The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, May 02, 2008

KIndle First Impressions

I've been playing with it for about a week. Thoughts:

1) No one would want a cell phone the size of a Kindle. However, once you've got a Kindle, it would be cool to add cell phone functionality.

2) The elastic strap on the carrying case is a little too wide. When used to hold the kindle in place, it obscures either the menu bar or a bit of text.

3) After a lifetime of reading, I'm adjusting to this thing FAST. There are kinesthetic cues to reading, that help us enter the trance state of reading. The Kindle lacks several of these (shape, weight, heft, feel, etc.) But I can read one-handed as I've never been able to with a book, and the ease of it makes slipping into a reading trance really sweet. It works.

4) I've purchased four books through the Amazon Store. Works perfectly. You shouldn't leave the wireless on when you're not using it. Wireless off, it goes thirty hours on a charge. Wireless on, about three. Two hours to charge it.

5) I've put five documents on it. You email the documents to your own personal kindle address. Costs a dime a shot. Bliss. Question: eventually, spammers will find this. I hope Amazon's spam filter is top-notch.

6) No eye strain.

7) Free internet. Yep. Hidden back a couple of menus is the web browser. You can set up a Google gmail account, and get free email, paid for by everybody else's purchases on Amazon. This is the future.

8) Overall, I'd say that they've exceeded the minimum threshold for an actually usable electronic book that will finally open that market up. Linking to the Amazon store for instant download is insane. Everyone else is going to have to measure up, but when they And with volume, the price comes down. Classics for a dime, or free.

I look at iPhone, the Two Hundred Dollar computer, the Kindle, Buzzword...and I think I am living in the future I always believed in. Great to be alive. The Kindle is for real, and it's going to change things.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review, Steve. I like to read while I'm on the Stair Master or treadmill. Any idea how easily it would balance on such a piece of equipment? Oh yes - is the font size adjustable?


Ed Greaves said...

Steve, a couple of tips.

First, go to the Kindle site, then click on Manage your Kindle up near the right top corner. Log in, and when you see your page, right below your registered Kindle list there's Your Kindle approved e-mail list. You lock down your kindle to accept emails only from email addresses you enter there. That's how they prevent spammers, and I would recommend you lock it down as soon as you can.

You shouldn't need the elastic strap on the device itself. It's meant as far as I can tell, to keep the cover closed, but not to keep the device in the case. However, from what I've heard some units are more snug in their case than others. (Mine doesn't need the strap and is just fine. for example.) What some folks seem to be doing, is pulling it up just over the bottom right corner, starting below the back button and just covering the AA button. (You can hit the button through the elastic easily.) That seems to keep the device in place without blocking the screen or use.

Personally, I prefer to read outside the case. It takes a little adjustment, because you have to figure out how best to hold it, but once I started, I find it great. It's lighter that way, and to me, more comfortable to hold than bending back the cover.

Glad to hear your enjoying it.

Oh, and Marco, there's 6 text sizes, and you can change between them on the fly.

Ed Greaves said...

Oh yeah, if you're interested, you can pick up Four and Twenty Blackbirds, by Cherie Priest free. (For a limited time, due to an author/TOR publicity run.)

mjholt said...

Steve, the Kindle sounds really good. How long does it take to recharge? Can you make notes on it and print them out? I'm thinking about reviewing a book or studying.
Thanks for the review.
Ed, thanks for the additional info.

Steven Barnes said...

Takes two hours to recharge a Kindle. You then get three hours of Internet, or 30 hours of reading. You can take notes...and there is probably some way to clip them and email them to yourself for printing, but I've not figured it out yet. I'd think it will balance on your treadmill just fine--if not, get one of those little velcro sticky things and attach one to the Kindle case, and one to the exercise machine.