Improving the Paperwhite: Amazon Introduces the Kindle Voyage

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 7.17.56 AMLast week the tech world was all abuzz about the new iPhones. In the middle of all that excitement, Amazon quietly released a bunch of new goodies. (at least it seemed like it was “quietly” to me….)

I know that many of my readers are HUGE Paperwhite fans (me, too!!!).

Honestly, I could not imagine how it would be possible to improve that device. It seems darn near perfect.

And yet, as technology moves forward, so do the devices, and Amazon has now ramped up their Paperwhite to a new level, and they are calling this NEW eReader the Kindle Voyage.

So how did they improve ‘perfect’?

1. It’s THINNER.

2. TWICE as many pixels as the Paperwhite, making the text super-crisp.

3. Added tapping sensors on the edge so that you can gently press to turn a page.
(I like love this. I missed my buttons.) You can still turn the page with finger swipes.

4. Automatic light sensors will adjust the light according to the light in the room. It will gradually decrease in a dark room, as your eyes adjust to the dimmer light.

5. General re-design, including a flush-front.

Wifi only, with special offers, costs $199. Removing the special offers hikes the price to $219. (I have the “special offers” appearing on my Paperwhite, and it really doesn’t bother me at all.)

I thought long and hard about this, because I really love my Paperwhite. I did not feel the need to level-up ……. UNTIL I saw that page-turning sensor. That is the one thing I have always missed on the Paperwhite. I am a bed-reader, and when you are comfortably reclining on your side, holding the kindle with one hand, it can be awkward and inconvenient to try and swipe the pages. It’s a nightly struggle to position the Paperwhite just right, and usually I don’t. I missed the old Kindle buttons on the earlier models.

And so I am going to try it. Amazon’s generous return policy makes this a no-brainer for me, because if I don’t like it, I can easily return it. No harm, no foul.

To my surprise, MANY people must be ordering this, because when I tapped the “buy” button on Friday (just a short time after the quiet launch) …. I was told that I won’t be receiving my Kindle Voyage until NOVEMBER 28! :shock: (when it first went on sale, the shipping date was in October!). Wow. I guess the market is strong for this new eReader.

Amazon has also released 4 other products.

1. A Fire HD tablet for only $99. Cheapest tablet available.

2. Fire HD KIDS Edition. “If they break it, we replace it. No questions asked.” If there are Kids in your life, this is worth a closer look.

3. FireHDX 8.9 Big improvements to this tablet.

4. Basic Kindle. Touch screen. No light, but lots of other features. $79

For further information on all of these products, just go to Amazon. They are all displayed on their home page with links to more details.

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A New Word for you to Learn: Phablet

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.00.26 PMIf you haven’t heard it yet, you’ll hear it soon.

Phablet

Phablet – a phone that’s big enough to be (almost) considered a tablet.

Samsung has produced a phablet for years with it’s Galaxy Note. And do people like it? They seem to love it. So Apple is now jumping on that bandwagon with the iPhone 6 Plus.

iPhone 6 Plus = the newest phablet on the market.

There was a great review of the iPhone 6 Plus in the New York Times today. Written by a bona-fide big-phone hater, he talks about the time he spent with this new phablet, pros and cons.

I think he surprised himself.

He finds many pluses to make up for the lack of pocketability.

Read the whole article, here:

With Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus, Phablets Get Serious.

Now I’m starting to get excited to get my hands on one.

I’ll not be in line at the Apple stores on Friday (I’m not THAT crazy ambitious :) )

But …

I placed my order! And I should get my iPhone 6 Plus (aka Phablet) in about 3 weeks.

If you are considering the iPhone 6 Plus, I would suggest you take a few minutes and read the NY Times review.

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Apple Event on Tuesday. Rumors will continue until then…..

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 8.10.10 AMApple’s big event will unfold on Tuesday, September 9. And all the rumors will be put to rest.

But for now, the internet is buzzing with speculation.

It is generally agreed that the newest iPhone will be offered in several sizes. Personally, I’m hoping for a larger screen, but I know lots of folks want it to stay the same. So, the best solution (if Apple asked me :) ) would be to produce several sizes (like they do with the iPad). Let people have a choice.

And then there is the iWatch. This is interesting. Wearable technology is wildly popular, and personally, I think that Apple is a little late getting into this game.

Last Christmas, my son gave me a Fitbit. This is a little gadget that keeps track of your steps and sends you encouraging text messages to urge you on to meet your goal. It holds a charge for weeks, and when the battery gets low, it sends me an email to alert me that it needs a charge. Delightful. No fuss, just fun. And flawless. It just works…. and it is very popular. Other companies have similar products.

Now the rumor is that Apple will be unveiling it’s own piece of wearable technology, dubbed the iWatch (it probably will not be called “iWatch”). It is assumed that it will be health related, keeping track of steps, heart rate, etc. And then the speculation continues … what else will it do? After all, many companies are already producing health related wearable gadgets (like my Fitbit). Will there be apps for this iWatch? Will it access the internet? How on earth can you fit a keyboard on a watch?

I’ve also read about a possible mobile-payment-system on the iPhone…that should be interesting.

…also a new operating system (here comes iOS8).

and….. perhaps a new LARGER iPad.

All questions will be answered soon….

stay tuned….

The Apple event: What’s probably coming

What To Expect From Apple’s iPhone Event On September 9

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Acrobatic Motorcyclist in Russia

In this technologically-filmed world of ours, with cameras everywhere, we are capturing more and more events that previously would only have been seen by a few eyewitnesses.

This is an amazing example. Watch as the car on the right moves into the left lane, as a motorcyclist chooses to use the same lane at the same time.

This is one lucky guy. :shock:

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How to Capture ACTION with your iPhone Camera

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I absolutely love this feature.

I remember (years and years) ago buying a digital camera specifically because it had this ability so that I could “catch” action shots at my son’s sporting events. And now, here it is, always available right in our pocket!

I’m guessing you might not know that you have this feature …. but once you do, you’ll be using it to get that PERFECT shot.

So how do you capture action with your iPhone?

Simply bring up your camera on your iPhone.

Aim, and HOLD DOWN THE CAPTURE BUTTON. Your iPhone will snap photos quickly. A Photo Burst.

From Skitch-13

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A Funny Video from the Onion, Reading Snobs Rejoice!

To my readers: This video is fake. It is a product of the clever writers at The Onion . It is fake. It is satire.

I’m making this point, because the video looks so real. And if you are not familiar with The Onion, well…. you might think….. Just sayin’. :)

And so, here it is ladies and gentlemen. A new Kindle for the Reading Snobs. For those folks who want everyone to know what book they are reading.

In the old days, you could throw a War and Peace dust jacket over a sleazy romance novel, but no more. When you hold a Kindle, people can’t “see” what you’re reading… until now.

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Blogging Break AND Awesome Views of our Planet

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As I take a bit of a blogging break, I thought I would leave you something to enjoy while I am gone.

This is Technology at its FINEST!!!

By clicking the link below, you will be taken to a LIVE view of the planet Earth from the International Space Station.

It is Awesome. Mesmerizing. Humbling.

If you see a black screen, the space station is on the dark side of the earth. If you scroll down the page a bit, you will see a live map so that you can locate what part of the earth you are flying over (or confirm that the space station is on the dark side.)

It might take a few moments for the page to load, so be patient. It’s worth it.

This only went live back in April, as an experiment. Hopefully, they will keep it up.

I’ve bookmarked this site, and find myself returning to it often. What an awesome view.

One suggestion:
Once you are viewing our planet from the space station, click on the arrows in the right hand bottom corner of the screen so that the scene explodes to a full-screen view on your computer. Wowza.

Keep your eyes on the screen…. you’ll see that you are actually, virtually, moving around our planet.

Enjoy!!

Live view from the International Space Station

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New Survey: Cellphones ONLY for 2 out of 5 in the US

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 5.33.04 PMThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been watching the evolution of cell phones vs landlines for the last several years in the US.

They recently released a new report which boils down to the news that 2 out of 5 homes in the US have ditched the landline and are cellphone only.

That’s twice what it was 5 years ago, but in spite of that, the trend seems to be slowing down.

You can read more about this report from several links I will put at the end of this post.

But …..

This made me wonder about those of us here in the blogosphere … worldwide, not just in the USA.

So let’s weigh in!

Here at my house, we have both. However, we don’t use the landline anymore. It’s there, and it collects all the telemarketer calls (and a lot of dust), but we don’t use it as our phone. I would dump it, but it comes “bundled” with cable TV service and internet, and basically costs nothing, so…… we keep it and let the answering machine pick up any stray calls that come through there.

My children, however, are all adults with homes of their own, and there are no landlines for them. Cell phones only in those households.

How about you? Are you a cell phone-only house?

Or do you have a cell-phone(s) AND a landline?

4 in 10 US Homes Are Cellphone Only, Skip Landline

Two in five U.S. homes have only cellphones: survey

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iPad Slowing Down? Try this Simple Fix, First

Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 8.28.31 PMLast week my dear friend Mona had a sluggish iPad.

Really sluggish.

I watched as she tried to load a map, and it took
f o r e v e r.

Frustrating.

She did the housekeeping thing, and closed all the running apps. No difference. Sluggish, still.

So the next day she made an appointment with a Mac Genius.

They had the solution, and her iPad is speedy, once again.

What was the magic?

They told her to turn it off. Then on (of course :) ). Yes, that’s it.

Actually, the Genius suggested turning it off at least 3 times a week to improve and/or maintain the speed.

That was it. On and off. Remember this if your iPad gets sluggish (and iPhone, as well). It may not solve all your issues, but it can’t hurt.

Thanks, Mona!

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July 4th + Tech = hahahaha

It’s the 4th of July, and I wanted to recognize this US holiday on this blog.

But it’s a tech blog, after all, so my dilemma was how to combine tech + July 4th.

So, I turned to Google.

A search of “tech + July 4th” turned up the cartoon, below.

Problem solved! :)

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