and see if it has yours.

Carbonbased says:
I have the Installation of Officers for my fraternal organization on my Kindle. I originally typed it up in word and saved a copy in .rtf so I could use it on a palm-based pda. When I got my [Kindle] DX, I attached the .rtf file to an email to (me)

It comes back as .azw [Kindle format] and TTS [Text-to-speech] works on it. For a very small fee [15c per megabyte of a file], you can [instead] send it wirelessly [to your Kindle] from any email you have given permission to send. You give permission on the 'manage your kindle' page. Your home email on file with Amazon is already listed, with a function to add other specific addresses or whole domains.

Tawnilynani says:
My husband & I went to a city we were not that familiar with to buy me a car, after driving around for about 45 minutes looking for a certain bank, I remembered I had my Kindle with me. I used it to find the nearest bank branch & the car auction! Thank goodness my Kindle is always in my purse!

Patti D. says:
I'm now storing genealogy records on it, so they'll be with me whenever I want to access them.
I also have lecture notes on mine, in case I need to step in for a colleague who is ill, without advance warning.
(I plan on putting all of my lecture notes on mine, eventually.) '

  Another useful forum thread that's ongoing is in response to forum visitors who wonder whether the Kindle is worth $260.

When I started this blog, I think the only solid competitor Amazon had was Sony, a company which was making e-readers quite some time before the Kindle -- but the free wireless downloads of books from almost anywhere was the defining and usually irresistable feature (for those who wanted e-readers at all) in a unit that was well thought-out for those who like to not only read but search a book, make notes and highlight passages.  If only Amazon would make that possible for its PDF handling.

 Maybe the 50 or so new e-readers marching toward Amazon's gates will help Kindle customers get some needed features more quickly. ( An update for Kindle organization is due before summer, per Amazon's Kindle support team.)

  I used to feature info on new ereaders, to see what other companies are offering, but they are in such abundance now that I'll tend to wait until they become reality and people have had a chance to explore the functioning of the units -- we've seen how misleading ad specs can be this last year.

  I noticed a tweet the other night from @Merrilyn (Jan Zlendich):
"Using the new Kindle for Mac software makes me think I'll not be using the iPad for reading books - e-ink makes for a more relaxing read."

I have the same reaction to long-session, sequential reading on a really good netbook screen even with white background dimmed (Samsung's matte screen - with almost no reflections) even though I can read short articles on the web for hours on a computer).  It'll be interesting to see how people new to e-reading will respond to non-e-ink screens for book-reading.

This week's interview is with Joshua Tallent, Founder and CEO of eBook Architects, who spoke with Len Edgerly in person on March 14, 2010, in Austin, where they were attending South by Southwest Interactive.  They discussed the iPad, eBook prices, and how authors can succeed in publishing for eBook formats, especially the Kindle.
  Each Friday's podcast includes Kindle news, tech tips, an interview, and comments from listeners via phone or email.  I learn something new with every podcast.

And for those interested in the latest in the e-reader and tablet scene, visit his new The Reading Edge Podcast - "Conversations about the eBook Revolution Hosted by Len Edgerly." Lots of interesting stuff.

Also, a page of links that confine searches to mid-range priced e-books. 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.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Congratulation on your first anniversary! I really appreciate all the Kindle related info you post. Here's to a great second year.

  2. Thanks, Mary !

    It'll certainly be an interesting year...

  3. I've been reading and learning from your blog for quite some time now. Please keep going as strong as before. Besides, this i so much fun!
    Rick Askenase

  4. Rick,
    Thanks very much, and for our participation too. That year went really fast.

  5. Congratulations!
    As always, great blog! Hope you keep going.

  6. Igotnothing,
    Thanks! I guess as long as there are things to write about the Kindle and all its competitors, and the Kindle is obviously going to come out with a new model probably in October or near Christmas (but I hope they keep the b&w models too, for the contrast ratio for just-reading...)


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]