Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kindle 2.0?...

The Silicon Alley Insider says February 9th will be the big announcement day. If this is indeed the launch of Kindle 2.0 I wonder if they'll swap backorders on the current model for the new one. I'm also curious to see if they'll offer some sort of upgrade deal for current owners. I'll remain on the sidelines for that though as I'm focusing more on my iPhone these days.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

WANTED: Kindleville Curator

The Kindleville blog is now over a year old but I've become disappointed with Amazon's lack of advancement and development of the Kindle platform. I was hoping to see new features by now (what's the point of the "Experimental" page if they're never going to enhance or add to it?) as well as some creative new content options (book subscriptions, anyone?).

Then there's the fact that the magazine area has been pretty much left for dead (22 magazines and very few of the big ones). Heck, I even had to go back to BusinessWeek with my tail between my legs and start a new print subscription; I waited and waited but there's still no sign BusinessWeek (or many of the other major rags) will ever make it to the Kindle.

Enough of my whining though. The real reason for this post is to see if there's anyone out there who would like to become the new author of Kindleville. I'm looking for someone who's still passionate about the device and will commit to 3-5 good, solid posts every week. If that's too much to ask from one person maybe there are a few of you out there who could work as a team on it.

My interest in the Kindle is waning but I'd like to see Kindleville live on as a resource for the community. It's still the #1 blog being pushed out by the KindleFeeder service, ranking ahead of such heavyweights as The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Lifehacker, Wired's Top Stories and yes, even Amazon's very own Kindle blog. Plus, if Amazon finally wakes up and delivers something breathtaking with Kindle 2.0 I might just be back...but I'm not holding my breath.

So how about it? Is there anyone out there who'd like to take this on? I'll make it simple. You'd just write the posts, email them to me and I'll make sure they get loaded. You'll earn as much money as I have from the blog...nothing...but it's all about the community and a chance to get more visibility for you and your gift for writing.

If you're interested, send me an email message and I'll hook up with you shortly.

P.S. -- I'm not abandoning the blogosphere. I'm still quite passionate about my Publishing 2020 blog and, perhaps more importantly, I'm about to pour a lot of effort into a brand new blog I'm about to launch for the iPhone. It will be called iBlogiPhone.com and I plan to start working on it later today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What Would You Think of a Radiohead Experiment on the Kindle?

This is another one of those rare instances where I'm cross-linking between my own blogs. I just wrote this post on my Publishing 2020 blog but as Kindle owners/fans I'd like to get your input on it too.

If you do have a comment to make, I ask that you write it on the 2020 blog, not here. Thanks!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Where's My New York Times?!

I've been subscribing to The New York Times on my Kindle for several months now and I look forward to curling up with it every night. Imagine my disappointment when I brought my Kindle downstairs last night and couldn't find the latest issue. I figured maybe something went awry with the wireless connection, so I pressed "Check for new items" but still no Saturday edition.

Next step: Shutting down and rebooting. No dice. Last option: using my handy-dandy paperclip and resetting the darned thing. Still no luck.

Interestingly, I went into the Content Manager a few minutes later to remove some old issues and guess what I found: Saturday's issue was there waiting for me to delete it. I hopped back to the home screen but it still wasn't there, so I found myself in the odd position of being able to delete it but not read it.

I sent a message to Amazon's support team and all they could say is "we've reviewed your account...we're unable to determine a problem with your subscription...and the latest issue of The New York Times should have downloaded to your Kindle." They also suggested I contact customer support via a toll-free number if I'm still having problems.

How lame is that? Regardless of what their system might tell them, Saturday's paper was not available for me to read on my Kindle. One obvious step they could have taken (but didn't) is simply to resent it to me. Amazon, really, you guys might want to add this simple step to your customer support arsenal. I'm stunned that you haven't already, given the attention to detail you usually pay to this sort of thing.

I've got to admit yesterday felt like one of those times years ago when the paperboy simply missed your house. You'd think that sort of thing wouldn't happen with today's technologies...

The good news is the Sunday edition was right there on my Kindle waiting for me.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

USA Today vs. The New York Times

I've been paying $13.99/month for The New York Times on my Kindle for several months now and I love it. When I saw USA Today was coming to the Kindle I was curious, so I signed up for a 14-day trial. I'm less than a week into it and getting ready to shut it down.

My curiosity stemmed from the highly visual, full-color design USA Today features in print and how it would be rendered on a monochrome device. So while the lack of USA Today's visual appeal on the Kindle wasn't exactly surprising it's more disappointing than you might think. My exposure to USA Today is typically limited to road trips since it's often the preferred newspaper at many hotels. I enjoy seeing all the colorful images, charts, graphs, etc. They're absent from the Kindle edition and you can't help notice it on every page.

How about the content itself? I never realized how much personality the Times has vs. USA Today till I compared both on the Kindle. So while the editorials from the Times shine in print or e-format, USA Today just doesn't seem to have the same level of insightful commentary, leaving me to feel USA Today loses a lot when it loses the color/imagery. I also like scanning the "news from every state" that appears in the print edition. I usually head to states I've lived in (Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana) and skip the rest. That's pretty easy to do in print but not so much on the Kindle. They're sorted alphabetically (just like the print version), so in order to get to Indiana I have to scroll through every state from Alabama through Illinois before I get there. Surely there's a more efficient way of presenting this sort of content in e-format!

Then there's the annoying fact that USA Today is a weekday-only publication. Sure, they distribute that Friday edition with "weekend coverage," but it's not the same as getting a completely new issue on Saturday and Sunday. I'm very much looking forward to reading the Sunday Times later tonight...good luck getting that feeling from a USA Today subscription. Maybe that's why Amazon offers USA Today at a slightly lower price than the Times ($11.99 vs. $13.99). IMHO, the Times is worth every bit of that additional $2/month charge.