A Kind(l)er way of consuming tweets

Kindle CoverI picked up an Amazon Kindle 3 over the Christmas period, primarily because I wanted to be able to support a family member who also acquired one. I’d been impressed by the hardware when I’d had a chance to play with a Kindle 3 recently (I’d always thought that the screen refresh and form factor would put me off, but they don’t), and I may also want to dabble in the possibility of developing kindlet applications for the platform. To my mind, despite some limitations, it could be a fantastic slate for displaying relatively-static business content like facts and figures, and of course it is light and has fantastic battery life. I’ve gone for the wifi-only model, not because I wasn’t tempted by the possibility of global free 3G access, but purely because I didn’t consider that I’d need to use it to connect to the wireless much when out-and-about and away from a wifi network.

So far I’ve been very impressed with the device. It is simple, has reasonable usability – although a web interface via Amazon’s website for creating and organising Collections would be exceedingly welcome – and it is definitely encouraging me to read a lot more. It’s a tiny point, but I’m enjoy the progress bars at the bottom of the page that show me how far I’ve got through each book.

Almost by accident the other day I noticed one of my colleagues retweet a comment from David Singleton:

Now to be fair, this hit me squarely between the eyes – I have the former, and do indeed like the latter. So I just had to ping him and find out more!

Moments later, I had been invited to blootwee.

After a short signup process on the website (hint: it didn’t work brilliantly on the Kindle browser, but it can be done very quickly on a desktop machine), my Kindle refreshed itself with a new document “blootwee for andypiper”.

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So what is this doing? Well, essentially, it is scooping my tweets up, grabbing the associated / linked content, creating an ebook, and emailing it to my Kindle – for free. As you will see from the gallery above, the book has tweets at the start, one per page. By following any links, you can jump forward to the point where that web page content is embedded. You can then hit the Back button to return to where you were in the Twitter timeline.

David is currently offering the ability to do this for free on an ad-hoc basis, but he also has some very low-cost paid options to enable this to happen on a daily basis… so you end up essentially with a “newspaper” based on tweets and interesting web pages from your network. The transcoding of web content is not ideal – obviously Flash is not present and image-based content is missing – but it provides a nice way of summarising the content.

I like it. I’m not sure it will become my default way of reading tweets by any means, but what it does give me is a very convenient way of gathering up interesting web content on a daily basis, and reviewing it as I travel. With a 25-hour trip to Australia coming up in the near future, I can see this could be quite useful!

Ping me via Twitter or comment below if you want an invite, and I’ll update this when they are gone.

Notes, because people might ask:

  1. To take a screenshot on the Kindle 3, hit Shift-Alt-G… then hook up via USB and grab the .gif files from the Documents folder.
  2. The linen slip case for my Kindle came from an etsy seller called kindlecovers.
  3. I have a few more images of my Kindle on Flickr.

8 thoughts on “A Kind(l)er way of consuming tweets”

  1. I’m interested Andy, and great writeup. I also just ordered a Kindle for an upcoming week-long sail (which I didn’t want to carry around a laptop or even the iPad on), it would be nice if I could load up some articles in addition to the books I am bringing.

    1. Bill, you definitely want to check out Calibre too, that can grab RSS feeds and make them into “books” for you for offline reading. I’ve sent an invite to an address I had stored for you, let me know if you don’t receive it 🙂

      1. Excellent, I had gotten Calbire to use with the iPad but I haven’t used it much; probably will with the Kindle.

        Thanks again for the invite!

  2. How interesting, we just had this discussion the other day about writing a Facebook app that would turn a month at a times Facebook updates, links, photos of yours a your friends into a PDF with links.

    This would be even sweeter on a kindle, how open/standard are the books?

    1. The ebook formats are well-known, and many. The only one I’m aware that Kindle won’t read is .epub, and whilst it will display PDF, it sometimes makes sense to transcode to an ebook format using an app like Calibre.

  3. Hi Andy, thanks for writing about this and I’d love an invite. I’m using Google Reader in mobile mode on my Kindle at the moment and would love something more tailor-made! 🙂

    1. Hi Doug, let David know what you think – invite on its way 🙂 it’s obviously not the same as Reader as it relies on your Twitter stream, but I’m liking the idea.

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