The Kindle. I have been wanting to buy one of these babies for a while, and when I kept reading about people buying my book on them, read Mike’s generally positive blatherings, and wanted something to read for my honeymoon last week, I gave in and bought one. There are two Kindles and as I wanted to spend more time reading newspapers while firmly plonked in my local coffee shop with a hot cup of java, I erred on the side of bigger is better and got the Kindle DX. In addition to the Kindle I bought the leather case to keep my little companion safe and sound.

‘lo and behold, the little fella arrived and I have been playing with it for a few weeks. A few notes:

  • Content – part of the reason I plumped for a Kindle and not a Sony Ebook reader is the sheer quantity of content available on Amazon. I know, I know, DRM sucks, and I don’t deny that, but the vast majority of the content on my Kindle today is actually from O’Reilly who provide DRM-free content. The Kindle DX supports PDFs really well, but I put my O’Reilly books on there using the .mobi format which works better and is searchable, zoomable etc. The in-built free access to the Kindle Store is awesome and I love the fact that I can download samples really easily. In fact, while waiting for our flight to Belize, Erica and I sat there and downloaded a stack of samples to see which books we wanted to read. Aside from reading normal books, I was primarily interested in a Kindle to access newspapers. Since I moved to the US I have been suffering at not having enough access to International news in a manner that is convenient, and in England I was treated to a healthy chunk of International news on the beeb every day. On the Kindle you can try newspapers for free for two weeks, so I subscribed to the New York Times and loved reading it with my coffee each day. I now feel better about knowing a modicum of what is going on outside our apartment.
  • Features – the DX feels sturdy and well made and is actually smaller than I expected. The screen looks stunning and really does look like printed ink and the page turn buttons are sturdy enough to mean that you don’t accidentally knock them. I love the ability to highlight content and save it, take notes and make bookmarks. Searching works really well and downloading content is a breeze. While I had heard about the Kindle reading content to you feature, I suspected it would be bollocks but alas, it is actually rather good. In fact, I drove the hour and a bit to Sebastopol at the weekend to FooCamp and the little blighter read the NYT to me and it was great. The DX also includes a noddy-ish MP3 player which works pretty well. Plugging the Kindle into my Ubuntu machine is simple for getting content on and off the device: it is jut a micro-USB mass storage device (it also charges from USB too). This made it really simple to get my O’Reilly books on there. The web browser on the Kindle is OK for plain text sites such as Wikipedia and I did try Gmail in it and it worked, but it was slow as hell.
  • So… – …have I actually used it or has it been a novelty, plonked back in the box after a few days of oohing and ahhhing? Well, I have actually been using it quite a bit. I love the fact that the Kindle puts content in my hands and in a form that I enjoy accessing. Sure, I can always read a normal book, and sure, I could go and buy a newspaper, but the reality is that carrying around books is a bit of a pain (right now I can carry around all my books in the Kindle) and I am always too busy to go and buy a paper. So far the Kindle has helped me read more, learn more and I have really enjoyed re-connecting with reading again.

So all in all, a pretty rocking device and I am tickled pink to have one on our coffee table.

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