Kindle Paperwhite in the dark

Consumers have logged many complaints about spotty screen illumination, lack of storage, and missing speech-to-text on the Paperwhite. Amazon has decided to address the naysayers directly.

Amazon decided to be refreshingly upfront when faced with a growing number of complaints pertaining to the new Kindle Paperwhite. As you may know, the Paperwhite is the first Kindle to have a self-illuminating screen that lets you read in the dark without a separate accessory.

However, as more and more people begin to use the new device, complaints have been turning up in Amazon forums, specifically targeting the uneven lighting provided by the device under certain conditions.

A quick Google search of “Kindle Paperwhite problems” turns up a wide range of screen issues:

“Noticed the screen had ‘light spots’ all over the display, think looking at the night sky and seeing the stars.”

“I have a bright spot on mine too, as well as annoying screen blotches. I’m sending it back for a refund instead of getting on the replacement merry-go-round.”

“This is my first kindle and so far I’m disappointed. The dark spots are bothersome and I don’t like how blue the ‘white’ is.”

But rather than ignore the public’s complaints, Amazon decided to address the issues head-on through a public statement. The online retailer acknowledged the Paperwhite can produce uneven illumination when used improperly in particular lighting conditions. However, Amazon defended themselves, saying the unevenness only affected a small portion of the screen that didn’t hold text anyway. Amazon also included examples of how the screen should look in various lighting scenarios and offered advice for optimal settings.

Other users found issue with the 2GB of storage available on the Paperwhite, a 50 percent reduction when compared to previous models that shipped with 4GB. Amazon claims the 2GB of storage is enough to hold 1,100 books in your local library, pointing out that additional books are stored in the cloud for free.

And when faced with complaints about the lack of audio and speech-to-text available on the Paperwhite, Amazon said it was omitted to make the device thinner and lighter. It was also quick to bring attention to the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD‘s support of both features.

Whether the Paperwhite’s issues stem from the limits of its technology or oversights by the company, we respect that Amazon has acknowledged the shortcomings of its newest device. You can read the full statement below:

Kindle Paperwhite is the best Kindle we’ve ever made by far, but there are certain limitations and changes from prior generations that we want you to know about. Kindle Paperwhite does not have audio or Text-to-Speech. This makes the device smaller and lighter than it would otherwise be. Audio and an improved Text-to-Speech engine are supported on Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.

Under certain lighting conditions, the illumination at the bottom of the screen from the built-in light is not perfectly even. See examples of how the screen looks in different lighting conditions. These variations are normal and are located primarily in the margin where text is not present. The illumination is more even than that created by a book light or lighted cover. The contrast, resolution and illumination of the Paperwhite display is a significant step-up from our prior generation.

The Kindle Paperwhite has 2 GB of storage. Some previous Kindle models had 4GB of storage. 2GB allows you to hold up to 1,100 books locally on your device. In addition, your entire Kindle library is stored for free in the Amazon cloud, and you can easily move books from the cloud onto your device.

Do you have a Kindle Paperwhite? Have you had any issues with it or is it performing as expected?

via DigitalTrends

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nyone who has been following ereader news has probably been expecting/fearing  today’s news. the Kindle DX is only available on the Amazon website as a used device (it’s not even available as a refurb).

Amazon is no longer selling the Kindle DX, and based on their general disinterest in updating the hardware or software, I don’t expect it to come back into stock. This ereader was released in 2009, updated in 2010, and then basically ignored since then. After the price cut a few weeks ago, and now an OOS message (with no expected return date), it looks like this ereader is no longer going to be available.

Amazon first unveiled the Kndle DX in June 2009, making this 9.7″ ereader the third Kindle released as well as Amazon’s first large screen model.  This was the ereader which Amazon expected to be adopted as a textbook platform.  And in order to promote that goal, Amazon also announced that June that several major US universities were going to run pilot programs using the Kindle DX in the classroom.

Yeah, that didn’t turn out well. Amazon learned the hard way that when you pitch a product for the student market one, it needs to be usable by the visually impaired, and two, it needs to actually function adequately at its intended purpose. The Kindle DX failed on both counts.

Several lawsuits were filed in late 2009 by visually impaired students and the National Federation for the Blind. In general, the universities were faulted for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. This law specified that the disabled students were to be given equal access.  That has long been interpreted both by the NFB, the Dept of Justice, and quite a few judges to mean that schools and institutions can’t buy radical new tech if the visually impaired cannot use it. This interpretation of the ADA has long been a thorn in the side of ereader makers and it is still tripping them up. Witness the recent settlement by the Sacramento Public Library as an example of the law being enforced, and the K3 (Kindle Keyboard) as evidence of Amazon’s response to the lawsuits in 2009 (that ereader is ADA compliant).

But even if the Kindle DX had been accessible for the visually impaired, it was still not all that usable as a textbook carrying ereader. The several partner universities released reports in 2010 on their various pilot programs, and for the most part students didn’t care to use the device.

Universities as diverse as Reed CollegeUVA, and Princeton (as well as several later pilots like the one at the University of Washington) all reported that students didn’t care to use their digital textbooks on the Kindle DX. Leaving aside the difficulty in getting the text into the Kindle format so it could be used on the KDX (this isn’t nearly as much trouble now), many students found the Kindle DX generally slow to respond as well as not terribly comfortable to use.

Students commonly needed to make a lot of annotations and then access them quickly and the KDX simply couldn’t match the speed of a student with a pen  in their hand.  The students who participated in the pilot programs also reported that the Kindle DX couldn’t turn the page fast enough nor jump around inside a textbook as quickly as they needed. And then there’s the issue of having only one screen to display several textbooks for a course, but that is a problem all ereader share.

All in all, the Kindle DX turned out not to be nearly as useful as the 6″ Kindle, but I suspect it was more successful than we might think – at least, Amazon sold enough units to justify an update in 2010 and continuing to keep it in stock.

Given that this ereader debuted less than a year before the iPad, and yet managed to stick around for 3 years when most every other large screen ereader died in early to mid-2010, Amazon must have done something right.

Nevertheless, I will not mourn the passing of this ereader. I have one and the iPad (or most any Android tablet) is frankly a better value.

Goodnight Gracie.

via The Digital Reader

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It looks like my hopes that Barnes & Noble’s UK retail partners would start selling the Nook Glow last week was a tad optimistic; B&N’s UK launch has been officially delayed by 2 weeks.

The Bookseller is reporting today that B&N’s retail partners won’t be selling the hardware just yet. According to sources it was B&N who informed retailers today of the postponement, though no details have been released as to why.

The several websites I checked show an out of stock note in place of the buy buttons, with no other explanation given.

A spokesperson for B&N said: “Nook Simple Touch and Nook Simple Touch GlowLight will be available in the UK beginning in late October, in plenty of time for the Christmas shopping season. Barnes & Noble’s award-winning E Ink products will be available in leading retailers as well as www.nook.co.uk.”

The Nook UK launch had originally been planned for the fifteenth, but thanks to this delay UK reades will be able to buy the Kindle Paperwhite before they can buy the Nook. B&N is also going to have egg on their face because their ex-fiance Waterstones will also have the Kindle in store before the Nook will be available.

via The Digital Reader

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Readmill的创始人亨利克•贝尔格伦(Henrik Berggren)与大卫•谢尔克鲁德(David Kjelkerud)都是书虫,他们对书籍的看法却不尽相同。谢尔克鲁德觉得:书本不管怎么说是冷漠且非社会化的,人们总是独自阅读;而当我们想要和别人谈论某本书时,首先得合上书本。贝尔格伦认为:即使通过电子书,以及连接到互联网的电子书和其它阅读工具似乎也并没改变什么,网上有很多的电子书服务,但却没有一个是做到了社交化的,而Readmill就是如何将书本与读者联网化的创意。

Readmill iPad版下载地址(美国区)、视频演示

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一些硅谷著名的风险投资机构有意愿参与投资,支持这家新创企业所做的努力。参与投资的风投机构包括:谷歌风险投资基金、梅菲尔德基金(Mayfield Fund)、创业投资基金新企业联合会(New Enterprise Associates )和Omidyar Network,他们总共向这家新创企业注入300万美元的种子资金,以期这种新型的富有创意的阅读体验能够改善电子书的面貌。

作为这项新服务的一部分,Subtext还宣布公司正在与一系列著名出版商力挺的畅销书作者合作更有效地实现读者和这些知名作者之间的互动,这些图书出版商包括哈珀柯林斯公司(HarperCollins)、法国著名图书出版商Hachette、企鹅出版集团(Penguin)、全球最大图书出版商Random House、西蒙舒斯特出版集团(Simon & Schuster)等等。

尽管Subtext书架上的第一批书单至今为止仅有18本,但并不包括Nathaniel West、Amy Stewart和 Max Barry所提供的知名插画作品。很快Subtext会有更多的图书上架。(网易科技报道  董珊珊)


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“看不见的那99%” (99% Invisible, Season 3): 这是一个由公立电台记者兼制作人Roman Mars主持的一个介绍一些不被关注但却正在改变世界的设计、建筑和活动的电台节目。这个项目正是从Kickstarter上得到了大家的资助才能顺利开办。这个内容将被添加到“音频”、“设计与美图”板块。

“空格上的空格” (Blank on Blank): 在这个网站上,记者们可以把以前没有发表的录音和录影通过youtube, 播客,电台等方式重新和大家分享。网站会为录音配上一些当时的影像。比如拳王阿里1966年未公布的采访就配上了当时的照片分享在这个网站上。你可以在“音频”的分类下找到它。

“电子文学推荐” (Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading):这是一个像起点小说网推荐榜一样的网站。每周由编辑团队推荐一篇新创作的小说给读者,它将会被放在“娱乐”板块下。

11月,Flipboard还将会添加同样是在Kickstarter上吸引大家资助的《地方季刊》(Local Quarterly)和《明日杂志》(Tomorrow Magazine)。Flipboard此举并不是要求引导用户去资助这两个项目,而是希望为在那里工作的业余记者增加一些曝光度。如果用户也觉得他们喜欢这两本杂志,可以自愿给他们一些资助。



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