Sunday, August 29, 2010

New Look

Some new colors and layouts to keep things fresh. Topics and content about the same.

Morty is resting comfortably in the drive while I work on an occasional project for him and we enjoy the fine summer weather we are having. The current project is extra mattress padding via two dozen swim noodles laced together. Lynne doubts that it will work, so support is welcome.

The next trip is taking shape and it will leave Morty home while we cruise from Boston to Quebec and back. Surely there will be more posting from that adventure and all that Morty will be missing.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Kindle Overcomes My Attention Deficit

There are more than enough reviews of the Kindle, both old and new. But there is one aspect that has not been covered yet: using the Text to Speech [TTS] for the attention-challenged among us. I became attracted to eReaders because they helped me read a lot more than I was previously just by virtue of their usefulness on exercise machines. I could read even regular books in that environment but the ebooks were much easier to handle in active mode. And, that was just using the kindle program on the iPod. This is how I discovered Benjamin Franklin, Mark Twain, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and many other authors that I was never able to finish before.

Then I got the Kindle 3 with TTS -- something that was lacking in the iPad implementations. While I have a couple of issues with how the TTS voice handles paragraph breaks [usually speeding up instead of pausing], I now find that I can sit and read without losing attention by having the voice on. Now, minor distractions that previously might have caused a stop in my reading are handled easily while the voice continues on and my attention returns. Voila, not falling asleep or putting the book down for some other triviality.

If you want to read more than you have been able to, this is something you must look into.

Incidently, since the Kindle can automatically post my highlights and comments to Facebook and Twitter, you can find a little more of me there now.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Kindle -- Hardware 3rd Edition

A new Kindle electronic book reader arrived yesterday, now in its third edition. It was eagerly awaited since its announcement a month ago. I've been using software versions on my iPod Touch, and PC, but was looking forward to fewer compromises and the text-to-speach (TTS) audio voice in the real thing, with a significant price reduction.

It is striking in how much the screen resembles ink on paper. The shape and weight have been reduced to the size of a paperback, but the storage increased to hold 3,500 books. The voice that provides the TTS audio output is labelled as experimental, but does a good job in all respects but one: instead of pausing between paragraphs, the voice speeds up completely misinterpreting most dialog. But it is still a great asset while reading on an aerobic machine at the Y: it keeps going, if you momentarily get distracted.

Another super neat feature is the ability to automatically post your highlights and notes to facebook and twitter. A great way to keep your friends informed about your daily encounters, without the complete triviality normal to such media.

Those who recommend waiting until the third iteration of electronic innovation, were completely right in this instance. This is the only way you will want to read books from now on. If you are the least bit unfamiliar with this wonderful tool, buy one from Amazon. You won't regret it.