free F&SF magazine for Kindle

A free “digest” version of F&SF is now available for the Kindle (and also for the iPhone/iPad Kindle app). I remember picking up F&SF on the newsstand occasionally when I was a kid, along with my comic books and Bazooka Joe bubble gum. They published some great stories. I haven’t picked up an issue in years though. I have plenty of SF and fantasy short stories on my Kindle, and in my Instapaper account, culled from various sources (all legal), that I haven’t read yet.

Kindle 3

I’ve been catching up on some reading today, working my way through some old e-mail newsletters that have been piling up in my inbox. I’m in August 2010 right now, so I just hit David Pogue’s Kindle 3 review from the NY Times. I’m using my Kindle 3 about as often as I was using my Kindle 1. I’m in the middle of a “dead tree” book right now, but when I finish that, I’ll probably go back to the Kindle, and pick one of the many unread books I have on there to read next.

And here’s a Times article from Sept 2010 about e-readers vs dead tree books: Of Two Minds About Books. Somewhat interesting.

I’ve also just started messing around with Instapaper. I bought the iPhone/iPad app, but I think the best way to use Instapaper is to use the feature that sends your unread articles to the Kindle. That works well, but it’s frustrating that, unlike the iOS app, you can’t interact with your account in any way. You can’t mark articles as read, for instance.

I’ve been thinking about writing up a long blog entry on the way in which I’m currently consuming news, and Instapaper is part of that. I’m still organizing my thoughts on that, though, and I’m not yet sure if I have anything to say that’s interesting enough to write up.

Kindle DRM

OK, one more Kindle gripe. When I first set up my Kindle 3 yesterday, I opened a couple of the books that I’d copied over, just to make sure I could. I didn’t have a problem, so I assumed that there weren’t any DRM issues with the books. I was wrong on that; apparently, I’d picked a couple of DRM-free books when I was checking them. So this morning I had to go through and delete 40 DRM’d books off the Kindle. They all now show in my archive view, and I haven’t had any trouble re-downloading a couple of them, but why should I have to do that? The device is registered to my Amazon account, and it’s got internet connectivity. Why can’t it just quietly go up to Amazon’s servers and re-authorize any files I’ve copied over from the old Kindle?

new Kindle

I got my new Kindle 3 in the mail today. And I’ve successfully transferred all my stuff over from the Kindle 1 to the Kindle 3, wiped the old Kindle, and boxed it up for Gazelle. It’s worth $15, which I guess is fair for a three year old, two generation behind, device.
So now here’s my list of gripes with the new Kindle:

  • Biggest gripe: I didn’t realize that old magazine issues are DRM’d to the Kindle on which you received them, and cannot be transferred to the new one. Apparently, you can re-download recent issues to your new Kindle, but you cannot just copy the files over from the old device to the new. I had a bunch of Newsweek back issues on my old Kindle that I hadn’t read yet, and I was quite surprised to see that I couldn’t open any of them on the new Kindle. And they’re old enough that they’re no longer available for re-download. I don’t have any current Kindle magazine subscriptions going, and now I’m a good bit less likely to start any new ones.
  • The keyboard. It’s just not as easy to use as the Kindle 1’s keyboard. And there are no dedicated number keys, which just seems weird. I’ve discovered that Alt-Q works for 1, Alt-W is 2, and so on, so there is still a way to type numbers, but it’s weird.
  • Collections. I was fairly excited about this feature, but it turns out that, when you put something in a collection, it stays on the main screen also. I was really hoping to use collections to get some stuff off the main screen, just to make that more manageable.
  • No user-removable battery. No SD card slot.

And now for some stuff I do like:

  • The screen. It’s definitely an improvement on the Kindle 1, which itself was pretty good.
  • The size and weight. Not that the Kindle 1 was heavy or anything, but it’s nice to have something just a little smaller and lighter.

Stuff I’m not sure about:

  • The case. I bought the default M-Edge case. I’m not sure if I like it or not just yet.
  • The navigation pad. I’m just not digging this yet. It might grow on me though.

I probably sound like I’m not that excited about the thing, but I am really excited to, once again, have a Kindle with a working battery in it. My main problem with the Kindle 1 was that the battery was pretty much dead. I’d thought about just buying a replacement battery, but decided that it was time to just go ahead and get a new Kindle. I bought the old Kindle in Feb 2008, so it had a pretty long life, as first-gen consumer electronics devices go.

time for a new Kindle?

My Kindle 1 may be on its last legs. First, the battery doesn’t last long anymore. If it were only that, I’d just buy a new battery. But it’s also been locking up a lot lately. Thinking that this might just have something to do with my internal memory being almost full, I’ve moved nearly everything to the SD card. And today I deleted the system indexes from both the internal memory and SD card, to force the Kindle to recreate them. No clue if that will help. If it doesn’t, then I guess I’m going to be looking at the Kindle 3.

Newsweek sold

Newsweek Deal Announced; Meacham Will Leave – Media Decoder Blog – NYTimes.com

I’m not sure what to think about this. It’s good that they found a buyer, and it’s interesting that it’s not anyone I would have expected. I’ve kind of liked Meacham’s Newsweek. I’m quite far behind though — I’ve got quite a few unread issues on my Kindle. Maybe it’s time to stop the Kindle subscription, and then think about starting it back up again once I see what the new guy does with the magazine.

Newsweek

I’ve had a Kindle subscription to Newsweek for a while now. I’m pretty far behind on my reading right now, but I am still reading it. I was disappointed to hear that The Washington Post is putting Newsweek up for sale. It’s actually a pretty good magazine.

It’s always possible someone interesting will buy it, and the quality will remain (reasonably) high. I’m worried that it will be bought by someone who’ll close the magazine, fire most of the staff, and just use the name for a generic news portal of some sort. Or it could get bought by Rupert Murdoch, which would probably result in a change in tone that would make the magazine much less interesting to me.

I guess if it goes under, or changes too radically, I’ll switch back to reading The Economist.