Tech trends and business ideas

All things that motivate entrepreneurs

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tweak that Kindle, Jeff !

Amazon Kindle gave me a lot of hope. I was looking forward to ever-fresh, non greying pages no matter how many times I read a book. I longed for bookmarking at the press of a button, no chopping woods for paper etc.etc. The Kindle, I was told was all that and more.

But it hardly seems to be the case.

Ok. There’s no clutter, no pile of paperbacks next to the couch. A Kindle book arrives wirelessly: it’s untouchable; it exists on a higher, purer plane. It’s earth-friendly, too, supposedly. Yes, it’s made of exotic materials that are shipped all over the world’s oceans; yes, it requires electricity to operate and air-conditioned server farms to feed it; yes, it’s fragile and it duplicates what other machines do; yes, it’s difficult to recycle; yes, it will probably take a last boat ride to a Nigerian landfill in five years. But no tree farms are harvested to make a Kindle book; no ten-ton presses turn, no ink is spilled.

Too bad it doesn’t have a little kickstand,” . “You could prop it up like a dresser mirror and read while you eat.”

I experimented with the text-to-speech feature. The robo-reader had a polite, halting, Middle European intonation, like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal,” and it was sometimes confused by periods. Once it thought “miss.” was the abbreviation of a state name: “He loved the chase, the hunt, the split-second intersection of luck and skill that allowed him to exercise his perfection, his inability to Mississippi.” I turned the machine off.

Photographs, charts, diagrams, foreign characters, and tables don’t fare so well on the little gray screen. Page numbers are gone, so indexes sometimes don’t work. Trailing endnotes are difficult to manage. (Cook books / Recipes will suck when you try a new dish to see if the outcome tallies with the intention) If you want to quote from a book you’ve bought, you have to quote by location range—e.g., the phrase “She was on the verge of the mother of all orgasms” is to be found at location range 1596-1605 in Mari Carr’s erotic romance novel “Tequila Truth.”

Read in the sun the letters began to disappear. Readers had to press Alt-G repeatedly to bring them back. I clicked Next Page as I reached the beginning of the last line, and the page flashed to black and changed before I’d read it all

The Sony Reader’s page-turning controls are better designed than the Kindle’s controls, and the Reader came out more than a year before the Kindle did; also, its screen is slightly less gray, and its typeface is better, and it can handle ePub and PDF documents without conversion,

You can’t give them away or lend them or sell them. You can’t print them. They are closed clumps of digital code that only one purchaser can own. A copy of a Kindle book dies with its possessor.

And then you cut out the bad tobacco odor that you often get while opening books in a library.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home