Monthly Archives: February 2009

I was wrong about the Kindle…. musings of a new Kindle 2 owner

B000FI73MA In June 2008, I posted an article entitled Kindle: Still too expensive at $359. I shunned the original Kindle as too expensive and frankly, too ugly. As much as I love books and reading, I couldn’t imagine spending $359 for a device that looked so dated.

There, I’ve said it. Even with my affection for shiny, new gadgets, what’s on the inside counts but what’s on the outside counts, too.

Flash forward eight months to February 2009, when the Kindle 2 was announced….kindle2

Suddenly, what I’d previously thought was overpriced became quite compelling. Was it the addition of text to speech? Was it the prettier design? Was it the influence of my Kindle-owning friends? Those answers and more below, in my initial impressions as a Kindle 2 owner.

What I like about the Kindle 2:
Solid, quality construction: My initial impression upon removing the Kindle from its shipping carton was, “Wow, this is really solid.” Of course, it requires the same care in handling as any electronic device. However, it’s thin but doesn’t feel fragile.

Text to speech: It doesn’t quite sound natural but yet isn’t so digitized as to be unlistenable. This feature will be handy for those times when my eyes are tired from gazing at a computer screen.

Intuitive navigation: I confess, I took a quick look at the user guide but didn’t pay attention to navigation instructions. I just picked up the Kindle 2, and started using it.159175-kindle2-350_188

The screen: Crisp and easy to read. It has a matte (not glossy) finish to reduce glare when reading outside. 

On board dictionary: What reader doesn’t at times encounter a word they’d like defined? With the on board New Oxford America Dictionary, one doesn’t even have to put down the book to look up a definition. Nice!

 

Amazon’s eBook selection: I’m a long-time Audible.com (audio book service) subscriber. As wonderful as Audible.com is, sometimes I want a book that’s just not available in audio format. Enter Amazon’s Kindle book store which offers great variety, and pricing (many at $9.99) is still far less than buying the physical book.

3G wireless connectivity without monthly subscription: Considering the cheapest cellular data plans cost an average of $20 to 30 per month, the Kindle’s always on wireless helps justify the device’s pricing. Of course, this always on wireless has its benefits for Amazon – it makes it incredibly easy to buy books.

What I’d like to see improved:
Variety of Kindle newspaper subscriptions is too limited and most are too expensive considering their digital format: I set up a Kindle subscription to The Irish Times since I love the perspective non-U.S. press offers and I thought the subscription pricing was reasonable at $5.99 per month. I love the Wall Street Journal but my current annual online subscription costs less than twelve times the Kindle WSJ $9.99 monthly subscription – I’ll keep my web-based version, thanks.

And, frankly, that’s all I can think of that I’d change. I am delighted with the Kindle 2, and very impressed with its quality and the attention to detail that has gone into its design and implementation.

How I met my housemates (and how you can meet some, too!)

I live with three furry, affectionate little housemates: Nick, Lucy, and Hubert. All three were rescues: Two were adopted from a shelter, and one had been abandoned to spend the winter outside alone.

nick-small

I met Nick at a shelter in December 2000, a month after my beloved Siamese, Simone, was euthanized. Nick was a year old, energetic and very handsome. He has been living with me for 8 years and is a great “big brother” to our new kitty, Hubert, with whom he likes to romp & play.

lucy-small

I met Lucy in mid-September 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Watching the horrific images of suffering on TV made me want to do something, anything, to make the world feel like a better, more positive place. So, I went to the Connecticut Humane Society. There were so many deserving pets, I wanted to take them all home! Lucy was a lovely but timid seven year old Maine Coon who clearly needed a quiet, loving home. She’s a sweetie and wants to give kisses to every human and feline she meets.

hubert-small

I met Hubert in late November 2008. I wasn’t planning to adopt another pet but he’d been abandoned and the weather was beginning to get cold (in fact, it snowed the next day). So this sweet, little cat joined our household. He is very mellow and loves to chase around the house with Nick.

What does this mean to you, dear reader? When I adopted these three, I gained more than sweet, wonderful housemates (although I gained that in spades)! I was honored to give three very deserving homeless pets a safe, warm, loving home. That small but very meaningful act has benefitted not only Nick, Lucy, and Hubert, but has also benefitted me by providing the gratification of knowing that I’ve made the world a better place for them.

If you are planning to get a dog or cat, please adopt from a shelter.

(This post was inspired by a Pet Connection article about Maddie’s Fund partnering with the Humane Society of the U.S. and the Ad Council to encourage Americans to adopt cats and dogs from shelters.)