Page Numbers in Kindle


Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

This week I ordered the new Kindle, upgrading from the original Kindle that I bought a few years ago. My new Kindle arrived in the mail today. I’ve already enjoyed its improved features.

Amazon has recently created a new firmware version that includes several new features. The most welcome feature is the possibility of determining the page numbers in hard copy for the Kindle ebook version of a book you happen to be reading. This is critical to readers like me who write and lecture and need to be able to document references to the reading we site.

There are things to know about this new feature and its availability:

  1. Even my brand new Kindle came with version 3.0.2 of the firmware. This was superseded by 3.0.3. Why my new Kindle is loaded with the older firmware is unclear to me. But more important, my new Kindle should have the very latest firmware—3.1. Why doesn’t it?
  2. Amazon provides a page of instructions about how to upgrade your Kindle firmware to version 3.1. But I found today that the link for downloading the software is not working. So for the time being, I’m not able to upgrade to 3.1. (This may have something to do with the browser I’m using, which is Firefox. I’ll try this download with a different browser later.)
  3. Not every book purchased for Kindle makes use of the page numbers feature.
  4. When you use the page numbers feature with your Kindle, the way to be sure which physical copy it corresponds with is to go to the product detail page for that book at Amazon and scroll down to find a line that gives the “Page Numbers Source ISBN” under the “Product Details” section of the page.

For Amazon’s own information about the page numbers feature on the Kindle, go here and here.

 

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From the Kindle to the iPad?


various e-book readers. From right to left iPa...

Image via Wikipedia

I have a first-generation Kindle and have written about it here before. I bought it when I was about to travel overseas and wanted the convenience of carrying lots of interesting reading without packing any books.

Things have changed pretty dramatically since then. The $400 Kindle of that day has been superseded by the $139 basic Kindle of today. And now there are other models to choose from, featuring 3G and a choice of screen sizes. For details, click here.

Kindle stills rules the world of e-Book technology. But it’s met with vigorous competition. Its greatest competition is the Apple iPad. And the main reason for that is that the iPad is so much more than an e-Book reader.

So I’ve come to the point where I’m tempted to upgrade my Kindle, or else switch over to the iPad. Now’s a good time since Kindle has improved its device, lowered the price point, and garnered my support based on a happy experience. On the other hand, Apple is about to release its iPad 2, and there are rumors of a September release of an iPad 3. (I’ve learned to wait for 2nd-generation products from Apple.) One way or the other, I feel ready to retire my original Kindle—though there’s nothing wrong with it.

If I’ve settled the question of whether to upgrade, I’m not yet settled about which upgrade to go with. I truly like the Kindle and I know I’d like the new versions even better. But what about the iPad? I’m an Apple fan who uses a Powerbook Pro, an iMac, and an iPhone. Why not an iPad, then? It’s far more versatile than a Kindle, and is nearly as compact.

Here’s the best case I can make for sticking with the Kindle and simply upgrading to its latest model:

  1. It has a more attractive price point.
  2. For reading books and documents, the Kindle is still a superior experience. It uses electronic ink technology that is easy on the eyes under all reading conditions.
  3. The iPad is no use for outdoors. The bright natural light washes out the screen. Not so for the Kindle.
  4. The Kindle is very light-weight and compact.
  5. The Kindle battery will hold a charge for an impressive length of time. Not so for the iPad.

Here’s the case for an iPad instead:

  1. For a few more dollars than it costs for the 9-inch Kindle, you get the full versatility of the iPad, with all of its countless apps.
  2. The iPad is good for reading at night, since it’s backlit.
  3. E-books on the iPad can be marked more quickly and conveniently.

Here are the reasons why I lean toward getting both, a new Kindle and the iPad (when it’s been refreshed):

  1. For most reading, I would prefer the Kindle. I do a lot of reading, and I like the convenience of being able to read while on the go. For regular reading that doesn’t require extensive note-taking and highlighting, the kindle is my first choice.
  2. For reading that requires mark-ups, the iPad seems the obvious choice.
  3. While I don’t actually need all the features of an iPad, it would be an improvement over my iPhone for on-the-go email, internet look-ups, working on presentations, etc. I might be able to leave my laptop at home when I travel.
  4. I could justify the added cost of an iPad if Dianne would be interested in using it, too.

The outlay of cash would be greater, of course. So the advantages of a dual approach have to be weighed against the combined price of a new Kindle and an iPad.

But which iPad? If iPad 2 is about to come out in the next few weeks, but an iPad 3 is slated for release as early as September, should I wait it out?

Here are some reasons to jump into the iPad with version 2:

  1. There’s really no telling for sure whether an iPad 3 will come out so soon.
  2. There’s no telling what an iPad 3 will cost if and when it’s released. The iPad 2 is supposed to be priced about like the current iPad.
  3. iPad 2 features may be perfectly adequate for my purposes.
  4. Technology becomes obsolete so quickly that waiting for the iPad 3 probably wouldn’t mean that I would be using a device with a longer shelf life if I waited and got the 3.

Maybe you can help me with this decision. Have you decided between a Kindle and an iPad? How did you make up your mind? Are you happy with your decision? Do you have both? If so, do you use both?

Paperless Sounds Good and Is Almost Possible


Fujitsu ScanSnap S510

Fujitsu ScanSnap S510

For about a year now I’ve been using a remarkable tool for paperless research, writing, record storage and dog grooming (well, maybe not dog grooming). It’s the Fujitsu ScanSnap S510. And I like it for lots of reasons that may strike a chord with you.

  • It’s compact, with a footprint of 5.5″ x 11.5″ and a height of about 7″, until the feeder tray is opened (at which point it grows about 4 inches taller).
  • It plugs into the USB port on my laptop (or USB hub connected to my laptop), allowing all scans to slip easily into electronic nirvana.
  • It feeds standard-size documents and scans both sides on one pass. This is not a flatbed scanner. You load the document into it the same way you do with a FAX machine. A multi-page document can be loaded all at once and scanned as a single file.
  • The software that comes with the S510 allows me to save my scanned files as PDF documents.
  • It plays nicely with Apple.
  • It replaces my FAX machine because I can now scan any document, save it as a PDF (or other) file, and send it as an attachment by email. So it saves space in my office by performing multiple functions and replacing other single-function devices.

I’ve used the ScanSnap S510 to:

  • return documents with my signature;
  • retain copies of receipts and other documents for tax purposes;
  • save typed manuscripts and student papers that include detailed comments I’ve written in margins;
  • store photocopied material on my computer;
  • prepare for writing and research to do while traveling;
  • streamline paper files (and piles).

Signed Documents

Because my work involves payment for speaking engagements and author consulting, I often have to complete and sign documents that are then filed with the IRS by the individual or agency paying for the service. The forms can be sent to me for my signature, then signed, scanned and returned to the sender. The sender has what he needs for his records, and I have a copy in my electronic files.

Copies of all writing contracts can now be kept on my laptop. This is helpful when I need to refer to these documents to recall terms of publication years after a book or article has been published.

Tax Returns

Now I can scan all paperwork needed to complete my tax return each year: receipts, IRS forms, templates used by my tax accountant, even copies of all past returns.

My setup for 2009 begins with a folder on my computer labeled “2009 Taxes.” This folder is subdivided with folders for different kinds of deductible expenses. Individual receipts are scanned, labeled, and filed into these folders. When it’s time to prepare my return for 2009, I just pull everything from these virtual folders. (My tax accountant tells me that most docs that would be needed for an audit can be submitted to the IRS electronically. If they’re stored that way from the outset, it’s ready to go—just in case.)

Marked Manuscripts and Student Papers

I often read manuscripts for other writers and write comments in the margins. Sometimes this is at the request of a publisher. Other times it’s for the author. With the ScanSnap S510 feed scanner, I can keep copies of anything that might be useful to me later. I feel more comfortable writing detailed comments knowing that the ideas I share are permanently captured for future reference.

I find this also works well when marking papers for students. For smaller classes I have more time for more detailed evaluation. I can scan papers that I load up with comments. That way, I have a permanent record of the basis for any grade I assign, and whatever remarks I’ve made in the margins that might be useful in my teaching and other work. Sometimes I scan only select pages.

No More Photocopies

While I haven’t completely eliminated photocopies, I have streamlined my files with electronic versions of photocopied material using the scanner. This makes it easier to find the material when I need it, and have it close to hand rather than at the bottom of some pile or in a file cabinet. When scanning a document, I can assign key words to facilitate searches for that document on my computer. (This is important when scanning and filing handwritten documents.)

Research and Writing on the Road

I’ve found a number of ways to minimize the ordeal of traveling while keeping up with my research and writing. One is to carry fewer books. With my Kindle I can carry a whole library within the compass of a single slender and light-weight volume. My iPhone 3G is equipped to do internet research and gives me access to several specialized applications for the iPhone that help with productivity. With the ScanSnap 510 I’m able to scan papers and documents needed to carry on my research while on the road. Rather than pack a hard copy of some journal article I plan to study, I can now scan the article into my laptop. This takes no more than a few seconds.

From Piling to Filing

The sheer volume of papers I manage for speaking and writing projects can be overwhelming. Paper files are large and unwieldy. With this scanner I can quickly get stacks of paper off my desk (and floor) and into a codifed electronic form. I find that this step of scanning material I may want for future reference helps me winnow the chaff and store only what is truly worthwhile.

For effective winnowing, I often ask myself, “If I trash this item, and I need it later, will I be able to get my hands on it without actually having it take up space in my own files?” It’s amazing how often the answer is yes. (And I usually know the answer sooner than it would take me to utter the question out loud.) I can always create a note for abandoned items using utility software for this purpose. Or I can scan a handwritten note about items I’m tossing, and keep the note where I’ll find it later if needed. The note will lead me to the original material.

Clearing the Decks

One of the best uses of the S510 I’ve found is to scan all of my handwritten pages of “To Do” lists and miscellaneous—and yes, random—ideas. My habit of writing things down quickly leads to piles of handwritten notes. Some pages are dedicated to special topics or projects. Others are simply lists of things to do. And some are a hodge-podge of unrelated items that have fallen onto the page in a meandering stream of consciousness. Over time they pile up. And knowing where to file them has always been a conundrum. Not anymore. The least I can do is get them off my desk and into an electronic format, filed away in a folder of dated items of that sort. I may never return to them, but I know where they are. So this is now something I do periodically when the stack obstructs my vision.

Note: This hack works well in combination with writing, research, productivity, and database software I use: Things, Scrivener, MacJournal, and OmniOutliner. PDF documents can be dropped into files created with these applications. That goes for PDF documents produced using the ScanSnap S510.

Things 1 Icon

Scrivener

Scrivener

MacJournal

MacJournal

OmniOutliner

OmniOutliner

Share your ideas about how you streamline productivity, or leave a brief review of the tools I’ve mentioned in this post.

Kindle 2.0


You know I’m a big fan of the Amazon Kindle. I bought my Kindle nearly a year ago in preparation for a trip to Europe. It worked like a dream. And in those days, it was a dream. Now Amazon has released a new version, the Kindle 2.

Amazon owns the turf when it comes to portable reading devices. Downloads are easy. Storage space is incredible. The interface and hardware are simple to use. And Amazon is publishing Kindle versions of everything under the sun . . . for a much lower price than hard copy. They’ve even got my book Faith, Film, and Philosophy in a Kindle version.

With the hoopla over the Kindle 2, I’ve been getting questions about my experience and whether I still recommend the device. Yes. Unequivocally, yes. My Kindle goes where I go—or, rather, I go wherever my Kindle goes. I wouldn’t be without it. So, will I now be buying the Kindle 2?

I would be if I didn’t already have a Kindle. K2 has longer battery life, a more streamlined profile, and some additional storage space. I guess it works a little faster, too. There weren’t a lot of pre-Kindle 2 kinks to work out, so the Kindle 2 isn’t a major upgrade for previous users. The “read-to-me” feature is new, but I wouldn’t pay extra for it. Turns out, though, you don’t have to. Some may have hoped that Kindle 2 would cost less than Kindle 1. Who wouldn’t? But it could hardly be expected. Amazon has sold tons of these devices. The best evidence for that is the increase in Kindle versions of books in their massive catalog. And when you calculate how much books cost, the savings of Kindle versions, and the exotic utility of the Kindle 2, the price should be easy enough to swallow.

At the same price as the original device, Kindle 2 is still a bargain. I mean that. I carry around dozens of books, many of them reference works, and have my portable library on hand for every occasion.

My students know about my Kindle zeal, so they might be thinking they could buy a Kindle and use it in class. They’d probably be right. First, they could be reading anything, including my own publications, and I would never know it. Second, in one year, Amazon has made an amazing number of philosophy texts available in Kindle versions. And if Amazon is publishing that much stuff in technical philosophy, you can be sure they’ve got what most of the real people in the world want in a good read!

If you don’t know much about the Kindle, then start here for more information.

Later I’ll be posting more suggestions about the Kindle. Meanwhile, you may want to search my blog for other articles with tips about using the Kindle.

If you’re a Kindle user, let me know in the comments box for this post. What do you like most about having a Kindle? If you don’t have a Kindle, try to explain that to me in the comments box!

Faith, Film and Philosophy Book Now on Kindle


ffp-kindle-editionToday, Amazon announced the release of it’s Kindle 2. I’m pleased to announce that my book Faith, Film and Philosophy (co-edited with Jim Spiegel) is now available through Amazon in a Kindle version. Kindle users can now wirelessly download a complete copy here for $16.47, a 45% discount from the retail price of the paper edition.

For the paperback edition of Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen, click here. At $19.77, that’s still a good savings of 34% off retail.

The book is in its second printing, and rights have been purchased for a Spanish language edition.

Kindle 2 Released Today


Kindle. It’s the ebook reader I’ve recommended here before. I’ve owned mine since May 2008, when I used it for a trip to Europe and wanted to pack lightly. It was the perfect solution to a problem I’ve always had as an avid reader: how to manage the number and variety of books I like to have with me for spare reading moments. With the Kindle I discovered I could keep kindle-2-capturea whole library with me, and download current issues of major magazines and newspapers on the road. No connection to a computer is required to download ebooks, magazines, and newspapers. The Kindle has a built-in wireless that enables orders and downloads through Amazon simply and immediately. I can stand in line at my bank in southern California and download The Boston Blobe and The New York Times for the day and have the cover stories digested before I see the teller. And nobody will know I’m reading a newspaper because it fits in my hands like a book.

Amazon isn’t saying how many Kindles they’ve sold. But I imagine it’s quite a lot. Why? Because today they announced the Kindle 2, scheduled for release soon enough to ship by February 24.

Amazon.com, Inc. today introduced Amazon Kindle 2, the new reading device that offers Kindle’s revolutionary wireless delivery of content in a new slim design with longer battery life, faster page turns, over seven times more storage, sharper images, and a new read-to-me feature. Kindle 2 is purpose-built for reading with a high-resolution 6-inch electronic paper display that looks and reads like real paper, which lets users read for hours without the eyestrain caused by reading on a backlit display. More than 230,000 books are now available in the Kindle Store, including 103 of 110 current New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases, which are typically $9.99. Top U.S. and international magazines and newspapers plus more than 1,200 different blogs are also available. Kindle 2 is available for pre-order starting today for $359 at and will ship February 24.

The new Kindle is an improvement over the first model. Do I regret that I didn’t wait for this new generation Kindle? Not at all. Will I buy the Kindle 2 and sell my current Kindle on eBay? Maybe so.

Here are other posts I’ve made to this blog about the Kindle:

kindle-2

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #4


For all of you Kindle users who like to keep up with favorite blog feeds, the Kindle will help you do that through its Whispernet technology. The Kindle offers several advantages over cell phones and Blackberrys.

  • The Kindle screen is much more reader friendly, with its window size, ink technology, and scrolling features.
  • All feeds that you download remain on your Kindle as long as you like, and there’s plenty of room (especially with the card slot that allows unlimited storage in small format).
  • Bookmarking, highlighting, and note-taking are conveniently available.

So how do you use your Kindle to access your favorite blogs? It all starts with a Google Reader account—which you should have anyway. You can access your Google Reader blog feeds directly through your Kindle.

For clear, step-by-step guidelines, check out the post at The Puget News, titled “Using Google Reader on the Amazon Kindle.”

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Special thanks to David, a regular reader and commentator at this blog, for letting me know about the Puget News post.

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New to Kindle? Check it out here.

Related Posts:

Kindle Your Reading Habits

How to Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #1

How To Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #2

How To Get the Most Out of Your Kindle—Tip #3

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