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For my birthday two weeks ago, my wonderful wife got me the new Amazon Kindle 2. After two weeks, I absolutely love it... more than I expected. I didn't load it up with a ton of stuff... so far I've only bought a few things: subscriptions to the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, The Da Vinci Code (yes, I am the last one who hadn't read it), my Pro MOSS 2007 WCM Development book (I just had to!) and copied a few papers over. I find it very easy to use and thought I'd post a few comments about the device. This is not a "here's what it is" post... there are plenty of posts and articles about it.

Why the Kindle 2?Great question I get a lot. First, I wanted an ebook reader as I'm sick of carrying a ton of papers and magazines when I travel. I also hate not having my newspapers in the morning when on the road. With the Kindle, they automatically show up via the built in cellular modem when I wake up...love that.

So why not the Sony reader that Spence got? Honestly, I like the cellular bit I mention above for the newspaper delivery. I also am not a Sony fan, but I am a huge Amazon fan. It's that simple. After seeing Spence's, I am happy I got the Kindle. It isn't that the Sony sucks or that I don't like them (ok, maybe they do and I don't, but I'm not talking about the Sony Reader specifically), it's just the Kindle is right for me. I don't think you can go wrong either way.

General ControlsI really like the smaller buttons on this version compared to the last one... but I find myself constantly hitting the HOME button when I want to go back because it's in the same spot as the PREVIOUS button on the other side. I also wish it had a dedicated wireless on/off button. The directional button is ok... could be a bit bigger or protrude more...

ContentSo far I'm moderately pleased with the content, but I wish I could subscribe to blogs for free... even if it was just a limited number. Wish more magazines were on it (The Economist, Playboy... I'm KIDDING!). Some don't make sense like Sports Illustrated (pictures won't be nearly as good)... but I'd still like them as an option.

I do like having the ability to copy papers over to it... I just wish it was more OOTB to get one on there. I mean, you've got the ability to send Amazon an email with a PDF/DOC/etc attachment and they will send it to your Kindle (each has a unique email address), or you can send to an alternate one and have the file resent back to you for manual copy. But I'm not sure some of my clients would be cool with me emailing an NDA document to Amazon... there are other alternatives... but they aren't OOTB so much (need to explore them too).

Battery life and WirelessThe battery lasts forever... UNLESS you leave the cellular modem on during a flight. Like a phone, it will keep trying to pull a connection and thus, drain the battery as I found out on a recent flight.

UsabilityThere are a few things that Amazon should address. For instance, when reading a book, it isn't clear what the numbers at the bottom mean. There's something like "content 601-650" ... and a four-digit number. What's up with that? There are a few other things that Jakob Nielson found... I agree with most of what he said. Thankfully most is software so I hope Amazon ships an update down the road.

TipsI did have one weird thing happen to me. When I tried to turn the wireless off, the device locked up. Since the battery is sealed, the reboot process wasn't obvious. What ended up working was holding the power button down for 14s, then holding the NEXT button down. It finally started to boot up. Tricky to figure out when you're on a flight (thankfully before we took off, I found someone talking about this on a blog... thank goodness for a phone with a full browser!).

ConclusionI'd recommend the Amazon Kindle 2 hands down. It's easy on the eyes, significantly lightens the load in my backpack, and much easier to use than reading on a laptop. I love this device! Two thumbs up!

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