New Amazon Kindle 2 hands-on review and Amazon Changes Text to Speech Feature…02.28.09

28 02 2009

There is a good new review of Amazon’s Kindle 2 by the Boy Genius Report today titled Amazon Kindle 2 hands-on review whose conclusion is related below.  LISNews today reports that “Amazon announced today that it will let publishers decide whether they want the new Kindle e-book device to read their books aloud.”

“…Last but not least is the Text to Speech function. This experimental feature actually works better than expected. It reads the text back in a computerized voice but does so with surprising clarity and proper enunciation. It is not as ‘sterile’ and ‘robotic’ as expected. It won’t replace audible and all those folks upset about this feature should not be concerned about book lovers opting for the Kindle audio version of a book over the audible version. The Text to Speech lacks the intonations, inflections and drama that a real person reading would bring to a book. Nonetheless, the Text to Speech is quite listenable and is a great accessibility feature to boot.

Overall Conclusion

Kindle 2 PROS:

  • Whispernet service makes book searching and purchasing a breeze
  • Kindle 2 is thin, well-balanced with a nice layout of buttons
  • QWERTY keyboard makes entering text easy and allows for features like note taking and web browsing
  • Text is crisp and easy to read with minimal glare and the screen refresh is quick
  • Navigation is easy and intuitive

Kindle 2 CONS:

  • Device is a bit long due to the presence of the QWERTY keyboard
  • Side buttons are a bit awkward to press as you have to push the inner edge and not the outer edge of the button
  • 5-way controller can be difficult to use
  • Cost is a bit prohibitive and you need to purchase a case asthe retail pack does not include one

Overall, the Kindle 2 is a gorgeous looking device that makes digital book reading a joy. For those looking to make the jump into the digital book reading experience, the Kindle 2 is an excellent choice and the experience it provides will be tough to match with a competitive reader. The price tag of $359 is a bit high, especially when you consider the extra $30 you’ll need to shell out for a cover. Never the less, the ability to have all your books on one device and new content accessible via a wireless connection is indispensible and lessens the sting of the high price tag. If you are an avid book reader and have the cash on hand, the Kindle 2 is definitely the way to go. Amazon did a fantastic job and while it might not live up to the hype surrounding its launch, it most definitely came a whole lot closer than we expected.”

© Copyright Boy Genius Report Inc 2006-2007


Top 10 Learning Tools for 2009…02.28.09

28 02 2009

According to Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day‘s post Top Tools for Learning 2009 today:

 “…These will be the top tools Learners use for their personal learning, be it formal or informal…” 

“I asked the group of learners on the MSc in E-Learning at Oxford University (where I am a Visting Lecturer) to kick-start the search for the Top Tools for Learners for me, by sharing their Top 10 Tools.  Their collective Top 10 was as follows.

  1. YouTube
  2. Facebook
  3. Google Search
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Furefox (and extentions)
  6. Google Scholar
  7. Google Mail
  8. Skype
  9. PowerPoint
  10. Word”

Google Never Forgets–Important Thoughts on Personal Branding for Librarians and Everyone…02.28.09

28 02 2009


(Image source: © 2000, 2009. Reach Communications Consulting, Inc.)

We all know this or should but everyone needs to be reminded that their online footprints are never deleted.  Here is a good post from marketing specialist Seth Godin titled Personal branding in the age of Google that emphasizes the fact that everyone should think before they post anything online like we should think before we speak:

“A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.

Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person’s name.

The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, “binge drinking.”

The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, “I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I’m annoyed by it. I’ll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings.”

And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.

Three for three.

Google never forgets.

Of course, you don’t have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.”

FREE WebJunction “23 Things Summit”…02.28.09

28 02 2009

New post on WebJunction titled A Special WJ Event: 23 Things Summit :

“On Tuesday, March 3rd, you are invited to join WebJunction, MaintainIT and an impressive cadre of widely recognized and respected library professionals as we bring you a very special online event, our “23 Things Summit”.

This free, two hour, live online event will detail success stories, ideas and examples of how the innovative 23 Things Program has been used in libraries as a transformational training and continuing education tool. Join in, learn, share your stories and ask questions about this program and how you can use ’23 Things’ to help your library, your community and your career blossom.

Some of the special guests scheduled to appear include:
Brenda Hough
Bobbi NewmanMichael SauersDavid Lee KingCindi HickeyHelene BlowersAnn Walker SmalleyRuth SolieMala MuralidharanMichael Porter and Shirley Biladeau. Please join us this coming Tuesday and add your name to this stellar line-up.

*Registration is required and can be accessed here.”

Kindle Student Version May Be Coming Soon…02.27.09

27 02 2009


TechCrunch reports: Kindle Student Edition Rumored to Be In the Works

“LibGuides” “Library 2.0 Knowledge Sharing System”…02.27.09

27 02 2009

School library blog The Unquiet Librarian posted A New Path to Research: LibGuides! today which discusses a new tool that “over 500 colleges and schools are now using.” LibGuides description from the post:

“…LibGuides is the amazingly popular, easy to use, web 2.0 library knowledge sharing system. Librarians use it to create attractive multimedia content, share knowledge and information, and promote library resources to the community. Academic, Public, Special, and K-12 School Libraries find LibGuides an ideal solution for subject guides, information portals, course guides, community guides, research help, faculty/teacher support, etc…”

Twiiter Co-Founder Video on TED-Ideas Worth Spreading…02.27.09

27 02 2009


A VERY good video on Twitter:

Evan Williams: How Twitter’s spectacular growth is being driven by unexpected uses

“In the year leading up to this talk, the web tool Twitter exploded in size (up 10x during 2008 alone). Co-founder Evan Williams reveals that many of the ideas driving that growth came from unexpected uses invented by the users themselves…”