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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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Reviewing ColcaSac Uintah for the Kindle Fire

ColcaSaclogoI recently got the opportunity to try out a ColcaSac sleeve for my Kindle Fire and thought that it might be useful to share my thoughts.  It’s proven to be an interesting product.


ColcaSac Uintah for Kindle FireFirst impressions

The sleeve I ended up with was the $29.95 Uintah style for the Kindle Fire.  A fairly minimal design made of undyed hemp canvas and lined with a surprisingly soft recycled polyester fleece.  This fits together with the company’s environmental concerns without sacrificing quality.  There is absolutely no question, holding the sleeve in my hands, that this is a durable product.

Getting the device into the sleeve for the first time was somewhat daunting.  The packaging actually instructs you to brace the device against your body while pulling it on and the instructions mention that the fit should be tight fitting, but that doesn’t get the idea across well enough.

It is very clear that my Kindle will not just fall out of this sleeve even if I leave the flap at the top closed.

After some use

ColcaSac InteriorOk, the horrible snugness that made me fear I might never be able to retrieve my tablet again has faded somewhat.  Now that I’ve been using it for a couple days, things have stretched out enough that while there is still no danger of the Kindle falling out I will at least never have a problem sliding it in and out.  It’s clearly a case that has to be broken in.

In terms of other performance, the Uintah sleeve has held up well.  A spilled drink left no stain on the canvas, and it was thick enough to prevent quickly-cleaned liquid from making its way through.  The fleece lining is thick enough and soft enough that there is no reason to suspect anything has a chance of scratching through it.

The stitching holds up quite well and nothing seems to be glued together.  I tested a fair amount and honestly can’t tell whether the canvas itself wouldn’t give out before the seams.  It’s a well put together product.

The one concern I have is with fall damage.  As with most sleeves, the shock of an impact will translate directly through to the device.  This one is better than most in that regard, but the edge with the closure flap is particularly vulnerable.  You would have to be unlucky enough to drop it just right, but these things can happen.

Final Thoughts

I’m a fan of folio cases for eReaders and tablets.  To me they offer the least inconvenience during frequent use while still providing protection.  That said, if I were to switch to a sleeve for regular use I would definitely make it one of these.

The ColcaSac Uintah design is as utilitarian as I could hope for without being unattractive or bulky.  While it’s true that there could be some damage during falls, that’s going to depend on the situation and the device you’re holding in one.  The Kindle Fire has already proven itself fairly resistant to fall damage from under four feet or so.  The Kindle eReaders weigh less and would get even more benefit from the use of a sleeve with this kind of padding.  It seems like a pointless concern unless you’re really hard on your electronics.

Remember that it will take some time to break in.  I’m not exaggerating the tightness of a freshly shipped Uintah sleeve.  It took a good week and probably 20 insertions/removals before things finally stretched just enough to be comfortable.  Definitely worth it to avoid stretching to the point of looseness later, but it’s worth keeping in mind.

In addition to sleeves for the Kindle Fire, Kindle Touch, and Kindle Paperwhite, ColcaSac makes sleeves for the iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone, and Macbook.  I’m also told that a Kindle Fire HD design is on the way.

Check them out at http://www.colcasac.com/

Kindle Fire Accessory Review: Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones w/ Inline Mic

I was recently offered the chance to try out a pair of Plantronics BackBeat 216 headphones and figured they were worth a shot.  The Kindle Fire practically demanded good headphones to get good sound and while the Kindle Fire HD has more than made up for its predecessor’s shortcoming there are still plenty of times when you’re going to want to watch a movie on your portable device without filling a whole room, car, or train with the sound from it.

First Impressions

At a glance these seem to be a nice enough purchase.  For $37.99 they’re not going to break the bank compared to high end options, but the build quality seems high and the cloth-covered wire makes a nice aesthetic touch.  The silicone earbuds left me slightly nervous since those are not my preference, but it was worth a try.

Listening Sound Quality

As far as earbuds go, I’ve rarely found a set that offered better sound.  They seemed quite tinny at first, but after changing to a slightly smaller set of silicon tips and seating them more firmly in place I found the experience excellent.  My usual listening preference involves a fairly bulky set of Sennheisers, but these could easily stand in temporarily when more mobility is needed.

Skype Sound Quality

My experience with the conversation applications of the BackBeats has not been so positive.  As far as hearing a conversation goes, you get a mixed bag.  The silicone earbuds cancel out a lot of the noise that otherwise interferes with calls, but the cloth wire transmits every bit of friction straight to your ears.  Shifting slightly in your chair can result in enough wire on shirt contact to drown out the person you’re talking to.  The mic is also less than impressive.  Stick with the Kindle Fire HD’s built-in and you’ll get better recording.

Usability

As I mentioned, the comfort was better than expected.  For people with particularly small ears they will likely be uncomfortable, but other than that I would expect no complaints.  Using these for stretches of 3-4 hours at a time has caused no problems.

The in-line controls are useless.  I tried to use them on multiple occasions and got nothing.  Plugging in an iPhone, since that’s what Plantronics was designing for, didn’t improve things much.  I got erratic volume changes and track skipping on music but no reliability.  Overall it was actually better to use on anything but the iPhone it was designed for.

The Verdict

As far as listening to music or movies goes I don’t hesitate to recommend these headphones to any Kindle Fire user.  The experience is more than worth the money and they will be kept with my tablet for as long as they last.

If you’re looking for a headset with in-line mic for Skype then these probably aren’t the best.  There is too much noise transfer when listening to conversation and the mic is not very good.  The noise from cable friction doesn’t come through except in such quiet situations, so I don’t think it’s a factor for other applications.

If you’re interested in these, the Plantronics BackBeat 216 Stereo Headphones w/ Inline Mic can be found with a large selection of other Kindle Fire HD Accessories at:

http://www.mobilefun.com/29053/electronics/kindle-fire-accessories.htm

SlideFrame for Kindle Fire

Burlap SlideFrameThere is a cool new accessory for the Kindle Fire and other tablets called SlideFrame.

SlideFrame is handcrafted by the founders of SlideWare studios, which is based in California.  The company was founded in January 2012 by two Stanford students who are veterans in the tech industry.

It looks a lot like those digital frames you slide your digital camera card into that creates a slideshow of pictures.  Those frames don’t have much variety as far as frame style goes, however.  The tablet uses its own memory while in the SlideFrame, so you aren’t limited to 2GB of memory that comes with many of the digital frames.

Technology overall has been designed for function, and form that fits the needs of the function.  Most companies create gadgets that are sleek, but include features that enhance the device’s use.  The case that surrounds the Kindle Fire is easy to grip, for example.  So, aesthetics get thrown to the wayside, and it is up to accessories to make the devices “prettier.”

Tablets sales are catching up quickly with PC sales, but they have a few limitations still.  Since tablets don’t include a slot to upload pictures, there’s not really a good way to showcase the pictures in a way that others can see them without actually emailing or sharing them via the internet.

The frames come in bamboo and wood, giving them a more homey feel than the aluminum or plastic that surrounds electronics.  Just be careful about the battery life!  The additional styles give the SlideFrame a leg up over the traditional digital frames.

SlideFrame comes in sizes that fit both 7″ and 10″ tablets, as well as other sizes, so it should still work with the new Kindle Fire regardless of the size .

So, overall, SlideFrame is a neat idea, and I hope more effort will be made to provide accessories that serve both aesthetic and functional purposes.

 

 

 

Daily Deals: The Search for Major Plagge and Rocket Weasel

The Search for Major Plagge:The Nazi Who Saved Jews, Expanded EditionToday Amazon offers The Search for Major Plagge:The Nazi Who Saved Jews, Expanded Edition by Michael Good just for $1.99

When The Search for Major Plagge was published last spring, the world finally learned about a unique hero-and about one American doctor’s extraordinary journey to tell Karl Plagge’s story. Part detective story, part personal quest, Michael Good’s book is the story of the German commander of a Lithuanian work camp who saved hundreds of Jewish lives in the Vilna ghetto -including the life of Good’s mother, Pearl. Who was this enigmatic officer Pearl Good had spoken of so often? After five years of research-interviewing survivors, assembling a team that could work to open German files untouched for fifty years, following every lead he could, Good was able to uncover the amazing tale of one man’s remarkable courage. And in April 2005 Karl Plagge joined Oskar Schindler and 380 other Germans as a Righteous among Nations,honored by the State of Israel for protecting and saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust. This expanded edition features new photographs and a new epilogue on the impact of the discovery of Karl Plagge-especially the story of 83-year-old Alfons von Deschwanden, who, after fifty years of silence, came forward as a veteran of Plagge’s unit. His testimony is now part of this growing witness to truth.

Some words about the Author

Michael Good has appeared on C-SPAN, as a speaker in Israel and Germany, and in schools,libraries, churches, and synagogues across the United States. Plagge’s story was tracked by media around the world. Good, a physician, continues to follow and develop the Plagge story from his home in Durham, CT.

 

Rocket WeaselRocket Weasel is a game for your Kindle Fire which you can obtain just for free.

Weasel school isn’t just fun and games; it’s the training ground for future expert chicken hunters. It’s where weasels enter as little weasels and leave as warrior weasels. And they must learn from no other weasel than the Dojo of all weasels–Mr. Weasel, himself.

But, as young weasels do, this bunch got into a little trouble in the hen house. Prepare to incite some serious rodent wreckage in this physics-based puzzler for the whole family.

It Ain’t Easy Weaselin’

Mr. Weasel was guiding his students on a midnight coop raid, Operation Chicken Dinner, when things went horribly wrong. The crotchety old farmer was waiting with cages and treacherous traps. Now these amateurs are all locked up–with the exception of their sly mentor.

Operation Chicken Dinner

Playing as Mr. Weasel, you must harness your inner-rodent to outsmart the ruthless farmer and free your little weasels from their confines. As you may have expected, Mr. Weasel doesn’t mess around. Strap on a rocket and put chicken back on the menu. Smash crates, blow stuff up, and eat as many chickens as possible for more points while you free the other weasels.

A Helping Hoof

While the farm is in a frenzy, other animals try to help Mr. Weasel free the little critters. All 64 levels are full of colorful characters and spectacular graphics. Farm animals unite! (Except the chickens. No one cares about the chickens unless they’re served with a side of mashed potatoes.)

Impressive Kindle Fire Speaker Dock Announced By Grace Digital

Grace Digital Inc, a company many will likely know for their internet radio players, has announced in a recent press release that they will be offering their own Kindle Fire Speaker & Charging Dock.  The concept is sound, the design is attractive, and the price is high.  Most of those things are exactly what most of us are likely to be looking for in a product like this.  At $129.99, the dock will cost nearly as much as the $199 Kindle Fire itself though.  Can they really expect to attract much interest at that point?

In this particular case, I would give that question a solid “maybe” answer.  The Grace FireDock, as it is known, will definitely address some very real shortcomings of the device and offers more than just the bare essentials for doing so.  It is one of those cases where sometimes the features being provided are worth the money depending on how applicable they are to your habits, at least until competition drives down the price a bit.

The most important thing is probably that this is an accessory designed specifically for the Kindle Fire.  Let’s face it; if there is anything the Fire needs, it is surely better speakers.  The cradle will seat the device perfectly, connecting both power and audio as it does so, without any hassles.  Once docked, the Kindle Fire can be viewed from two different angles and turned to be used in either portrait or landscape orientation.  While plugged in, the dock with charge the Kindle as you use it.  When disconnected from the wall, it has access to an optional 6 hour battery that will keep the speakers running as long as the Kindle’s own battery holds out in most cases.

Much of why this is such a seemingly great option is that it accounts for the Kindle Fire’s capabilities.  The cradle does not interfere with use of the touchscreen.  There are different options for screen orientation, but not an overly complex and breakable system for them.  The wide viewing angle of the Kindle Fire’s screen allows for somewhat more simplicity there than might otherwise be the case.  The dock doesn’t even have its own internal radio option, since the Kindle Fire will generally have access to far higher quality than you can get over the airwaves anyway.

At the moment, we can expect the Grace FireDock to be available as of July 2nd this year.  As mentioned previously, the price is a little high for something meant to accommodate a $199 tablet.  This seems to reflect its usefulness, though.  We can’t know how it will perform for sure until the docks hit shelves, but if the promo page is even mostly correct this could easily become a standard accessory for people who love their Kindle Fire.

Daily Deals: Chaos Walking Trilogy and Lights Off

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)Today Amazon offers 3 books and a puzzle game: Chaos Walking Trilogy written by Patrick Ness and Lights Off . The price for each of the books is $0.99 and the game you can download for free today only.

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking)

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

 

The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)The Ask and the Answer (Chaos Walking)

Part two of the literary sci-fi thriller follows a boy and a girl who are caught in a warring town where thoughts can be heard – and secrets are never safe. Reaching the end of their flight in THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO, Todd and Viola did not find healing and hope in Haven. They found instead their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss, waiting to welcome them to New Prentisstown. There they are forced into separate lives: Todd to prison, and Viola to a house of healing where her wounds are treated. Soon Viola is swept into the ruthless activities of the Answer, while Todd faces impossible choices when forced to join the mayor’s oppressive new regime. In alternating narratives the two struggle to reconcile their own dubious actions with their deepest beliefs. Torn by confusion and compromise, suspicion and betrayal, can their trust in each other possibly survive?

 

 

 

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking)Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking)

In the riveting conclusion to the acclaimed dystopian series, a boy and girl caught in the chaos of war face devastating choices that will decide the fate of a world. As a world-ending war surges around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most, or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption, or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

 

 

Lights Off - The Original GameWho Turned Off the Lights?

Lights Off is a deceptively simple game that will test the limits of your logic and puzzle-solving skills. The goal is straightforward: turn off all the lights to progress to next level. But as you go up the levels, this task gets harder and harder.

Light Switch Labyrinth

There’s one little catch to turning off the lights. When you turn a light off or on, it toggles all the lights next to it. So, if you tap a light off, all the lights next to it will turn on. Conversely, if you tap a light on, all the lights next to it turn off.

You’ll soon be juggling increasingly difficult light combinations to turn off those lights. To solve each board, you must think ahead three or four steps (or more) into your choices. Turning the lights off has never been this challenging!

Fun Interface

Tap the LCD area to select a level. Lights Off also keeps track of the number of moves you make to solve each board. Reset the board you’re on at any time if you want to start that level over. Featuring smooth animations, subtle sound effects, and beautiful artwork, Lights Off is the perfect way to kill some time and give your brain a workout.

Daily Deal: 77 cookbooks for all tastes and Yoga Guru Pro

Today Amazon makes a great deal for thous who loves spend a lot of time on kitchen 77 cookbooks with prices from $0.99 up to $1.99. It is huge number of books for describing everyone but every one could choose good books for himself. Shake up the new season with some fresh ideas for the kitchen. Whether you’re an omnivore or a vegan, today’s wide-ranging variety of cookbooks is sure to satisfy all culinary needs and desires.

You can see all cookbooks on this link. Do not loose this chance!

 

Yoga Guru Pro

Also Amazon offers for free downloading Yoga Guru Pro – application for your Kindle Fire or any other Android gadgets today only.

If you’re looking to make yoga a part of your life, Yoga Guru is for you. This Android app acts as a personal yoga trainer, guiding you to practice yoga with well-organized regimens, step-by-step instructions, and videos.

Yoga Guru offers a platform for you to attain physical discipline, self awareness, and mental peace. Its content has been developed by expert yoga practitioners, with the intent of making it easy for you to realize yoga’s many benefits.

Take the Yoga Path
The app features exercise regimens that can be customized easily to your preferences. Choose a regimen based on your experience level; you can choose from Beginner, Default (for mid-level yoga skills), and Advanced. Add or remove exercises to make any regimen fit your needs.

You can also select from three separate types of yoga exercise. For moves that focus on a healthy body, choose the Physical Yoga Exercises category. For a healthy mind, choose the Meditation category. If you’re looking for exercises that help common ailments, choose the Medical category.

Within each regimen is a series of yoga exercises that have been prepared by expert yoga trainers. You’ll see simple, step-by-step instructions for each move, as well as a video that clearly demonstrates the correct form.

Daily Deals: The Siege of Washington and Flick Kick Field Goal

The Siege of Washington : The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union

Today Amazon offer to enrich your e-books collection by The Siege of Washington: The Untold Story of the Twelve Days That Shook the Union written by John Lockwood and Charles Lockwood just for $1.99.

On April 14, 1861, following the surrender of Fort Sumter, Washington was “put into the condition of a siege,” declared Abraham Lincoln. Located sixty miles south of the Mason-Dixon Line, the nation’s capital was surrounded by the slave states of Maryland and Virginia. With no fortifications and only a handful of trained soldiers, Washington was an ideal target for the Confederacy. The South echoed with cries of “On to Washington!” and Jefferson Davis’s wife sent out cards inviting her friends to a reception at the White House on May 1.

Lincoln issued an emergency proclamation on April 15, calling for 75,000 troops to suppress the rebellion and protect the capital. One question now transfixed the nation: Whose forces would reach Washington first: Northern defenders or Southern attackers?

For 12 days, the city’s fate hung in the balance. Washington was entirely isolated from the North–without trains, telegraph, or mail. Sandbags were stacked around major landmarks, and the unfinished Capitol was transformed into a barracks, with volunteer troops camping out in the House and Senate chambers. Meanwhile, Maryland secessionists blocked the passage of Union reinforcements trying to reach Washington, and a rumored force of 20,000 Confederate soldiers lay in wait just across the Potomac River.

Drawing on firsthand accounts, The Siege of Washington tells this story from the perspective of leading officials, residents trapped inside the city, Confederates plotting to seize it, and Union troops racing to save it, capturing with brilliance and immediacy the precarious first days of the Civil War.

Flick Kick Field Goal

 

Flick Kick Field Goal is a game for your Kindle Fire which could attract your kids and free your time for a while. One of advantages of this game is that you can get it free. But only today. Tomorrow it’s price will be different. So, do not lose your opportunity – click here.

Bring the fun and accessibility of flick football to your Android device with this casual sports title from PikPok Games. Try to make kicks from different angles and distances, and even take into account shifting wind speeds and directions. Choose from Sudden Death, Arcade, Time Attack, and Practice modes, then use the intuitive flick controls to begin playing right away. Easy to pick up but hard to put down, this classic time-killer is sure to appeal to casual gamers and die-hard football fans alike.

Gameplay

In Flick Kick Field Goal, players take on the role of a field goal kicker on a football team as they try to make kicks of varying difficulty through the goalposts at the end of the field. Pick one of four different game modes: Practice, Sudden Death, Arcade, or Time Attack, and try out Flick Kick Field Goal‘s intuitive control system to begin making kicks like a pro.

To make a kick, simply line your finger up with the football and flick the touchscreen in the direction of the goalposts. Not every kick is straightforward though: experiment with curving left or right in your followthrough, or give a longer swipe to kick the ball further. Find the technique that works for you, then adjust each kick to account for changing windspeeds and angles.

Challenging Conditions

To add to the difficulty, factor in winds that can come from any angle or change severity with each kick. Anything from a light breeze to gale force winds must be taken into account if you want to succeed.

Online Scores and Achievements

Flick Kick Field Goal features online leaderboards and achievements with OpenFeint support. Rack up the points and then post your newest scores to Flick Kick’s global leaderboards. Think you’re good? Show off your skills online as you compete against others for the top spot!

Key Features
  • Simple and intuitive flick controls make it easy to pick up and begin play
  • Challenging gameplay with shifting windspeeds and target distances
  • Loading screens with famous football quotes and trivia
  • Roaring crowds and full 3D graphics bring a new level of realism to flick football
  • Compete against others through OpenFeint online scoring and achievements

New Solar Powered Kindle Cover by SolarFocus

On January 14th, SolarFocus releases the first ever solar powered Kindle cover. It is a form fitting cover with a solar panel included for charging.  It also comes with a built in LED reading light that charges from the cover’s reserve battery.

The e-ink Kindles already have an impressive battery life that holds charge for up to two months.  Battery life depends on several factors though.  First off, avid readers will obviously use up battery more quickly than those who don’t read as often.  Kindle games also take up a chunk of battery life, and so does browsing the Kindle Store.

The reserve battery that is built into the cover charges in sunlight.  The amount of time it takes to charge depends on the strength of the sunlight that it catches.  It reaches full charge after 8 hours, and provides up to three days of reading per hour of charge according to the product’s website.

The protective nature of the cover and the built in light are what wins me over.  I travel a lot at night, and would like to find a cover the includes as much functionality as possible for the most reasonable price.  The Solar powered Kindle cover is $79.  As far as cases go, it is on the higher side, but I think it is a really good value for what it does.

This is the first portable solar powered charging device that I’ve seen hit the major tech news.  I hope that the future will bring more solar powered and other energy friendly charging options.  It would be cool to have a multipurpose docking station to charge all of my gadgets.  What a great way to save money and help the environment at the same time.

Thinking even further ahead, electronic devices will most likely include their own solar panels so that they can charge themselves.  Because of cost, this is still a few years off at least.

From what it looks like now, the SolarKindle Cover is only available on the SolarFocus website.  I’m sure it will be offered on Amazon at some point soon.

 

SolarFocus Kindle Cover Revealed

Recently revealed at CES and available for sale on the 14th of January, the new SolarFocus Kindle cover seems to be an interesting solution to a problem that few, if any, people have run into.  This doesn’t mean that it will fail to impress as a gadget or that it is in any way useless, but one has to wonder how big the market will be for something like the SolarKindle cover.

Essentially this cover is meant to serve as recharging station, backup battery, and book light all in addition to the normal screen protection function.  Certainly not a bad thing.  The case’s internal battery carries a charge sufficient to add an additional three months of battery life to the Kindle 4 and can be recharged over the course of eight hours of direct sunlight exposure if you don’t have access to a powered USB port or adapter.  Even one hour is supposedly sufficient for as much as three days worth of reading time.

Sadly, there are any number of drawbacks.  In terms of basic use, there are a few obvious problems.  The addition of this cover more than doubles the weight of your Kindle, along with doubling its thickness and increasing the size of its footprint to slightly larger than the Kindle Keyboard.  The added size and weight remove a great deal of the appeal that the $79 Kindle carries.  The SolarKindle case itself also appears fairly unappealing, though some might disagree with me if they find solar panels and white plastic pleasant.  Perhaps the most striking thing about this case, however, is the pricing.  At $79 itself, it will double the cost of owning a Kindle.

I have nothing against a desire to be environmentally friendly, but this doesn’t make sense to me.  Given the fact that the Kindle 4 already runs for a minimum of three weeks at a time between charges (based on regular personal use on my part), how could it possibly be worth the inconvenience of the bulk and weight just to avoid having it find a wall outlet?

As of the Kindle 2, we already have analysis indicating that eReaders become environmentally friendlier than buying new books as of the 50th title or so.  Probably safe to assume that things have gotten even better by now, but even ignoring that entirely we have to assume that the impact of manufacturing these covers will be sufficient to increase the numbers.  How quickly can saving $0.25 or less per month in electricity help this case start to pay for itself under any metric?

Despite the hype surrounding the CES reveal, it seems unlikely that the SolarKindle will take off.  The price is too high and the benefits too few.  It isn’t as if you were adding months of battery life to a tablet or smartphone.  If you spend months at a time without access to power, this might be the case for you.  For anybody else it is not much better than an ostentatious nod toward “Going Green” that the Kindle, despite having numbers to support such a claim, fails to advertise on its own.

Kindle Fire Lightweight MicroShell Folio Cover

When you get a cool new gadget like the Kindle Fire, it generally a good idea to get some kind of protective cover or case for it.  It is hard to find good ones that aren’t super expensive, but there are some good options available in the Kindle Store to take advantage of.

There is one case currently on sale for $29.99 called the Kindle Fire Lightweight MicroShell Folio Cover.  It comes in four colors and it props the tablet up for hands free viewing.

Reviewers describe this case as the “most bang for your buck.”  The part I like the most about it is that it props the Kindle Fire up fairly high, which makes it so much easier to use.  It also provides much sturdier support than just propping it on a stack of books.

The colors available are black, graphite, pink, and white.  I hope more will be added soon, especially blue, since that is my favorite color.

Product Features

  • Certified “Made for Kindle” accessory (Kindle Fire)
  • Hard polycarbonate back piece with a soft protective lid for protection against scratches and impact
  • Soft fabric lid folds to function as a stand for viewing
  • Convenient elastic strap holds the protective lid in the open or closed position
  • Designed specifically to be lightweight and slim-fit

Also for the same price as the MicroShell case, you can get a Kindle Fire Zip Sleeve made by Amazon.  It does have good padding for protection against scratches and a decent choice of colors, but it doesn’t have as much functionality as the MicroShell case.  There are versions of the sleeve for all Kindle models.

I think the reviews for the  Kindle Fire Lightweight MicroShell Folio Cover are great for the most part especially the newer reviews.

K.M. Carone

“This case holds the Kindle snugly, feels good in my hand, doesn’t get in the way and doesn’t add any weight to an already comparatively “heavy” Kindle. It maintains a sleek appearance and acts as a perfectly sturdy stand as well. Now, if only it came in red or yellow or purple….. ”

Just Wondering

“My objective was to find the lightest case possible that was made of high quality materials and which would provide sufficient protection in case I dropped it (I seem to drop things a lot). This case meets my needs as well as I could expect. At the new lower price of $29.95, I think it is well-priced for protecting a $200 investment.”

 

Daily Deals: The Dead Man and A Charlie Brown Christmas

Face Of EvilOnly today you have the chance to buy 5 books with price $0.99 for each. Usually Amazon makes discount only for 1 book per day. It is really good chance to add 5 books into your collection of horror written by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin.

Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin on The Dead Man series

We grew up loving those “men’s action adventure” paperback novels of the 60s, 70s, and 80s…series like The DestroyerThe Ninja MasterNick Carter, and The Death Merchant. You could find them in finer supermarkets, gas stations, 7-11s and bookstores everywhere. They were the male equivalent of Harlequin romances,though the only romance was often between a man and his AK-47.

The books were short and tightly-written, with hard-boiled heroes, outrageously sexy women, and gleefully over-the-top plots. Nobody would ever mistake them for great literature, but they were enormous fun to read…and to write (we know, because Lee broke into publishing in the mid-1980s writing one of those series—.357 Vigilante aka The Jury Series under the pen name “Ian Ludlow”–while he was still in college).

Sadly, the “men’s action adventure” series novels are virtually extinct now, early victims of the narrowing of the paperback marketplace.

But the Kindle offers the perfect medium for the revival of the genre, which is why we’ve teamed up with over a dozen other writers on The Dead Man, an original series that we hope recaptures the spirit and pure escapism of the thousands of books written during the heyday of “men’s action adventure.”

Ring of Knives

The series is about Matthew Cahill, an ordinary man leading a simple life…until a shocking accident changes everything. Now he can see a nightmarish netherworld that nobody else does, making each day a journey…and an adventure.

New books in The Dead Man series will appear every month or so, just like they used to in paperback in the old days. Our other experienced Dead Man authors come from a wide cross-section of genres – mystery, westerns, horror, science fiction, thrillers, and cozies. And some of them also lead double-lives as Emmy award winning writer/producers of hit network TV series.

The Dead Man gives us the thrilling opportunity to indulge our great affection for the genre and hopefully get you hooked on it, too.  – Lee Goldberg & William Rabkin

Question: How did The Dead Man series come about?

William Rabkin: It started with a TV pilot script and 12 storylines that Lee and I wrote twenty years ago. The TV series didn’t sell, but we never stopped thinking about Matt Cahill… about what happened to him and what sorts of adventures he’d face. Finally we got sick of thinking about it and decided we’d write it ourselves as a series of books. Shortly after that, we had the idea of inviting some of the wildly creative, brilliant authors and screenwriters that we know to write books in the series as well…

Question: You are both avid fans of the “men’s action adventure” genre. What made you think The Dead Man could revive the genre?

Hell In HeavenLee Goldberg: It has all the elements of the classic men’s action-adventure series….a rugged hero, an open-ended mission, a clear enemy and the potential for lots of violence … but with an occult edge that allows us to imbue a dated genre with more surprising twists and darker humor. We felt by embracing the supernatural, and the traditional elements of the men’s action adventure genre, we opened the door to story- telling that would push the envelope a bit. More importantly, though, we adopted a voice, and an approach to the material, that we think is more character-based, more self-aware, and perhaps more wise-ass than most of those series were back in the day (with the possible exception of “The Destroyer”).

Question: You both love horror novels. Is there an author that you particularly admire?

William Rabkin: Stephen King, of course. He marries the human and the horrible so brilliantly that he transformed the genre forever.  In terms of writers who can carry a single character over a long and constantly exciting set of adventures, I’d love to see us compared to Lee Child.

Question: How do you two write your books together?

Lee Goldberg:  So far, the way we’ve done it is that one of us writes the first draft and the other one does the revisions (or suggests revisions that the other writer does). But we talk to one another throughout the process. I won’t tell you who wrote the first draft of which book…you’ll have to figure that one out for yourselves. But it won’t be easy. Bill and I have written together in television for so many years that we’re very good at creating and maintaining a shared voice, though this is the first time we’ve collaborated on books.

The Dead Woman

Here are some reviews:

Hell in Heaven is the best so far in an already splendid series and is super rush of a read with plenty of sharp twists and turns and some truly smashing lines. –Paul D. BrazillIf you haven’t read The Dead Man books you are certainly missing out on some terrific reads –Man-Eating Bookworm

This series has kept me rapt from the first page [...]these authors are the Jamaican sprint team doing the 4x100m relay, each stage just gets better and better. –Right What You No

Hell in Heaven is a direct spiritual descendant of the sorts of awesome pulp action adventure tales that the greats like Robert E. Howard loved to write. –Post-Modern Pulps

For anyone who has not taken up the world of Matt Cahill yet, you are missing out on some truly crowd-pleasing fun. –Bookgasm

The story races by at a brisk rate of knots, each twist and turn, and shift in time providing another revelation [...] I was enjoying it so much, I didn’t want it to end. –Permission to Kill Blog

The Blood MesaThe Dead Man: Face of Evil is a tight, well written, supernatural thriller [that] satisfies all on it’s own, while being a terrific opener that promises an epic tale to come. I’m excited for the next book. –Man Eating  Bookworm Blog
The Dead Man Face of Evil reminds me of Stephen King and Dean Koontz.[...]a fascinating horror story that leaves you wanting more, more, more! –Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine
“I’m hopeful they continue with this character since it’s set up so well. I’ve not seen a writing tandem like this since
 the glory days of Richard Sapir and Warren Murphy” –Bookgasm”Buckle up! The Dead Man: Face of Evil starts at full-speed and never lets up. This is big-ticket horror with characters you care about who are driven to the very edge. Highly recommended!” -New York Times bestseller Jonathan Maberry, author of Dead of Night

“….new series that perfectly recaptures the golden days of paperback fiction; The Dead Man series created by Lee Goldberg and William Rabkin.” ScarryMotherF….com

“I finished The Dead Man: Face of Evil last night and really enjoyed it. And admired it as a piece of work. The structure is ingenious, the large cast of characters (third person omniscient works here) are variously strong, weak, weird, funny, sad, scary and unique and the storytelling is sleek and relentless. I recommend it big time.” Warren Murphy author of The Destroyer Series

You can get Face Of Evil here, Ring of Knives here, Hell In Heaven here, The Dead Woman here and The Blood Mesa here. Also you can click at any picture of the book to get to Amazon site to buy it.

A Charlie Brown Christmas

A Charlie Brown Christmas, the beloved Peanuts classic by Charles M. Schulz, is now available as a spectacular interactive storybook optimized for your Android device. Sit back and enjoy original dialogue, digitally remastered illustrations, animation, music, and narration by Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown.

“Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

Only Charlie Brown can turn the magic of Christmas into a problem. Even though the snowflakes are falling softly, carols are ringing sweetly, and people are gathering merrily, Charlie Brown is feeling down. He just doesn’t understand Christmas. Join him, along with Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang as they struggle to find the true meaning of Christmas. It’s all accompanied by a charming soundtrack featuring music and sound effects from the original show.

Reading is Wonder-Full

This version of A Charlie Brown Christmas is bursting with fun interactivities that will delight children and adults alike. Go caroling with the Peanuts choir, finger-paint with the gang, and participate in the Spectacular Super-Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display Contest to unlock decorations for your very own Charlie Brown Christmas Tree. You can even play Schroeder’s piano (to the tune of “Linus and Lucy”, of course). Note highlighting helps to introduce and improve musical skills.

Little readers will love turning pages with the swipe of a finger. They can also watch text highlighting as they listen to the story narration, hear individual words spoken with a single tap, touch and drag objects to make them spring to life or tilt to watch them slide and move, and much more. With something to discover on every page, this is one interactive Peanuts adventure you won’t want to miss this holiday season!

“A beautifully designed app, and one that will tug at the heartstrings of anyone with fond memories of the animated specials.” – Wired

“Pitch-perfect app tribute to the holiday TV classic.” – Common Sense Media

“Well conceived, well executed, charming, fun, and educational.” – MacObserver

Daily Deals: When Parents Text: So Much Said…So Little Understood and Bird’s the Word

When Parents Text: So Much Said...So Little UnderstoodToday you can get When Parents Text: So Much Said…So Little Understood written by Sophia Fraioli just for $0.99

“An addictive and side-splitting read . . .  the underlying relationship between parent and teen is simultaneously touching and hysterical. This should be a best seller–it is a total moment-in-time classic. Enthusiastically recommended.” —-Library Journal (starred review)

A collection of insanely funny texts between parents and kids, When Parents Text is a surprisingly affecting window into the complicated time when parents aren’t ready to let go, and kids aren’t ready to be let go. The parents are well-meaning but hopeless, silly and a little corny, and befuddled by the technology. The kids are bewildered yet patient: the perfect straight man. And the authors, two recent college graduates, Lauren Kaelin and Sophia Fraioli, have an unerring editorial instinct to select the funniest, sweetest, quirkiest, most-telling exchanges.
There’s the revelatory: Mom: My fingers are saying words. This is amazing.
The virtual scolding: Dad: I will deal with your sassy behavior when I get home. Meanwhile have some fiber.
The autofill-challenged: Mom: dig up some tadpoles on ur way homo. Me: ummm, what? Mom: It autocorrected me. I mean to say dig up some tadpoles on ur way homo. (4 minutes later) Mom: PICK UP SOME TAMPONS ON YOUR WAY HOME.
The manically inappropriate: Mom: Woo Hoo—Ruth died, you know Uncle Lyman’s wife, BUT I have your Braves tickets and check on the table!!
And the downright inexplicable: Dad: You could poop your pants in the yankee candle store and no one would know.
Includes an emoticon glossary and 16-page color insert of MMS texts— multimedia messaging service, aka, bizarre photos from mom and dad. It’s the perfect gift for every text-savvy kid to give to his or her parents.

Bird's the Word

In case you haven’t heard, the Bird is the Word. And now it’s also an entertaining game for your Android device.

Cheep Cheep

In Bird’s the Word, the goal is to make as many words as you can, as fast as you can. Highlight the letters in the word and then enter it–the Submit button turns green as soon as you’ve created a legitimate word of three letters or more. When you do, the letters disappear and different ones take their places. The longer the word, the more points you get, and there are lots of special bonus letters that pop up as you go.

There is a catch: Make sure that all the letters in the word are touching each other. If not, a sneaky bird will fill one of the spaces rather than a new letter. The more birds that perch on the board, the harder it will be make new words. Don’t let the winged menaces thwart you!

Three Ways to Wing It

With this game you can create a flap three different ways. In Classic mode, you must fill up the score bar as quickly as possible to advance to the next level. To make it to the top of the pecking order, score more points at each new level within the same amount of time.

With Timed mode, you try to collect as many points as possible before the clock runs out. Word Worm is a fun twist, where each new word must start with the last letter of the previous one. Remember that the early bird gets the worm–you only have 30 seconds to find each word. Think fast, bird brain.

The game tracks stats such as longest word, average word length, time per word, and high scores for each game mode. The more you play and the higher you score, the more achievements you pile up: Word Warrior, Nesting Instincts, Squabble, Pest, Stunner, etc. As you go further into the game, you’ll be able to unlock special birds and other features.

Word War

Since birds of a feather flock together, you can also go beak-to-beak with your friends in Bird’s the Word through Facebook. Just select Challenge on the main menu and pick out one of your friends. Then play a game in any mode and when you finish, a challenge will automatically be sent to your friend’s wall. Can you soar with the eagles or are you going to end up hanging out with turkeys?

Snugg Kindle Fire Cover vs Marware

Personally, I’m not cover-type person. I prefer my electronics bare. Kindle Fire is no exception. I did order Amazon recommended Marware Kindle Fire Cover for review purposes only. If you look at my Kindle Fire Scratch test you should get the idea that it is a strudy device and it fend for itself quite well. Screen protector is a definite waste of money and will only diminish screen quality.

However I’m well aware that there we people unlike me who love to pamper their devices and just must use some cover, skin or a sleeve. It is for such people I write this review.

Disclosure: The Snugg cover I have was sent to me by the manufacturer as a free sample. I hope you trust me to still be objective despite $29.99 incentive from one of the competitors :)

Snugg Kindle Fire Cover

Snugg Kindle Fire Cover

Marware Kindle Fire Cover

Marware Kindle Fire Cover

Since I have both accessories here in front of me, lets compare them.

  • Both covers are made of leather. Marware is smoother, while Snugg is more coarse. Both feel pleasant to the touch. It is a matter of taste and therefore a tie.
  • Snugg uses leather envelope and hidden velcro to hold the device, Marware uses metal braces covered by leather. Although both covers hold Kindle Fire securely, Snugg is much nicer looking. One point to Snugg.
  • Marware uses rubber band to hold the cover closed, while Snugg uses magnets. Both ways seem to have cons and pros. With band you can also hold the cover in the open position and overall more secure. While magnets make the cover easiers to open and involve less parts that can get tangled. I call it a tie.
  • Snugg build quality is flawless (white stitches are clearly visible and perfect), Marware is also quite nice except for the aforementioned metal braces. Therefore one point to Snugg.
  • Both covers sport a rubber band for holding the device more securely. Both allow landscape reading position. However Marware cover requires you to unbuckle the device from two of the hinges to use this position. A minor inconvenience but inconvenience nonetheless. Snugg also advertises comfortable typing position. Although you can put Marware cover into a similar position, it doesn’t hold itself securely in it due to lack of locks. One point to Snugg.
  • Both covers make power button and connectors easily accessible. One of the nefarious hinges on Marware cover obstructs part of the right speaker. While I don’t think it will affect listenting experience (remember we are talking about tiny cheap portable device speakers here that are so close to each other there will be no noticeable stereo effect) it is a design flaw nonetheless. Half point to Snugg.
  • Snugg is available only in Black, while Marware if available in Black, Brown, Charcoal, Green and Pink. Finally a point for Marware.
  • Although Snugg cover covers the top of Kindle Fire and gets really close to screen edges it doesn’t obstruct them. You can still slide out notification and settings bar from the top and button bar from the botton. I played a few rounds of Fruit Ninja and the cover didn’t interfere with the game.
  • Both covers are sold on Amazon.com and are available for Prime free two-day shipping. Marware cover costs 1.5X the price of Snugg ($44.99 vs $29.99)

I guess that by now it would be clear that I’m definitely leaning in favour of Snugg. Don’t trust me? Take a look at reviews on Amazon: although Marware sold much more covers due to being featured on Kindle Fire page, only 35% of their reviews are 5-star. Snugg on the other hand sports 83% 5-star reviews.

Conclusion: if you are unlike me and into covers – try Snugg. To me it definitely seems like a better deal.

Getting Around at DecalGirl.com / Kindle 4 Skins

This is the second post in a series of weekly giveaways sponsored by DecalGirl.com here on BlogKindle. I’ll start it by announcing the winner of last weeks giveaway: @nbrown1981. I’ve sent the redemption code via Twitter. This weeks giveaway works in a very simple way (same as the last one): click on the twitter button on the left to retweet this post and follow @BlogKindle so that I can send you a personal message on twitter with redemption code in case you win. Winner will be randomly chosen next Friday and announced in the next post. Last week only about a dozen people participated in the giveaway so chances of winning were pretty high.

I’ll let Bill take over from here…


This week I would like to start by introducing the DecalGirl website to those who have never been there before, and showing everyone some of the ways to navigate and quickly find what you are looking for.

If you click on the images of Kindle 4 skins below (more about them in a bit) you will be taken to a page for that particular design. Let’s take a look at various ways to find what you are looking for from there.

You can make a selection from the main menu and the drop down sub-menus at the top of the page. Those will help you navigate to the main pages for each device where you can see all of the stock skins for that device. (Don’t forget, you are not limited to the skins you see on this page. More about that later, too.) There is also a “directory listing” type menu just above the content area of each page that allows you to jump back over multiple levels with one click if you so desire.

If you look over the skins on any particular page and you don’t see anything that really tweaks your interest, or if you just want more choices, you can go to the right side of the main menu and click on “More ways to shop.” If you select “Shop by artist” you will be taken to the main artists’ page, where you can select an artist to view his or her gallery. If you select “Shop by design” you will be presented with all our current designs, which can be sorted by “Freshest,” “Best Sellers,” or “Name.” There’s a filter option on the left that lets you filter by artist, color, or style of art.  Any design can be put on a skin for any device.  When you choose to shop by design or by artist you will be presented with a menu to select the type of device, and then the specific device you would like skinned.  After making those selections you will be presented with a choice of gloss or matte finish, you will see the price, and you can add the skin to your cart.

We are occasionally asked about custom skins.  It’s a little hard to find information about it on the website, so let me make everyone aware:  Yes, DecalGirl can do custom skins.  If you want a picture of your favorite pet, or your daughter, or whatever on a skin, all you need to do is email [email protected].  We will send you a photoshop template via email.  Put your art on that template, send it back to us, and we will create your skin.  There is an additional $5 charge for custom skins.  You can also request to have color changes made or text added to any of our stock designs.  We will soon be streamlining this process by adding an online customizer tool to our website.

Still can’t find what you are looking for, or have questions? You can contact DecalGirl in several different ways. Go to the bottom left of any page to find our customer service links. From there you can send us an email or find our snailmail address, as well as our toll free customer service telephone number. Live customer service is available Monday-Friday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Eastern. When you call you will be talking to a friendly helpful customer service representative who is right here on site at DecalGirl, not someone at a foreign outsourced call center! (You’ll be talking to Amy, Keith, or Erin, not “Peggy!”  For anyone not in the U.S., this video will introduce you to “Peggy.”)

Now let’s talk about the skins for a bit. We have most recently added skins for the Kindle 4, and you can expect to see skins available for the other new Kindles in the near future. Right now there are 157 skin designs available on the Kindle 4 page, but remember you can shop by design or artist to select any of our more than 2200 skins to cover your Kindle 4. Here are three of our currently most popular designs. Click on any of them to visit the page for that design.

The first design is called “Library,” by Vlad Studio. Could there be a more appropriate skin for an ereader than this one?  Vlad lives in Irkutsk, Russia. He produces clever designs on a variety of subjects – from inanimate objects to stylized animals and people.

The next design is by one of our newer artists, Kate McRostie, and it is called “Fresh Picked.” Kate lives in Wilmington, North Carolina and gets her inspiration from people and things around her. “Fresh Picked” is reminiscent of the upholstery on an old fashioned chair, or perhaps decorative wallpaper.

The third and final design I want to share this week is called “Infinity” by David April. David is a software developer who produces fractal and photographic art. “Infinity” has multiple layers that give it an almost 3-D look.

Next week I’ll share some of our designs that will get you in the mood for the Halloween season. Have a good week, everyone!

DecalGirl Skins – Style and Protection For Your Devices

This is the first post in a series of weekly giveaways sponsored by DecalGirl.com here on BlogKindle. In each post Bill will share something about the company or Kindle skin designs that they create. Each post comes with a chance to win a free Kindle skin of your choice. The giveaway works in a very simple way: click on the twitter button on the left to retweet this post and follow @BlogKindle so that I can send you a personal message on twitter with redemption code in case you win. Winner will be randomly chosen next Friday and announced in the next post. So keep an eye on the blog and your twitter inbox…

And with this introduction I hand the pen over to Bill from DecalGirl….


Not too long ago, in a galaxy close to home, there was a young, recently married couple who both loved cars and who had an idea: “Let’s make full color decals for cars!” they said. After buying the printing equipment they needed, they set about creating and marketing their designs, and DecalGirl was born. As the car decal business gathered steam and began to turn a profit, they realized that their idea could be applied to other items as well, and they began to offer removable full color printed “skins” for electronic devices.

Jump ahead to 2011. DecalGirl has grown from a basement operation with a staff of 2 to a company that employs over 30 people and operates out of a 19,000 square foot facility near the booming metropolis of Milton, Delaware. (I made the “booming metropolis” part up. Milton is a quiet little town of about 2500 near the Delaware beach resorts.) DecalGirl products are 100% produced onsite in the United States from top quality materials, and feature some of the lowest prices in the skin industry. DecalGirl offers skins featuring the artwork of over 80 artists from around the world; everything from the SoCal surf culture inspired art of Chuck Trunks to the nature art of Antonia Neshev, and everything in between. New designs are added every week, so there is always something fresh to choose from. DecalGirl currently offers over 2200 designs.

DecalGirl was the first and original company to develop removable, residue free full color skins to adhere to both small and large personal electronic devices. As the years have passed and devices have changed, DecalGirl has kept up with the times, regularly adding skins for new devices as they become available. A bonus feature of DecalGirl skins is free wallpaper. If your device has a screen that supports it, you can download a free wallpaper file that matches your skin.

When you visit the DecalGirl site, you will find a variety of ways to shop for skins for your device. You can browse what’s currently available for your device, or if you don’t see something you like, you can shop by design, where you can see all the available designs for all supported devices. If you have a favorite artist, you can also shop by viewing that artist’s gallery page.

Here’s the beauty of shopping at DecalGirl.com. Suppose you see a skin that you like, but it’s not listed on the page for your device. DecalGirl will create a skin for you with that design, so you are never limited to the skins that are displayed on the page for a particular device. Custom skins take an extra day or two to produce, but it’s well worth the wait to get exactly the skin that you want. All skins offer the option of a standard high-gloss coating, or a matte/satin finish. (The matte/satin finish is slightly higher in price.) You can also customize your skin by adding text, or by having the color adjusted for an additional fee.

Over the next few weeks we are going to share some information about DecalGirl skins on this blog. We’ll take a look at a variety of designs, profile some of our artists and share their work with you, and help you find skins for your Kindle or other devices. Most importantly, we’ll give you a weekly chance to win a free DecalGirl skin! Click on the photos here for a preview of a couple of our Kindle skins.

KlearKase For Kindle Hands-On Review

After a recent survey of the options for Kindle waterproof cases, I was given the opportunity to try out one of the selections I mentioned hands-on.  Since then, I’ve spent about three solid days using and testing the KlearKase for Kindle 3 and I think I have to revise a few things that I initially said about the product.  For the sake of thoroughness, I think it might help to lay things out point by point here.

The Pros

Usability:

In spite of being a full coverage case, there is nothing that you technically cannot do with a KlearKase on your Kindle.  Not only are the page turn buttons accessible, but you can easily handle the QWERTY keyboard and pop out silicon plugs to get at the power slider and headphone jack.  Even the volume control is responsive.

Reading Experience:

Barring certain specific needs and circumstances, most of the time it is easy to forget you even have a case on the Kindle.  This is pretty much the best compliment I can think of for something like this.  The pattern on the back of the case makes it easy to grip, the page turn toggles aren’t hard to get used to, and the keyboard might even be slightly more comfortable to type on than it normally is.

Protection:

The protection on this case is impressive, as it was meant to be.  With one of these, your Kindle will not be scratched, dirty, or damp in any way.  With the port plugs jammed in, pretty much nothing makes it through.  While the KlearKase is advertised as splash-proof rather than waterproof, I jammed the thing full of paper towels and held it under water for a good 10 minutes without anything inside getting wet.

The Cons

Usability:

There are two minor inconveniences to be aware of, neither of which take much getting used to.  First, the directional control is slightly harder to use than normal.  Because it is such a low profile button to begin with, it can be a bit difficult to feel clearly through the silicon screen.  Not a big deal.  The other is the page turn toggles.  When using this case, turning a page becomes a matter of pushing a button straight down.  If you are like me and usually hold your Kindle in such a way as to make page turns a matter of just rolling your thumb a bit to squeeze the button, it might take a couple hours use before it feels natural.

Reading Experience:

The only downside I can think of here is glare.  You can’t really have full screen protection without that becoming more of an issue.  Outside of direct lighting like a book lamp or something, it probably won’t bother anybody much.

Protection:

Like I said, the protection is great.  It would take far more of a fall or crush to damage a Kindle inside one of these things than it would in most other cases.  As I mentioned, water is a non-issue.

The Big Picture

This is a case I can see becoming a regular use thing.  Having had one to try out, I don’t think I would consider giving a Kindle to a kid without a KlearKase(alliteration not intended).  It protects, but most importantly it doesn’t get in the way.  While it will never pass for a personal statement or fashion accessory, don’t overlook this one.

Adaptive Switches for the Kindle 3

A few months ago, I wrote a post about an adaptive technology called PageBot that can be used to operate the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX. PageBot is now available for the Kindle 3, and has been marked down to $279. If you order one by October 31, than you can get a free switch, called the Orby Switch.

These switches are designed for people who have mobility impairments that prevent them from using the Kindle normally.

The switch comes in two, bright colors: red and yellow. They are also activated with a minimum amount of pressure.

The product description according to Origin:

“Colorful – Available in Cherry Red and Lemon Yellow
Ergonomic – Audible and tactile feedback at each switch transition
Sensitive – Activation requires only 3.5 ounces of pressure anywhere on the surface
Adaptable – Threaded inserts support optional mounting at any angle
Stable – A friction pad is included to cushion impacts and prevent sliding
Durable – Designed for daily use and years of service
Dependable – Origin Instruments quality, reliability, and support
Affordable – Priced at $34.95 US$”

For more information, visit Origin Instruments’ PageBot product page and Orby Switch product page.  They have a great deal of cool assistive technology gadgets to check out.

I think it is awesome that there is adaptive equipment available out there for the growing e-reader and tablet market. However, I hope that assistive technology can be integrated into the Kindle, Nook, and tablets so that people with disabilities can use their devices just as easily as everyone else without all of the extra equipment.

A Case For Kindle Waterproofing

The demand for a Kindle Case that can stand up to the elements tends to be situational at best.  Sure, you want to be able to pull out that option should you be backpacking with your Kindle or taking it to the beach, but in general it really isn’t worth the extra bulk, weight, or ridiculous appearance that go along with the current waterproof options just to use them on a daily basis. Basically, right now for the sake of comfort we are forced to accept things that offer minimal protection in order to avoid ruining the reading experience.  The preferred option would, of course, be an unintrusive but completely safe case.  Lacking that, as we do at the moment, it can be useful to know where the most effective options are.

As far as casual use, the best compromise I’ve found for when you want something to use all the time that will also save you from spilled drinks and short unexpected rainfall is the M-Edge Leisure Jacket.  It is fairly affordable for a Kindle case at $34.99 but also provides a good amount of protection and doesn’t look ridiculous when you carry it around with you.  It isn’t perfect, by any means.  I would strongly recommend against dropping your Kindle in a bathtub with this one, and the screen protection results in a fair amount of glare.  If moisture is a minor concern, however, it is effective.

A more durable and heavily protected option is the new KlearKase for Kindle 3. Again, it is not going to provide much protection if you decide to store your Kindle in the swimming pool.  It does a lot more than the M-Edge option, though.  Their product video depicts some fairly impressive splash protection in unusual boating conditions, for example.  You also get ready access to all Kindle buttons and functions, unlike any other reliable waterproof case I’ve found so far.  It doesn’t look nice enough that I would want to carry this around constantly, but it’s some of the best functional protection you’re likely to find.  $49.99 is a bit much for a case, but if you need it then it is probably worth the investment.

The budget option, for those who don’t feel that a few hours on the beach is worth a $50 investment, is the TrendyDigital WaterGuard Case.  Think of it like a durable ziplock bag for your Kindle.  Mostly because it is.  While it is quite inexpensive at $15.99 and not particularly attractive, this is possibly the best of the waterproofing options.  I’ve seen them sit submerged without leaking for several minutes at a time.  Admittedly, however, this is the only protection they give you.  Even the worst of the normal case selections you’re likely to see would give you more fall damage insurance.  Still, it’s a great way to keep your Kindle dry.  Plus, and I know this will be the major selling point for most people, it has a strap so that you can hang your eReader from your neck!

OtterBox for Amazon Kindle Overall Unimpressive

The name OtterBox has become practically synonymous with quality and protection for any number of smartphone and tablet owners over the past couple years.  As such, when one of their cases was announced for the Amazon Kindle, it seemed like a great option for people who don’t want to have to worry about accidental damage or wear and tear.  Unfortunately, the reviews that have come in so far are overwhelmingly unimpressed by the end result.

Compared to cell phones, which are likely in any given day to be dropped, scratched, and generally worn out by their constant presence in the lives of owners no matter the situation, I would guess that the average Kindle is astoundingly well cared for.  For many owners, as a result, the important factor in deciding on one of these cases would have to be durability without loss of functionality.  Basically, people care more about their Kindle working properly than they do about how impervious it is as a general rule.  To me, this makes perfect sense.  Apparently it was overlooked.

Customers are complaining about the experience for any number of reasons.  The screen protector seems to greatly increase experienced glare.  The page turn buttons tend to stick and lose their responsive feeling when being pushed.  The silicone of the sleeve itself is a magnet for any lint, oil, and debris that it happens to come into contact with.  That aside, once the sleeve is on it is difficult to even make out the button functions in most light since they are identified by recessed and uncolored symbols.  On top of that, it adds a noticeable amount of weight to the Kindle and gets to be quite obtrusive.

The majority of these negative reviews come from people who declare themselves fans and former owners of OtterBox products who are simply astounded by how mediocre this particular item turned out to be by comparison.  Yes, it does what it is meant to do.  Once you get it to fit properly, your Kindle is going to be protected very well.  It just manages this in such a way as to make you more aware of the case than seems necessary.  That limits the potential uses for it, in my eyes.

This might make an excellent investment for high damage potential situations.  Want to get a kid a Kindle?  The OtterBox case will help it last longer and costs less (as of right now) than most Kindle cases!  Want to keep one in the garage?  I would want one of these.  But it really only works in situations where durability is the absolute most important factor.

The Kindle was intended to be, and manages in general to be, a device that doesn’t get in the way of what it was made to do.  When you are using one, the experience is meant to be pleasant and allow for the same kind of reading experience you would get from a paperback.  The OtterBox Commuter Case for the Amazon Kindle, by all accounts I’ve seen so far, fails to allow this.  This is not what one would hope for when they hear about something like this.

SimpleLight for Kindle

There are a good many lights out there for the Kindle, but one in particular, the SimpleLight by Grantwood Technologies is great.  I know many people complain about the Kindle not having backlight.

This particular light becomes a part of the Kindle. and includes a lot of flexible lighting angles.  Unlike many lights that fit on the top, this one comes from the side for better portability.

One of the best perks is that it doesn’t require extra batteries or lightbulbs.  It also doesn’t suck up the Kindle’s own battery.  Sure is nice to not have to haul a bunch of batteries and chargers around.  It’d be even better if universal chargers could be created to charge all gadgets.

Grantwood Technologies recently released an updated SimpleLight designed for the 3rd generation Kindle.  The newest version of the Kindle is lighter and smaller than its predecessors and SimpleLight fits on it seamlessly without adding weight.

An advantage that this particular light has over backlighting is power.  One reviewer said they were able to use it light a flashlight.  You can also bend it away from someone in bed next to you.

When I was younger I used to try to read in bed with a booklight.  I remember how cumbersome it could be to turn the pages with the light.  The Kindle design makes it a lot easier to to use one because you aren’t physically turning pages.

Not a bad price either.  For such a good quality light that does not require batteries, $23 certainly doesn’t break the bank!

 

 

 

$250 Amazon Gift Card Sweepstakes

Become a fan of Amazon Kindle on Facebook and enter for a chance to win a $250 Amazon Kindle Gift Card.  The sweepstakes ends on June 23.

10 people will be randomly selected, and the gift card can be used to buy all kind of Kindle goodies.  Its even more than enough to buy a new Kindle and a good stock of e-books.

The Amazon Kindle Facebook fan page does a number of sweepstakes from time to time so, check them out, and who knows, you might just get lucky.  The page also has a lot of great Kindle thoughts, reviews and special offers.

 

 

Unique Leather Kindle Covers

leather casesIf you are in the market for a unique, high quality style Kindle 2 or Kindle 3 cover, check out this etsy shop.  The leather covers are handmade and custom designed by Tovicorrie, a small business owned by a couple based in London.

The designs are printed directly onto the cover.  There are some really pretty flower designs, as well as more abstract ones.  So, you have a good variety to choose from based on your taste.  As you can see from the pictures, the case has a snap at the bottom to allow for easy sliding in and out, as well as charging.

The inside of the leather Kindle case is lined with suede to help protect your Kindle from scratches.  The case is also sturdy enough to handle traveling or toting around.  The sturdiness and protection are keys to a long lasting case.

Tovicorrie also has a number of cases available for the iPhone or iPod as well.

PageBot for Kindle

I’ve written a few posts in the past about how the Kindle can be made accessible for people with visual impairments. The Kindle and Amazon have made great strides towards accessibility both within the device itself and through external attachments.

The latest gadget to join to Kindle accessibility lineup is PageBot by Origin Instruments. PageBot has a number of adaptive switches that can help people with motor disabilities navigate the Kindle’s “previous” and “next” page buttons, as well as the keyboard. I think that is awesome because the buttons are small, and require some muscle strength to use them. Currently, PageBot is available online starting May 12 for Kindle 2 and Kindle DX. The Kindle 3 version will be available in June, 2011.

PageBot is also compatible with Sip/Puff and other switches that are designed for people who are paralyzed or have any other motor disability that would prevent them from using their hands.

PageBot includes a mount for tables, shelves and any other similar surfaces, as well as a foam padding to prevent mechanical shock.

If you are concerned about battery power, PageBot is designed to run on low battery power. So, the Kindle’s battery should be able to handle it quite well.

Official list of features according to Origin Instrument’s website:

 

  • The Kindle is supported in a rugged mount with facing surfaces of compliant foam
  • Includes a four degree-of-freedom articulated arm with integrated clamp for mounting
  • Dual electro-mechanical actuators for the Kindle’s Next Page and Previous Page buttons
  • Dual switch connectors for interface to adaptive switches with standard 3.5 mm plugs
  • Stereo input capability for interfacing dual switches with a single cable
  • Integrated USB host for adaptive switches that emulate a USB mouse
  • Integrated Keep Awake mode prevents the Kindle from entering sleep after a pause in reading
  • Micro-USB power input for compatibility with the standard Kindle power adapter
  • Optional rechargeable battery pack supports wireless portability and full on-the-go reading
  • PageBot exposes all Kindle features for manual access, including the Amazon Whispernet wireless antenna(s), the stereo headphone jack, the Kindle battery recharge port, and the Kindle’s buttons and switches
  • The Kindle can be inserted or removed from PageBot for convenient sharing with friends and family members

Origin Instruments has a number of other assistive technology gadgets for the iPhone, iPod Touch and others.  I encourage you to take a look at them, and pass this along to anyone who might could use PageBot for their Kindle.  A great way to provide a pleasurable reading experience for all audiences.

Waterproof Case Option for Kindle

With the summer coming up, lots of people are heading to the pool and the beach.  So, it is probably a good idea to find a reasonably priced case for your Kindle that can keep it safe and dry.  Until I found out about this case, I was really afraid to take my Kindle on the beach, for fear of sand damage.

The WaterGuard case slips snugly around your Kindle 1,2, or 3, and provides flexibility that allows you to still use the Kindle page turner buttons and the keyboard with ease.  I really like that it can be used across generations.  That way it can be used whenever you decide to upgrade.

There is also a WaterGuard case designed for the Kindle DX as well.  Both cases are inexpensive in terms of Kindle cases, and run between 15 and 20 dollars.  Plus, as many reviewers say, these cases are functional.  They do their jobs well.

You can also wear it with an adjustable strap.  The case comes with a a good selection of colorful borders, including blue, purple and red.

RB

“I did the “paper towel test” (put a dry paper towel in the bag, seal it, then submerse the bag in water). Dry paper towel, so the watertightness seems very good.

On vacation, I abused it pretty heavily- sand, wind, water, and my Kindle stayed dry and happy. There was a slight glare/shadow in very direct sun, but just changing the angle at which I held the Kindle resolved that.”

khanman

“Does what it’s supposed to do! Enough said.”