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there and back again

Kindle, take 3

Okay, after some more time with the device, here’s a few more thoughts (Prompted by Kyle, who started asking questions on IM. So it’s really his fault :)). Again, in no particular order…

  • The navigation buttons are really really well positioned. It’s very natural to use one side or the other to navigate forward and back, even if when you first look at it (and even when you first use it) you think “this ain’t gonna work.” It does work. Very cool
  • Newspapers are not good for the Kindle yet. Three big problems:
    1. Each day’s edition shows up as a new “Book” in the main tab, which sounds great at first, but after the first week half the screen is New York Times editions. Then you have to go into the content manager and start deleting… not great. They should automatically go away, otherwise it’s a pain.
    2. Another problem (less worrisome than the other one) is that with a lot of small articles you have to use the navigation more, which is less than ideal–and there’s a dearth of pictures, which makes the newspaper be a little less interesting.
    3. Finally, the updates. It gets updated with the actual contents of the printed edition. At the beginning of the day. After that, no more updates. Come on! What’s the point of the always-on EVDO if you don’t get daily updates for the newspapers? Newspapers are real-time these days. This bad mix of digital and meatspace is not great.

    So, the newspaper subscription is not going to work, I may try it again in the future. On the plus side, you get a 14-day trial, so I can cancel it without harm done to my bank account. 🙂

  • Magazines. Two types here: image-heavy, like Time, which don’t really work given the screen and the fact that, well, there are almost no images in the “Kindle edition”, and those like The Atlantic which have long articles and few images, which are perfect for the device. The Economist (if it was available) would be another great choice methinks.
  • Blogs. No, I didn’t even try subscribing to a blog. I will though, just to see what the UI is, but I’m not paying $2 a month to read rants. Sorry. 20 cents a month? Maybe. $2 is too much.
  • Power. A final interesting point is that I normally, as I do with the Sony reader, I’d leave this on all the time, since the screen draws no power. However, Amazon has decided to put in a screensaver on the thing, so if you leave it on it does suck the amps, few as they may be. I suppose that it’s inevitable given the always-on wireless, but a screensaver? Probably one of those things where you have to pretend that you have a screensaver to avoid support calls from people worried that the display would be “burned” with the current image (not possible with eInk). Anyway. As a result of the screensaver I find myself turning it on and off, which is a bit unnecessary. I haven’t charged it in a week, and it still has about half the charge :).

Separate from all this, I keep wondering what the best solution is for web navigation. Mowser gets close, but the display is so particular (given the slow refresh time) and the navigation of the device so fascinating (to me, at least) that I keep feeling this cries out for a specific solution. Maybe I’ll try to hack something together one of these days.

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