Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘Newspapers’

A recurring theme: my Kindle DX

In Business & Finance, iPad, Kindle, Literature, Social Media on May 30, 2011 at 4:36 pm

The last two days were pretty much consumed with home maintenance and yard maintenance.  I woke up late this morning, and various muscles hurt in places that I didn’t think I used.  So I went and set up the coffee and checked my phone for email and messages.  It was a pretty quiet morning from a data pov.

Once the coffee was brewed, I decided that I wanted to read a newspaper.  Having read through the Sunday Globe yesterday, there wasn’t much there.  I thought to myself, Hey how about the FT on the kindle? So I got my DX out and went to the store and saw that the FT available as a single issue to me was from Friday.  I didn’t want to read Friday’s news.  So I decided that I’d download today’s New York Times.  It was only $0.99.

I poured my coffee into my official home coffee mug that was a Xmas present from a couple of years ago.  It is a mug my wife bought when we visited the Statue of Liberty 2 years ago during our Thanksgiving trip to NYC.  Anyway, coffee poured and newspaper downloaded I went and sat outside on the patio.  The sky was a bit overcast, and every few minutes, I’d feel a drop, but it never started to rain.  I sat there reading the today’s New York Times on my Kindle DX out in my backyard.  I had forgotten my phone inside so there were no electronic distractions.

As I was reading and sipping coffee, I heard the birds chirping.  I’d hear a rustling in the leaves under the Forsythia bushes next to my grill gazebo, and I’d see a squirrel digging around.  I returned to reading.  I read about Doctor’s in Maine, trouble in the soon-to-be Southern Sudan republic, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, and the Tornado saga from the midwest.  I learned about a guy building a to scale replica of Noah’s ark in Holland, and how he had to work through all the modern building codes.  I read editorials, op-eds and letters to the editor.  I noticed that the coffee was low in the mug, went inside, poured a second cup and went back outside.  I read some sports stuff, a chipmunk ran across the yard, read about Tom Watson in particular.  Then after about an hour, I finished.

I really enjoy reading on my Kindle.  I had an iPad for a while, and I just never saw the utility, especially since I have my droid phone and my mac.   I tried all kinds of apps, but I just didn’t get into it.  I can see how others would (that’s why I own apple stock).   However, I  think that Jeff Bezos’ is right in the idea that people who “read deeply” need a device .


On the iPad = Horus, Kindle = Osiris and my evaluation of Newspapers on these devices…

In iPad, Kindle, Literature, technology, web 2.0 on April 2, 2010 at 4:23 pm

Good Friday and the messianic death and resurrection weren’t good metaphors for this event.  However, another tradition provides something more applicable: Osiris’s murder by Set and trip through the down the Nile in a the wooden sarcophagus and the scattering of his remains and then his supposed return in the form of Horus as a metaphor for my Kindle as the iPad makes its way from China to my home tomorrow.  How’s that?

So every couple of hours, I’m checking the UPS site to see where the iPad is.  Last I checked it was in Anchorage.  I’ve purchased the iPad for work because I think it’s going to be a game changer for the product I work on, QuickBase.  However, that’s a different story.

This morning I was reading today’s issue of my 2 week complimentary subscription to the New York Times on the Kindle and I did feel something wasn’t right…and it wasn’t going to be solved by the iPad.  It has to do with newspapers.  I was a long-time reader of the Wall Street Journal in paper form.  I’d buy it in the train station.  Back then, it was 6 columns.  Fold the broadsheet in half and 3 columns were available to you.  It was much more manageable than a tabloid since the took advantage of the length of the page to make the paper thinner overall.

I read relatively fast.  Probably between 600-1000 words per minute when I’m not skimming.  In paperback book terms that’s about 1-2 pages a minute.  On the 6″ kindle 2, using the smallest available font, that’s about the same.  When reading a book, keeping at that pace, a 200 page book takes me about 2-3 hours if I have that long uninterrupted by people or nature.  That kind of reading though is different than how I read newspapers.

The reading methodology I used on the WSJ, for example, was scan and drill.  Scan the whole article, title and text, and if it caught me, start from the top and really read it.  That meant that on the red line train from Alewife station to Downtown Crossing (to switch to the orange line) I’d have scanned the whole newspaper and read a several articles in-depth.  I could do something similar with the Boston Globe or the NYT on those days that I ended up with a copy, but their column layout was 1 3 5 6 depending on section and which part of the page you were on (more trouble some if sections were combined on a page) meaning that I had to do jiu-jitsu with the folding to have it do the same as the WSJ.

So back to the iPad and the Kindle.  I’ve tried the FT, the Economist and now the NYT on my Kindle II.  I really enjoyed the FT but even though I like reading it, I finally figured out what I don’t like about reading a newspaper on my Kindle.   I can’t do the scan and drill.  Sorry WSJ and NYT’s websites, browsing a homepage of a newspaper is not the same a newspaper scan and drill. Browsing assumes the action of clicking to uncover the information. and the 16×9 screen doesn’t allow me to scan a long article before deciding to read it easily.   This is why I’ve never liked reading news on the web.   The depth of the material and the format were all wrong.

On the kindle, I have a different problem with the newspapers.  The “section list” that all the publications use tells me what the organization of the newspaper is and how many articles are in each section but it affords me neither the preview/mouseover of a webpage (giving me the first few sentences of an article or an abstract) nor does it allow me to scan and drill like a broadsheet newspaper.  Rather than the annoying click and uncover of a web page, I must use the toggle to travel to the first page (kindle page…like a book chapter) and move on but if I want to scan the article I have to hit next page next page next page…its just isn’t the same.

People who did not read newspapers or even glossy magazines like Time and Newsweek in their heyday do not understand this. This is the primordial hunting thing.  Scanning the horizon to see the layout, then focusing on a topic.  Hunters did not browse, they scanned.  And I do not think that the iPad will solve this.  It will solve many other couch potato things that a laptop cannot, but knowing that an iPad is a glorified iPod Touch married with the form factor of a big Kindle, it still is not 23 inches from top to bottom like a broadsheet.  It will be a new metaphor, but it will not be a 1 for 1 replacement for newspapers.    I’ll gush over it immediately but then when the reality distortion zone wears off I’ll be left with 2 devices which allow me to browse my news but not scan and drill.

Just checked…its still says Alaska 🙂