Thursday, December 30, 2010

How to Lend Books on Amazon Kindle

There is an excellent writeup on how to lend books on Amazon Kindle over at mashable:
Kindle Lending How To.

Previously I have discussed sharing books on amazon kindle. Now lending is finally out. Yay!

I find it unfortunately that you can only lend each book one time, you have to use their website to lend, the person lent to has to use their website to return the book early.

Somehow, I would much prefer a solution to share books in person or that allows you to share more. I applaud this first step into the world of sharing though.

I would love to be able to take my Kindle, bump your Kindle, and have transferred a book.

To the Future!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I Don't Know What is Worse...

  • The Picture
  • The Hats
  • Or The Fact That There is Obviously a Serial Killer on the Loose...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

How to Share Books on Amazon Kindle

A common question I get is how do you share books between more than one Amazon Kindle? There are two basic answers to this question. First, the setup that I use:

It turns out that I have 7 Kindle like things in my life. Two of them are literally Kindles, the rest are mobile phones or computers. If you trust someone, say your spouse, and want to share books with them, there is an easy way. You just have to tie the Kindles to the same Amazon account. All book purchases made through the device will be to the same credit card. This approach has a few pros and cons.

First, you must truly trust the other person. While this is typically easy for spouses, it gets a little bit harder for people that are less closely related. What about a really close friend? What about a book circle? For myself, I chose the wife only option and have not regretted it at all.

Second, the really cool background sync feature may start to work against you. If the two of you happen to be reading the same book, either together or one after another, it will keep asking to sync to the furthest page read. Amazon is setup to read through a book just one time. They don’t, to my knowledge, allow you to restart your book. Their system also occasionally makes mistakes:
If you can deal with these issues, it is possible to build a much more robust library than one person would alone. It is also easier to enjoy books together. Since, at this time, Amazon does not allow transfer of Kindle books between accounts, the key action is to setup your Kindle on the same account from the get go. Any books you purchase on the other account will only be accessible if you re-register your Kindle back to the other account. According to the Kindle support forums and eHow Share books between Kindle accounts, you can keep the books on the device after it is deregistered. That means you can flip over to someone else’s account, download a few books, and flip back. Book copies are limited to around 5 devices.

The other option is far simpler, just wait for Amazon’s soon to be released Kindle lending feature. With the first solution, two or more people can be reading at the same time. With the Amazon solution, it looks like you will give up your rights to the book for up to two weeks and someone else will gain them. Also, not all books will be available for lending. This is where the paper book analogy starts to get me. I can do this with paper. They have a new cheaper distribution mechanism, which they sometimes charge more for, and they are taking away capabilities from their customers. Grrr… For what it is worth, my book, Leading and Managing in Silicon Valley, should be able to be read aloud and shared (if not, let me know).


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Netflix, Please Stop Offering my Toddler Dexter

Dear Netflix,

I have been using your service for a long time now. I love your prices. I love getting little red movie envelopes in the mail. I love your scalable model. I love the fact that I can have a huge queue of movies and not have to start the decision process over again every time I walk into the store. Recently, I have also been enjoying some movies or TV shows on demand. Your streaming service is excellent.

Over the years that I have been using your service, my family has grown. I now have two kids. My toddler loves watching shows streamed from you. Since both I, and my toddler, love watching shows on your service, I have a problem.

Dexter, specifically, is my current problem. He is crafty. He plans ahead. He shows up in the recently viewed list right along side shows full of animated diggers and back hoes. 

From reviewing your site, I only see the option of blocking myself from watching movies above a particular rating. This is a nice feature, but cutting off the ability to watch instant shows does not feel too good. Any chance of offering a streaming account for kids? Just another set of credentials for a customer that already has unlimited access already? Having visibility into the account to only show shows that are rated appropriately based on who is currently signed on would be awesome.

Your Loyal Customer,
Jacob Taylor

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Benoit Mandelbrot, Father of Fractals

Goodbye to the Father of Fractals | Inside NOVA | PBS

I was very sorry to hear about this. I am not sure which article referenced it, but I found a YouTube video dedicated to him. I particularly like the shot at 1:43 which reminds me of some of the Hubble deep space shots.

I wish they had raced along the separator at 0:46 or 1:23 for a bit. The idea of following a shrinking thing forever without hitting the bottom is very appealing.

I'm not sure about you, but I grew up looking at this algorithm and wondering what was possible. We would make changes to the position and wait quite a while to see the outcome. It is nice to be able to see a video exploring the depths.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Invited to "Waiting for Superman"

I follow Tim Ferris. A few days ago, he sent out an invitation to Waiting for Superman. I have been heads down building my new company and I figured this was actually part of the Superman franchise. I watched the trailer. Yikes!

I need to see this movie. According to the trailer, the US is near last among the industrialized nations in many areas (math being one.) The one area where US is the top: Confidence. Ouch. It is too easy to correlate what people say with the results these days. Confidence without follow through is a recipe for disaster.

Worried for the future and our children.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thanks for All the Hits

Last month was a stellar month for my blog.

First, it was the 2 year anniversary of the blog. I had no idea. I will post more often.

Second, last month we had more hits than in the previous 47 months.

For the first time in quite a while, How to Zoom on Amazon Kindle, is no longer the top article for the month. That prize has now fallen to: Does Anybody Think Messing with a Drivers Reality is a good idea? Thankfully almost nobody is running around querying Google for "Messing with driver reality". The traffic came from my Twitter followers (@thejacobtaylor), FeedBurner readers, and referrals from: Lenore Skenazy

Lenore, you have quite the interesting blog. I agree that we spend far too much time with our kids locked up in little boxes worrying in fear if there is a possibility that they can get hurt on an inside corner. That being said, sometimes, just sitting there watching the kids playing can be aerobic exercise.

Today, I watched two little boys get in a disagreement over a doll. They each grabbed a limb and started to pull. This bothered me. When one of them made a fist and started to pummel the other one in the face, I got them to stop immediately. I still have not figured out what to do in situations like this. Neither of these children were mine. Both had parents within about 100 feet. In fact, I later heard one of the parents complaining to the child that was being punched in the face repeatedly about his name calling. I am not entirely sure that he was paying enough attention to the furious motion on the play structure. He looked up after I made it clear that activity had to stop but, kids being kids, it stopped much faster than it takes for a human head to rotate. As it was, neither kid appeared to be getting hurt and they stopped after hearing my voice. I am thinking that they heard that if they did not stop hitting each other in about 5 seconds I would be there with one in each hand.

Just to clarify, when I wrote the title of this blog entry, "Thanks for all the Hits." I had not intended to share  the punching story. I am leaving the title because brutal puns are apparently part of my nature.

Thank you for reading.

If you write in English and you have thoughts that don't involve endorsing a product or a link farm, please feel free to comment.