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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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Kindle Fire Video Conversion

While it can be a bit of a pain that the Kindle Fire, despite being highly video-centric, offers users little in the way of video format compatibility, for the most part it probably won’t come up for just anybody.  The storage space on board the tablet is small enough that streaming video is obviously going to be the most successful regular viewing method anyway.  There are always those occasions when it is important to be able to load something for later though, when you expect to be without WiFi access or are simply unable to find a reasonable way to stream a title.

Admittedly there are also less conventional, free avenues for movie acquisition, but we won’t go into that here.  For these times when you have a movie that you need to load onto your Kindle Fire, it’s important to be aware of the best way to go about it.  Let’s assume that, through whatever avenue might have worked for you (third party purchase, DVD rip via freely available software like DVDFab, etc.) you have acquired some DRM-free video.

Since it’s what I’m familiar with and because it is freely available, I’m going to use a video conversion tool called Handbrake for Windows.  In the end what matters most is choosing the right settings, so most any video conversion software will do.

  • Install and Run Handbrake (Free software available for most computers at handbrake.fr)
  • Find your Source Video
    • Large button labeled “Source” will drop down and offer you the choice of either one file or a whole folder.  The whole folder option is important is converting raw DVD data.
    • Assuming you want the whole video, nothing more should be required.  If you are trying to convert just a section, you can cut that out either by chapter, frame, or time period in the obvious menus provided.
  • Choose your Destination
    • Since you will be putting this onto the Kindle Fire, it is often best to have it output somewhere obvious like the desktop unless you are planning to retain converted video for storage.
    • Do not output directly to the Kindle Fire at this stage.
  • Under Presets, on the right side of the screen, choose “iPad” (Kindle Fire will use the same format) and check the settings that appear to make sure they match this:
    • Container: MP4
    • Uncheck “Large File Size”, “Web optimized”, and iPod 5G Support”
    • Width: 720
    • Cropping: Automatic
    • Anamorphic: Loose
    • Modulus: 16

Note for those not using Handbrake: Video Codec is H.264, Audio Codec is AAC

Not claiming these are the only working settings, merely what I recommend based on personal use.

  • Click on the Start button at the top of the window
    • Conversion will take between 15 and 45 minutes, on average, for a full length movie.
  • Connect your Kindle Fire via USB
  • Copy New Video File to Kindle Fire
    • Folder: Video
    • Can take 3-5mins for most USB transfers.
  • Open Gallery App on your Kindle Fire
    • User video will not show up under the Video tab at this time, but the Gallery comes pre-installed on your device.

Hope that helps a bit.  The process is a bit tedious, but considering how little can be held on the Kindle Fire at a given time it should not be too much of a chore to pack it fill of whatever you want when this proves necessary.  For a larger variety of options you can always root your Kindle, but understand that doing so will require a slightly greater initial time investment and could prove annoying as the step will have to be repeated with each Amazon software patch.

Kindle Fire & Nook Tablet Video Focus Brings Android Attention

It was known well ahead of the official announcement for the device ever took place that the Kindle Fire would be intended for video more than anything else.  Perhaps due to that pressure and perhaps just as part of an overall trend in the market, the Nook Tablet was designed along similar lines.  While this doesn’t necessarily mean much on its own, it spurred along at least one other development that might mean a great deal more attention for the Android community as a whole.

Amazon’s intent to promote their own streaming video service is clear.  Their library has been growing quickly over time, including many titles being given away “free” with Amazon Prime.  This is naturally something of a concern for a company like Netflix that is suddenly faced with competition from somebody as big as Amazon.  Although Netflix has not commented on it, something definitely spurred them along to push forward their new tablet app upgrade for Android weeks or months ahead of iOS.

The Nook Tablet practically relies on Netflix and other streaming services to function, all the more so because Barnes & Noble currently offers nothing analogous to Amazon’s video services.  They also began advertising a uniquely deep connection with Netflix immediately following the reveal.  As Kindle Fire owners have likely noticed by now, the Netflix app in the Amazon App Store isn’t exactly lacking either.  They went for the maximum possible audience with this update and it seems likely to take.

The implications here go beyond benefits for owners of these new 7″ tablets, however nice those are to have.  This is one of the first times that the Android platform has received special attention ahead of the iOS equivalent.  That sort of thing does not happen without a fair degree of confidence in the potential profitability. If the Kindle Fire alone, or even the collection group of it and all of the competing $200 tablets springing up from companies like B&N and Kobo, is considered important enough to be prioritized ahead of the market dominating iPad then it could easily be a sign that tides are changing.

Part of the bar to Android’s widespread adoption in tablets has been the fact that quality development tends to get prioritized for the competition.  Whether you blame it on the fragmentation of the ecosystem due to frequent non-mandatory upgrades, lack of faith in Google’s offering as a whole, or the lack of a truly major name product to line up behind, the situation has now changed. With luck, this will build up some momentum.

While I have nothing against Apple or the iPad, some heated competition would go a long way toward not only improving their product but creating some genuinely functional alternatives.  The strength of iOS that everybody else lacks isn’t the iPad’s hardware or aesthetic.  Its main virtue is the functionality that primarily comes from the Apple App Store.  Neither the Kindle Fire nor the Amazon App Store is a match for Apple.  It isn’t likely that a single company or product will be any time soon.  What it does do is get the ball rolling, so to speak.

Mirasol Hands On Impresses

Qualcomm's Mirasol Demo device at CES 2010, click for video [credit: Clayton morris]The eInk display technology (the same one that is used on Kindle screens) has a new rival. Far more than LG’s micro foil technology that is used by Hearst, Qualcomm’s Mirasol display technology is threatening to overtake eInk by the end of this year. Mirasol, as we reported earlier, is a new display technology that is being developed by a team of researchers under the banner of Qualcomm — their primary sponsor. The main advantage of this technology is that it has the capability of producing RGB pixels. That means full color displays. And it doesn’t stop there either.

Mirasol can also display video and decent frame rates and according to those who saw the demo at CES 2010 — it is a very promising new technology. Because even though the screen is doing full color video, the developers claim that it has a 6x battery advantage over eInk under average eInk usage. The overlaying of a capacitive touchscreen allows the screen to become touch enabled but reduces the display’s sharpness slightly. Still, it is supposed to be capable enough to take over the eInk displays. To give you an estimate – if your eInk display device lasts one full day on a single charge, the same device will last for 6 days on the same single charge and battery if it uses a Mirasol display. Of course, this is all theoretically speaking but the real world value is still likely to be quite high.

Mirasol can easily be read under direct sunlight like the eInk screens and it can also be evenly backlit for dark situations – something that the eInk screens are not equipped for. Mirasol is likely to hit by the end of 2010 and the first screens will be around 5.7 in size — enough for medium sized eBook readers and may be even tablet devices. Watch the video for a look at what it looks like.

Mirasol v/s e-Ink: What’s The Future?

Qualcomm_Mirasol_ebook_reader_prototype_14-351x500

The screen is real but the housing is non-functional right now

Qualcomm is funding the development of a new type of display technology called Mirasol and it is being touted as the future of eBook readers. That means it will replace the e-Ink technology that our beloved Kindle uses. So how does it work and why is it (reportedly) so much better?

Mirasol has been developed by mimicking a feature that makes the butterfly’s wings shimmer. It uses no back lighting, just like e-Ink and uses incidental light to reflect it back through a special layer. This layer is made up of multiple microscopic membranes that can be change through electric current. Once they change, they remain static in that state until another electric charge causes them to change again. This means they do not use electricity during a period of no change.

Their main advantage is that these membranes can produce the three main colors used in modern color displays – Red, Green And Blue (RGB) – and hence can produce a vibrant colored image. They also produce very impressive blacks (at least in theory) because in their closed state they reflect no light at all and have no other source of light.

Due to their design, they are able to run higher frame rates, thus making smooth videos a possibility on the display. Currently, pushing the frame rate up on the e-Ink would cause it to consume more battery.

That is because e-Ink uses tiny microcapsules that have three states – Black, white amd mixed. Changing them through negative and positive charges creates the same effect as LCD pixels. But since they contain physical particles, they do not need any backlighting. But making them support RGB would require highly specialized particles and higher frame rates would require much more current.

How this will affect eBook readers is still debatable but if it does become viable, then Amazon might consider switching. We just have to wait a bit more to see how it pans out. Qualcomm intends to have it in the market by the end of 2010.

Plastic Logic’s new flexible, low-power e-ink display

plastic logicThin and flexible e-ink displays is one the advances that has been a long time coming. Plastic Logic hopes to bring us this amazing technology by 2009, a cross between the Kindle and actual paper.

Spun off from Cambridge University in 2000, Plastic Logic is now based in Mountain View, California, since 2000 they have been working hard to produce a semi-transparent sheet of tough plastic which can create and erase static images. Plastic Logic haven’t mastered animation yet, but they don’t think it will be too long before they do.

Whilst its headquarters are in Mountain View, California, it also has a manufacturing centre in Dresden, Germany, which is scheduled to open in September 2008. Plastic Logic says its product will be on the market in early 2009.

The company has taken over $200 million in funding to date, and other $50 million funding earlier this year, so all those investors will want to see what products Plastic Logic can come up with.

The obvious application is newspapers and magazines, whether it will be economically feasible for newspapers to ‘print’ on this new generation of e-ink displays is another matter. One possible way of turning a profit for the newspapers could be to sell monthly subscription, with a built in wireless receiver, the flexible display could receive updates for a month before asking the user to renew their subscription. But, I think the most likely–and most profitable–application will be displaying ads on posters and billboards.

You can watch a demonstration of the new e-ink displays provide by Plastic Logic;

The Future of the Book

Scribe Media discusses the future of books, and how e-books could possibly be the future – or at least part of it.

Its a fascinating discussion with Bob Stein who is the Director of the Institute for Future of the Book – futureofthebook.org – and it well worth listening if you have a spare 40 minutes.

Source: Scribe Media

Here come the iPhone/iPod Touch e-book readers

Apple iPhone 3G

You may of heard that over the weekend Apple unveiled it’s new iPhone 3G device, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the device, mostly because of the software, the actual hardware is not that impressive and mostly includes improvements that the original iPhone should have shipped with in the first place. The iPhone 3G comes in at a impressive $199 to buy, however you will be paying more in the long term compared to the classic iPhone with higher network subscription charges.

Now how does the new iPhone effect us Kindlers? well… Apple has done something remarkable with the software – they have opened it up! which is impressive considering we are talking about Apple here. All this has allowed third party developers to create e-book apps for the iPhone 3G and has turned the iPhone into a e-book reader.

There are already a couple of iPhone e-book reading apps out already, the iPhone Bookshelf is one which supports multiple formats.

Another promising e-book app is Stanza. Stanza is an app which lets you read e-book which are stored on your iPhone and e-books online, make sure you check out the demo at the bottom of the page. Stanza can also read files in the ePub format, which many other apps are able to work with, perhaps the Kindle will eventually support ePub aswell one day.

The only annoying thing about reading an e-book on the iPhone is that each e-book comes as its own individual app, with its own icon on the iPhone home screen, Apple could have done a better job of categorising e-books or even better creating their own e-book reading App.

There is still some speculation on whether  Apple will create a dedicated e-book reading device, but for now we know e-books are on a Apple device through third party apps, if you couple this with rumours that Apple is in touch with major publishers this would support the theory that Apple is working on its own e-book reader, or at least a e-book store.

Will the touch screen make it easier to read an e-book? I don’t know since I don’t own a iPhone or iPod Touch, but I suspect that it might be a bit easier to read with the iPhone, swiping the screen to turn the page seems a more natural gesture than pressing a button, however you will be using both hands, whereas with the Kindle you need only use one. With the Kindle accidentally turning the page can be quite frustrating, I cant see it happening on the iPhone.

You can watch our buddy Walt Mossberg review of the Apple iPhone 3G in the video below, he mentions the e-book reading capability of the device.

Can Apple with its new iPhone 2.0 software challenge Amazon?

Business Like Bezos: Portfolio.com interviews Amazon founder Jeff Bezos about the Kindle

Portfolio contributing editor Kevin Maney interviewed Jeff Bezos in a packed auditorium at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Bazos and Maney discussed many topics during the lengthy 1 hour 30 minute interview – everything from Bazos personal life, how he makes business/personal decisions, the founding and growth of Amazon, Amazons Infrastructure Services, Amazon Prime, Amazon A9 and of course the Kindle. It is a very in depth interview, Bazos goes into great detail about what the vision is for Kindle and how Kindle came to be – it is a fascinating interview and if you have the spare time its well worth watching.

We don’t all have a couple of spare hours every day, so if your just interested in what Bazos has says about the Kindle then you can skip most of the interview – Bazos starts talking about the Kindle in part 3 at 3min 25sec into the interview.

Partial Transcript by Wired.com:

Portfolio: Let’s talk about the Kindle. What do you want it to be?

Bezos: Any book, in any language, ever in print should be available in less than 60 seconds. We worked on it for three years. It’s been selling out since being released.

Portfolio: You sold how many?

Bezos: You asked that so innocently, but you know I’m not going to answer. We have a long-standing practice of being very shy about disclosure, and I’ll stick to that practice. The Kindle has substantially exceeded our expectations.

Portfolio: Every effort at e-books has failed. Why should this one work?

Bezos: We decided we were going to improve upon the book. And the first thing we did was try to determine the essential features of a physical book that we needed to replicate. The No. 1 feature is that it disappears. When you’re in the middle of reading, you don’t notice the ink or the glue or the stitching or the paper — all of that disappears, and you’re in the author’s world. Most electronic devices today do not disappear. Some of them are extraordinarily rude. Books get out of the way, and they leave you in that state of mental flow.

Portfolio: How do you improve on that?

You can watch the full interview 6 part interview here.

Source: Wired

Jeff Bezos interview at the “D: All Things Digital Conference”

Walt Mossberg interviews Jeff Bezos at All Things D Conference

Our old friend Walt Mossberg sat down with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos this morning at the “D: All Things Digital Conference”.

Walt Mossberg gave the Kindle a luke-warm reception back in November calling it “mediocre” and “marred by annoying flaws”. He liked the idea and the shopping experience behind the Kindle, but thought that the device itself was where Kindle’s flaw lied.

Jeff Bezos does his normal sales pitch about the Kindle, but this time he throws in a bit of new information about Kindle sales. Walt asks point blank “How many Kindles have you sold?” Jeff politely refused to answer the question instead he gave us a new stat: “Title-by-title basis…Kindle unit sales more than 6% of total book sales”. So of the 125,000 titles available for Kindle, of all those 125,000 titles that were sold — digital and print — Kindle accounted for 6% of sales. Jeff also said he envisioned a time when e-book sales formed a substantial portion of book sales at Amazon.

Jeff Bezos also commented on a Kindle v2:

“There will be a second version, a third version, a tenth version. … but a second version is not that near.”

It may take a decade to get the product to where Amazon wants it, he said. So this has confirmed what many thought, that Amazon is committed to the Kindle and there will be a Kindle v2 release sometime in the future.

The interview wasn’t just limited to talk about the Kindle, Bezos also talks about the streaming video-on-demand service for Amazon, which will be released in the next couple of weeks amongst other things.

You can see the interview below in 2 parts.

Source: All Things D

Sunday Night Links #7: 18 May 2008

sunday night linksEvery Sunday night we will bring you our selection of Kindle and Amazon related links from around the web. Compiled from blogs, magazines, main stream media and other sources, we hope these links will give you a definitive overview of what’s happening regarding the Kindle and what the Kindle community is talking about.

Amazon Gains, Despite an Economic Slowdown – NYTimes

Amazon doing an Ugly American act in Great Britain? Bullying U.K. publishers to jack up Jeff’s profits – TeleRead

Apple-Amazon e-book slugout ahead? Some possibilities – TeleRead

The Future of Reading – Columbia Journalism Review

The PR Revolution Amazon’s Kindle May Be Bringing – 360 Digital Influence

Kindle – The Reading Experience – Adobe Blogs – Bill McCoy

The “Quirky” Kindle is “Headed for Nichedom” – Kindleville

Not on Fire for Kindle – Econlog

Kindle Still Unknown to the Tech Savvy – K.indled

Why the Amazon Kindle is a tourist’s best friend – Computerworld

Does the Kindle have iPod-ish potential? – ZDNet blogs

Rethinking the Kindle – Auxiliary Memory

Reading Rekindled – randomdialogue

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos on Martha Stewart Video

Why I love my Kindle – Collected Miscellany

Early Adopters Are Useless – Technosailor

Sunday Night Links #3: 6 January 2008

sunday night linksEvery Sunday night we will bring you Kindle links from around the web. Compiled form blogs, magazines, main stream media and other sources, we hope this link list will give you a definitive overview of what’s new regarding Kindle and what the ever growing Kindle community is talking about.

Kindle Summary 2007: Pros and Cons – Educational Paradigms

Amazon Kindle vs. Sony Reader SMACKDOWN – Gadgets Page

Amazon Kindle Does It All — Almost – The Street

Should You Use Kindle to Beta-Test Your Next Novel? – Gawker

Amazon Kindle, Magazines Could be the Killer App – theyshoulddothat.com

Kindle: gadget of mystery – Computer World

Kindle Kicks Newsprint’s Butt – Enterprise IT Planet Blog

Going Green with Kindle Reader! – justanothermobilemonday.com

Amazon Kindle has JVM – Java Swamy

Why Amazon’s Kindle Is A Big Deal – Bear on Business

Kindle, dissed on Gawker, still sells for $800 on Ebay – Munseys

Not on the Same Page as Print is Dead – Structured Publishing

Would you buy a Kindle? – Chas’ Compilation

Feedbook delivers one-click Kindle downloads – Mobile Read Forums

Kindle isn’t the Most Desired E-book Reader – Kindle News

Jeff Bezos and Bestselling Authors Discuss Amazon Kindle

Robert Scoble say the Kindle Sucks

scobleIn a scathing (yet hilarious) review of the Kindle, Robert Scoble – a former technical evangelist at Microsoft – states the following:

1. I want to meet the guy who designed the thing, and I want to beat the crap out of him.
2. It’s obvious they did not think about how the device was going to be used.
3. Amazon is a “cheap-ass company”.
4. In conclusion, “It really sucks.”

I take it he doesn’t like the Kindle device, fundamentally I think he is wrong, Kindle can be a success and whilst the Kindle does have its flaws, it certainly is not going to be a failure. Here are the 6 major criticisms of the Kindle Scoble cites;

1. No ability to buy paper goods from Amazon through Kindle.
2. Usability sucks. They didn’t think about how people would hold this device.
3. UI sucks. Menus? Did they hire some out-of-work Microsoft employees?
4. No ability to send electronic goods to anyone else. I know Mike Arrington has one. I wanted to send him a gift through this of Alan Greenspan’s new book. I couldn’t. That’s lame.
5. No social network. Why don’t I have a list of all my friends who also have Kindles and let them see what I’m reading?
6. No touch screen. The iPhone has taught everyone that I’ve shown this to that screens are meant to be touched. Yet we’re stuck with a silly navigation system because the screen isn’t touchable.

Now as far as I can tell, Scoble has 3 problems with the Kindle – Social Networking, eCommerce, and Usability. The usability seems fine to me on the Kindle, it takes about 30 seconds to figure out how to use the device and then it becomes second nature and most reviews have had a similar experience. In my opinion social networking has no place in a eBook device so that’s a moot point, however the ability to share your profile for thing like a book club might be something worth looking into. And finally eCommerce, the Kindle is a eBooks reader, not a supermarket! who wants to buy a toaster or mountain bike through a Kindle? I certainly don’t want to, I want to buy books and read on my Kindle. If I want to buy anything else, I will log into Amazon.com and purchase my goods that way. However, Scoble does have some valid points so the review is watching even if it it just to watch Scoble lose it.

You can check out the Videos here:

Amazon Kindle video #1. Unboxing.
Amazon Kindle video #2. Kindle first use.
Amazon Kindle video #3. Walking around with Kindle.
Amazon Kindle video #4. Mike Arrington on Kindle.
Amazon Kindle video #5. Books vs. Kindle
Amazon Kindle video #6. Me being a total jerk to Amazon.
Amazon Kindle video #7 (Interview at SF State University).

Source: Scobleizer

Video Review of Amazon Kindle

Whilst browsing around the net looking for Kindle related news to bring to you guys I stumbled upon Pocketnow.com. The guys over there have uploaded a very good, in-depth video review of the Kindle, I thought I would share it with you guys on this blog. Now the videos are quite in-depth, and they are spread out over 4 video each one covering a different aspect of the Kindle device. The videos go into a lot of detail on how the device works and what it is like to use every day. So if you are interested in buying a Kindle in the near future I would highly recommend these videos as they will give you a flavour of what you can expect when you own a Kindle device.

Part 1

Talks about the carrying case of the Kindle, then give a tour of the hardware features of the device.

Part 2

Talks about the reading experience of the Kindle, and show off the electrophoretic display (aka E-Ink).

Part 3

Go over using the Kindle store and viewing Wikipedia.

Part 4

Covers viewing a newspaper with the Kindle, and go over a few experimental features that you can use on the device.

Source : Pocketnow.com Amazon Kindle Video Review

Sunday Night Links #1: 23 December 2007

Welcome to the first instalment of Sunday Night Links! As the week draws to a close, every Sunday night we will bring you Kindle links from around the web. Compiled form blogs, magazines, main stream media and other sources, we hope this link list will give you a definitive overview of what’s new regarding Kindle and what the community is talking about.

15 Things I Just Learned About the Amazon Kindle – BoingBoing

The PR Revolution Amazon’s Kindle May Be Bringing – Influential Marketing Blog

Kindle Gaming? The Hidden Game – Kindle Reader

Amazon Kindle Real-Life Review (Verdict: Lightweight, Long Lasting and Easy to Grip… In Bed) – Gizmodo

Which eBook Reader is the Best?
– Slashdot

10 Lessons in Innovation from Amazon’s Kindle – onmoneymaking.com

Kindle can light up your life – Chicago Sun Times

And finally on a more festive note, Merry Christmas to all our readers! So here is an amusing video for you to watch…

Walt Mossberg on the Kindle

Walt MossbergIt appears that things are not well over at AllThingsD. Walt Mossberg, who is the principal technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, reviewed Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader last month. Now this was surprising slow out of the gate for Mossberg so what happened? First lets see what Walt had to say about this Amazon Kindle first.

Mossberg in his review called the Kindle “mediocre” and “marred by annoying flaws” he even goes as far as saying “It is bigger and clunkier to use than the Sony Reader, whose second version has just come out at $300″. In his video review he also says there are too many flaws to list. You can watch the video of Walt Mossberg’s review of the Amazon Kindle at the end of this post. However he does also say in his review that Amazon hit the nail on the head with the shopping experience, which is hardly surprising seeing as Amazon.com is the largest bookstore in the world. All in all its seems that Mossberg is impressed with the idea and the online shopping expirience Amazon have created, but is not impressed by the device itself saying it is too big and clunky.

However, recently news came out from another tech columnist that Mossberg “was only interested in reviewing it if he could be first. When Steven Levy got it first Walt threw a tantrum.”. Wow, Steven Levy is a Newsweek tech reviewer who reviewed the Kindle a whole week before Walt. Steven Levy and David Pogue of the New York Times (Who was also amongst the first to review the iPhone) both got exclusive reviews, they also happened to gave the Kindle glowing reviews.

If that doesn’t make you wonder where his mind was at the time of the review, Mossberg also gives three iPod shout-outs in the first two paragraphs, too bad it wants a review for the iPod. C’mon Walt, we know you are getting old, but try to focus on the job in hand!

As promised, here is the video review;