Saturday, 15 January 2011

I love my Kindle

(My husband says I ought to title this post ' I love my husband for getting me a Kindle'. However that's not quite the case, I love him for reasons other than that as well.)

Anyway! - my husband gave me a surprise Kindle, and I love it.

I've had a Sony eReader for a while now, it has been living in my handbag next to my sock knitting bag - just what is needed on long car journeys and in waiting rooms. It is a brilliant little thing, but it has been starting to show some significant signs of wear and tear - one of the buttons is loose, for instance. I can put knitting patterns on it, in pdf format and also in txt format, and although it is not ideal for this, it works.

But the Kindle is another thing entirely.

For a start, it is much lighter and thinner. Also, I can browse online for free - this function is still experimental, but if you are not in a hurry, you can easily check your mail, or browse on Ravelry, or shop on Amazon - careful with that one, though. It is very easy to spend money on lovely Kindle books.

The books for Kindle are, on the whole, cheaper than the paper version. (I could say DT version here, as in Dead Tree, but I can't quite bring myself to do that..... ) It wasn't like this with the Sony eReader, books were always more expensive, with the result that I couldn't bring myself to actually buy any. Instead I found titles on Project Gutenberg, and did a fair bit of proofreading there in return... that's an interesting thing to do, by the way.

Many of the titles that would be free on Project Gutenberg are also free for the Kindle on Amazon - technically you do buy them, at a cost of £0.00. This is excellent, as it means that you can have the whole of your Kindle library backed up online with Amazon - and you can download them again as many times as you wish.

The function that pleases me most, though, is the way the Kindle manages pdf knitting patterns - other pdfs as well, of course, but I'm not so interested in them. You can look at them on Kindle in their original format, and this is much the same as on the eReader - ok, but not brilliant.

Things are very different if you convert the files to Kindle format - .azw format. A knitting pattern is automatically rearranged so that it fits the Kindle screen, to start with. You can zoom in. You can change the screen orientation. You can make the text lighter or darker. And best of all, you can write little notes to yourself - you know the sort of thing, up to this point is xxx rows, or whatever you choose. I am very keen on keeping check of row counts, and where I would normally be writing little notes in pencil in the margin, now I can write notes on my Kindle patterns as well. (You can do this with Kindle books as well.)

This particular idea is so excellent that I am very nearly lost for words. New technology ought to be like this - it should work in a way that we intuitively recognise - it should do what we are used to, with the old technology - and it should do it all better. The Kindle does exactly this with regard to knitting patterns, and this pleases me.

How to get the files to Kindle format, though? - brilliantly simple. When you register your Kindle, it automatically gets its own email address, which it will tell you about in Settings - And there is also another one which doesn't get quite so much publicity -

You send an email to your Kindle's free email address, with the subject 'convert'. Your pdf knitting pattern goes as an attachment to this email. Now, you must make sure that your Kindle has the wireless turned on - not just the 3G, but wireless through a router.

A few minutes later, your knitting pattern appears on your Kindle, converted to Kindle format, all for free.

I can't see myself printing out pattern very much at all, in the future.

Next post, some actual knitting content, I promise. I should have Shadowbox finished, with luck.


Anonymous said...

I have a Kindle for my book reading and I LOVE it but I have never tried the pdf functions...thanks so much for sharing the process. I'll have to try it.

Gone to Find Myself said...

You get patterns for free for the Kindle? I have thought about getting one and now, thanks to you, think I will. I had even thought it would be a good gift for the Pastor of our Church for Christmas, maybe next year. Thanks for the info regarding the pdf functions.

Mad about Craft said...

One of those is going on my Birthday or Christmas list!

Eleni said...

My God, that's brilliant! The more I hear about them, the more I want one!

Barbara said...

Thanks for that detailed review of the Kindle - almost makes me want one, though I think I'd like to see one and play around with it bit first.

*Michelle* said...

Ah ha! So that's how it works! Ordered my Kindle today & was wondering how I would get my pdf filed onto it! Thank you for the explanation. Cannot wait!