Saturday, April 10, 2010

More Kindle uses + iPad info for Kindle-interested - Update

Saw a couple of new, unusual uses of the Kindle
and am including those here.

Original posting 4/9/10, 8:38 AM, updated 4/10/10, 4:21 AM
[By] 'Jason Mathews
On a recent trip to Memphis, I used my Kindle to print both my itinerary, which was useful to check in, and my boarding pass.  I printed both to PDF, and I had the boarding pass on the Kindle screen when I approached the counter to board.  I asked if they could scan the screen, as I was curious if it would work.  The woman didn't even skip a beat.  She just scanned the screen, I heard a beep, and she waved me through.  For some reason I didn't think it would work, but it did! '
I should explain that you can't print from the Kindle itself but you can easily connect your USB cable (it's a part of your power cord) to the Kindle in order to move a text or PDF file from the Kindle to your computer for printing.  (You can also, of course, move a PDF file to your Kindle for reading on that device or even send a PDF TO your Kindle direct, via wireless Whispernet, but that costs 15 cents for each megabyte of a file.)

  Another plus is that you can use your computer to "print" text that you want to keep, TO a PDF file on your computer (see CutePdf utility) and then move that new PDF file to your Kindle, where you can read it -- or where a ticket agent can scan and process it  :-)

At any rate, putting your personal docs onto a Kindle is easy to do.  Another post in the same week was about putting knitting patterns on the Kindle.  And there was a post about using a ziplock type bag to read the Kindle in the pool, but I don't have the faith that person has in ziplock bags for that purpose although many use them for the bathtub, in case.  Others use the commercial waterproof ones, and I bought one for protection from wind-blown sand in the desert but found a normal Ziploc bag worked just as well.

With the iPad, there is, strangely (since it's more of a computer), no innate printing capability either but there is a somewhat convoluted workaround for that).

  Also, you can't just use a USB cable and transfer a file back and forth to an iPad.  Files have to be "sync'd" with the iTunes program on the computer (after you buy a $29 connection kit that has the needed adapter piece).  Email can be used though.
UPDATE - 4/10/10, 4:21 AM
  CF has commented that for just sync'g, the cable included with the iPad is enough.  The $29 camera connection kit would still be needed for transferring photos to the iPad.  Thanks, CF!

  People getting it for parents or grandparents should know a computer is needed, as well as a copy of iTunes for activating the unit and for syncing files.
There is no simple file manager for it.

  Since there is no SD slot or USB port, an adapter is needed as well as a lesson in how to get photos onto the unit.  Attachments can be sent and received in the basic email (including getting printouts but only if you have a computer and printer).  Web mail doesn't work for attachments with the iPad according to some.

Experiences with the e-reader feature
  Steve Jobs said on Thursday that 300,000 iPads were sold on the first day and 150,000 in the 4 days following that, with about 600,000 ebooks downloaded, which makes that an average of 1.3 books per owner.  This has indicated to some that the unit is being bought mainly for its web-browsing and video capabilities, as Kindle users tend to download/buy books in multiples, which makes sense since it's dedicated to reading.  Most of this theory is confirmed in the many reports of how the iPad is being used.

Typical are the reports on its relative heaviness for long-form reading.  Bloomberg's BusinessWeek wrote,
'...the device's horrifically glare-prone screen and weighty industrial design serve to underscore the benefits of dedicated E-Ink devices.
  ...Color imagery looks beautiful on the page. Unfortunately, the touch screen is so highly reflective that it kicks up a vicious glare in a well-lit room, and practically doubles as a mirror in full sunlight.
  ...if you're accustomed to holding a book up to your face while standing in a packed commuter train, the iPad will give you more of a workout than you might have bargained for. '
Melissa J. Perenson, writing a thorough early report for the same periodical, writes:
'... how well does the iPad--with its glossy, glarey screen and slightly greater weight--do as an e-reader?  [A fuller review is coming, she says.]
...I found it too heavy to comfortably hold in one hand, which is troublesome if you plan on using it as an e-reader...I found using two hands much more viable, but my relatively small hands then had issues trying to reach across the expanse of the vertical unit's on-screen keyboard.  Furthermore, I quickly realized my hands would tire in this position after reading just a few chapters of a long novel. '
Page Numbers on the iPad
The Kindle uses absolute Location numbers, which map to specific word placements, as font sizes chosen while reading will change page-numbering.

  The iBook's five fonts, ten font sizes and resulting combinations will result in a given piece of text with 50 possible page numbers depending on the font settings, so these are not keyed to a hard copy book's page numbers.

Problems for those using productivity tools
  While I've read many reports from consumers extremely happy with their iPads, they're usually those who've bought it for more rational reasons such as enjoying web-surfing and shorter emails from the couch (rather than buying into the sales pitch of "magical, revolutionary" that raises expectations for those who use them for 'productivity' reasons using applications that Apple introduced during the launch as "the best you will ever use").

  As it turns out -- for that crowd interested in the productivity aspects of it, things have been less than ideal.
  iTnews' Anthony Caruana writes, in his article "A dozen reasons to not buy an iPad" that readers should wait for the next version because of the many basic problems being reported at the Apple support forums

 Among those problems are that presentations created with Desktop Keynote do not work on Keynote for iPad for the various reasons given in the article.  It's not possible to play back video on slides and some visual effects, and there is "no way to display presenter notes on the iPad while it's connected to a projector."  Also it can't connect to wireless projectors despite connectivity credentials.  Affecting more business users:
'   Now users are fuming that they can't open Microsoft Office files and are finding all sorts of basic features missing.

Users have found that they can't create spreadsheets in Numbers and then export them for sharing with colleagues as Microsoft Excel files.  Pages can import and export Word's formats but lacks support for headers and footers, footnotes and other essentials.

Keynote is causing grief with reports of poor font support, broken animations and video playback. Worse still, some edits on the iPad, when synced back to a desktop Mac, result in the loss of critical elements such as speaker's notes. '
Reported WiFi reception problems
Multiple problems with WiFi reception include weakness shown by the iPad in cases where other mobile devices are showing full strength.  Part of the reason is said to be a weaker WiFi antenna placed in the back behind the logo when that very area is often propped up against something.  (People had already reported problems typing on a flat surface when the back of the iPad is somewhat convex.)

  Apple has recommended one fix that doesn't address the other problems, but one person found that raising the display's brightness level (draining battery a bit more) will help the WiFi reception.

  The list goes on, and those still reading can get it at the linked article.

A few iPads being returned by some well-known people
It's unusual to see an article about this statistically-meaningless number on a very popular gadget, but it's worth looking at why they're reported to be doing that.  For most of those people it's highly affordable, and one of them should have just waited for the 3G version.  I think gadget-minded people are inherently fickle anyway.

Refund policies and restocking fees
Also, while Amazon has a very company-confident 30-day full-refund policy on its Kindles (they can be returned for pure dislike rather than functioning), the Nook has a 14-day policy with a restocking fee and Apple has a 14 or 15-day return policy with a 10% restocking fee.

For those who have iPads and are loving them
Also check out 50 really useful iPad tips and tricks

Kindle's Resale Value
Today's San Francisco Chronicle carries a Business Insider article by Jay Yarow, astonished at the obviously crazed used-Kindle sellers and buyers.
' Now that the iPad is out, the Kindle is toast, right? Apparently not.

People are still willing to shell out over $200 for the black and white e-reader.

We did a quick scan of Craigslist in New York and Austin, as well as completed eBay auctions. People are still asking for, and more importantly, receiving, over $200 for used and new Kindles. '

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  1. >> Since there is no SD slot or USB port, an adapter is needed as well as a lesson in how to get photos onto the unit.

    FYI: the EyeFi camera memory card works great for me. You never have to take it out of the camera and it syncs camera photos with online web albums via local WiFi. So no adapter purchase is necessary and no fumbling with memory cards. It's a pretty convenient setup, I must say - it 'just works.'

  2. Some notes on typographic deficiencies of the iPad:

  3. Anonymous,
    How are you setting that up. EyeFi was going to see how it worked with the iPad's camera connection kit, which has the adapter I mentioned, and which is the $29 kit.

    Here is what EyeFi said on March 16 about this:

    At some point some thought the iPad would have to be capable of doing something with the local WiFi to get that to work in the usual way and there was a problem.

    You're using this successfully with your iPad on your WiFi now? And if so, could you explain how you are doing it?

  4. In other words, are you using these pictures via online access but not having them in the iPad where you can do basic editing with photo-editing apps?

    Are you downloading them from the web to the iPad rather than from the camera then?

  5. To Anonymous of the typographics comment:

    That was an interesting read. Thanks for it. Had not seen that one. I am so used to gaps now that I have just been glad when the words are readable :-) But I have always disliked full justification. There were certainly enough other probs noted though with it all. Amazon used to, with Kindle 1, give us a setting to not do full justification. I miss that feature.

  6. Andrys,

    I am sorry, I did not intend to imply that I have the setup working on an iPad. (I am even more sorry that I don't have an iPad.)
    I can see now that the initial setup is an issue because the EyeFi card does indeed come with a USB reader in order to install the software and to possibly initialize/authorize the card. There *has* to be a way though, and by the sounds of it (based on the link you've provided) the EyeFi people are working on that.

  7. Anonymous re EyeFi,
    No problem. It's all very interesting, so thanks. And, like you, I'm pretty sure they can get something working with time.

  8. Interesting info about the Kindle's screen being scannable! Thanks for that. I wish I'd tried that a few weeks ago on my last trip.

    However, one minor correction - no additional $29 adapter is needed to sync an iPad to a computer in order to use iTunes for document transfer. The iPad comes with the proper cable..

    Also, while you conpare the Kindle hardware to the iBook reader software, you might want to mention that the free Kindle reader software is available for iPad, and it's outstanding. I've not even bothered adding iBooks titles since my entire Kindle library is available (in color) on my iPad.

    (I haven't decided whether I will keep my Kindle 2 or sell it/gift it)

  9. ( recently is not releasing some comments after the manual approval process as normally is done but when it finally is displayed by here, it can be a couple of days later!, so this is just to acknowledge that the process 'completed' for "CFRandall" but the comment isn't showing yet.

    If it doesn't show up within a day, I'll quote the note here and respond to it. I guess they're going through software changes...

  10. Well, CF's comment showed up after I wrote that note. Must have pushed it out of the server :-)

    Thanks. Re the additional adapter piece that is found in the camera connection case, but not originally slated to be sent with the iPad, is that the two-way adapter that can be used with the cable?
    There were many discussions of this, as the adapter in the optional camera connection kit provides a way to connect to the unit via making the connection choice USB or one for SD cards.

    It could be that after all the forum discussions on that since January, they included, on April 3, an adapter piece that works to make the usb connection for the sync'g and that it's part of the included cable but that it doesn't have the camera photo-transfer adapter. Let me know.
    Are there instructions re doing photo-transfers with it or on getting the capability?

    Since it's now written that the sync'g must be done to even activate the unit, the needed piece for sync'g must have been included after all. Reviewers have been pointing out that there were messages during syncing that the last syncing was done several days before, which unnevered a few people but obviously testing would have been done and it's picking up on that OR, as another reviewer said, it was confusing the iPad with an already-owned and sync'd iPhone that the user has.

    Re the Kindle for iPad, I've read that it's not nearly as impressive as is the iBook one that is free, and I definitely would have tried it. But since a Kindle owner would want to use the Kindle app to get the existing library, it's been written everywhere that it works fine but doesn't give the 2-page book in landscape and doesn't have the nifty page-turning visual that the iBook has. I already did a special blog entry for the Kindle for iPad software when it was announced at and every iPad review mentions that it works fine, including the sync'g with last-page read on your other devices.

    If you can read your iPad fine for hours (books, rather than web-surfing, the latter easy on the eyes but the former not so for many as mentioned in reviews) and also when out in the sun (which you might never do), then there's no need to keep your Kindle 2 except for bringing a smaller one outside which a lot of women do in purses.

    If you don't use the Kindle it'd be great if you gifted it though you could also sell it as they are being sold successfully at $200 at Craigslist and at eBay.

  11. A followup - the USB cable that comes with the iPad is the standard iPod/iPhone/iPad sync cable. It doesn't have any flash-card/camera connector. For that we'll still need to pony up the $29. Any wired file transfer to the device will work using that standard cable and iTunes.

    As for the Kindle software on the iPad, while you can't get 2-across page display, you can enable color pages and a page-turning animation in the preferences of Kindle for iPad (they're off by default).

    As for people who say that the iBook software is more impressive - I'm not seeing what's better. I'll stick to Kindle on the iPad :)

  12. On Len Edgerly's TKC 90 interview with James McQuivey on 4-9-10 Mr. McQuivey made an interesting observation that I hadn't heard before. He stated that you couldn't purchase Amazon books with the Kindle App for iPad. So, if you want the greater selection and possibly better price on some books you might want to keep your Kindle if you have one or you will, if he is correct, have to resort to your computer for your Amazon e-book purchases or at least use the iPad to shop at the Amazon site via the internet--if you are in a wifi zone or later with the added cost of 3G. (or is it even possible to have an Amazon e-book sent to the iPad that way on initial purchase?)

  13. I started to doubt what I wrote about what I heard Mr. McQuivey say so I went back to listen to it again (from about 28:27 to 28:40) he said, in referring to Apple's advantage, "SO FAR you can't buy books in the Kindle app on the iPad."(Emphasis added.) Just wanted to clarify.

  14. My2cworth,
    Yes, after seeing what you want with the Kindle app and wanting to buy a book, you'd be switched to Safari to enter the store (again) that way, find the book (I guess), and make your purchase with the iPad that way.

    Anyone with an iPad will have a computer (needed for the iPad in that it has to sync with iTunes ona computer) so I don't see a prob as many find it faster to browse the store with a computer.

    However, the Kindle for iPad should work like Kindle for PC in that you get kindle books on it by virtue of having an Amazon account and then your iPad can access your Amazon library of purchased books.

    I think the iPod/iPhone apps work that way too. You just see the library and can click to get an Amazon-purchased book not already on the unit.

    I don't have an iDevice that I use for such things :-) since the iPod I have is only for music and photographs though it's a nice 160gigs.

  15. My2cworth,
    From what I've read, the Kindle for iPad *could have* been used to buy Amazon books direct from the app, but that would have meant (and I think this is fair) that Apple would then get 30% of the sale.

    This way Amazon doesn't have to pay the commision.

  16. Andrys,
    I guess I see this as a big deal. The ability to buy directly on impulse from the Kindle and have your purchase Whispernetted to it is one of it's great charms (and a major reason the Kindle jump started the e-reader market) and therefore a significant advantage over the iPad. Since you have your blog and may do some of your research for it by computer perhaps it comes naturally to you to purchase books by computer rather than with the Kindle and others may prefer that.

    However, the reason I was surprised by the inability to purchase with the Kindle for iPad app is that you CAN purchase books (not just read books already on your account) with the Kindle for iPhone/iPod Touch app. I have an iPod Touch and I just purchased a book with it to verify this--it was delivered over wifi directly to the Ipod Touch.

    I wonder if Amazon is paying a commission to Apple on Kindle app for iPhone/Touch sales or if Apple just didn't want to make it easy for iPad owners to use it to compete with the iBook store? I doubt that Amazon is paying any commission to the hardware maker on Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac purchases. Hmmmm?

  17. My2¢worth
    Thanks for the added info.

    Like you, I doubt a commission is paid on the Kindle for iPod purchases (and I was talking about commission for a direct-sale mentioned, not for just a an app made for another product).

    However, as you say, Apple now has its own bookstore, paltry as its contents may be relative to Amazon's.

    As far as Kindle for iPad is concerned, Amazon gets to do this (and Apple benefits from it, clearly) without having to pay Apple a 30% fee if the app has people find and buy a book from the Safari browser on the iPad.

    Then you use your iPad app to *just access direct* the book you just bought which is now in your library. It is still accesible via the iPad itself and you don't need the computer to do the buying or the accessing.

    It's still like Whispernet except that (as in the iPod usually) you access it on the current iPad model released, via WiFi rather than Whispernet.

    I'm not sure what you want here -- for Apple to allow direct buying access to a competing store and not charge the 30% fee for sales at a competing book store from the app itself?

    Or for Amazon to pay a fee on the iPad app ? per sale?

    In my case and in many others, people keep their Kindles anyway but more likely to read from, when there would otherwise be glare from the iPad in highly lit circumstances.

    The added hassle is worth bringing to people's attention but on the many Kindle forums, Kindle owners buying iPads as a supplemental device haven't highlighted problems with this added step in buying from Amazon.

  18. CFRandall,
    Thanks for the info that ANY wired file transfer to the iPad will work using that standard cable and iTunes. There was much talk on forums that it wouldn't, in January.

    Thanks also for clarifying that camera photo file transfers will need the $29 buy.

    I personally really dislike depending in iTunes for my own file transfers and have avoided it when I could. Many of us do those transfers to/from computer for others who have found files suddenly deleted on the iDevice by iTunes because they didn't exist on the computer anymore.

    Why does Kindle for a iPad appear to make you have to 'enable' color pages. I saw that a columnist actually said, erroneously, that you could read Kindle books in only b&w since they are readable that way on physical Kindles, but he didn't allow Comments so I couldn't correct that very bad info.

  19. Andrys,
    I don't want to beat this issue to death but Amazon's support link for the Kindle for iPad app (see ) says "To access your Kindle library and shop for Kindle books at from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, you'll need to visit the iPhone App Store and download the Kindle application."

    So perhaps McQuivey is just wrong and my post was just much ado about nothing.

    I'd like to hear from someone who has an iPad and uses the Kindle for iPad app to buy an e-book from Amazon describe how it works. If it is just as seamless as buying a book directly from the Kindle then Mr. McQuivey led me astray and I apologize for wasting everyone's time.

  20. My2¢worth,
    It's a combo. You quoted McQuivey as saying "SO FAR you can't buy books in the Kindle app on the iPad."(Emphasis added.)" And that's correct.

    But you CAN shop or browse the store and if you decide to 'buy' something then you've the option of exiting the app and using Safari to access Amazon's store to actually buy the book(s).

    As he said, and you added, you can leave the app and buy the book via the Internet (via the iPad and its Safari browser) after browsing the store on the Kindle for iPad app.

    I didn't hear it yet but maybe he meant if you keep your Kindle you can shop the store direct and download immediately from the Kindle store. A bit more convenient...

  21. Andrys,
    Stephen Windwalker answered my question in his newsletter today:

    "The only instance where I thought McQuivey had it seriously wrong was in his brief discussion of the iBooks Store vs. the Kindle Store as ebook vendors. He said 'so far you can't buy books in the Kindle App on the iPad, and that is a detriment.' But in emphasizing this distinction he seems to be handicapped by his self-avowed "conscientious objector" status relative to the iPad.

    In the Kindle for iPad app, you get to the Kindle Store with either one (from the Home screen) or two (from within a book) clicks, and then you are in the extremely familiar, time-tested and user-friendly Amazon book retailing environment where you can download any Kindle title seamlessly and have it sent to your Kindle for iPad app (or any other registered device) within seconds. 15 years of online book retailing translates into tremendous strengths for Amazon, and the Amazon and Kindle Stores are far more conducive to searching, browsing, and sorting for books by title, author, subject, keywords, sales ranking, customer ratings, customer reviews, publisher, or publication date than the iBooks Store or any other ebook vendor's site.

    As with the Kindle Store, you can get to the iBooks Store with either one (from the Home screen) or two (from within a book) clicks, but once you get there the selection and buying/downloading processes are actual slower than those in the Kindle App due to the more difficult search/browse/sort processes described below and the fact that you actually have to type in your iTunes or Apple Store password (not your iPad passcode) from scratch each time you make a transaction."

  22. My2¢worth,
    Thanks. It was also answered here in my many responses to your questions except that I merely said you EXIT to iPad's Safari and just do the usual thing and explained that you *still* do this and also access the book by WiFi (which McQuivey did say you'd need to do) on your iPad by the usual app method which is merely to click on the book in your app library (as we do with Kindle for PC or any other device-Kindle-app) and just retrieve the book from Amazon servers that way, directly to your iPad.

    Steve nicely tells you how to click to exit to Safari and from where on the iPad.

    While McQuivey confused some people by saying you can't buy from the Kindle for iPad app itself and have to get it a number of other ways (including, he said, via the Internet browser), he and many other columnists are -right- in pointing that out and that it's a deteriment precisely because people have to write and read explanations of how to buy the book after seeing it in the Kindle for App product.

    Again, that's determined by Apple rightfully charging a commission if one uses the app made for the iPad to make the 'buy' but they allow the app to exit you to the iPad's Safari browser where you can get it the normal way and it still arrives on your iPad as I described in the normal way of clicking on an archive. Again, that's assuming you're in a WiFi area (home, office, or hotspot).

    Get used to columnists saying that -- it is not wrong and the inability to buy direct from the Kindle app itself IS a detriment in necessitating explanations, but I also said you had no reason to worry as you did because it merely exits you to the browser on the Safari where you can just buy it and still have it on your iPad (if/when you get one). And then you 'get' it after buying it -- via clicking on the newly available book shown in your iPad's Kindle app library as with any Kindle "App for..."


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