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Im on Fire ...

Monday, May 28, 2012


I am a gadget geek. I just love the stuff. I also work part time at Best Buy, which is akin to crack addict helping out his dealer by making deliveries.

Last summer HP made one of the worst tech launches in history. The Touchpad was an iPad one competitor released shortly after the iPad 2. In about 6 weeks the multibillion dollar dollar project was scrapped and the product dropped from $500, to $400 and finally to a “get the hell out of our inventory price of $99. I was lucky enough to get one of these 10 inch tablets at that price, and coupled with a rebate, it was free.
Some months later I was the first* person in Sioux City to buy an Amazon Kindle Fire. I bought it as a gift for my wife. She loves it. It is a fantastic 7 inch tablet, terrific size, not too heavy. Beautiful color screen, “stereo” speakers which are OK, but with a set of headphones you can use this perfectly portable device to watch TV and movies on Hulu and Netflix. It is a fantastic device. I only got my hands on the device a few times. But it was apparent, that for me, the Fire is the far superior device. With a 10 inch tablet, typing is a pain, anything more that a sentence is an exercise best left to a classically trained pianist.

In February I made a passing reference to my wife that I was envious of her Fire. Noting how it was just better device for me that the Touchpad. A few weeks later my wife surprised me by buying me my own piece of Amazon awesomeness.

Everything I thought about the Fire when I bought hers was wrong. It is FAR better than I imagined. What stunned me the most is how amazing it is to READ on. I know the Kindle is ostensibly an e-reader at heart. But the fire is a multimedia tablet made for the internet, apps, games, movies and TV, I always classified the reading aspect as more of a throw in. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

First, almost all libraries partner with a service called “Overdrive” that allows you to check out books for free from the library from the comfort of your own home. The process could be easier by removing a few clicks, but it is still incredibly simple. So, with a kindle you get free books.
Second, I read a lot. I enjoy it, either for entertainment or information, I get into these phases where all of my free time is absorbed by reading. As often as I read I still get to areas where some crazy author uses a crazy word and the best I can do is guess its meaning by the words around it. On a kindle you just press on the word and the definition pops up.
Third, if you are reading a “scholarly work” that cites its sources, the weblinks will take you directly to the article on the web, without having to “leave your book”
If you find an interesting passage you can highlight it and share it to facebook or twitter with just a few taps.
When I need to put the kindle down and do something else, i don’t have to fumble for a bookmark or curl a page. All I do is press the only button on the device and shut off the screen.

Reading on the device has been such an amazing experience I have gone a bit crazy and over the last 3 months I have read more than I have in my life, and that is saying something for someone who reads about 15-20 books per year.
Here is a list of the books I have read on the device, the only one I paid for was the graphic novel “Watchmen” all the rest were free from the library:
Books Author
Watchmen Moore, Alan
Big Short Lewis, Michael
Dexter in the Dark Lindsay, Jeff
On the Brink Paulson, Hank
Conservative Victory Hannity, Sean
Pinheads and Patriots O'Reilly, Bill
Decision Points Bush, George
Girl With the Dragon Tattoo Larsson, Steig
Have a Little Faith Albom, Mitch
When You are Engulfed in Flames Sedaris, David
Acidental Billionaires Mezrich, Ben
All the Pretty Horses McCarthy, Comac
Graveyard Book Gaiman, Neil
Girl Who Played With Fire Larsson, Steig
Along Came a Spider Patterson, James
Lovely Bones Siebold, Alice
Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest Larsson, Steig
And Another Thing Colfer, Eoin

Anyway, it’s a great device and I recommend it to anyone, really anyone with no qualifiers.
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