Burning to get my hands on an Amazon Kindle 3G

Right-hand holding an Amazon Kindle (e-book reader)
The Amazon Kindle 3G in someone else’s hands

Probably like a lot of people of the geek persuasion, I have a lot of e-books: articles, books, cheatsheets, leaflets, manuals. I have e-books about CSS, design, Flash, HTML, JavaScript, jQuery, microformats, MySQL, PHP, regular expressions, RSS, servers, WordPress, XML and a whole lot more.

The only problem is: if I want to read them then I’m tied to sitting in front of my PC, lugging my laptop around, or peering at the tiny screen of my mobile phone and scrolling left-right-up-down for dear life. So for a couple of years I’ve been looking for an e-book reader that would adequately handle PDFs as well as standard e-book formats.

I think (I’m hoping) that I’ve found the answer in the new Amazon Kindle 3 that will be released this week (27 or 28 August, if I remember correctly).  I have had mine on pre-order since 30 July; before they pre-sold out!  I’ve ordered the model offering both WiFi and 3G.

A full review will follow shortly after receipt.

Who needs a Kindle?

In the meantime, here’s a parody video I discovered about the Kindle.  Excuse the rude reference near the beginning of the video if that offends you.

I’m now five-shelves of books lighter

Piles of books and rubbish on my study floor
Piles of books and rubbish on my study floor mid-clear-out

Okay, so whose bright idea was it to try to simplify life a little and get rid of books that I haven’t even opened in years?!

In the end, this afternoon I cleared out five shelves-worth of books which will be donated to charity shops in St Andrews tomorrow afternoon.

I had to be ruthless. I find it really hard to throw away books because there is usually something of me in them (for many books I remember where I was when I carefully selected that particular book, what I was hoping to get out of them) and for many there is something of them in me, a part of who I am today is because of something that I read in those volumes.

And then there are the books that I bought or acquired (freebie hand-me downs from retired clergy) that interested me at the time or reminded me of something that found really interesting at university and was keen to follow up … but never did!

Strangely, between the initial weeding out of my bookcase and my packing them into boxes to take to charity a few of them crept back onto my shelves.  Saved for another purge in a couple of years time.

It feels good, though. No regrets.

Future rounds of my patented game “Win it or bin it” will feature: PCs and accessories, games (board and computer), videos, DVDs, guitar sheet music, and folders of who-knows-what that have sat on my shelves for the last 10 years.

The most dangerous sounding book in the world

I think I’ve just found the most dangerous sounding book in the world on Amazon: Plumbing for Dummies.

I’m surprised on that page it doesn’t have

People who bought this book also bought:

  • CPR for Dummies
  • How to survive a flood
  • Electricity and Water: Practical Experiments for Everyone
  • How to completely invalidate your home insurance in one afternoon

Financial liberty for the Library One

Yesterday I got a call from the University Library asking why I’d not returned the book that was recalled last Saturday.

Erm … because that telephone call was the first time I’d heard about the book (The Warnock Report, in case you’re interested) being recalled.

Seemingly I had already accrued a fine of six earth pounds (£6.00).

They’d sent me two emails, one on Saturday, and a reminder on Tuesday. Only … well, I didn’t get either of them.

IT Helpdesk checked the server logs and sure enough: they’d sent two, but I’d received none of them.

My fine was cancelled and I’d help escalate a new support call: where is the missing email going?!

Learning Subversion

Having effectively moved PCs three times in the last year I’m feeling a little insecure about the safety of my code, so today I’m learning how to use Subversion.

Subversion (SVN) is a version control application that allows me to store my code on a server while working on a local copy. I can then commit any changes made and SVN will keep a track of all the changes I’ve made, so that I can roll-back to an earlier version if need be.

I’m finding the free PDF version of the O’Reilly book Version Control with Subversion very useful. It’s not nearly as complicated as I’d feared it might be.