Things that have surprised me about the 3rd gen Kindle (Part 2)

imageSo this is the continuing saga of the things I’ve discovered that are interesting about the Kindle that the average person probably has no idea about because they don’t really talk a about these things openly. 

Y’kind of have to dig through the docs to see some of this stuff so instead, I’m writing about the stuff that I personally would have never been able to find out about the device had I not gone out and bought one.   Some of it is good… some of it is bad.  But all of it is hopefully helpful to someone that is curious a bout the device’s capabilities and the policies Amazon has on it.

  1. Microphone
    There’s a microphone on the Kindle.  It’s on there… but it’s totally unused.  I assume some future firmware update will enable it to work with things and make it a recording device orBut as of right now, despite no one knowing it’s there, it’s on there but totally useless.  I wonder what they’re waiting for:  It’s not like a recorder would  be all that difficult to write.
  2. Visible as a USB-connected hard drive
    While this might not seem like a surprising thing, considering the difficulty with which many Media Player devices handle USB I/O – iPod & Zune for example – I was surprised to find that the Kindle is just USB storage to my Windows 7 computer.  It makes copying media files, documents and PDF files for reading/playback on the device simple and easy.And since it has Audible playback capability, I can really see using this as my “all-literature-all-the-time” device.  Periodicals, eBooks & audiobooks – all on one device.  And speaking of periodicals…
  3. Autodelivered periodicals & magazine
    It was never my intention to subscribe to the likes of the Los Angeles Times.  I actually don’t like the paper much and think their writers are liberal-biased hacks that mostly originate from USC’s School of Journalism mainly because of USC’s nepotistic network of elbow-rubbing employers & prospective graduates.[ks – The aforementioned paragraph was written in jest and designed to see if a certain individual was reading this post.  Although, it’s true that I don’t really like the LA Times Kindle edition – see below.]

    But dammit, if it’s not easy to LOVE the fact that the newspaper is automatically delivered to my device in the morning for me to read with my coffee.  There’s no paper to go get on the porch.  There’s no worry about missing sections or the paper getting wet when it rains.  There’s no paper piling up waiting to be taken downstairs for recycling.  It’s just there.  And you can bookmark it, have it read to you via the Kindle’s text-to-speech thingy, etc.  Good stuff.

    Now there are TWO big complaints however.  One is that some lame subscriptions like the LA Times don’t include ANY photos of pictures whatsoever however they charge you more than the actual paper subscription price for the Kindle delivery.  And the second is that cost.  The price of a Kindle subscription is TWICE that of paper delivery if you use your typical coupons and discounts.  No such discounts exist for the Kindle version which sucks. 

  4. imageBlogs Delivered to your Kindle…
    …but only the ones they support…
    …for a fee.
    Yeah… this was a classic moment where I transitioned from “OMG! How cool is that?!” to  “What. The. F-ck.”The Kindle is capable of receiving blog/website content and it looks like they simply scrape the RSS.  Alright, that’s cool.  I’m thinking that I can read my OPML list of RSS feeds on my Kindle with its highly readable, easy-on-the-eyes screen and have it auto-delivered, just like my Windows Phone does using Ilium Software’s RSS reader, Newsbreak.

    Oh, but not so fast.  You can only read blogs they publish off of  I sh-t you not.  They only let you subscribe to well-known blogs listed at:

    Yeah, okay.   So that blows.  But still, it’s a cool feature.  I mean, I read TechCrunch.  And Ars Technica.  And crap like that that are in fact published on the Amazon list above.  So why not take advantage of the feature, right?

    Again, a showstopper:  Each blog COSTS MONEY monthly to get on your Kindle.  TechCrunch for instance costs $1.99/mo to get on your Kindle.  Slashdot is $1.99/mo.  Ars Technica is .99/mo. etc.   All to receive content that is otherwise FREELY AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET.  And it doesn’t matter if you get this stuff over WiFi or over Whispernet/3G:  You’re gonna get charged.  Uh… that’s just DUMB.  No thanks, Amazon.

  5. Device-to-device synchronization to share booknotes/highlights
    This is again an interesting feature.  Basically you can synchronize booknotes and highlights between two different Kindles over Whispernet/WiFi by synching with the cloud and then replicating those notes down to other Kindles. So let’s say you want to collaborate on a book report.  Or you want to share your thoughts with another reader before they read the book themselves on their Kindle.  Or maybe you all belong to a book club.  This is a great way to share thoughts about a book amongst multiple people.

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