Amazon’s Kindle Fire

Just curious what all you tech folks think of this new Silk browser.






148 replies
  1. 1

    Amazon’s Kindle Fire – depends on how easily it can be rooted.
    The Nook’s success can probably attributed to the ease of converting it into an Android tablet.

  2. 2
    Gin & Tonic says:

    “Put everything in the cloud”. So we’ve gone from you no longer owning music, to no longer owning videos, to no longer owning books, to no longer owning software. Progress.

    Also, too, get offa my lawn.

  3. 3
    joes527 says:

    Every web page that you look at gets brokered by Amazon? What could possibly go wrong?

  4. 4
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    The problem with “the cloud” is that you have no control over it. At all. Another thing to be taken for granted without any thought to how it got there in the first place.

  5. 5
    Martin says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Well, isn’t that the modern equivalent to not owning your own cow, not owning your own coal furnace, not owning your own car?

    The cloud is the 21st century equivalent of the 20th century infrastructure grid – distributed power, mass transit, food distribution, etc. No longer owning books is conceptually no different than taking a bus or a train.

  6. 6
    BGinCHI says:

    Old men/women yell at clouds.

    Good thread so far.

  7. 7
    dmsilev says:

    For starters, it’s a marketer’s dream. Hey, we can track *everything* our users browse.

  8. 8
    John Weiss says:

    Mobile devices?! We need no steenkin’ mobile devices!

  9. 9
    Sophist says:

    @G&T

    Hey, the cause of all suffering is attachment, right? Pretty soon you won’t actually own anything, and then you will attain Nirvana. They’re just trying to help, taking on the burdensome task of owning everything everywhere. You should be more grateful.

  10. 10
    barath says:

    For the time being I think it’s fine to go with a cloud-based approach. But it only has a future for the next few years.

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The problem with “the cloud” is that you have no control over it. At all. Another thing to be taken for granted without any thought to how it got there in the first place.

    As energy problems being to hit us more severely as this decade progresses, the cloud will quickly become less cheap than it is today, and the idea of owning something that you know you can rely on will be more appealing.

    I’m reminded of a famous quote by Leslie Lamport about distributed computer systems (like the cloud):

    A distributed system is one in which the failure of a computer you didn’t even know existed can render your own computer unusable.

  11. 11
    joes527 says:

    @Sophist:

    … and then you will attain Nirvana.

    Nope. Your music is locked up in the cloud too.

  12. 12
    Jonas says:

    I can’t tell if people are being ironic or really many of the commentators are glibertarians of the worst kind.

  13. 13
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Martin: To get to work, I can walk, ride a bicycle, drive my own car, take a bus, or car pool with somebody else. If a new book is “published” only as an e-book, and is available only via my Kindle and only when Amazon allows it, how many other ways can I read it?

    Or, said differently, I have a 100-year-old book I can read whenever and wherever I want, and I can give it to my kids, who can give it to their kids. What do I have with an e-book? My grandchildren, I suppose, will have the right to pay Amazon for the privilege of reading it. Good for Amazon, bad for the Tonics.

  14. 14
    dave says:

    I THINK IT SUCKS. WHO CARES.

  15. 15
    gordon schumway says:

    @Jonas:

    I can’t tell if people are being ironic or really many of the commentators are glibertarians of the worst kind.

    Welcome to Balloon Juice!

  16. 16
    John Weiss says:

    @Jonas: Try ‘ironic’. It’s the best tonic.

  17. 17
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Sophist: Sonny Bono is laughing from whatever afterlife he is in.

  18. 18
    daveNYC says:

    The text in that article was technobable that I couldn’t tell heads or tails from. For all I know the thing can cure cancer or cause it.

    And overcloudification of stuff is crap. Last thing I want is for an internet issue to be able to turn a $500 chunk of hardware into nothing more than a paperweight.

  19. 19
    RSA says:

    To me it sounds like a pretty obvious idea pitched as a breakthrough. The devil will be in the details. But even so, the bottom line for end users, at least at first, is likely to be only that stuff runs faster (except when it breaks).

  20. 20
    Martin says:

    @joes527: Yeah, that’s sorta my first though too, but your ISP almost certainly does the same thing – caching popular content locally, and Akamai has been doing that as a service for ages. Besides, you’ve been beaming every fucking thing about you to Google for ages now, thanks to every ad that they serve up.

    What they’re doing here is interesting but doesn’t strike me as useful in the long term. Whatever benefits they’re getting by splitting load with EC2 (which is hosting up half of the shit you look at anyway) is merely making up for them shipping a ass-slow product (and Fire is reported to be ass slow). Given the rate at which both mobile CPU power is increasing and the rate at which mobile bandwidth is increasing, I can’t imagine this will look terribly useful in a few years time.

    This mostly looks like a gimmick to try and create enough retail price space between them and other tablets on the market. It’ll probably work to an extent – you don’t have to try too hard to convince people to cut corners in order to save a buck.

  21. 21
    stormhit says:

    What? Including a browser in an operating system isn’t an antitrust violation?

    Sincerely,
    1998

  22. 22
    joes527 says:

    @Martin: The difference between the cloud and the power grid, is that SDG&E doesn’t get to see what I’m cooking when I turn on the oven.

    That plus the fact that power suppliers are replaceable. When cloud services shut down, the content that depends on them disappears.

  23. 23
    Judas Escargot says:

    “Normal” people don’t care about rooting their devices. I’ve tried to explain to a number of meatspacers that I’d be happy to rootkit a Nook for them –giving them an iPad equivalent for half the price– but nobody wants to be bothered. Looks like the “walled gardens” model of yesteryear is here to stay.

    That said, the Fire will sell like hotcakes, and Amazon knows this, hence the low price (no way you could make a profit on that thing for $199/unit, they probably cost close to that to manufacture).

    It’s strange that none of the usual rumor-sites seems to have predicted the new eInk devices. Using IR-sensors for the touchscreen functionality (instead of a capacitive-sensing glass screen) for the eInk is a good engineering decision, IMO. Even the best glass screen will have some glare, detracting from the many benefits of eInk. Sony tried that, and I hated the screen glare (this at a Target store).

    For my part: I have an original iPad, which I haven’t used since I picked up a laptop for $350 and slapped Ubuntu on it two weeks ago. I prefer eInk for reading (I have a Kindle DX, and can read that screen for hours with no eyestrain at all), so I’m actually glad that Amazon hasn’t totally abandoned eInk.

    Unless my current iPad or Kindle breaks (or I win the lottery), I’ll be sitting out this generation of tablets and eReaders… but it should be really fun to watch this market evolve over the next 18 months or so.

  24. 24
    MikeJ says:

    Wow. They put squid[1] in front of a mobile browser. What a breakthrough.

    In the 90s we spent tons of time and money trying to squeeze every drop of performance out of 28.8 dial up. It really did make things better at the time, but very few years later everything was broadband.

    Mobile networks suck, and precompiling css/html/jscript on a front end proxy could be a performance win. I’m guessing in 2-3 years it will look like those html tutorials that told you how vital it was to keep total page size (including graphics) as far under 100k as you could.

    [1] OK, it’s a smart proxy, but a smart squid is still a squid.

  25. 25
    Ex Regis says:

    It has no 3G or 4G capability, so the cloud is with you only in a Wi-Fi environment.

    The Silk Web browser is an expansion of customizing page caches according to your own and general preferences. It takes advantage of Amazon’s own EC2 servers, which serve lots of web sites, to predict what you might do at a site and so render the page you’ll click on ahead of time.

    The Opera browser on the iPad has been doing this for a while — caching pages in anticipation of your choices.

    Either convenient or scary. Your choice.

  26. 26
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    To get to work, I can walk, ride a bicycle, drive my own car, take a bus, or car pool with somebody else. If a new book is “published” only as an e-book, and is available only via my Kindle and only when Amazon allows it,

    That’s a pretty big “if” you inserted there.

  27. 27
    barath says:

    @MikeJ:

    Wow. They put squid[1] in front of a mobile browser. What a breakthrough.

    I think they did more than put a squid-like proxy in front of the browser, but you’re right that it’s nothing novel. (They probably have some custom proxy that actually parses the page, fetches the appropriate page objects, and then passes them to the mobile device all together. That way they decrease page load time by decreasing the number of round-trips required to fetch the page objects.)

  28. 28
  29. 29
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Sentient Puddle: Stephen King published an electronic-only “book” over 10 years ago. Amazon has withdrawn rights to Kindle “books”. How big an “if” is it?

  30. 30
    Nevgu says:

    So it’s kinda sorta a browser based operating system but only the browser part so not as good. Kinda sort just a browser but more bloaty and slow.

    Oh, and you have to use the Amazon cloud to get the benefits. But we don’t want to point that part out. We will just pretend that it’s mostly for the consumers benefit instead of the fact it mostly for our benefit and the expense of convenience for the consumer.

    I’m thinkin Microsoft Bob 2011.

  31. 31
    MikeJ says:

    @barath: That’s what I said in para 3. :)

    BTW, AOL did something similar with they first included a browser component in the client. There was a image shrinking proxy/cache on the AOL end that transmogrified the images before going to the client. It could be turned off though and allow traffic to to go straight from the client to the web host bypassing AOL.

  32. 32
    Judas Escargot says:

    @joes527:

    Every web page that you look at gets brokered by Amazon? What could possibly go wrong?

    The core of this idea is not new. Many major ISPs provide some kind of buffering/prefetch function to make web surfing faster (Comcast does this, as do the mobile phone networks), and most large company networks do the same.

    It’s been said that Google is an advertising company that happens to do search and mobile OSes. In the same way, Amazon has ended up being a Cloud Computing company that just so happens to sell devices, books, media and meatspace items.

    They’ve apparently realized this: Devices are just a way to get an end user into their cloud ecosystem. This also explains why Amazon, unlike Apple, couldn’t care less what device you use to access your content (ie they’ll happily sell you a Kindle, but are just as happy to let you read an ebook on your iPad or android phone).

  33. 33
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @Gin & Tonic: It’s the compound. I’m pretty sure that however dystopic the future will be, Amazon will not be the sole distributor of e-books.

  34. 34
    efgoldman says:

    @joes527:

    The difference between the cloud and the power grid, is that SDG&E doesn’t get to see what I’m cooking when I turn on the oven.

    That’s what they want you to think.

  35. 35
    Jay in Oregon says:

    As for cloud services, there have been several partial/regional outages of Amazon Web Services:

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/.....ence/47731

    The rule for cloud computing should be the same as for any kind of computing; never have your only copy of your data stored there.

    That goes for AWS, Dropbox, Apple’s pending iCloud, [insert favorite cloud storage service here].

  36. 36
    gex says:

    @Jay in Oregon: There’s always an appropriate XKCD. Love that site/guy.

    :)

  37. 37
    WaterGirl says:

    Speaking of Amazon… Cole, do you still love your hands-free Bissell SpotBot?

    I finally saved up to get one, and that model is no longer available, but they do have a Pet SpotBot that looks similar. Just wondering what you think about yours all these months later. Best thing ever or flash in the pan?

  38. 38
    trollhattan says:

    At the pricepoint it’s a pretty impressive hunk ‘o technology. And if the browser actually works, as compared to the one in my current Kindle, then double-win. Higher screen resolution than the ipad, which is also a surprise at the pricepoint.

    I’d imagine the battery life will be less-than-stellar.

    http://gizmodo.com/5844623/ama.....ocking-199

  39. 39
    fasteddie9318 says:

    Call me when they figure out how to do an e-ink touch screen for the price of the Kindle 3. I don’t need a tablet and don’t want one whose primary reason for being is to make me buy more shit from Amazon. I like my Kindle, though I would like to trade flimsy buttons for a simple touch screen interface, but “upgrading” to a device without e-ink defeats the whole purpose.

    And anyway, if they don’t stop slow-roasting their temp employees I’m likely to switch to Nook anyway.

  40. 40
    Nevgu says:

    Anyone still drinking the Amazon cloud Koolaid should read this.
    http://alan.blog-city.com/has_.....cribed.htm

  41. 41

    @dave: I THINK IT SUCKS. WHO CARES.

    Welcome to Balloon Juice!

  42. 42

    @Jay in Oregon: The rule for cloud computing should be the same as for any kind of computing; never have your only copy of your data stored there.

    I haven’t looked into any of the cloud services†, but when/if I do, a primary feature I will look for is ease of offline archiving.

    †I do use Dropbox, and I don’t really consider it “cloud.” It does feature network storage, but it’s all automatically mirrored between multiple connected devices, so really you always have an offline copy.

  43. 43
    joes527 says:

    @Martin: My ISP? … yeah they can track everything … except for SSL data … and stuff I push through a VPN if they really want to. Akamai? All that they get over time is a bunch of requests that come from IPs that change from day to day. Google? same thing. They can correlate me for as long as I keep my IP I guess. Without browser or flash cookies to help them, most folks who like to compile profiles won’t be bothered.

    Could the NSA track me? Sure, but I’m _way_ too boring for them to bother.

    Now, does the Silk Browser send a unique identifier (that can be correlated to the device, that can be correlated to the credit card used to purchase the device) with every request? (and don’t even get me started with what must happen with SSL ….)

    Even more interesting … Since Amazon is pre-rendering the page in the cloud … will they filter, add or change any content? I’m sure that the lawsuits would fly if they did something as blatant as replacing other folks ads with Amazon ads. But might they do something more subtly?

  44. 44
    Three-nineteen says:

    @fasteddie9318: They introduced the e-ink Kindle Touch at the same time. $99 with ads and no 3G, $189 with 3G and no ads.

  45. 45
    Martin says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    If a new book is “published” only as an e-book, and is available only via my Kindle and only when Amazon allows it, how many other ways can I read it?

    Is that actually happening? Or are you letting your dystopian worries get the better of you? Remember, the tea party was convinced the auto bailouts would lead us to a fully marxist state. I agree that with this device, you may be correct, but there are other devices, there will always be a market for printed books for those willing to pay (even vinyl is making a comeback), and there will always be eBook markets where you have more control. You may not be able to get into them for $199, but you will have a choice.

    Or, said differently, I have a 100-year-old book I can read whenever and wherever I want, and I can give it to my kids, who can give it to their kids. What do I have with an e-book?

    Well, does every book you own qualify as an heirloom? You’ve already made purchasing decisions regarding what you intend to hand down and what you don’t and that will continue. And truth be told, 100 years ago the number of things that qualified as an heirloom to be handed down in a normal family could generally fit on a table, furniture aside. I suspect you’ve taken the romantic notion of handing down heirlooms and expanded it to encompass most of what you own. At least, that’s true of much of society today. Rather than handing down a few precious items, descendants are dealing with enormous quantities of, frankly crap, with a number of heirlooms interspersed. It would not be such a bad thing if we managed to transition society back to a state where there were a modest number of truly precious things that we build our houses around and the rest become virtualized, rather than McMansions for our shit with public storage facilities with all the shit we can’t fit in the McMansions.

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just the 300 Happy Meal toys I received clouding my judgement on this.

  46. 46
    Emma says:

    @Judas Escargot: Nobody? That’s interesting. Library people have been talking about it for a while.

  47. 47
    geg6 says:

    I have no idea what any of this stuff is. And I honestly don’t care. If it has something to do with a Kindle, I’ll never have to care. I don’t care to buy books that aren’t books.

  48. 48
    IrishGirl says:

    @barath: Exactly….I’ve never been a big proponent of “cloud” computing basically because I’m a control freak. I want to be able to control my access to the Internet and not rely on some unknown other. And then if there is a problem, I want to be able to know exactly what node is causing the problem.

    Also, too, two other points. First, how fast do they need to be before we stop noticing that one is faster than another, i.e., at a certain point, I can’t see the difference and if I can’t notice the speed difference its no longer an advantage. Second, your connection bandwidth is STILL the bottleneck. One would presume wireless everywhere you go….IF you’re using a mobile device. But if you’re in an office, as I am now that relies on cat5 to T1’s (during March Madness our network can crawl) or you’re in a rural area and have dial up….there’s still a possible choke point.

  49. 49
    Natasha says:

    Meh to the cloud. What’s on my devices is my business. And I don’t want to have to ask for someone’s permission to load back on should I choose to remove it.

    The DRM gets stripped off everything I buy so I can use on whatever the hell device I want to.

    Yeah, and get off my lawn.

  50. 50
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    I think there’s the general perception that tech companies (with the exception of MSFT) aren’t evil, cause a bunch of polyamorous recreational drug using geeks work for them, so they can’t be evil, right? Yay, lets trust in the cloud!

    It merely a Nook Color competitor, and I have no desire to be locked into Amazon’s ecosystem, or to fool around with the cloud if I don’t have to. I’m going to wait till the Nook Color 2 comes out before making any purchases.

    And yeah, the average person has been led to believe that they are technological simpletons who shouldn’t care about anything that isn’t glossy (thank you Apple), so rooting devices is a niche thing, but it is a very big niche for the Nook Color. Its definitely an exception to the belief that stuff like that doesn’t matter. Just about all that device’s buzz on tech blogs has been related to the ease of rooting.

    And yeah, fuck the glibertarian Jeff Bezos.

  51. 51
    MikeJ says:

    @geg6: Every book I read on my nook is a book. There are no dead trees involved, but “book” doesn’t equal dead tree any more than “album” equals vinyl.

  52. 52
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @MikeJ:

    BTW, AOL did something similar with they first included a browser component in the client. There was a image shrinking proxy/cache on the AOL end that transmogrified the images before going to the client. It could be turned off though and allow traffic to to go straight from the client to the web host bypassing AOL.

    And those of us who worked at the place at the time learned to shut that “feature” off about a week in.

  53. 53
    MikeJ says:

    @IrishGirl:

    Second, your connection bandwidth is STILL the bottleneck

    But that’s the point of what they’re doing. When you d/l a page from balloon-juice.com you get a 100k html file, a half dozen or more javascript files, and several css files. Your browser makes a seperate request for each item and has to wait for them to arrive before it can render the html into what you see on the screen. Amazon is going to use their fat pipes (and caches) to keep all those extra files around and then *they’ll* build the display html, cutting the number of requests from a dozen to one.

  54. 54
    Martin says:

    @joes527:

    The difference between the cloud and the power grid, is that SDG&E doesn’t get to see what I’m cooking when I turn on the oven.

    Unless you are paying cash and not using a loyalty card, I guarantee your grocery store is tracking what you buy and selling that information.

    Now, does the Silk Browser send a unique identifier (that can be correlated to the device, that can be correlated to the credit card used to purchase the device) with every request? (and don’t even get me started with what must happen with SSL ….)

    Almost certainly they are.

    Even more interesting … Since Amazon is pre-rendering the page in the cloud … will they filter, add or change any content? I’m sure that the lawsuits would fly if they did something as blatant as replacing other folks ads with Amazon ads. But might they do something more subtly?

    I’d be willing they will at some point. Certainly they will accidentally simply by not caching frequently enough. What makes you think Google isn’t doing this now with your info, though?

    I’m not trying to defend Amazon here, but whatever concerns people are having over this – well, that ship sailed ages ago. You’re being tracked 9 ways to sunday, and unless you go full-unabomber, that’s not going to change. The good news is that they’re collecting so much shit like this on everyone that it pretty much becomes meaningless – you’re just one kernel of corn is a very, very, very big soup pot.

  55. 55
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @geg6: I don’t get comments like this. You are, in fact, free to not chime in on things you don’t care about.

  56. 56
    MikeJ says:

    @Neddie Jingo: Or simply installed a separate browser to run alongside the client.

  57. 57
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Emma:

    Nobody? That’s interesting. Library people have been talking about it for a while.

    Nobody: I’ve seen exactly one rooted Nook in the wild, and that belongs to a coworker and fellow techie (it makes a damn fine Android tablet, too– the screen is small but I prefer the interface to the iPad’s).

    Most people out there seem perfectly happy to be carefree end-users (which does make sense). How many drivers are gearheads? How many guitarists know how to refinish their instrument, or rewire their pickups? How many bloggers are Javascript programmers?

  58. 58
    Jules says:

    Well I love my Kindle (1st gen.) and I love my iTouch and I have wanted something that is a mix, but at a lower cost then an iPad, so I will probably get one of these.

  59. 59
    Emma says:

    @Martin: Thank you for letting me know I’m not the only one who doesn’t freak out over this. I store all my Kindle books in my spare hard drive, and in any case, the majority of my stuff is PDF because I tend to look for out-of-copyright stuff. The “good books” get bought on paper. I don’t give a rip if Amazon tracks my purchases. THIS SITE tracks my purchases. Right now I’m getting an ad that leads back to a site where I started to buy something and changed my mind and it specifically says “complete your purchase and…”! (I know, I know, it’s the add thing, but really not that different). So, I’ll probably get one of the new Kindles for my Christmas present to myself and then pass on the old one to a friend.

  60. 60
    Neddie Jingo says:

    True. But doing UI design work to be displayed in the client, you kinda had to use the client. But lunchtime goof-off surfing? Absolutely.

  61. 61
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @Three-nineteen: Sweet. I thought that was still a ways off.

  62. 62
    LM says:

    @Gin & Tonic:
    I think it’s fantastic for writers. My books stayed in a print for a few years, which isn’t the worst shelf life. But ever since, they’ve been collecting dust in used bookstores. With ebooks, not only can I bring them back, I have control over how they’re presented. E.g. one of my series is full of lefty politics, and the narrator smokes a lot of pot. When the books came out, mysteries by women were generally marketed as “cozy.” (The other big category was “noir” but narrators of those books tended to be alcoholics, not potheads.) Now I can create covers that don’t look like Miss Marple, and I can write descriptive copy that isn’t groan-inducingly cutesy. Plus, for the one I just uploaded, amazon activated the “Look Inside” feature. It’s such a boon to writers to have this chance to hook readers, and so is the free sample for kindle. Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s Nook store imo are both very writer-friendly. I love this second chance.

  63. 63
    catclub says:

    @Martin: The return of the upside down internet. I still have that bookmarked.

    The fuzzy filter was great also.

  64. 64
    Gilles de Rais says:

    How many guitarists know how to refinish their instrument, or rewire their pickups?

    @Judas Escargot: I can carve a neck from scratch using a spokeshave. Or a CNC machine. But I’m the exception that proves the rule. Not many builders play. And very few players build.

    I rooted my Nook, too. So now you know two people who’ve done it.

  65. 65
    MikeJ says:

    @Neddie Jingo: On-system stuff didn’t require a browser for a loong time after they had one. Hell, they were pushing rainman after the browser was added.

    I bet I still have a manual around here somewhere.

  66. 66
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Martin: I was referring more to readability than to “heirloom”ishness. I have 10-20 year-old data files that I can’t read, and would have to spend a great deal of time building up a system to do so. My fault, I admit. But are you old enough to recall a popular e-publishing format called Folio? Can you currently play your 78-rpm discs? Remember the BBC’s “Domesday” project? I can pick up that 100-year-old book and read it today. I’ve never had to format-convert. At work we have data that we’ve had to format-convert 4-5 times over its life, at a real cost. Not much call for 9-track open-reel tapes these days.

  67. 67
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @MikeJ:

    When you d/l a page from balloon-juice.com you get a 100k html file, a half dozen or more javascript files, and several css files. Your browser makes a seperate request for each item and has to wait for them to arrive before it can render the html into what you see on the screen.

    And unless your browser or BJ’s server is broken, all of the files that don’t change (the CSS, image, and JS files) should be cached on your machine. The only thing that should be re-downloaded is the generated HTML.

    In fact, your description makes it sound MORE expensive — in processing time and bandwidth — for the Silk proxy to do that for you because every time I hit the BJ main page it will push a new pre-generated page every single time.

  68. 68
    trollhattan says:

    @Emma:

    Yup, it’s (Kindle) just another way to consume media, of which books are one medium. Got the small 3G Kindle for Christmas last year and I’ve been surprised at how nice it is to read text and properly executed grayscale graphics on the e-ink screen. I’ve not gone nuts buying books–only a few so far–but have finagled a lot of reference material on it, such as camera and GPS owners manuals and maps exported to pdf. Gradually, the 8-ounce device became a very useful repository of things I never seem to have handy when I need them.

    The browser on mine is a joke, so this is an area the new Fire will improve dramatically. And I guess a decent touchscreen can replace the tiny button keyboard, which is no picnic to type on, but not a big deal since the browser doesn’t really work with email anyway.

  69. 69
    Martin says:

    @MikeJ:

    Amazon is going to use their fat pipes (and caches) to keep all those extra files around and then they’ll build the display html, cutting the number of requests from a dozen to one.

    But the problem is that the rendered page typically isn’t smaller than the unrendered one – particularly if you are caching repeated content locally like stylesheets. It’s not a problem of bandwidth so much as it is a problem of a lack of storage and computational power – which are the things they gutted to get the price down to $199. Rendering a modern page quickly is complicated and expensive, and modern browsers achieve much of their performance by consuming RAM like crazy. Their device can’t do that. Bandwidth has nothing to do with it – hell, the whole point of the device is to get you to consume more bandwidth – movies, books, etc.

  70. 70
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @LM: You touch on something here that I think is pretty important…I don’t think most people really get how the book publishing industry works, particularly with regards to physical copies. I don’t really have any familiarity with how it is on the digital side, but I can’t imagine how it wouldn’t be a giant leap forward in terms of availability.

  71. 71
    Emma says:

    @trollhattan: Yeah. I’m kind of looking forward to the apps. A good notepad app, a calendar app, access to my Audible list, the browser, and I’m ready to travel. Well, that and my camera.

  72. 72
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Martin:

    It’s all a matter of sussing out where the choke point is.

    More often than not with desktop and laptop PCs, the choke point is somewhere beyond your router to the Internet.

    With this device, it is your device.

  73. 73
    Egilsson says:

    @Martin:

    @Gin & Tonic: Well, isn’t that the modern equivalent to not owning your own cow, not owning your own coal furnace, not owning your own car?

    The cloud is the 21st century equivalent of the 20th century infrastructure grid – distributed power, mass transit, food distribution, etc. No longer owning books is conceptually no different than taking a bus or a train.

    This is a very interesting point, and one I had not thought about.

    Isn’t control still a major distinction though? I’m increasingly migrating to the “cloud”, but looking out a number of years, I think it could be a mistaken reliance.

    Sure is handy for storing pictures though…

  74. 74
    Martin says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    But are you old enough to recall a popular e-publishing format called Folio? Can you currently play your 78-rpm discs? Remember the BBC’s “Domesday” project? I can pick up that 100-year-old book and read it today. I’ve never had to format-convert. At work we have data that we’ve had to format-convert 4-5 times over its life, at a real cost. Not much call for 9-track open-reel tapes these days.

    I’ve got a mint-condition Victrola that will turn 100 next year, so yeah, I’m good. I’m not anti-heirloom.

    But do I need to play my 78 rpm discs? No, I have AACs of them. You never know when an earthquake/tornado/supervolcano will strike. And you can make choices about your formats and pre-plan for format-conversion. Choose those that are open, and if you don’t have an open choice, choose dead-tree, or vinyl, or whatever you feel comfortable with.

    The problem here isn’t that choice is being taken away. Hell, you’re getting MORE choice. The problem is that if you are looking only down the most economical path, or the most convenient one, that choice often looks like a poor one. But you aren’t forced to choose it. Open your wallet and choose a better but more expensive one, or build in some of your time and choose a better but less convenient one. You don’t want to be locked into the Amazon ecosystem, then don’t buy it. Problem solved. I personally have no electronic books other than open ePub ones that I can store on my home server, and for books that I really want to own, I buy hardback. It’s my cheap paperback habit that’s changed, not my book habit.

  75. 75
    Martin says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    With this device, it is your device.

    Exactly – and the price reflects that.

  76. 76
    MikeJ says:

    @Martin: Firebug shows 43 requests per page at bj. 43 times you have to open a connection, handshake, dns, blah blah. It’s a lot more expensive to open connections than it is to send more data down an already open connection.

    It’s not the ultimate solution to speed, but done properly (and measured to see what’s working) it could make a significant difference. And as I said in my first comment on the subject, ideally in a few years it will seem like overkill.

  77. 77
    geg6 says:

    @MikeJ:

    For you perhaps.

    But not for me. I, for one, get eye strain from reading my computer and iPhone all day and even from just watching tv.

    But that’s not even reason enough for me to say “meh” to this stuff. I like low-tech stuff, especially books. I like the feel of paper, ink, and leather (or pleather or even just thick paper texture-ized to look and feel like leather). I like the smell of a book, especially old ones. I like how my eyes feel reading an especially great font printed in ink on beautiful paper.

    I feel much the same about music. I have never listened to any sort of digital music. Don’t keep it on my computer or phone. Don’t have an iPod. I only have a few CDs that I’ve gotten a friend to burn for me with mixes of songs I love (much like Rob Gordon in High Fidelity) so I can listen to music in my car. We have an old reel-to-reel and a turntable that we listen to our music on at home.

    Some things are not improved by emerging technology. IMHO, books and music are prime examples of where emerging technology have turned them and the experience of them to complete shit.

  78. 78
    Emma says:

    @Martin: It’s my cheap paperback habit that’s changed, not my book habit. Shake, pardner.

    I have an office AND a bedroom lined with custom-made bookshelves. Some of the paperback stuff is deteriorating so fast I can see it happening. So these days, I buy hardback for those books I know I will treasure. My Kindle is filled with PDFs from Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive and Google Books, plus a few things I wanted to read but knew I wouldn’t keep. I have an Audible account and get very good books, including foreign language books that help me keep in practice. Those are in the Zen, but I can now download them to the Kindle, too. All downloads duped to the portable hard drive.

    It’s all access. Choose the one you want at the moment and for the purpose.

  79. 79
    burnspbesq says:

    @daveNYC:

    Redundancy is the answer. Before I put any of my law firm’s mission-critical information into Dropbox, I made sure that Time Machine is backing up my Dropbox folder on my desktop. So I have 3x backup redundancy: Time Machine, Dropbox, and the USB drive that lives on my keychain.

  80. 80
    geg6 says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    And I don’t get why you have to complain about it. So I guess we’re even.

  81. 81
    MikeJake says:

    I’m not 100% on board with our cloud computing future, but if you’re going to demand that a tablet device has the ability to store all the music and movies you buy, then it’s not going to fit in the palm of your hand.

    If the Fire’s browser can seamlessly load up your purchased movies from the cloud, that’s pretty cool.

  82. 82
    mistermix says:

    @MikeJ: This is true and Opera Mobile has addressed the problem in a similar way as Amazon (except that they always serve the whole page, sounds like Amazon might do a partial solution).

    Amazon is trying to make a virtue out of a deficit. In order to get a tablet out by Xmas, they had to use underpowered hardware and can’t give the user a good web experience or run all possible apps. So they limit the apps and push part of the web browser computation to the cloud. I’ll definitely want to wait to read a couple good reviews before contemplating buying this device.

  83. 83
    Martin says:

    @Egilsson:

    Isn’t control still a major distinction though? I’m increasingly migrating to the “cloud”, but looking out a number of years, I think it could be a mistaken reliance.

    That was true before as well. There’s no shortage of ham radio guys out there unwilling to fully cede to the grid. And the Amish are basically an entire community of people that have refused to cede that control. They aren’t anti-convenience so much as they are opposed to giving up that control. They’ll hook a modern combine up to horses because they don’t want the dependence on a gasoline infrastructure that they can’t replace or control. Buttons can be fixed, zippers can’t. It even applies to little things, for them.

    But everyone has the things they’re willing to give up and those they aren’t. My neighbor was telling me about the big truck he was going to buy so he could haul plywood home 3x a year. I asked if it wouldn’t just be cheaper to rent a truck 3x a year and instead buy a regular car. Well… yeah… he didn’t want to trade that out. Me, I’m happy to. I’ll pay Lowes $50 to haul all that shit to my driveway rather than spend $10K on more vehicle than I need the other 362 days a year.

    Are you willing to entrust your photos to the cloud entirely? Some people will. We have a lot of ours in the cloud, but we also have a little server in the house and store them all there, and important ones get backed up even from that. Overkill? Probably. But we took the effort of scanning every family photo album, all the way back to the deguerrotypes that came over from europe. Not only will we never lose our family albums this way, but the cloud lets us share the photos, so the bickering over who should have what could end. The effort was well worth it, and now all of those photos can fit on a fat thumb drive and dropped into a safe deposit box, and the real albums could be carefully packed away someplace safe. The cloud and all of this electronic business has given us freedom and flexibility (and insurance) we never previously had.

    You make of it all what you will.

  84. 84
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Gilles de Rais:

    Not many builders play. And very few players build.

    Your luthier skills far exceed mine, then: my Wordwork-Fu is weak (not much beyond “prime, paint, finish and bolt together”). But I can design and wire up a mean circuit…

    BTW I didn’t find out until a few weeks ago that Leo Fender never learned how to play the instruments he built: It was apparently just an interesting manufacturing challenge to him.

    Much as Steve Jobs never really learned how to program.

  85. 85
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @MikeJ:

    On-system stuff didn’t require a browser for a loong time after they had one. Hell, they were pushing rainman after the browser was added.

    The last rainman screen I designed was (ironically enough) the Computers Channel main — 2003, maybe? AOL 7.0.

    Oh, hell, the Welcome Screen didn’t go HTML until about 2007. That place was borked.

  86. 86
    catclub says:

    @Jay in Oregon: doesn’t firefox now typically clear (safe-browsing) the cache when you close it,
    so each time you re-open FF it will need to get all the sub-files that can be cached?

    Or is it just history that is cleared?

  87. 87
    MikeJ says:

    @geg6: If you’re listening to vinyl or open reel tapes you’re getting a shitty music experience. The only accurate way to hear it is from live musicians. One reason I listen to J-pop. The bands tend to be lighter to carry around with you.

    The 5,000th time you play a flac file it will sound as good as the first time. There’s a reason the cliché about an album you love is that you “played the grooves off it.” It’s true. Your musical experience will be much, much, much, much better if you rip your vinyl to flac on the very first play and put the vinyl away.

  88. 88
    Martin says:

    @MikeJ: You’re still going to have most of those connections since most of them are ads and whatnot. BJ serves up very few files (and most we would already have locally cached like the stylesheets and images). Amazon won’t be allowed to intercept the ads and other revenue bits server-side, at least for long.

  89. 89
    MikeJ says:

    @Neddie Jingo: My last one was 95 or 96, so you’re much more recent than I.

    And borked? One of the first things a veep told me was, “never let anyone find out you know how to use the stratus.” Which was funny because most of what I worked on was moving stuff off of it onto the unix boxes, but she thought it was bad to be seen as nerdy enough to actually know how to use the terminal on your desk.

  90. 90
    RSA says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    And yeah, the average person has been led to believe that they are technological simpletons who shouldn’t care about anything that isn’t glossy (thank you Apple), so rooting devices is a niche thing

    I think it’s more complicated than this. I’d say…

    Most people want stuff that works right out of the box.

    Most people have the impression that having a warranty is better than doing something that voids their warranty.

    Tech-savvy people are sometimes clubby and impatient with novices; a lot of computer novices have had bad experiences with help desks (which aren’t far up on the tech ladder but can influence people’s perception of tech).

    Most people value convenience over cheapness + complexity + a learning curve.

    Most people aren’t technological simpletons; they just don’t care enough about tech to make much effort worthwhile.

  91. 91
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Before I put any of my law firm’s mission-critical information into Dropbox

    Uh… You sure about the security of that mission-critical information? I don’t know anything you don’t, but the company I work for has forbidden us to use Dropbox and built their own proprietary functionality.

  92. 92
    RSA says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    Much as Steve Jobs never really learned how to program.

    Interesting! I didn’t know that. I suspect that was for the best.

  93. 93
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Martin:

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just the 300 Happy Meal toys I received clouding my judgement on this.

    This of course is part of the master plan.

    I don’t know, I’m very grateful that certain things are by definition “cloud” technology; it beats having to sit around with all of these people and you know cats and so on in the actual room with me.

    The fact that almost everything on the Internet goes “poof” and vanishes when I close my browser seems a positive thing to me, if just to avoid the awkward parts where you’re done talking but would have to say uhm, okay well I’m going to bed, John if you want to take the dogs for a walk and there’s sirloin in the fridge for Tunch and uh, you know help yourself…..

    Better this way.

  94. 94
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @geg6: Nah, I’ve said some things that are mildly interesting and/or relevant to the topic. You’ve complained about technology in general. I think the score is more like 1-0.

  95. 95
    Martin says:

    @burnspbesq: Be really careful with your stuff on Dropbox. I use it, but I don’t consider it secure at all as they’ve had one major and one minor security breach. What I do with files I need to be secure is store them in an encrypted disk image, and then shuttle that around. Here’s a tutorial.

  96. 96
    TaMara (BHF) says:

    @Emma: This is my philosophy. With all the travelling I do, I want something light and affordable. For my money, the Ipad is just too expensive to be of use for what it does based on what I need/want. But a $199 Kindle Fire – sounds like it would do just what I need and if I dropped/lost it along the way I wouldn’t be prone to cursing/crying.

    I want affordable and user-friendly. I remember my first computer, I practically had to build it myself. I said it was like buying a car and the engine came in pieces in a box and you were expected to put it in yourself. I’m happy to be a passive-user these days.

    As for the cursed cloud? I can’t imagine not keeping a copy of anything I owned on a backup somewhere.

    EDIT: forgot to add, I won’t do first generation anything, so I’ll wait and see what bugs they work out for the next rendition.

  97. 97
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @MikeJ:

    My last one was 95 or 96, so you’re much more recent than I.

    I started in November ’99. Two weeks before the Merger.

    Good times, good times. Thought I was gonna be a millionaire.

  98. 98
    geg6 says:

    @MikeJ:

    I have no idea what any of that stuff you’re talking about is. I know that my vinyl and reel-to-reel sound about 300% better than anything I’ve heard on CDs, which were supposed to be the be all and end all a couple of decades ago. And the crap I’ve heard coming out of my nieces’ and co-workers’ iPods barely qualifies as “sound,” let alone music.

    I have some friends in the music production business. They have their own studios. They listen to music pretty much the same way I do, so I’m really not worried about my listening experience since they aren’t. And they have re-recorded some of my reel-to-reel for me when the tapes started to deteriorate. As for my vinyl, it is kept in pristine condition, though I have replaced a few of my albums. It’s quite easy to do since vinyl has made a big comeback in recent years. My producing friends say that it’s their preferred medium. I’m willing to bet that my listening experience is probably better than most people’s.

  99. 99
    Emma says:

    @TaMara (BHF): Sometimes people think of the whole technology game as either/or. I think of it as “both plus”. I back up everything — a good portable hard drive can be found fairly inexpensively these days. My pictures are backed up three times. I’m a lot less careful with PDFs, Kindle, or audio books, but I do keep one copy in a spare drive.

    I did the same math you did, and there was no way I was going to invest in an iPad. I already have a nice netbook, thanks much. But on the principle of minimizing the weight when I travel — I rather carry an extra lens than an extra device. This one sounds like I could make notes, read, and listen, plus a quick web browsing when I need to.

  100. 100
    twiffer says:

    @fasteddie9318: that would be a nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/...../index.asp.

    eInk. full touchscreen. $139.

  101. 101
    geg6 says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    So, complaining about technology or dismissing it is not talking about technology? One must only love it in all its iterations and be a tech geek to speak up in a tech thread?

    Really?

    You are aware, aren’t you, that the printed book itself is “technology?”

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    @geg6:

    I feel much the same about music. I have never listened to any sort of digital music. Don’t keep it on my computer or phone. Don’t have an iPod. I only have a few CDs that I’ve gotten a friend to burn for me with mixes of songs I love (much like Rob Gordon in High Fidelity) so I can listen to music in my car. We have an old reel-to-reel and a turntable that we listen to our music on at home.
    __
    Some things are not improved by emerging technology. IMHO, books and music are prime examples of where emerging technology have turned them and the experience of them to complete shit.

    There’s a beautiful synchronicity between this mindset and the attitudes and comments you’ve been spreading across the various Occupy Wall St threads.
    I do hope you finally manage to one day keep those kids off your lawn long enough to finish that episode of The Merv Griffin Show you haven’t seen yet.

  103. 103
    Corner Stone says:

    @Neddie Jingo:

    Uh… You sure about the security of that mission-critical information? I don’t know anything you don’t, but the company I work for has forbidden us to use Dropbox and built their own proprietary functionality.

    Other professional services firms have been blocking it at the network level due to risk management and liability concerns.

  104. 104
    Judas Escargot says:

    @burnspbesq:

    Time Machine, Dropbox, and the USB drive that lives on my keychain.

    You formatted that USB drive to be encrypted, right?

  105. 105
    jibeaux says:

    So here’s a tech question. I don’t work in a fancy shmancy technology-heavy place, I work in state government. We use a lot of paper and although we have transitioned in large part to reading on screen, there is a lot of eyestrain with reading everything on a computer monitor. Our boss is very supportive of the idea of using e-readers which reduce eyestrain and is trying to get a few out of our measly budget. She had proposed kindles and now re-proposed it since they’re $79 now. The response from our tech geeks is that they’re not “very good” at pdfs, being designed for e-book format. We’d be looking at pdfs and word documents. I’m aware that kindles are pdf compatible, and he didn’t say they weren’t, just sort of sub-optimal for that job. So does anyone have any recommendations for us, or is he selling the kindle short? It needs to be short on bells & whistles and price, and deliver on reduced glare & eyestrain and viewing pdfs.

  106. 106
    singfoom says:

    @geg6: Uh, yeah, well, good luck on hating on any technology that’s more recent than the 1970s on a thread about a new technology product.

    I’m glad you appreciate old technology, but guess what? Some of us like both old and new, and just shitting on everything that’s come since 1970 is kind of shitty.

    I like books, I also have a Kindle. Some books, the ones I really care about, that I already have a bunch in the series, I want to have them physically. Others, that I don’t care about as much, I get on kindle, and they don’t clog up my apartment like the rest.

    I also have a turntable AND an iPod. I’m glad your satisfied with your listening experience, now don’t go and crap on other people’s choices because they’re different then yours.

  107. 107
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @jibeaux:

    One way I can see the Kindle being suboptimal for reading PDFs is lack of a touch screen. PDFs can have internal links (table of contents, etc.), and not being able to click them would slow you down.

    This new Fire will probably solve this, but I don’t think that’s what you want to hear.

  108. 108
    singfoom says:

    @jibeaux: I have a Kindle 3rd gen I got around the turn of the year. My experience with PDFs on it is that your tech guys are pretty right… They work, but it’s not that great of an experience… They’re really meant for epub format.

    That doesn’t mean you couldn’t get them to work better with PDFs with some slight tweaking, I’d google around, I’m sure someone has found a way to improve that part of the experience…

  109. 109
    jibeaux says:

    @Neddie Jingo:
    our pdfs will have very few, if any, links. Probably 75% are scanned medical records. Do you think the kindle would be otherwise sub-optimal for pdfs? I’d like to see one to be sure, but I think they’d be good enough for us.

  110. 110
    Emma says:

    @jibeaux: I read PDFs on my Kindle all the time, and it’s ok to great, depending on the quality of the PDF itself. It does have some navigational issues — some of the e-book controls don’t work well with PDFs. But for straight reading, IF the PDF is good, the read is good. And you should look at some of the other brands. Some might be better at handling PDFs.

  111. 111
    Corner Stone says:

    @jibeaux: I’ve used my Kindle to read a ton of pdf’d whitepages while traveling. It’s always seemed to handle them just fine, AFAIAC.
    I’ve never really thought twice when I used the cursor/insertion point to activate an internal link in a pdf, or use the TOC links. It’s always seemed to work without an issue.

  112. 112
    Sentient Puddle says:

    @geg6:

    You are aware, aren’t you, that the printed book itself is “technology?”

    I am aware that you’re now just playing semantics games. And while I’m not certain of it, I would venture a guess that you’re well aware of it, and are merely seeking a justification for you complaining about things that we don’t care about.

    But in case you aren’t aware of it, here’s how it all susses out:

    This thread is about e-readers. When you complain about all e-readers, the rest of us look at it, say “Good for you, Luddite,” and going back to talking to each other about e-readers. Unless you have devised a fresh and novel way of complaining about e-readers (which you most assuredly didn’t), it’s the same shit everyone has heard before from various other places, and it isn’t interesting, informative, or otherwise useful to anyone. And if you absolutely insist on saying things that aren’t interesting, informative, or otherwise useful to anyone, then you end up being little more than an attention whore.

  113. 113
    Maude says:

    @geg6:
    iPad and computer screens are hard on the eyes. Ereaders are meant for reading. I didn’t like the idea of ebooks until I read a portion of a book on a nook.
    The ebooks don’t replace hard cover books. If someone needs to have their book portable, they can download it and take it along with them on an ereader.
    It’s not for everyone and if you have tried a nook or Kindle and don’t like it, there’s nothing wrong with that.
    Some people buy the hard cover and the ebook. They read the book when they travel and at home.

  114. 114
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @jibeaux:

    So borrow one from somebody, load a few representative PDFs on it, take it around to the potential end users and ask them what they think. Nothing like actual user feedback, I’ve always found.

  115. 115
    Judas Escargot says:

    @jibeaux:

    I read a lot of academic papers for work (two-column format, plots and charts, etc). Standard Kindle screens (and my aging eyes) are just too small for this material.

    The Kindle DX, with its larger eInk screen, is perfect. But it’s a niche product, priced like one ($349 per), and probably not long for this world with the release of the Fire.

  116. 116
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .

    Just curious what all you tech folks think of this new Silk browser.

    The browser technology is sound (see Opera) and should work well. I wouldn’t own a Kindle, however.
    .
    .

  117. 117
    Maus says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    Sonny Bono is laughing from whatever afterlife he is in.

    Scientologists don’t have an afterlife, they’re immediately born as adults in the bodies of children.

  118. 118
    Bago says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Yeah. Physical reality is boring. As long as the memory/movie/music exists, any human node can see it. The world of physical tokens identifying ownership has passed.

  119. 119
    Stogz says:

    A soy based browser. I like it.

  120. 120
    jibeaux says:

    @Neddie Jingo: Yeah, I will. I don’t actually know anyone with one, but I can get the hubbie to check one out from his university library and let me borrow it for a bit. I just re-animated the issue today with them being only $79 and just found out that this objection with the pdfs is why we don’t have them yet.

  121. 121
    Bago says:

    @dmsilev: As if we don’t already. Doubleclick.net means something.

  122. 122
    Bago says:

    @barath: You are obviously on crack, as cloud architectures specifically call out single points of failure.

  123. 123
    Neddie Jingo says:

    @jibeaux: Let us know how it goes! I’m kinda curious myself.

  124. 124
    Bago says:

    @MikeJ: Remember WML? Wrote a spider for that. The session variables were a bitch.

  125. 125
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Bago:

    You are obviously on crack, as cloud architectures specifically call out single points of failure.

    I do not believe they have eliminated downtime or data loss yet, only minimized them.
    .
    .

  126. 126
    Bago says:

    @Ex Regis: Advanced CMS is cool, but kind of pre-twitter.

  127. 127
    Bago says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas: Zeno’s paradox much?

  128. 128
    Bago says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Welcome to earth. 2011.

  129. 129
    Uriel says:

    @Maude: What exactly Is it about reading books on an LCD screen that you find uncomfortable/ irritating? I’m honestly curious here, not trying to be confrontational- I can understand not wanting to read a novel length document on a CRT screen because of the refresh rates. But I don’t get the complaints regarding LCD screens.

  130. 130
    John X. says:

    jibeaux,

    It’s not that Kindles can’t handle PDFs. They can. It’s that the conversion is unpredictable, so you may or not get a good result with any single PDF. I find that’s it a crapshoot.

    If you are using simple PDFs that are just images of a document, they’ll be okay. If the PDF has a lot of layers, complex layout or fields, it’s more hit or miss.

    I don’t think any of e-ink readers are great at PDFs, although I know the larger Amazon one was designed for them (and the A4 format) in mind.

  131. 131

    @Uriel: What exactly Is it about reading books on an LCD screen that you find uncomfortable/ irritating?

    Projected vs reflected light. With a backlit LCD, you have a light shining in your eyes. It’s not super bright, but it’s still different from a printed page (or e-ink).

  132. 132
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Bago:

    Zeno’s paradox much?

    I take it that this is your face-saving way of admitting that the possibility of downtime and data loss will never be eliminated, and that therefore you were wrong to suggest that the cloud architecture perfectly prevents them for barath.
    .
    .

  133. 133
    Uncle Clarence Thomas says:

    .
    .
    @Martin:

    The cloud is the 21st century equivalent of the 20th century infrastructure grid – distributed power, mass transit, food distribution, etc. No longer owning books is conceptually no different than taking a bus or a train.

    When you consider that what is distributed in the cloud is not physical, as your other examples of distribution are, it is quite conceptually different.
    .
    .

  134. 134
    trollhattan says:

    Simple pdfs of type are no problem and I’d argue, easier to read than on a traditional monitor. If there’s color content converted to monochrome, how readable it is depends both on the original and the conversion. Big tables/spreadsheets are a problem because they’re either shrunken to miniscule size to fit or you have to enlarge and scroll them, not fun without a touchscreen.

    As has been noted there’s no internal navigation and no external links and you’re deprived of Acrobat commenting.

    IMHO, by putting a pdf–“portable document format”–into an e-reader, you’re finally delivering on the concept.

    I’m impressed by how well an exported topographic map reads on the Kindle. I didn’t think it would be usable, but it’s far easier to read than the color screen of a handheld GPS.

    Also, too, the new Fire will have an office document reader. Don’t know about the new e-ink touchscreen models.

    @jibeaux:

    So here’s a tech question. I don’t work in a fancy shmancy technology-heavy place, I work in state government. We use a lot of paper and although we have transitioned in large part to reading on screen, there is a lot of eyestrain with reading everything on a computer monitor. Our boss is very supportive of the idea of using e-readers which reduce eyestrain and is trying to get a few out of our measly budget. She had proposed kindles and now re-proposed it since they’re $79 now. The response from our tech geeks is that they’re not “very good” at pdfs, being designed for e-book format. We’d be looking at pdfs and word documents. I’m aware that kindles are pdf compatible, and he didn’t say they weren’t, just sort of sub-optimal for that job. So does anyone have any recommendations for us, or is he selling the kindle short? It needs to be short on bells & whistles and price, and deliver on reduced glare & eyestrain and viewing pdfs.

  135. 135
    RareSanity says:

    I’m kinda late to the party but, for all of the marketing of this thing, I am extremely underwhelmed.

    It is marketed as a “cheaper” iPad alternative, but it really is a more powerful Nook color alternative.

    Nothing with a 7″ screen, is an alternative to an iPad, or the high-end Android tablets. I don’t care how many buzzwords Amazon throws around about it.

    There are no “alternatives” to an iPad. There are iPads, and then there is everything else, trying to be an iPad. I can admit this and I’m one of the biggest Android fanboys around.

    An alternative is, “I’m not going with the SL500 Mercedes, I’m going with the Hyundai Equus”. Equivalent feature sets, one is cheaper and doesn’t have the same panache.

    This is more like, “I’m not going with the SL500 Mercedes, I’m going with the Buick Regal.” Both are technically “luxury” cars, but they are definitely not comparable.

  136. 136
    Natasha says:

    @jibeaux:

    I wouldn’t recommend a non-touch Kindle for PDFs.

    I have a 3G Kindle(non-touch)with a 6 inch screen. I adore it for reading plain text documents in formats that convert well into the AZW/Mobi format. That’s basically Word / RTF / non-DRM’ed Epub and the like. (A nifty, free program called Calibre can do all the converting for you and manage your library too.)

    The goal of an ebook produced in formats like Epub / Mobi is to make it possible to “reflow” text so that a document’s font, font size, and margins can be changed to suit the reader’s needs. Thus, there are no pages per se in an Epub or AZW/Mobi formatted ebook (and no colums, either). PDFs don’t convert to the AZW/Mobi format with much grace because their text is fixed on the page — it doesn’t “reflow” natively and some fixed page elements just can’t be converted well. (Getting rid of page numbers or dealing with side-bars is difficult.)

    It’s possible to load unconverted PDFs onto the Kindle and read them “natively” (i.e., without conversion) but this is less than ideal, mostly because the screen is too small and navigation is a bear once you start zooming and have to scroll around the page. This may be easier with the new touch screen model, however. It would be worth going to a store and giving one of them a test-drive.

    PDFs work just fine on the Kindle DX, which has a 9.7 inch screen, but, as another commenter pointed out, the DX is pricey ($379).

    If someone in your office has Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can have them convert the original PDF into a Word or RTF document, take out or reformat the tricky bits that don’t convert well (e.g., page numbers, side bars, whatever) then convert them into mobi files. I’ve done this, and it works fine for straightforward documents.

  137. 137
    pablo says:

    Silk is smooth as.

  138. 138
    Bago says:

    @joes527: The 1940’s called, they would like to inform you of encryption technology.

  139. 139
    Bago says:

    @Uncle Clarence Thomas: Hitting 5 9’s is hard enough. When you are coding against half of your global data centers going out at the same time, then you are coding against an Extinction Level Event.

    Sure, an earthquake and nuclear meltdown took out our Kawaguchi datacenter for a while, but 7 data centers at the same time? Gawddamn.

  140. 140
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Bago:

    You are obviously on crack, as cloud architectures specifically call out single points of failure.

    Only if and when they can unambiguously detect those failures.

    This isn’t always the case.

  141. 141
    Beauzeaux says:

    @WaterGirl:

    I have the Pet Spot Bot and it’s the best thing since sliced bread. The only problem is that it cleans up the spot so well, you can see how dirty the rest of the carpet is. I’ve had mine for a few months and use it a lot. I’ve been meaning to thank Cole for putting me onto it.

  142. 142
    tBone says:

    @jibeaux:

    We experimented with the Kindle for PDF viewing for a paperless initiative I worked on. Your tech guys are right; it works, but not that well. Navigation is clumsy and e-ink is slow (not a big deal for pure text, but a pain in the ass with PDFs). Size is another issue; even the Kindle DX is slightly too small to render 8.5×11 docs at native size, and the zooming functionality is terrible. It’s also cumbersome to get PDFs on the device. I can’t imagine ever using it for extensive day-to-day use (as a PDF viewer, at least – for reading prose, it’s great).

    My advice – either go with 10″ LCD tablets, which will be a vastly better experience but a lot more expensive, or stick to the way you’re doing things now. It will be less frustrating for everyone.

  143. 143
    burnspbesq says:

    @Neddie Jingo:

    http://www.dropbox.com/help/27

    I think, based on this, that I have taken reasonable precautions to ensure the security of any privileged communications. And all he rules of evidence and the ethics rules require me to do in order to preserve the attorney-client privilege is take reasonable precautions.

    Hell, somebody could make a duplicate of the key to my office, let themselves in, and swipe my Time Machine drive while I’m at lunch. As long as I lock the door before I leave, I’m in good shape with respect to the privilege.

    The biggest danger to information security in any organization is somebody bribing the cleaning crew.

  144. 144
    Arm The Homeless says:

    Late to the thread, but I have my opinion. I don’t have all that much need or urge to store my stuff in a cloud.

    What I do want is an e-ink tablet with a usb port and enough gumption to run the Office Suite and Excel tables with large (10MB) charts all festooned. WiFi access to Outlook would be nice too.

    Does this exist?

    EDIT: Well it appears as per internet traditions, my question was answered a couple posts before. So if e-ink is too slow to properly render crisp files like excel charts, is there an lcd option that will, and won’t cost $500?

  145. 145
    tBone says:

    @Arm The Homeless:

    The higher-end Android tablets don’t seem to be moving very well and retailers are putting them on sale/markdown fairly regularly; if you look around you should be able to find a decent one in the $350-400 range. I saw the Acer Iconia on sale at Target a couple of weeks ago for ~$350 IIRC.

    Beware the really cheap ones, though. You can find sub-$200 models, but they’re bargain-basement garbage with shitty components and build quality.

  146. 146
    WaterGirl says:

    @Beauzeaux: I’m a day late getting back to this, but just in case you might see this – a big thank you for the reply and recommendation! Just what I needed to make a decision, I will order after I get paid on the first.

  147. 147
    Auctioneer says:

    Looks good. can’t wait to try it out

  148. 148
    flushthepot says:

    I had a problem with my XBOX 360 and cloud storage. I filled up my hard drive by downloading movies and tv shows that I purchased. Once it was full, I had to start deleting videos to download new ones or even download the updates or patches to my games. I actually had to delete a video to open up a game because it wouldn’t let me play it without the update. OK, Microsoft says I can redownload the videos I “own” because I paid for them. But here is the main problem: some of the videos disappeared after a certain date and would no longer be carried on their servers. So I had to re-download them to the XBOX by a certain date or lose them forever. I didn’t have the room on my XBOX hard drive so I lost movies and music that I paid money for. I had to prioritize what things were most important to keep and I was always afraid of them deleting something I had bought if it wasn’t physically on my XBOX. Could this happen with the Kindle Fire? Can I trust the cloud? Can Amazon possibly keep everything on its servers forever?

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