Archive | November 2007

Amazon Kindle – First Impressions

I bought a Kindle on Monday (see Amazon, CNet). It arrived on Tuesday. Here are my impressions.

  • At $400, it is more expensive than the Sony EReader, but the Kindle has wireless (free EVDO) access to the Amazon store so you can buy books while you are away from your computer and start reading them in a few minutes.
  • You can send email to your kindle with attachments. In my experience, so far, the experimental PDF conversion (10 cents per document) works really well and even keeps links.
  • As expected, the electronic ink is much more relaxing to gaze at than a computer screen.
  • The delay caused by refreshing the screen when you turn pages is not too much of a disruption if you are reading every word. However, it makes skimming impossible. For this reason, I don’t think I’ll be able to read my RSS feeds on the Kindle, only articles, books, etc.
  • It is oddly shaped, yes, but it’s light and comfortable to hold.
  • I’ve only read a portion of a book so far, but I’ll report back here when I’ve completed it. So far, it’s great.
  • I haven’t used the clipping, annotating and highlighting features, yet, but I’m glad they are there.
  • You can download samples of any book in the Kindle store (90,000+). This is great for reading the first chapter of books you are interested in at your leisure (not at a book store). If you choose to purchase, you can do so while reading the sample and have the full book in a couple of minutes.
  • I’ve already used the browser with Wikipedia several times. I think that’s going to be a hit with a lot of people.
  • I do wish that more text could fit on the screen and that the screen itself had a frontlight for reading in the dark.

Seashore for OS X

I spent some time this morning trying various free and inexpensive OS X image editors. I tried the GIMP, but it lagged a lot and then crashed. I tried ImageWell (which seems great), but it didn’t have the kind of selection tool I wanted. I tried Live Quartz and enjoyed it, but it also did not have the selection tool I was looking for.

Finally, I tried Seashore. Seashore is a custom build of the GIMP with a Cocoa front end and a smaller set of functionality. It had the selection tool I was looking for and works great!

Using Seashore, I made a silhouette of Doctor Who’s TARDIS for my blog header.