Killer Feature on the Kindle 2

Nothing I have tried online or in a high-tech device has mimicked the experience I have walking into a bookstore and browsing/buying.   I love the reviews at Amazon.com, but they are still some how not enough.   I want to pick up books that look interesting.  I want to read the back cover.  I want to wander into an aisle I don’t usually wander down.  I want to sit in an over stuffed chair and in 5 minutes of actually reading a section of the book, get a feel for the book and be able to then make a better informed purchasing decision.

I was listening to the MacBreak Weekly podcast this morning on my way to work and they were discussing the new Kindle 2.    The killer feature to me is the free download of the first chapter of any Kindle book.  This is as close to the book store browsing experience as I can imagine without being there. (It also has advantages such as new releases being $9.99 instead of $25 in hardcover)  Think about being able to, for free, download the first chapter of any book you stumble across (browsing with the Kindle or at Amazon.com).  You can then read the individual chapters at your own pace at your own time.  And then, if you like the book, purchase it with a click (from anywhere with cell reception) and 60 seconds later you have the full text.  This may change my reading habits and selections completely.  I wish audible would do this with their audio books!!!

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Sony Reader – WOW!!!

My wife, kids, and I treked up to Providence this past rainy weekend to catch an IMAX movie and do some early xmas window shopping. I had never been in a Sony Style store before and as luck would have it my first time just happened to be the same day that the store received their first batch of the new Sony Reader.

From the Sony website:

The Sony® Reader provides a new way to experience reading. It boasts an impressive display1, utilizing breakthrough technology that’s almost paper-like. In addition, the text can be magnified for sight-impaired readers. Daylight readable, high contrast, high resolution, near 180º viewing angle.”

All this is true and more!!

When I first picked up the device I thought for sure I was looking at a stick on decal that often is used for display items. Much to my surprise when I hit the menu button, the text changed and I was greeted with a new screen, looking equally like a decal, but actually was the real thing. The E-INK technology is amazing!

Again from the Sony site:

What is e Ink® Technology?
The Sony® Reader’s display uses e Ink® – a significant improvement over CRT and LCD technology. Instead of rows of glowing cells, e Ink® microcapsules actually appear as either black or white depending on a positive or negative charge determined by the content. The result is a reading experience that’s similar to paper – high contrast, high resolution, viewable in direct sunlight and at a nearly 180-degree angle, and requiring no power to maintain the image. In other words, it’s a screen that, like you, is well read.

I want this device very much. I am still debating on whether the $350 is worth it especially for a 1st generation device!?!?

Additional features that make this device even more exciting are many. It has an SD card slot for increased storage capacity. It plays unprotected MP3 and AAC files. It will display PDF files and other personal documents (I believe MS Word but not sure about ODF?).

The idea of being able to carry one small device for all of my media needs…electronic books, PDFs, classical music to listen to while I read, podcasts, etc…..is a game changer in my book. What if every student was issued this device on the first day of school????

NOTE: I am not typically a fan of SONY (search “SONY” and “rootkit”) and I have no relationship with the company other than being a consumer of their products. In this case I am very excited about this offering.

Last question: will the syncing software work on Mac OS X and Linux in addition to Windows????

Still looking….no TWIT

OK, I woke up today and realized I am totally stealing the whol TWIT identity.  The show I want to put togther is not TWIT and thus should not have TWIT in the title…any ideas???

Could include: 

Learning
Technology
Change
Leverage
Ideas
Connections
Links
Free
Culture
A Better Way 

K12 TWIT Groups

I a thinking the K12 TWIT group really needs to be a couple different groups.  They could be:

Connecticut K12 TWITs (participants and interviewees from the CT educational scene)
IT K12 TWITs (participants and interviewees from across the US and around the world discussing general IT trends, news, etc and how they relate to K12 schools)

EdTech K12 TWITs (participants and interviewees from across the US and around the world discussing general educational technology topics and themes and how we might better integrate ICT into the k12 environment)

The more I think about this possible podcast I think it will really come down to a combonation of Steve Gillmor's Gillmor Gang/Daily podcasts and of course Leo Laporte's TWIT.  I want to have a free flowing format with special guests and to discuss the news of the day, but I also want o be able to go one-on-one when needed and have a good dialogue with thought leaders in this space.  I really should drop both a line before I get started. 

Recording a Podcast Conference Call….the options

As I have said previously, I want to start an edtech version of TWIT. One of the first decisions I/we have to make is how we will connect and record our shows. I want to keep the system as simple as possible because I want to keep post-production editing as short and simple as possible. These are the options I see:

iChat and GarageBand3 (can AIM clients be recorded or must everyone be on iChat and thus a Mac?)

Gizmo Project (everyone needs gizmo or I could get hit with big line charges, but it does have a built in recording feature!!!)

Skype (universal but no recording, I would have to mess with Audio Hijack, etc.)

So what should I use??? Your comments are appreciated!

Apple Gaining and Parallels

I presented to a intermediate level technology edtech group today in Hartford. The theme of my talk was podcasting and how it can be used instrictionally in the k12 classroom. I was impressed with the overall interest. I contineu to be plagued, however, about the amount and types of resources that are needed for the integration of information and communications technologies into the curriculum. Podcasting is a great example. It has so many uses and can provide authentic connections not before possible, but, we need the staff, time, knoweldge, etc to make it happen.

On another note…I saw the new Parallels software boot windows XP in 30 seconds in a windows running in OS X on a new MacBook Pro…so cool!

TWIeT – podcast

I want to create a weekly podcast called "This Week in EdTech" modeled after the Leo Laporte podcast "This Week in Tech". I would need a standard 2 or 3 commentators to help interview a different guest each week.

If anyone is interested in helping me get this off the ground, please let me know. I am willing to manage this project but I want a core team to assist and to make it better.

Leo if you are listening help me get started!!