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Saturday, February 8, 2014

A Series of Unfortunate Events: Trouble with Technology

So, I did tell you all that I have managed to kill off 4 Kindles. Kindle 4, RIP, left this mortal coil last May and was a casualty of BEA. I have learned at least to not put a delicate electronic device on the side of a stack of about 50 pounds of books in a tote bag. The pressure, the screen, the horror! There was eInk everywhere on the screen!!!

What I may not have told you all is that I also did in two iPods. The first was really quite unavoidable. I was trying to update my iPod and I had too much in my iTunes library to synch everything to my iPod and it kind of checked itself out. It froze up, couldn't handle the pressure and that, as they say, was that. Hubby called a friend who was working fro Apple at the time and he basically told him that when it seizes up like that, it is done for. Game over, no coming back.

I was upset understandably, but, not devastated, as I upgraded to the largest memory and it had a video screen. I had thought to put anime on the screen so I could watch on the bus to and from work. I think the screen is a little small for that now that I think on it, but that was my rationale. Or perhaps my validation. So, I purchased iPod 2.0. We were best friends. I took it everywhere with me. Although, once in the dark, in the winter, in the snow I dropped it at the curbside without knowing. I found it in the gutter the next day, but it was perfectly fine. I don't think it ever recovered, which I believe is why it tried to end it all by falling out of my hoodie pocket into the toilet while I was listening to it. The funny thing is it was still playing underwater. I had to fish it out (don't judge), clean it off and try to comfort it and tell it everything would be okay. Either it didn't believe me or it just gave up the fight because my iPod gave up the ghost a few days later. Just so this isn't a total horror story, I will tell you I bought the iPod Classic (it has the largest memory currently) and we have been happy ever since.

What you ask is the purpose of this history lesson? Just to illustrate the difficulty I have with technology and to segue into my most recent tale of technological terror.

Let's start with Kindle. Kindle is awesome, as is the Nook, but I started on Kindle (sorry B&N) as it was given to me by hubby. It was his quasi-broken cast off and I didn't really care so much about eReaders, but when we went on vacation and he had like 20 books in a slim little reader and I brought a stack of manga that was killing my shoulder in the airport, I knew that I would need to give in. When he injured his and complained about it incessantly (well, perhaps it was only from time to time), I told him to just buy a new one and give me his.

The wonder of the Kindle, and the Nook, is the ability to download samples. As it turns out, this is both a blessing and a curse. As I found out when the first Kindle died (well, hubby did lend a hand), I found out then that any samples downloaded are not held in the Cloud Reader and are, therefore, gone when you purchase or replace a Kindle. Okay, so not so bad. I didn't have that many. Kind of knew what they were. It was easy enough to download again.

I have a tendency to collect things. Quiet, Terri, these samples are free!! So with each incarnation of my Kindle, I had more samples. I download samples from my wishlist. I read a blog and a book sounds good so I request a sample. Someone recommends a book that sounds good, well, you get the picture. So every time a Kindle died, I would try to recreate those samples on my Kindle. You could ask why I bothered. If I hadn't read them yet, the likelihood of me actually reading them was minuscule. You're probably right, but I am somewhat anal about things like that. A completist, if you will. I would also have to recreate my folders and move the books into the appropriate folders with every replacement. Having about 200 books (many were free, a lot of classics, fairy tales and poetry), it would be time consuming have to format everything each time.

As luck would have it and hubby being somewhat technologically proficient having been to computer school, he was able to plug in the fourth and final Kindle, extract the file and save it to my desk top. Mind you, I still had to re-download any samples, but this was the first time I actually had a list of what those samples were. I had folders for Read Samples and Samples to Buy so I could keep track of which ones I wanted. Sure there's an easier way, but I couldn't figure it out back then.

Determined to never purchase a Kindle or any eReader again (honestly, it could only be Kindle if I did because of the proprietary nature of Amazon), I took the Kindle file and decided I would download the samples onto my Kindle for PC. This was the answer to all my problems. My Kindle on the PC wasn't going anywhere, so I wouldn't lose those samples ever again!!! Hallelujah!!! I found because of the Cloud, I could pull in the folders I had created on my Kindle, I had my samples downloaded and all was well. Except for the fact that the Kindle for PC didn't quite work like the handheld version. For instance, I had all the books on the device, but if I put a book in a folder, it stayed on the main screen as well. With the handheld Kindle, I could create folders and move books into it, so my screen would only show the genre folders and not all my books listed out on the man menu.

So, I thought about this long and hard. I didn't want another Kindle because I was afraid I would break it, but clearly I needed something. Well, I always wanted an iPad and this ended up being the excuse to get one. I could use it as an eReader and so many other things. So, last year maybe around July or August, I bought myself an iPad. I wanted an iPad because I could synch it with my phone and iPod. I downloaded the Kindle App and started the process all over again. Well, the books I didn't need to reload because they are on the Cloud, but the samples I did.

What I did was go into my Books Amazon wishlist and download samples for the books already released. I did the same for my Kindle Wishlist. And I was all set. Since then, I have also downloaded samples based on blog recommendations, friend recommendations and the GoodReads giveaways I enter. I'm painting a picture here.

It has been a good relationship, one wanting to read and one wanting to be read. We complemented one another. Then came the day, that horrible day, where I got notification to update my OS on the iPad. I ignored it because I didn't like the new operating system and I didn't have to update. Everything was status quo. I would update my Apps as I got notifications of updates and life would go on.

Until the day I got notification that I had to update my Kindle App. You can't ignore those updates; however, once I updated the Kindle App, I could no longer access the App. I would try to open it and it would bring me to my iPad screen after a few seconds. When I went into my iTunes library I found that there are some Apps that once updated are no longer compatible with the old OS. I had no choice. I had to update my OS. I needed me Kindle!!!

And so I updated. Once the update was completed, I immediately tried to open Kindle and it did the same darn thing. I still couldn't access it. I stressed about it for days. Even hubby tried to see if he could find the files so I could extract them like with the last Kindle. No dice. The problem was that I stopped sending the samples to the Kindle for PC after I got the iPad. The iPad was mobile. The PC, not so much. I could read on my iPad in any room. The PC, i only had the uncomfortable vinyl covered chair that Egg insists on sitting behind me on, thus pushing to behind to the edge of the seat and losing blood circulation in my legs.

After about a week of trying to fix it, I realized I had no recourse but to remove the Kindle App from my iPad and re-install it. Of course, that meant loading those samples all over again. So, I went back to the Amazon wishlists, both books and Kindle, and reloaded the samples. I went back to GoodReads and reloaded the giveaways I had entered if there was a Kindle version and it took a long time. I am keeping the books on the Cloud and only putting the samples on the device. The other problem is that the samples were mixed in with the full books and there was no way to sort and I couldn't create folders. It's all very complex and probably not worth all the effort I've taken to unfold this tale.

So, while the iPad is fine, the Kindle App went on permanent holiday and needed to be replaced. Can't tell you how many hours I have spent with four kindles, one Kindle for PC one one iPad Kindle App loading and reloading samples just so I have them.

And what is the purpose to all this? Well, that I can enlighten you on. It's on my list.

You see, I have been trying to slowly clean things up. Many things, not just books. For instance, my Amazon book wishlist is 23 pages long with 560 books. My movies wishlist is 9 pages with 203 items. I'm not buying all those movies! I hardly buy movies at all anymore.

I don't want to just delete a book or Kindle title from my wishlist without knowing if the book is any good. So I now have a spreadsheet. It has a list of the Kindle samples I've read and I update it to indicate whether I want it or not or if I'm waffling. Once I update the spreadsheet with the title, I remove the sample from my Kindle App. A lot of the titles on Kindle are $3.00 or under, so that is why my STS posts have had a lot of Kindle titles. It's my clean up project. I want to get through them all and remove the items I don't want from my wishlists, but I need to keep track of those titles, so I don't add them again. I do sometimes forget.

I currently have 426 samples on my Kindle App. I can promise this. If I ever have another issue with my Kindle samples, I am going to bang my head repeatedly against the wall.

And just because I haven't caused myself enough grief, I am actually thinking about ordering a new Kindle. I saw the cute little Paperwhite in Best Buy. It lights up and I can hold it in the palm of my hand. It is a heck of a lot lighter than my iPad and costs a lot less. BTW, since I work in Newark, the idea of using my iPad as a mobile reading device is a no go. I barely take it out of the house and I am certainly not taking it into work in Newark, so it is less than effective in that capacity, but has been a figurative lifesaver in so many other instances.

Plus, I got a bunch of Amazon credit for wearing my pedometer and walking thousands of steps, so it would be for free. I figure if I get the Paperwhite, I will only put books on it. I will keep the samples on my iPad and work on reading them at night. It will be a slow clean up process and of course I'll be adding other titles along the way, but if you see a lot of eBooks on my STS posts, you'll know why.

But just in case, I would take out a little security....


  1. You are the Queen when it comes to collecting, but I can't say anything because my collections keep growing too. I'm up to nine bookcases, some with books only and some with books plus tchotchke.

    And I think it's time to admit that you are a Kindle Killer! Not for nothing, but I've had my nook Simple Touch since it's release and it's still going strong. Hektor and I are very happy together. Just saying. :)

    1. I had my Kindle and my iPad at BEA and I feel it is now safe to say that they weathered the storm. And, no luggage was harmed in the making of this conference. I am leaving the technology at home for the final day. Found I didn't use them much and tomorrow should be light.
      That is why I got the 2 year warranty BTW. I can't be trusted.