Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Kindle vs. iPad for eTextBooks (& Courses)

With Apple's new textbook feature, if you want textbooks, or even university courses, the iPad may become a better choice than Kindle Fire.     The availability of etextbooks at $14.99 from the major textbook publishers suggests that Apple for the moment has cornered the textbook market.    Libraries are also sources of textbooks, of course, but the Apple textbooks are greatly enhanced textbooks.   Apple had previously provided the largely unrecognized but huge college course resource (all courses free)..   For both, install the iBooks and iTunes  U apps.   You will have the world of American education on call.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Getting Library Books (update)

 Important Update: With more and more free eBooks in the libraries, the library sites using Overdrive (most) may be the best way to access books.     For older and cheaper Kindles this will require the underlined procedure below.  

A huge selection of open library books from a non-profit library consortium can be sent to Kindles and to Nook from PC and Mac.   To plain Kindles, the files will automatically appear.    F or Kindle Fires they will be sent to your Kindle library page (click on "all", then click to send them to your Kindle Fire, wait, and find them under Kindle Docs on the Fire).

Local library eBooks and audiobooks can be newly loaded direct quickly to the Kindle Fire.   How do we get library ebooks to our Kindle Fire?    Two ways.    (1) the old way: Get them first to Fire via PC or Mac.   Or,  (2) the new way: get them direct from the Fire itself, a huge simplification from the old way.  Also works on iPad and iPod Touch.

For most books, the easiest way is to install and use Overdrive, instead of Kindle Books, by tapping here.   Follow instructions.    This works for most library ebooks, so do this first.

Kindle's Proprietary Formatted Books:

Kindle uses its own digital "format" in addition to other formats.   Books formatted for the Kindle Fire reader, AZW, are proprietary, for Kindle Books only.   With a little effort, these can be loaded the new way.

Here is an example of the old procedure for borrowing such AZW books from Lancaster Library.  (Most other libraries and readers also use the same Overdrive procedure,.

the old way: As earlier, on any PC or Mac, including your library's, click on  Lancaster Libraries, or your library's similar eBook or digital book webpage.    In the left column tap or click "View all eBooks to show Kindle books.   Click on "only show titles with copies available" unless you want to HOLD a book already checked out.   Select the Kindle version of the book you want.  Tap to add it to your cart.   Enter your library card number.    Download it.    Done.    The book will go to Amazon and to your Kindle, even an old Kindle.

Click for an older video with a little more detail.

the new way: Now, the same procedure can work directly on the Kindle Fire by going to this website on the Fire browser, tapping  here:   For easy visibility, display the screen horizontally and zoom to full screen with the new button at bottom right of screen (per the 6.22 update).

Update March 2:  the newest and best way: on the Kindle Fire, go to the OverDrive website, and tap on download the OverDrive Media Console (shown in small print).     Then, using the Documents to Go app from the Amazon Store, go to Local Files and scroll to ODMediaConsoleSetup.apk (updated just today), and tap on it to install.    Once installed, go to the newly installed OverDrive Media Console app and tap to start it.  Important: Close the Comments screen and go to the menu at center bottom and tap on it.   Tap on Get Books.  Tap on Add a Library and follow screen prompts.

Sidenote: Just recently Amazon is also offering (click for info->) a new easy way to send Documents to Kindle from PC. and directly, on the Kindle Fire.    This does require a simple setup.    Or click here for a way to do the same and also change print size.

The More Universal Formats:

The majority of books are in the more universal, and not proprietary, EPUB format, but there is also the PDF universal document format for books.   To access EPUBS and PDFs on Kindle Fire, click here for a more detailed alternative procedure (from New Hampshire DBS).  Or, better, just EMail a pdf to your kindle address with the word Convert on the subject line.

(Note that the Nook uses the universal EPUB book format.   The Kindle Fire actually also can pretend to be a Nook by adding the Nook app.   A book on using the Nook, and the Nook "app" which runs on the Fire is Your Library Book in Seconds.  Here is a great link for the Nook   But if I had a Nook, click here and find out how to upgrade it safely to a full tablet!!

Though not at all necessary, I installed Documents to Go and other Kindle-like reader apps (Aldiko, Nook, Mantano, Bluefire, Cool Reader---all worked well).    To open a book I go to Docs to Go, locate the downloaded book, tap on it, and Fire displays compatible readers to select.    I like Mantano's ability to read the book aloud.   Click for Mantano.  

Note that the Splashtop app makes it possible to run your PC from Kindle Fire and read Kindle books remotely from your PC.

An experimental way to check out library books direct to older wiFi Kindles is described here:

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Access to Music

 Access to music is changing.

Time was when you had to go where it was performed   Now virtually all of it is available where you are   Great for seniors.

Back then, music came on piano rolls, then records, then CDs, then flash drives, then your PC, and then your iPod.      Now, simply, the cloud.

Before, you would buy something physical, like an LP or CD and you would own it.   Then, with Apple's iTunes you could buy permanent access to just a track.   It would be kept on your PC or Mac.    And for now, anyway, you can have access without any of these, such as thru Spotify (beta) and other services now springing up.

So, marketing may be fundamentally changing.   Earlier, you would have bought a physical product.   Now you can buy the rights to hear.   You get access to huge sources of music either free or for a small regular fee.    Instead of buying a CD a month, you pay, in cash or advertising, for access to nearly any music during that time.

I hope it continues and extends to books, too.    Already, this wider access is working for TV.    And, on YouTube you can find nearly any music.

Where To?

As I work with those who expand their use of computers, and as I learn their problems, and seek solutions, I also ponder where our society is going.  Others also ponder and call my attention to where we may be headed.

 So, often discussions come back to education, the need and the effects.    Few larger problems can be solved without education.    The connection of computers to education is central.

It was Steve Jobs of Apple Computer who initiated a resource which is hardly tapped:  iTunes University.    Another resource is Kahn Academy.      These show the way.

iTunes U is now available as an app for iPad/iPhone/Touch.   This makes it all easy.   You are presented with a bookshelf to which you click to add add courses.  Simple   Actually the courses can be added to the Kindle Fire with an application called iSyncr.    What next?

Friday, January 13, 2012

For Seniors Just Learning to Use Computers

 In my enthusiasm for the Kindle Fire I have neglected seniors new to computers.

Here at WV Kindle Fires are multiplying.    As this happens, I get the question "What should I get for a computer?   Depends on what you want to do, of course.

At this point, if you do much writing, you will still need a laptop.    For "newbies" I favor the Apple MacBook Air, even though I am too cheap to get one.    Also, I have simply put up with the too frequent problems of PCs.   Apple has outstanding support, especially at their stores.   New users need that.

Next is Dell, which offers good hardware support.

Here at Willow Valley, you could also just use the computers in the Kiosks throughout the campuses.  WiFi in the public areas is also a service provided to all residents without added cost.

However, if you want to access media, such as books and media, the Kindle Fire is the smart choice.   Whatever it lacks, such as phoning, can be provided by a no-contract prepaid $30 a month smartphone phone from Walmart, with full text and data access.

(Note that, in this technically advanced community, wireless access is provided from overhead access points tthroughout  it so that you can "keep connected".   These have been upgraded in the last month for easy use for eBook Readers.)

In a year or less, more options will appear, so when you buy now, also plan for later.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Modded Spotify for Kindle Fire

For Kindle + Spotify, click below..

(If you have already installed Spotify, delete it before installing the fully working version below.)

Modded Spotify for Kindle Fire:

'via Blog this'

also, note that te Spoton app makes Spotify work like Pandora

Note that Spotify costs $10 a month for small devices.