The Kindle and I have gotten our first few awkward dates out of the way. We now show up at parties together, go home together, share a bed frequently and are considered an item by our friends.
One defining moment in my relationship happened the second week I had the Kindle. When I arrived at work, I realized that I'd left it at home, and was a bit surprised at the mild but distinct sense of panic I felt. I wrestled briefly with the idea of running back home for it, but common sense prevailed. I found other things to do at work that day (like work), and occupied my breaks with something else to read. However, this one cautionary episode has caused me to add an extra item to my mental leave-the-house checklist:
- Get car keys
- Grab iPhone
- Where the heck is my Kindle?
I just got back from a week on the road, using my Kindle as a traveling companion, and it worked out very well. The only thing I'd do differently would be to bring along a reading light for it. Even with the seat light turned on in my plane, I would have liked a bit more light. Reading in my hotel bed at night would have been lots easier with a reading light. I've been very happy at home with the Mighty Bright XtraFlex2 light, which clips to the cover of my Kindle and give plenty of light.
I usually buy several books while traveling. For once, I haven't had to worry about fitting them all into my luggage, or agonizing over which one to bring with me on the plane.
I have also used the Kindle to deal with a case of newspaper envy on a plane. While waiting for my flight to finish boarding in Chicago this week, I noticed the dude across the aisle from me reading a copy of the New York Times. Out of the corner of my eye, I could glimpse just enough interesting-looking articles to make me wish I had a copy as well. It would, of course, have been a sign of weakness to ask him to borrow his paper. Therefore, I salvaged my geek pride by firing up the Kindle and grabbing copies of both the New York Times and the Seattle Times just before the cabin door closed. Take that, newspaper dude!
Since my earlier posting on the Kindle, I've also run across several cool Kindle hacks. My favorite site for this so far is Igor Skochinky's series on reverse engineering the Kindle operating system. Therein I learned several useful tricks, such as:
Alt-Shift-M MinesweeperSpeaking of screenshots directly off the Kindle, below are a few that I just made, while viewing a Word document from a case report of sarcoidosis of the humeral head. The radiographs suck somewhat at 4 gray scales, but the nuclear medicine and MR images are not too terribly shabby. Due to an implementation bug, screenshots can only be stored on an SD card, and not the main Kindle storage. However, it's easy to access these images -- a .GIF file is saved at the SD card root for each screenshot.
Alt-T show time
Alt-1 show current location in google maps
Alt-2 find gas station nearby
Alt-3 find restaurants nearby
Alt-Shift-G make screenshot
I'll offer one final metaphor for the Kindle: a bottomless purse. Variations of this theme, such as a bottomless purse of gold, a bottomless food pouch, and an always-full pitcher of water are among the many common motifs found in fairy tales, such as Table-Be-Set.
The Kindle coveys that same "bottomless" quality to me. Amazon's one-click method of pulling books and newspapers across their wireless 3G network makes it easy for me to keep the device stocked with all sorts of goodies. With the addition of an inexpensive 4 GB SD card, it's going to be a while (several thousand books from now) before I fill that thing up.
It's a good time to be a reader...