Tag Archives: ebook

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.

Do you have an Effective Internet Presence?

My friend Ted Demopoulos pinged me recently to let me know about his new ebook, Effective Internet Presence. It’s a free (CC-licensed) PDF download, and worth a read. It’s short (less than 40 pages), highly readable, and contains some really useful ideas.

Without stealing Ted’s thunder – I really do encourage you to take a look at the full book – there were a number of snippets that resonated or made me think. Ted starts out by noting that:

A senior hiring manager at a Fortune 500 company trained all his people how to look up potential employees online last year, going well beyond a simple search engine lookup. The results affect who gets hired and who doesn’t.

People google you all the time. They google you before they meet with you, they google you if they may be working with you, they google you if you’re dating their sister.

These are excellent points. Ted isn’t (just) saying that it is important have a blog, for example – but he made me consider my personal brand across my entire online presence (something that people like Hugh MacLeod also lead me to think about about). Am I consistent? Do I have profiles in the right places? Can people find out who I am?

[ aside: I had a call from a recruiter the other day who had an opportunity for someone with WebSphere skills, and asked me “can you do that?”. I should have just said “go look at andypiper.co.uk” or “google me”. I’ll try to remember to do that next time! ]

If you are thinking about starting a blog or otherwise building an online presence – for example in a social network like Facebook or LinkedIn – Ted suggests avoiding contentious subjects like religion and politics… which is probably a fair point, unless of course you are trying to make a name for yourself as a commentator on one of these topics! Talking of social networks, he covers both of those I’ve just mentioned, noting that he “expect[s] Facebook to become much more search engine friendly, but it doesn’t compare to LinkedIn today for developing a quick Effective Internet Presence”. I’m not so sure that I share his view on Facebook here, I’m not certain that it will open up quite that much; but overall the important point is that “… Facebook is a great networking tool if for nothing else because everyone seems to be on it.”. Absolutely – the same reason I use Twitter rather than Jaiku, and Flickr rather than Picasa, for example.

It’s a quick read and a handy reference to some of the more useful ways to build up an online presence. Read what Ted wrote about it on his blog, and then go take a look!