Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Kindle: Wireless Reading Device

It’s a first; I have nothing to blog about. I haven’t finished a book this week or watched any movies. Well I did watch Bee Movie with my sister but I’ve already written my thoughts on that one. The worse part is I don’t even have any good excuses of why I haven’t done anything blog worthy this week. I’ve just been…well lazy, I guess. I have a book I’m working on but since it’s not a page turner you’ll probably have to wait until next week to read about it. I do have plans next Saturday, which should lead to a good post.

So what have I been doing all week then? I have been using my available free time to surf the web, duh. For the past few weeks I’ve had my eye on the newest little gizmo from Amazon.

They are calling it the Kindle, a new wireless reading device. Basically it’s a small hand held gadget that looks like a palm pilot in which you can upload and read varying text on. Apparently it doesn’t require any cables, computer, or syncing and the Kindle provides its own wireless connection with no monthly bill. The wireless connection supposedly delivers a purchased book in less than one minute. At this time Amazon has stated there are more than 110,000 books available for download including many current New York Times Best Sellers. It looks as if most books will cost around $9.99 and you can download free samples (first chapters) of any text before deciding to buy. Along with books you can also receive updates from many top US and International newspapers, a list of top blogs, and

The Kindle weights about 10.3 ounces, less than a typical paperback and can old over 200 titles; per Amazon’s informational site. Included with the Kindle are a book cover, power adapter, and USB 2.0 cable.

When I first saw the Kindle I thought it was something I had to have, right away. Then I saw the price tag; $399 is a little expensive for a portable reading device. Especially if they’re going to charge me ten bucks for each book I download. I can receive many of the Classics free online, or an actual book on Amazon’s own site for half the price. Then not only will I own a genuine book, but I can store it on my living room bookshelf. You know the shelves that hold more than 200 books. Well I guess to be fair that would also have to include my basement.

The page also doesn’t mention if there will be a fee associated with reading the newspapers or blogs available. I imagine there would be. With the Kindle providing free wireless they have to recoup their cost somehow, and I think an access fee is just the way to do it. But I suppose we should be happy I mean there is free two day shipping and gift wrap. Don’t forget the gift wrap.

I also wonder just how easy to use the Kindle would be. While the screen is large it’s not as large as a hardcover book page which makes me think the words would be very small or there would be lots of scrolling in order to read an entire page.

As I said Amazon says the Kindle provides its own wireless high speed data network, the same as cell phones so you never have to worry about finding a powerful connection. I’m sure this holds true for the Kindles current users, those that more than likely live in hot spots like California or New York. Once the Kindle grows in popularity will I be able to receive a book as quickly in my little corn field as those walking down Wall Street? I’m thinking that’s a no.

Of course none of this matters because the Kindle has been out of stock for quite some time now. Looks like Amazon didn’t quite realize how in demand their new device would be. If you decide you just can’t wait for that free shipping and gift wrap the Kindle is going for around $410 on For me there is a still a whole corner in my basement that hasn’t been filled with totes full of books, why let it go to waste? Until someone sends me one for free or the price drops below $200, I think I’ll stick with real paperbacks.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Shutter - Movie Review

I have a love for scary movies. Not horror but scary. One day I’ll explain the difference. Sadly Matt doesn’t share my enthusiasm for frightful things. I can only drag him to a few scary movies every year and therefore have to choose which ones wisely. The rest we have to rent and watch with the lights on.

This weekend I made Matt go see our first scary movie of the year, Shutter. This Shutter was a remake of the 2004 movie of the same title. I hadn’t watched the first Shutter or heard anything about it. In fact Shutter didn’t make my original 2008 movie list. It wasn’t until I saw a preview for it at Vantage Point.

Shutter is a about a young couple who after a tragic accident begin to experience some super natural events. That’s just about all I can say without giving too much away. Check out the imdb link if you want to see spoilers.

Overall the movie was ok. It wasn’t as scary as I had hoped but you much keep in mind I have high expectations. It just isn’t that scary even Matt made it all the way through without jumping which isn’t a good sign for the freak out meter. Some viewers have complained about the ending but I thought it was quite fitting.

The biggest disappointment for me was many if not most of the scenes in the previews are no where to be found in the movie. I hate when movies do this. How do you show us a scene in a preview that isn’t in the movie? The preview is suppose to show us what we’ll find when we go see the movie. Especially when you go to the expensive theater to see it. Those scenes are what made me interested in the flick; I want to see them in the movie.

So as a recap, Shutter wasn’t great, but wasn’t horrible either. I won’t be buying it when it comes out – well unless it ends up in the $5.50 bin. That is how I ended up with People Under the Stairs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

I, Robot - Movie Review

Saturday while I was lying on the couch thinking I would die from the flu we watched I, Robot. Let me start by disclosing I love Will Smith so any movie review with him in it might be biased. I mean I even own and watch Wild Wild West if that tells you anything.

Anyway back to the review. I really enjoyed I, Robot. It had really low reviews and I had heard it wasn’t that great from friends. In my opinion, it deserves more praise than given. I will admit it’s not Gone with the Wind or anything but it is a nice little movie.

It was a technical movie that kept me interested even while sick. That doesn’t happen often. Especially when it involves robots taking over the world....again.

The sad part is I swear I saw this in the $5.50 bin a few months ago but didn’t buy it because of what others had told me. Now I’m wishing I would have snatched it up. Hopefully I didn’t miss my chance.

You know, somehow, "I told you so" just doesn't quite say it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Five People You Meet in Heaven - Book review

This week I read The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. So I said I wasn’t going to read another book by Albom after the horrible experience with Tuesdays with Morrie, but I was given this one as a gift. I was told it was better than Tuesdays with Morrie and I should give it a chance. So I did.

And I’ll say this… it was better than Tuesdays with Morrie, how much better I don’t know. A part of me thinks I was just ruined by my experience with Tuesdays. Once again it felt very shallow to me. As another book that’s portrayed as a life changing experience, it falls short. Unless you are some kind of shallow, you will not have a life changing experience after reading this novel. So don’t get your hopes up.

I would strongly disagree with those reviewers who say this is a book for everyone. In reality I think a much better title would be The Five People Eddie Meets in Heaven. I will not be meeting those same five people and the book doesn’t go into detail about the five people I will be meeting. In fact it doesn’t really give me any detail about who will be waiting for me, besides five people who have influenced my life in some way. No deeper thought required, just the way Mitch likes it.

Again, unless you are a new kind of dense I would hope you realize if you’re going to meet someone in heaven it will probably be a person that has touched your life in some way or another. It’s not a stretch. It shouldn’t take someone publishing these simple thoughts for people to realize straightforward concepts about life. Just take five minutes to introspect about yourself and you’d get to the same place. Saves you a few bucks too.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Vantage Point - Movie Review

So I actually saw Vantage Point last weekend but since I didn’t read a book this week I decided to save the review for my weekly update.

I really liked Vantage Point even though it isn’t the typical type of movie I enjoy. I think working with all guys is starting to affect me more than I realized. There were explosions, super technology, and an awesome car chase.

And the ending, well lets just say it was great… so American. See it and you’ll know what I mean.

One of the best movies I’ve watched in 2008. Worth the time and money to see.

“The beauty of American arrogance is that they cannot imagine a world in which they are not a step ahead.”

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The Alchemist - Book review

This week I read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. The book is about a Shepard who leaves on a long journey to find his treasure and complete his personal legend. As to be expected the boy learns about the world and himself along the way.

The writing of the book is simple and reminds me of a fable you heard in school. It’s written so that you know the moral of the story is only a few pages away, if you haven’t figured it out many pages before. When his task was complete and the moral told it really was an inspirational tale. One that makes you think about where you would like to be in the future.

Another plus, if you’re like me and hate sappy endings this book won’t disappoint. Without giving too much away I’ll say the treasure wasn’t within him all along… thankfully. Those endings drive me nuts. It’s not another Wizard of Oz, I promise.

I was going to discuss my favorite quote but I’ve decided to share it with you and let you think about its own meaning to you.

“People need not fear the unknown if they are capable of achieving what they need and want”

Interesting right?