In one way I’m not too concerned, I never seriously used Google Reader so I won’t miss it. However it makes me wonder how much I can rely on Google’s current services. They do seem to be developing a habit of just as people are getting used to something or getting to rely on it they’ll either close it down or ‘integrate’ it into something else. For some things it really doesn’t matter, but where you’ve spent time and money developing your own system around it or you use it in some financial way then things may be different.
I hadn’t realised how many services they had killed off till I did a Wiki search on the subject, and that threw up a list of over 70 of them. Okay, sometimes something can quite simply be a failure and is just a drain on resources so needs to go. Other times technology (or life) has moved on so the service needs to be re-developed, but when something like Reader is killed off at virtually no notice I’ve got to be thinking what’s next on the chopping block – perhaps something I do regularly use and rely on.
This has got me thinking that perhaps I should be duplicating more of my Google based services across onto Yahoo or see what Microsoft are doing regarding ‘the cloud’. I can’t say that I’m that keen on Yahoo and don’t particularly like Microsoft, it will mean that even more of ‘big brother’ will be watching me, but then they’re watching me anyway!
One thing it will be and that is a bit of a pain keeping things synchronised when copied across to different service providers, however this has been a wake-up call / reminder of the importance of having alternative back-ups!
I got my Kindle as a late Christmas present for myself (Jan 2011) so I’ve had it for a few months now and am very impressed with it. As for why did I get it – my local Borders bookshop closed and I hand’t realised how much I had got used to sitting in the Starbucks inside the book store reading, and I was missing that experience.
Having that Borders there, with the ability to browse the shelves and then sample a chapter or two of the book over a cup of coffee had resulted in me buying far more books than I ever used to. On-line stores may have cheaper headline prices, but for me the advantage of having the book in front of me where I could see it’s condition, not worry about hidden postage costs, no having to wait in for any delivery service or have the problem of wrong item sent, all that sort of stuff meant that I was a frequent Borders visitor. (Also met some amazing people while there.)
Anyway, back to the Kindle. It’s only designed to do one job and it does that job very well. It is light weight, including the fancy cover I’ve got for it it’s no bigger than a paperback, and the claimed one month battery life I’ve found realistic. As for the ‘reading experience’, it’s excellent. When reading off my iPad or computer I’m always aware I’m reading from a computer screen, but when using the Kindle then I’m just ‘reading’ and can happily get fully immersed in the book. It may not have the same feel (or smell) of a paper based book, but if something like this can encourage more people, especially children, to read more, then great.
Whether the older generation like it or not, the younger generation is a technology aware generation, so if you want them to read then accept the fact that electronic rather than paper reading will be the preferred route for many of them. Better Kindle reading than no reading!
As for available material, almost everything written before the 1930s now out of copyright which means there’s a vast amount of free material available. For the first time ever I’ve found myself reading Dickens. We all know the films such as Oliver Twist, but how many have actually read the books. I’m currently part the way through Darwin and On the Origin of Species and also Knowles and The Legends of King Arthur. I’ll shortly download some more Jules Verne.
So I’ll definitely give my Kindle a big thumbs up. I got my device from a local shop and headed straight down to my favourite Starbucks to investigate it. I was disappointed to find there was no pre-installed reading material so you couldn’t just take it out of the box and start reading, also the ‘getting started’ instructions I found feeble. However those problems were soon sorted and I am now a very happy Kindle user.