Monday, April 29, 2013

Kindle News: Large Kindle for Android Update - new features, customer reactions. Tom Semple adds what he's found.


New update for the free Kindle for Android app - v4.0.1.3

The Amazon Kindle for Android updates:
· New design and user interface: Apparently many customers have told Amazon that they really like the User Interface (UI) of the Kindle Fire, as find it easy to access and navigate the content on the tablet.

  Amazon has extended that design to Kindle for Android by
  1. optimizing the Kindle Store for tablets
  2. improving the library interface
  3. redesigning the home screen, which includes the Carousel option for recent items), and
  4. simplifying navigation through the app.

· Easy access to samples: To help customers new to Kindle or Kindle apps get started, Amazon is making samples of many of the best sellers very easy to find; the samples will be on the home screen of their Kindle app.

More info is at the Kindle for Android details page.

From Google Play store's What's New page
What's in this version:
4.0.1.3
• Redesigned library experience.
• Carousel displays recent items on the Kindle app home screen.
• Navigation panel organizes content for quick access to your Books, Documents, and Newsstand periodicals.
• Browse all your items in the Cloud or just the content downloaded on your Android device.
• Explore and download popular samples in the Kindle Store.
• Fixed a crash some customers reported.

Contributor Tom Semple weighed in early
This guy is the Kindle world's intrepid explorer and is everywhere.
Tom has given permission to quote what he's found so far (I'm just late getting to it, and I saw reports that some are finding that the Table of Contents can be balky under the new update and that customer service has said they are aware of that and are working on it).

  Here's Tom: (Bracketed entries are mine.)
' Kindle for Android finally has a version of the 'Cloud/Device' pattern found on Kindles and Kindle apps, with Recent added to Sort options.  Very welcome.  [Yay!]

  As usual, there's also an experiment: an item called 'Popular Samples' brings up a list of 25 samples that we are to believe are popular (and hopefully not some manipulation on the part of Amazon to direct us to certain books).
    [They say they're from the already "best sellers.]

The Kindle Store experience has been greatly improved as well.  There's also a Carousel view, which thankfully one does not need to use. [ ]  Now, if only they'd add TTS [Text-to-Speech], I would use the app a little more (which I try to do anyway on the assumption that Amazon updates the apps that are used the most).

By my count there are at least 3 features unique to Kindle for Android:
- Voice search
- Send To Kindle (shows up as a Sharing option with a number of other Android apps)
- Popular Samples'

Thanks, Tom.  I use Google Voice search a lot on my Samsung S2 phone and on my 10" Galaxy tablet which I hardly use anymore since I am spoiled by the HD display of the KFires.

  Off topic
  Although we're talking about Kindle for Android and NOT Kindle Fire apps, I just tested my Google Voice app on my Kindle Fire anyway (I downloaded the app from 1mobile.com long ago) and it works really well.  This is just my usual, confusing side note.

  I use Dolphin browser (for its Flash support) on the KFire and when I brought up google search, I touched the side "||" mark to get the Menu on the side and tapped the Star to get Favorites while still using Dolphin browser  Then I tapped 'Voice' and once I did that, the mic icon showed and asked me to say what I wanted and I said, "a kindle world" and it gave me a short list of what I might have said to the mic.  I tapped the correct item and then Dolphin browser took over, and the Google links to the blog showed up.  Can we say 'insular' ? But Google Voice is so smooth -- both on pure Android devices (the topic of this blog article) and even on the Kindle Fire.

BACK to the topic of Kindle for Android devices
The user reviews for the Kindle for Android app at Google play store are an interesting read.  Excerpts from the first few on the top (the most recent):
. Wow, great app to read book - Also, the dictionary is very good as some people mentioned. Great work, Amazon!

. BETTER NOW...The app's interface is much cleaner and modern now.
[He mentions it has List View and that you don't have to use the Carousel.  You can just open the slider on the left, tap books and at the top right, toggle list view or grid view.]
. Best of the DRM readers [Loves the new Recent reads and the Carousel, as well as "the whole new layout. Good job!"]
That was just the first three showing right now, and you have to click on 'more' to read the rest.
  The 2nd page notes some things people want it to do (like TTS].

  Also, it's evident that the phone users are less ecstatic about how the layout fits on the smaller screens -- some of it is optimized for tablets.  Table of Contents links are too close to the edge on some devices, so you might turn back a page instead of going to the chapter selected.  Amazon is working on fixes for any glitches with the table of contents.

  Things to watch for:
  Reading progress was reset in a few cases.
  Some don't realize the Carousel is an option and that you can choose between List and Grid views.

  A mix of really happy and really unhappy reactions :-) depending on the devices.

  AND, at the Amazon app store, here are the reviews sorted by most recent date so that you can see what people are finding - positive and negative - about the update.

  5-star ratings are most evident, but with a few who experienced problems.  You should view these to see what experiences are for the pure-Android device(s) you own.  Again, customer support says they ARE working on an update for the glitches that occur in the Table of Contents for some.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Kindle News: Paperwhite at $99 thru' April 30 at 11:59pm (Little doubt, U.S. only)


Amazon has a rather hidden promo for $20 off Special-Offer models of the Kindle Paperwhite through 11:59 PM (PST) on Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The promo page was mentioned by TechnoBuffalo, but the promo code didn't work for me.  They also didn't reply to my question of where the rather hidden actual promo page could be found.  Commenters, though, let us know where we can find the brief promo page.

  HOWEVER, the promo code of " KINDLEPW " still might not work for you, as it was initially sent some via email and probably targeted certain customers.

 What some people have done, if they have a problem, is to just contact Kindle Help (as described below) and choose to have them chat with you.  The Chat feature entails typing with them.

  LessthanZach, who happens to be a Sales Manager for AT&T, advises the following, which worked for him:
' Ok guys. Here's the wrap.  The offer is only available for the Special Offers edition[s] of the Kindle.  As of right now, the code doesn't seem to work.  Simply go to "help" then "contact us" and click the option to chat about "payments or promotional codes".  I chatted with a very helpful representative who had me place the order without the code and then he manually applied the discount.  It only took about 5 minutes to get it taken care of.  It is a bit of a shame you have to live with the ads, though.
@David Nguyen I appreciate your suggestion of chatting with them and I can confirm it indeed works just fine. '

This would work with the Special-Offer edition only, remember, and the promo doesn't mention at all the 3G model BUT it also does say "Add any Kindle Paperwhite device to your shopping cart..." so the links to both are WiFi only or WiFi+3G models with Special Offers.  Again, they don't specifically show the 3G model as eligible for the discount, but they did say "any Kindle Paperwhite device."

  My guess is that it's limited to US customers (as are most brief Kindle device promos) but they don't say.

  Reminder of a few other rules (full rules are at the promo page)
. Promotion applies only to new Kindle Paperwhite devices sold and shipped by Amazon Digital Services. It does not apply to the same products sold by other sellers or to Certified Refurbished Kindle products.
. If you do not purchase Kindle Paperwhite prior to April 30, 2013 11:59 PM (PST), the promotion will not apply.
. Each promotion code can be used only once
. The promotion code is not transferrable and may not be resold.
. Limit one promotion code per customer.
. Does not apply to orders placed with 1-Click.
. Offer good while supplies last.

An answer to what happened here found after I wrote the above.
At the Amazon Kindle Forums, flipoid writes the following:
  "I called Amazon Kindle CS and was told by the CS rep that the code was sent out in emails to non-Kindle owners who purchase lots of print books from Amazon.  He told me that if you didn't receive an email, you can't use the code.  So it seems that they're trying to get non-ebook purchasers/readers to get on the digital train. (-: "

And my answer to that is that apparently Amazon is allowing people who call them about this, to buy it, because the promo in no way holds language limiting this offer to people who don't already own a Kindle, and there are many who have older Kindles and DO want a Paperwhite, and it seems only fair that they could get the benefit of the promo if they know about it (which is what has been happening).

The ones that were allowed to go through with customer service chat help were bought many hours after the forum member's phone call got a negative for current Kindle owners.

  And, the promo code entry validation is no doubt programmed to work only for those who don't already own a Kindle device, which is why the automated discount would work for some people but not for others.

  Normally, if they want only a subsection of customers to be eligible, they'll add the language "For new Kindle [device] customers only" but they didn't.

So, this will be your call. Customer reps, in chat mode, have been asking customers to go ahead and buy one and they will issue a refund after the purchase process.  Those were allowed to be purchased with discount half a day or more after the morning explanation to a Kindle owner by phone.

Please let me know if any customer rep does not allow this to be done after you've let them know that manual purchases with customer service rep help on the promo have been going through.  It's a dilemma of sorts for two more days :-)



  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Kindle Fire and Kindle Paperwhite News: Paperwhite Software Update v5.3.5 enhancements. Word Games Pack for Kindle Fire tablets



7 Dragons Inc. releases an update to Word Games Pack, Free, for Kindle Tablet

The 7 Dragons group has been one of my favorite app makers since the early Kindle days.  Now they've released Word Games Pack for Kindle Fire owners - the word-game app updated April 22 (v2.8) to have 5 word games rather than 1 and from a paid app to a free one with 8-10 categories, with options to unlock the other categories via In App Purchases (or one can buy the also updated Paid Version for $1).

As mentioned, the free app is a combination of 5 word games -- Word Search, Kriss Cross, Quote Falls, Hangman, and Speed Words.

The app has received high marks by customers for the first, paid version, originally only for 1st Gen Kindle Fire but extended now to all Kindle tablets, and at Barnes & Noble, where the paid app has an average rating of 4.5 stars from a total of 356 reviews as of today, with 262 of them 5 stars and 77 4 stars.  That's unusually favorable.



Kindle Paperwhite Software Upgrade to v5.3.5

The Amazon Kindle Forum had a notice I missed about a software update with feature enhancements for the Kindle Paperwhite (US)   (UK Paperwhite: here; Global Paperwhite: here.) [Bracketed notes are mine.]

Amazon Kindle Forum Notice and thread
"Initial post: Apr 24, 2013 2:59:11 PM PDT
Brian S., Amazon Official, says:
' We have a new, free software update available for Kindle Paperwhite which can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/kindlesoftwareupdates/paperwhite [U.S.]

    [Here's the UK-only software update page]

The software update will be delivered wirelessly and includes feature enhancements and general improvements for your Kindle Paperwhite.  This update automatically downloads and installs for Kindle Paperwhite customers; however, you can also manually download the software and update your device via USB cable.

The software update includes the following enhancements:

* View full definition when looking up a word -
When you look up a word in the dictionary, you can now view the full definition in the definition window.

* Search enhancements -
You can easily search for a highlighted word or phrase in your book, your items, or in the Kindle Store.  Highlight the word or phrase, select More, and then select Search.

If you have any questions or need help with this update, please post below. '

As ever, note that keeping your Kindle connected to a Wi-Fi network will drain your battery faster.  So, once you've got the update "over the air," put the Paperwhite back to "Airplane Mode ON" - which turns Wireless Off.  They still have not put the "Wireless Off" and "On" back on the front menu as they recently did for the Kindle Touch, removing the 'airplane' icon, which many of us wish they would do, as it is very inconvenient to have it on a secondary menu and many do not even know about the wireless-off feature, causing more battery drain and confusion over that.  Amazon: please do this in the next update.

Only if you'd rather not wait - DOWNLOADING and transferring the Update via USB
US:  Go to the Kindle Paperwhite Software Update v5.3.5 download section to get the instructions for the download and transfer to your Kindle via USB:
UK:  Go to the same for the UK-only page

  - Those v5.3.5 enhancements
The ability to get a full definition right away has LONG been wanted by me, at least, and with the earlier Kindle eReaders I loved the ability to search my entire Kindle, including all text-based newspapers and magazines (and personal docs) on the device, for any word.  It's terrific to search for a news event and quickly see all device "items" that include the word(s), within context of the surrounding words, and with a hyperlink to each 'location' holding the word(s).

  This is one of the reasons the Kindle is so popular over other eReaders that don't have features like this as well as the many sync'd annotation features (including personal, password-protected webpage backup of those, which are printable and editable as well as shareable if wanted.



  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Kindle News: Kindle TV? Likely. Apple + Android (Kindle too) market share changes, smartphones and tablets.

Kindle TV ?

The news on my TV this Tuesday morning brought speculation about Amazon's apparently coming Kindle TV (that's Bloomberg News's name, not Amazons), to go up against Apple TV, and Roku 3 streaming TV boxes this year.

  And iTechPost's Jordan Mammo, whose Kindle Fire combo-graphic is used here, points us to the Bloomberg story by Brad Stone, about Amazon's "plans to release a television set-top box that would stream video over the internet into customer's homes," according to people "with knowledge of the matter."  This hasn't been confirmed by Amazon and it's not their style to do that ahead of time.

  It brought to mind that (though not the same thing) I can stream video from my Kindle Fire HDs, including Amazon Instant Prime and any webpages I vist now, by just hooking up the HDMI cable to an HDTV.
 But this kind of thing is more easily done via a box like an Apple TV or a Roku 3.
 Mammo also mentions rumors of an Xbox Mini for streaming of video content.

  The Kindle TV would likely prioritize Amazon's own services and allow it to highlight more of its own content although such a device would not be of general interest unless it streamed almost everything the other boxes offer.  People would expect the usual competitive pricing.

  Stone's source article says that the device is due later this year and is being developed by Amazon's Lab 126, which is not new to the technology.

  Stone adds that Amazon "has climbed 7.2 percent this year through yesterday, compared with a 24 percent decline for Apple" (subject of next topic here).

  Amazon has been very aggressive in the streaming television area, as shown in the TV pilots they're producing and offering for free viewing with customer feedback requested, and the payments "to secure exclusive streaming rights to hit shows" like "Downton Abbey."

  Wired's Roberto Baldwin would like a couple of extras:
1. Place a cable-card slot in the Kindle TV, "Amazon could market the device as an all-in-one media center"
2. Add a cloud-based DVR




Apple's sudden perception problem


Besides the news that its stock gave back 40% of its gains over the last 10 years and the several stories a few days ago that the iPhone was losing marketshare rather heavily to Samsung, Forbes's story by contributor Todd Hixon says "iPhone lost the smart phone market share war two years ago, and Android is now well in the lead.

See also:
  . Washington Post on this.
  . The more colorful Daily Mail Online, UK

  Other stories show market share in tablets decreasing too, but Apple is still far in the lead when it comes to tablets, and while they are losing market share in that area too, their sales of these have gone up.

  Added problem if sources for the situation are correct:
  TGDaily reports that "According to Chinese media, Apple returned as many as five million iPhones to Foxconn due to various technical problems" and that "the total number of returned phones may be as high as eight million."

  I see stories that Samsung is having problems with production because the demand is so high.

  Apple's problems are relevant here for a few reasons.  Amazon's Kindle ecosystem is one reason for a decrease in the tablets area.  Although Amazon's market share of tablets is still very small, it's growing.  They're also getting into the smartphone area, and you know that they'll keep pricing low on that and probably make deals for competitive first-year data plans.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Kindle News: Amazon vs eBay on the Internet State Sales Tax Bill. Amazon for Android Updated.

Amazon vs eBay on the online sales tax bill

Politico's Anna Palmer and Laurence French say that Amazon "flipped" on the sales tax fight and "now says it's OK to levy sales tax on Web companies" while "eBay still says, no way..."

But that's a very common, rather-strong misunderstanding of Amazon's stance on this.  The new bill is something Amazon has long supported -- a standardized, national bill, as opposed to arbitrary individual state laws based on feeling that the Supreme Court ruling is 'outdated.'

  Clarification added: "Standardized" in this case only in that it must be 'simplified' and guidance given to companies... but the law would be a national one and not one with different stipulations by the individual States except for the percentage of purchase etc. involved.

  I wrote about this on July 2, 2012, almost a year ago, giving a very brief history of the premises behind all this (the states' and Amazon's).  The national bill is the one clearly-legal way for states to get beyond the Supreme Court ruling in 1992 (Quill Corp. v. North Dakota).

  There are some serious considerations involved:
' The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association said today they fear it could open the door to a state-level financial transaction tax because states have the authority to select which goods to tax.

“We believe the impact of this legislation on trade in services has not been adequately explored by Congress,” said Ken Bentsen, acting president and chief executive officer of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, in a statement. “The bill could lead to unexpected costs being passed on to consumers of financial services, including sales taxes on services or state-level stock transaction tax.”

The Financial Services Roundtable said Monday it is also concerned about the bill creating a de facto financial transaction tax. '

In the meantime Amazon is allied with the Retail Industry Leaders Association "to push the issue."  The bills is referred to as the "Marketplace Fairness Act."

Here's the full 3-page article at Politico.

The Washington Post's Max Ehrenfreund, in an editorial-style column, points out that "The bill does include an exemption for businesses with less than $1 million in interstate revenue to make it easier for smaller companies to comply."

  He also is a rare one who mentions that "The current system is the result of a decades-old Supreme Court decision that put state taxing authority in doubt, to which Congress never properly responded" and that Congress is finally trying to fix the law.

  He also clarifies that"the law requires states to simplify their tax codes before beginning to collect — and even to assist retailers": and explains that "the Senate’s proposal would merely allow states to apply existing policy universally" rather than create any new taxes to be collected.  They should make that very clear in the bill.

  Personally, I'd prefer not to pay taxes, but I want my local companies to survive too and I'd rather the companies collect existing taxes at purchase than make me log, add, and do it at tax time.


There's a different issue in the UK where Amazon, Google and Starbucks, use tax loopholes to not pay UK taxes -- in Amazon's case by having "a single European headquarters in Luxembourg with hundreds of employees."  If there are loopholes that should be closed, close them.  Stockholders will always strongly prefer that their companies use whatever tax loopholes exist, and companies (along with individual taxpayers) tend to do that.


Amazon's tablet-optimized Mobile App for Android has been updated and is available for China, Japan, and Canada
This applies to NON-Kindle Fire tablets which definitely have the Amazon Mobile (shopping) app built-in.  But they've updated the app to make it available in China, Japan, and Canada, and "have ability to subscribe and save subscriptions to the Your Account page, along with fixing some issues with Bluetooth keyboard input on certain tablets."




Current Kindle Models, worldwide for reference, plus free-ebook search links.

  NOTES on newer Kindles.
US:
Updated Kindle Fire 2 Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $269/$299
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $399/$499
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299 Discontinued
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - ~£89 Refurb'd
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
£109
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
£169
Kindle Fire 2, UK
 £129
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
£159/199
Canada - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $199
*OTHER International*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Paperwhite WiFi $139, 3G/Wifi $199

France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
Brazil - Amazon Brazil
China - Amazon China
Japan - Amazon Japan


Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kindle News: Amazon Studios' TV pilots free viewing + ratings get big audience this wkend. Xbox smartglass app. NYT on Amazon Singles. Cox TV app. Android apps going Global.

A few newer stories before I get to the backlog

Amazon Studios' new TV pilots (Amazon Originals) pulls in big audience on Amazon Instant Video.

These TV pilots - 8 comedy and 6 for "kids" - "comprised 8 of the 10 most streamed episodes on Amazon Instant Video over the weekend" and thousands of customer reviews have been posted since the launch just 3 days ago, "with more than 80% of reviews at 4 and 5 star ratings," Roy Price, Director of Amazon Studios said.

One draw is the participatory aspect - the customer viewing these "call the shots" as "your opinion matters" when it comes to which will make the cut for full series treatment.

Amazon of the big, long arms, into everything these days, is producing TV pilots (free to watch and review for another month or so) that are getting these high ratings against other fare that is more or less free for many of its most active customers.  Using established actors, the pilots are also receiving quite a few well-written rave reviews, a sampling given in one of Amazon's more interesting press releases.

  DigitalTVEurope reports that "The final, expanded slate of 14 pilots are available now to watch for free on the Amazon site in the US and free the Amazon-owned video-on-demand service LoveFilm in the UK."  One of these is "a Sony Pictures Television adaptation of Hollywood comedy movie Zombieland and Betas, about a group of tech-savvy millennial, which comes from Michael Lehmann (Dexter) and Michael London (Sideways). Both were added to the slate in March."

  They add that Amazon is "now developing scripts for a second round of pilots, which will also include dramas for the first time" as well as more comedies.

  While Amazon is most-discussed these days as a bookseller and tablet maker, going against large publishing houses and high-margin hardware companies, and is a general low-cost retailer for just about everything imaginable, it's showing unexpected and quite high creative energy.
  Some of this has been seen in the more or less unexamined plethora of features plus compatability and syncing services for its ereaders and tablets, which most mainstream gadget-reviews don't explore.


Xbox SmartGlass for Android, released today ($0.00) promises to turn your Kindle Fire 2nd Gen and Kindle Fire HD into a controller for the Xbox 360.   Engadget's Joseph Volpe writes that this app has been configured to scale natively on the three newer Kindle Fire models (though not on the original Kindle Fire), allowing users to navigate their Xbox 360 remotely, "push and pull streaming content, as well as access achievements, messaging and Xbox Music."

  Many customer reviewers are giving it 1-star because it doesn't work on the original Kindle Fire (which it does say on the 'purchase' listbox on the product page), but Microsoft developed the app for Android OS v4 and the original Kindle Fire is on v2.x.  The 2nd generation standard Kindle Fire works with it, however.

  One commenter at the app page cautions that it doesn't connect to HBO Go's second screen of content for Game of Thrones, so the map you can see while you drive, on iPad or Windows tablets, is not on Android devices, he says.

  XBox'rs who do have 2nd Generation Kindle Fires are very high on the app.


Amazon Singles store, its Editor and the reasons for its success
The NY Times's Leslie Kaufmann has an interesting story on the Amazon Singles service (novella-length journalism and fiction), its development, and its editor David Blum.

 Some points made:
  . Blum cherry-picks pieces from 1000 unsolicited manuscripts each month.
  . Authors can share in the profits instead of getting a flat fee. “The idea that writers would participate in the publishing model is just very bold,” he said.  
  . It's profitable, with almost 5 million copies sold since opening January 2011.
  . "Amazon has become the bĂȘte noire of the industry, using its market share to keep the prices of books lower than publishers and authors would like."  Brick-and-mortar bookstores have refused to carry these works, but the "literary terrain" for Singles is not crowded, and with magazines folding or shrinking because of financial pressures, long-form storytelling has few places to flourish" and Amazon, along with a few others, is filling that void .

  There's a lot more there about the resistance to the service, more details on how it works for authors, the concerns of publishers.  That includes an amusing description, by a formerly undiscovered author he's nurturing, of the challenges in working with Blum.


Those of you on Cox Communications can now use the Cox TV Connect app on the Kindle Fire
This is true for Google's Nexus® and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 and Note tablets as well.
  "With access to over 90 national cable channels, "the application creates a 'second screen' experience for customers to watch live television programming in their home on their iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch device."


Amazon is finally expanding global app distribution to~200 countries.
Here's just a bit from their full description of their long-awaited movement in this direction.
' ...developers can now submit their apps for distribution in nearly 200 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, India, South Africa, South Korea, and even Papua New Guinea and Vatican City.  These apps will be made available in the coming months when the Amazon Appstore for Android launches internationally for consumers.

Registered developers who want international distribution will have their apps automatically made available for download, unless they designate otherwise. This international expansion is the latest in a series of Amazon Appstore for Android launches, which have included the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Japan. '
There's a lot more information for developers there.




Current Kindle Models, worldwide, for reference, plus free-ebook search links.

  NOTES on newer Kindles.
US:
Updated Kindle Fire 2 Basic  7" tablet - $159
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB - $199/$249
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16/32GB - $269/$299
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 4G 32/64GB - $399/$499
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $179/$199
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free slow web
Kindle DX - $379 $299 Discontinued
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £69
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - ~£89 Refurb'd
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi
£109
Kindle Paperwhite 3G, UK
£169
Kindle Fire 2, UK
 £129
Kindle Fire HD 7" 16/32GB, UK
£159/199
Canada - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $89
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi - $139
Kindle Paperwhite, WiFi+3G - $199
*OTHER International*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Paperwhite WiFi $139, 3G/Wifi $199

France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
Brazil - Amazon Brazil
China - Amazon China
Japan - Amazon Japan


Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Kindle Tip: Today only - 40 Mysteries & Thrillers, Each $1.99 or less.

Back from vacation time with a quick tip on today's Kindle Daily & Gold Box Deal of the Day

This is just an alert on an Amazon Gold Box Kindle book offer for Sunday, April 21 only.

They're offering 40 Kindle mysteries and thrillers today for $1.99 or less, each.

Will catch up with news to blog late tonight, as I did not carry a laptop or tablet on this particular vacation time, a first since March 2009 since starting the blog.

Thanks for your patience.

I did see that Amazon's Android App Store is definitely expanding in a big way, finally, globally, and they're asking developers to submit apps.  This fits with rumors of their plans for a smartphone in addition to the eReader and tablet lines and the fact that they just acquired "Siri-like" app Evi for $26 million.

There's even a rumor that Amazon may open its first retail store, in London.   More later.



  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kindle Fire News: Kindle Fire HD (7 and 8.9 inch) + Kindle Fire (2nd Gen) get software fixes in updates 7.3.1, 8.3.1, and 10.3.1


Amazon's product pages are showing software update for the Kindle Fire HD 7", 8.9" and Kindle Fire 2nd generation models

There was no notice of this, but at about 5pm Wednesday, I just noticed, there were notes in the Kindle forum that a couple of Kindle Fire owners saw updates happen on theirs.

  My Kindle Fire HD tablet hasn't received the update, so I checked the product pages.  However, there have been reports of glitches on the three software updates x.3.0 made to the three models on March 30.

  The sofware update pages that the changes include: "bug fixes and performance enhancements."

As usual, am adding UK software pages to the info here, though their pages haven't been updated.  The link will go to whichever is the current software version for that model.

Here are the software update pages for each model:
Kindle Fire HD 8.9":
  [v8.3.1 here]   [Probably soon: UK software page].

Kindle Fire HD 7":
  [v7.3.1 here].   [Probably soon: UK software page].

Kindle Fire 2nd Generation:
  [v10.3.1 here].   [Probably soon: UK software page].

If you need assistance with one of these updates, please visit the Kindle Help Forums. '

IF Choosing to Manually Download the Latest Version

(instead of waiting for it to arrive via WiFi)
This update automatically downloads and installs for most Kindle Fire customers; however, you can initiate the software update from your Kindle or manually download the software update via USB (some use the excellent WiFi File Explorer PRO app rather than the USB cable hookup).

Again -- before you begin, confirm your current software version:
  1. KF: Tap the top of the device -- KFHD: Swipe down from the top of the screen.
      Then tap More.
  2. Tap Device, and then tap About.
The instructions for manually downloading -- if needed -- the update via USB are at the software update pages mentioned above.  Most will find it more convenient to have the update arrive via the automated download.

NOTE that when it does arrive, your Kindle Fire will reboot and sometimes it does that twice, so don't be alarmed when it happens while it's idle and you're nearby.


EARLIER posts on Kindle Fire HD

  . Follow-up info on v7.3.0, v8.3.0, and v10.3.0 updates (Apr 9)
  . Software Updates for v7.3.0, v8.3.0, and v10.3.0 updates (March 30, 2013)
  . Getting non-Amazon apps on Kindle Fires (non-HD Kindle Fires have storage space limitations)
  . More comparisons on iPad mini and Kindle Fire HD
  . Basic Features Comparison Table for iPad mini, Google Nexus 7", Kindle Fire HD 7"
  . Comparison reviews of the Kindle Fire HD 7" and Google Nexus 7" tablets
  . Step-by-step guide for installing a working Adobe Flash player when needed.
  . Google Maps, Street View and other apps on my Kindle Fire, via enabling one device setting
  . Downloading and playing YouTube videos on Kindle Fire HD
  . Using the camera and Video, Panorama mode, Time Lapses
  . App for WiFi file transfers w/o cable.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Kindle News: Amazon launches "50+ Active & Healthy Living" store, w/ 22,000~ Kindle books. Comparison: Movies on Kindle Fire and iPad



Amazon launches new 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store

  Here's Amazon's new 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store itself, which features "hundreds of thousands of items" in one place.

  And of course, there's a Kindle Book area for topics of particular interest to this group.  This link goes to the list of books sorted by Low to High pricing.  Here's one for the listing sorted by New and Popular.

Featured are "nutrition, wellness, exercise and fitness, medical, personal care, beauty, entertainment items and more."  There's also a Resource Center with tips on healthy eating (might be good for younger folks as well), caregiving and other topics.

 

A particularly popular item with people I know (I'm not active enough to have one) is the Fitbit Activity Plus Sleep Tracker, which also wakes you, but not your partner, with a silent alarm.

Correcting bad information seen in a comparison report between Kindle Fire HD and iPad just now
It's frustrating to see this happen so much.  At TV Predictions, the TV Answer Man answers questions.  Today's is "Which is Better for Movies? Kindle Fire HD or iPAD."
  You can read it for yourself at the link, but here are my corrections to what he said and additions to another commenter who gave reasons he doesn't himself prefer iPad for movies.

  There are probably some details here that many don't know, so I'm hoping this will help to have more correct info somewhere.
' Did you realize you were comparing display resolution of the 7" Kindle Fire to the 10" iPad instead of using the 8.9" Kindle Fire's higher resolution for that comparison?

1. The 8.9" resolution is not 1280 x 800 pixels; it's 1920 x 1200, which is quite a difference.

Even on the 7" model, the lower 1280x800 on a 7-inch device looks very good on the much smaller device and is much higher actual resolution than the comparably-sized iPad mini (7.9") , the iPad mini being only 1024 x 768 pixels and almost 8" large (and of course more expensive).

The 8.9" wider screen on the Kindle Fire, with that 1920 x 1200 pixels (that's Retina standards on a 9") also fits the new wide-screen movies much better, leading to less letterboxing (black bars above and below, for the very popular wide-screen movies today) so the image winds up being almost as large.

  Using the Dolphin web browser and an ice-cream Android copy of Adobe Flash Player, I can easily see full episodes of TV series on several TV networks on-demand.  These are in Flash, which Apple itself doesn't support and therefore specific apps must be done for each on the iPad.

2. Yes, both Kindle Fires have a built in microHDMI port and can be cabled directly to an HDMI TV, which some have done in hotel rooms even, to watch Internet (or tablet) fare.  With Apple you can buy extra hardware and do that too but it's just adding a cable to the Kindle Fire HD's.

  Also, the Kindle Fire has stereo speakers on each side of the tablet when viewing movies (Landscape) and also Dolby Digital Plus which adjusts frequencies for material or content, like speech, to make it clearer.  (The Apple has speakers right next to each other on one side only.) '

For a $231 difference (the 16GB iPad is $500, the 16GB Kindle Fire HD 8.9" is $269), the above is worth knowing.

  But then, the 32GB 7" Kindle Fire which is HD also, in its smaller size, is now $229, while the 32GB iPad is $600, a $371 difference.   The 8GB storage spec has been dropped by most and not far off, so will the 16GB if you look half a year ahead, due to the very large files involved in multimedia tablets.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Kindle Tips: Free Android App of the Day - Shred Guitar Mastery - LickJungle. Amazon's rating system and fairness to creators and other customers


Today's Free App of the Day, for Kindle Fire and other Android-based devices
- "For intermediate and advanced players"

Shred Guitar Mastery - LickJungle is a music app for guitar players although NOT for beginners.

  Even if a customer reviewer says that 'tablature' is "very good for beginners" -- the app itself is definitely not for beginners, and app creator AmparoSoft makes that clear in the Product Description.

  But since this app is normally $3.99 and is the free app for the one day only, I thought I should draw attention to it for those who would benefit from it.

As another customer mentions -- if you don't know how to play guitar, there's no reason to download an app that's marketed to intermediate to advanced players and expect it'll be something you can understand.

  Unfortunately, Amazon's policy is to allow customer reviews with lousy 1-star ratings from people who say they've not read a book because they don't like the premise, and Amazon keeps a 1-star review here from a customer who doesn't play guitar and who then gives the poor developer just one star, which lowers the overall rating.  This lowest rating is given even when the customer adds "If you play the guitar you will like it."

  Amazon could leave the words up but just leave the stars blank if they care about being fair to creators and other customers (once Amazon is notified of inappropriateness, since they request alerts that they then tend to ignore).

  I don't play guitar and don't plan to, so I'm not likely to download the app, but if I wanted to -- in case I wanted to learn later -- I sure wouldn't be doing a 1-star review on it.  Amazon really should take another look at their review system for entries which are not reviews.

  At least they've now started requesting 'feedback' on reviews in place of just reports of reviews that aren't 'appropriate.'
  I've seen Amazon intentionally leave 1-star product reviews up when a product was shipped late or not shipped by a marketplace vendor (which is definitely not a review of a product or work), and yet the creator has to see an important marketing tool (genuine feedback on a product that took a lot of work as a sullied by this type of policy, which is not helpful to interested customers.

  Customers who use the 'average customer rating' feature need to be able to trust the overall ratings more.

  Again, all Amazon has to do is show blank stars and not count an entry for 'review' when it's clearly not a review -- OR at least do some weighting of the rating (after people report real problems with appropriateness) that doesn't give that rating EQUAL weight with other reviews.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kindle Tips: a 4-USB port car-charger for Kindle, Android, Apple devices

A 4-USB port car charger I just bought
Thought others would be interested in this very useful gadget for your car.  It will charge, using four high output ports (2.1A max total), both Apple and Android/Kindle devices at the same time.

There is also an alternate 2-USB port model, with one port that promises compatibility with Apple, using a 2-Ampere port for iPad, plus a 1-Ampere port for other devices, including Kindles, on the other port.

The iFlash High Output 4 USB Car Charger - 2.1A Output is said to work with "iPad, iPad 2, iPad 3, iPhone 4 / 4S, HTC, Droid, EVO, Galaxy S2, Kindle Fire, GPS, and Other Tablets, Smart Phones and USB Powered Devices"

(Ports that work for Kindle Fire also work with the e-Ink Kindles.)

  So far, this 4-USB port charger has about 25 customer reviews with an average rating of 4.6 stars.  For $9.99 and Prime shipping, I didn't think twice.
  Most reports on that page are very enthusiastic.  However, there are a couple of reports that it interferes quite a bit with the reception of radio stations with weak signals or, in one case interferes with a 'whining tone' that 'wanders in pitch, with weak station signals.  One customer said to start your car first and let it run for awhile before plugging it in, as otherwise it spiked her battery and resulted in the trip mileage and clocks resetting themselves, but she otherwise headlines it as "Awesome for multiple gadgets when traveling."
  The other 22 reviews as of today are 5-star ones.
  One aspect mentioned in the product description: "...monitors charging to direct the power to the device that needs it most."

  (Note: There is also a "Skiva PowerFlow QuadFire" device that's advertised to be twice as fast with twice the wattage and it gets many positive reviews (for 3 times the price), but it also gets a lot of bad customer-reviews for suddenly not working, being actually slower than the 2.1 amp devices, and in one case reported to work with only 2 ports at a time.)

  Here's one with two USB ports, this combo using Apple protocol on one port (2-ampere and designed for Apple products but useable by the mentioned other devices), the other port being for Standard devices, usually phones (1A only).
  Made by iFlash, which makes the 4-port one I bought, it's SAID by the vendor to also work on 'all' Apple mobile products, providing output for all 4 at a time, but I'd double check with the vendor on the newer iPad 4.

  Here are some other options.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Kindle Fire News: Amazon's 32GB Kindle Fire HD 7-inch tablet now $229 ($20 lower).

Screenshots from Google Maps and Street View apps on my Kindle Fire HD 7"

Google Map of San Francisco Bay Area

Via Street View app, here's the Presidio area.

(Click on an image to see the larger version.)

Amazon's Kindle Fire HD 7" Tablet product page shows a new, lower price on 32GB model

  The 32GB model (which I did buy w/o thinking twice because video, alone, takes a lot of storage space, and so do any enhanced Kindle books and certainly graphics-rich magazines) has been $249 but the price was changed today to $229.

  That's likely due to reduced prices on parts for Amazon, and they may not have sold as many of those as the 16GB model because many people don't realize how much storage space can be taken up with the multimedia files that are so popular on tablets.

  I've changed the comparison table for Kindle Fire HD 7", Google Nexus, and iPad mini to reflect the new pricing.

Will restate something I inserted the other day in the middle of a blog article on the new Enhanced Kindle books with audio/video, because it's germane here, and now the price difference between the 16GB and 32GB models of the 7" HD tablet is just $30.
  The basic Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet can store 16 Gigs but a few gigs are used for system files.  I bought the 32G model and 5 gigs are set aside for system files.

  If I'd bought only the 16G basic Kindle Fire, I'd have almost no storage space left by now, as I have only 16 gigs remaining on my 32G tablet.

  Of course we can always remove files from a device, and any Kindle purchases (and personal documents we've sent to our "Personal Documents" storage space (via EMail) are re-downloadable at any time, when we actually want or need to read them.

  I tend to keep a lot of favorite Youtube video files on my tablet, but there's no reason that I need to have as many books ON the device as I do.


So, I'm glad they lowered the price on this, as I feel it makes more sense with multimedia devices to get 32GB, even if with care via use of the Cloud and computer backups, the 16GB ones can be fine.




  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button



Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Kindle News: 'Inside Story of the Kindle' ... Will Walmart same-day delivery fill Amazon w/ dread?

Why am I showing an old Kindle 2?

After seeing the story below, my mind went back to my older Kindles, and this Kindle 2 was one I enjoyed a lot in its day.

  Saw today, in the Huffpo, an excerpt from Jason Merkoski's Burning the Page -- the chapter on Inside Story of the Kindle

  From what I gather, Merkoski, as a former Amazon staffer and early innovator on Amazon's Kindle team, doesn't offer a glowing look at the whole scene, and the New Times blog area recently had this quote:
' "Q. Why did you leave Amazon?

A. Working at Amazon was like getting an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. at the same time.

It was an incredible education. These were the smartest people I ever worked
with.  But Amazon had a dark side as well, as if it were the mean stepmother in a
fairy tale.

There was this push to get great products out to consumers.  It makes
a lot of teams very haggard.  Amazon is held together by adrenaline, spreadsheets
and people running around like crazy." '

Note to Kindle Edition readers (subscribers) (UK page) of the blog (which shows the most-recent 25 blog articles) - When you click through a link, you can get a more readable version of the web article by selecting Menu/Article View. (Then, press 'back' arrow or Menu/Web View.)


"Will Amazon tremble at Walmart’s same day delivery dream?"
Mediajob's Cheryl Ross describes Walmart's possible plans for same-day delivery, which she apparently feels Amazon might fear, though she then explains why it might not.

  I don't know. What do you think about it? From the story: (emphases mine)
' The idea? Offer in-store visitors a discount on their purchases if they agree to deliver a same-day package to a Walmart e-customer on the way home.

Karen E. Edwards, an e-retailing expert from the University of South Carolina, explains:
“Walmart would want to have a proof-of-delivery system, as well as a written agreement with the delivery person that includes a reimbursement clause if the goods are damaged or not delivered. That would probably have a chilling effect on some people who otherwise might have performed the service, but would also reduce the likelihood of theft...”

The company would also need to find a way of establishing that such delivery persons are not Walmart employees and aren’t entitled to Worker’s Compensation, Edwards continued, and there’d need to be a waiver to release Walmart from liability if the deliverer got injured during the errand... '

How many of us would welcome delivery by strangers not officially employed by the store, who would bring us what we ordered, to our doorstep?  Granted, there'd be a record of the customer who was sent out to bring you your package...




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kindle Fire Tips plus one KindleTouch Tip. Follow-up Info on recent software updates. Free audio/video enhanced Kindle books to try.


FOLLOW-UPS ON RECENT KINDLE SOFTWARE UPDATES: Touch - v5.3.2.1;
Fire - v10.3.0, v7.3.0, and v8.3.0


Kindle Touch, v5.3.2 and 5.3.2.1
Q: "After the software update, my Collections are no longer listed.  The books are just listed in abc order.  So, I tried to reenter a title such as Suspense, and it says the title is currently in use and to enter a different title.  Does anyone know what I should do?"

A:   Amazon made an odd decision there.  Normally, when you tap 'Recent' or 'Title' or 'Author' sorting options while choosing "Books" to view on the Home Screen, you'd expect to be able to see another option, which would be 'Collections' -- but that option doesn't show up when you have selected only "Books" (where they SHOULD show up).

  You have to lightly tap 'Books' (or 'Periodicals,' 'Audible,' 'Docs' etc.) below the top row and choose "My Items" instead before you can get the 'Collections' choice for sorting now.  It may be due to Amazon's defining 'Books' as Kindle Books only, while "My Items" includes Docs, etc.


Recent Kindle Fire updates, x.3.0
  Enhanced Kindle Editions with Audio/Video feature that came with the recent Kindle Fire updates.
  There is an added step to see these, if you've downloaded the book previously.

Q: "How do you get the audio/vidio to work?"

A: People are finding out that they need to remove any current copy of an Enhanced Kindle Edition from their Kindle Fire (2nd gen, 7" HD and 8.9" HD) and then RE-download the title previously purchased with audio and video, before they can access the audio/video portions of the book with the Kindle Fire.

  Hyperion offered, In Sept. 2011, the Audio/Video Edition of the Jacqueline Kennedy Historic Conversations, for $10 rather than the regular $16.49 price, but it was usable only on "iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch devices" (and it's still described that way despite the software updates).

  Nevertheless, at the time, figuring Amazon would make this available for their own tablets someday, I bought the enhanced edition at that price (it was and still is available without the audio/video for $10 too,  but why not get the one with more features, for later?)

  So, this week I downloaded the never-read Kindle book from my Cloud, and sure enough the audio and video features work very well on the Kindle Fire HD 7" and 8.9" tablets I have.

  Bear in mind that that the Enhanced Edition will take up a LOT of tablet storage space.
  For instance, the Kennedy Conversations Edition WITHOUT audio/video (readable text and photos only) is s 5 Meg file, which already (because it has photos) is over 5 times larger than an average novel.

    The Audio/Video Edition, however, is a 500 Megabyte file, 100 times larger, and essentially HALF a GIG.  The basic Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet can store 16 Gigs but a few gigs are used for system files.  I bought the 32G model and 5 gigs are set aside for system files.
  If I'd bought only the 16G basic Kindle Fire, I'd have no storage space left by now, as I have only 16 gigs remaining on my 32G tablet.

  Of course we can always remove files from a device, and any Kindle purchases (and personal documents we've sent to our "Personal Documents" storage space (via EMail) are re-downloadable at any time, when we actually want or need to read them.

  I tend to keep a lot of favorite Youtube video files on mine, but there's no reason that I need to have as many books ON the device as I do.

  BONUS Tip - Here are a few FREE Enhanced Audio/Video Kindle Books (from time to time) that you can try, via this special link.


Q: "Why does Time to Read (the remaining pages of a chapter or book) seem to work only sporadically if at all?

A: 1. You need to be on WiFi for this to work, when reading a book, as the servers keep track of time taken to read, and they calculate time remaining based on that.  This information, they say, is not retrieved for the server but kept on the Kindle device.  Some people like to know, when they need to sleep or leave, how much time it might take to finish the chapter (or the next one).

    2. Also, when you're seeing location number (and page number for books that have this) and the timeline bar at the bottom of a screen, you can get the other options (Time to Read, Page No. only, Location No. only) by lightly tapping just above the bottom timeline bar.

  Then tap whatever NON-timeline-bar option is showing at bottom left to get the other options.
  If you want the timeline bar back, lightly tap just above the normal bottom-bar area, near the center.

  Note: When the timeline bar is showing, don't touch the bar itself, as it changes where you are in the book if you move it at all (which is too easy to do).


Comments and advice from the Amazon Kindle Forum Kindle Fire software update x.3.0 topic.  Emphases and bracketed comments are mine.
'
Kim Shown says
  [in response to questions about glitches after the update]
I suggest contacting kindle customer service, Scott. My kindle hd 8.9 was fixed in less than 15 minutes. He had me go to another power outlet & plug it in, then wait a couple of minutes before depressing the on button & hold it down for 30 seconds. After that, He asked me to wait 20 seconds & repeat the process. I did this 3 times, at his request; then he told me to remove it from the charger & power it back up (holding the power button for less than 15 seconds) & voila, it magically came back to life with no problems. I did get the update & that is what caused the problem, but it works fine now! I hope this helps!


A. Rupert says
" ... I made it so my email wouldn't check for new mail. "
  [I turned that one off from the start.  I don't want my tablet to be checking email all the time.

  I also make sure that my applications don't automatically update. (See Settings / Applications)  I just don't want that activity going on all the time, especially when I don't use most of my apps that much, so I don't need the constant updating that would occur.]
Murtaza Aliakbar says:
Hi I develop for Kindle Fire, and I confirm that "Collect App Usage Data" surely has nothing to do with the Battery Drain issue.

  [I posted, re this new Kindle Fire setting, found under 'Applications']
Murtaza,
Are you actually saying that gathering info on app use and taking it back to the server does not use battery life - I don't mean extraordinary use but any WiFi activity does use battery and we don't know how often you're taking that info.


mbuff says:
I had the battery drain issue (Kindle Fire HD 8.9" wifi), and now it is resolved.  Not sure exactly what fixed it, but here's what I did:
1) I turned off "Collect App Usage Data"  (I suspect it was this, not sure)
2) I [then] held down the power key for 20 seconds until my Kindle shut itself off.  Then, turned it back on.  Previously I had tried shutting it down multiple times the "normal" way without success.


KiddWilliams says:
Battery drain issues for my Fire 2nd gen., after receiving the update, seem largely resolved for me now after
1) turning off the Collect App Usage Data, and
2) doing a hard reset: press and hold the off button for a full 30 seconds, ignoring all screen prompts, etc., then waiting for a minute and turning it back on.


Dr. Bobby H. Wang MD says:
  Good news is that 7.3.0 & 8.3.0 can finally handle a >50,000 Item Cloud Library.
[ Emphasis mine -- this is good news. ]


Alan Harrah says:
For those with battery drain problems, you might try turning off location services.  Once turned on by an app that used it, it was THE main reason my battery was draining.  It seems to not allow the kindle to sleep. This needs to be fixed obviously, but turning off location services for now is something you might try to see if it helps in your case as well.
[That's another setting I do turn Off unless an app I am using REALLY needs it for something I want.]

[I also do not have Weather apps active.   The constant use of battery for some weather apps may be worth it to some, but not to me.] '


That's the latest I've seen on the discussions following the recent software updates.


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