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