a Pinoy Kindle and Ebook Blog

November 25, 2009

Kindle Firmware Update!!! (NOW!)

Filed under: kindle, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 6:06 pm

Earlier, I posted the news that Amazon will be updating the Kindle’s firmware to add functionality to my beloved ebook reader.  Everyone thought that the update will come next year but a few minutes ago, I received an email from Amazon informing me that the update is now ready.

Knowing that I have crappy Whispernet access here at home, I opted to do update manually.  Downloading and updating the Kindle took less than 15 minutes.  After a rather lengthy restart, I uploaded a PDF file to my Kindle and it can now read the file without any need for conversion!  Pressing the font-resize button also allows me to read ebooks in landscape mode.  This will probably come in handy when reading “wide” PDF documents.

The only thing that I have not yet tested is the purported longer battery life.

Now, if only they add native ePub support, I’ll be a happy puppy.

Excuse me while I curl up in bed and read…

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Kindle Philippines FaceBook Group!

Filed under: books, ebook store, kindle, Kindle for PC, news, Readers — talkintech @ 7:38 am

I created an FB group for local Kindle users.  If you already own a Kindle, or is planning to get one, or if you simply want to learn more about the Kindle, join me at Kindle Philippines.

November 10, 2009

Kindle for PC beta: No More Kindle-envy! (with short review)

Filed under: books, ebook, kindle, Readers — Tags: , , , — talkintech @ 10:41 pm

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The beta version of the PC version of Kindle is now available for download.  So for people who have Kindle-envy, do not fret.  You can now buy, read and organize kindle books on your computers!

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I heard that people from Canada can’t download this app just yet.  Bummer!

UPDATE:  I have downloaded and installed this application to my laptop (running Win7) and I must say I’m underwhelmed.  I thought I could manage my Kindle using this program through the USB but I guess I was wrong.  But it does sync with the Kindle through Whispernet.

I was also able to send a sample book to the Kindle for PC.  Reading a book using this program is nothing to write home about.  Its no different from reading a plain old PDF file on the computer.

Will I be using this program?  I don’t think I will.  Reading on my Kindle is a far better experience than this.  However, if you are still holding out on your Kindle purchase, maybe this application can get you started because you can start building your ebook library through this program and when you finally get your own Kindle, you’ll be set.

November 6, 2009

Enable Kindle’s Advanced Mode Browser

Filed under: kindle, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 11:47 am

I often wonder why I see “Basic Mode” on top of my Kindle’s browser each time I fire it up.  It turns out that the Kindle has an “advanced mode” on its built-in web browser!  On “advanced mode”, the browser becomes a more capable, but slower, browser because it can now translate CSS and Javascript.

To enable Advanced Mode, fire up the Kindle’s browser (at the main screen, press Menu and select Experimental –> Basic Web).  Once the browser is on-screen, press Menu again and choose “Advanced Mode” and that’s it!

If you find the browser too slow, you can always revert back to its Basic Mode anytime.

November 4, 2009

So Many Books, So Little Time!

Filed under: books, ebook, Free eBooks, kindle, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 10:42 pm

Less than a week with the Kindle and the title of this post accurately reflect what I am feeling right now.  I am an avid reader and because of that, I have a rather sizable eBook collection that I have accumulated all these years.  I’ve already gone through most of them but some books, I feel like reading again.

Right now, I have at least two dozen books that I intend to read.  Almost of it are books that I intend to re-read.   Before I got the Kindle, I read using my Nokia e71 and with the phone, I get to sneak some reading when I take a smoking break.  Of course I also read before sleeping, in bed, while the lights are off.  On the Nokia e71, i get to finish reading a book in a week, two weeks at the most.

Now with the Kindle, I have to change my reading habits.  I can no longer read during my smoking break, the Kindle is too large-sh to carry around with me during those breaks.  That gave me less reading time.  I also discovered how to read blogs and news on the Kindle for free and that further reduced my time in reading my eBooks.

Well, hopefully I’ll find more time to read my books.  I still have a long to-read list but after a few weeks of adjustments, I hope to find my “reading groove” back.

November 2, 2009

Quick Tip: FREE News & Blogs on the Kindle International Edition

Filed under: calibre, kindle, news, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 10:37 pm

I admit!  I am a news junkie.  I start my day poring through Engadget, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Downloadsquad and io9.  Then I go over to Inquirer.net for local news.  This habit has been occupying a lot of time in the morning, preventing me to do legitimate work while surfing the ‘net.  Enter Calibre.

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Calibre has a built-in facility to dowload blogs and news and I have been using it to get the blogs and news first thing in the morning.  After the update, I plug in my Kindle and Calibre automagically transfer those newly downloaded stuff, allowing me to read all those blogs and news later in the day.

I understand that it costs $$$ to download news and blogs to the Kindle through Whispernet but thanks to Calibre, I get to read them for the low, low price of FREE.

October 28, 2009

jetBook-Lite: The Most Affordable eBook Reader (to date)

Filed under: ebook, Readers — Tags: , — talkintech @ 10:58 pm

ECTACO, a company that manufactures eBooks announced the cheapest eBook reader to date:  The jetBook-Lite.  ECTACO sees the jetBook-Lite to retail at around $149, that is at least $100 cheaper than most eBook reader.

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The current crop of jetBooks are not expensive to start with (they retail at around $179 after discounts/rebates) but a $149 pricepoint may be the sweet spot where people will *really* take notice and start getting an eBook reader of their own.  Another advantage the jetBook has over other eBook readers is its support for various formats (ePub, Mobi, PRC, RTF, .txt, .pdf, .fb2, .jpg, .gif, .png, and .bmp) and this makes it an attractive alternative to the Kindle and the Sony Reader.

October 26, 2009

Kindle International Version – An eBookster Review

Filed under: ebook, kindle, Readers — Tags: , , , — talkintech @ 11:22 pm

August 26th is the official birthday of my Kindle.  It arrived two days earlier than expected and I’m so happy for it.  It may have cost me a pretty penny but I think I’ll have a long and fruitful relationship with this pretty little thing.

First Impression

My Kindle came in a nondescript box that is actually pretty hard to open (at least I find it hard to open).  The side of the box whimsically says “Once upon a time…”.  The package itself is very light and I began to doubt if there’s actually anything inside.  When I finally got to open the package, my first thought is “Its an iPod with a keyboard!”.  The next thought that came into my mind was how puny this gadget is.  It is thin and weighs almost next to nothing!

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So I removed the plastic cover and switched the Kindle on.  It took some time to “boot up” but once its up and running, I was greeted by the Kindle’s user manual.  After skimming the contents of the manual, I pressed the “Home” button and lo and behold:  the free book samples I checked out of the Amazon website is automagically downloaded and ready for reading!

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The Kindle itself looks tough despite its diminutive facade.  It is solidly built and the only moving parts are the buttons.  No creaks and squeaks when you press any area of its body.  Text displayed by its E-ink screen is indeed paper-like and it really feels as if I am reading from a printed paper.

Loading MY eBooks

When I connected the Kindle to my netbook using its bundled cable (which doubles as a charger cable if connected to the included plug), it is immediately recognized as an external storage device.  Windows 7 even offered to use it to “boost system performance” but then again what’s the point?  So I loaded up some of my existing eBooks which I converted using Calibre and those books are immediately displayed once I disconnected the Kindle from my netbook.  Eager to continue where I left off in my eBook (Guilty Pleasures: Book 1 of the Anita Blake series), I initiated a search on the eBook.  Now, since I just loaded this particular eBook, I was prompted by the Kindle that it can’t find my search expression – the eBook is probably still being indexed.  When I tried again after a few minutes, I was able to find my place in the book so I started reading.  Reminder:  The Kindle is detected as a storage device.  To prevent the possibility of corrupting its content, eject the Kindle from your computer before unplugging it.

Whispernet

As I’ve mentioned earlier, my queued eBook samples were already downloaded when I opened my Kindle.  It only goes to show how fast the an eBook will probably download.  Other local users report that downloading entire eBooks can take up to 3 minutes – probably depending on the size of the eBook.  One gripe I have is that I still can’t access Wikipedia from my Kindle up to now.  I’ll have more time to try it out later.

Text-to-Speech

I tried one of the “killer” features of the Kindle – Text-to-Speech – an it worked as advertised!  The default setting is using a male voice and it was able to read the contents (at least some of it) of the eBook I loaded earlier.  The voice is quite natural and not as computer-sounding as I expected.  I think I’ll use this feature to “read” while driving. 🙂

Charging the Kindle

I only had time to charge the Kindle when I got home last night.  One can read while charging so I was able to finish a chapter or two as it was charging.  The Kindle has an orange light while it is charging and once the batteries are topped up, the light will turn green.  The slot used for charging micro-USB.  This means I can leave the Kindle cable at home and simply use my Nokia’s micro-USB cable if I need to load up the Kindle at the office.

Reading in the Dark

This is one thing that I often do using my Nokia e71 – something I know I can’t do using the Kindle.  So before going home last night, I was able to get an el cheapo booklight for Php100 (approx. US$2).  The booklight allowed me to read in the dark but I don’t think it was the ideal way to read.  I think I’ll invest in a better booklight or even just get a reading light that I can use on my bed.

Verdict

I think the money I spent in getting the Kindle is money well spent.  Now to continue with my reading.

October 19, 2009

enTourage eDGe: Another Android-powered eBook Reader and more

Filed under: ebook, Readers — Tags: , , , — talkintech @ 11:49 pm

Hot on the heels of Alex, another company called enTourage has also released their own Android-powered eBook reader – the eDGe.  The eDGe is not only an eBook Reader but also doubles as a netbook (also Android-powered).

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Based on the online demo on the enTourage website, this eBook Reader/Tablet combo costs $450 and it comes in four different colors.  enTourage also intends to open their own online eBook store to provide content for their device.

Head on over to the enTourage website for details about this device.

Meet Alex: The Android-powered eBook Reader

Filed under: ebook, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 11:17 pm

eBook-junkies (like me) are indeed living in interesting times.  A company called Spring Design has just announced that they are prepared to release their own eBook reader they dubbed “Alex”.  What sets Alex apart from the current crop of eBook readers is not only its revolutionary two screen design but what lies under the hood: Google’s Android.

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The dual-screen design will allow owners to read on the primary monochrome “electronic paper display” and the secondary LCD screen displays multimedia information.  The LCD screen presumably also serves as a touch-screen interface for the device.  It supports external storage via SD cards to extend its capabilities.  Since its running Android, Alex will suppose to provide full internet browsing capabilities over an alphabet soup of connectivity options (GSM, EVDO/CDMA, wi-fi, 3G, etc.).

According to their website, Spring Design is currently in talks with various “major content providers” and they are planning to release the device for strategic partners by the end of this year.

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