Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Unitasking and the Kindle

24 Feb 2010 Update: Today's Digital Life has another article on the use of Whispernet in Singapore. I do not recommend users to do this. Please read the other entry for more information.

5 Nov 2009 Update: There are field reports of users using wireless Whispernet in Singapore! It's apparent that the telcos are beta testing this. Check the comments section from this other post.

4 Nov Update: Hello people from Digital Life!

Many are comparing the Barnes & Noble Nook with the Kindle. Actually the Nook is the best thing that has ever happened because it ensures that Amazon will innovate much quicker now that it has more competitors. My feeling is that the Nook is quite unusable if you're thinking of buying ebooks in Singapore. B&N requires a US based credit card to purchase books, which we don't have. (It remains to be seen whether they can allow books from the excellent NLB digital library.) They also don't allow the use of gift cards to buy e-books. The screen is exactly the same as the Kindle's. The much touted 'lending feature' can just be ignored because it just doesn't work as we expect it will. You can lend a book to one person only, and that book is unloanable to anyone else forever.

The other thing is about EPUB. The Kindle is able to read the one million free EPUB public domain books at Google Books using a converter called Calibre. 30,000 Project Gutenberg books are also available for the Kindle without conversion. Just download the Mobipocket version of the files. We live in interesting e-book times. :)

28 Oct Update: Here is another newspaper article that appeared in the Sunday Times. Click to enlarge.


Fantastic news today! announces the new Kindle 2 for international markets. Unfortunately, Singapore is not one of the many countries that the device will be available officially so I still prefer the 'old' version.

A while ago, I had an interview with a Digital Life reporter who was writing on a story about the Kindle. (Click picture to enlarge.)

Today's Digital Life has another short article that resulted from the same conversation I had with reporter Tan Chong Yaw's for his first Kindle article.

This article is about the interesting idea called unitasking which I first came across from articles such as this. Unitasking, as opposed to multitasking, refers to doing one thing at a time.Reading in the Kindle is so appealing because it is able to let us unitask, and this takes away many of the distractions we have when we read. I have come across many accounts of people reading a lot more since they have gotten their Kindles and I reckon one reason this happens is that people are far more focused reading a Kindle than a paper book.

But one may ask: don't we unitask when we read traditional books as well? Yes we do. However, the big difference is that the Kindle manages to take away almost all the possible distractions we have while reading. For me, one such distraction may be the way I hold a paper book. My fingers need 'to do work' to balance the book and to keep the words on the page as equidistant from my eyes as possible. They also need to be able to grasp the thickness of the book properly. When I use a Kindle, that 'hard work' disappears, which is what Bezos meant by the Kindle 'disappearing'. Forget the book; the words are the only things that are left.

Of course, when you add the superb screen and the portability factor, we hit the sweet spot known as the Kindle. Things are really moving quite fast. Hopefully the price of the Kindle DX falls by Christmas!