45th birthday

Yesterday was my 45th birthday. It was a pretty low-key birthday. I strayed from my diet and had a couple of slices of pizza for dinner, and I allowed myself a buttered roll in the morning, but I didn’t go overboard with anything. I had the idea today to look back on what I might have been doing on and around my birthday, since I started this blog. So here’s a pretty random list of stuff, assembled by looking back at my Blogger archives.


  • I went to Comic-Con that year. (I was making reservations in March. I’m going again this year, after skipping it for a few years.)
  • I was reading Sinfest, which I haven’t been following lately, but is apparently still around (and still funny).


  • I was reading “His Dark Materials“, and listening to Rum Diary.
  • I had just gotten the 90,000 mile service done on my 97 Civic. (I got my 2008 Accord inspected yesterday. It’s got about 45k miles on it.)


  • Windows XP was giving me grief.
  • I was listening to Warren Ellis’ “Superburst Mixtape” podcast. (That’s long gone. He has a new one named SPEKTRMODULE now, which I’ve been listening to recently, and is quite good.)


  • I was watching Samurai Champloo on Cartoon Network. (I have it on Blu-Ray now, but I haven’t gotten around to re-watching it.)



  • I got my first Kindle. I’ve since traded that in for a new one, but I still haven’t read some of the books I loaded onto that first one (and later transferred to the second).

And that’s about where I feel like I should end this. I’m feeling weirder than usual about my birthday this year, for various reasons. But I can’t complain. I’ve been able to spend time with several really good friends over the last couple of weeks, and I think I’ll likely enjoy this coming weekend too, so that’s all I can really ask for.

Kindle e-book lending

Interesting to see that Amazon is now letting Prime members borrow e-books. Only one at a time, and from a limited selection, but it’s a start. I bought four e-books yesterday from Amazon, all $1.99 or $2.99, and I probably have 30 or 40 unread books on my Kindle right now anyway, so I don’t have much need for this program at this point. But I like where they’re going with Amazon Prime.

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.