My Kindle-iPad experiment

If you search “Kindle vs iPad” in Google and you will probably find over 6 millions results, in other words this topic has been discussed to death. And of course, Amazon thinks there are many good reasons why Kindle is a better ebook reader and I also blogged before that with certain settings, one can use iPad to read ebooks.

But still, to really find out which device is the better ebook reader, I decided to do an experiment – read the first half of an ebook (“I Live in the Future & Here’s How It Works: Why Your World, Work, and Brain Are Being Creatively Disrupted“) with Kindle 2, and then the second half of the same ebook with iPad 2. And here are my findings:

iPad

  1. I like the fact that you can check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  2. I hate the fact that you can check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  3. It’s the faster device of the two
  4. The battery lasts only 10 hours, and I don’t like the battery indicator (in percentage) in the upper right corner … it makes me worry about the battery all the time
  5. Without a keyboard, the touch gesture can turn the page, highlight a word / sentence, toggle the menu system etc. etc. – in one word, “confusing”
  6. I like all the colorful book covers in the home screen. It’s pretty much like the album library in iPod is great, but I still like to see all the CD covers.

Kindle

  1. I like the fact that you cannot check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  2. I hate the fact that you cannot check mail, news, tweets, Facebook walls etc. easily while you’re reading your ebook
  3. The e-ink screen is much much better than iPad (for any serious long form reading), your eyes will never get tired, strained and drained;
  4. Battery life of two weeks is good, you can easily finish a book without a recharge;
  5. With the keyboard and buttons to go to next / previous page, it is a lot easier to use.
  6. You can buy ebook easily with the Kindle shop.

Summary

Without a doubt, Kindle is a much better ebook reader if you like focused long form reading. However, if you can only take one device with you and reading is not your primary purpose, get an iPad. You won’t regret it.

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Comparison of iPad news reading apps

I wrote about how to make the news comes to you, so the natural next step is find a good tool to read / consume the news. While iPhone is my everyday mobile device, but to read news, iPad is really better. So I installed 4 iPad apps – Flipboard, Zite, MobileRSS and Twitter to find my ideal tool to read news; and here is the comparison – how I read an HBR news with the four applications.

Note that it is not an “evaluation report” as I believe each of us have different evaluation criteria and therefore this post will focus how I read the same news with different programs. Lastly, iPad is still not a good tool to read books, Kindle is much better, but it is another story.

Flipboard

Rated the best iPad application in 2010 and I think most of iPad users have this installed. To connect to the news, just select one of the predefined news sources or you can connect the apps to your Twitter account. Following is the screen shot of the news The Only Thing that Really Matters from HBR.

As you can see the apps strip off all the ads, headers and other elements but only show you the news . Of course you can see the original news if you “click” the source link but in essence, the presentation is pretty plain …

Zite

This apps’ tagline is “Personalized Magazine” and indeed you can feed in many news sources to it and also connect your Twitter feeds to it. One thing different from Flipboard is it does not support your Facebook friends’ feeds (yet). Following is the same news from HBR. As you can see the presentation format is pretty good. You can also “inform” the tool that you like this type of news or the source of the news (i.e. HBR in that case), then the program is smart enought to feed more news similar to that (in that case, business news) or from the same source.

MobileRSS

If your news sources are mainly website RSS but not Twitter and Facebook, then MobileRSS is also a good choice. One thing I don’t like much is the all black default color scheme (you can change it to other themes) and you will see some sponsor ads. See below …

Twitter

The last news apps is in fact the Twitter for iPad, and obviously the main news sources are your followers. Since many websites provide both RSS and Tweets, you therefore can use this to view many news. Unlike the above tools, however, it renders the HBR news like what a browser will do … in other words, you will also see the banner ads in the page; and you need to scroll more to see the whole news article.

Summary

All four tools are great for their own purposes, however, none of them are perfect to my purpose yet. If I have to choose, I think I will use Zite more …

Make the news comes to you

Working in a media company has one obvious advantage – we can get information and news first hand from around the world easily. For example, we could watch our own TV channels live and followed every bit of news of the Japan earthquake three months ago or the Osama Bin Laden raid last month. However, if you’re not working in a media company, how can you get the latest news around the world in a timely fashion?

You probably don’t want to check all the newspaper, TV and radio channels, or even mobile apps when you want to know the latest news. I reckon there is one better way … in the world of social networks. That is, make the news comes to you.

Yes, don’t check the latest news by yourself, but let the news comes to you thru the social networks. To do that, you need to however go through some steps – pick your friends carefully, follow the right tweeters, select your favorite newsfeeds, and install the right mobile applications.

Pick your friends carefully

You all know your friends can post their status and sharings in your Facebook wall. So you have a choice, your wall with lots of “I am eating …”, “I am partying with …”, “I am flying to …” etc. etc. or your wall with good, timely and insightful news. Here is how to build your wall with all quality news:

  1. Go to “Accounts” in the upper right corner, select “Edit friends” in the pull down list.
  2. Click the “Create a List” on top, enter a name of the list such as “News”.
  3. Then, the most important part – select friends that shares quality news and insightful status, then click “Create List”.
  4. Lastly, go back to your Facebook homepage, click the “Most Recent” on top, and select the list “News”. Voila, you have all the quality news from your friends, in your very own wall.

Follow the right tweeters

Of course not all your Facebook friends are industry experts or journalists in areas you like to go in detail. Another way to get the latest news is to follow the right tweeters. Join the twitter.com, and follow some good tweeters. Or check out any good blogs, then follow the bloggers (you will probably find the “Follow me” button in their blogs). There are hundreds of blogs in the Internet about how to find the good tweeters, so I will not repeat here. However, don’t forget to “Unfollow” some of the tweeters if they are not tweeting the news you want, or just spammers.

Select your favorite newsfeeds

One more new sources are reputable websites – news sites, technology sites etc. etc. Just visit those sites, find the RSS feed button and subscribe to the feeds. You can find many newsreader software in the market to manage those feeds, but to me, my favorite is the Google Reader.

Lastly, install the best mobile applications for news

With the tablets like iPad, it is really a good way to “consume” news. There are a few good apps for iPad to let you read the news your way, check out the comparison of Zite, Flipboard, MobileRSS and Twitter iPad version.