Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Martin Etmajer, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Blue Box Blog, SmartBear Blog

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Java IoT, IoT User Interface, Agile Computing

Open Source Cloud: Blog Feed Post

My First Week With the Amazon Kindle

I was worried that the technology would be distracting while I read but that was not the case

Amazon EC2 Session at Cloud Expo New York

I received an Amazon Kindle for Xmas. It wasn’t a surprise as I put it on the Xmas list my family insisted I provide. My wife had me order it with her credit card to make sure it was exactly what I wanted. The order was placed at the beginning of December to ensure it would arrive on time. It took just four days to arrive here in Montreal from Amazon in the US.

Originally I had the Sony PRS-600 reader on my list. I made the list in mid-November and the Kindle was not available in Canada. But at the end of November Amazon announced it would ship to Canada. Even then I leaned towards the Sony. It was smaller but with the same size screen. It had a touch screen and expandable memory. It was compatible with Adobe’s ePub and other formats. But in the end it was price that made the difference. At the beginning of December a Sony PRS-600 at Best Buy was $399 CDN plus tax for a total of $450 CDN. With a hot Canadian dollar this worked out to $428 US.

The Kindle was $259 US plus $21 shipping and $31 import fees for a total of $311 US which was $327 CDN. The $100 difference was significant and since there was the possibility the Kindle might just become a desk decoration if I didn’t like it I could not justify the Sony pricing. Sony did reduce the list price to $359CDN and even down to $299CDN briefly before Xmas. But that was too late for me. So from the second week of December till Xmas morning I waited to open my Kindle.

Of course I did far too much research on the Kindle. I learned that it used a Linux 2.2 kernel. I found web sites that explained how to get a console prompt on it, use foreign language fonts, and change the screen saver images. I also learned that for all of these hacks to work I would need to ‘jailbreak’ the Kindle and risk ‘bricking’ it. What I did find that interested me was free book sites such as Google books, FreeKindleBooks.org, and the Baen Free Library.

Xmas morning finally came and as is the tradition at our house we each opened a single present in advance of the rest of the family arriving in the afternoon when all the presents would be opened. For my wife Santa brought her a Fuval Edge aquarium. My son received an MSI laptop and my daughter received an iPod compatible clock radio (there was more good stuff in the afternoon). I received the Kindle.

Since the Kindle can only be ordered online its packaging is quite plain since it does not need to attract attention on a retailer’s shelf. The box is completely sealed and you must pull a tab to rip off a strip of the box. Fed Ex and UPS boxes do this well, Amazon does not. The tab to grab is too small. I almost went for pliers to hold the tab. I also got the Amazon leather portfolio case for the Kindle and I had to use scissors to open that box because the tab of its box came off in my hands. But I did get the box opened.

The Kindle is beautiful piece of technology. Although the pictures on the web site are quite accurate, seeing it up close and then holding it in your own hands was a thrill. It is white and you expect to find an Apple logo somewhere on it. It already has an image on its screen telling you to plug it in. It comes with a USB cable and an AC plug. The cable can either plug into a computer or the AC plug much the same as an iPhone. It is usable while it is charging so I proceeded to set it up.

When a Kindle is ordered you must set up an account on Amazon. The Kindle is then registered to you when it arrives. If you check off on the order that it is a gift then it arrives unregistered. But it takes only moments to unregister it from one account and then register it with a new account. Mine was unregistered and so I registered it with my own Amazon account. I had to accept the dreaded One-Click purchase feature. Unlike Apple that encourages one-click but allows you to enter a password for every iTunes purchase, Amazon only supports one-click on the Kindle. Some web sites expressed concerns in the event that your Kindle was stolen. However, if you report your Kindle as stolen to Amazon they will cancel purchases made by the thief and remove the books from the Kindle.

The Kindle uses the cell phone network for purchases. Americans know who their carrier is. Foreign buyers using the International Edition such as myself do not officially know who the carrier is. We suspect that in Canada it is Rogers. I do not know what the official reason is for withholding the carrier’s name. I suspect it is because they are overcharging Amazon and which we end up paying for and Amazon does not want to deal with a grass roots rebellion aimed at a particular carrier.

There is no fee for using the Kindle wirelessly to shop for books. You do not need a computer to buy books; you can do everything from the Kindle. Amazon pays the network charges for your browsing. In the US the price of a book includes the network delivery of the book. In Canada and other international markets Amazon adds an additional fee. In Canada that amounts to $2 US a book. Although there is an Amazon.ca that prices its books in Canadian dollars, all Kindle books must be purchased from Amazon.com and so all prices are in US dollars.

Americans can browse a number of web sites such as Wikipedia, Google, CNN, and CNET. Canadians can only access Wikipedia. Having access to an on-line encyclopaedia is good but since we already pay a premium to buy books I would think carrier X could allow more access. You also get an email address for your Kindle such as ‘[email protected]’. In the US you use this address to email books to your Kindle. There is no email service in Canada.

The book shopping experience is quite good. The response from the web site is excellent and all the features of buying on a PC are there on the Kindle such as reading preview chapters. Once you decide on a book it really does arrive in less than a minute as the Kindle web page promotes. For my first book I purchased Death Masks by Jim Butcher at a cost of $8.59 US which comes to $9.03 CDN. This is pretty much in line with the cost of a paperback book. An American Kindle user would have paid only $6.59 US. It almost makes me think of driving to the US border to buy books. Alas, I would still pay the Canadian price even if I was in the US.

The real test of the Kindle was to read with it. So on December 27 and still suffering from an annoying common cold, I stayed in bed all day and read Death Mask. I found the experience identical to reading a dead tree version. The Kindle’s screen is sharp and clear. The buttons for turning pages are large and convenient. I strongly recommend the leather portfolio cover as it gives you more options for holding the Kindle comfortably.

There are six font sizes you can choose from. I started reading at size 4 with size 1 the smallest and size 6 the largest. By the second hour of reading I was down to size 2. There was no eyestrain. I was worried that the technology would be distracting while I read but that was not the case. It took about six hours to read the 384 page novel. There are 108,216 words. So I was reading at about 300 words a minute which is my average for works of fiction.

Before I put an e-book reader on my Xmas list I read the opinions of people who already had one. The consistent message was that a reader was ideal for sequential reading such as you do when reading fiction. For reading technical documents and manuals these reader were judged inferior to their paper versions. The Kindle now displays PDF files perfectly. However you cannot change the size of the text as you can for a native Kindle text. Coloured text in the PDF is too faint to read. Going to landscape mode helps and so in a pinch using a technical PDF on the Kindle is possible. There is a 9” Kindle but it is not available internationally and it costs more than $500.

I decided on a Kindle for reading fiction. I have only had it for a week so I cannot tell if the Kindle will be a constant companion. I am quite satisfied with it and I have no reservations in recommending it to anyone interested in trying the e-book reader waters. I also recommend an open source program called Calibre for managing the Kindle when it is connected to a PC or MAC.

More Stories By Ken Fogel

In 1980 I bought for myself the most wonderful toy of the day, the Apple ][+. Obsession followed quickly and by 1983 I was writing software for small and medium sized businesses in Montreal for both the Apple and the IBM PC under the company name Omnibus Systems. In the evenings I taught continuing education courses that demystified the computer to the first generation of workers who found themselves with their typewriter on the scrap heap and a PC with WordStar taking its place.

In 1990 I was invited to join the faculty at Dawson College in the Computer Science Technology program. When I joined the program the primary language was COBOL and my responsibility was to teach small systems languages such as BASIC and C/C++.

Today I am now the chairperson and program coordinator of the Computer Science Technology program at Dawson. The program's primary language is Java and the focus is on enterprise programming.

I like to write about the every day problems my students and I face in using various languages and platforms to get the job done. And from time to time I stray from the path and write about what I plan to do, what I actually get around to doing, and what I imagine I am doing.

@omniprof

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
johnkindle 01/04/10 07:37:00 AM EST

I have the same experience here with Kindle basically. Thus I am with you in saying that you are quite satisfied with it and have no reservations in recommending it to anyone interested in trying the e-book reader waters.

John Kindle

@ThingsExpo Stories
With the Apple Watch making its way onto wrists all over the world, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes a staple in the workplace. In fact, Forrester reported that 68 percent of technology and business decision-makers characterize wearables as a top priority for 2015. Recognizing their business value early on, FinancialForce.com was the first to bring ERP to wearables, helping streamline communication across front and back office functions. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Kevin Roberts...
Cognitive Computing is becoming the foundation for a new generation of solutions that have the potential to transform business. Unlike traditional approaches to building solutions, a cognitive computing approach allows the data to help determine the way applications are designed. This contrasts with conventional software development that begins with defining logic based on the current way a business operates. In her session at 18th Cloud Expo, Judith S. Hurwitz, President and CEO of Hurwitz & ...
One of the bewildering things about DevOps is integrating the massive toolchain including the dozens of new tools that seem to crop up every year. Part of DevOps is Continuous Delivery and having a complex toolchain can add additional integration and setup to your developer environment. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Miko Matsumura, Chief Marketing Officer of Gradle Inc., will discuss which tools to use in a developer stack, how to provision the toolchain to minimize onboa...
With an estimated 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020, several industries will begin to expand their capabilities for retaining end point data at the edge to better utilize the range of data types and sheer volume of M2M data generated by the Internet of Things. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Don DeLoach, CEO and President of Infobright, will discuss the infrastructures businesses will need to implement to handle this explosion of data by providing specific use cases for filte...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn’t require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbuilding of data centers ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pythian, a global IT services company specializing in helping companies adopt disruptive technologies to optimize revenue-generating systems, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Founded in 1997, Pythian is a global IT services company that helps companies compete by adopting disruptive technologies such as cloud, Big Data, advanced analytics, and DevO...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
The Quantified Economy represents the total global addressable market (TAM) for IoT that, according to a recent IDC report, will grow to an unprecedented $1.3 trillion by 2019. With this the third wave of the Internet-global proliferation of connected devices, appliances and sensors is poised to take off in 2016. In his session at @ThingsExpo, David McLauchlan, CEO and co-founder of Buddy Platform, will discuss how the ability to access and analyze the massive volume of streaming data from mil...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Alert Logic, Inc., the leading provider of Security-as-a-Service solutions for the cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Alert Logic, Inc., provides Security-as-a-Service for on-premises, cloud, and hybrid infrastructures, delivering deep security insight and continuous protection for customers at a lower cost than traditional security solutions. Ful...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Interoute, owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. Interoute is the owner-operator of one of Europe's largest networks and a global cloud services platform which encompasses 12 data centers, 14 virtual data centers and 31 colocation centers, with connections to 195 ad...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Men & Mice, the leading global provider of DNS, DHCP and IP address management overlay solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The Men & Mice Suite overlay solution is already known for its powerful application in heterogeneous operating environments, enabling enterprises to scale without fuss. Building on a solid range of diverse platform support,...
WebSocket is effectively a persistent and fat pipe that is compatible with a standard web infrastructure; a "TCP for the Web." If you think of WebSocket in this light, there are other more hugely interesting applications of WebSocket than just simply sending data to a browser. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Frank Greco, Director of Technology for Kaazing Corporation, will compare other modern web connectivity methods such as HTTP/2, HTTP Streaming, Server-Sent Events and new W3C event APIs ...
Fortunately, meaningful and tangible business cases for IoT are plentiful in a broad array of industries and vertical markets. These range from simple warranty cost reduction for capital intensive assets, to minimizing downtime for vital business tools, to creating feedback loops improving product design, to improving and enhancing enterprise customer experiences. All of these business cases, which will be briefly explored in this session, hinge on cost effectively extracting relevant data from ...
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
There will be new vendors providing applications, middleware, and connected devices to support the thriving IoT ecosystem. This essentially means that electronic device manufacturers will also be in the software business. Many will be new to building embedded software or robust software. This creates an increased importance on software quality, particularly within the Industrial Internet of Things where business-critical applications are becoming dependent on products controlled by software. Qua...
SYS-CON Events announced today that iDevices®, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. iDevices, the preeminent brand in the connected home industry, has a growing line of HomeKit-enabled products available at the largest retailers worldwide. Through the “Designed with iDevices” co-development program and its custom-built IoT Cloud Infrastruc...
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
As enterprises work to take advantage of Big Data technologies, they frequently become distracted by product-level decisions. In most new Big Data builds this approach is completely counter-productive: it presupposes tools that may not be a fit for development teams, forces IT to take on the burden of evaluating and maintaining unfamiliar technology, and represents a major up-front expense. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Warfield, CTO and Co-Founder of Coho Data, will dis...
Silver Spring Networks, Inc. (NYSE: SSNI) extended its Internet of Things technology platform with performance enhancements to Gen5 – its fifth generation critical infrastructure networking platform. Already delivering nearly 23 million devices on five continents as one of the leading networking providers in the market, Silver Spring announced it is doubling the maximum speed of its Gen5 network to up to 2.4 Mbps, increasing computational performance by 10x, supporting simultaneous mesh communic...
Eighty percent of a data scientist’s time is spent gathering and cleaning up data, and 80% of all data is unstructured and almost never analyzed. Cognitive computing, in combination with Big Data, is changing the equation by creating data reservoirs and using natural language processing to enable analysis of unstructured data sources. This is impacting every aspect of the analytics profession from how data is mined (and by whom) to how it is delivered. This is not some futuristic vision: it's ha...