Sunday, August 26, 2012

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Difference between Kindle Keyboard and Kindle Fire

My Kindle Keyboard

Nearly three years ago I purchased a Kindle Keyboard for Christmas – back when it was $139, and then after Christmas came out with a $79 version. Yeah, I knew it would probably reduce price, like gasoline after a roadtrip holiday, but I was really excited about throwing more money into Amazon’s gaping jaws.

I loved my Kindle Keyboard. It was lightweight, more so than the earlier models as my friends compared theirs to mine. A keyboard, too, how cool. And wifi enabled. Trouble at my fingertips with the Kindle store so…right there and handy. I held the device in one hand and clicked on either side to turn the pages as fast as I wanted.

The screen was not backlit, which was okay with me. I bought the cutest little clip on reading lamp. The Kindle text was black and white, which again was okay with me. I don’t normally spend a whole lot of time gazing at the cover of a book. I’m usually inside the pages, reading it.

Text to speech: cool, especially for when I’m too tired or otherwise occupied (driving/treadmill) to listen. Sure the either male or female voice is a bit mechanical, but good for a major giggle especially when you know that same mispronunciation was coming up.

Loading books and docs from whispersync or the computer was fantastic. PDFs were a bit of a pain as they didn’t usually get big enough to read comfortably, or if large enough, went off the screen.

Being able to manually change from vertical to horizontal screen, or physically hitting keys to adjust both text size, line spacing, and so forth, was much appreciated.

The battery charge lasted, really, a good month, even with my usage. It came with a multi-use plug which had both a wall outlet plug and a computer plug.

Then the keyboard started adding lots of extra symbols when I tried to type certain letters. I ignored it, because I rarely take notes in the text, and because I truly did not need to keep buying more books.

Then the page turning buttons on either side decided to take over and either turn forward or backward when I touched them—that is, quite often, backward on the upper right and forward on the lower left, and vv; I swear I heard giggling once. I tried to deal with that for a month or so when I figured that touching such and such a button jumped two pages ahead and quickly hitting the other button made it go back one (the next page, for reading purposes), but, really—I paid how much for this?

I got in touch with a Kindle rep on instant messenger at the advice of forums – which are really handy, by the way – who told me, sadly, my Kindle keyboard could not be repaired and they would replace it for a fee. Or take some off an upgrade.


Kindle Fire

Thus my Keyboard Kindle, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, became a Kindle Fire.

Yeah, it was my choice. I’d been researching the Barnes and Noble Nook. My mother in law received one and while the features on it were somewhat lacking—really, no computer interface to register and buy online while you’re hooked in; you must do so through wifi—the price at the time of $159 was sounding okay. But I knew I wouldn’t be able to transfer the way over a hundred books (some of which I actually paid money for), and movies – yeah, got me – over to the other side, which totally sucked.

So, the nice customer service lady said she could send me a $199 Fire for the incredible price of $169 if I wanted. I sighed deeply and said, “So, my $139 two and a half year old Kindle is only work $30 trade-in value to you?” and she cyber-sighed deeply and replied, “No, ma’am. Your Keyboard Kindle is no longer under warranty and the replacement cost for your version is $30.” Since we know we can’t replace a Kindle with $30, and it was only $10 more than the Nook Color, I sighed deeply and said sure. She hooked me up with the sales rep who said he was sorry I was having all these problems and to surrender the nonworking Kindle by returning it UPS with the enclosed printable mailing label, but I could keep the connector cords, otherwise I’d be charged the full price of the Fire. Since Amazon started charging $10, and I see, now $20, for the wall adapter, I figured I came out another $20 ahead. (And yeah, I know, that’s blonde for “it’s on sale.”)

My Kindle Fire

Is a heavy little device, which I could have discovered from actually reading the stats online. It says right there, shipping weight: 1.7 pounds, where the Keyboard is 8.7 ounces. One third the reason I wanted an eReader is because I don’t have a lot of feeling in my hands, and it’s a bit stressful holding open a book. The KK was like hardly holding anything. The Fire has to rest on something, and no, seriously, I am not paying the $30-35 for the cute little fold-up cover and backrest.

The Fire is a small tablet computer device, so I understand that it’s heavy.

It gets warm.

The battery charge only lasts a few hours, so keep the cord handy, especially if you’re playing online.

It’s backlit. Love that. So much sweeter to read in the car and at night.

Keyboard interface is pretty cool, but I have little fingers and can see where others would struggle and want that stylus, which might scratch the screen eventually.

It’s color. I don’t honestly know that I’d have forked over the extra $60 for it, but then again, even a movie on the weensy screen while I’m treadmilling can make me happy.

Airport screen motion – just flip it and the text flips with you. Love that.

E-mail. Pretty cool.

Apps. Yeah. Cool. Someday I’ll figure out how to advance in Angry Birds.

There seriously is no text to speech feature. I checked in the Amazon Kindle forums and learned that I am not the only buyer who is shocked by this. I had purchased an auxiliary cord in prep for listening to my books while driving. Alas, I cannot. All I can think of is that since Fire has as a major advertiser, Fire won’t allow speech-enabled eBooks. Have you looked at Audible’s prices? C’mon.

There is no 3 or 4G capability with the Fire. Okay, so I didn’t look before I bought, but why would I since the step down models have that service. I had to wade through the entire humiliation of setting up the network (well, my kid did it for me) at McDonald’s to access their wifi network. Totally unfair.

So…if I would have thought about it more carefully, I would have stayed with the Kindle Touch 3G for $139 (would I have gotten it for $109 with my trade-in?), and just kept on using my laptop for the movies. I don’t regret -yet- the purchase (not really an upgrade, as an eReader doesn’t have to be a tablet computer), but I think I would have been happier with a Kindle Touch for the reasons I wanted an eReader to begin with: lightweight (13.6 ounces shipping weight), and large print with the bonus text-to-speech. The movie thing is sweet, but not worth $60 to play and in light of the heaviness and inability to keep a charge something I regret.

October 27, 2012 update: friend Kathy Rouser showed me her Nexus. Next time: YES. I'd do that one first. It looked awesome, color, 12 ounces, sound enabled, wifi, and you can download both Kindle and Nook aps. She even had one of my books. How awesome is that.


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Review of Diane Graham's I Am Ocilla

I Am Ocilla by Diane M. Graham

ISBN: 9781927154199

Splashdown Books, March 1, 2012

$14.99 pBook

$4.99 eBook

 From the publisher: Somehow, I must live. I must find my purpose. There are friends to love and battles to fight. I know my name. Perhaps that is enough.

I am Ocilla.

This is my story.

Buy on Amazon

If John Bunyan and AA Milne set out on a journey and met up with Madeleine L’Engle, no doubt they would have told each other stories around the campfire much like this one.

I Am Ocilla is a questing story filled with all the things fantasy lovers like best pairing them off and mixing them up like so many creatures from the City of Destruction and the Hundred Acre Wood, progressing through a Wrinkle in Time, falling back and starting all over again. Spun throughout is mercy after our sins leave heartache and broken souls. Free will is the bottom line of faith, and Diane pulls out the deepest Scriptures to prove that God’s love never fails.

A five-hundred-year curse has pitted the four Kingdoms in a battle to a final death if the Chosen One fails yet again to lift it. Only she has the answer; the power to rebuke an evil spirit whose vengeance over thwarted devotion results in mass destruction if the Princess refuses him one more time. Join giants, ogres, fairies, dwarves, trees, and their animal friends red wolf, tiger, panda, and owl as they battle evil with their faithfulness, patience, love and wisdom.

You will be refreshed in your faith walk, encouraged in your daily witness and strengthened in love when you journey with Ocilla and her friends in a quest to fulfill their purpose.