The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

Oasis Walnut leather cover, the Oasis itself, and a Voyage.

[By Nic Lindh on Friday, 05 August 2016]

Review: Kindle Oasis

The Oasis is Amazon’s best e-ink reader to date, but it’s not good enough for the price.

The Kindle Oasis is for the connoisseur of e-readers, the person who reads a lot on them and who also enjoys the feel of a premium device in the hand.

Because that’s what you’re spending close to an extra $200 on, compared to a lowlier Kindle like the Paperwhite: page-turn buttons, more even backlight, lighter weight, and a very nice leather cover.

Apart from that, the software is (sadly) much the same and the speed of the device is much the same.

The leather cover (sorry, vegans) does look and feel premium, and since it holds moar battery, this Kindle can go for longer than previous versions—not that they were ever slouches in the battery department—by sipping from the cover when it’s attached.

The drawback with this sceme of using the cover as a battery pack is, of course, if you use the Oasis without the cover you have a Kindle with terrible battery life.

If you read a lot—as I do, he insisted, justifying his purchase—being blessed with actual page-turn buttons instead of the weird touch areas on the Voyage alone is worth the price of admission, since it lets you actually feel where buttons are instead of having to look at where your fingers are on the device. (One day there’ll be a fascinating article or book chapter written on what got into the water at Amazon when they decided chintzy touch sensors with fake clicks were much more future than pedestrian buttons. I look forward to reading it.)

So as hardware it’s nice—an excellent reading machine. But Amazon keeps making me sad by not delivering best-of-breed software. Amazon is in the business of delivering good-enough. The most egregious example is that the Kindle still doesn’t have automatic hyphenation. In 2016.

Nope. You’ll see the rivers of white and you’ll like them, dammit. Just because we have a screen that aptly mimics paper doesn’t mean we should think about typography, does it?

As an example of the patented Amazon Attention to Detail™, the instruction manual preloaded on the devices says Welcome to your Kindle Placeholder. Yes, Placeholder. And the title is Kindle Solstice. That is some attention to detail.

I so, so wish Apple would get into the e-ink reader market, but it doesn’t look like that will ever happen—imagine an e-ink device running iBooks. Wistful sigh. If Apple had that, their bookstore might actually take off.

But in this universe we have Amazon’s Kindles. And this one is physically a very nice device, one that’s worth upgrading to if you read a lot and appreciate the finer things in life, but not one that will get you meaningfully more than a cheaper Kindle.

As a side note, if you happen to be a cheapskate and just want a cheap thing to read on, let me implore you to at least get a device with backlighting—it’s a massively nicer experience.

Let’s hope the Oasis 2 will come with a faster processor and that Amazon will somehow find the motivation to crack the mysteries of automatic hyphenation.

Note: Amazon links are affiliate links. If you purchase through them I get a tiny cut. It doesn’t add anything to the price.

« Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes


You like to read about technology? What a coincidence—I like to write about technology!

Impressions moving from an Apple Watch Series 3 to Series 5

Is there reason to upgrade from a 3 to a 5?

Renewing the nerd card: Installing Ubiquiti UniFi in the house

The Internet tells Nic to install Ubiquiti gear in his house, so he does, and now he has thoughts.

A report from surveillance cylinder land as we wait for HomePod

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.

iPhone X impressions

After a few weeks of using iPhone X I’m ready to join the congratulatory choir.

Smart homes for the wealthy

Nic is interested in smart homes. His contractor let him know how the wealthy are already using them.

The pro market, the nerds, and the vision

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.

What to expect when you’re expecting a Hackintosh

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.

The car is going digital and that’s a good thing

Car nerds are dealing with some cognitive dissonance as car technology changes.

Review: Kindle Oasis

The Oasis is Amazon’s best e-ink reader to date, but it’s not good enough for the price.

“Tea, Earl Grey, hot”

Nic buys an Amazon Echo and is indubitably happy with the fantasy star ship in his head.

It’s a content blocker, not an ad blocker

The problem isn’t ads. The problem is being stalked like an animal across the internet.

Review: Synology DS416j

The DS416j is a nice NAS for light home use. Just don’t expect raw power.

(Nerd Note) Moving to GitHub Pages

The Core Dump is moving to GitHub Pages. This is a good thing, most likely.

Apple Watch, six months in

Thoughts on Apple Watch after half a year of daily usage.

Magical thinking about encryption and privacy

Predictably, the Paris attacks brought the anti-encryption crowd back out of the woodwork. They're at best being willfully disingenuous.

Building a static site for an investigative journalism project

Things to consider when planning to build a site on a compressed time table.

Digital hygiene for online security and safety

Nic provides some basic not-too-paranoid tips for securing your digital life.

How to install Jekyll on Amazon Linux

Installing Jekyll on an EC2 Amazon Linux AMI is easy. Here are the steps.

Will Apple Watch be a success?

After wearing the watch for over a month, Nic has thoughts on its future. Spoiler: Depends on how you define success.

Let’s all chill out about the iPad sales numbers

Turns out “it's just a big iPhone” is a stroke of genius.

Tech terms you might be misusing

Some technical terms still confuse people who should know better, like journalists.

Naked root domain with Amazon S3 without using Route 53

How to host a static site on Amazon S3 with an apex domain without using Amazon’s Route 53.

New technology requires new thinking

People fear change, so new technology is used as as a faster version of the old. This makes technologists sad.

An HTML, CSS and JavaScript lesson plan

Nic provides a lesson plan for teaching total beginners HTML, CSS and JavaScript.

The glanceable wrist in your future

Nic loves his Pebble and looks forward to the Apple Watch, but realizes he’s in the minority.

It's the words, stupid

Nic loves books, but he loves their content more.

Our technology is bad and we should feel bad

Nic is worried about the fragile state of our technology and thinks you should be as well.

The WATCH is nigh, and I don't get it

Nic tries to understand the WATCH. It doesn't go well.

Apple might enter the home integration field

Nic thinks home integration could be Apple’s next major category. Read on to find out why.

An Apple ebook reader would be nice

Nic is frustrated with his Kindle and would love to see Apple make an e-ink reader.

The iPhone, devourer of technologies

The iPhone was announced Jan. 9, 2007. It now occupies a huge chunk of Nic’s life.

The A7 processor is your friend

Nic is very impressed with the speed of the iPhone 5S and iPad Air.

The 2013 Nexus 7

Nic buys a Nexus 7 to test the Android waters.

On outsourcing comments to Facebook

Nic outlines some of the risks of ceding comments on news stories to Facebook.

Lion and the angst of the greybeards

Nic is bemused by the sturm und drang surrounding the iOS-ification of Mac OS X.

Web publishing made easy

Web publishing used to require heavy-duty nerditry, but no longer.

How to create an e-book

Nic is creating an e-book. He shares what he’s learned so far.