About Me

A blog wherein a literary agent will sometimes discuss his business, sometimes discuss the movies he sees, the tennis he watches, or the world around him. In which he will often wish he could say more, but will be obliged by business necessity and basic politeness and simple civility to hold his tongue. Rankings are done on a scale of one to five Slithy Toads, where a 0 is a complete waste of time, a 2 is a completely innocuous way to spend your time, and a 4 is intended as a geas compelling you to make the time.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

credit where due

I've knocked on the Kindle a bit, but I should give Amazon some praise for having made some improvements in the Kindle operating system between my original Kindle that had something like 1.15y98y98u on it and the replacement in January with 1.2 (299870016) on it.  Still the first generation Kindle, but a slightly more developed version of the OS.

The first Kindle crashed just often enough that I kept thinking how nice it would be to travel with a toothpick to hit the reset button, not daily or even weekly, but at least once every month or two.  And then usually one crash would be followed closely by a second crash before it would then be good for a stretch.  So far, 3 months and counting, the replacement Kindle with the slightly updated OS hasn't needed a reset.

The first Kindle, every so often you'd put on the wireless and wait and wait for the Kindle to talk to Amazon and for the newspaper to download, and sometimes I'd have to give up, turn off the wireless, and try again.  3 months and counting, so far the replacement Kindle has checked in and quickly downloaded whatever there is to download in 60 seconds or so just like advertised.

Lynxswift commented asking me about the news reports  of a new bigger screen Kindle and other e-readers that might be more suited to a newspaper.

I would love this.  I'm very glad to be able to subscribe to the Washington Post and the Wall St. Journal on my Kindle.  Along with the NY Times which I get home-delivered they are the only good newspapers left in the country.  But the Kindle is not great for reading newspapers.  The content is all there, but I miss the ads and feel kind of guilty that I might be giving the Washington Post some part of the $9.99 Kindle subscription fee but not eyeballing the few ads that are left.  It's a lot of page turns and back and forth to read the paper.  Even on the 1st generation Kindle there's a little more aggresiveness particularly with the Wall St. Journal to put in charts, but they are often shrunk and take up an entire page.  And any page with a photo takes longer to draw on the screen thus slower to refresh thus adding time.  If the Kindle or some other company could come up with something that would give me more of the newspaper experience I've grown up with along with my newspaper, I would probably buy it in an instant.

In fact -- and it shocks even Luddite me to admit this --  I would even consider foregoing a printed NY Times subscription in favor of the electronic version so long as I could still have free access or very small add-on access to the web site (currently a Kindle WSJ subscription gives no access to their web site, which is probably reasonable when they get but pennies from Amazon on the $9.99 I'm paying) in order to print out the Sunday magazine crossword puzzle or something like that.  Yes, today we all have free access to the NYT website, but when they had their Times Select section blocked off I did get access for my home delivery $$.  The paid web site is coming back, someway somehow, and I would not want to have to pay for a Kindle subscription and then pay again for that.  

Or to put it simply in less detail, the Kindle is still inferior enough for reading newspapers that I'm sometimes happy to pay $1.50 for a Times in print instead of $.75 for a Kindle version when I am traveling.  Make the experience just a little better, and maybe I'm totally there.

Of course today it was nice in a drizzle on the way to Pathmark to buy Diet 7-Up and Ben & Jerry's that were on sale to read a printed NYT that holds up to a drizzle.  It's been very rainy in NYC the past week so the Kindle utility hasn't been great.  Maybe they can come up with a waterproof cold-weather friendly version with a little Kindle umbrella...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just announced the Kindle DX with bigger screen and 3.3 gig storage for reading newspapers and text books for $489. Ouch. You could read more at geek.com