loopychew: (Default)
So Amazon had their giant press release regarding the new batch of Kindles yesterday, and I've been mulling it over. Since this has absolutely nothing to do with music gaming and I haven't figured out how to work that newfangled tumblr account of mine, I figured I'd keep to using this as a forum for my thoughts on the situation.

It sounds like all these Kindles are now designed to complement the currently-existing Kindle 3--now rechristened the "Kindle Keyboard"--as opposed to being a replacement, which is a smart move--as much as the current keyboard disappoints (does anyone else who owns one hit 'm' instead of 'n' frequently because of the key positioning?), some people will always prefer a tactile keyboard to a virtual one, and none of the new models have one.

Let's start from the lowest price point up.

Kindle: At $80 (without ads, $110), this is one of the sleeper news hits: finally, an e-book reader connected to one of the most popular e-book platforms around, for less than a Benjamin. That's one major milestone down--it's now more affordable to students. However, this still doesn't work well for lower-income families, since 1) it's Wi-Fi only (how likely is it that someone would own a Wi-Fi router or Wi-Fi hotspot device without owning a computer?) and 2) the Kindle is really a personal device, not well-suited to sharing amongst families (at least with books, if someone's reading one, you can pick up another; it doesn't matter if you own all the books in the world on your Kindle if you've only got one of them and three people who want to read). The five-way switch would make it frustrating to input words if you want to use the Kindle shop, but it should work reasonably for reading, at least. Not good for vision-impaired people, as audiobooks and text-to-speech can't work without speakers. We'll have something that can really benefit the masses once the price gets down to maybe $50 with 3G support (or a good public Wi-Fi system--either way, really a pipe dream if trying to get e-books and readers to lower-income areas where even $50 may not be considered affordable, which I know is a lot of places).

Kindle Touch: Really can't say much until I hear more about the touchscreen, but the shorter profile makes it easier to fit into a pocket without things falling out. Front-facing speaker is nice, too. It's priced to compete directly against the Nook Touch, and it looks like it comes out favorably (more space, speakers for TTS and audiobooks, only $10 more for the 3G edition if you don't mind ads).

Kindle Fire: The belle of the ball, a $200 tablet which, while lacking in cameras and other devices usually taken for granted in tablets, this is both a Kindle in name only. Sure, it reads books and WhisperSyncs them to your system (when connected to Wi-Fi, natch), but this is in reality--for the US, anyway--Amazon's answer to the iTunes ecosystem, and revenge for iBooks. By pricing it at less than half the price of the cheapest iPad, Amazon has put forward a strong entry into the portable media empire. For $50 less than a Nook Color, you have a device with the ability to read lots more media. Granted, it only has limited carrying capacity (8GB will get you a couple of movies at full resolution and no external memory slot to my knowledge), but the price--and the promise of free downloadable media for Prime customers--makes it difficult to resist. If it's a loss leader, the uptick in Prime subscriptions and media purchases--books, Amazon MP3s & videos--should keep it afloat.

Well played, Amazon, well played. I'm not going to buy a new Kindle reader--I haven't even had mine for a year yet--but the Fire looks like something I may get somewhere down the line.
loopychew: (Default)
I just used the phrase "End user-induced depressant overindulgence" in a computer support ticket.
loopychew: (Default)
Other techheads, feel free to correct me on this.

On New Year's Eve, [livejournal.com profile] leiju came back to town (yay!) and we spent the evening at a dinner hosted by Jamie H. (doubling as his farewell party; he leaves for NJ on the 25th). One of the topics of conversation, also fresh in my mind from helping Astrid install a second HD into her computer, was that of why a hard disk never seems to be as large in the computer as it says it is on the box copy.

The answer is simple: normally, on box copy or advertising in general, there's a little footnote somewhere denoting "1 gigabyte = 1 billion bytes."

Computers? Don't think that way.

Don't forget, computers tend to think binary, so it's easier for them to compute volume in powers of 2. Thus, a kilobyte is actually 210, or 1024 bytes. (There was a moment during the initial explanation where, since my cell phone's calculator wouldn't do repeats or exponents, I ended up doodling on the paper table cover to attempt to determine the different powers of 10. But I digress.) A megabyte would be 220, or 1,048,576, bytes, and thusly, a gigabyte would be 230, or 1,073,741,824, bytes.

Again, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's about 7% difference (1,000,000,000/1,073,741,824 = ~0.93) between a computer's and the box copy's perception of what a gigabyte is.

Because I think [livejournal.com profile] leiju wants me to replicate the powers of 2, I'll put it here, under this cut: )

So, in a nutshell, that's why, whenever you pop in that brand new 80GB hard disk of yours, it says that that it has a capacity of 74.5GB in it.

This has been another...entry.
loopychew: (Default)
Discussing hard drives:

Me: Two 40GBs, and one's an iPod.
[livejournal.com profile] daemi0n: rofl
[livejournal.com profile] daemi0n: you need a sticker for your lappy
[livejournal.com profile] daemi0n: "My other 40GB is an iPod."
loopychew: (Default)
I don't really see a problem with the new iPod shuffle's lack of display, and the two basic reasons why:

1. There are plenty of flash MP3 players out there without any displays (chief offender: Creative's Nomad MuVo, which is what my dad uses in his off-hours), and people seem to get along fine with those. Granted, the ones I'm thinking about are hardly ever more than 128MB in size, whereas the Shuffle's four times that size, but still, the number of songs you'd be putting on there isn't so much that it'd matter.

2. Shufflers have a great advantage over most flash MP3 players: they can arrange their own damn playlist. Too often, flash MP3 players will only play MP3s in either 1. alphabetical order (by filename), or 2. in whatever order they were copied onto the drive--which can be annoying as a Windows user, because Windows seems to determine filecopy order with lawn darts. (Granted, there may or may not be players out there which accept M3U lists...anybody know of any?) Since the Shuffle allows for iTunes playlists, there's no problem there.

Given that I'm never going to own one (or if I do, it'll be a ways from now), I've put way too much thought into this whole thing. On the other hand, I'm more likely to own one of these than a mini.

Hmm.
loopychew: (Default)
I was installing a PCMCIA USB 2.0 card a few days ago, and in the course of events it ended up corrupting my Windows installation to the point where I require reinstallation. Until then, consider me offline. <_<

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