Friday, January 28, 2011


For this week's blog post, I was going to write about the Text-to-Speech (TTS) feature of the Kindle.

I was going to point out that whether the feature is enabled or not is up to the publisher of the ebook.

I was going to highlight the choice of a male or female voice that may be adjusted to speak faster or slower than the default setting.

I was going to mention it's a bit mechanical sounding, compared to a real person reading aloud, but it's a minor limitation of the Kindle 3 that doesn't bother me.

I was going to say that because my car has a cassette player, I can use my portable CD player's cassette adapter to listen to an ebook or a few MP3 files on my Kindle through my car speakers while I drive.

I was going to blog about how I enjoy listening to scripture at home and on the road and that long road trips killed several of my Bible cassettes through the years. Changing over to a Bible on CD and taking along a CD player means more clutter in my car. Anticipating the purchase of an MP3 player and having to find an MP3 Bible to play, I was going to rave about how very happy I am to have found OSNOVA's TTS-friendly KJV Bible for only $4.99.

I was going to write that, unlike my other ebook Bible, the speech is very easy to follow either listening or reading along because the verse numbers were removed and the text set in normal paragraphs.

I was going to mention that since I bought this TTS-friendly Bible for listening purposes, sometimes I forget that the speech function has to be stopped in order to use the Next Page/Last Page buttons or the 5-way controller arrows to skip forward or back to another book. I was going to add that using the Shift and Sym keys makes it easy to toggle the speech off and on again.

I was also going to post that for the low cost, ease of use, and convenience of not having to pack everything I used to and considering I can use it at home, too, the TTS feature on the Kindle and this TTS-friendly Bible are real blessings.

But I decided to get a rotisserie chicken and seedless grapes for dinner and read another ebook, instead.

Romans 10:17. So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

More Retail Therapy (Score!)

This isn't the same as my previous experience in the candy store.

I had obtained free ebooks of Aesop's Fables and the complete works of William Shakespeare and Mark Twain (counted as one book apiece), discovering it extremely difficult to locate what I want within them because there aren't active links to make it easy for me to go from the Table of Contents (TOC) to what I want to read. If it wasn't the first piece, because I don't know the location, I'm supposed to repeatedly press the Page Forward button which quickly exceeds the limit of my patience.

Therefore, I spent several hours over several days comparing various ebook samples to find those I was willing to buy. My main criteria are the ease of using the interactive TOC and the formatting especially for Shakespeare since weird line breaks in his plays and poetry could make for awkward reading. Also, too much white space is annoying.

A few customer reviews complained about nasty line breaks with the publisher responding with a recommendation to set the font size down to 1 or 2 from the larger default size 4.

They're both nuts since the Kindle may be rotated to make the screen horizontal instead of vertical, effectively eliminating the line break issue without having to shrink the font size.

In the end, I bought the complete works of Honore de Balzac (150+ works), Charles Dickens (200+ works), William Shakespeare (38 plays, 154 sonnets, 5 poems), Mark Twain (14 novels + short stories, essays, and non-fiction), an illustrated Aesop's Fables, and all 16 volumes of Sir Richard F. Burton's translation of "The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night" (aka the 1001 Arabian Nights).

Imagine, 42 novels plus plays, short stories, essays, and more for only $12.05. The hardback book of Shakespeare's complete works alone costs over $25 and it's so darned heavy, I can't imagine taking it traveling.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Paint Job

My love affair with my Kindle continues.

Examining my keypad, I noticed that the arrows on the five-way controller as well as the letters E, T, I, O, A, H, L, and the arrow on the shift key are starting to fade. Since I was aware this happens on some graphite units, not the white units, before I bought my Kindle and bought it anyway, it doesn't bother me.

Following the advice of others who didn't want to return their Kindles for this mild cosmetic issue, I painted all my keys with clear nail protector after removing the excess fluid from the brush. One woman wrote that she used a toothpick instead of the brush that came with her clear nail polish to make sure none of her polish would overflow the buttons and ruin her Kindle.

Losing the arrows on the five-way controller isn't anything to me, but I'm not so good a typist, much less a thumb-typist, that I can afford to lose the letters. I plan to repaint when the shine wears off to ensure the letters remain as long as possible.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Retail Therapy

I feel like a kid in a candy store, grabbing handfuls of whatever I want.

Since I received my Kindle a month ago, I've shopped until I dropped looking mostly for free ebook versions of the classics I've wanted to read as well as those I want to reread discovering in the process that "The Three Musketeers" by Alexandre Dumas is the first book of a trilogy and that the old Errol Flynn swash-buckling movies, "Captain Blood" and "The Sea Hawk," were made from books by Rafael Sabatini who had other international best-sellers.

I've been reading what I've been downloading, too. "My Man Jeeves" by P.G. Wodehouse, "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, and "The Red Badge of Courage" by Stephen Crane are a few of the 17 books I've read so far of the nearly 260 ebooks I've acquired.

Yup, two hundred sixty. It's "nearly" since one is the Kindle User's Guide.

Under typical retail therapy, at an average of $5 each if I was lucky, 260 books would cost me half a fortune ($1300) and fill several bookcases.

Practicing the ebook version of retail therapy, I spent $32.74 for six books: one Bible, two novels, four references; and was surprised that the 260 ebooks left 2.7 GB free out of the 3 GB available on my Kindle.

What else can I say?

<Happy dance!>