On Fire

I just got my third Android device. I pre-ordered the new Kindle Fire reader and it arrived a day early. I have a warm place in my heart for Amazon; with some 350 books purchased for my Kindle readers over the past three years I would hope they appreciate me. I have read a lot with my kindle, and some of the content isn’t recorded by Amazon and available to me on their cloud. For some reason, John D. MacDonald only appears in a single Kindle volume. As a kid I had read the whole Travis McGee series, creating a more powerful role model than say, Superman or Roy Rogers. None of these great novels are available through Amazon, but I did find them in .mobi format and downloadable for free. My Kindle let me read them all, but refused to store them in my collection in the cloud. So they are stored on my computer, where I originally downloaded them before using USB to copy them to my Kindle.

I wore out my first Kindle I used it so much. I was a week out of the warranty when it gave up the ghost, but I wrote to Amazon and asked if I could get a discount on a new one –since the warranty was just ended. Their reply was to send me a brand new Kindle, via overnight delivery, and an apology for my inconvenience. They also sent me a prepaid shipping label so I could return the broken Kindle for free. I was impressed by that, but then, Amazon has been excellent in supporting the orders they fulfill from their website.  Out of the many, many things I buy through Amazon, a small few have arrived as less than expected in some way, and Amazon has always made good at zero cost to me. I personally think that Amazon, with their wide scope of products and excellent support is a great way to buy things I don’t need instantly. I do have to wait two days for the things I buy from Amazon.

But, I am not a fan of the Amazon marketplace. This is where Amazon basically advertises someone’s products and processes the transaction, but other than that have no stake in a sale. I have had problems with almost every marketplace transaction, and so I have come to only purchase items fulfilled by Amazon. Then their buyer protection is in force and it is they who support the customer. Marketplace sellers don’t seem to employ the same customer concern evidenced by Amazon.

At any rate, I was tickled to receive the all new Kindle, and pleased with all the things it can do. I doubt that I will use all of the facilities available and continue to focus on the Kindle as a reader device. But I could use it similarly to my Toshiba Thrive tablet. But that’s the thing; I have email, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ access on my computer, my Droid phone, and my Toshiba Thrive. The fact that Kindle supports these functions as well means I have serious redundancy of utility. Frankly, since the Toshiba cannot play Netflix, HBO Go or MaxGo streams, the Toshiba doesn’t provide the utility I was expecting it to. I was looking for a mobile video player for the most part, and the discovery that the new version of Android didn’t support the common and popular streaming video standard pretty much stepped all over my intent.  For email, I pretty much stay with my computer although I do get mail on my phone and can and have used it when I was away from home in lieu of my desktop.

The Kindle Fire has color and a backlit screen, and those two items right there are enough to make me happy. The fact that the Kindle will run Android apps, play music and video, handle email and social networking is simply a plus, albeit a plus I might not take much advantage of. Except for one thing: the Kindle supports Amazon’s players and selection of media, and so I may yet end up using it as a pocket television. I like that I don’t need a book lamp, even if it does fold out of my cover. With a backlit screen, the Kindle can be read in pitch black conditions without need of external illumination. As well, the new Kindle Fire support color and thus magazines rich in photo content. I had tried a few magazines on my Kindle and had an aversion to them all. Some magazines were delivered as a single article, allowing no navigation other than paging through, forwards or backwards. I couldn’t jump to an article. Also, the number of images compared to the print versions of the magazines were reduced significantly. This was especially annoying with publications like National Geographic.  But now I see the magazines pretty much the way the print readers do, but with smaller page sizes. The Kindle allows readers to zoom pages and position them in the window, so there’s no need to squint or pull out a magnifying glass.

I suspect this sounds a bit promotional, but the fact is that I am chortling and pleased, and trying to share it. I feel kind of like someone with a new car, and I’m the proud new owner. In the last three years my Kindle has been an important tool in anti-boredom and deflecting my thoughts for my own state of being.  It was and is a convenience to me that gives me the greatest quality of experience with reading, and allows me to easily carry a whole bookshelf of materials with me. Believe me, I definitely prefer the content I have selected into my Kindle than I do the stale magazines with the address plate torn off that populate medical waiting rooms nationwide. Maybe worldwide. When the doctor lays the surprise on me that I’ll be staying the night, or sends me off to another city for radiation or other treatment, my entertainment is always handy. My Kindle is familiar to me. I have held it in my hands more than any other of my possessions, and in that way it’s a literal touchstone of comfort. Just having it along means there’s something handled. Something I don’t need to worry about. All I have to do is remember to bring the stupid Kindle.

My wife snorted at me over my endearment to a device. But when I purchased my middle Kindle, I handed the original (replaced) Kindle to my wife. Her usual dismissal of things technological takes a break when it comes to HER Kindle. She still reads books, more than I do anyway, but much of her reading time has been handed over to Kindle –where she has access to the multitude of books I have available to my account.  I am used to seeing the little pool of light in an otherwise dark room, her face showing concentration as she reads her electric book. I took it as humorous when reading an actual book by G.M. Ford, that I caught myself pressing the edge of the book to change the page –where the Kindle’s page pushbuttons sit. The Kindle Fire doesn’t have those switches, and that will take some getting used to. Much like the iPad or Android tablets –or phones and whatever– page turning is accomplished with a finger tap on the side of a page or a dragging motion with your finger. The only switch on the Kindle Fire appears to be the power/wake up switch.

I giggled to myself as I checked my blog using the new Kindle. I looked at the page and said to myself “I’m on fire.” Yes, it is a lame and cheesy joke, but there I was, on the Fire. Hey, what’s true is true. I’m just sayin’.