1. Cost savings – I read a lot and Kindle book prices generally range from $9.99 to $14.99 for brand new releases. Amazon has a large selection of free public domain material. My breakeven point is about 10 books. Unfortunately – I’ll buy more books because it’s so easy to buy them. :-)
2. Storage Capacity – The Kindle can hold a ton of reading material – I currently have about 20 full books and 30 book sample chapters. You will never run out of space.
3. Dictionary – Need to lookup a word – a dictionary comes with the Kindle and no web required. Nice.
4. Note taking & highlighting – I write all over the books I buy (especially non-fiction). What’s really nice about the Kindle is that you can highlight, bookmark and make notes on passages – then export those as text to you PC for future reference. The keyboard on the Kindle isn’t great – but it’s good enough for short text entries.
5. Book previewing – Amazon makes it really easy to download a free book chapter and read it to see if you like it. Very handy. You can download 10 books that might be of interest, scan the chapters then buy only what you triggers your interest.
6. Size and Weight- Kindle fits in my brief case easily, weights less than a paperback and is the equivalent of having a full library at you disposal at all times. I made a cheap carrying case out of old bubble wrap. The Kindle took 3 pounds of weight out of my laptop bag. My back is thanking me.
7. Battery life – Turning on wifi only when using it and you’ll easily get 2 weeks of battery life out of a single charge. Because I download free content almost daily – I use the wifi more than necessary. If your frugal you should get longer battery life.
8. Book reading feature – Kindle can read books to you. Pretty slick. I don’t use it often but can imagine driving to work and letting the Kindle read books to me. The battery might be excessive but if you drive to an office every day (I don’t) the reading feature might be worth the drain.
9. Public Domain Content – Amazon has a lot of good public domain books that you can download to Kindle. You don’t have to break the bank to stock your kindle library with books. I have over 40 books on my Kindle and 37 are public domain.
10. Multiple Devices & Backup – Maybe you don’t always have your Kindle available. Amazon has multiple Kindle editions. When you read on one of the editions the Kindle software updates every edition. In addition, Amazon archives all your digital books online so if you lose your Kindle you can re-stock your replacement in a snap.
Worried about a book addiction run wild with the Kindle? Cancel your cable TV service, sign-up for a Hulu premium account and you’ll have the budget for around (4) monthly book purchases. You may even come out ahead. Reading more in your spare time is never a bad idea.
I’m testing Windows Live Writer 2011 with this post. Just want to try some of the optional setting and see how the program behaves. I like the relatively simple menu bar and the controls. In addition, there are a decent number of plug-ins that provide for additional functionality.
What I want is a blogging environment that will allow me to efficiently create blog posts when I don’t have a live web connection.
Are you distracted by flashing banner adds? Would you like a way to eliminate the non-essential clutter on blogs and websites? A recent post by David Pogue lead me to this neat application created by ARC90 Labs called Readability. What a great little tool this is.
Define the style, font size and margin width and drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar. You are ready to go. Just surf to your favor blog and click the Readability bookmarklet. All the junk is removed.
I tried Readability this morning on a variety of blogs and websites. It worked flawlessly. On sites that had mostly image content–as part of the content–it even warned me that I may not want to use Readability for that particular post. Even embedded & scrolling content was converted and fully displayed.
This short video explains the configuration and setup. Highly recommended.
Full Disclosure: I have no relationship with ARC90 Labs and received no remuneration for this post.
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Most are web applications–the only exception being the excellent shareware text editor WriteMonkey.
1. Evernote: The jack-of-all-trades of capture tools. I actually broke-down and purchased a premium license ($45.00/year) having exhausted the 40mb/month of storage that the free edition provides. Evernote is combination web, desktop and cell phone note capture system–keeping all in sync. Want to remember a restaurant name or the menu? Just snap a picture with your phone and sync. Evernote indexes the text inside images and makes them search able. Scan and upload your handwritten journals and notes to Evernote making them fully search able and available anywhere. Don’t miss the invaluable Firefox or web clipper extensions which make adding to your Evernote files a single-click operation.
2. ReQall: ReQall allows you to leave voice notes to yourself. The application converts these to text and will integrate with Evernote. I don’t use the voice mode often but I love being able to capture quick text notes on my phone. ReQall syncs your phone notes with the its website. Standard accounts are free and are acceptably featured. If you want more advanced features like automatic location recognition, push notification for the iPhone or the ability to add notes via email that will set you back $24.99/year.
3. Ubertwitter: A very full-featured Twitter client for your cell phone. Ubertwitter allows you to filter for Tweets in your area only, look at tweeter’s home pages, filter on your DM’s or @ messages or view trending topics. I also use Ubertwitter to drill into the favorites of the people I follow. This has yielded many informative websites that I don’t think I would have found any other way. Freeware.
4. Google Reader (RSS): While the technorati say that RSS is fading and that social media tools are replacing it, I can’t imagine living without my RSS reader. I follow nearly 300 blogs & websites via Google Reader. Most (non-tech) people I know haven’t even heard of RSS and don’t use it. If your one of those people spend an hour learning how to use Google Reader. RSS is an efficient way to monitor many sites. It’s simple, it’s efficient and it’s free.
5. Diigo.com: Think of Diigo as Delicious but with annotation added. Highlight text on any web page. Add your own notes. Bookmark sites. From that point forward any time you go back to that page your notes and highlights will be there. Share your annotations with specific people, groups or keep them private. Free.
6. Zotero: This Firefox add-in allows you to save detailed bibliographical information for books, websites, papers, pod casts, or other media with a single click of your mouse. Zotero also provides a very slick facility for embedding the bibliographic material into your writing tool and will do so in many different formats. Free.
7. You Send It: Have you ever had a really large file that you needed to share that was just too large for email? You Send It provides a very simple way to send these files. No training required. The basic process–upload your file to You Send It. Then, You Send It forwards a message with a download link to the receiver. Couldn’t be simpler. Your file size limit is 100MG. The free version works fine for me. More fully featured plans start at $9.99/month.
8. DropBox: A virtual hard disk for holding up to 2GB of personal data on the web for free. Use Dropbox to transfer files or backup critical documents you create on a borrowed computer. Dead simple. DropBox looks like another hard disk on your computer. A simple and efficient way to add flexible storage. 50GB of storage cost $9.99/month. 100GB is $19.99/month.
9. Google Chrome: The fastest browser in the land, now with extensions. And, it’s amazing how many neat one’s there are already with more being added daily. I still use Firefox as my primary browser for leisure but Chrome has become my speedy browser of choice at work. Free.
10. WriteMonkey: This shareware program is the best pure writing tool I’ve discovered in over 10 years. A simple text editor with a clean interface, WriteMonkey has a surprising feature set just a right-click away. I particularly like old typewriter sound option. It makes you “feel” like a writer. The program downloads & installs in under 60 seconds. It has become my primary text editing tool. Highly recommended. The author, Iztok Stržinar, accepts donations accepts via Paypal.
11. Dabbleboard: A virtual white board which allows you to collaborate via the web. I just discovered this tool and have not conducted any web meetings with it. Yet, I feel it is easy enough to use that I may try it out in that context soon. I also think it’s a great way to create illustrations which can then be embedded in blog posts or emails. The free version seems very good. Pro plans start at $8.00/month and offer unlimited private drawings & meetings, SSL/https encrypted access, embedding your own logo and priority support.
What new technology have you discovered this year? Are you using any of these tools? How are you using them?
Full Disclosure: I’m not affiliated with any of the companies or people who created these tools.