Merged Readings of I Am America

For people who want a smaller version of the Kindle text-to-speech demo and comparison against an amateur reader and a professional reader (Stephen Colbert, natch) of I Am America (And So Can You!), here’s a short, merged recording of all three.

No text is repeated.

http://www.spontaneousderivation.com/flash/dewplayer.swf?mp3=&showtime=1

Download [Merged Readings of I Am America]

And now I’m going to concentrate on New on Kindle and some other writing, because there’s a lot to catch up on.

One-off Podcast: Kindle Text-to-Speech and Stephen Colbert

So Amazon is backing off text-to-speech.

I recorded this podcast before I saw the news, finishing up the first round of editing literally seconds before. But hopefully this podcast—which is fortunately now legal, because had I recorded it in the future, it would have been illegal—will still be informative for those who wonder what Kindle’s text-to-speech is like, and why you should buy audiobooks anyways.

(Note: audiobooks are not available for every book. Because it takes so much effort to make a good one. So the loss of Kindle’s text-to-speech has really screwed the pooch for those of us who can see well enough to use a Kindle’s menus and suchlike, but not well enough to read for long periods of time.)

And now, coming in at around 10 minutes, the podcast.

ETA: The book being read is Stephen Colbert’s I Am America (And So Can You!).

http://www.spontaneousderivation.com/flash/dewplayer.swf?mp3=&showtime=1

Kindle: Text to Speech Demo [Download]

Kindle’s Text-to-Speech, the Singularity, and Amazon’s Digital Empire

On the current controversy about the Kindle’s text-to-speech; I twittered my thoughts about it, because stuff like this I normally twitter. Why? Because the chance for interactivity is greater, with all the fresh URLs, talking points, and so on. It’s like blogging, but people can interrupt while I’m blogging, and inspire other thoughts based from that.

On the other hand, Twitter’s archive is about as dependable as GMail running every single time you need it, so here are the tweets once more—with relevant extra links and side conversation included.

But before the tweets, this all started with:

Beneath the cut, my thoughts, in Twitter form, and also mostly ordered from oldest to newest (rather than the other way around on Twitter); tweets may be re-ordered for clarity.

Continue reading

Kindle's Text-to-Speech, the Singularity, and Amazon's Digital Empire

On the current controversy about the Kindle’s text-to-speech; I twittered my thoughts about it, because stuff like this I normally twitter. Why? Because the chance for interactivity is greater, with all the fresh URLs, talking points, and so on. It’s like blogging, but people can interrupt while I’m blogging, and inspire other thoughts based from that.

On the other hand, Twitter’s archive is about as dependable as GMail running every single time you need it, so here are the tweets once more—with relevant extra links and side conversation included.

But before the tweets, this all started with:

Beneath the cut, my thoughts, in Twitter form, and also mostly ordered from oldest to newest (rather than the other way around on Twitter); tweets may be re-ordered for clarity.

Continue reading

Spontaneous Derivation a la Kindle

Screenshots of this website, alternating each shot between Kindle 1 and Kindle 2. I do use Alex King’s WordPress: Mobile Edition plugin to create a less stressful experience for mobile users, including Kindle users.

By the way, if you’re using either Kindle to surf, use the Advanced Mode, which understands a lot more CSS than Basic Mode (for instance, it will properly float images to the left and the right). All of these examples use Advanced Mode.

Even with these simple examples, you can already see the differences in rendering quality between Kindle 1 and Kindle 2, and some other features, including:

  • Far better image resolution on Kindle 2; the alternating front pages really show this off.

  • Kindle 2 browser actually underlines links. This was likely missing from Kindle 1 due to how Kindle 1 navigated, where links were more implicit, although that didn’t turn out to be a great choice UI-wise.

  • Kindle 2′s navigation bar at the top is a bit taller than Kindle 1′s combination of top/bottom navigation bars, but it’s also more modern than Kindle 1. I really don’t notice it when I’m browsing the web.

  • You can also see the more modern dialog boxes for, say, downloading files.

  • I’m not sure if the Home menu is an improvement, but this pair of screenshots certainly highlights the differences in basic file organization/navigation between Kindle 1 and Kindle 2.

And now: pictures under the cut!

Continue reading

Yes, There Shall Be Shadow Unit Season 2 for Kindle

People have been asking, so there is the answer.

Yes, there will be.

As for schedule: Most likely episode-by-episode, but I’ll also be providing a constantly updated “and if you’re just joining us, here’s all of season 2 up to this week” book.

I want to try for both Kindle/Mobipocket *and* recent versions of Sony Reader/epub support this season.

Oh, and here’s [download id="8"] for anyone who needs it.

And now back to trying to live! through chest congestion.

Important Note: Kindle 2 Does Not Automatically Come with a Cover

Perhaps in response to the bad rap the original cover got, Kindle 2 does not come with a cover. That’s kind of some serious lame there.

So! Time to order your cover if you haven’t already. By the way, pay no attention to the reviews right now, because nobody has a Kindle 2 yet except for Amazon employees in the Kindle department, gadget reviewers, cover designers, and Jeff Bezos, a group of which the first reviewer is not a member of. So how the hell can he review a cover? He’s a troll. Fun.

Anyways!

Some of your choices:

Amazon Kindle 2 Leather Cover by Amazon

The Amazon Kindle 2.0 cover, which is specifically designed for the Kindle, and is nearly the cheapest case out there for $29.99.

This is the cover I chose, because I’m pretty plain about covers.

Also, the other covers? Right now they have serious waiting periods.

Belkin Neoprene Sleeve Case for Amazon 2 by Belkin

Undercutting Amazon by a few bucks at $24.99, is Belkin. They’re not known for their high-quality products, and while this looks padded, it also doesn’t seem to be at all rigid. Good? Bad? I have no idea and am not guessing.

Patagonia Book Case for Kindle 2 by Patagonia

At $39.99, from the extra pictures on the item page, there might be more stiffness available here, but I don’t know. The Kindle is not secured by the Amazon case system, but by four picture-style corners (something familiar to Kindle 1 owners who have an M-Edge case). The pocket is kind of *shrug* for me, because I usually carry my Kindle in my backpack/laptop bag/purse/whatever, so… pockets are not really a big drive for me.

I don’t know what the padding is like for this case either. It concerns me a bit. There looks to be some, but again, I don’t know.

M-Edge Platform Jacket for Kindle 2 by M-edge

At $44.99 (and only because of an Amazon discount) is M-edge’s new Kindle 2 cover, which features a lot of interesting secondary pictures you can look at. Padding? Very hard to say without the product on-hand. Stiffness? Very much so, from the pictures. Comes in many colors and styles, but not my choice because, among other things, they don’t actually have a picture with the Kindle 2 in it, and I’d be curious to see how that worked.

The M-edge special light does not come with the cover, but is compatible with the cover.

M-edge’s Kindle 1 cover is one of the most popular Kindle products.

Cole Haan Hand-Stitched Smooth Leather Cover for Kindle 2 by Cole Haan

At $99.99, tops the Kindle 2 cover list in terms of price. In terms of quality? I don’t know, not having one of these guys (and unlikely ever to).

Things to look at: the padding and the inside material look like Amazon’s Kindle 2 cover, but I don’t know. The attachment system is the picture-corner one, not Amazon’s, a big difference (other than in price). The leather pocket is another huge difference, and I’m not sure how it’s going to play with the Kindle 2′s keyboard. Seems strange, but then again, I don’t know.

GelaSkins Protective Skin for Amazon Kindle 2 by Gelaskins

At $19.99, the lightweight of the Amazon Kindle 2 covers, but I don’t think it’s meant to be used all by its lonesome. It may help if you’re very worried about your Kindle 2′s screen in any of the above cases. Again, I don’t know, never having used this kind of product or anything like it.

So pick your cover. I’ll let you know how to the Kindle 2 Amazon cover shapes up.

Apologies for Not Posting; Have Been Trying to Live

I got slammed with a nasty virus, and its complications will probably be pneumonia if I don’t sleep and rest up. Of course, I still have work and no personal days, so I have put most of my energy there and have had no energy here.

Now: why I get sick so often. Because I never got a chicken pox vaccination (this was before there was one available) and one of the complications was pneumonia. ((and apparently shingles, which are evil all by themselves)) Ever since then I get sick very often during cold/flu season; have gone down with pneumonia twice more, and nearly died the third time; and nowadays when I get sick I end up spending an inordinate amount of time trying, as they say, to live.

Making Light has an excellent post on why we vaccinate. Apparently there is also a pneumonia vaccine, which I’m going to see if I can get at some point.

And we hope to bring you posts next week.