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A Kindle Story

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Ok, I'm afraid to take out my Amazon Kindle in public now. I just got back from dinner here in Geneva and I was literally swamped by the entire staff of the Italian restaurant trying to get a look at the thing. First there were a few shy glances, then one of the waiters came over and practically demanded to look at it. I even got a free beer out of it for letting him fondle it for a minute <g>. He then proceeded back to the kitchen told everybody and slowly the whole staff paraded by, stealing glances and asking to see thing. Finally even the Italian mobster looking boss comes out and checks out the device, asks a few pointed and very impatient sounding question (without giving anything away) and finally nods his patriarchic, Joe Garafino like approval at the end - "not bad, not bad", he says in broken Italian English to which I was |      |  THIS close from cracking up inappropriately over.

As I said in my previous post: Is there nowhere I can get some peace 'n quiet around here?

Everywhere I've gone where I've had the Kindle with me it's been the same - people stare and want to look at it, as if they've never seen an electronic reader or a computer for that matter. What's interesting is that the interest is NOT from techie folks, but from the average joe (or jane, but mostly joe's unfortunately <g>). Even in the 'office' where I've been  working these last two  weeks word has gotten around that I have one and a few people stop by every lunch hour asking to check it out.

Of course the Kindle isn't available here in Europe so it's a curiosity sure, but in this age where everybody has a cell phone and computer it still seems odd that an electronic reader should elicit so much of a repsonse especially at a glance. Even more surprising when people ask how much it costs and I tell them, they don't seem to think that $400 isn't all that much. Ok, ok, the dollar is in the shit can and $400 probably means like 20 francs (kidding), but still that's a fair bit of change and it would probably be 400 Euros or rather 500 francs here most likely. Almost everybody I mentioned this to didn't bat an eye at the price. All ask about capacity though - best one was the mobster boss. "How much you have on thing?" - "uh, pardonez moi? Ah 10 books." "10 Books? How big?" as he gestures first a paper back, then a Tolstoy volume. Good point. 10 medium 500 page books I say, but it can hold more than 100 of those and that's without a plug in card. Mobster man shakes his head - unbelievable.

The thing that really gets folks though is the readability of the screen and the fact that it holds a shitload of content, which is precisely why I bought it last minute before heading off to Europe for the summer. Apparently this something that a lot of people can relate to - portability and legibility.

The more I use the Kindle the more like it. I still have not worn down the battery from its original charge more than two weeks ago and I've been reading on the Kindle every day plus for a rather long stretch on the flight over. It's still got about 1/4 charge. Battery life is turning out to be very impressive. I've also been using it almost every day when riding the bus across town and just love the portability of the thing - it's working great and I'm glad I have it with me.

Although I could do without the attention. The episode at dinner today was a bit a surreal frankly although it makes for a good story and a blog post. <g>

The one thing that's not so great about the Kindle are the paging buttons - they're too damn touchy. If you hand the book to somebody they're bound page the current book just by grabbing it. You have to generally really pay attention to not accidentally page the Kindle since it seems it's all paging buttons (all four of them!). It's nice while you're actively reading but if you're at all distracted it's easily paged by accident and it's not so easy to find your way back to where you were.

I'm sure this stuff will get worked out in the next version of this device, but other than that it's an impressive tool to have with me while travelling...

Posted in Personal  

The Voices of Reason


May 14, 2008

# eInk is rare in Europe

You might be getting more attention than you desire due to the fact that ebook readers are extremely rare in Europe. Most of them are imports, I hear. I live in Austria, been to DE, FR, CZ, IT and HU and have yet to see one, much less admire one in a store.
But, I read on a smartphone and get funny looks too sometimes, and when I tell people that I'm actually reading, they shake their heads and do the usual "oh my, what is this world coming to" bit.

# re: A Kindle Story

The price you pay for pulling fancy electronic gizmos out in public.

And, perhaps you've been away from Europe longer than you realize!

May 15, 2008

# re: A Kindle Story

I'm still considering buying an e-book reader, but as mores said, eInk is rare in Europe, and Romania (my home country) is not the most... uh... up-to-date European country <smile>. Readers might be interested in the new e-book reader (price unkown yet): the <a href= http://www.astak.com/97Ebook_Reader.html> target="_blank">Astak</a>

And Rick, great style! (had a wide smile on my face while reading your post)

May 15, 2008

# re: A Kindle Story

... Second try with the link: <code lang="html"> <a href= "http://www.astak.com/97Ebook_Reader.html"> target="_blank">Astak</a> </code&gt>

May 15, 2008

# re: A Kindle Story

I'm not so sure about ebook-readers are rear in Europe. The guys that actually invented the whole e-ink display are located in the Netherlands (Phillips). A Dutch named iRex are their main buddies and they deliver the best e-book reader so far. The name of the device is iLiad. Check them out here http://www.irextechnologies.com

A French version exists a well. The company Bookeen has a nice little device called Cybook:

The best thing with both of them is that they are not hooked up to any online-stores (ala. Amazoon or Sonys connect…)

May 15, 2008

# re: A Kindle Story

But, I like Napoleanic naval warfare fiction while reading in a steaming bathtub, will Kindle be right for me? (Oh, bubbles included.)

Guy Harwood
May 15, 2008

# re: A Kindle Story

damn you i want one now! (adds to amazon wish list)

May 18, 2008

# re: A Kindle Story

Damn! I'm in the UK and haven't heard a thing about this!! Thanks for the heads up going to read up about it a bit more.. :)

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