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Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.

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Tag: Barnes & Noble Nook

Written by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_

More of the same last night here in River City! The temp dropped down to about 36 without a cloud cover, so the cold was penetrating. The predicted high today was supposed to be in the low 60 but I don’t know if it made it. It stayed COLD all day. Tonight it’s going to be more of the same. But with the reflective window film that Bill put on all of our windows a year and a half ago, we kept most of the house’s heat inside; we don’t need to try to warm up all of Riverside. Just got our SoCal Gas bill in yesterday — was $130 for this last month when it’s been cold. Good insulation beats cold weather, at least to a certain point.

Jazzy SelectHD_calloutWell, it has been an interesting day. We got ourselves ready and were out at the curb to catch the RTA Senior and Disabled Transportation Services shuttle bus for our trip to Kaiser. All went well. The bus’ lift moved me into the bus, the driver tied my power chair so it wouldn’t shift during transit. Grace grabbed a seat (she had the choice of any seat on the bus, since we were the only passengers). And the price was right: $2.00 for me and Grace rode free as my help provider. Such a deal!The return trip was just as uneventful. Good experience and we have already scheduled a trip on the shuttle to the local mall Sunday morning during the Farmer’s Market.

Once we got to Kaiser, everything went like clockwork. Went to the Lab to have blood drawn for a series of tests ordered by my doctor. Check. Went to Urgent Care to have the wound on my right leg checked out. Check. And requested that the doctor order the Home Health Care Wound Nurse to treat the wound; it was ordered and he/she is coming out tomorrow. Check. It was a very productive day. With all the tasks done, we decided to catch lunch in the cafeteria. Did that and we went downstairs to the Caf. We both had a salad; I had brought a “PB&J” sandwich with me to eat after having my blood drawn since I had to fast for twelve hours for a couple of the tests (A1c and Lipid Panel). So the salad was a nice followup to the sandwich.

After eating, we had time to talk a little. Grace is reading Follett’s The Fall of Giants about the beginnings of World War I. So she was able to pick up where she left off. While she was reading, I was working on writing the second section of this musing. We were productive and had a chance to relax and talk while we waited for the shuttle to arrive to return us home. Great day of conversation, reading, writing, and medical attention. My Jazzy held up very well, which is encouraging to know before we venture out on a longer trip. Bring it on…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 2169 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Jeff Bezos:

    

“What’s dangerous is not to evolve.”
— Jeff Bezos

“There are two kinds of companies, those that work to try to charge more and those that work to charge less. We will be the second.”
— Jeff Bezos

“There are two ways to extend a business. Take inventory of what you’re good at and extend out from your skills. Or determine what your customers need and work backward, even if it requires learning new skills. Kindle is an example of working backward.”
— Jeff Bezos

“The killer app that got the world ready for appliances was the light bulb. So the light bulb is what wired the world. And they weren’t thinking about appliances when they wired the world. They were really thinking about – they weren’t putting electricity into the home. They were putting lighting into the home.”
— Jeff Bezos

    

Thinking About the Dedicated eBook Readers…

    

Yesterday I went over the tablet devices that I considered competitive in the current holiday marketplace. They included, of course, the Apple iPad (iOS) and a leading group of Android handheld tablets, including the Amazon Kindle Fire, the Barnes & Noble Nook Color, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, and the HTC Flyer. In my estimation, these are the top contenders for the Christmas shopping bucks. But I intentionally left two prominent entries off that list — the RIM Blackberry Playbook and the Hewlett-Packard HP TouchPad. Why did I omit them? Each of them use a splinter operating system that I did not feel had a user-base sufficiently large to meet the competition.

playbook-external-2011-04-13-600-20-1302722950The Blackberry Playbook hails from the corporate legacy that RIM has catered to for many years. In competition with iOS and Android operating environments, the Blackberry OS has been having a great deal of trouble holding on to their market share in the smartphone market. They just don’t have the critical mass of apps to compete with iTunes or the Android or Amazon Marketplace. The Playbook could attempt to appeal to their corporate customers, but such an appeal isn’t even working with the Blackberry smartphones. It looks like a losing battle at best.

TouchPad%20Main-728-75The HP TouchPad suffers from a greater malaise. It is built upon the WebOS operating environment. Hewlett-Packard acquired Palm primarily for WebOS. This smartphone OS has virtually no current user-base due to Palm’s corporate problems. And it didn’t help the TouchPad that shortly after it was released, HP made the decision to kill off WebOS and sell off the rest of its PC product line. The TouchPad dropped in price to fire–sale levels, and then, under a new CEO, it found a second life. But I believe that customer confidence had all but disappeared! Time will tell.

But today, I want to focus on a different issue, namely the way we read e-books. Basically, there are two choices: using a dedicated e-reader (like the Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook, or the Sony eReader) or using an e-reader application from Amazon or a third-party reader. Amazon has made its Kindle application available for Android, iOS, Windows, and MacOS computing devices. This program on these other platforms perform essentially like the Kindle itself. So why buy a dedicated e-reader? In a word, I think it is CONVENIENCE! But let’s take a look at the three main e-readers.

Sony eReaderThe first e-reader in the marketplace was the Sony eReader. This device was characterized by rather mediocre performance, a hard to read screen, and a cumbersome process for adding new eBooks. It was the first of this class of device on the marketplace to make any inroads into the publics heart. It was convenient to take along with us. It ran for long periods of time on a single battery charge, and it didn’t require an active connection to a computer or network. It was an icebreaker with technology that hadn’t functioned well before. But it has had to play “third fiddle” to the Kindle and Nook.

My wife and I purchased our first Kindle 2 two and a half years ago. I was recovering from a surgery and needed something to occupy my time. Our bookshelves were full and we didn’t have room for any more bookcases. I could purchase and download books conveniently to my Kindle and I spent hours reading. It was great! A little over a year later I got a Kindle 3 for my Gracie so that we could both read at the same time and share the books with each other. The e-paper technology made the screens extremely easy to read, and the control over the font size helped make books easier to read to my “mature” eyes on the fly.

kindle-holding_575pxThere’s an interesting story behind our first Kindle. We were at a birthday party for my sister-in-law and she showed me her Kindle 1. It was fascinating.I was amazed that it could be operated for at least a week on a single charge. It had an easy-to-read screen that allowed the font size to be varied. Since her has vision problems, the Kindle allowed her to read her books that were no longer readable in the print version, especially the mass market paperbacks. How did she hear about it? On one of Oprah’s programs. It was featuring the Kindle and offered one to the viewers at a substantial discount. She had a big part of her life back!

The Kindle solved a number of problems of the Sony eReader. We’ve already mentioned the e-paper that stores the image of the text as passive images that don’t need to be refreshed, like on an LCD screen; this saves huge amounts of power. Secondly, the Kindle included 3G cellular circuitry that allowed the user to access the online Amazon Kindle Book site, order one or more books, and have that book automatically delivered to your Kindle over the 3G network. All without an added subscription to a cellular service! That sure beat the process on the Sony eReader that required an eBook to be downloaded to a computer and then, as a second step, required the eBook to be downloaded to the eReader! That’s OK for the Geeks of the world, but could be highly threatening to the average Joe or Jane out there.

Furthermore, updates to the Kindle OS could be sent over the 3G link without the user’s intervention. By this means, most Kindles were upgraded to allow sharing what they were reading with the primary social networks — Facebook and Twitter. Again, the communication link is through the “free” 3G “WhisperNet” provided by Amazon. Also, the Kindle environment a numbers of Kindles, and the Kindle software on other devices, to jointly use those books purchased for the Kindle. So family members are given access to the same books without re-purchasing the. In fact, I have been able to read the same book on both my Android smartphone and netbook with both of our Kindles. It will keep track with our place through the “Synch” process.

nook-touchThe Barnes & Noble Nook supports WiFi connections for accessing the Barnes & Noble store of eBooks. It has been playing catch-up with the Kindle every since its release. But it uses a touchscreen instead of hardware buttons and even has models showing the books in color. But it is more expensive than most models of the Kindle. But it has captured a substantial market share since its introduction.

So, why buy a dedicated eBook reader? If we can get the Kindle app to run on our Androids, iPads, iPhones, notebooks, and desktops, isn’t a dedicated reader redundant? I don’t think so. For one thing, there is the whole issue of battery life. These eBook readers have a battery life of at least one week. One does not need to be tethered to a power outlet like most notebooks or desktops. Yes, the tablets have 8-10 hour battery life, but that pales when compared to the eBook readers. In addition, the screen technology makes a big difference in screen comfort. Both the Kindle and the Nook (monochrome models) use ePaper technology which doesn’t require constant refreshing of the display like computers or tablets. This eliminates much of the flicker that is found in LCD screens. It also reduces the amount of power required by these dedicated devices. What’s more, the ePaper is much less susceptible to glare so it allows the Kindle and Nook to be read in mid-day sunlight. Is there a future for these dedicated readers? Yes. And don’t forget, their prices are dropping. My first Kindle cost $270 some odd dollars; a current Kindle can be obtained for about one third of that cost!

So, before you pass up a dedicated eBook reader like the Kindle or the Nook, think about these devices advantages. But remember, they have one task and they do that task very well. What is that task? It is to read eBooks offline…

    
Photo of the Day:

    
I leave you today with a photo taken on a foggy morning at sunrise in Texas. This scene is not only pleasing to our visual side, but the fog, as usual, gives the image an ethereal look. Sit there for a couple of minutes and contemplate this image; when you’re done, don’t you feel more relaxed? Doesn’t it take some of the tension of the day away? It is truly what we were meant to feel. This image was taken by Henrick Fagerström on this special morning in Texas (specific location unknown). Thank you, Henrick, for this photo to sooth our day…
    

_Sunrise in TX through foggy lens

Sunrise in TX through foggy lens. Photo by Henrick Fagerström.
    

Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

    

References

    

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Wikipedia: Ebook Readers…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebook_readers

Adroit Alien: Compare eReaders Kindle 3 vs Nook vs Sony Reader vs Kobo eReader…
http://adroitalien.hubpages.com/hub/Compare-eReaders-Kindle-3-vs-Nook-vs-Sony-Reader-vs-Kobo-eReader

Brainy Quote: Jeff Bezos Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/j/jeff_bezos.html

Written by Gerald Boerner

    

    
Commentary:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumb_thumb_

Another cold night has passed. Temps got down to somewhere in the upper 30s, but with my heavy sweater on and my toasty comforter protect me from that cold. Today, the rain has pretty well cleared up and the temperatures are predicted to go up into the low 60s, but they only got up to about 58. But, it was nice enough to go out on the patio in my new power chair (a “Jazzy”). It was great getting out of the house, if only for fifteen to twenty minutes at a stretch. Tonight it’s supposed to return to the upper 30s. I’ll let the weather people keep track of all of that; I’m going to be asleep.

Pasadena Storm Damage

Also, the winds are gone for the time being, but there is some talk of SoCal getting another blast of winter winds and more rain by the end of the week. I’m afraid that ‘Ol Man Winter is literally nipping at our noses! The mountains got their layers of snow. The winter sports people, the skiers and snowboarders, should be in paradise, albeit a cold one.

Well, Grace had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. It was scheduled for yesterday, but the doctor’s office called and rescheduled it. Don’t know why, but she was just as happy to delay it until today. We are going to Kaiser again tomorrow morning; I hit my leg on something over the weekend and it broke the skin. On boy, here we go again. Need to go into Urgent Care to get the Home Health Care started again. I’ve found that catching these things early, with a “Una Boot” compression dressing gets it under control quickly and gets it healed up. Fortunately, it’s on my right leg, which has much stronger skin than my left calf which has had all too many open wounds over the past 20-some years. Hoping for the best!

Tropical sky background

Since I don’t have a lift or platform for transporting my new Jazzy and Grace & myself, we needed a plan. We could do as we’ve been doing for my appointments over the past several months — Grace would drive me there, I would use one of their plain wheel chairs, sit outside while Grace parked the car, call the hospital’s Transportation Services to have them push me to the appropriate office. After my appointment, we would call Transportation Services once again and reverse the process.

But another solution came to mind — call RTA, the local transportation agency, and check on their Senior/Disabled Services Shuttle Bus (we’ve seen it at Kaiser on previous visits to the doctor’s office). So I called RTA and they looked me up, and I was still in their system. They checked on the availability of getting the bus, but we live too far from the regular bus routes; they could not help us. But they referred me to their special services group. Several years ago, when I first got my scooter, I had gone through the qualification process and was qualified to receive ADA services, including transportation for only $2.00 per way, per trip. I called them and found out that I was still on their system even though my card had expired. The long and short of it was that we have the shuttle picking us up tomorrow morning, taking us to Kaiser, and then picking us up for the return trip. And Grace rides free as my support person!

So, we are in for a whole new experience. I’ll be able to finally get out of the house! This will open up a whole new world to me. I’ll finally get out of the house again and see the world. I’m on the trail of an external platform for use on my Sequoia, which would let us get out of town. (The RTA shuttle only operates within limited areas, so no museums or other experiences that I’ve been longing for over the past two years.) I’ll update you after it’s over…  GLB

These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved

[ 1675 Words ]
    

    

Quotations Related to Tablets:

    

“The seven-inch tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone, and too small to compete with an iPad.”
— Steve Jobs

“For too long, decisions have been taken behind closed doors – tablets of stone have simply been past [sic] down to people without bothering to involve people, listen to their views or give them information about what we are doing and why.”
— Peter Mandelson

“I think right now it’s a battle for the mindshare of developers and for the mindshare of customers, and right now iPhone and Android are winning that battle.”
— Steve Jobs

“Now that digital lifestyle devices, tablets, wireless phones, and other Internet appliances are beginning to come of age, we need to worry about presenting our content to these devices so that it is optimized for their display capabilities.”
— Mike Davidson

    

Thinking about the New Slate of Tablets (Part 1)…

    

Over the next few days I’ll be exploring some of the new Tablet-style computers coming into the market. Of course, the “class of the class” has been the iPad and iPad 2 over the past two years. They are just plain “NEAT” to play with and they are great for dealing with images and online resources. Yes, they have their quirks, such as limited cameras, no FLASH apps, and you are tied to the iTune store for your apps. You get only those apps and services that Apple decides, its role as the “Almighty Big Brother”, what you need. Thank you, uncle Steve! (‘May you burn in ****, Mr. Jobs.’) Apple gives us a great little tool at their prices and with their services. It sounds like some tracts that some groups give out in their evangelistic fervor.

kindle-fire-vs-ipad_smallBut, there are new players entering the marketplace. Of course, there is always the next version of the iPad itself on the horizon in the early Spring, so it is rumored. It is said to have higher resolution cameras, like the iPhone 4s, higher resolution screen, and Apple’s quad-core processor. But rumors don’t always show up in the delivered device. But, being the third generation of this device, it will have had an opportunity to get rid of many of the bugs always found in new form factors and implementations of a technology. If you need serious apps for photo processing and word processing, the iPad seems to be the device of choice at this point. It uses the iOS, which is a more mature operating system that supports the most apps of any of the devices, thanks to its little brother, the iPhone. So, it remains the one to beat.

But there are some serious competitors in this holiday season’s marketplace. Most of these are based on Google’s Android operating system for smart phones. More Android smartphones are being sold than iOS devices combined. Apps for these devices are available at both the Google Android Marketplace and at the Amazon App Store. There are lots of apps available for these Android tablets, but none are fully up to the test of the iPad. For instance, you can get apps for e-book reading, accessing your social networks (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.), and running some basic apps. But if you want to do some writing, forget about it. No real app is available. Plus some of these tablets, the Kindle Fire for one, lack a built-in microphone or line-in jack for an external mic. Also, the better photo processing apps are only on the iPad at this time.

kindle-fire-vs-samsung-galaxy-tab_smallBut, these tablets have very attractive price points. Whereas the iPad ranges from $500-850, depending on accessories, the Kindle Fire is selling for $199. The HTC Flyer and Barnes & Noble Nook Color are in the $250-300 range. The Samsung Galaxy 7” sells for about $400. So on price, the Androids beat the iPad; these are all 7 inch screens instead of the 10.1 inch screen on the iPads. The Galaxy Tab has a 10 inch screen, but it is still in need of some refinement. So these Android tablets are coming to market, and the Kindle Fire is selling like crazy, but people are discovering some of its shortcomings. We will explore more of this in coming days.

kindle-fire-vs-nook_smallSo an amazing new world is opening up. It started with our smartphones which have morphed into mini-computing devices. The iOS and Android operating systems are dominating the current market, and when is the last time that you head of shopping for a new desktop system? We have notebooks that are every bit as powerful as desktops used to be. We have netbooks that are as power as notebooks used to be. So, over the next few days, we will have some fun investigating these tablets. Please join us for my musings and reflections on these devices, especially if you are considering buying one for Christmas (or even have already purchased one)…

    
Photo of the Day:

    
On a more soothing note, my wife’s cousin, Bon, posted a picture that she caught yesterday during a break in the rain showers. It shows a beautiful rainbow as well as a good look at the cloudy sky. I find scenes like this very soothing and rewarding. Thank you, Bon, for this lovely photo. I always look forward to your next capture. As we continue through this holiday season, let us remember those without all that we have blessed with and think how we can share. The true message of “A Christmas Carol” is appropriate here. Think about it…
      

_Rainbow Pix by Bon

Rainbow and Sun during December Storm. Photo by Photos by Bon.
    

[ Copyright©2011 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved ]

    

References

    

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Tabletmoz.com: Can Amazon Kindle Fire Challenge its Counterparts? A Complete Review…
http://www.tabletmoz.com/tablets/kindle-fire/can-amazon-kindle-fire-challenge-its-counterparts-a-complete-review.html

Tabletmoz.com: Kindle Fire vs. iPad- Is There Any Comparison Between The Two Gadgets?…
http://www.tabletmoz.com/tablets/kindle-fire/kindle-fire-vs-ipad-is-there-any-comparison-between-the-two-gadgets.html

Brainy Quote: Tablets Quotes…
http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/tablets.html