PC World’s 3 Reasons to Travel With a Kindle

PC World’s James A. Martin has posted an article about the positive experience he’s had flying with a Kindle 2.  He gives three main reasons why any traveller could benefit from taking along a Kindle:

  1. Don’t Have to Sprint to the Airport Newsstand
  2. Can Comfortably Read a Newspaper in Coach
  3. Can Read Documents and Web Content

And I completely agree with this and can add #4: you don’t need to sit on the floor next to toilet door because that’s where the only free AC outlet happens to be as Kindle can run pretty much forever on a single charge.

When it comes to flying, the Kindle is an indispensible companion.  Unless, of course, you just happen to have incredibly bad luck like I did a while ago.

I’m still surprised that why Kindles are still not sold in the airports.

Airplane Bricked My Kindle 2

Recently I had to take a couple of long trips on airplanes. And supposedly Amazon Kindle is just perfect for such occasions. I stuffed mine with tons of books and even more samples so that I could browse though them on the first leg of my trip and then buy the books that I’ve liked while I waited for a connection flight. WhisperNet rocks!

However this wasn’t meant to be. As the airplane started to gain altitude and I paged though “The Waste Lands [The Dark Tower III]” I noticed that some lines didn’t update as I turned the pages. At first I thought that it was some weird software glitch and rebooted my K2. However the stubborn lines persisted. As I kept paging though the book more and more lines got stuck. Until soon enough it wasn’t possible to read anymore and my Kindle 2 looked like this:


My speculation is that eInk display has a lot of wires connected to it from the “motherboard”. It’s usually done by gluing a sticky plastic band with metallic wires on it to the display that has metallic contacts. Most likely during the production of my particular unit an air bubble was caught under the plastic band. However it wasn’t big enough to cause trouble during quality assurance. However when airplane gained altitude and cabin air pressure dropped a bit, the bubble expanded and gradually ripping more and more of  the contacts apart. Oh, well. No big loss because I ended up having a very interesting chat with a guy in the next seat. As I arrived I had several hours until my next flight so I phoned Amazon support and let them know what had happened. I initiated an RMA so that at least there would be a working Kindle 2 waiting for me at home when I arrived.Once again: Kindle warranty rocks!

What really struck me as odd is that Amazon confirmed my suspicion that the only way you can buy Kindle is from Amazon.com website. I realize that Amazon is an online business but wouldn’t they make a killing in sales if they had kiosks selling Kindles in the airports? Imagine an automated kiosk that allows you to get a Kindle device just by swiping a credit card and create an Amazon.com account in case you don’t have one yet. And then you can immediately start buying your reads right from the device. What also struck me as odd is that there were Sony eBook readers readily available for sale in several airport stores. I guess that they may be useful if you have a notebook computer with WiFi ready to fill it with books. I didn’t though so they were as useful to me as my bricked K2…

Oh, and BTW – no problems with TSA whatsoever.

U.S. agents can seize you Kindle arbitrarily, indefinitely

TSA border security agentI came across a worrying story today from Reuters news today which said;

U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers’ laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies.

I have been aware of agents searching through laptops and copying the data, and in some cases even seizing them for prolonged times, which is one reason why I don’t take my laptop with me on flights. However, seizing any electronic device without suspicion of wrongdoing is very worrying.

It gets worse;

The policies cover hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes — as well as books, pamphlets and other written materials, the report said.

Basically any electronic device can be seized, including out beloved Kindle arbitrarily and indefinitely.

Books are not expect either, which seems odd. The last time I went through US border security I was reading “The Post-American World” by Fareed Zakaria, a fabulous book by the way, considering that most people will think your an American-hating traitor for reading this book, it could have been seized along with my other electronic devices, which included my cellphone, iPod and Nintendo DS. Thankfully it was in my carry-on bag, the border agent didn’t see it and I passed through without a problem, which was a good thing since I was only halfway through the book!

So just a word of warning to Kindle owners, either keep your Kindle hidden, or hope you don’t run into a paranoid TSA agent at the airport.

Source: Reuters

Kindle is a hot travel gadget

Kindle Time MagazineThe Kindle has popped up on Time Magazines “25 Gotta Have Travel Gadgets”

Appearing at number 9 on the list, the Time Magazine article says;

Amazon’s first-generation e-book reader certainly needs improvement — the page-turn buttons are awkwardly placed, among other things — but anyone who likes to read on the road should consider it an essential companion. That’s because you can take a veritable library with you.

Time still couldn’t resist a quick jab at the Kindle.

Other gadgets which made it onto the list include, Airport Express, MacBook Air, Panasonic Portable DVD and a PSP amongst other things, interestingly not a single bad word was said about any of the other gadgets.

Source: Time