Tag Archives: Amazon

Sun, September 6th, 2009 by Graves and Allen

Sony eReader Goes Bi-Platform

Sony has released a new version of its eBook Library software.  The eBook Liberary software allows computers to interface with the Sony eBook readers and to download materials from the Sony eBook Store and load them onto Sony eReaders.  The recently released version 3 of the eBook Library software works with both Mac and Windows OS computers.  This marks the first time that the Sony eReader has had full Mac OS compatibility (note that it requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later and is compatible with 10.5.6).

In the past Mac users had reason to shy away from acquiring the Sony eReader as it required a Windows OS computer to interface with the device and upload materials to it.  Unlike its Kindle counterpart from Amazon (aka Big Brother —see my previous post on Amazon manipulating content on Kindles), Sony has no wireless network to allow instant downloading of materials from its eBook Store (Amazon’s WhisperNet allows you to  download material purchased from Amazon Kindle Store directly to a Kindle, without a computer).

By the way, the new Windows Version works with 32 and 64 bit Vista and 32 bit XP systems.

One other piece of good news, the eLibrary now gives you access to the Google books public domain titles at no cost.

Image courtesy of Sony

Image courtesy of Sony

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Thu, September 3rd, 2009 by Graves and Allen

On Big Brother’s Arrival

Amazon had acquired the lead in the eReader wars, despite the fact that Sony’s eReader had better and more solid construction. Amazon’s lead in the war came primarily as a result of its ability to download information directly to the Kindle, without the need of interfacing with a computer. Well, it looks like there is a downside to that convenience. Not only can Amazon add to your Kindle, it can also take things off of it. Apparently Amazon giveth (selleth) and Amazon taketh away.

Ironically, this ability came to light when Amazon chose to delete copies of George Orwell’s 1984 and Animal Farm from the Kindles of individuals who had acquired those titles from Amazon. The explanation that Amazon came up with is that they acquired the books from a source that did not have the copyright. Apparently, Amazon felt that it had the right to remove the books from its customer’s Kindles because it was Amazon and nobody could stop it.

This brings up an interesting issue. If Amazon can put what you order on your Kindle, they can put what they want on it as well. Now it is clear that they can remove what they choose from your Kindle.

Perhaps Sony has the better idea after all.  Interestingly, Sony recently released new software and hardware. I will post about those items later. For now, I feel violated by Big Brother Amazon. I am considering whether to simply turn off the Kindle and use it solely with what I already have on it. At the very least, I will minimize my exposure to Amazon’s Big Brotherly ways (and maximize my battery life) by leaving the radio off when I am not trying to load a new book.

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Mon, April 13th, 2009 by Graves and Allen

Amazon’s Kindle 2

Picture courtesy of Amazon.com/blogkindle.com

(Picture courtesy of Amazon.com/blogkindle.com)

I enjoyed my Kindle, especially its stand-alone ability to purchase and download books from the Kindle Store without the need to sync to a computer as I had to do with the Sony eReader. I had some issues with the basic structure of the Kindle though, particularly the almost impossible job of holding it without triggering the page advance contact on the right side of the Kindle. For more detail about my reactions to the Kindle and the Sony 505 eReader, see my comments on those subjects in this Blog.

A couple months ago, Amazon released the Kindle 2. Like its predecessor, the Kindle 2 retained the ability to access the Kindle Store and acquire new reading material on the fly using Amazon’s free (to Kindle users) WhisperNet.

The Kindle 2, although still mostly plastic, has a more substantial feel to it than the original Kindle. This may, result from the fact that the back has a metal plate now; it may also be a result of the reduced size of the page-advance button, which (happily) makes it much easier to hold the Kindle 2 and read it without inadvertently advancing the page.

The Kindle 2 takes up only a third of an inch in your briefcase or purse. For that matter, you can easily fit its 1/3 of an inch into a coat pocket (if you have a large enough coat pocket). The Kindle 2 has exterior dimensions of 8″ x 5.3″ x .36″. The new Kindle only weighs 10.2 ounces., so it won’t slow you down much as you travel. The Kindle comes with 2GB of on-board RAM and no ability to upgrade to more RAM or to supplement with a media card. Approximately 1.4 GB of the on-board RAM remains available for book storage.

Amazon’s WhisperNet network works at 3G speeds and covers you in most major metropolitan areas n the continental United States. It allows you to download most book purchases in 60 seconds or less. The Kindle Store sells some 260,000 books for you to choose from and prices of most new releases and best sellers at $9.99.

The new Kindle boasts a 25% increase in battery life. I didn’t get quite that much over the original Kindle, but I definitely noticed an improvement of at least 15%. You can prolong battery life by turning off the wireless connection and turning it on to download magazine, paper or other subscriptions once a day.

The new Kindle turns and refreshes pages faster than its predecessor. Amazon claims a 20% speed increase. The display also shows some improvement.

The new Kindle has some short-comings. First, it does not allow the use of a replacement battery. Second, it does not accept media cards. You get 1.4GB of book/material storage and no more.  Hopefully, Amazon will reconsider the media card issue in its next iteration of the Kindle.  The ability to use media cards is one area in which the Sony eReader gets a big plus over the Kindle.

All-in-all, I like the improvements, but I am not wild about the $359 price tag, even if it does include free shipping.

Copyright 2009, Jeffrey Allen.  All rights reserved.

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