Tag Archives: Kindle

September 29, 2011, 4:20 pm

Will the Fire burn its way into higher ed?


In case you didn’t hear, Amazon has announced a major upgrade to the entire line of Kindle devices, including a new 7″ tablet device called the Kindle Fire. The Fire won’t be released until November 15, but already the phrase “iPad killer” is being used to describe it. Wired Campus blogger Jeff Young put up a brief post yesterday with a roundup of quick takes on the Fire’s potential in higher education. One of those thoughts was mine. I’ve had some time to look around at what we know about the Fire at this point. I have to say I am still skeptical about the Fire in higher education.

It seems like the Fire is a very well-made device. I’m not so interested in getting one for myself — I’ve got a current-generation Kindle and an iPhone 4, and am very happy with both …

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July 29, 2010, 11:39 am

The Kindle evolves again

Image from Amazon.com

Update: Here’s an overview video of the new Kindle.

Amazon today unveiled the third generation of its Kindle ebook readers. The new devices, which will ship beginning August 27, will be smaller (21% reduction in size, while keeping the same size screen) and lighter (8.7 ounces) than the current generation of Kindles, with double the storage capacity, improved contrast and fonts, and built-in WiFi. Most importantly is the price point: $189, with a $139 WiFi-only model also being offered.

When Amazon first sold the Kindle, I roundly criticized it (here, here, and here; and then here for the second generation Kindles) as a good idea but lacking several deal-breaking features that should have been obvious, and would have been inexpensive, to include. I also thought the price point –…

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March 3, 2009, 3:53 pm

Still not Kindled

kindle2So Amazon.com has released the Kindle 2, to mostly positive reviews. But I think Amazon missed several opportunities to make the Kindle 2 a must-have device for people who work with text content. I outlined these opportunities back in November 2007 in this blog post. Let’s check them off: 

  • Native PDF support: No. By “native support” I mean that if I have a document that I want to put on my Kindle and view, I ought to be able to do so easily and free of charge, and it ought to look on my Kindle as it would if I had printed it. But this is not the case for the Kindle 2. To get a PDF or other kind of document onto your Kindle, you have to email it as an attachment and have Amazon do it — for a price of $0.10 per document. And even then, according to Amazon’s specs, you may get a PDF whose formatting is completely out of whack if the PDF is “complex”, which for mathematical documents it…

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November 26, 2007, 9:44 pm

The Amazon Kindle and anti-freedom technology

After writing my two recent posts about the Amazon Kindle, I began to notice that I was not only unimpressed but bothered, even angered, at certain elements of the Amazon Kindle. I don’t usually get ticked off at an electronic gadget I don’t own, so I had to think about what my problem was. After a while, I pinpointed the cause: It’s the way Kindle handle blog subscriptions. You can get blog content sent straight to the Kindle, but only the blogs that Amazon chooses to offer you, and only after paying a fee.  Most blog “subscriptions” on the kindle are $0.99/month. Cheap, negligible even, but still not free. And this strikes me as being simply wrong.

The power of technology consists in its capacity to be a liberating force in our lives. This goes all the way back to foundational technologies such as electricity, indoor plumbing, the automobile, and so on. The reason we include…

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November 26, 2007, 8:25 am

Nine ways to fix the Amazon Kindle

I panned the Amazon Kindle yesterday, so it’s only fair that I give some constructive ideas in return. Amazon, Jeff Bezos, whoever is reading this, if you want your Kindle to sell like iPods among college students and faculty, do the following:

  • Include native support for reading, annotating, and syncing PDF documents with our computers. Imagine the ability to download a PDF of a homework assignment,  PowerPoint slides, research article, or whatever, from the internet or a course management system; move it to the Kindle; then read and annotate the PDF; then sync your annotations back onto the computer for archiving, later viewing, or presenting. The ability to do this in a lightweight, high-storage capacity device would make it very compelling — possibly irresistible — to faculty and students, those of us who traffic in electronic documents.
  • Make the screen touch sensitive and…

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November 25, 2007, 2:18 pm


kindle.jpgThe Kindle — Amazon.com’s e-book reader and fledgling entry into the consumer electronics market — seems like a good concept. It certainly looks good, and there appears to be some interesting technology under the hood. But there are some puzzling choices being made by Amazon here as well. I’m not buying one, and I think I’m not alone.

What I could see myself — and by extension, other academics and college students — using a device like this for would be to read and annotate documents on the go without the physical burden (and relatively poor battery life) of my Macbook. And when I say “documents”, I mean PDF’s. The PDF is the hydrogen atom of the electronic document world — the most commonly occurring element and appearing in all different platforms. I have mountains of e-documents I have to read and take notes on in all areas of my profession, and they are almost all PDF’s. If I…

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