Review of Kindle 2 and Kindle for iPhone

It’s really a late review but I reckon instead of just repeat all the specifications and then recycle those as a review, I would rather write you my review after finished six books with the Kindle 2 and the Kindle for iPhone. In other words, it is a review from a book reader point of view, especially living outside US. And I believe, some of the items below also applicable to the Kindle DX.

Kindle 2

  • The Kindle screen is good, the eInk is really easy on the eyes, and when combined with variable font sizes it really makes a big difference to eReading experience.
  • The device is very portable (not the DX though), and you can bring as many books as you like.
  • You can read with one hand (or even one finger), it is really useful in bus, subway, restaurant etc.
  • However, it is good for linear reading only – i.e. forget the random access to certain pages and also flip the pages freely to skim the book.
  • I found that not all eBooks from Amazon are the same, some with better formatting, some with status bar indicator (it shows each chapter with a tiny dot and also your reading progress … with more dots), some without table of content – even though all eBooks are in .azw format. I suppose it depends on the digitize process from each publisher.
  • The bottom location indicator is useless, that will be better if it shows which chapter you’re reading intead.
  • Keyboard is usable but not great, it is a pain to add notes to a book, really.
  • You can bookmark a page easily, but to retrieve it thru a search is not that easy – the search result page is not that useful after all.
  • The built-in dictionary is good.
  • There is no Kindle 2 Cover shipped with Kindle2, you have to buy separately.
  • PDF support is a joke, but you can partially fix it.

Kindle for iPhone

  • The screen is surprisingly good, and easy to read (with different background colors)
  • Good for short books, and you can read it anytime even you don’t have the big brother Kindle with you.
  • Next / Previous page gesture is even better than buttons in Kindle 2
  • Version 1.1 includes orientational lock and paper color
  • Whispersync is good (I tried it once in a trip to US), but not for non-US users

In summary, the Kindle 2 is not cheap but I think it worths every penny.

So, what are the books I finished so far with the Kindle ? Here you go:

Note: The above URLs link to the physical books, from there you can choose Kindle version if you want to.

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Kindle posts [Featured Post]

Since March, 2009 I wrote quite a few posts on how to buy, use, register the Kindle 2, and Kindle DX. I reckon it’s better to consolidate a complete list such that you can find the details more easily.

So, Here you go:

Enjoy !!

Update 1 : Some press coverage of this blog in one popular magazine …

“。。。月前訂購 Kindle DX,本來只因為它的 native PDF 閱讀功能,然而在本欄寫過 Kindle DX 後,有一熱心讀者 Michael 來電郵(應像在國內般,稱他做「老師」)說,在美國以外,其實都可以上 Amazon 購買電子書的!我走上他的網頁(www.michaelyung.com),跟住照做,一試即靈,即時訂了幾本,在他網頁上又看到他讀 Guy Kawasaki 的新書《Reality Check》,Guy 的作品,我在早年讀過,以為他已經封筆,看了他的新作,又馬上訂了,現在帶著隨身捧讀。

多謝 Michael 的分享,在 Amazon 購書的確是一個奇妙的經驗。。。”

Simon Chung – “Home–Tech:如家.隨身”

Update 2 : For those friends / visitors who have sent me questions, emails and tips from Brazil, Dominican Republic, India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Afghanistan, France, Taiwan, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Norway, Australia, Philippines, Grand Cayman, Lebanon and Japan … I thank you !!

Update 3 : The Kindle 2 / 3 is now available for overseas market as well. So please read the blog posts if your country is not covered by the latest scheme, or you want to know more about other Kindle information.

Brand yourself – Twitter background- Part 2

Months ago I blogged about the importance of branding yourself in popular social networks, as well as the need of creating a unique Twitter background for your Twitter profile. After months of testing, I found that the design of the Twitter background needs to address two “display modes”:

  • The mode when your followers visit your profile / tweets;
  • The mode when only one tweet is displayed

I therefore redesigned the profile background – first find a good background image from Stock.xchng; then design your left hand side information panel; lastly, create some images (in my case, from my gallery) / graphics to cover the right hand side and lower half of the image.

Here is the new background image and check it out.

Twitter background

The background in “profile display mode”:

Twitter background - profile display mode

Twitter background in single tweet mode:

Twitter background - single tweet mode

照片背後 – 背影

印象中爸爸一向都是一個沉默寡言的人,小時候沒有多少機會跟他說話。只有從媽媽口中知道爸爸少年才來到香港,由不懂廣東話,變了滿口廣東話,再學好英語,上工專,成為一位電機工程師。

為了家庭,每晚就只見他努力地在家中做公司帶回來的工作,默默地在建築的藍圖上劃,劃,劃。記得讀書時他也從沒有罵我們一句,即使考試成績有多差,他都只會說:”供書教學是我們做父母的責任,讀好書是你的責任,下次努力一點吧。”

為了我們,我知道他放棄了很多嗜好,只能夠在發黃的照片中知道他喜歡跳舞,吹口琴。但當唱音機播出 The Platters,Johnny Mathis 的歌曲的時候,他就會閉上眼睛,就像返回了他年青的時候,陶醉地欣賞。

從來不知道爸爸如何可以籌錢供我往海外讀書,但在我離開香港前爸爸還買了一台單鏡反光機給我。。。自始我就覺得好好攝影就是對爸爸的一個交代。就在上飛機前一晚,爸爸還帶我上了太平山頂。兩父子無言的看著美麗的維多利亞港,我就知道爸爸想我讀好書,畢業後回來他身邊。

多年前有一天,爸爸說他的頭很痛,當晚他就被送入醫院。跟著就是差不多一年的與死神搏鬥。已經記不起有多少次的開腦手術,但他也捱過了。奇蹟地,爸爸的腦溢血沒有帶來很大的後遺症,還可以行動自如。只是有一塊頭蓋骨不能再放回原位,自此他就喜歡戴帽子,也不喜歡拍照。另外就是說話比較吃力了一點,不喜歡說話的他,變得更沉默了。

就從那一件事開始,我喜歡拍攝爸爸的背影。

Olympus E-P1

Couple of days ago, Olympus launched one of the most innovative cameras in recent years – E-P1 … a compact camera with a size of DC, but with quality and features of a DSLR. What strikes me most in the past few days is not the excellent feature set of the camera, but how people evaluate this new camera – even before they get one.

Some said they hate the body color – they want it in all black, instead of the current two offerings – White and Silver. Some said they want an EVF (Electronic View Finder) on top of the Liveview LCD, even though all the DC in the market except one has an EVF. Some said a built-in flash is a must, but according to the sample pics in DPreview, E-P1 can handle in-door shooting environment comfortably with ISO 3,200 and 6,400. And some said they will not buy it because the LCD is not high resolution enough, or because it is not water-proofed. Of course, some said it is too expensive, or too big, or too small etc., etc…

Seriously, are they real photographers, or just professional whiners ?

Olympus E-P1

So, is E-P1 a good camera ? I don’t know yet, but as Imaging-Resource.com put it:

Just when we thought it was all going to go SLR, Olympus … makes an introduction that changes everything.

Upgrade Kindle for iPhone 1.1

Amazon released the Kindle for iPhone 1.1 about a month ago and I think it is about time to upgrade.

In March this year Amazon released its free Kindle application for the iPhone such that you could read the ebooks you purchased for your Kindle. If you were living in US, you could also take advantage of the Amazon’s Whispersync, which would sync both devices, that’s mean you could pick up reading where you left off.

Initially I thought The reading experience with iPhone would not be pleasant (e.g. I don’t like Stanza at all), but actually I was wrong. The application is in fact quite good and I will review the usability in another blog post.

Anyway, with the version 1.1 update, the reading experience on the Kindle for iPhone is further improved. For example, you can now switch the view from portrait to landscape mode if you prefer to read that way. You also have the option to “lock” the phone in either portrait or landscape mode thanks to a padlock icon to the lower right.

Another good feature is that you can now change the background and text color combination so that reading is easier on the eyes. Black text on a white background can be harsh, but now you can now choose a gray text on black background option, or a dark and light sepia option. My personal favorite was the sepia tone.

Also, you can now turn pages by just tapping the screen, if you don’t like the previous “slide gesture”.

You can follow the steps of buying Kindle for iPhone from outside US to get the application from iTunes, and with the same account, you can download the version 1.1. Enjoy.

Kindle photo iphone kindle photo

Video about deadline

What is really a deadline ?

In the words of a design student, Bang-yao Liu, of Savannah College of Art and Design …

Every time when I am busy, I feel that I am not fighting with my works, I am fighting with those post-it notes and deadline.

So he made a brilliant video about deadline with, believe it or not … 6,000+ Post-it notes. Enjoy !!

Curious about how he made this video ? Check it out.