Which Kindle should I buy as a gift this holiday season?

PaperwhiteYou'd be surprised at how often I'm asked which Kindle people should buy for their loved ones. The answer is simple: the Paperwhite (without ads).

Why the Paperwhite?

Because:

  • The only thing that really matters is the screen, and the Paperwhite has the same screen as found in the two pricier Kindles (the Voyage and the Oasis).
  • The screen lights up. Any reader will love this feature.
  • It feels sturdy and good in your hand, which is important for a device you're going to be holding for awhile.

But what if I'm a big spender and I want to impress my loved one?

If you're looking to splurge I'd say the Oasis is your best bet. The screen is just like the Paperwhite and the Voyage, but this thing is super light. I mean, like crazy light (especially without the battery cover). It lasts forever, and the cover is fun to click on and off.

All that's great, but the biggest reason to get the Oasis over the Voyager has a big impact on the reading experience: page turn buttons. The Voyage has areas that are kind of like buttons. You squeeze them and the page turns. They're better than not having any buttons but the Oasis' actual buttons are far superior.

What if my loved one hates Amazon but loves ePubs?

Then the Kindle is right out, isn't it? This seems like an edge case, but if that's the edge your loved one lives on get them a Kobo aura H20.

I like many of Kobo's interface touches more than what you'll find on any Kindle (shocking, I know), and being able to take a bath with your ereader without putting it in a plastic bag is pretty great.

Why don't I recommend a Kobo over the Kindle if I love it so much? Getting books on the darn thing isn't hard, exactly, but it is much harder than the process on the Kindle.

Should I get someone a nook?

No.

I had high hopes for the nook line, and I actually quite like the Nook Glowlight Plus, but I can't recommend them as gifts. Why? Because I get the feeling that Barnes and Noble isn't going to be keeping them around for much longer. I could be wrong, but I wouldn't want to saddle anyone with an eReader without a store.


Who amongst us hasn't done this?


From the NY Time's article "Civil Rights Groups Call on Trump to Denounce Racism of Alt-Right:"

Asked on Monday about the comments, Mr. Spencer said he had gotten caught up in his passion for the alt-right cause.

“My talk certainly was strident, and it definitely was about getting a rise out of people and expressing excitement,” he said. “There’s a lot of cheekiness going on and exuberance.”

Of the salute that is synonymous with anti-Semitism, he said, “That was a rhetorical flourish.”

I sometimes get excited about something but that has never led me to done a Nazi salute... not even a little goosestep!

Now, I don't believe that all Trump supporters are racists like many of those in the Alt-Right, but I do think that if you are a racist you're probably a Trump supporter. And that should give the people who are supporting Trump because they are sick of politics as usual pause.

Also, I might have to add a Politics category to this blog. What is happening in the world?!


This is not normal

Trump won the election, and now he has to deal with people actually paying attention to what he says and does (seems a bit late, but hey we're doing it now!).

Ryan Pizza at the New Yorker examines Trump's first week as President-Elect and it ain't pretty. This passage stuck out to me as being particularly unpresidential (though I suppose we'll have to change what that means after the Trump presidency):

On Saturday, Trump made no appearances and no public statements, save for a single tweet in the morning: “This will prove to be a great time in the lives of ALL Americans. We will unite and we will win, win, win!”

On Sunday, Trump woke up and attacked the press:

9:16 a.m.: Wow, the @nytimes is losing thousands of subscribers because of their very poor and highly inaccurate coverage of the “Trump phenomena”

9:43 a.m.: The @nytimes sent a letter to their subscribers apologizing for their BAD coverage of me. I wonder if it will change – doubt it?

11:03 a.m. The @nytimes states today that DJT believes “more countries should acquire nuclear weapons.” How dishonest are they. I never said this!


Walking as therapy

After the election I, like many folks, spiraled into all sorts of worst case scenario thinking. I have hope that Pres. Trump isn't going to be as bad as I fear, though early indications aren't making me feel confident in that hope.

Marisa is away this weekend, and so I decided I wanted to keep this weekend politics free. Needing to clear my head yesterday I did what I so often do: went for a walk.

I've always been a walker, but after college I found myself not walking much. I missed the wanders I used to take and a FitBit gave me reason to pick up the habit again (and I just realized I've been FitBitting for 5 years!).

I headed out with one goal: walk 5000 steps in one direction and 5000 back.

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On my walk I came across Independence Hall and it reminded me that this country was born out of great strife in a troubled time.

As I continued my walk I passed the Second National Bank, a building I've walked past countless times:

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I've often wondered what it looks like inside, but I had no idea it housed a Portrait Gallery called "People of Independence!" I thought maybe this was a new thing, but it has been there since the 1970's. I went in and spent a good long time reading about every portrait in the place.

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As you might expect, it was mostly white dudes who were involved with America's independence (along with a smattering of women and black folks). It made me feel better knowing that when times are tough there are people, maybe just a few but still, that stand up for what's right.

I don't know if I'm as brave as the people in that gallery, but I do know that I'll do my part in making sure that this president doesn't ruin all the work that has gone before.


Open office plans - awful

Apple is building a fancy new HQ (they do have all the money in the world, so why not?). This Bloomberg article offers up this:


The new building features open floor plans and few traditional offices. While some of Apple’s senior vice presidents are expected to see their offices move over to the new campus -- less than a five minute drive from the current headquarters -- management must be at a vice president level or above to get a formal office, one of the people said. Previous plans included office space for senior directors, who report to vice presidents.


Man, open offices suck. And this comes from someone who works in an open office at the moment. It is difficult to concentrate, I feel like I have to leave to have any phone conversations (work or personal!), and cubicles just feel like pens for people.

Not a fan.

During my time at Comcast I had an office, and it was wonderful. I miss few things about working at Comcast, but that office tops the list.

What? You want to see the whole list? OK:

  • My office.
  • The 3 minute walk to work.
  • Free cable.
  • The vanilla cupcakes at Ralph's (the cafeteria).
  • Bonuses.

Not cool, Hillary

Unsub

I'm not very political but I think Donald Trump represents a danger for the country, so I donated a few bucks to Hillary for President.

Now I am getting a ton of email from Hillary, which I understand. However, I think the fact that the unsubscribe link is buried in a block of text at the bottom of the email AND ISN'T UNDERLINED like the rest of the links is just not cool.

I'm still with Her, but I am giving her email people the side-eye.


MacOS Sierra, a not review

I've installed the latest and greatest MacOS on both my MacBook and my iMac (that's Sierra for you folks keeping score). This update continues the trend of MacOS updates which seemingly offer few new features that I either notice or use.

Honestly, I've only noticed two new things (yes, I know there are more than that). Here are my thoughts on them:

Siri

SiriI like the Siri icon, but Siri on Sierra just gives more places on which to not use Siri.

My first attempt to use Siri on my Mac (to find images of kittens dresses as puppies) failed. And when I tried to find the current temperature using Siri on my iMac it told me I had to turn on WiFi first (so Siri could determine where I was).

I know Siri can do many things, I just don't want to talk to my computer. Call me crazy!

I do, however, want to talk to black cylinders so I'll just continue to ask Alexa. I even bought one of them fancy new Dots for the den (where my iMac is) for this very reason.


Stand up, Volume changer, you're on the job!

Badsierra

The only other thing I've noticed is the new horizontal orientation for the volume slider. This is a minor change and I hate it very much.

In Summary

Sierra is pretty much like the last few OS updates: it continues to do what I need to do without much fuss and it adds features I have little to no need for. It is a free update though, so I don't mind.


Planet of the Apps: Shark Tank, but for Apps

Planet of the Apps

That's how I imagine whoever pitched the show that Apple is co-producing called, cringingly enough, "Planet of the Apps."

I do have a soft spot for these business-y shows, even though I have very little interest in business. I've been know to get sucked into a marathon of Shark Tank, and I have a TiVo season pass to The Profit (he believes in three things!) and Hotel Impossible so I might enjoy this show. But that name. Oh, that name.


Delays by protesters will be annoying

But isn't the right to protest things a big part of why this country was founded? I am very hopeful that the Philly DNC protests will be peaceful and that both protesters and police a like make sure everyone is safe and heard.

This bit from the NY Times makes me think this will be the case:

Last month, Mayor Jim Kenney signed a bill decriminalizing nuisance offenses in the city, including disorderly conduct, failure to disperse and public drunkenness. The policy was part of a larger effort to decrease the incarceration rate in the city, but the mayor has also said that no one will be arrested solely for protesting without a permit during the convention.

It's a nice day for a White Kindle

Whitekindles

You can finally buy a Kindle, or a Kindle Paperwhite, in white (again). I'm not sure why you'd want a white Kindle since I think the gray/black helps the Kindle fade into the background when you're reading but I'm not the boss of you.

Also of note, the new base level Kindle ($79) has Bluetooth; the first Kindle to sport this. Generally I tell people NOT to buy the base level Kindle since the Paperwhite is so much better and not that much more expensive, however, if your vision is impaired, or you like your Kindles to read to you, you should totally get the base level Kindle. You can pair it with some Bluetooth headphones and listen away to your books.

Of course, my Kindle of choice is the crazy expensive Oasis. You can hear me ramble on about it on episode 87 of Upgrade.


Trump Supporters should read this article


I'm sure they will think it is bunk because it is from the New York Times, but it is really shocking. How Donald Trump Bankrupted His Atlantic City Casinos, but Still Earned Millions:

‘Trump crawled his way to the top on the back of little guys, one of them being my father,’ said Ms. Rosser, who runs Triad today. ‘He had no regard for thousands of men and women who worked on those projects. He says he’ll make America great again, but his past shows the complete opposite of that.’

I side with... Hillary

I side 98 with Hillary Clinton

I took the quiz at ISideWith.com and found out that Hillary is for me (which I knew already). I am mostly surprised that I agree with Trump on 9% of the issues. Seems high.

I used to consider myself a Republican, though really a Rockefeller Republican which is now being a Democrat.

Why did I even consider myself a Republican? Well, I'm fiscally conservative (generally I don't think anyone should spend more than they have, and that State and Local folks probably have a better understanding of where the funds should go) and socially liberal (I don't think the government has any business telling people what to do with their bodies, who they should marry, and other things along those lines).

I have no idea who Jill Stein is, but it would seem I agree with her a lot too. And I'm not surprised to find that I agree with about a third of Gary Johnson's views. Libertarian platforms always seem like ALMOST a good idea to me, but then you get to the point where they want to abolish the Department of Education and they lose me.

Anyway, the big thing to remember is this: Donald Trump should not be president.


Hodor? Hodor!

Hodorscott

This morning I woke up early to go for a 20 minute run (on the treadmill). Afterwards I tweeted that I didn't even know who I was anymore along with a post workout picture.

Some folks on Twitter suggested that I might, in fact, be Hodor from the Game of Thrones on TV (Or the Song of Ice and Fire in the books).

I suppose there are worse characters from GoT one could look like.

Oh, and that's me in the picture above... on the left.


Mom and the Beatles

Mom seeing the Beatles

My mom loved music. She kept the radio tuned to the oldies station my entire childhood, which has lead to me having a taste for Doo-wop and 50's music.

She especially liked the Beatles, which makes sense given when she grew up and the fact that almost everyone likes the Beatles.

When my mom was a teenager the Beatles had arrived in New York for the first time. Mom, being a teenager, snuck out of the house and went to the Plaza Hotel in hopes of getting a glimpse of the Beatles.

Her parents were none the wiser to her city adventure until, that is, her father opened the next morning's Daily News to find the above picture featuring my mom (she's the tallest girl in the picture) behind a pack of girls "bending" the police lines.

Busted!

And thanks to the power of the internet I know this picture was taken on Feb. 12, 1964 by Frank Castoral. You can even order a print of it!