Tag: Devices

The Day I Deleted My Kindle App

kindleThe Amazon Kindle App was one of the first additions to my smartphone back in 2010. Today I removed it from my current phone. It has been replaced by my shiny new Kindle Paperwhite. For the longest time I was a strong proponent of having everything on my mobile device; all my books, music, streaming, games, you name it. The convenience of having a single device that can do everything is great, but sometimes a device that does one thing really well is the better choice. The Kindle Paperwhite is the e-Reader I have been waiting for. (Though no offense to all the Nook owners out there. They are great devices too, I just have 90% of my library in Amazon’s cloud.)

One problem with reading on a smartphone, or tablet for that matter, is that bright screen will eat up most of your device’s battery life. One look at the battery usage and you’ll see that the screen accounts for most of the use on any given day. An hour or more of reading could really have you hunting for your charging cable, especially as your device ages, to say nothing of the strain on your eyes. The e-ink screen on the Kindle, (or Nook GlowLight), is far easier on the eyes, even with the back-light on, plus it merely sips at the battery. There are a number of font types and sizes and the pages snap into view quickly. The size and weight make it perfect for one handed reading. It is even lighter than my smartphone. Storage is not a problem as eBooks take up so little space and with WiFi connected to the cloud my whole Kindle library is available at a touch.

There are 4 models of Kindles plus ones with special offers that reduce the cost so I urge you to take a look. Once I began using mine I had no problem removing the app from my mobile devices. Besides, I needed the space for more matching gem games.

From Humble Beginings

I actually wrestled with the title for this post. One alternative was, “From Simple Beginnings.” On one hand it is fitting for a post on the first word processor but then again those machines were anything but simple. When I first spotted the story on Gizmodo, How Word Processors Changed the Novel, I was intrigued enough to hop over to the original story, The Book-Writing Machine, which appeared in Slate.com.

I began my first novel when I was twelve, playing on a portable manual typewriter my mother had in her closet. By the end of high school I had moved onto an electric typewriter. I wouldn’t catch up to word processing until my mother bought the family’s first computer half way through my college career. This was a Tandy TL with an 8 mhz 286 processor, 640k of memory and a 20 MB hard drive. My mobile phone eats it for lunch, but such is the march of technology.

What catches my imagination, sadly not quite imagination, was that not too far back and certainly in many of our lifetimes, writers were typing and re-typing pages. I remember this with a bit of nostalgia and file folders still crammed with these pages. Technology has a way of wiping the memory faster than we would like.  Now I write from virtually anywhere on cloud connected PC’s, my tablet and even my mobile. I can create, edit and publish a work without ever committing one mark to a piece of paper. Technically I can do all that without a keystroke, but I am a little old fashioned (isn’t that rich) in that I prefer typing, or my Schroeder like facsimile of typing. I am not ready to talk my story into my tablet. Who knows where we will be in twenty years, direct cranial transcription, maybe. While imagining the future is fun, I enjoy looking back at what once was the cutting edge and for that reason enjoyed reading this article.

I Have Given up on Library E-Books

Since buying my smart phone two years ago I have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of reading I do. The convenience of e-readers on a device that’s always in my pocket has given me more opportunities to read. Alas this happened just as e-book prices began thier trek north, so my new pastime has become a costly one. I had hoped the library would have helped.

I have never been a big library user, (big revelation for a librarian huh). I am not the quickest reader, though I have gotten better, so the two week lending period for most items rarely gave me enough time to finish. Thank the library Gods for renewals, am I right? Right off the bat I was a little bummed that I could not renew the e-books that I borrowed from the library. That is not such a problem as I rarely find what I want to read in the lending que of my library’s e-book offerings. When I did find one I was promptly shuffled to a hold que and told to wait a few weeks. That thirty second download from the Kindle store is looking much better.

My next hope came from Open Library. A project form Internet Archive, Open Library boasted a collection of public domain and for loan books provided by member libraries. The open domain books come free of DRM so no checkout period hurdles for me. The borrowing library books did come with DRM (Adobe Digital Editions) and a two week loan period. Not so bad because at least I could find what I wanted to read.

Here is where it all went south. I recently upgraded my phone to the HTC Evo 4G LTE (clunky name great device). I was also halfway through Isaac Asimov’s The God’s Themselves on my old phone. Once I loaded up my e-reader app you can imagine my surprise, shock, anger and banging my head against the wall when my shiny new uber-smartphone is not supported by Digital Editions. I now had two choices, wait to finish the book or head over to the Kindle store. Eight bucks later I am continuing my read and I have lost all hope of libraries ever getting the shit together in regards to e-books.

Can I Copyright a Paradigm?

I recently decided to upgrade my mobile device. I have had an HTC Evo so when I head about the newest EVO coming out on the the 18th of May I put my name on the short list. Then this happened. http://www.engadget.com/2012/05/15/htc-one-x-and-evo-4g-lte-delayed-at-customs-due-to-itc-exclusio/

Apparently the patent in question involves the ability for a smart phone to link data to applications. For example if you click on an address the map application opens and gives you the option of asking for directions. You might think that is just activity that all smartphones have. In truth a really forward thinking engineer at Apple came up with it and an even more forward thinking lawyer suggested they patent it. So now my future phone sits in a crate in US Customs while HTC and Apple duke it out. Then I started thinking about copyright of all things.

As writers we all know the protection afford by copyright for our stories and characters but what if it went further? What if like in this mobile device situation we argued that to infinity? Say a copyrighted story has a protagonist who fights his own inner demons while fighting real demons. Yes, I am channeling John Constantine. If we apply copyright like patent law and any protagonist with inner demons violates said law what happens? Would literature just grind to a halt in a sea of take down orders? Would writers really have to apply the screws to their craniums for some wholly new and creative ideas? Fortunately we may never have to ask that. For writers copyright provides one very specific line in the sand. We are encouraged to encroach said line as close as we can without stepping over it. Too bad patents didn’t work more like copyright, then I’d have my new phone on Friday.

Monday Left-overs

This is a post of mine from the library tech blog, MCLC TechTalk on My Thoughts on the New iPad. Short summary, it is a really neat device but it does little that is new or different from what iPads already do. I always felt the iPad was a great device but a poor computer. For many that is a moot point as they want a device for media consumption, web surfing and playing games. For me I just never cared for the need to tether it to iTunes.

Buying a Tablet

I wanted to share a post I wrote for the MCLC TechTalk blog on purchasing my Toshiba Thrive Tablet. Since getting an iPad I have been using a tablet to write on and found it more convenient and comfortable than my lap top. I knew I wanted one for myself but the price of the iPads kept them out of my reach. You can imagine how happy I was to find an Android tablet with similar if not better specs at a much lower price point. To top it off Android has a pretty usable text editor that is perfect for writing on the go. But I’ve said to much read the rest in the post.

Buying My Tablet — MCLC TechTalk