Friday, May 15, 2009

Don't do this with your Kindle!

One thing that you can not (or should not) do with a Kindle is to hurl it across the room in a fit of pique over a very bad book that you are reading. This was brought to mind today in reading the reviews of the movie, Angels and Demons, because a friend of mine literally did this with the book. The only one of Dan Brown's that I have read is The DaVinci Code which I thought was poorly executed and poorly written and I almost hurled that one. In order to be good, a plot does need to make sense and his do not. I can handle a little straining of credulity but not this much; his writing is so full of cliches that I want to gag. I realize that in writing this, I will offend Dan Brown fans and for that I am sorry. Being a best-selling author does not mean you are a good writer.

If you want some good laughs, go and read Roger Ebert's highly amusing review of the movie, Angels and Demons.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fantastic Fiction

The title is misleading, as this is not a review of specific books. Fantastic Fiction is a website in the UK and possibly the best I have found for short information on a lot of books all in one place. One of the really neat things it does when you click on an author is to give you a chronological listing of his/her works. This is something many of us have struggled with over the years, using our library system's database and sorting by newest or oldest, but here it is, nice and easy.

First, there is a brief bio folowed by New and Forthcoming Hardbacks along with their Amazon prices both in the US and UK. Next, a list of series books in order with the year of publication, followed by information on non-series writings by that author. If he/she writes under two names, the bio mentions this and gives us a link to those books. A good case in point is Ruth Rendell, who writes the Chief Inspector Wexford series as well as a ton of other books as Rendell. The next Wexford book is due out in October, 2009. She also writes as Barbara Vine and her latest, published in the US, is The Birthday Present. If you don't already know, Barbara Vine books display Ruth Rendell's wild side. Wexford, on the other hand, is quite tame, but fun to read. The very latest Barbara Vine has been published in the UK but not yet in the US.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Conversion costs—much ado about nothing?

Why are people so upset with Amazon's announcing it will charge by the megabyte for user-generated files pushed to the Kindle? Those of us who have had a Kindle since its onset in November of 2007 have long known that Amazon always reserved the right to charge, and up until now they have not. Yes, they have increased the price that they might have charged, but you can still send files to yourself for free using the method where Amazon e-mails you the file and then you drop it onto your Kindle via USB. One suspects that sending those files direct to your Kindle was using more bandwidth than Sprint had intended providing for Whispernet.

To send a file for conversion (fee to be charged after May 4):

Go to your account on Amazon, sign in and click on Manage Your Kindle. Right at the top of the page, you will see a list of your Kindles and devices. For each Kindle, there is an e-mail address attached. This would have been assigned by Amazon and can be changed to something unique to you, such as

Your Kindle's e-mail address is an inbound-only destination that allows you to receive e-mail attachments from contacts on your Kindle approved e-mail list. Scroll down to see this. As a default it will contain the address Amazon uses to contact you, but you may add other addresses from which attachments may be sent. An attachment sent to our hypothetical address of will be converted and delivered wirelessly to your Kindle. Free as of this moment but about to become 15¢ per megabyte rounded up to the closest megabyte.

If you are not in a wireless area or would like to avoid the fee, you can send attachments to to be converted and e-mailed back to you. You can then transfer the document to your Kindle using the USB connection. Connect the Kindle, and click on it to see its folders. Drop the file into the Documents folder. Eject the Kindle and detach it from the USB port.