Thursday, December 30, 2010

Signs of the Times

Telling an acquaintance who likes to read ebooks on her iPhone about Amazon's free Kindle for iPhone app reminded me how I used to hear adults remark, "They oughta make a pill for that."

Now, people say, "There's an app for that."

As we enter the second decade of the third millennium, I wonder if there will be a new catch phrase associated with the period and, if so, what it will be. Only time can tell.

In the meantime, please enjoy the rest of the holiday season.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

On Eclipses and the Coming King of Kings

Did you see the lunar eclipse last night? I did even though I've seen both solar and lunar eclipses before. This one was special because it's been 372 years since a lunar eclipse coincided with a winter solstice.

So close to our celebration of the birth of Christ, the event reminded me of the signs of His second coming.

No, I don't believe the predictions for May 21, 2011; May 21, 2012; or Dec. 21, 2012.

Yes, although the Bible says no one knows the day or the hour of His return, the Bible also states that we will know when to look for His coming.

First, we must not forget that the word will be preached to ALL nations before He returns. Currently, there are tribes in South America that are known about but have yet to have any contact with outsiders much less preaching.

After the great tribulation occurs, there will be the signs of volcanic eruptions, the great earthquake, a total solar eclipse, during which the sun looks black, followed by a total lunar eclipse, during which the moon turns blood red under the right atmospheric conditions, followed by meteor showers and/or stars going dark.

Back in 1998 or '99, I quickly scanned NASA charts that went up to 3000 and found no predictions of a total solar eclipse followed by a total lunar eclipse. Not seeing anything in the charts that match the Bible and not hearing about actual events, I quit thinking about it.

The bottom line is that I do not believe the Lord will return before Y3K. If He does return sometime during this third millennium, it would neatly correlate to Jonah's three days in the whale and the three days between Jesus's death and resurrection.

Merry Christmas!

Matthew 12:40. For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

2 Peter 3:8. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

Matthew 24:
14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
15. When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
16. Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
17. Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:
18. Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.
19. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
20. But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
21. For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
22. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.
23. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.
24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
25. Behold, I have told you before.
26. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.
27. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
28. For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.
29. Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30. And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
31. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
32. Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh:
33. So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.
34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.
35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
36. But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

(Notice that the angels gather the elect after the tribulation. Mark 13 and Luke 21 agree.

Matthew 13:30. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.

Other than pointing out these four confirming references, I'm not going to get into the Pre- versus Post-Tribulation Rapture argument.)

Acts 2:
19. And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come

Revelation 6:
12. And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13. And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.

(A lot of things happen between Revelation 6:13 and Revelation 19:11.)

Revelation 19:
11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
14. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.
15. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

For Holiday Shoppers

For those of you still considering what to get the bookworms on your holiday gift list or if you're licking your chops anticipating what you might buy yourself with the gift money you receive, here's some information about ebook reading devices. If you need only a stocking stuffer, Book Darts has Christmas specials.

This CNET article, updated last month, compares Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Apple's iPad with mentions of other e-readers, including the Sony Readers, to give you an idea of what's out there and their features. It says they're available at Best Buy if you want to see them in person without driving thither and yon.

As may be expected, the Nook is also available at Barnes & Noble with the iPad at an Apple store. Amazon's Kindle is also available at Staples and Target. Sony Readers are also available at Borders, Costco, and Fry's. Kobo eReaders are available at Borders and the new wireless Kobo Wi-Fi eReader is available at Wal-Mart stores in black only.

Four things you might want to know:

1. The Nook's touted LendMe feature lets you loan your ebooks to friends. However, it depends on the publisher and, if allowed, permits loaning only one book to one friend for only 14 days. You can't read it while it's loaned out. You can't loan it out again.

[Update: Amazon released this feature for the Kindle on Dec. 30, 2010 with the same limitations.]

2. If you've been borrowing books from your local public library and think getting an e-reader will significantly decrease the length of time you'll have to wait to read current popular fiction, don't count on it. I read a report of how libraries have ebooks in the EPUB format, but because publishers are concerned about decreased sales if libraries loan ebooks, there's a restriction making borrowing an ebook comparable to borrowing a hardcopy or worse. As a result, the author had to wait 18 weeks before getting the ebook he wanted to read on his Nook.

3. The Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Sony Reader all use E Ink technology. However, at this time, only the Kindle and Sony Reader Touch are using the latest E Ink Pearl displays.

4. The Kobo eReader battery is not replaceable.

For comparison purposes, e-reader user guides are available for the Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Sony Reader.

Try before you buy or avoid buying an e-reader because you already have something that will do - free apps for ebook reading devices such as the Android, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone/iTouch, Mac, PC, and Windows Phone 7 are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders.

(Note: All devices are not supported by every bookseller and the free app may not have every feature that is available on the corresponding e-reader.)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I <3 My Kindle

Finishing my Christmas shopping last Friday, my thoughts dwelt on how convenient Amazon's Kindle would be for me at home apart from its being a travel accessory.

1. Although I've enjoyed reading free ebooks on my laptop courtesy of the free Kindle for PC application, reading at bedtime makes my laptop magically grow progressively larger and heavier as I get sleepier, shrinking back to its regular size and weight before I awake. Being able to switch from my laptop at any point in a book to the much smaller and lighter Kindle would enable me to continue reading until I'm ready to nod off.

2. Checking Amazon for five books I bought this year, I saw that Kindle editions are available for all of them at a lesser price, one for free. Not only would it save me money, it would greatly decrease the amount of space I need for storing books at home. Sure, I'm a great fan of public libraries even while traveling, but there are books I just have to own. Of course, I can store more ebooks on my laptop, but see #1 above.

3. The Kindle has a Text-to-Speech feature that, depending on a publisher's allowing it to be enabled which may be determined on Amazon's description for the book, allows me to listen to an ebook when I want to rest my eyes like being read a bedtime story as a child. This feature is not available in the PC app. For road trips, I can plug my cassette adapter into the headphone jack, insert the adapter into my car's cassette player, and by turning Text-to-Speech on, listen to a book as I drive as if it's an audio book.

4. Another feature not available with the PC app is the ability to organize ebooks into folders, called Collections. Kindle for PC sorts by author, title, most recent, or by file size making quite a list for me to go through to find what I want out of the already 99 ebooks in my library. Being able to go to a Collection will greatly relieve me of the annoyance of not being able to quickly find something I know I have. Because ebooks may be categorized in more than one Collection, there's less chance of my not being able to find what I want due to forgetting in which Collection I categorized it.

As a result, after reading the 1-star and 2-star negative reviews on Amazon that did not put me off in the slightest, I ordered a Kindle last Friday, Dec. 4, at nearly 6 P.M. ET along with a neoprene case by Belkin. Assured they would be delivered Dec. 10-14, continuing to read on my magical laptop (see #1 above), I found waiting to be as hard on me as waiting for Christmas Day when I was a child.

Amazon and United Parcel Service must have really gotten their acts together for the holiday season. Despite my ordering after normal business hours on a Friday, considering the weekend and that I selected free shipping which usually takes a few days longer than the paid-for standard shipping, my Kindle arrived on Tuesday morning, shipped from Lexington, Kentucky. Remembering one Amazon shipment originating in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas that drove me crazy watching it spend three days going from one UPS distribution center to another before it left the state of TX, I was determined to not monitor the tracking status for my Kindle during the six to ten days it was supposed to take to arrive. Surprised by the fast delivery, I was jumping in joy.

Having read the PDF User's Guide through the Kindle for PC app over the weekend, I unpacked the box and plugged in my Kindle to charge.

Noticing the indicator light changed from orange to green two to three hours later, I eagerly turned it on, registered it to my Amazon account, downloaded and synchronized my library, then tried out a few features before organizing my ebooks into Collections.

(The instructions said I wouldn't have to register it if I bought it through my Amazon account, which I did, because it would already be registered, which it wasn't. No matter. Registration was fast and easy, taking only a moment.)

I'm not reading ebooks on my laptop, anymore.

Imagine reading that's much easier on your eyes than using a backlit screen.

Imagine electronic paper and ink technology that's easier to read than paperback and some hardback books.

Imagine having nearly a hundred books, with room for up to 3,500 books, in a device that can be held in one hand, either hand, that's thinner and weighs less than two ounces more than a giant (6.8 oz/192 g) bar of Hershey's red Symphony chocolate.

Imagine being able to access any of your ebooks at any time with only a few clicks of a thumb or finger without having to move from your chair.

Imagine being able to turn pages with a slight movement of your thumb on the same hand holding the Kindle.

(Picture how not having to lift a finger to turn a page, much less an arm or hand, deepens the meaning of the term "couch potato.")

Since it arrived Tuesday morning, I've spent about ten hours reading on it and I love my Kindle. I really love it!

Praise the Lord!

Monday, December 6, 2010


In my last post, I wrote that the dictionary feature doesn't work in the Kindle for PC app. I was wrong. The reason it didn't work for me was because I wasn't online as I should have been to let the dictionary download the first time I tried to use it. After it downloads, it works just fine without my needing to be connected.

I edited my previous post to remove my erroneous observation.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Score! (Kindle for PC)

Always on the lookout for ideas to make traveling easier for me, recent television commercials for Amazon's Kindle got me thinking how nice it would be to have a single ebook reader when I go to Europe one of these days instead of packing travel guides, phrase books, and reading material for flights and long train rides.

Checking the features and reading the reviews for the latest version of the Kindle, the only thing I didn't like is that when the non-user-replaceable battery has to be replaced, customers have to send the unit back. After it's returned with a new battery, users have to download their libraries all over again. Since Amazon stores a backup copy of the user's library, bookmarks, highlighting, and notes, the inconvenience is only a matter of time unless there's a glitch somewhere that causes the loss of some books. However, users are able to download to a PC and save to a hard drive or other media, so it's easy enough to make your own backup of your library of ebooks and magazines which you should do anyway if you want to save all your magazines.

Seeing that the Kindle can read free ebooks from other sources as well, such as those from the Gutenberg Project, I decided to download the free Kindle for PC application along with several free ebooks to try out on my laptop. I have already finished reading two of my free ebooks and am very pleased.

In addition to the Kindle for PC app, other free Kindle apps are available for the Android Phone, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone, and Mac. With the iPhone app, you may also read Kindle books on the iPod Touch.

As a result, when I'm ready to travel to Europe, I plan to buy a Kindle to keep my load down. Looking at the two piles of books next to me, maybe I should get one sooner. After all, it is a whole lot less expensive than an iPad and according to, it has a lot of nice features that make it better for reading than an iPad.

Whether I get a Kindle right away or not, free app + free ebooks - the inconvenience of going to a library or buying from a regular book store = Score!