The Kindle changed my life—being able to carry around my books on a small, lightweight device that looks close-enough to paper, is readable in sunlight and in the dark, lets me change the font and font size depending on my needs, and has fantastic battery life is so future. Going on a trip? Load up more books than you think you need on the device. Find out while on the trip there’s a new book you want? Buy it right there.
But of course, being a tech douchebag, I have problems with it. First off, the Kindle is made by Amazon to be as cheap as possible. This makes sense based on Amazon’s business model and is a decision I understand, but it means it turns pages slowly, sometimes stutters, occasionally crashes, sometimes the backlight doesn’t turn off when you put the device to sleep so you have to reboot it, and the software is … usable, not lovable.
So there’s this company called Apple that makes beautiful devices with great software. Apple also runs an ebook bookstore. But Apple seems to have zero interest in making a reading device. Which also makes sense, given that their business model is to make a small matrix of great devices focused on the higher end where the profit margins live.
But, you know, at this point, since I do the vast majority of my reading on the Kindle, I’m completely in the Amazon ecosystem for ebooks. If I wanted to start buying my ebooks from Apple I’d have to manually de-DRM and convert them to AWZ3. Which it is within my technical grasp to do, but would be a pain in the nethers, and I wouldn’t be able to have them in sync across my devices. (If I have an unexpected 20 minutes of waiting somewhere, like at the tire store or whatnot, I’ll use the Kindle app on my iPhone to read. Having the books just magically synced for those occasions is also quite future.)
I get that one of the secrets to Apple’s success is focus, but if you’ve already taken the rap for price fixing and you have any kind of serious interest in selling ebooks, why wouldn’t you make a reader?
Apple might think the iPad is a fine reader, so just use that. Which is understandable, and is underscored by Amazon releasing their Kindle tablets with LCD screens. (And thanks, Amazon, for muddling the Kindle brand with a non-e-ink device with the same name as your e-ink device.)
But if you’re a serious reader, no, you don’t want to read on an LCD instead of an e-ink display. Nope. It’s a completely different experience, and for the pure task of just reading words, an LCD is inferior in every way. And serious readers spend real money on their ebooks. You’d think that would a nice niche for Apple to take over.
Plus, think how great a $200 Apple e-ink tablet could be, with none of the “ugh” moments of the Kindle.
It sure would be nice. Oh, well.
The Internet tells Nic to install Ubiquiti gear in his house, so he does, and now he has thoughts.
Nic reports his experiences so far with voice computing from Amazon and Google and is a bit mystified at the reaction to Apple’s HomePod.
After a few weeks of using iPhone X I’m ready to join the congratulatory choir.
Nic is interested in smart homes. His contractor let him know how the wealthy are already using them.
Apple’s neglect of the pro market is causing a lot of gnashing of teeth in Apple-nerd circles, but it’s true to Apple’s vision.
There is unrest in the Mac community about Apple’s commitment to the platform. Some are turning their eyes to building a Hackintosh to get the kind of computer Apple doesn’t provide. Here’s what it’s like to run a Hackintosh.
Car nerds are dealing with some cognitive dissonance as car technology changes.
The Oasis is Amazon’s best e-ink reader to date, but it’s not good enough for the price.
Nic buys an Amazon Echo and is indubitably happy with the fantasy star ship in his head.
The problem isn’t ads. The problem is being stalked like an animal across the internet.
The DS416j is a nice NAS for light home use. Just don’t expect raw power.
The Core Dump is moving to GitHub Pages. This is a good thing, most likely.
Thoughts on Apple Watch after half a year of daily usage.
Predictably, the Paris attacks brought the anti-encryption crowd back out of the woodwork. They're at best being willfully disingenuous.
Things to consider when planning to build a site on a compressed time table.
Nic provides some basic not-too-paranoid tips for securing your digital life.
Installing Jekyll on an EC2 Amazon Linux AMI is easy. Here are the steps.
After wearing the watch for over a month, Nic has thoughts on its future. Spoiler: Depends on how you define success.
Turns out “it's just a big iPhone” is a stroke of genius.
Some technical terms still confuse people who should know better, like journalists.
How to host a static site on Amazon S3 with an apex domain without using Amazon’s Route 53.
People fear change, so new technology is used as as a faster version of the old. This makes technologists sad.
Nic loves his Pebble and looks forward to the Apple Watch, but realizes he’s in the minority.
Nic loves books, but he loves their content more.
Nic is worried about the fragile state of our technology and thinks you should be as well.
Nic tries to understand the WATCH. It doesn't go well.
Nic thinks home integration could be Apple’s next major category. Read on to find out why.
Nic is frustrated with his Kindle and would love to see Apple make an e-ink reader.
The iPhone was announced Jan. 9, 2007. It now occupies a huge chunk of Nic’s life.
Nic is very impressed with the speed of the iPhone 5S and iPad Air.
Nic buys a Nexus 7 to test the Android waters.
Nic outlines some of the risks of ceding comments on news stories to Facebook.
Nic is bemused by the sturm und drang surrounding the iOS-ification of Mac OS X.
Web publishing used to require heavy-duty nerditry, but no longer.
Nic is creating an e-book. He shares what he’s learned so far.