Thursday, July 11, 2013

Kindle auto updates itself!?! Hey I was reading! Where's my book

Was just reading and would like to continue! Not cool kindle. Auto updating without prompting is the weakest kind of sauce. 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Nah.  It wasn't just a one time thing.  It happened again.  like they planned it.  Like loading the menu on the bottom and then loading it on the top when you finished would be more efficient or more logical.

Then I hovered over a word and tried to highlight and it brought up the Full Definition button and I realized that should never happen.  It's bad enough I'm essentially double clicking now to highlight, but to have those double clicks sent errantly into full definition is madness.  Full Definition (though it shouldn't be there at all) should be off to the side, with the double click always landing on highlight.  (but really they should just remove add a note, put it on the menu like boomark, it should go on the page, and restore the highlight button to the way it was on the last Kindle.  They should focus on making things better, not making them worse.)

Amazon Kindle Menus appear at the top or bottom of the screen at random. Why not just pick one? Menu selection should not be a choose your own adventure game.

So, I'm trying to work with you on this whole, make highlighting harder on the Kindle thing.  But this one.  This really blows my mind.  I don't know where you got your developers Kindle, but I swear, I don't think they test or think about anything.

I push the button.  It prompts me from the bottom to "start highlight, define, etc, annoying."  I push the button again.

I highlight my section.  I push the button again.

It prompts me from the TOP! if I want to end the highlight.

I was staring at the bottom like a fool, thinking that the dialog box would come back in the same place.

SERIOUSLY people.  You built an ereader. You've got to get the interface out of the way and let me read my book.  Madness.  It's bad enough that you're making me click the button 4 times to highlight, twice as many button clicks than my previous Kindle, but now you're loading the menus at the top and the bottom, allowing me the fun of guessing where the menu will be.  Reading a book and making a highlight should not be a choose your own adventure game.  It should be easier.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Top 5 Easy to fix software problems with the New Amazon Kindle (Kindle4)

1. Large Screen Menus - It's maddening that Amazon won't make a Kindle that my Grandma can use.  She can read the book just fine, but she can't choose other books from the menu and there's no way she could use the Kindle store to buy a book.  My Grandma reads large print books.  Why can't she read a Kindle with Large Print Menus?  In the Settings screen there should be a large print/accessable mode that would use simple large menus with the reading font set to a large font.  It makes no sense why Amazon won't do this.

2. Highlight button confusion - On the old Kindle, I could click to start hilight, select the area, click to end hilight.  It was great.  On the new Kindle, they've made it harder to hilight.  You click the button, it then asks you if you want to "Start Highlight" or "Full Definition" or want to "Create a Note".  Hold on a second here. I don't have a keyboard.  Why flash this create a note button in my face everytime I want to create a highlight?  Why not move Create a Note to the menu and just create a note on that page.  If the user clicks on an already created highlight, it could bring up the share box.  And the Full Definition option already comes up when you hover over a word and it defines it for you.  Sepereate the three functions and restore my highlight key.  Don't make me return to the old heavy kindle because you screwed up the software.

3. Popular Highlights, Public Notes, Annotations Backup came defaulted to OFF and the screen never popped up a message about what they are and how they work.  Maybe before you read a book, it should bring up a "Kindle tips box" that would help people get more information out of their kindles (although that could be annoying, but it could be turned off as well).  This really goes to the whole, is the Kindle a social reader or not question.  Currently it's not, especially if you have to go into the settings menu and turn it on.

4. Turn Wifi Off was just moved into Airplane mode, but I'm fine with that, with the exception of the fact that I used to run my old kindle with wifi off all the time to save the power.  Not sure if my new kindle has a problem with that, but I'll test it out.

5. Just get rid of the progress bar at the bottom of the screen.  I don't need to be reminded that I'm 71% of the way through constantly.  Especially when I'm reading Game of Thrones and they've combined all four books into one massive ebook and it's gonna take thousands of page presses to even get the thing to move from 1%.  It's better appearing when you push menu.  They don't have clocks in casinos and they shouldn't have digital progress meters on books.

Some of these are minor complaints, but the first two are pretty serious and I think pretty darn easy to fix.  I might check back in with more pictures and more complaints, but for now I'm going to go back to reading my book, which is what I was doing, before the Highlight key made me throw up my arms in rage and type out these blog posts.
I feel like dedicating my day to describing how I would fix the new kindle.  A device that I like very much, but again, who's software inteface is not refined enough.  I wish that I could be part of the kindle proccess.  I am unemployed, read alot, and live in Sacramento.  I have a B.A. in History, am very clever and solved technical problems for corporate lawyers specializing in complex litigation with large amounts of data for seven years.  I am interested in the Kindle's potential as a social reader.  I also believe there is a chance for Amazon to develop a discussion network around media, ie: if you watched everything through Amazon, why not review and rate and tell your friends you watched it through them.  I think there's a chance for an Amazon "High Fidelity" Facebook that would develop around people discussing media.  (ie: build it for books, then sneakily expand to videos and music and beat Spotify+Facebook at their own game).  Maybe after I finish complaining about the Kindle, I'll take some time to describe my positive vision of Amazon.  While I have been enjoying my time off, when it really comes down to working, I really want to work in technology and there really seems to be nowhere else but Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.  Perhaps if I describe my visions of them long enough, one of them will give me a chance to be a part of their future.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Poetic Review of the New Kindle

Kindle3 Keyboard, my best friend no more
the minute I held the new kindle
my old one was out the door
It might not have sound
there's no headphone cable to be found
for some reason they've forgotten
text to speech
deaf people they must think of least
and those who like their books occassionly read aloud
by a robotic voice from an electronic cloud
quickly forgotten
because not just it's size
but it's weight
I would advice
you weigh them both
one in each hand
and find while they both seem grand
one weighs a deck of cards
while the other seems rather light
more of a matchbook than a jack's delight
and that's where reading needs to be
on devices lighter than a feather
you see
for when you hold it
in your hand
for hours or more
and think it grand
that it's as heavy as a lead weight
I'll laugh at you and think it's great
my magic book weighs less than clouds
and from on high I'll shout aloud
this kindle's great and the one for me
at least until it runs out of batteries.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The best kindle/tablet case hasn't been invented yet

But I made a prototype the other day.  This is copyrighted, so when you steal it you have to give me a cut of the profits and a demonstration model, but it's really simple: Tablets (and especially ereaders) should be more ergonomic.  They need a case that's like a squeezy ball taped to the back of a Kindle or iPad.  The new cases with a glove on the back of a tablet are close, but they still need that grippy squeezy ball.  Especially when your reading in bed.  Currently I masking taped a squeezy ball to the back of my Kindle.  I really like it.  I might have to get more tape and try to attach it again.  Anyway.  This would be the best case.  Please contact me if you want to design and manufacture it so I can have one or if there's one already in existence that I could buy.  Maybe I don't know how to describe it.

TL;DR: squeezy ball on back of Kindle/iPad Case for ergonomic reading (© Copyright 2012, Thunt Industries)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

E-Book prices need to compete with Used Book Prices

It's not really a competition is it?  $19.89 for the new copy, $14.39 for the Kindle Edition or $5.75 for the used book (shipped).  After you've paid $70-$140 for your Kindle you then have to pay three times the used price to get your electronic book (that costs nothing to produce).  It just boggles the mind.  I know it must go down.  Why are they wasting their time?  Why not sell more copies at a lower price?  It's going to happen eventually.  Until then, I guess I'll be waiting for my good friend the used bookseller to ship me a copy.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Down with Amazon Kindle's Clipping Limit - The reason I bought books was to annotate them electronically

This is why we can't be friends Amazon.  You sold me on the future of reading and you actually delivered.  Now just bring the publishers in line.  Restore my ability to digitally annotate and (for chrissake ADVERTISE your books for you to my readers)!  I enjoyed this book.  I enjoyed marking it.  I'd enjoy sharing it.  I'm not trying to steal it. I already bought both the hard copy and the electronic copy. I'm dedicated.  Why does the publisher hate me?  I'm just a reader.  I love to read.  I love to mark things. (I also hate it that you're so lazy amazon.  You're so lazy you won't let me annotate sample content, probably because you're too lazy to write code to transfer the notes to the paid version of the book.  Maybe you're trying to say that annotation is a feature you get when you pay for the book, which I did.  Now give me my feature.  Give me my annotation.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sharing Not Supported: How Amazon bowed to publishers and destroyed the Kindle

Amazon.  For every advantage the technology gives you, I can't believe you let the publishers take it from you.  I just finished reading Stephen King's brilliant 11/22/63.  When I reached the end of the book, I was offered the chance to tweet that I had finished the book, adding a link to the book and essentially advertising the book and the Kindle that I used to read it.  I said okay.  It then responded with the error message that has been the bane of my kindle existance:  SHARING NOT SUPPORTED.

Why Amazon?  Why did you even bother making an electronic book if you planned to take everything that made it new and exciting away?  Sure I could tweet excerpts from the book and share my progress as I read it, but I wouldn't be able to use my kindle's built in wifi and keyboard and the technological ability to do so, because Amazon, once a marketplace, now a technology company gave that technology away to the short-sighted publishers who will not exist in a few years.  They gave it away.  They allowed them to lock the books and keep them away from the modern features that could keep them alive.  They said you may pay for the book, you may pay for the reader, but if you want to share a quote or announce that you finished the book, you can't.  Book Publishers are afraid of the future and afraid of technology and instead of convincing them that they were wrong, Amazon just went along with it and destroyed the Kindle.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kindle still not displaying cover art

I'm reading 11/22/63 and I paused.  Why is my Kindle showing Jules Verne instead of the cover of 11/22/63?  I paid more to get the adfree kindle, why not give me a nice adfree feature of seeing the cover of the book I'm reading?  (not asking for a full dashboard with weather, though that would be a nice option, keyword option, you could turn it off)

Sharing not supported

was enjoying Stephen King's new book (11/22/1963) and I wanted to share a quote, maybe get some discussion going, when I was met with that horrible sign "Sharing not supported".  This is why the Kindle fails.  I want a bold new world of reading.  The technology is there.  But amazon, the company from whom I bought all my books now stands in the way as gatekeeper?  Why?

you're not protecting anything.  You're losing everything.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Annotating is disabled for sample content

You fail me again,  You fail me again.  Here I am, trying to be good.  Sampling a real book.  Thinking about buying.  Reading the first chapter.  Enjoying it.  Then I want to highlight a good passage.  There's a good chance I'll buy this book.  I'm a potential customer.  What am I greeted with:

Annotating is disabled for sample content

This is not the way to treat people.  I could spread awareness about the book by tweeting out a quote.  I could be well served as a customer by being able to annotate the first chapter and then transfer my annotations to a paid version of the book.  Why?  Why,, must you allow the foolish publishers to block access to the very tools that make e-reading the future?  Why must you allow them to stand in the way?  Why treat your users like this?  There is no DRM on pirated content.  Why must you continue to make paid content inferior?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Best use for a Kindle: Reading Big Books, Series Books and Free Classics

I really like to read big books like Infinite Jest or Moby Dick on the Kindle.  This way I have no idea how much the book actually weighs when I carry it around.  Sure I have to read it for what seems like forever (which is counterintuitive, because the kindle is so thin), although when I finish I don't have a trophy to put on my shelf, all I have to do is return to the menu to pick out another book and keep the reading going.  (it's also great for series books.  Finishing Book 6 of Dune and instantly starting Book 7 was quite a cool way to go.  Also a big fan of the free classics.)

The Kindle should display the cover of the last read book instead of Jane Austen's dour face

Image from a google search for Jane Austin Kindle
Okay.  Sponsored Kindle is a big hit.  I don't like ads, but other people don't care and love cheap things, so Sponsored Kindle is the hottest thing around.  I was wrong on that one, but it still doesn't mean that Amazon couldn't update the original paid Kindle to display the cover the book you've been reading so that the device more resembles a normal book.  I think it would really help me restart my reading more than seeing Jane Austen's dour face.  (or a way to choose certain authors, choose different screen savers, etcera, etecera)  Capturing an image on screen is a really neat feature of e-ink and I don't think Amazon has done near enough to exploit this technology for it's non-advertising based users.

It could also display recent things you've highlighted, a list of recent books you've read, quotes from your friends, their reading progress, your reading progress, general reading based stats.  In general I'd say the thing doesn't give me nearly enough stats or coach my reading, but I guess that's a topic for another day.   For now I'll just wish again, for the thing to display a proper book cover instead of Jane Austen's dour face.