Enter the Kindle
I decided to sell some of my old Textbooks in December. Why one may ask. Well I decided to get a Kindle to replace my paper books with E-Ink. This was a decision that took about 3 months to make. It was not easy for me as I did not really know what it would be like to try another electronic reading format. I had been addicted to Stanza on my iphone for about 33% of 2010. I read Alexandre Dumas' "The Three Musketeers" and "Twenty Years After" on my iPhone. I had begun reading "Stuck in the Shallow End" in June 2010 but could not finish it. What it came down to was that reading the Fiction work kept me awake, my imagination was switched on all the time and thus kept me hooked on my iPhone. Jane Margolis' book on the other hand demanded my attention and thoughtful processing off the content and my energy to deal with LCD screen was very low. I could not longer deal with the reflectivity problem and I guess also reading in dim light was bad for me (mostly my fault and bad habit). I decided to get a single function gadget that would give me good viewing in good light and be good in light and thus I chose E-ink. So no controversy here just my personal choice.
Given the short introduction, using the device has been a dream. I have already finished reading Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park" and Chinua Achebe's "Things Fall Apart". I have also discovered some cool uses of the kindle in different places. So I will spend some time detailing some of these.
Where the Books Roam
To manage my Kindle I use Calibre. It is a multiplatform and multiformat eBook management application. It also has some ridiculously great features like:
- Converts from one eBook format to another
- Emails the books to my Kindle
- Can hook up to an RSS feed and download news, aggregate it into an eBook and send it to your device. So every morning I wake up with a fresh newspaper in my Kindle.
- I connect it to my Dropbox account so that all of my ebook are accesible from all of my devices.
- Fetch information about my eBooks from the internet.
- And much much much more.
Where to get Books?
There are lots of resources for this so I dont want to rewrite the book too much here. You can get books from the Amazon website itself including a lot of free books. I also like Project Gutenberg as it allows me to catch up with those classics I have not read yet. There are also websites that you can find that offer free eBooks in various formats and if it is not a format you can use you can then use Calibre to convert it and send it to your Kindle.
I use the Kindle when I am in the library and its a sort of decent pdf reader (I do not print papers that I can read on the kindle). I also use the Kindle in the Gym and when doing other random things. The web browser is actually decent. I access the mobile websites of Twitter, Facebook and Mail and Guardian via the webkit browser. Its something else actually seeing the websites render in shades of gray. If you are thinking of getting an eReader, after this experience, my advice is to really do. I had taken time to choose between the Nook and the Kindle but I chose the kindle because of the physical keyboard but find your fit and take the jump. I could not afford an iPad and it was never really in the running as I have already pointed out that I did not want an LCD screen. If you are also shopping for a tablet too maybe the iPads or Android Tablets would be worth considering. My better half is also considering a Tablet so we are looking around passively.
What else is coming up or going on?
To finish off this post I will just quickly list things on my mind. Yes just random.
- The Rutgers CS Department is having an Open House on the 1st of April and looking to get involved.
- I a taking a Graph Mining class and its turning out better and more challenging (good) than I had ever hoped. Hope to write about some of the results from my project in the future so keep watching.
- Python has been a good friend with my current research work so I have punt it. Python!!!
- Rutgers is hosting TEDxRutgers on the 8th of April 2011. Whoop Whoop. Not speaking but listening on this day 🙂 Website: http://www.tedxrutgers.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tedxrutgers Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/tedxrutgers
- You can see where that is going, I am managing the social network campaign again. Using a lot of new reporting tools.
- Check out http://memolane.com/ Its my most promising use of Social Networking for the future for February 2011. Me and T started using it, was great going through it, like opening that old photo album but now you have your tweets, events you attended and status updates all there to look at.
A little Gem at the end. Why is graph mining important? For the Addicts out there:
What are you looking at. Well this is my Facebook graph and it is colored given my Facebook groups that where mined using a couple of grouping metrics available in Graph Mining. An easy example is looking at Betweenness measures that record how well a group is connected to each other by contrasting inside connections to outside connections. Note this was all automated and I am the one who actually then analysed the result and actually gave names to the groups.
This was a 1000 word blog post. It took two days to write but months to think about. Have a good day and spread ideas and love.