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I have had my Kindle for over 4 months now and I love it. I have a number of friends that now have a Kindle or are wrestling with getting one so I wanted follow up on my initial post. Four months later, what are my favorite things about the Kindle?

Free or Cheap Books

I can almost guarantee that I would not have read Dracula had I not downloaded it for free.  I probably would not have read Baxter’s The Cure for Melancholy either had I not found it for 99 cents. Wodehouse, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, and Augustine are all on my reading list for 2011.

Insane battery Life

The battery life for the Kindle is as good as advertised. I keep the Wi-Fi turned off unless I am looking up a book or syncing my current reading places and highlights and it feels like I go weeks without charging it. I use it all the time and yet I probably charge it once every 3 weeks with the battery still close to 20%. It is such a huge plus to this device.

Fresh Way to read the Bible

I still read to my kids out of my ESV Study Bible but reading the study Bible on my Kindle has given me another way to freshen things up. It also gives me access to the full study Bible anywhere I am without lugging it around.

Instapaper

Instapaper

I still use ReaditLater because I have such a large database of links there and I use Digest periodically but Instapaper is smoother when it comes to exporting articles to the Kindle. I can read or scan 40-60 articles a week utilizing this feature.

Retaining on Kindle vs Paper Books

Yes, reading on the Kindle is a little different and yes, it is super easy to rely on the convenience. Am I retaining books as well digitally? Ultimately what helps me the most with that are 2 things:

  1. Discuss, process, and share what I am reading with others.
  2. Write about what I am reading (blog!).

Yes, it is more difficult to scan a book and get the big picture via an e-reader and you don’t have page memory of physical book but what always affected my retention the most even with a physical book is those 2 applications above.

Kindle for PC and kindle.amazon.com

I love having access to my highlights and notes online and how my place marks sync between whatever devices I am using.

Paper vs Digital? Jury is Still Out

There is room for both. I’ve read 7 full books on the Kindle since mid-September. Nearly all of those (Preaching Christ in All Scripture, Dracula, Linchpin, Sexual Detox, Cure of Melancholy, Case for Christian Classical Education) I would not have read otherwise or delayed reading them because of the print cost.

This year I have a goal of reading over 40 books again and I already own 28 of those books, 11 for the Kindle and 17 in classic book form. The rest of the books on my list I will likely purchase in Kindle format or utilize our local library.

Right now, if my Kindle were taken away, these are the things I would miss the most:

1. Instapaper: I hate reading on the computer now if I don’t have to.

2. Digital ESV Study Bible: The convenience of having my study Bible with me in a very readable format (as opposed to reading the Bible on my Treo) is very nice.

3. Free and cheap books: Having easy access to the free classics and extremely cheap older books by the Puritans and others is great.

The publishing reality is definitely changing and the Kindle is such a cool device, but you still cannot beat a physical book. Not yet.

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I have to confess something: I don’t surf the internet anymore. Honestly, there is so much information and good stuff as well as so many worthless and evil things, where would I start? How would I surf nowadays? Would I just limit myself to a few sites? Should I just stick to Twitter? It’s overwhelming. The number of good blogs is overwhelming. The amount of news and quickness of it today is mind numbing. So how do I deal with it? Well, the nice thing is that there are also a number of tools and applications today to help with this! Good Noows, ReadItLater, Readability, and Last Pass are 4 of my favorites.

Good Noows

If you do not know what RSS is, then let me explain. RSS is basically a way of viewing a site as a listing of articles. Most sites these days will feed out their information in this format from news sites to blogs to anything. An excellent primer on RSS is here. If a site has an RSS feed, then the next thing you need an RSS feed reader. There are numerous ones out there like Google Reader or Sage for Firefox but my current favorite is Good Noows. Good Noows is a very customizable RSS reader and you can access it from anywhere, any browserou can set categories and then drop the links of the sites you want to track into those categories. You can turn off or delete feeds you’re no longer interested in and it will keep track of what you’ve clicked/read.

ReadItLater

Once you sift through what you actually want to read, you likely can’t read through everything you want to read at that moment, can you? Should you simply bookmark them all to read later? Is there an easier way to do this? Yes. ReadItLater is a very flexible, fantastic tool to save good reads for later when you have more time or even just to save good stuff that you read without building up an insane library of bookmarks on your own machine. There are multiple apps for ReadItLater making it easy to save links within any browser with one click of a button.

Adding additional power (for a $5 one time cost) is ReadItLater’s Digest. Digest allows you to build a custom categorizing tool to make it even easier to prioritize reading. I use ReadItLater in combination with Instapaper to send every 12-15 saved articles to my Kindle.

Readability

ReadItLater Digest also is a great place to read articles because it will filter out advertisements and sidebar distractions and images but Readability is the king at doing this. Readability will transform a 5 page article into a streamlined single page read weeding out the advertisements and sidebars but retaining the main article images and tables. If you’re reading articles on the fly, right when you run into them, this is the tool to use. See before and after below.

LastPass

The last tool I especially wanted to mention is LastPass. How many passwords do you think you have saved in your browser cookies? Do you just use the same old password for every site you register for or utilize consistently? This is very dangerous. Ever have your email hacked? You’ve surely seen this happen to multiple friends. Last Pass is way to securely store and access your passwords online utilizing one main access code. You can then use LastPass to generate random 8-12-16 digit passwords for any website (highly recommended for your email accounts)! You can also categorize your saved username/passwords and alter and update them with ease with any of their browser tools.

I hope these tools are helpful to you! In terms of browsers, it simply has to be Chrome. What tools do you use? How do you sift through the data deluge of the internet? Do you just bypass it by avoiding it? That’s not exactly the worse solution!

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