Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Jyoti Bansal, Craig Lowell, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Java IoT, Machine Learning , 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
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
IoT is at the core or many Digital Transformation initiatives with the goal of re-inventing a company's business model. We all agree that collecting relevant IoT data will result in massive amounts of data needing to be stored. However, with the rapid development of IoT devices and ongoing business model transformation, we are not able to predict the volume and growth of IoT data. And with the lack of IoT history, traditional methods of IT and infrastructure planning based on the past do not app...
"LinearHub provides smart video conferencing, which is the Roundee service, and we archive all the video conferences and we also provide the transcript," stated Sunghyuk Kim, CEO of LinearHub, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, is co-located with 20th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry p...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
Discover top technologies and tools all under one roof at April 24–28, 2017, at the Westin San Diego in San Diego, CA. Explore the Mobile Dev + Test and IoT Dev + Test Expo and enjoy all of these unique opportunities: The latest solutions, technologies, and tools in mobile or IoT software development and testing. Meet one-on-one with representatives from some of today's most innovative organizations
SYS-CON Events announced today that Linux Academy, the foremost online Linux and cloud training platform and community, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Linux Academy was founded on the belief that providing high-quality, in-depth training should be available at an affordable price. Industry leaders in quality training, provided services, and student certification passes, its goal is to c...
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Super Micro Computer, Inc., a global leader in Embedded and IoT solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 20th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Supermicro (NASDAQ: SMCI), the leading innovator in high-performance, high-efficiency server technology, is a premier provider of advanced server Building Block Solutions® for Data Center, Cloud Computing, Enterprise IT, Hadoop/Big Data, HPC and E...
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.
WebRTC sits at the intersection between VoIP and the Web. As such, it poses some interesting challenges for those developing services on top of it, but also for those who need to test and monitor these services. In his session at WebRTC Summit, Tsahi Levent-Levi, co-founder of testRTC, reviewed the various challenges posed by WebRTC when it comes to testing and monitoring and on ways to overcome them.
"A lot of times people will come to us and have a very diverse set of requirements or very customized need and we'll help them to implement it in a fashion that you can't just buy off of the shelf," explained Nick Rose, CTO of Enzu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Every successful software product evolves from an idea to an enterprise system. Notably, the same way is passed by the product owner's company. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Oleg Lola, CEO of MobiDev, will provide a generalized overview of the evolution of a software product, the product owner, the needs that arise at various stages of this process, and the value brought by a software development partner to the product owner as a response to these needs.
WebRTC services have already permeated corporate communications in the form of videoconferencing solutions. However, WebRTC has the potential of going beyond and catalyzing a new class of services providing more than calls with capabilities such as mass-scale real-time media broadcasting, enriched and augmented video, person-to-machine and machine-to-machine communications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Luis Lopez, CEO of Kurento, introduced the technologies required for implementing these idea...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develop...
The WebRTC Summit New York, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Topics include all aspects of improving IT delivery by eliminating waste through automated business models leveraging cloud technologies. WebRTC Summit is co-located with 20th International Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo. WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web co...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of C...
Who are you? How do you introduce yourself? Do you use a name, or do you greet a friend by the last four digits of his social security number? Assuming you don’t, why are we content to associate our identity with 10 random digits assigned by our phone company? Identity is an issue that affects everyone, but as individuals we don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ben Klang, Founder & President of Mojo Lingo, discussed the impact of technology on identity. Sho...
DevOps is being widely accepted (if not fully adopted) as essential in enterprise IT. But as Enterprise DevOps gains maturity, expands scope, and increases velocity, the need for data-driven decisions across teams becomes more acute. DevOps teams in any modern business must wrangle the ‘digital exhaust’ from the delivery toolchain, "pervasive" and "cognitive" computing, APIs and services, mobile devices and applications, the Internet of Things, and now even blockchain. In this power panel at @...