Monthly Archives: August 2010

Kindle Update and Review

Well, I know this is a little late, but if you would have read my Facebook status you would have been informed that I successfully received my Kindle 3 – WiFi (Graphite) yesterday. The Blue Dart guys, who deliver for DHL here in India delivered it yesterday evening. 

Firstly, I do not think there was any customs paid on it as there was no sticker on it from the customs guys. However, I did have to pay INR 474 as octroi on it (they did give me a receipt for this). I should have thought of this earlier and got it shipped to a Mumbai address itself. Stupid mistake! 

Moving on, the packing was quite satisfactory, though I kinda expected a little more fanfare than a just a DHL cardboard box protecting my dear Eleanor inside it. But, I guess it works. This also negated the sense of occasion for me. So as I was trying to rip out the outer package expecting to find a box with ‘Kindle 3 – Your smartest choice’ or something to that effect written on it, I just stumbled onto the device itself. Took me off-guard for a moment. But there it was!

It looked quite meek actually. With what looked like a sticker on it telling me to plug it in for charging. I realised that it was not really a sticker but the e-ink display playing tricks on my eyes. It vanished once I plugged it to my laptop and gave way to another sticker like display telling me that it was charging and I can also transfer books if I would like to so much. I cannot possibly exaggerate on how small this thing actually is! It is superbly handy. In fact, even though it is the lightest Kindle ever, it actually feels heavy for something that size in your hand. I say hand and not hands because you will feel weird holding it in BOTH hands at the same time. It is THAT small!

I had been working on my resident ebook collection with Calibre and had meticulously tagged them and sorted out the Author’s names in correct order and all that so that I am good to go ASAP. So I selected all the books I wanted and clicked on ‘Send to device’. Another mistake. Kindle 2 and 3 give you the advantage of sorting your books in what are called ‘Collections’. Collections are to Kindle what Labels are to Gmail. So you can have all your books in multiple Collections and it makes it easier for you to get to them. Ideally you should create the Collections first and then add books to each of them. I ended up adding some 200 books first and then sorting them in Collections on my Kindle. Not very convenient. Once the books were loaded, it was pretty simple to open them and extremely pleasurable to read them. Mission accomplished!

I also tested the browser with my home WiFi connection and it worked quite well. It is weird to see Gmail and Facebook on a 6″ black and white screen, but it works. I would not however for a moment suggest that one can this for idle browsing (if anyone is thinking of Kindle 3G). It is quite a strain. Wikipedia is however quite nice!

All in all, I am totally happy about my purchase and would not flinch before recommending this to others who love to read. It is a brilliant invention! 

If you think my review helped and would like to buy the Kindle, please use the below links:

Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology

Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology – includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

Kindle 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6″ Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology

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Kindle shipment update

I am really happy by how closer to me Eleanor (my Kindle) is getting everyday. Amazon has shipped it using DHL and given me a tracking number as usual. I have never got anything shipped from the US before and I am fascinated by the updates that it is giving me. It took about 24 hours for it to reach from the West Coast to the East Cost. Now in less than 24 hours it has not only reached London, but also began its journey towards home! It is already in the air having left Heathrow airport and I assume will be taken out and scanned at the Mumbai airport in the next 24 hours. So I assume it should be in my hands by 2nd of September (as Amazon estimated) or before that depending on the efficiency with which our Custom officials work.

Speaking about customs, I know I will have to pay the duty to get it shipped from the US direct. However, inspite of the fact that I declared myself as un-Indian for doing that, I could not refrain from trying to find a loophole. Customs rules say, that if you are getting an electronic item shipped in, you have to pay duty on it. However, if that shipment is a gift that you are receiving, the value of which is below INR 10,000, then it is exempt from duty. I have got it shipped from Amazon as a gift. So it will be marked as a gift, but the value would still be printed on the box. The value being USD 139 which works out to around INR 6,512. The problem with this is, the billing and the shipping address both are mine. This might work against me. It would be better to give a local billing address, which I could have easily done. I shall however find this out in a couple of days time when the local DHL/Blue Dart guys give me my package and the duty receipt along with it. 

Note: Amazon charges Import Fees Deposit for anything that it ships abroad. I was charged USD 56.34 over and above the Priority Shipping charge of USD 20.98 (which I think is not that high). They will then pay the duty on your behalf and credit back the amount that is left over. It saves you the hassle of dealing with the Customs guys directly (which however also negates the possibility of you evading the duty altogether by greasing a couple of palms).
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She has been shipped!

Oh yes! Eleanor has been shipped already! When I ordered my Kindle 3 on 2nd of August, I was told that their order books are full and my shipment will be released on or before 4th September! But trust Amazon to delight their customer! They shipped my order on 27th of August – their original launch date.

I can track my order every step of its way. And I am told I will receive it on 2nd of September. But I am sure that is a conservative estimate from their side 🙂
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The saga of my quest for my fabled device

The saga started over a month ago. Actually, the planning started over a few months ago! I was really quite keen on buying an e-reader. I really like reading and I really love gadgets. What better way to combine the two eh?

 

Initially I was looking at the Infibeam Pi, which seemed pretty convenient considering it was sold by an Indian company with local warranty. It is quite neat too, as it read all possible formats and had the same standard 6" E-Ink display that e-readers the world over have. Of course, this e-reader was manufactured in China along with 95% of the others. I still think it is a decent device that does the trick. However, I was still in college and had to get one of those job things first to help me pay for the device which is worth 10K. (Yup, this is quite steep)

 

Eventually I got myself a decent job and decided it was time to splurge a little of the not- so-hard-earned money. When the time came to order, I could not! I could not order the Pi, knowing very well that there are at least ten other devices which do the job better and are cheaper! The problem was, however, that all of the above-mentioned ten devices were in the land of the free and the home of the brave! Getting it here would be a problem. This made me do what every Indian does. Ask around to find out if anyone I remotely know is flying down from the US in the near future (this, I thought was my true 'Aha' moment). It became a totally 'Whoa Baby' moment when I got the results of my social networking-based research. I suddenly knew of the existence of 5 (separate) people who were flying down from within a week to Christmas.

 

What did I do? What would any self-respecting Indian do? I went for the one coming down the earliest. Yes, I had never met her, but she was one of my friend’s mom. I mean, what else are friend's moms for anyway? I went on a rampage to find out which was the best e-reader in the world for use in this part of the world. I drew up spreadsheets and elaborate comparison charts showing me comparative 'page turn rates'. After wasting more tree-burning electricity in research than the amount my ban on paperbacks can save, I finally ordered the Nook (with Express Shipping and a Canvas Cover). It was now in the capable hands of the boys at UPS to ship it within 4 days so that my friend's mom can smuggle it in. Alas! Not so capable after all. It never left their warehouse and I ended up cancelling my Nook and my dreams along with it. There went my fantasy of holding Eleanor (ahem, yes, I had given her a name) in my hand and reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I would now have to wait for two months more for yet another smuggler to leave those shores.

 

But I have not called this story a saga just for dramatic affect. The day after I cancelled my Nook, fate (also called as Amazon) gave the world the brand new Kindle 3! It was 'lighter, slimmer, brighter, faster, double the storage with improved battery life AND cheaper'. How could I NOT buy it? I punched the air in zest and clicked the mouse in quest. Quest for the 'All new Kindle 3 (Black)'. I obviously became un-Indian quite fast and asked it to be shipped directly to India. Yes, all of you who are shaking your heads, I decided to pay Customs on it. I just could not wait anymore. But there was another twist. I had clicked my above mentioned mouse on 2nd August and the 'All new Kindle 3 (Black)' was to launch on the 27th. By the time I clicked, mine was to be shipped by 4th September. So I had to wait anyway. Well, so I waited! An entire month and 2 days! Paid with my Credit Card, which was not charged as I they would still allow me to cancel my order. (Meanwhile, the often mentioned and thanked friend's mom decided to wait another week and leave later. Is this story right out of the theme park or what? I swear no one can just make this up.)

 

So I still await Eleanor. Today, on 26th, Amazon has already charged my card and has told me that my order is being prepared for shipment. It is quite surprising as there is still a week more to go. They have already started

 shipping two days before the scheduled date of 27th (compared to this, Infibeam delayed the launch of its own version of the iPad – 'Phi' – by a month).

 

This is where my saga has reached. I shall update you further once Eleanor is shipped whether you want me to or not. And then once I have it with me. And then once I open it. And then once I start using it. Basically, you will hear a lot about Eleanor.

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Hans Zimmer – Dark Knight Live

I LOVE this movie! It is very hard for me to choose between this and Inception. Apart from Nolan, the other obviously common string between the two is the background score by Hans Zimmer. Here goes for all the Dark Knight fans!