Friday, November 25, 2011

Dear Mr. Bezos: May I have some more Google, please.

I was so excited when I heard that Amazon was coming out with a Kindle tablet.   While Mr. Bezos was saying that he would not confirm or deny its release, before it even had a name, before I knew what it would cost,  I was telling anyone who would listen that I was getting one.  I could have blown my budget on an iPad or one of the other perfectly serviceable tablets that were already out.    However, I have a lot of faith in Amazon and I felt sure that if Amazon was making it, it would be worth the wait.  It would not be rushed to release before it was ready.   This would be my third Kindle (I gave my first one to my mom)  and I did not expect to love it any less than the other two.    

But, and you knew that would be one, all has not worked out as I might have wished.   First let me point out that there is much to love about the Fire (as it is now known).   The color touch screen is a thing of beauty.   It is lovely to behold, and responsive (but not too much) to the touch.   Reading knitting magazines on it is a real treat.   My sons (14 &19) find the Amazon App market limited.   I, on the other hand have found (mostly for free) all but one app that I wanted.    Storage is limited but free access to the Amazon cloud negates that.   And let’s face it, at $199, for a color, touch screen, tablet, the price just can not be beat.    It is less comfortable to snuggle up and read on than my earlier Kindles.   I am an avid reader and can fall into a good book for hours at a time.     The Fire is heavier than my Kindle3, and the color screen, while awesome for games & magazines, is a bit of and strain for long term reading.   The thing is that this would be true of any other tablet, regardless of manufacture or price.   As someone who returned the Nook in favor of the Kindle2, I can tell you that nothing beats Kindle’s e-ink for reading comfort.

Prepare yourself because here comes the kicker.    You can not access any of your Google apps on your Kindle Fire.    From what I have read (and I will include links at the bottom), Amazon is blocking access to any Google product that requires signing in.    That covers everything but your basic Google search engine.     For me, this is bad, very bad, maybe even a deal breaker.    Like so many of us, I have multiple computer devices, a desk top, a net-book, a smart phone, an iPod Touch and, now a tablet.   Using Google mail, calendar, contacts, & docs, allows me to access necessary information from anywhere.   As a mom who runs her own home based business, simple, cross-platform; access, is an absolute must have.

With out access to Google, the Fire is just a really nifty toy.  Please Mr. Bezos, stop blocking Google and bring the Fire into the realm of useful technology.

NOTE:  Here are those links I mentioned.

ETA: An email to Amazon tech support revealed that I should be able to get the various Google Apps via the Fire's web browser (Silk).    I had tried that and it did not work.   In searching for an answer to this problem, I came across this web site.    I made the changes suggested to make Silk run faster and now Google & friends loads like a dream.   I still hope that Amazon gets the message and lets Google Apps in, however, I don't hate having to access them via a faster running Silk.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

But wait, there's more...


 As soon as I found out that Penguin Classics was going to reprint Emma, The Secret Garden, & Black Beauty, as part of a line known as Penguin Threads I knew that I would have to have them.  What makes them unique, is that the covers are seemingly embroidered. While the on-line photos are lovely, they really do not do them justice. In person, each of these books is really something special.  

The Secret Garden

Not only do they look embroidered, they "stitches" are raised so that they feel embroidered. It is not only the front cover either. The spines & back covers are equally well done. Even then, I did not fully appreciate the attention to detail until I showed them to my mother. She was much more thorough in her examination than I had been. Thanks to her deft exploration, we discovered inside flaps, in the front and back, that were every bit as gorgeous as the outside covers. Next she pointed out the piece de resistance, the inside covers are done to look like the back of an embroidered piece! How is that for attention to detail?

The Secret Garden

Black Beauty

These stories are what they are. You either like these authors or you do not. However, if you, like me, appreciate fine workmanship, attention to detail, and a, long overdue, nod to our craft community, then these books would make a terrific addition to your bookshelves whether you actually read them or not. I loaded each of these on my Kindle, but have no regrets over buying the "real" books.

Black Beauty
Does anyone know if there are patterns for these?   I would love to re-create them for myself.   As it is, I have been thinking about how cool it would be to embroider the cover of a favorite book.  With that in mind, I was thrilled to come across this blog where some extraordinary needle-workers are doing just that.    I am so impressed and inspired.