So, you just got a Kindle…what now? How is that thing anyway?

Yeah, today my Kindle arrived.  An early Christmas present, my Kindle arrived via the United States Postal Service in a sturdy cardboard box and sheathed in a cardboard cradle.  Amazon did a good job with the packing.  We’re off to a promising start. Did I mention that I got it because of Oprah? Yep.  She featured it on her show a week or so ago (October 24, 08) and Amazon offered a fifty dollar discount (use code OPRAHWINFREY, good until November 1, 08) on the device.  I took advantage of the free shipping, not realizing that it was via the US Postal Service.  Admittedly, USPS got the device here more quickly than they said and unharmed.

Once I unboxed the device (sorry, no photos of the unboxing) I quickly realized that Amazon had packaged the device nicely and it ‘felt’ sturdy-the promising start is still rolling along.  The first thing I did was read through the included PAPER manual.  It was thin enough and only covered the basics: how to charge, connect to the computer, turn on, insert a memory card and quick run through of the menus.  After removing the various films, paper, stickers and packing materials, I realized that Amazon probably wasted more paper than I’m going to save by using the eReader called Kindle.  Kindle1

The device comes with a nice but nearly useless cover, USB cable and AC charger.  My device came with about a 50% charge, good enough to play with for a bit before charging fully.

The first thing I did, of course, was navigate to HalfByte using the ‘experimental’ web browser.  This browser is something between the second generation Netscape browser and a typical smartphone browser. It ALMOST works well.  It can run JavaScript code, but there are no plug ins.  Flash is out of the question as the epaper screen just is not fast enough.  No problem, for short browsing and quickie lookups on various sites, it works just fine.  It works great on sites optimized for portable browsing.

I subscribed to a couple of blogs as well as US News and World Report and Technology Review magazine.  I’ve sampled several books, but have not yet purchased any.  The Amazon Kindle store is well done, but sparse on the newspapers and magazines. 

If you do not want to pay for content, there are several places where you can get your own for free.  The first place to go is Mobipocket.  Mobipocket sells DRM’d content, but also have free open content and free software that allows you to create your own e-reader friendly content. Grab the conversion software here.  Please note that even though Mobipocket is an Amazon company, it’s DRM’d content will not work on the Kindle. Only the free or open content will work.

Project Gutenberg has thousands of free ebooks for you to download.  Most will need to be converted to a Kindle friendly format (TXT, HTML, Mobi formats (prc) or Kindle (AZW)) before you can use them on your Kindle.

Kindle can handle Audible audio books and play MP3’s as well.  You can load up with soothing music and play it in the background while reading.  The device has speakers and a headphone jack.  I suggest using the headphone jack.

I’ll post a more in-depth article about the device once I’ve put it through it’s paces.  Aside from some ergonomic issues-which I’ll cover in that article-the device feels good in your hand, is easy on the eyes and not overly complicated.  So far, we are still on a very promising start.

Kindle: Amazon’s Wireless Reading Device

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One thought on “So, you just got a Kindle…what now? How is that thing anyway?

  1. Now the generation begins for ebook, a very easy way to drag
    out the information you want any time, the way you want, and feed it in our
    brain. Ebook reading is one of them, we can convert any files format to kindle, mobipocket with a high resolution quality using the site ebookconversion by Bob Mehta

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