Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Kindle Fire Me Up

I did it. I ordered one. It came.

The thing about this Kindle Fire is it truly is the right size for lounging on the couch and reading a book, the newspaper, a magazine. They figured it out. No wonder it is selling so well.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is, it’s so new, the apps for it aren’t there yet. No good app for google mail. No good app for lots of things. But they’re coming. I assume. In the meantime, the web browser, which is okay, not great, gets most things done within the confines of its not so sturdy set up. Again, it will improve soon. You feel it coming.

But really, this thing is all about getting away from the desk, getting into a comfortable chair, and reading, like you used to, back when they had that stuff they used to call paper.

The size of this thing, as I’ve mentioned, is pretty brilliant. Smaller than an iPad (and much ligther) but three times the size of a smart phone screen. It is sleek. Intuitive. Up and running right out of the box. And the kind gnomes at Amazon sent me my Kindle already registered. So basically, I was ready to roll once I hooked up to my Wi-Fi. (One just has to remember one’s password.)

The home screen is hideous---a sort of fake bookshelf, a cartoon version of brownish-gray Pergo constructed into this shelving. Too bad about that.

But the fun thing is, you can fill up those laminate book shelves with everything. Books, magazines, favorite web sites, apps, etc.

Additionally, you can get some free books and really cheap books and get books from your library for free. It goes on and on. So as much as Amazon has made this thing a cash-register-in-your-living-room, it is also highly functional for the library you’ve always loved.

The New Yorker App is amazing and you get to have that app if you subscribe to the magazine in its paper form. Probably the best magazine app I’ve seen so far on anything. This is because there are many choices for how you can access the look of the magazine. Page by page. Or by a list. Or by iconic overview. And it is easy to use.

I will get the New York Times app, too. But apparently there is all this linking that needs to be done from your existing digital account into Amazon. They give you the steps on the New York Times Site. But then, you pretty much lose your NYTimes app for your phone---not that that app was ever worth much—but one could still choose to keep that app if one wants to pay for a second subscription for that app alone. But who the hell wants to do that?

Much of the video looks not so great. Nowhere near the beauty of an iPad. Like Mexico to Canada difference. I don’t listen to music on devices, so I can’t say I even tried that. But video, music, all there, too. There’s a solid Netflix app and a solid Hulu+ app. Music looks like it must be easy. Okay, just tried it. Music sounds very good with head phones. You can upload all your pre-existing MP3’s either into the cloud or into the device for playing. (Remember when we used to only want intermittent white fluffy clouds? Now, all we want is solid cloud cover to make us happy.)

This Kindle Fire is pretty solid and a good size and a good buy at $199. It pulls together books and magazines and all your other media. For a bit of a neaty-pants like me, this means less old magazines around and less yellowing paperbacks.

Plus, while reading, you can look up any word at all. Fabulous. No list making. Immediacy.

The device is pretty useless, except for downloaded books, once you get away from wireless range. So trying to do anything but read a book on it on a plane would be next to impossible. Oh but wait—I hear planes are now all wired up.

(You can also download your ass of-- music and video, etc. etc...but what a bore.)

Entertainment in your house. You never have to go to the mall again for anything but clothes.

What will they think of next? Canned hams? A machine that separates cotton seeds from cotton? Will they upload our brains so we can live forever? Is that the magical creativity of religion, actually? It’s all been a wish, so we pretend it’s true until it is true, but we have to do it, push our brains into the forever realm, on servers, while they keep burning the mountaintops off in West Virginia to keep it all going?

I don’t think we are far away. They can scan my DNA and my memories, at some point, and get them to be virtual. My clone living in the chips. In the cloud, these clouds we have been fantasizing about for so long that we would just hop around on. Note: Must learn to play the harp.

I have the laptop, the phone and the Reader all within two feet of me conspiring to get me to become as digital as possible. Beam me up, beam me down, let’s all beam there together. It was fun being flesh based, for a while. Appointment with forever...


Anonymous said...

HELP!!! The world is coming to an end! Mother/Judith

Don Cummings said...

Correction: You can download your New Yorkers, read them wirelessly after that, just like books