My new Kindle Fire is quite the tool! Not only is it a good e-book reader, but it also gets my email, the Internet, plays all my music, is a great place to store and show pictures, and streams video and radio too (I have been watching National Geographic's Amazing Planet at Starbucks, which is about as cool a thing as I have done in the last three months). All this for $200, which I find rather amazing!
Some of this can be done with my Samsung "smart" phone, of course, and the Kindle does not replace that, as the Kindle is not a phone and is dependent on a wireless connection for everything but downloaded books and music and movies and photos, while the phone operates off of high-band radio frequencies (that's what a G3 or G4 connection is really all about).
The phone of course, it not a book reader, nor is it very good at reading stuff on the Internet (not even email). The Kindle allows me to download both recently published books and many free older books as well. For example, on my first morning with the Kindle, I downloaded four free old dog books, as well as some Conan Doyle and some obscure Mark Twain for starts. More free book are available at archive.org (2.5 million titles for free), openlibrary.org (1.5 million titles), Project Gutenberg, ManyBooks.net, and Feedbooks and select either Mobi, Text, or Kindle formats for easiest downloads.
Apparently, I can also download audio books too. I will have to try that!
This morning I figured out how to highlight text in a Kindle book, so that I can then rip and strip that text into a blog post. The trick here is to know that Kindle has created a social network which can be accessed at http://kindle.amazon.com/ One you log in, it shows you not only all the books you have downloaded, but also all the passages you have highlighted. For example, this is text I read yesterday:
“My dear fellow,” said Sherlock Holmes as we sat on either side of the fire in his lodgings at Baker Street, “life is infinitely stranger than anything which the mind of man could invent. We would not dare to conceive the things which are really mere commonplaces of existence. If we could fly out of that window hand in hand, hover over this great city, gently remove the roofs, and peep in at the queer things which are going on, the strange coincidences, the plannings, the cross-purposes, the wonderful chains of events, working through generations, and leading to the most outrageous results, it would make all fiction with its conventionalities and foreseen conclusions most stale and unprofitable.”
Kindle can read Word, .txt, .jpg, .pdf, .gif, and HTML files as well as .mobi, .prc, and if you email yourself at your Kindle email address, it will convert files and even unzip and convert Word folders and documents so they are ready to read.
So what is the Kindle not great for? Well. it's not a full computer with desk, chair, mouse, and key board. Nothing really replaces that, not even a laptop or notebook in my opinion (and yes I have those too). For actual writing, I remain a "box box table unit" man, but for researching, reading, and doing the light communications "tasking" that the world demands of us these days, the Kindle is pretty darn great!
Final two bonus bits: It fits in the front pocket of my Carrhart pants, and it takes the same charger as my cell phone, which is particularly great in the car.