Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Toy Update!

As you know, Dave and I are rather fond of electronic toys, and we've both updated ours in the past few months. Our latest round of toy gathering began last fall, when Dave purchased an iPad and I upgraded my Kindle.

The photo above shows Dave's iPad. I think he uses this more than he uses his laptop computer these days. He's especially pleased since he upgraded it to include 3G networking capacity, which allows him to access the Internet from nearly anywhere.

Dave bought his iPad about the same time I upgraded from the Kindle 2 to the Kindle 3G. I had to upgrade after my first Kindle succumbed to permanent power failure. Over a period of several months, the battery kept losing its charge until it reached a point where I had to keep it plugged in to use it. That impeded its portability a bit, to say the least. Eventually, it got to the point where it just wouldn't turn on at all, even when connected to life support. I was peeved that it died after only 1.5 years of use. After toying with whether to try another Kindle or get an iPad, I chose the Kindle 3G. My primary reason for this choice was that I really like the Kindle's screen. It's not backlit, so it's much easier on the eyes than the iPad. As you can see in the photo below, the 3G is about 40% smaller than the 2. It's very lightweight and it's about the size of a paperback book.

Everything went well with my Kindle 3G for the first couple of weeks, but then it started rebooting itself randomly. This continued for a few weeks, and the frequency with which it happened became more than a little bit annoying. When I eventually contacted Amazon, the service representative upgraded the software. This seemed to solve the problem for awhile, but then the rebooting quirk started all over again. I was on the verge of sending it back for replacement (it was still under warranty) when I read on a user forum that this has been a common problem. Several comment writers suggested that the problem was with Amazon's leather cover, rather than the machine. They reported that, after they took the ereader out of its cover, it worked just fine.

You'll note in the photo below that Amazon's leather cover has two metal hooks that insert into notches in the metal body of the ereader. It seems that these hooks cause a short-circuit in the machine, which causes it to reboot incessantly.

As soon as I read that, I removed my Kindle 3G from its cover and decided to test the theory for a few days before returning it for a replacement. That was several months ago and the machine has not rebooted once since then. Once I was pretty sure the problem was solved, I ordered a new cover from M-Edge. So, what you see below is documentation of the fact that I have 2 Kindles (1 working, 1 not) and 3 covers (2 working and 1 not).

The final toy that I'll mention here is my new iPhone. Yes, I know, I said for many years that all I wanted in a phone was an instrument for sending and receiving phone calls. That was true then. But, as I watched Dave using his Blackberry to send and receive emails, photos, etc., and particularly as I watched him using his iPad, I slowly decided that maybe it was time to upgrade my phone. I initially considered adding email and Internet access to my old cell phone. When I investigated this option, I quickly learned that the monthly fees for those limited functions would cost me just as much as the monthly fees for an iPhone. Upon learning that, I decided to buy the iPhone, which offers many functions in addition to Internet browsing and email. So, the newest toy in our stable is the iPhone4.

I just got it yesterday, so I can't tell you how well it works yet. If you want to know, you'll have to either get one of your own, or wait a few more months for my review.


Barbara said...

I have an itouch and I love it.
John got me a new phone for Christmas. He ended up getting me a smart phone, (not that I needed, or wanted it) but I had him take the data off because I know that I wouldn't need it and I didn't need any more reasons to be connected to the internet.
I must say that the apps for iphone/itouch/ipad far surpass those that I can get on my smart phone.

If I ever did need (OK, want) 3g I think I would stick with the iphone.

Dotti said...

I'm the family techie dinosaur. Well, Steve is worse than I am. I have a PC at home but no laptop and an ordinary cell phone but have decided after much soul-searching, that I'm going to upgrade to an iPhone when I'm eligible for an upgrade next month. Being a mostly frugal sort, and interested in technology only for convenience sake, not entertainment value, I've resisted, but I'm ready to make the plunge! Wish me luck!! :D
PS-I'm also contemplating (mind you, contemplating) an iPad.

Evie said...

I think Apple still has many more apps for its products than any other company. Google and its Android have come a pretty long way in a short time, though, so it may be interesting to see what they do in the next couple of years.

You may end up liking the iPhone and iPad more than you expect. In some ways, my iPhone is much like a mini-iPad, as many apps are developed for both media. Many apps for both are free, and the ones that aren't free are unbelievable inexpensive.