Kindle 2

First, the results of my laptop hunt.  Thank you so much for all the suggestions — there are a lot more ultraportable options than I realized.  I narrowed it down to two wildly different possibilties:

  1. The Lenovo ThinkPad X200s.  I missed the 200s on my first survey — I didn’t realize Lenovo had one under 2.5 lbs.  It’s got perfect geek-oriented engineering (tough metal hinges, spill tray, incredibly rugged, Linux-friendly, etc).  It’s just a little bigger than I was going for — it’s pretty large for its weight.
  2. The Sony Vaio P.  I love the form factor — 9″ wide but only 4″ deep; you could slip it in a pocket.  And the 220 PPI screen is everything I could want.  It’s shiny and pretty and only weighs a pound and a half, and when I played with one I fell in love.  But it’s a Sony, which means shiny appearance but no openness — repairs suck, and Linux will only work haltingly.

In the end, I decided neither was worth the cost just yet while I could squeeze a little more life out of my old laptop.  A new battery, hard drive, and some antibiotics, and it could last another year.  But if I had to pick now, I’d go with the X200s.  The ability to toss it down a mountainside and have Ubuntu boot when it lands trumps gadgety sexiness.  But only barely.

Kindle 2:

On a contrary note, I have a Kindle 2.  I’ve been really happy with it so far, other than the PDF support being poorly documented (it claims to handle PDFs natively in some of the literature, but you can’t actually just plop them down on the drive — it requires passing them through Amazon or converting them yourself).  But it handles html, text, and some other formats fine when just dropped on it via USB — it’s a lot more open than the Kindle 1.

I’m surprised at the talk of the cost being too high.  For me, the comparison is to a laptop with a cellular broadband internet card — $1440 for a standard two-year contract.  The Kindle 2 doesn’t have a full web browser, but if you’re favoring text-heavy websites (news, blogs, mail, wikis), it’s perfectly sufficient.  Plus, it’s a nice screen and has many-day battery life.  All in all I think it’s a more-than-reasonable price for something that lets me read reddit on the street corner so as to better shout at sheeple about government conspiracies.

The xkcd sysadmin, davean, notoriously scornful of any new technology, took a look at the Kindle 2 after it arrived this afternoon.  He spent several minutes playing with it, discovered he could use it for email in a pinch, confirmed that an ssh terminal could be hacked together using the browser and javascript, and bought one for himself within the hour.

Bottom line, I think it’s a really neat device that fills a niche that nothing else really does.  And seeing the prices, I’ll probably even buy some ebooks and magazines.  But the web access is the real reason I got it.  And if the advertised free access to Wikipedia and other text-y websites is curtailed, (as the Terms and Conditions suggest could happen), the Kindle’s battery life means that I can camp out drunk on the Amazon lawn yelling at Jeff Bezos for quite a while.

162 thoughts on “Kindle 2

  1. I know no-one has posted on this in a few years,
    But I was just given a Kindle 2 as a hand-me-down, and I love it!
    On that “sending emails in a pinch”,
    I just figured out how to do gmail, Facebook caht, and Google Voice SMS.
    Use these links.
    mail.google.com/mail/x/
    m.Facebook.com/buddylist.php
    google.com/voice/m
    Reminds me of comic 548,
    About the kindle being the Hitchhiker’s Guide.

  2. The Amazon Kindle is a series of e-book readers designed and marketed by Amazon.com. Amazon Kindle devices enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media via wireless networking.The hardware platform, developed by Amazon.com subsidiary Lab126, began as a single device and now comprises a range of devices – some devices using an E Ink electronic paper display capable of rendering 16 levels of gray to simulate reading on paper and tablets that have a color LCD screen.

  3. to learn more:The Kindle Fire HDX is the third generation of Amazon’s Kindle Fire line of tablet computers. It was announced on September 25, 2013 and is available in two models, 7 inch and 8.9 inch. Both versions were available to pre-order in the United States on September 25; the 7 inch WiFi model was released on October 18, while the 8.9 inch WiFi model was released on November 7, 2013.

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