Tag Archives: Kindle

Native reading experiences on the iPad

Shawn Blanc notes how the best reading experiences on the iPad feel native, digital and don’t try to mimic a physical reading medium:

My iPad’s primary function has always been as my reading device. I read and skim headlines in Reeder, I use Instapaper to catch up on articles I came across during the day, I read ebooks in iBooks, and I read Wiredand The New Yorker in their respective apps.

Ironically, the worst reading experiences are with the apps designed by the “professionals” that are based on the age-old history of reading in print: Apple’s own iBooks, and the Condé Nast apps. The best reading experiences on the iPad are Instapaper and Reeder. In part because they are easy to keep up-to-date, but also because their designs have the least amount of frilly bits, and therefore make reading of the actual text the easiest.

I’ve noticed this too. Instapaper makes for a great reading experience of blog posts, news articles, and especially long-form journalism (and is a must have for all iPad owners). Reeder is also a gem, and my favorite RSS reeder. I also enjoy reading a lot in the Kindle app, and the iBooks app has changed a bit since Blanc origianlly wrote his piece (it now goes full screen and allows you to get lost in the words).

Apps from professional publishers — those who used to define what the reading experience was all about — are often the worst. The iPad isn’t a physical book, newspaper or magazine, and the harder you try to make an app mimic a physical product, the worse that app will be.

I have yet to use a news app that is better than a good news website. These apps silo their stories into individual issues, make them hard to share and comment on, exist within a vacuum without prior or future issues and require you to download discrete issues.

You can’t search for related stories while using an iPad news app. To me, that’s a broken news experience in 2012.

That doesn’t mean news publishers should give up. They just need to let themselves be free. Make a news product that feels right today; forget about the past.

The iPad is THE reading device. I simply can’t put it down. There is so much to read and discover with it.

Embrace that.

Episode 25: Much a EULA about nothing?

We follow-up last weeks’s show about iBooks and iBooks Author with some discussion of the infamous iBooks Author EULA.

We then get into whether or not the Washington Post is innovating too much. A common question of newspapers.

We also discuss the mythical iTV and the whole movie rights mess that may be holding it back. I preordered Game of Thrones to stream to my Apple TV, which demonstrates what we could have one day. I now own every episode of the first season in HD and can stream it whenever I feel like it or put it on my mobile devices.

We also talk some other random topics that come up, like how I was pleasantly surprised to see a book I preordered for the Kindle show up just after midnight on the launch day.

Listen to this week’s show:


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Show notes:

Episode 22: Happy Holidays!

christmas 2007

Yes, we’re a few days late with posting our holiday episode. You can blame me and all my travel for that. But it’s a good episode.

First we talk about tech gifts. We’re both into the Kindle and think it will have sold well this holiday season.

Jeremy also discusses how his father somehow ended up with a not-that-new-model Android phone because Jeremy’s father took the advice of his barber over Jeremy.

There is a lot more in this episode, like the new Twitter War and other interesting topics. We hope your holidays went well.

Listen to this week’s episode:


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Show notes:


Episode 13: Your password sucks. No really, it does. And it endangers us all.

This week we talk about password security and how having one password for everything — no matter how secure you think it is — is a very bad idea.

If one website where you have an account is comprised, hackers could have access to your username, email and password. They will then try those same combinations on countless websites, particularly financial websites.

So, yes, your email password matters. That password you have on that random forum matters. They all matter.

That leads us to discuss 1Password, which allows you to remember one password on your computer that can unlock unique passwords on every website you join. Password managers are your best way to stay safe on the Internet.

Then we discuss the rumored Kindle tablet, which we’re all pretty sure is going to happen this fall. But we think it may be going more after the Nook Color than the iPad.

Listen to this week’s show:


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Episode 10: Angry Avians (using the iPad for work)

We discuss how we use our iPads for work and how tablets can make us more productive.

Safari on the iPad would almost be worth the price of admission alone. It’s a really great app. So are Mail and iCal. We don’t discuss this built in apps, however, and instead focus on some of the really strong third-party apps that help us be more productive.

Here are some of the applications we talk about:

  • Omnioutliner — A great outlining program, especially helpful in meetings.
  • Omnifocus — A GTD, task management program. Built for David Allen’s system. Very handy for staying on top of multiple projects at once.
  • Reeder — The best RSS program around, complete with great social media and Instapaper integration.
  • Instapaper — If you love to read and reading is an important part of your job, you need Instapaper ASAP.
  • Twitterific — Our favorite Twitter app.
  • Kindle/iBooks — Great for reading books, papers and reports.
  • TripIt — Your travel companion.
  • Pages — Word processing on the go. Not bad for taking notes in meetings either.
  • Numbers — Spreadsheets on the go, also helpful for being able to view spreadsheets in meetings.
  • Keynote — Presentations on the go.
  • WordPress — Post to WordPress blogs, such as this site. Works better than logging in through the Web.

Listen to this week’s show:

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Episode 6: Lion roars, Borders snores

Could we kick off this week’s show by talking about anything other than OS X Lion? 10.7 is a worthy update, and we give some initial impressions and who will and won’t like some of the updates.

I wrote another love letter to Spotify today, while Jeremy tried to understand what I was talking about.

Then we get into books, libraries and our love for things that other people may not love as much. It’s a great show. I promise.

Listen to this week’s podcast:

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Show notes:

Amazon offering Kindle e-book rentals for textbooks

Just another outdated legacy industry being seriously disrupted:

Amazon claims students can save as much as 80% off textbook list prices by renting from the Kindle Store. The company is offering tens of thousands of textbooks, which students can rent for periods ranging from 30 to 360 days. Amazon has also extended its Whispersnyc technology so that students can access all their notes and highlighted content in the Amazon Cloud, even after the rental agreement is over.

Should you really need to buy an overpriced book to use for three months? This digital rental model makes a lot more sense. The big question will be execution and getting textbook makers on board.