Musings on the New Kindle

So, there’s a new Kindle out, and there’s an interview with Jeff Bezos on USA Today:

Q: Why doesn’t Amazon support the popular “e-pub” standard used by your competitors and many libraries?

A: We are innovating so rapidly that having our own standard allows us to incorporate new things at a very rapid rate. For example: Whispersync (which uses wireless connections to sync your place in a book across devices) and changing font sizes.

I call Shenanigans on this line of argument. Kindle supports PDF and plain text files, for heaven’s sake! Plain text files don’t have Whispersync either, but it’s still nice to have support for other formats.

It’s not as if adding ePub support would be hard, either.

Want to see how hard it is to support ePub? Follow along.

  1. Go download the ePub version of this book. It’s a good one, trust me.

    Download the file

  2. rename the file from .epub to .zip

    Rename it to .zip

  3. Open the zip
    It's just HTML!

See, ePub is just a zip file full of XHTML.

So what’s the deal, can the Kindle not render HTML?

Nope. The new Kindle comes with a webkit browser, so I’m pretty sure it can handle HTML rendering.

There’s really no excuse for the Kindle not to support ePub.

I still have an old-ass first generation Kindle, that won’t even read PDFs, let alone ePubs. I read a lot of PDFs for work, and the old Kindle isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Although Amazon added PDF support for Kindle a few months ago, they neglected to issue the update for Kindle 1, to my great consternation.

I suppose I could stomp out in a huff and buy a nook, but I already have something like 60 books in the Kindle format.

So, despite my sense of indignation at the lack of ePub support and general grumpiness at being overlooked for the PDF upgrade. I went ahead pre-ordered one of the shiny new Kindles.

Vendor lock-in is a bitch.

Alert: Chupacabra on the Bike Path!

The newspaper is reporting that a Chupacabra has been spotted near the greenbelt!


People walking or riding bicycles in the area near the work release center, including the Harrisburg Greenbelt, should use caution, police said, and should not approach the animal.

Be careful out there.

The Peacock Has Landed

Brandi’s Electra Peacock arrived today.
Here are some crappy cell phone pictures of it. It’s really shiny in real life. It has lots of fancy peacock feather designs.

2010 Electra Peacock

There are peacock feathers on the chain guard,

Chain guard

on the fenders,

Peacock designs on the front fender

On the bell and grips…

Peacock designs on the bell

The design from the grips is carried over on the saddle.

Design on the saddle

The saddle is wide and springy.

Springy saddle

There are bigger versions of these pictures here.

We’re taking it to the rail trail tomorrow night. All the other girls will be jealous.

Poplar Forest in OSM

I have noisy coworkers, and so I listen to podcasts while I’m at work to help keep my sanity. Today, I was listening to old episodes of the the Thomas Jefferson Hour.

The episode I was listening to talked about Poplar Forest, which was Jefferson’s second home / retreat. Today it’s sort of a museum, and I noticed that it wasn’t yet added to OSM. The Yahoo images weren’t very good, but I could see the building, and I knew from the podcast that it was an octagon with a long rectangle sticking out the side.

So, I drew a crude octagon, then told JOSM to arrange the nodes in a circle. I think it came out pretty nicely.

Poplar Forest in Openstreetmap

Some time ago, I added a node for Monticello to the map, so now you can plan your Jeffersonian vacation with OSM.

Monticello in OSM

I think Mr. Jefferson would like Openstreetmap. After all, he commissioned Louis and Clark expedition to map the American West.

Clark's Map

I’m pretty sure he would have been in favor of share-alike licensing, too.

He who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation.

No doubt if Alexander Hamilton were alive today, he’d own stock in Navteq, plan his travels on Bing, and call us all “intellectual voluptuaries.”

Alexander Hamilton loves Microsoft

I Bought Another Bicycle

My girlfriend told me she doesn’t like her mixte anymore. I asked her what kind of bike she’d prefer, and she said “green.”

We ordered one of these today:

Electra Peacock

It certainly is green.

Anyhow, her old Mixte is probably going to be for sale soon. Here are some pictures of it.

Vitus Tubing!

It’s lugged. It’s steel. It’s French.

You know you want it.

I’m a Bicycle Commuter Again

I rode my bike to work today for the first time since my crash.

That was in January. It was my first day of work for the year. It was supposed to be my way of starting off the new year being healthy, green, and weird. New Years resolutions and all that jazz.

I was laid up with injuries until March, and then we got some blizzards. So, I have an excuse for not riding for three months.

I don’t have much of an excuse for not commuting in April, May, or June. Laziness mostly, maybe a little bit of fear. Getting hit by a car is pretty scary, and it makes you overestimate the risks involved every time you ride with traffic.

I’m taking a slightly different route now, and avoiding the intersection where I got hit.

Anyhow, it feels good to be back at it.

Roadster in the Park

I had a silly idea to see what would happen if I jammed my tripod in the Carradice bag and tried to shoot some video.

You end up seeing more of my butt than you probably want to, but here is the result, anyway.

I’m trying to learn how to use PiTiVi to edit together a video, but my laptop is almost 5 years old, and it’s taking forever.