Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kindle for iOS - Update v4.2 and reactions to it. Other Kindle-apps available. Personal Documents feature gets updates and enhancements

From:
Initial post: Apr 23, 2014 9:24:04 AM PDT
We're excited to announce an update for the Kindle for iOS reading app available in the Apple App Store.

What's new in version 4.2?

Table of Contents: Customers can now access their table of contents from the left panel navigation menu from within most books and see chapter headings and page numbers. Curious readers can tap a chapter to navigate directly to that part of the book.

X-Ray Smart Look-Up: Look up Amazon exclusive X-Ray information without ever leaving the page.  Select a word or name and learn more about the concept, person, or place in the Info Card provided at the bottom of the page.

So far, people do like the new Table of Contents and X-Ray features, and it was also pointed out by Ed at the Kindle Community Forums that "Previously page animations had to be off in order to get 'time left in chapter'.  Now it can be turned on and all works fine. Nice!"

Another Kindle iOS app user who was wondering why he can't copy highlighted text was reminded of something that most I've talked with do not realize -- that we all have our own Amazon Annotations Web Page (if we allow Amazon to back up our highlights and notes), at kindle.amazon.com -- I've described the amazing features (including reading and copying highlights and notes from our Kindle books) in the blog article about our own annotation webpages at Amazon.


Kindle app for OTHER phones and tablets
For those who read Kindle books on other phones and tablets, here's the general Amazon Kindle apps page to get to descriptions for those.


Personal Documents - Updates and Enhancements
Also, recently Amazon updated the Personal Documents feature (Kindle-device owners get 5 gigs free, for personal documents that are sent to our free Amazon server Personal Documents space, and these include non-rights-protected books, articles, and documents.  These will now be placed in the general "Cloud" drive along with other files for which we get additional free space.

  All Amazon customers worldwide also get 5 free gigs for other types of data such as photos, even video (but those can take a lot of space) and music not bought at Amazon.  Here's Amazon's forum announcement on that (emphases mine):
Initial post: Apr 15, 2014 4:51:55 PM PDT
Megan H. - Forum Moderator says:
(AMAZON) (AMAZON OFFICIAL)
We are excited to announce an improvement to the personal document experience on Kindle!

Personal documents are now in Amazon Cloud Drive: Starting today, all personal documents that you have archived in your Kindle Library will be available to access, delete, organize, and share from your Amazon Cloud Drive.  You can see these documents in a new "My Send-to-Kindle Docs" folder on Amazon Cloud Drive alongside all of your saved content, such as photos and personal videos.

There is no action required on your part.  Your personal documents features will continue to work just as they have in the past.  And as always, you can use Manage Your Devices and Content (formerly Manage Your Kindle) to see a list of your documents, re-deliver them to Kindle devices and free reading apps, delete them, or turn off auto-saving of documents to the cloud.  Documents will be delivered just as they have in the past and you will continue to have 5 GB of free cloud storage for your personal documents. Just "Send Once, Read Everywhere."

Documents saved in their native format: Also starting today, new documents that you save to the cloud with Send to Kindle will be kept in their native format (e.g. MS Word, RTF, TXT) so you can access them anywhere from Amazon Cloud Drive.

To learn more about sending documents, news, blogs, and other web articles to your Kindle, please visit http://www.amazon.com/sendtokindle

To learn more about Amazon Cloud Drive features and apps, please visit http://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/learnmore


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Monday, April 14, 2014

Kindle Fire HDX and HD Tip: Current Kindle Fire HDX's and HD-Gen2 - $20 to $40 off 7" and 8.9" tablets for a 'limited time'


Kindle Fire HDX's
and current-generation HD are on sale as of now for a limited time, Amazon says.


$20 off on the base HD model, $30 to $40 off on the HDX models.

I recommend the HDX's with MayDay video'd customer help and better processing power and storage.

Kindle Fire HDX 7"

Kindle Fire HDX 8.9"


Just passing this on quickly, as I got a customer mail for the HDX line and looked at the various pages.



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Fire TV and Kindle Fire tips: The Frequency app for Fire TV. (Fire TV is out of stock until April 21.) Free Android App of Day: Petting Zoo (FIXED link to Petting Zoo and updated info.)


Today, the Amazon Fire TV is listed as out of stock until April 21.  For more basic info, see my first blog article on that as well as one that added workarounds for Kindle tablet owners.

 Here are two apps of possible interest.  One for the Fire TV and one for tablets.

FREQUENCY app for FireTV is the most useful non-subscription app I've enjoyed so far for the Fire TV.
And it's free.

Frequency has the usual trending video and top hits from sources all over, though my favorite is using its Facebook, Twitter, or other video-site connections to show me only what friends have been recommending and this way I'm less apt to miss ones I'm actually interested in and also view them on the large screen in good resolution when I have more time.

But the best thing with the Frequency app is the variety of sources with quality content.  News, music, entertainment, arts, health, cooking, sports, comedy, nature, wildlife, science, and even short, somewhat popular clips from HBO.  After you've chosen what you like, these are all that are shown you except for Trending and top hits (which I tried to remove but can't).  I also could't remove individual video recommendations shown me.
  The guide gives you genres, categories and then specific channels.

From Amazon's page:

Product Features

  • All the Best Videos -- from top news and entertainment sources
  • The Most Channels -- choose from 1,000s of branded video channels across dozens of categories
  • Current News & Events in Real-Time -- breaking news, people and topics that are happening right now
  • Social Media Channels -- Watch all [NOT 'all'] the videos your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Vimeo & YouTube in a continuous-play stream
  • Full Screen -- Go full screen at any time, in full 1080p HD (when available)

At any rate, it's a bit like video Flipboard.  They quote Mashable:
"Frequency’s interface is slick, and creating video channels from sites like Discovery Networks and The Wall Street Journal is a better deal than cable."


FireTV updates expected
Our music on the Cloud is due soon, it's said.

I've noticed some reviews that lament strongly that the added gaming capability, marketed as a bonus capability with only medium-gaming-level (above Roku, Apple, Ouya, however) is not as good as what you get for $400 with the dedicated consoles.  Note that I'm not commenting on this.

Checking for pricing
Amazon has rentable TV or movie material that may be currently free on Hulu Plus, so if you have Hulu Plus, be on the watch for that. With Netflix, Amazon's voice search doesn't work, finding only Amazon's usually but (increasingly) much of Hulu Plus's also.
  So you have to use Netflix's slow search separately (as I do with another streaming box).
  With Hulu Plus, the need to scroll along a row to get to these subscription-based videos that are at no added cost to Hulu Plus subscribers, can be awkward but it's definitely better than not letting us know they're there! And we get clickable access to them.

  I'd mentioned last week that I'd seen a few Hulu Plus entries pop up with the voice search, but it's quite a bit more as of today.  Amazon has told some that they are including most of Hulu Plus results in  the voice search and hope to include the others too. We'll see. I imagine there'll be incentives in both directions (3rd party's and Amazon's).  A work in progress.

  Again, if wanting to search for only free results, that's not possible at this point but I'll repeat a half-workaround:   It's easier, if wanting to see ONLY 'free' Prime videos,  to use your laptop, desktop, or even tablet, to go to the Prime-Only pages, by categories and genres or a listing, sortable, with details and then do a voice search on the Fire TV for one you want to see

  In the meantime, remember my having found search results that don't show "Watch now" (as a Prime member, for no added cost) unless you've added the video to your "Watchlist."  To make sure it's available on Prime, you have to go to "Other ways to watch" sub menu to see if it's Prime-eligible.  But the cover will usually have a Prime banner at the top left.

No time to organize the photo set mentioned yet (of mirroring and Fling'g things like Marvel Adventure), and of course this type of illustration is available on many sites now, but I still intend to put them up.  If not tonight, then after tax day. I have to be gone today too.

Personal video from a camera
Videos I've taken with cameras that we upload to youtube can be downloaded to our tablets in that format in a number of ways with several apps (Tubemate being the one I use most) and therefore easily playable on the FireTV when we search them on youtube or when we mirror them from current Kindle tablets to the HDTV.  On Youtube, you can make videos private and then usually find them by the URL only you're given, while logged in on FireTV or any tablet.

Your photos sent to Amazon's Cloud show really well via this box -- even when they're only 1024x768-pixel photos rather than 5000 pixels wide or more.

Free Android App of the Day - Zoo -- Petting Zoo
Mainly for children but apparently enjoyed by many adults for its creativity, Petting Zoo is normally $2.99 and gets high ratings and very favorable media reviews.  The drawings become animated when you touch them and the reactions seen are varied.

  Here is some 'Praise' that the appmaker cites:

* "Moms and dads will likely find that the app’s interface is not just fun
      for the kids, but also enjoyable for adults as well." — WIRED
* "Absolutely adorable" — USA TODAY
* "A Quirky and absolutely charming app" — CNET 5/5
* "Fizzing with character, craft, and humor" — THE GUARDIAN
* "An alligator’s teeth become guitar strings, an octopus’s arms serve as a mandolin.  It’s adorable, goofy, and immensely entertaining." — FASTCOMPANY
* "Possibly the loveliest app you'll download this week/month/year." — CREATIVEREVIEW
* “Four little thumbs-up in my household for this one.” — KOTTKE
* "Petting Zoo is one of those rare apps that brings out the kid in all of us." — MACLIFE

In the Credits we see:
. Concept + Animation: Christoph Niemann -- "...an author, cover artist for The New Yorker,
      and a columnist for The New York Times Magazine
. Developer: Jon Huang -- "...a graphics editor for the New York Times,
      an adjunct lecturer, and a beekeeper..."


  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button
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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A few thoughts while exploring the Amazon Fire TV, in advance of a coming photo report - Revised Apr 12.


Just a status update, revised a bit April 12.

This is following my initial blog article on this, which highlighted the features

While I did a photo set to illustrate this almost a week ago now, I've not been here enough to put it together but am getting to it for Sunday.

This status update was to let you know I'd been exploring the new FireTV and reading others' experiences with it or questions they're asking, and organizing notes on how to do some of the many things it's capable of.

There are those who never got a Roku, Apple TV or Chromecast or even a Miracast adapter and want to know some basics;  others want to know more on the pros and cons than are seen in basic comparison charts, and then there is some curiosity about how mirroring and "Fling" technology works on this unit, which doesn't require a newer TV that includes those capabilities.

I've taken some photos to give an idea of what the various features are like on this unit and how one differs from another and am working on getting these up for a small photo-report.

Currently, I'm somewhat addicted to using the unit (which will raise my electricity bill) because I'm into documentaries, and both Amazon and Hulu Plus have tons of those available, but it's the plethora of what is available in every genre in, for me, non-laggy ways and with great sound that's seductive for now.

  The photos I took were to illustrate using both Mirroring and Fling, from an HDX to the HDTV via the Fire Tv box, using "Marvel: Avengers" though.

The voice search works within 1 second for me and brings up a LOT, although this is usable only with Amazon Instant Videos as a rule while strangely reporting a Hulu Plus result now and then too, so maybe they're working on that.  The unit understood my spoken search words from the start (not an easy thing).]

  HBO Go is missing, but Amazon has told a couple of tech sites that they're working with HBO developers on that app.

  Workaround until then -- Since you can Mirror whatever is on your HDX and current HD tablet to an HDTV with a Miracast-capable unit, you can watch an HDX or current HD tablet's HBO Go app and mirror that content on a large HDTV via this FireTV unit.

   I tried the mirroring with the PBS Android app for tablets (which has great content on it), since there is no PBS-adults app specfically for the FireTV yet, which made the tablet app a good candidate for trying the mirroring feature.

  Amazon highlights the Smithsonian FireTV app on the new unit, and it has some, of course, educational full-episodes on it, with a lot of short clips for those wanting that.

  I tried Youtube for FireTV (it comes with the unit) and liked the video quality and sound but found it has the worst search function I've ever encountered.
  Vimeo is nice to have, but its search function is also ultra limited currently.

  My most recently viewed content always shows in the top row of athe Home page, which is similar to what we see with the Carousel on the tablets but without being outsized.
  Contrary to some reports, the top row showing most-recently viewed content includes videos seen via NON-Amazon apps as well.

  Here's Amazon's page of FireTV apps - specifically for the new unit.

  The remote control is well-made, small, and extremely comfortable for me, and economical in the use of buttons.  The batteries that came with it didn't function on the 2nd day although the batteries still had a full charge.  Odd.  New batteries I have did work though, with no problems on the 3rd day (today).

  The FireTV also makes "Fling" technology possible, which lets you send, from one of these tablets, an Amazon video to the TV so that it plays from the Cloud instead of from the tablet, freeing it so that you can use the tablet to just read about what you're seeing ('Xray' feature) or do normal tablet things on it while the movie or TV show displays on the HDTV for everyone in the room, with none of the buffering issues common to other ways of doing this.

  So, since HBO Go is available as an Android app on the current Kindle Fire HDX/HD tablets, you can mirror these (or anything you do on your tablet) to the HDTV via the FireTV box (which is smaller than I thought and I'll have pictures of it on top of my 10 yr old 34" reference Sony HDTV, which is a smaller TV than most HDTV owners today have and you'll see the size of the box with that).

I voice-searched "marlon brando" and got tons of his movies from the early 50s that I'd forgotten about and which are not available in streaming format on either Netflix or Hulu Plus.  Only a couple of them are free to stream, but the avg pricing to see one of these is between $1.99 - $2.99.
  As Prime users generally know, many of the Prime videos are downloadable these days too for the limited rental periods.
  Esoteric finds in some cases.  I even found a government film documenting Brando's testimony and that of several other film notables about a civil rights march, of all things.  I think super movie fans will like what's become instantly available in connection with favorite directors and actors.

  What is puzzling with Amazon's Prime is that some search results get you results that clearly show you that you can "Watch Now" because it's Prime at no added cost, while others return video info that doesn't mention it's Prime and available at no added costs, instead starting the info-display with standard rental cost and then you have to click on something like "Other ways to watch" which THEN mentions that it's an Amazon Prime Instant Video you can watch now if you're a 2-day Prime shipping member.

  Otherwise, on the ROWS of Prime videos that the FireTV highlights (a small subset of 40,000 said to be available) they have small diagonally-placed banners at the top left of the image to let you know it's Prime Instant video.

  It's easier, if wanting to see ONLY 'free' Prime videos,  to use your laptop, desktop, or even tablet, to go to the Prime-Only pages, by categories and genres or a listing, sortable, with details.

  Puzzle: These two pages mention a total of 17,000 Prime Instant videos rather than the 40,000 mentioned in the PR release.  Will try to see why that is.

  But let's face it, they have 200,000+ videos, so at least 160,000 of them are items they hope will bring in some money as this is where their margins are to be made.  They produce tablets and now this new unit with higher quality hardware than available elsewhere and new capabilities for almost the same pricing, so the profit comes from sale of content.

  Older videos/films streamed tend to be $1.99-$2.99, and the newest ones are usually about $4.99, which does beat what my Comcast rentals are, and with Amazon's offerings, we can fast-forward (not so, the Comcast On-Demand ones, a limitation which drives me crazy).

This blog entry is just a stream of consciousness while I'm putting together the photos to make the features more clear.  It's difficult to get decent digital-camera images off a TV display, but at least they may give some a better idea of what the new set-top box will do.

  The relative power and speed of the unit, the abundance of good contentthe ability to do medium-level gaming, with an xbox-style game controller, parental control features, Amazon's information-filled X-ray features along with mirroring and 'Fling'ing are big pluses for me.

  I love being able to pause a movie to see info on the music in it (including how I might get it) as well as the now well-known "In-Scene" Xray features that show us who is in the current scene -- much better viewing this content on a large TV even if I enjoy viewing video on the 8.9" HDX tablet a lot (it's ultra clear and very smooth - at least when using cable TV rather than standard DSL).

  Again, with 'Fling' we can see info on a different device (Fling-enabled tablets) while watching the film full-screen on a TV without having to pause the video and place distracting info on the screen.
  It also frees the tablet for other uses while Amazon's Cloud runs the video displaying on the TV for more than one person to enjoy.

  Amazon MUSIC - Those who enjoy Amazon's streaming music from the Cloud, with lyrics for the songs provided for popular albums with publisher permission, will see this feature arriving for the FireTV soon too, they say.

  One thing not mentioned so far, this unit uses the most beautiful collection of screensavers I've ever seen -- photographed in beautiful light, the HDTV display of these images shows the quality of that light.  Now, if they would just add the XRay feature to those so I'd know where all of the photos were taken.  They even have Pitigliano in there.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Amazon's FireTV is a reality, ready for pre-order, searchable by voice

Amazon announces the AMAZON FIRE TV

Fire Tv,Amazon's "tiny box" that you connect to your HDTV to easily enjoy "Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, and much more" (including WatchESPN) is even ready for delivery.  Didn't I just read that Amazon denied the rumors?

  The only surprise for me was that instead of the usual pre-ordering, it's available in one day to people who can't wait the usual Prime two days if ordered within ~4 hours from the time I'm typing this but I'm never in that much of a hurry for any product.  And 2-day Prime shipping (+ the program's InstantVideo + downloads and Kindle-book loans) is fast enough.

They offer an HDMI cable with it for $6 if you don't already have one.  If you don't, I'd get the one they are suggesting, as it's a decent price and they will have tested it together.  HDMI cables vary in effectiveness.

I'm editing to add that they have a separate page for "What's on" or available for the new Fire TV unit.

  They also suggest an Amazon Fire Game Controller for $40 currently (which needs batteries and those are suggested also, in their purchase box.  Their description of what you can do with this:
'...In addition to using the Fire TV remote and the Fire TV app available starting next month, you can also choose the Amazon Fire game controller, which enables more high-intensity and complex gaming with dual analog sticks and a complete assortment of controls. Simple and comfortable to use for hours, the Fire game controller pairs with Fire TV via Bluetooth.

The Fire game controller also intelligently manages power by automatically going to sleep when not in use, and waking at a touch of a button, so you get up to 55 hours of gaming on a pair of AA batteries. You can pair multiple game controllers with a Fire TV so the whole family can play together in the same room. ... The Fire game controller can also be used as a remote, with fast forward, rewind, play and pause, so you can control all your movies and music on Fire TV. The Fire game controller is available today for $39.99, and comes with a free copy of Sev Zero
[an Amazon's original game] and 1,000 Amazon Coins (a $10 value) for purchasing games.
They also have a page now for Fire TV apps: Apps for Android.

I'll just get this off by reproducing Amazon's wording, so people who've been interested can see what Amazon has to say about what they've actually done, and this one will be of interest to many.

   The VOICE-search is the thing that got my own interest, as I hate doing searches with the remote control, and I already have good experiences with the quality of Amazon's streaming of video and music. Here is what they're describing at their product page.  I'll add more detail later.

For $99:
The Features You Expect from Amazon
Amazon Fire TV is a tiny box you connect to your HDTV. It's the easiest way to enjoy Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, low-cost movie rentals, and much more
  •  Your partner in Prime—The best way to enjoy unlimited access to over 40,000 Prime Instant Videos on your HDTV, including Amazon exclusives like Downton Abbey and Justified
  • Massive selection—Over 200,000 TV episodes and movies, millions of songs, and over a hundred games
  • Voice search that actually works—Simply say the name of what you want to watch and start enjoying in seconds.
  • Tiny box, huge specsFast quad-core processor, 2 GB of memory, dedicated GPU, plus 1080p HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound
  • Easy to set up and use—Pre-registered to your Amazon account so you can enjoy favorite titles and personalized recommendations
  • Instant streaming—Exclusive new feature ASAP predicts what movies and TV episodes you’ll want to watch and buffers them for playback before you hit play
  • Perfect for parents—Amazon FreeTime lets you easily limit screen time and create personalized profiles just for kids (coming soon)
  • Great for gaming, too—Play blockbuster titles like Minecraft-Pocket Edition,The Walking Dead, and Monsters University, plus free games and Amazon exclusives. Paid games start from just 99 cents

At the moment, I'm not sure how much will be on it right away but here's what Amazon says it will do:  This is a small preview of the comparison chart with Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast that you'll get a larger version of at Amazon if you click on "Show me" on the Fire TV product page.

So, for now, if interested, take a look for yourself, as there are too many details for one blog space, and I'm reading info from other sources that I'll add later today.


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Friday, March 21, 2014

Kindle tips: The Big Deal - Over 500 Kindle books at up to 85% off - is back thru' March 30. Appstore birthday: Fourteen Kindle Fire and Android apps Free TODAY & TOMORROW (3/21-22), worth up $50. Also, 50% off top-brand SD/SDHC memory cards currently. Is Amazon readying a smartphone with 6 cameras?


Amazon's The Big Deal feature headline isn't super clear in the image, but that package is back for the rest of March and promises
  "Up to 85% off on more than 500 Kindle Books."

This special feature page is good through March 30, and carries the usual disclaimer re varying selection and pricing of books offered outside the U.S.

  The Big Deal page is organized this time by a more limited set of categories or genres than usual:

  . Biography & Memoir Deals
  . Science Fiction & Fantasy Deals
  . Teen Book Deals
  . Religion & Spirituality Deals
  . Children's Books

On the right of the page is a list of the Top 10 Best Selers and an option to "See all Best Sellers in The Big Deal"
  This is the top 100 out of the 500 offered.
' These lists, updated hourly, contain bestselling items. Here you can discover the best The Big Deal in Amazon Best Sellers ... For non-U.S. customers, Kindle content availability and pricing will vary. '

The bottom of the page is a scrolling list of over 500 books, one by one, with a default sort of "New and Popular" and alternate sorts:
  16 per page, if you choose (inside the gray strip bar above the list) the Orange grid for "Detail"
      OR
  60 per page, if you choose the 4-cell icon for "Image" which will show mainly book covers and basic info.

  Shortcut if you type it: bit.ly/thebigdeal-032114



Amazon's Appstore celebrates its 3rd birthday with free apps TODAY and Tomorrow (3/21-22, 2014)
According to INTOMOBILE's Ian Kersey, Amazon is "giving away fourteen hit titles today and tomorrow, which would normally run you $50 to purchase..." The listing:
Polaris Office ($12.99)
Runtastic PRO GPS Running, Walking & Fitness Tracker ($4.99)
Swype Keyboard ($3.99)
mSecure – Password Manager and Secure Digital Wallet ($9.99)
PrintHand Mobile Print Premium ($12.95)
Worms 2: Armageddon ($0.99)
Worms 2: Armageddon (Kindle Tablet Edition) ($0.99)
King of Math Junior ($1.99)
Fruit Ninja: Puss in Boots ($0.99)
Dr. Panda’s Airport ($1.99)
MONOPOLY ($4.99)
Sketchbook Pro ($4.99)
Ski Safari: Adventure Time ($0.99)
SpinArt ($1.99)
Battle Maiden Yuko Runner ($10.00)
Some of you will have less Kindle Fire or pure-Android tablet storage than others.  For Kindle Fire users, getting any or all of these at Amazon's web page, after more easily perusing the features and reviews, will put them in your Amazon Cloud and you can download and install, on your device, only what you want or need when you're ready, without worrying about taking too much of the storage space at one time.

  When ready, you'd just choose 'Cloud' on your tablet's Apps "Cloud" top-bar choice and click on one to get it.

This special ends Saturday night, March 22. Thanks to Intomobile for the tip.


For photo buffs and snapshooters: Amazon's current 50% off deal on SD and SDHC memory cards
These are primarily name brand memory cards.


A prediction to monitor, re Amazon's coming smartphone
In Sept., 2011, while the rest of the tech world was saying Amazon would not be releasing new eInk eReader now that tablets were the main focus, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, often cited by AppleInsider, predicted Amazon would release TWO eInk tablets.  This was pooh-pooh'd by most watchers but he was right, including the smallest details.  So his predictions for Amazon's smartphone get more serious attention. Excerpts:
'.. Will feature mid- to high-range specs, including a Qualcomm Snapgragon 801 processor, a 4.7-inch display with 300-320 pixels-per-inch (ppi) and a 2,000-2,400 mAh battery. The most interesting thing that Kuo suggests about Amazon’s smartphone is not the computing hardware, but rather, its cameras.
...
... Amazon will cram a 13-megapixel main camera sensor made by Sony -- with five other cameras. While one camera will be front-facing for video chats, Kuo said "the other four cameras will be used for gesture control, allowing users to operate the smartphone without touching the touch panel.”
...
... Last year, reports said that Amazon was looking at a glasses-free 3D interface for a Kindle phone. The additional cameras might allow for interaction with hologram-like 3D images to bring a whole new dimension to mobile gaming...
...
... Might Amazon offer Prime members some other incentive for buying its phone to justify the higher price?..."
'
More details for those intrigued are at Thomas Halleck's article for International Business Times.



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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Kindle Tips: Kindle for Android v4.4 is ready, should fix v4.3 problems and has enhanced features. Free Android App of the day (today only) is the popular The Bard's Tale, usually $3. More solid news of Amazon's coming streaming-video-(maybe games too)-to-TV gizmo. UPDATED

POPULAR $2.99 APP IS FREE JUST TODAY, Wed, 3/19/14

For those who may have missed it (I don't look most days myself), a popular app is the Free Android App of the Day today. It's The Bard's Tale"

And, while we're on the subject of Android apps, the noteworthy Tom Semple sent an alert the other day to the new Kindle For Android update v4.4 arriving finally, after some problems reported with v4.3, somewhat ameliorated by the response by a customer rep (to a customer) that explained which Android app users were most likely to be affected by the problem(s).

The latest Kindle for Android update v4.4 update released this week includes the following features and performance enhancements:
'
* Select additional fonts while reading
* Use the enhanced Table of Contents to search and navigate your book (if available)
* Enable and disable auto-brightness while reading
* Faster book cover loading
* Fixed sensitivity when using the volume buttons to turn pages
'

Amazon's own video-streaming gizmo said to be ready very soon, possibly early in April
CBS Moneywatch News has a details from two stories on this, from Wall Street Journal and TechCrunch.  It would compete with Google's Chromecast and Roku products but may be able to do even more.  Click the link to see a good description of what it would do and links to the original stories.

  Update - The Wall Street Journal article by Greg Bensinger is protected behind a firewall, but from time to time they allow access via Google Searches if you google the full title of the article.  Then the full article is shown in those cases.

Some additional details excerpted:
' ... Pricing remains unclear, though the people familiar with the company's plans said the device likely would come with incentives available to members of Amazon's Prime streaming video and shipping program.
...
Streaming video is becoming an important new arena for Amazon, as it battles for viewers with Netflix Inc., Hulu LLC and Time Warner Inc.'s HBO Go.
...
In recent weeks, Amazon has held talks with record companies and music publishers in hopes of creating an on-demand music-streaming service for Prime customers, people familiar with the matter have said.

Amazon has distributed a pre-production version of its streaming device to select app developers, and has indicated it will carry the Fire name Amazon uses for Kindle tablet computers, these people said... '




Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links.
US:
New Kindle Fire HD 7" 2nd Gen - $139/169
Kindle Fire HDX 7" 16-64GB - $229/269/309
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" 16-64GB - $379/429/479
- with 4G added: $479/529/579
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16GB - 1st Gen $269 $229
  $299 Price rise ~2/24/14
- 32GB w/ no special-offers: $314
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $99
Kindle Paperwhite 2, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite 2, WiFi+3G - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free web
Kindle DX - $379 $199
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £59
Kindle Paperwhite 2, WiFi
£109
Kindle Paperwhite2 3G, UK
£169
Kindle Fire Basic HD 8/16GB, UK
 from £119
Kindle Fire HDX 7" 16-64GB, UK
from £199. 4G/3G
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" 16-64GB, UK - from £329. 4G/3G

CANADA - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $79
Kindle Paperwhite 2 - $139
Kindle Paperwhite 2, 3G - $209
KFire HD Yr 2012 7" $214,  8.9" $244.
Yr 2013 KFires: HD Gen2, HDX line
India - Amazon India


*OTHER Int'l pages*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Paperwhite 2 WiFi $139, 3G/Wifi $209
KFire HD Yr 2012: 7" $214,  8.9" $244
Yr 2013: HD Gen2 + HDX line

Australia Kindlestore
France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
Brazil - Amazon Brazil
China - Amazon China [?]
Amazon Japan - Japan

  For daily free ebooks, check the following links:
Temporarily-free books - Non-classics
USA: by:
   Publication Date  
   Bestselling   High-ratings

UK: PubDate   Popular

The Kindle Daily Deal

What is 3G? and "WiFi"?       Battery Care

Highly-rated under $1
,  Newest: $1-$2, $2-$3
Most Popular Free K-Books
U.S. & Int'l (NOT UK):
   Top 100 free
UK-Only:
   Top 100 free

Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.

USEFUL for your Kindle Keyboard (U.S. only, currently):
  99c Notepad 1.1,   99c Calculator,
  99c Calendar,   99c Converter

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button

Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Amazon raises its yearly Prime program fee: Details and a round-up of media observations and my own.


AmazonPrime's incrased cost: Is it worth it for you?

On February 27, I wrote an alert about Amazon's US Prime Program cost going up between $20 and $40/yr and said that, in my view, a $40/yr increase would not work.

  An email from Amazon to those of us who are Prime members confirmed the coming increase today, and I'm writing this for those who do not always see their Amazon email and to add information beyond what is in the email, as these communications are customized to the person's Prime program status (regular and student memberships), whether one is already a Prime member, and one's renewal date if so.

  They kept it to a $20 raise ($10 increase for students) -- a new price of $99/year, giving the same reasons they had before when they first announced they might do this, quoted in the earlier alert linked above.

  While the effective monthly cost (paid yearly) by adult Prime members has been $6.58, the new price will be the equivalent of $8.25/mo.

  This is a rise of $1.67 per month for the general Prime program, after 9 years at the same price.

Amazon CFO Thomas Szkutak had said, "...shipping costs have gone up a lot. Fuel costs have gone up a lot."

According to the email I received this morning (which I've reformatted for clarity):
' We are writing to provide you advance notice that the price of your Prime membership will be increasing.  The annual rate will be $99 when your membership renews....

Even as fuel and transportation costs have increased, the price of Prime has remained the same for nine years.

Since 2005, the number of items eligible for unlimited free Two-Day Shipping has grown from one million to over 20 million.

We also added
  unlimited access to over 40,000 movies and TV episodes with Prime Instant Video and
  a selection of over 500,000 books to borrow from the Kindle Owners' Lending Library.

For more information about your Prime membership, visit our Prime membership page at www.amazon.com/prime. '

  The Amazon Student price, (the free-trial period for the less-expensive Student version of Prime has no Instant video streaming, but if it's followed by a paid student subscription, it does), will rise from $39/year to $$49/year on March 20, but for students not yet on Prime, they're offering this:

  "If you start an Amazon Student free trial before March 20, 2014, you'll be charged at a membership rate of $39 when it automatically renews.
  ... If you have an existing paid annual Amazon Student Prime membership that renews before April 17, 2014, you'll be charged at a membership rate of $39.


*Regular* priced Amazon Prime changes
The increased price goes into effect April 17, and if your renewal comes before that date, you'll get the older rate of $79/year.  I wasn't so lucky there.

AMAZON'S Prime Program Membership Fee Changes page
Amazon has added a page with details on the fee changes.


Valuewalk opines:
' Those who order from the service frequently will certainly find it to be worth the extra money just to save on shipping.

  And of course those who frequently utilize the on-demand videos and / or the Kindle lending library will also find value, even in the higher price.  After all, the price is just $3 higher than Netflix, Inc.’s annual price—of $8 a month—and getting free shipping on products enhances the value even further. '

Amazon's pages state that the new Prime Fresh, a their same-day local groceries delivery service, will remain at $299."

  The last I paid attention, they were trying out the same-day delivery of groceries service in Los Angeles and Seattle, with plans to add other cities as it goes.  So, now we know that this costs members of that (more or less beta) program the equivalent of $25/mo.

  Amazon's stock has been rising this morning, since profit margin will be improved while the cost is not so high that people leave the program in droves.

Quartz's Zachary M. Seward has written an interesting story on how the first Amazon Prime price was set. Excerpts:
' Amazon didn’t expect Prime to be profitable at first, but didn’t want to hemorrhage money on it, either.
. . .
  The name actually referred to the “prime position” in Amazon’s warehouses for goods that were eligible to ship in two days at the flat rate, former Amazon executive Vijay Ravindran tweeted today '
. . .
" ... it needed to be large enough to matter to customers but small enough that they would be willing to try it out,” writes Brad Stone in his book about the company.
. . .
“It was never about the $79,” Ravindran is quoting saying in the book. “It was really about changing people’s mentality, so they wouldn’t shop anywhere else.”
. .
If it had kept pace with US inflation, Prime would cost $94.62 today."

A recently added benefit for those who use the Prime instant-video streaming feature (40,000+ movie and tv videos available at no added-cost for Prime members), includes the ability to download many of these to your computer to watch when you're away from your home or a WiFi connection.

Brad Stone, author of The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, wrote today, for Business Week: (emphases mine)
' Bezos believes, even more so than his rivals, that content (books, music, and the like) can be the gateway drug that lures customers into Amazon’s immersive world of devices and digital services.  So over the last few years, he has packed digital freebies into Prime membership...
. . .
Amazon is producing its own television shows and movies in an arms race with Netflix to secure exclusive streaming rights to the most popular TV series. And the company is reportedly working on adding a free music streaming service into Prime.
. . .
In the next few weeks, Amazon will also likely release a set-top box for the living room, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the device touting extra benefits for Prime members. '

In my case, the additional $1.67/month is still worth it to me, as I'm a frequent shopper and watcher of Instant Prime video.

  To be able to order something I need that's even low priced and get it within 2 days without having to wait until I can add more products to the order to make the $35 ninimum for non-Prime Super Savings program, is a real boon.

  Add that, although it's not considered by me as important for my own needs, it's likely that the rumored new TV box and streaming music program will include benefits for Prime members.




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Kindle News: Kindle Paperwhite 2 software update v5.4.3 improves Cloud Collections, PDF pan and zoom. Adds reading-toolbar access to notes. Allows cancellation of KBook purchase during a download. Offers new Power-off options


NEW KINDLE PAPERWHITE 2 Software Update v5.4.3 with substantial feature improvements

Kindle Paperwhite 2 Software Upgrade to v5.4.3

  Devices involved: See Paperwhite 2 (US),   UK Paperwhite 2: here; Global Paperwhite 2: here.

Tne new, free software update available for Kindle Paperwhite 2 can be found [here] [U.S. and some international]

    [Here's the UK-only software update page]

When we had the new software update for the original Kindle Paperwhite 1 the other day, I also linked to the software update pages for the Paperwhite 2).  This separate blog entry highlights the specific features and provides links for both U.S. and UK readers as well as for some International Kindle eReader owners.

The softwares page explain how to check the software version currently on your Paperwhite 2.  I'm usually one of the last to receive software updates, so sometimes I do follow the step-by-step instructions to do a manual download and install to my Kindle if the change is important to me.

This update automatically downloads and installs on the applicable Kindle Paperwhite 2 eventually;  however, as mentioned, you can also manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via USB cable.

Here are the feature enhancements they describe for update v5.4.3 [Emphases below are mine]
* Access Notes from the Reading Menu
While reading, you can view all of your notes by tapping the Menu icon and then selecting Notes. You can also continue to access the Notes tab from the Go To menu in the reading toolbar.  To learn more, go to Add, View, Edit or Remove Notes (US) or, for UK: here.

* Manage Cloud Collections
Use Cloud Collections to organize titles in custom categories and store your collections in the Cloud.  To learn more, go to Organize Your Content with Cloud Collections (US) or, for UK: here.

* PDF Improvements
Pan and zoom within PDF documents more quickly and easily, and adjust the margins for an optimized reading experience.

* Cancel Full Book Purchase from within a Sample
While reading a book sample, you can view the price of the full book and purchase with one tap.  You can also cancel the purchase before the download is complete by tapping cancel purchase.

In a forum discussion, customer and Kindle Forum Pro CBRetriever wrote the following about changes noticed for both Paperwhite 1 and 2 in the (1) Cloud Collections processing (which AVOIDS the Paperwhite 2's initial update problems from a default-automatic-importing of Collections from ALL other devices sharing the same account) and (2) Kindle Paperwhite Restart procedure.  (Bracketed info and emphases are mine):
' It didn't import any collections from my other kindles (YAY!!!!) not even in the Cloud

... my notes so far:

There's another new thing I've never seen before - when I hold the button in for 30 seconds, it doesn't restart, but I'm given 3 choices and I had to pick one (Shut Down, Cancel or Restart) I'm wondering if the new PW2 has the same choices [it DOES] ... I also had to reboot since it came up with a 2G and not a 3G connection. My collections have stars...

It did not bring in the Collections from other Devices.  I have now added 11 more dictionaries and user guides... I had to go download the user guide via manage Your Kindle - it didn't automatically download. ' [UK Paperwhite 2 user's guide here]

New Power-off Options display
  Oddly, my Paperwhite pop-up dialog box showed options different from what's described above for both Paperwhite versions.  The choices I saw during the attempts to either Power Off (holding the Power On/Off button for ~4 seconds) or force a clean "Restart" (holding the Power On/Off button for 20+ seconds) were:
"Cancel | Restart ! Screen Off" ...

  When an eInk screen is displaying a page but there is no change to that screen, the display is having no effect on the battery.
  When you change what's being displayed (changing or adding anything on the page, as in tapping it on the side to get a new page or when an action brings a pop-up window or dialog box), the display IS using the battery.  That's why just pressing the power button for only ~1 second puts the Kindle to 'sleep' during which it displays an image but the Paperwhite light turns off.

  Leaving it in this sleep state doesn't draw battery power as a result of the image display itself.  If, however, WiFi is On during Sleep state, any activity with subscription downloads or a Special Offers download -will- use battery power.

  There is always very slow battery drain in between charges even when a device is turned off.

  So, the "Screen Off" is an odd new choice on mine.  This just blanks the screen and puts it into sleep state.  SOME have requested a blank screen so they know it's "Off" but, in this case, it's only that there's no image seen - not even Amazon's default images during normal sleep-screens.

  "Restart" acts more like a soft-reboot on a computer and clears up memory states that may be causing problems.

  There is NO option on my Paperwhite to completely Power Off or Shut down the Kindle.

  It could be that my dialog box for powering off is different because I chose not to get Special Offers sent to my Paperwhite (I accept Special Offers on my Kindle Fire tablets) and, therefore, blanking the screen with a "Screen Off" does not interfere with the marketing offers on the lockscreen.

  CBRetriever, quoted above, may choose to get the offers on the Paperwhite and, as a result, doesn't get the 'Screen Off' option.  That's just conjecture on my part.

  But she does get the option to 'shut down' her Kindle.  Odd.

  Also, in my case, holding in the power button for over 20 seconds did cause a Restart, as in the past.


IF you experience unusual battery drain
Note that keeping your Kindle always connected to a Wi-Fi network can drain the battery faster under certain circumstances.  If you're experiencing that, then once you've got the update "over the air," put the Paperwhite back to "Airplane Mode ON" via the 'Settings' option on the Menu -- the option lets you toggle Wireless OFF, using the "Airplane On" choice.

  Amazon's Paperwhite development team won't return the Wireless Off/On choice to the front menu as they did last year for the Kindle Touch, removing the 'airplane mode' icon which confuses many.  It's very inconvenient to have the WiFi On/Off setting on a secondary menu and many, as a result, don't even know that they can turn WiFi Off if needed.

  Amazon probably prefers that we keep Wireless 'On' due to delivery of Special Offers but the battery-drain problem can occur when circumstances involve (1) subscriptions that are downloaded regularly (my New York Times Latest News subscription updates the Kindle edition about five times a day - $1.99/month)) or (2) due to a weaker connection that results from the distance from the WiFi router, in which case the device keeps trying to connect when a download is due (and that can be for the special offers that Amazon regularly needs to send for those who choose to opt for the less-expensive model with the special-offers feature) and is then constanty active.

  BUT WiFi needs to be 'On' after you've read a book and made annotations for a session AND when you then want to be able to continue reading later, on another device (like a smartphone), starting at where you'd stopped.
  If WiFi isn't turned on, the Amazon servers won't have any way of knowing the last-page-read location nor any notes or highlighting you've made, which you'd want to be able to access on the other device.  So, a recommendation:
1. When you're finished reading, tap the top-toolbar and press the HOME icon.
  That will 'close' the book session and record the last page read and log the annotations.
2. Tap the top of the Paperwhite to bring up the toolbar and menu icon.
3. If you see an airplane icon at the top, your WiFi is Off (and you're in "airplane" take-off mode).
4. Tap 'Settings'
5. Turn Airplane Mode OFF, and that'll turn WiFi ON.
6. At that point, the Kindle will try to sync your changes to the Server and will download anything that is pending (a subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or blog, usually).
7. After that's done, you can go ahead and leave WiFi ON if you have no problems with faster battery drain
      OR you can turn OFF the WiFi if you need to save battery power.

Only if you'd rather not wait -- DOWNLOADING and transferring the Update via USB
US:  Go to the Kindle Paperwhite Software Update v5.4.3 download section to get the instructions for the download and transfer to your Kindle via USB:
UK:  UK Paperwhite eReader owners can do the same for the UK-only page




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Kindle Tips: Large Software update v5.4.4 for Paperwhite 1 (Yr 2012). REVISED for New power-off options. [Paperwhite 2 also being updated, separately, linked to here]

KINDLE PAPERWHITE 1 Software Update v5.4.4

Kindle Paperwhite Software Upgrade from v5.3.9 to v5.4.4.

The Kindle Forum has an announcement that a major software update to the first Kindle Paperwhite is available, adding features to Kindle Paperwhite 1 that were first seen on the Paperwhite 2, the later and current model with a faster processor.  (A Paperwhite 2 U.S/ software update {UK page here} is also ready.)

  Affected Paperwhite models: See Paperwhite 1 (US);   (UK Paperwhite 1: here;  Global Paperwhite 1: here.)   [Bracketed notes are mine.]

  The new, free software update available for Kindle Paperwhite 1 can be found [here] [U.S.and international]

    [And Here's the UK-only software update page.]


 The software page tells you how to check the software version currently on your Paperwhite.  Mine still has v5.3.9 on it rather than v5.4.4

This update automatically downloads and installs on the applicable Kindle Paperwhite; however, you can also manually download the software and transfer the update to your device via USB cable.

  I've revised this blog entry March 10 to add, at the bottom, new information on the Power off options.

The software update includes general improvements and the following new features:
* Kindle FreeTime:
FreeTime lets you create personalized profiles for kids, and give them access to titles from your collection of books. Kids can keep track of their personal reading progress and earn achievement badges. To learn more, go to Kindle FreeTime

* Goodreads on Kindle (US only)
Connect with the world's largest community for readers from your Kindle Paperwhite. See what your friends are reading, share notes, and rate the books you read. To learn more, go to Find and Share Books with Goodreads on Kindle.

* Cloud Collections [Long awaited]
Use Cloud Collections to organize your content in custom categories. See your collections in a Collections view, and customize where your collections show on your device. To learn more, go to Organize Your Content with Cloud Collections.

* Page Flip [Great feature many of us have hoped for]
While reading, you can skim the book page-by-page, scan by chapter, or skip to the end for a sneak peek without losing your place. To learn more, go to Go To Other Locations in a Book

* Enhanced Bookmarks, Highlights & Notes
Access and manage all of your bookmarks, highlights, and notes more quickly and easily. To learn more, go to Bookmarks, Highlights & Notes

* Smart Lookup
When you look up a word or character, Smart Lookup provides you with dictionary, X-Ray, and Wikipedia information.To learn more, go to Explore Your Book with X-Ray.

* Vocabulary Builder
Words looked up in the dictionary are automatically added to Vocabulary Builder. View the definition and usage of the words, and quiz yourself with flashcards. To learn more, go to Expand Your Vocabulary. '

In a forum discussion, Kindle Forum Pro CBRetriever wrote the following about changes noticed in the (1) Cloud Collections processing (which AVOIDS the Paperwhite 2 problems from a default-automatic-importing of Collections from ALL other devices sharing the same account) and (2) Kindle Paperwhite Restart procedure.  (Bracketed info and emphases are mine):
' It didn't import any collections from my other kindles (YAY!!!!) not even in the Cloud

... my notes so far:

There's another new thing I've never seen before - when I hold the button in for 30 seconds, it doesn't restart, but I'm given 3 choices and I had to pick one (Shut Down, Cancel or Restart) I'm wondering if the new PW2 has the same choices [it DOES] ... I also had to reboot since it came up with a 2G and not a 3G connection. My collections have stars...

It did not bring in the Collections from other Devices.  I have now added 11 more dictionaries and user guides... I had to go download the user guide via manage Your Kindle - it didn't automatically download. ' [UK user's guide here]

New Power-off Options display
  Oddly, my Paperwhite 1's pop-up dialog box showed options different from what's described above.  The choices I saw during the attempts to either Power Off (holding the Power On/Off button for ~4 seconds) or force a clean "Restart" (holding the Power On/Off button for 20+ seconds) were:
"Cancel | Restart ! Screen Off" ...

  When an eInk screen is displaying a page but there is no change to that screen, the display is having no effect on the battery.
  When you change what's being displayed (changing or adding anything on the page, as in tapping it on the side to get a new page or when an action brings a pop-up window or dialog box), the display is not using the battery.  That's why just pressing the power button for only ~1 second puts the Kindle to 'sleep' during which it displays an image but the Paperwhite light turns off.

  Leaving it in this sleep state doesn't draw battery power as a result of the image display itself.  If, however, WiFi is On during Sleep state, any activity with subscription downloads or a Special Offers download -will- use battery power.

  There is always very slow battery drain in between charges even when a device is turned off.

  So, the "Screen Off" is an odd new choice on mine.  This just blanks the screen and puts it into sleep state.  SOME have requested a blank screen so they know it's "Off" but, in this case, it's only that there's no image seen - not even Amazon's default images during normal sleep-screens.

  "Restart" acts more like a soft-reboot on a computer and clears up memory states that may be causing problems.

  There is NO option on my Paperwhite 1 to completely Power Off or Shut down the Kindle.

  It could be that my dialog box for powering off is different because I chose not to get Special Offers sent to my Paperwhite (I accept Special Offers on my Kindle Fire tablets though) and, therefore, blanking the screen with a "Screen Off" does not interfere with the marketing offers on the lockscreen.

  CBRetriever, quoted above, may choose to get the offers on the Paperwhite and, as a result, doesn't get the 'Screen Off' option.  That's just conjecture on my part.

  But she does get the option to 'shut down' her Kindle.  Odd.

  Also, in my case, holding in the power button for over 20 seconds did cause a Restart, as in the past.


IF you experience unusual battery drain
Note that keeping your Kindle always connected to a Wi-Fi network can drain the battery faster under certain circumstances.  If you're experiencing that, then once you've got the update "over the air," put the Paperwhite back to "Airplane Mode ON" via the 'Settings' option on the Menu -- the option lets you toggle Wireless OFF, using the "Airplane On" choice.

  Amazon's Paperwhite development team won't return the Wireless Off/On choice to the front menu as they did last year for the Kindle Touch, removing the 'airplane mode' icon which confuses many.  It's very inconvenient to have the WiFi On/Off setting on a secondary menu and many, as a result, don't even know that they can turn WiFi Off if needed.

  Amazon probably prefers that we keep Wireless 'On' due to delivery of Special Offers but the battery-drain problem can occur when circumstances involve (1) subscriptions that are downloaded regularly (my New York Times Latest News subscription updates the Kindle edition about five times a day - $1.99/month) or (2) due to a weaker connection that results from the distance from the WiFi router, in which case the device keeps trying to connect when a download is due (and that can be for the special offers that Amazon regularly needs to send for those who choose to opt for the less-expensive model with the special-offers feature) and is then constanty active.

  BUT WiFi needs to be 'On' after you've read a book and made annotations for a session AND when you then want to be able to continue reading later, on another device (like a smartphone), starting at where you'd stopped.
  If WiFi isn't turned on, the Amazon servers won't have any way of knowing the last-page-read location nor any notes or highlighting you've made, which you'd want to be able to access on the other device.  So, a recommendation:
1. When you're finished reading, tap the top-toolbar and press the HOME icon.
  That will 'close' the book session and record the last page read and log the annotations.
2. Tap the top of the Paperwhite to bring up the toolbar and menu icon.
3. If you see an airplane icon at the top, your WiFi is Off (and you're in "airplane" take-off mode).
4. Tap 'Settings'
5. Turn Airplane Mode OFF, and that'll turn WiFi ON.
6. At that point, the Kindle will try to sync your changes to the Server and will download anything that is pending (a subscription to a newspaper, magazine, or blog, usually).
7. After that's done, you can go ahead and leave WiFi ON if you have no problems with faster battery drain
      OR you can turn OFF the WiFi if you need to save battery power.


Only if you'd rather not wait - DOWNLOADING and transferring the Update via USB
US:  Go to the Kindle Paperwhite Software Update v5.4.4 download section to get the instructions for the download and transfer to your Kindle via USB:
UK:  You can do the same for the UK-only page




Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kindle tips: Kindle basic and Paperwhite e-Ink readers on sale for one day, at $49 and $99, recent reviews. Free Android app of the day is a highly-rated educational one for kids (of maybe any age) - US geography



A one-day sale on these two e-Ink readers

(I don't know why it's only a one-day sale.)

 Recent articles (February 2014) that might be of interest to people who are wondering if this is for them or not:

  . USA Today - "E-book readers vs tablets: Which one is right for you?"

  . Tapscape: Detailed review, titled, "Amazon Kindle Paperwhite (2013) Review: the best ereader yet?"

  . Business Today: Kindle Paperwhite Sixth Generation.  India got its Kindles much later than we did, so there are many recent reviews from there, as a result.

  . In fact, Economic Times's review on Feb. 10 focuses on what the Paperwhite 2 has that the first Paperwhite doesn't, a good article for anyone wondering whether to go to the newer Paperwhite or not.  I didn't, as the first one is good enough for me, but have been tempted at times by the ability to flip to other pages while remaining on the same page underneath that flipping, along with the noticeably speedier response.

  . Oxford University review, UK  - "New Kindle Paperwhite Makes e-Reading Easy"


Odd changing pricing
The Kindle Paperwhite with 3G is normally $189 and is showing that today.  But 2 days ago, when I was blogging the various thpes of Kindle book discounts, I saw it shown on the header as $209 - something I'd never seen before and I thought it was strange that Amazon would raise the normal price like that without saying anything in advance.  Today the price is back to $189 and shows as normal pricing again.

If interested in the 3G model and whether it could be worth that much more -- in this day of smartphone ownership, not so much, for my situation, but maybe so for those who either travel a lot to various locales outside the U.S., or just don't want to use smartphone data charges for downloading books and shopping Kindle store or for browsing Wikipedia on Free 3G 24/7 with the 3G model) -- there's a recent review titled, "So long, Paper. Is the new Kindle Paperwhite 3G a good travel companion? Two airports, two bumpy flights and two cities later, here’s what we felt."


Stack the States  - Free Android App of the Day

It has good customer reviews and looks to be a fun educational tool.  Might help people interviewed by Jimmy Kimmel's street interviewer :-)

From the Product description:
-  Voted Best Educational Game App - iEAR.org 
- "Stack the States is a must have." - The iKids Blog 
- "If you have children who are elementary school aged this is a fantastic educational app that’s also a hoot." - The iPhone Mom.com 

Product Features  (from the app's product page)

  • Hundreds of unique questions
  • Interactive map and 50 state flash cards
  • Choose any of the 50 friendly-looking states as your avatar
  • Create up to six player profiles
  • Collect all 50 states and track your progress on a personalized map
  • Earn FREE bonus games: Map It, Pile Up, Puzzler and Capital Drop
  • High resolution pictures of famous US landmarks
  • All games are powered by a realistic physics engine
  • Fun sound effects and music




Current Kindle Models for global reference, plus free-ebook search links.
US:
New Kindle Fire HD 7" 2nd Gen - $139/169
Kindle Fire HDX 7" 16-64GB - $229/269/309
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" 16-64GB - $379/429/479
- with 4G added: $479/529/579
Kindle Fire HD 8.9" 16GB - 1st Gen $269 $229
  $299 Price rise ~2/24/14
- 32GB w/ no special-offers: $314
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $69/$89
Kindle Touch WiFi - $99
Kindle Paperwhite 2, WiFi - $119/$139
Kindle Paperwhite 2, WiFi+3G - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $139/$159, Free web
Kindle DX - $379 $199
UK:
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £59
Kindle Paperwhite 2, WiFi
£109
Kindle Paperwhite2 3G, UK
£169
Kindle Fire Basic HD 8/16GB, UK
 from £119
Kindle Fire HDX 7" 16-64GB, UK
from £199. 4G/3G
Kindle Fire HDX 8.9" 16-64GB, UK - from £329. 4G/3G

CANADA - Kindlestore, CDN-$
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - $79
Kindle Paperwhite 2 - $139
Kindle Paperwhite 2, 3G - $209
KFire HD Yr 2012 7" $214,  8.9" $244.
Yr 2013 KFires: HD Gen2, HDX line
India - Amazon India


*OTHER Int'l pages*
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $89
Paperwhite 2 WiFi $139, 3G/Wifi $209
KFire HD Yr 2012: 7" $214,  8.9" $244
Yr 2013: HD Gen2 + HDX line

Australia Kindlestore
France Boutique Kindle
Deutschland - Kindle Store
Italia - Kindle Store
Spain - Tienda Kindle
Brazil - Amazon Brazil
China - Amazon China [?]
Amazon Japan - Japan

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

  *Click* to Return to the HOME PAGE.  Or click on the web browser's BACK button


Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle


(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!

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