Armen Chakmakjian

Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

iPad quick review…

In Business & Finance, iPad, Kindle, Music, Social Media, web 2.0 on April 6, 2010 at 2:06 am

So I’ve been playing with the one that arrived on saturday.  You can see the videos of me opening it.  Now that I’ve used it for a day I can say the following:

  • If you are not particularly technical, this is a device for you.  I’m not saying this in the pejorative sense.  I mean that computers and laptops have “baggage” that you need to assimilate in some fashion in order to get to the content that you wish to get to.  If you are not a content creator, computers are a complete waste of time, space AND knowledge.   This is not.
  • From a couch potato perspective, there are 2 features that it lacks.  It does need a camera for video conferencing. The other thing is something that may not make sense to a lot of people:  AirTunes.   The ultimate couch potato device does NOT allow me to make my music ambient while I read a book on the device or browse the web.  This has got to be an easy feature now that the apple tv and airport express are part of the home.
  • The WSJ app is awesome…BUT…it seems to want to load every previous issue of the paper each time I use it before I can look at the current issue.  This is problematic when trying to just get TODAY’s news.  This is a rap on ruppert murdoch more than steve jobs.
  • There does seem to be some notable lag on the browser…it isn’t faster than my macbook pro.
  • I installed pages. nice.  but without iwork.com it seems a bit stunted.
  • The color is absolutely vivid. It made my kindle cry.
  • It is not readable in sunlight, I tried it today.  I do not mean grab a piece of information. I mean readable, like on a beach for 2 hours.
  • The map software is very good.
  • The new mail program is very nice.
  • ibooks page turning is very nice
  • The kindle app is beautiful, but doesn’t allow you to get to home once you are reading a book UNTIL you change the orientation of the screen by 90 degrees.  Then it lets the button appear.  seems kinda odd.

Anyway I have more playing to do.

    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 🙂

    Kindle subscription updates…

    In Business & Finance, Kindle, technology on February 18, 2010 at 3:00 am

    Well I still get the Atlantic.  At 1.25 a month I do get at least that much enjoyment reading it on the Kindle.

    I just cancelled my free trial subscription to the Financial Times.  I did that with much regret and I might consider getting it again after trying out a couple of other subscription offers.  I really enjoyed the writing and the depth of the main articles and the breadth of topics overall.  My only limitation was time.  I just don’t have the time to read it every day in full and feel bad that I can’t make the time.

    I’m now doing a trial subscription to The Economist.  I’ve read the economist here and there, on airplanes and in B&N over a cup of coffee.  I know the quality, lets see the presentation on the Kindle.  The Economist, unlike FT, got really panned by reviewers because of the cost.  You get less for more and no website access if you get the kindle edition.  You also get no ads.   In the end the review histrionics on the amazon site provided me with much entertainment.   We’ll see.

    I already have a subscription to the online version of the WSJ, and in truth there are days that I feel like that THAT is overpriced.  I don’t know if I’ll try the trial of the WSJ on the kindle.  Reiterating what I tweeted a couple of weeks ago, the FT reads like what I remember the WSJ read like back in the 90s and early part of the new century.  Except for Mossberg and his pals, the rest of the material/writing has gotten worse.

    Oo, the economist just finished loading…I will let you know what i think…