Lets start by the bad side. Why is it that any big company makes their own proprietary usb cord? Don’t they know yet that it’s super annoying to have one type of connector that no one has. What is the problem with a simple mini usb? What’s the problem?? That is the first mod I would do to that machine. And why there is no MicroSD card slot ?? The 4 gig is good for it’s purpose but these 2 simple hardware tweak would transform this really good product into the universal reader. Another bad point for the kindle is that there is not so much choice of book at the moment ~ lots of new book, not so many older book. Still you can put books that you already own, or go to guthenberg project to download any no copyright books directly to the kindle. Also the pdf reading on the small screen is quite limited, it’s not made so much for bigger pdf, but it’s easy enough to export the pdf to .mobi and create a readable version. Because in the end, what is important is to create a readable text, more that a beautifully design text.
Anyway enough with the bad, now with the good and how to enjoy the Kindle experience fully. Ok the standard stuff, beautiful screen, quick page turn, it’s really light and the screen doesn’t change side automatically anymore. It’s light enough to hold in one hand, which was quite a relief compare to the DX, but it takes a while to discover the secrets hand mudra to hold the kindle in the same position for few hours.
What I really enjoy also is the dictionary that is always one click away (you can browse around in your test with a small definition of the highlighted word at the bottom of the screen. It’s also quite easy to take note in any book or papers, and one of the koolest feature is the auto tweet some quote from the book! You can send it to your twitter account, or your facebook account. I must admit it’s a little lame that it create a link to a quote page, but it’s still a nice function never the less.
I was surprise to see how loud the speaker were on the device, and even more surprise to see that all the book could automatically read themselves with a automated text to speech function for all the mobi books. So hardware wise it’s great. I really enjoy the ease of sending books trough email too. You setup your Kindle account trough amazon and create your own personal kindle email and then you can send directly books to your kindle.
What is also great is that the kindle software itself is available to all platform. From mac to linux to iphone / ipad to android. On the linux you can run it with wine, make sure to use an older version of the kindle for pc that you can download here. You can read more about how to set it up for linux here. It’s not the greatest e-book software ever but it keeps all your books in one place. From the amazon store you can also send a chapter to any of your device (
CALIBRE + DROPBOX
Calibre is a ebook management, reader and exporter. It can send to your kindle trough usb or simply trough email to you kindle account. It’s full featured open source python program that is quite stable at the moment, and again it runs on pc, mac and linux. One thing that Calibre doesn’t do it to sync your book from one computer to another, but by simply making sure your calibre home directory is in a dropbox folder (and that drop box is installed on all the machine) and you get yourself a nice synced library of ebooks that can be send to your kindle, or exported to .mobi on the fly.
Instapaper is a great little simple web app saves a web page to read later. It’s a great app but what makes it special to the kindle is that the page you save to your account can be sent directly to you kindle trough the special kindle email. You can set your account to send a digest of all the page you sent to instapaper on a daily basis. I would like to see in the future a setting to send the page directly to the kindle tough.
Even if the kindle and amazon use DRM and that the books from amazon are well protected, the benefit of carrying your whole library at any time is quite greater than these limitation. The fact also that you can build your own cloudbase library (trough dropbox and calibre) makes it quite a irresistible tool. What will be the future of the kindle? There are already some development being made for new software to be created for the kindle. I personally would like to see software like remember the milk or evernote to be ported for the kindle, and at least a simple text editor ! I haven’t received my developer invitation yet !