inkdivalinkageSo, I love sending people articles I find (which is why I’m going to be adding more of those here) but I’m picky about how they look. I don’t share from feedly because it creates a big word regurgitation that no one will want to read. I like pocket, because it provides previews and I can even share quotes. But, even I recognize how ridiculous it is to send something to pocket only to find it and share it later. Let’s ease back on the OCD, shall we?

And so I discovered this. It’s beautiful, neat, and it encourages others to go to the original content (we writers appreciate that).
image

I included an image of what I received in the email, mainly because my Kindle is quite uncooperative.

Try it out if you find your self sending a LOT of links, like I do.

clipbetter.com

image

There was a time when “the Internet” was synonymous with anonymity. You’d read comments like: “Dude, it’s the internet. Who cares?” or “What difference does it make? It’s just the internet.” Usually this was in response to some outrageous bit of flaming or trolling.

That world no longer exists. Nowadays, with Facebook, the ability to Google into anyone’s deep, dark past, and online privacy at war with companies’ desires to gather every personal bit of info so they can serve you better ads, we live under a microscope. People lose their jobs because of pictures someone else tagged them in. We check in with our phones and leave a digital trail of breadcrumbs to become the mayor of Burger Palace. We pay our bills online, read our papers online, and search for new jobs online.

And, somewhere, there’s a record of every bit of it.

We need to be aware of 1.) protecting our privacy and 2.) what sort of image we project online.

This post will deal with number one. We’ll address number two later.

First, beware of tracking cookies. You can’t do much online without enabling cookies in your browser. So find a good program to rid yourself of the pests. While you’re at it, lose the spyware, too.

Next, make sure your privacy options are at a safe level. Here’s how to do it on Facebook, email, and just in general.

Third, in the shutting the barn door after the horse escapes category, always enable security on your wireless router. You can always buy a dual-band router, make use of an old router, or download a free program to allow cafe-style guest access.

Parting tips:

  • Discuss online privacy with your kids. I know I keep banging heads with my 14-year-old, not about privacy settings but about assuming any level of privacy when sharing.
  • Never use the password you use around the web as the same password for your email. It’s a sad fact, but when a hacker gets your password for Facebook or ANY site you use, he can usually use that same password to log into your email address. Once that happens, you’re just a few lost password requests away from financial ruin.
  • Consider using a program like LastPass to generate random passwords for sites and store them in an encrypted file on your computer.
  • Never, ever assume your data is safe. Every site, every program we trust, we are taking a gamble. Hedge your bets by being knowledgeable about the risks.


I love my Google Reader.  I can read it anywhere, I can add feeds from anywhere, and I can organize it easily.  But, when I got my iPhone, I wanted to be able to read my fave feeds on my phone.  I didn’t want to find a new reader; I had everything set up exactly the way I wanted it in Google. (I’m somewhat of an organization freak).

First I found Google Reader on Safari, on the phone, and saved the page for easy access.  I am not a fan of the way Safari handled my feeds.  It was too stiff, not intuitive at all, and left me no ability to really manage and move through my feeds.  I looked for an app from Google and was (sort of) surprised to find none existed.  Then I realized that as a major player in the Android movement, that actually made some proprietary sort of sense.

So, I looked in the app store.  Like an idiot, I jumped to some conclusions, and purchased the first one I found.  For 99 cents, this app… opened it in Safari.  I was NOT a happy camper.

Then I found one for free (because I certainly wasn’t paying again).  Actually, I downloaded about five free apps for Google Reader and iReadG Free won out as my favorite.

I like that my folders and everything that makes Google good is there.  It’s easy to move between and read and to mark articles as read and load more.  It will load the full article (for those that feed out partials) with one click and you can use the Instapaper set-up (or others–you decide) to load the page in the reader.  Instapaper, an app I did pay for which we’ll discuss another day, is perfect for reading articles.  It strips away all the pretty we do for web pages and leaves you with content and pictures that still respects the original publication (headers, bullets, etc.).  It’s very easy to add a feed (which will be added to Google for reading in other places).

If you are already a fan of Google Reader, then this app is perfect.  And free.

Update 06/02/2011: Lifehacker.com posted it’s fave Google Reader App for the iPhone a day after this post.  It’s not free, but I defer to the wisdom of Lifehacker.  If they say it’s good–it is.

As you may have noticed, given the many Kindle posts, I’m all about finding (and sharing with you) the tech gadgets, sites, and programs that work for me as a reader and writer.

Also, I got an iPhone for Mother’s Day. :)

So, you can look forward to some great reading and/or writerly apps.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you about the best feed reader app I’ve discovered.

Yeah, I’m running behind.  I’ll get it up within the next day or so.

Since my last post about awesome websites that make the Kindle even MORE awesome than it already is, I’ve paid for premium service with Kindlefeeder.com.

How much?

I paid $19.95 USD for one year of premium service.

Why upgrade?

I’ll go into all the features a premium membership brings in just a minute.  But the main reason I upgraded was because I wanted to be able to subscribe to more than 12 feeds.  I think for free, basic membership, 12 feeds is more than fair.  Well, it’s free.   Any thing more than none would be fair.  But, I love my feeds.  I have a lot of sites that I want to read regularly, even more regularly than the every-day-or-two I check in with my Google Reader.

What comes with premium service?

So. much.

  • Unlimited number of feeds.
  • Ability to trigger a wireless delivery from the kindle.
  • Subscribe to feeds from processing-intensive* feeds.
  • Lots of delivery options. Lots. (See picture below).

Click the picture for a full view of my Kindlefeeder feeds management page.

As you can see, there’s a drop-down menu under delivery window.  From Kindlefeeder.com:

You can restrict the delivery of content from a feed to weekday mornings, weekday evenings, or weekends only. “Evening” means after 3 p.m. EDT; “morning” means before 3 p.m. EDT. “Weekends” means Saturday and Sunday. This setting affects both scheduled deliveries and immediate deliveries that you trigger yourself.

  • Schedule up to TWO automatic deliveries per day at times you choose.

If you recall my previous post, deliveries from Kindlefeeder were triggered by going to the site and clicking a button.  Not so with premium service.

Note that delivery options are the same.  An email to forward to your free Kindle address (Kindle 3 only); an emailed zip file you can unzip and load directly to your Kindle; a direct delivery to your Kindle (which will incur a surcharge by Amazon).  Or, at least, I’m pretty sure it will.  I’ve been too cheap to try it out.

One final note.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that scheduling automatic conversions / documents to your Kindle may violate the terms of service.  It’s unclear.  Or, it would seem to be so, but Amazon hasn’t yet responded to the creator of Kindlefeeder when he asked for clarification (in March 2009) and hasn’t stopped users from receiving emails from Kindlefeeder.com.  Yet.  Even more unclear, if one forwards them from one’s own email, does that violate the terms of service?  If I find out a clear answer, I will let you know.

* Processing-intensive feeds, like Yahoo Pipes and EchoDitto, take an “inordinate amount of time to fetch and update.”  They are only available to premium users because of the “disproportionate burden these feeds impose on the Kindlefeeder service.”

Edit 05.04.2012: Kindlefeeder seems to be gone. I’ve unlinked the links that were available in this post.

Yes, apparently, you can LOAN your Kindle ebooks.  At least, some of them.  I find this awesome because it allows you to say, “Hey, I think you’re going to love this author.  Give this book a try!”

My nephew and I are finding that our reading preferences cross in strange places.  So, we’re a little excited to recommend books to each other.  Our new deal?  I’ll read Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Side of the Moon if he reads Gregory Maguire’s Wicked: Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Unfortunately, neither of us have these books on the Kindle, so we can’t use the loan feature this time.  (Of course, we have paper copies because they’re faves).  But, I’m just so excited to share books with friends.  Even friends who live far away.  I’ve talked at least two people into a Kindle since Christmas.

So, how does it work?

Go to www.amazon.com/myk.

You’ll see a list of books you’ve purchased (or sampled).  Click on the plus icon beside the book you want to loan.

Click the “Loan this book” button, beside the cover.

Here’s what comes up:

Fill out the fields and that’s it!  You’ve loaned your ebook!

The Fine Print

  • Not all publishers allow you to loan books.  Boo to them, I say.  Lending reaches more readers which means more purchases later!
  • The book must be downloaded within 7 days or it is no longer available to your lendee.
  • Your lendee can keep the book for 14 days.  Presumably, Amazon removes the book at that point–finished or not.
  • You can’t read your book for the 14 days it’s being loaned out.  Which makes sense.  If you loaned a real book, you couldn’t read it, either.
  • Most books I’ve explored can only be loaned once.  Not quite the same as a real book, but I see the need for limits (since this is so easy) and I can live with that.

P.S. I swear this is not becoming the pimpmykindle site.  It’s just… topical and interesting to me.  And, oddly, I like writing about those things.  Enjoy!

I use my Kindle everyday.  This is no secret.  I’ve facebooked, tweeted, and posted my love for the Kindle.

I consider myself tech-ish savvy.  I’m not a geek (a badge I’d wear with honor, mind you), but I know a few who point me in the right directions.  And, so, because I’m awesome, I’m going to point you to some very awesome Kindle sites that will make it even harder to pry the Kindle from your grip.

Instapaper

I use Google Reader a lot.  It’s how I get my tech fix and find all of these nifty things, it’s how I keep up with gossip from Jezebel (don’t judge me!), and how I know when a friend posts to their personal blog.

With Instapaper, I can use the spacebar to flip through all that content (and it becomes quite a bit–maybe I’ll share my favorite RSS feeds with you one day) and when I find something I think I’ll want to read, I just use the “Read Later” button that sits on my bookmark toolbar.  It saves and when Instapaper sends me my document, it’s all there.

Pros:

  • It sends to your free Kindle address (which only works if you  have a Kindle 3).  What this means is you will download it via your wi-fi, as opposed to Whispernet.  My Kindle does not make use of Whispernet, but I understand Amazon will begin (or has already) charging for those downloads.  I’m fine with waiting for my Instapaper document to download at home (or wherever I can get wi-fi) and then it’s there when I choose to read it.
  • It will send up to 20 articles and you can use your 5-way button to go to the next article if you decide it’s not something you want to read.

Cons:

  • It only sends 20.  I think (correct me if I’m wrong, peeps).  This is easily manageable by going to the Instapaper site and requesting it be sent right away (as opposed to it’s daily, or weekly, deliver time).  That said, after counting “Read Later” clicks in my head and heading there at 20 and hitting send, it could be better.  Say, if it just sent new content (as opposed to sometimes getting halfway through the document only to find stuff I’ve already read) and sent all the new content.
  • It does not pull feeds for you.  But that’s okay, because something else does.

Make It Work:

Get the Instapaper bookmarklet on the Extras page.

Go to Manage My Kindle, under the Account tab, to set up use with Kindle.  (There are several steps. Don’t be like me, read halfway through, then wonder why it isn’t working.)

Kindlefeeder

Once I started using Instapaper, I started seeing trends.  Some feeds, I sent every article to my Kindle.  I actually found the link for Kindlefeeder on the Instapaper site since they don’t pull feeds.

Pros:

  • Perfect if you’d rather read your favorite sites on your Kindle.
  • They come in one document and you can order them anyway you choose on the Kindlefeeder site.

Cons:

  • You only get 12 feeds free.  After that,  you need a premium service.  This has caused me to be really picky about who I let on my Kindlefeeder list.  It’s like that episode of Seinfeld, when they discontinue Elaine’s birth control of choice and she’s trying to decide not if a man is sex-worthy, but is he sponge-worthy.
  • I use the basic formatting and haven’t seen what it looks like otherwise, but you can’t use any buttons on your Kindle to move through sections, other than the one that turns the page.
  • It will not send to your free Kindle address.  It will, however, let you send the document to your email and you can forward it on to your free address.  Other choices include sending wirelessly to your Kindle (not free!) or emailing a downloadable file which you can transfer to your Kindle with the cable.

I’ve considered a premium account, because I really enjoy this application.  You can even trigger a feed pull and automatically send it to your Kindle from the Kindle with this option.  But, that would probably be delivered wirelessly which I’d have to pay for, they say.

Your feeds will be packaged and delivered wirelessly to your Kindle. Make sure to turn your Kindle’s WiFi switch on. Note that Amazon imposes a per delivery surchage on this wireless delivery option.

Make It Work:

Add feeds-Self explanatory, I think.

Manage my feeds-Delete or rearrange the order of your feeds.

Dashboard-Where the magic happens.

I just visit the site every day or two, click send forward, and wait for it to appear in my gmail.  When it does, I clear out the body (not making the document blank seemed to cause Kindle delivery to be hit or miss) and forward it to my Kindle free address.

Send to Kindle Chrome Extension

Want to hear something a little sad?  This extension is why I finally gave in and switched from Firefox to Chrome.  My Kindle owns me, people.

Anyway, get the extension here.

Pros:

  • Send almost* any article, blog post, I guess whatever your e-reading heart desires straight to your Kindle.
  • If you have the Kindle 3, you can use your free Kindle address.
  • They format nicely and include a link to the original at the end of the document.
  • Um, it’s awesome?

Cons:

  • If you are anything like me, and you’re licking up the links people tweet, you can end up with several documents to read.
  • *Sometimes the extension tells me it couldn’t send the content.  Sometimes, if I refresh, it does.  Sometimes, not.  Not sure what that’s about.

And that’s about it for bad things.  Lots to read and, on the rare occasion, it doesn’t work.

Make it Work:

I’m not even going to attempt to explain how to install a chrome extensions.  Others have done it far better already.

The extension itself is easy to setup and can be changed at anytime by right clicking on it (it’s an orange box with a K inside) and going to options.

And that’s it from me.  If you’ll excuse me, I’m heading to surgery to have my Kindle removed from my hand.