20 Nov

Review of the Kindle Touch

TL;DR Review

The Kindle Touch is the Kindle that I’ve been waiting to purchase ever since the first Kindle was announced. The Kindle Touch feels good in the hand and is easy to read off of for hours on end. The touchscreen is surprisingly effective. Overall my opinion of the Touch is extremely positive, with some minor reservations. If you’ve been holding off on getting a Kindle because you didn’t like the keyboard or wanted something that was easier to navigate than the old Kindle, I would recommend getting this Kindle.

Shipping/Packaging

Amazon has been making a push towards packaging that they call Frustration Free, a nice step away from the ridiculous clamshell packaging that businesses seem to love. The Touch follows in this ethos, the shipping box is completely recyclable and easy to open with a single pull.

Once you get inside the Kindle Touch has some quick instructions for both using the Kindle and to charge it before use. The Kindle includes a USB charger that when connected to your computer enables you to transfer files to the Kindle. The Kindle used to come with an AC adapter to plug the cable into the wall to act as a charger, Amazon apparently cut that to keep the price down. You can still purchase one for $10 and I would recommend it if you wanted to have less cables around your computer.

Navigation

There are only two buttons on the Touch, a power button on the bottom, and a home button that looks somewhat like a speaker grille on the center of front bottom of the device. The power button is in a weird position being on the bottom as most hardware devices I’m used to typically put the power button on the top. However, the button in actual practice works fine and once you get used to reaching to the bottom to turn off the device works well enough. I have yet to have accidentally hit the button while reading which was my largest concern with the button placement. The home button does one thing and only one thing, regardless of where you are it takes you to the top of your home screen. On page 9 of 20 pages of your list of books, it goes to page 1, in the middle of a book, takes you to page 1 of the home screen, and so on.

The touch screen works much as you expect in terms of navigating around. Open a book by pressing the book’s title, hold when selecting a book and you are presented with actions to perform on the book. The largest complaints with the Kindle Touch reside here. The screen on occasion is slow or even fails to respond to touches. The screen will on occasion fail to load what you want and you have to back out and re-perform the action. Sometimes even the screen will over respond and think you made multiple touches, especially while reading I’ve had the Touch jump forward several pages as opposed to just one. Considering this is the first touch screen Kindle Amazon has shipped, I’m not sure how much is based upon the hardware or how much is fixable in the software itself. All that being said the screen performs quite well most of the time and the few times it messes up haven’t detracted much from my pleasure in using the device.

Typing

Typing works somewhat shockingly well on the Touch. E-Ink screens typically don’t fit the mold of what would make sense for typing on the screen but the Touch performs really well here. I’ve been able to type fairly quickly and the Touch keeps up. While it’s far away from what I could do on a real keyboard, I feel very comfortable using the Touch to search for books, enter in passwords and notes, etc.

Typing on the Kindle Touch

Reading

The whole point of owning a Kindle is to read on it. Here is where the Touch really shows off it’s stuff. The new Pearl e-ink screen is a joy to look at. The Kindle Touch also includes a new ability to only flash the screen every 6 pages and instead does a half flash between each page being read. This makes it much faster to go back and forth between pages. One reason I held off on a Kindle for so long was the full page refresh did throw me off while reading. The half flash is a very nice comprise that makes the majority of page flips faster and less distracting. The side effect of not performing a full page refresh is that the Kindle will develop artifacts on the screen as you read. While, I’ve seen these artifacts they have yet to be a distraction especially in comparison to the full page refresh.

While reading there is minimal chrome to deal with just you and the book. To flip forward, tap the right hand to center side of the screen or drag your finger from the right side of the screen to the left. To go back a page, touch the left hand side of the screen or drag your finger from the left to the right. Bringing up the menu to search, sync, change the typeface and size of the font and other options you tap the upper 1/4 of the screen. Overall this works extremely well and the touch screen feels easier to use than the former Kindle’s buttons especially because you don’t naturally rest your fingers on those buttons making accidental taps a much rarer occurrence.

I’ve read two short books on the Kindle and it’s great. The Kindle is easy enough to comfortably hold in one hand (for me my left using my right hand to hit the screen to flip pages), for long periods of time without feeling heavy or even more importantly unlike a real book having to adjust as you get further along in a book. The Kindle is a little bit smaller than a standard paperback book but not by much, this also makes the screen hold close to the same amount of text depending upon your settings.

Summation

The Kindle Touch is a great purchase for anybody who has bought into ebooks and reads more than a few books a year. The few issues I’ve had with the Touch didn’t detract from the main use, just sitting down and reading on the device. To be fair there is a cheaper Kindle that does not have a touch screen that is also lighter that I did not review or have been able to play with. Some reviewers have recommended that one over the Touch for people who will not do a lot of typing on their Kindle. There is a $20 price difference between these two Kindles with Special Offers (on-screen advertising that is on the standard off screen and at the bottom of the home screen), or a $30 price difference between the two without Special Offers.

My initial impression of the Kindle has stayed much the same throughout using the device, overall it’s great and well worth purchasing.

02 Apr

Starbucks Coffee Company – What’s New

Well now it is that easy, inspired by your ideas on MyStarbucksIdea.com we’re proud to introduce the exciting new Starbucks® Mobile Pour service that puts baristas on scooters. In seven of the largest cities around the country, we’re sending out two scooter baristas per every square mile to ensure speedy service.

We’ve even made ordering easy with our Mobile Pour app for your smartphone. Simply download it, allow it to pinpoint your location, select your coffee order and keep walking. Your fresh, hot Starbucks brew will be in your hands before you can say abra-arabica.

What’s more, the Starbucks® Mobile Pour is only the first exciting development of our new mobile replenishment strategy. In the coming months we’ll be introducing several other exciting (can you say "mall" and "rollerblades") initiatives that make getting your Starbucks coffee easier than ever.

via Starbucks Coffee Company – What’s New. Pretty good April Fool’s joke by Starbucks, though seriously imagine how awesome this would be.

02 Feb

TechCrunch – Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities

Mozy Founder Josh Coates launches Instructure today. He’s hoping to disrupt the entrenched player in the University LMS space, Blackboard, and take a big part of its $377 million or so in revenue.

via TechCrunch – Instructure Launches To Root Blackboard Out Of Universities. I’m not even in college anymore and I want Blackboard to fail in the most spectacular way possible.

06 Dec

WWdN – have a blue blue blue blue blue blue blue smurfmas

Holy crap, did you guys come through with replies. I think this post is the most-heavily commented post in the history of my blog, going back almost a decade.

So, I said that I’d pick a winner, which was incredibly difficult, because there were so many hilarious and clever and just plain weird contributions. Before I get to the winning one, I have an extensive list of Honorable Mentions, which come to you in no particular order; this is just how I copy and pasted them from my comment notifications:

via WWdN – have a blue blue blue blue blue blue blue smurfmas. Funniest thing I’ve read today.

02 Jul

Marco.org – Quick iPhone 4 impressions

The $29 “Bumper” is hilarious. I think Apple is really in the iPhone-case business, and the iPhone is just an attempt to sell us something to encase. It’s day one, everyone’s freaked out about breaking their new all-glass iPhones, and they’ll sell you a “bumper” case — the only case available for the iPhone 4 in the Apple store today — for $29. Looking at this tiny piece of rubber, you really have to admire Apple for having the balls to charge $29 for it. And they’re going to sell a ton of them. The best part? It comes in a lot of colors, but today, only black is available. So if you’re really set on a teal or pink one, but are paranoid about breaking your new iPhone, you’re probably going to end up buying two of them.

via Marco.org – Quick iPhone 4 impressions. I’m not sure what to say to that other than laugh.

23 Mar

The Certified DBA – The Daily WTF

It took an exorbitant amount of time to configure, and it still didn’t work. The application ran awfully slow, and disk I/O was through the roof. Worse, as a result of the smaller drives and 25% usage requirement, the available disk space was quickly filling up.

via The Certified DBA – The Daily WTF. An extremely amusing article that details several things about being an “expert”; it doesn’t make you right on details marginally connected to your field of study, doesn’t imply that you will practice good judgment, doesn’t mean you should throw common sense out the window, and finally that you shouldn’t re-think your basic assumptions of “how it works” when questioned, especially when presented with evidence to the contrary of your logic.