Kindle Touch converts book addicts to e-book fanatic

This review first appeared in the January 26 issue of the Setonian, the Student Voice of Seton Hill University.

As a journalist, I have an obvious love for the written word—especially when it is printed in a beautiful hardcover book. But in the age of technology, even a bookworm like myself can come to terms with change and admit defeat. For a hardcore reader like myself, the Kindle Touch, one of Amazon’s new additions to the Kindle family, is a nearly perfect replacement to books filled with paper.

Of course, nothing, and I repeat nothing, can replace the look, feel and, especially, the smell of a book. I would never think of trading my hardback first editions of each of the seven “Harry Potter” books for e-versions of them. Sure, I might consider repurchasing them in electronic format, but I’ll carry those books with me to every future place that I will call home.

Having said that, there’s a natural attraction to an e-Reader that cannot be denied. It’s simply convenient to be able to carry an entire library of books around on a single 7.8 ounce device.

I know what you’re thinking: Why get a Kindle Touch when you already have an iPad, provided graciously by none other than Seton Hill University? That’s simple. The Kindle Touch’s 6” display features the most advanced E Ink Pearl to date. The biggest advantage to E Ink is it’s anti-glare feature. While there will still be some glare depending on how you hold the device in the sunlight, it’s a huge improvement compared to the iPad’s glossy full-color display. Sure it’s an obvious drawback that it’s completely grayscale, but at the same time, I’m not using the Kindle to look at pretty pictures—I’m using it to read novels.

What’s more, because of the Kindle’s E Ink display, the device’s battery life is remarkable. I’ve only had to charge my Kindle twice since I powered it up on Christmas Day, and I use for at least an hour every day and have never turned off my wireless.  According to Amazon.com, the battery life can last up to two months with wireless turned off.

Still not convinced? The Kindle Touch features the same swipe action we all know and love on the iPad’s iBooks app. Swipe left or right to flip pages, and swipe up or down to skip to the next or previous chapter. My favorite feature, however, is the built-in dictionary. While reading “A Game of Thrones: A Song of Fire and Ice,” I came across numerous archaic names for animals and structures that were unfamiliar to me. When I read a traditional book, I never bother to look up definitions, but it’s so easy with the Kindle Touch! Simply press your finger on the questionable word and viola!—multiple definitions appear on your screen.

According to Amazon.com, the Kindle Touch can hold up to 3,000 books or 4 GB worth of books and other e-printed materials. Users still concerned that they don’t have enough room have nothing to fear because they also receive access to free Amazon Cloud storage for all media purchased on Amazon.

But why buy a book that you’re going to be stuck with forever—you can’t resell it and you definitely don’t want to give your best friend your Kindle for a week or even a month so she can read the latest NY Times Best Seller. Never fear! There are countless free books as well as daily deals for some of the more popular titles out there on the Internet.

Still not convinced? Users have the ability to not only lend books to their friends but can also check out books from the library, including the Greensburg-Hempfield Public Library. Amazon Prime (free to students for a year) users can also rent one novel per month with no due date or late fees.

For just $99, you can be the proud owner of your own Kindle Touch with Special Offers. You can buy the Kindle without special offers for $139, but honestly, the special offers are no bother at all—they just show advertisements for products or books that might peak the user’s interest. In many cases, the ads are for Amazon, and these ads are only present when the Kindle is in standby mode—no ads appear on the screen while the user is reading.

I would recommend a Kindle to any bookworm who is eager or even slightly hesitant to embrace the future of books and other written media. Whether we like it or not, electronic publications are quickly replacing printed and we will eventually be forced to adapt. Do yourself a favor and jump on board early—you won’t regret it!

Generate Informed Opinions!

Research your facts, study the whole story before judging others or speaking your mind
In the age of technology, we are surrounded by noise, or interference, when it comes to creating an informed opinion. It is far too easy to simply listen to what a friend says or read an article by the news media and develop an opinion based on a single argument.In reality, to form a truly informed opinion, an individual must conduct his own opinion by seeking out influence from not only the news media but also from the voice of the people, more commonly known as social media now-a-days.
It’s important to acknowledge the fact that members of the news media are prone to going for shock value.Ever heard of the phrase “If it bleeds, it leads?” As journalists, this is our mantra. So, what happens when the story in question just isn’t quite as scandalous as we’d like? Well, some journalists’ word choice will make up for the missing content while others will hunt down more facts.Contrary to popular belief, numbers are a journalist’s best friend. Any statistic can be fabricated to fit the angle of the story. When a journalist says “majority vote,” the statistic could range from 51 percent to 99 percent, so be wary.

It’s not wrong to spruce up a story, but it’s also important for readers to understand that they must read as much as possible about a developing story to get the real facts. And, even when doing so, keep in mind that the world of journalism is cut throat.

News outlets compete not only to post the first story but also to have the most sensational story. Remember that the media can also only report on what it has access to, so in many cases, information is missing.

Social media is powerful but dangerous. Look at Egypt; an entire revolution was organized and implemented through social media networks. Wow. In today’s society, you’re pretty much considered weird if you aren’t connected electronically in some way.

When news breaks, one lucky individual is responsible for the start of a new trend. She posts a link on her social media network of choice and boom. Instant viral link. Soon, everyone is talking about it and retweeting or posting the same link. Forget researching for new developments. And of course, everyone has something to say about the latest scandal on the rise.

Keep in mind that your friends’ opinions aren’t always backed up by fact. Social media is a giant outlet for people to rant and complain. Angry people feed on each other’s emotions and soon an issue can escalate as a result.

Social media may be an excellent resource for spreading information and organizing events but it falls short where liability is concerned. There’s a lack of restraint when tweeting or posting status updates on Facebook.

Don’t be the next victim of ignorance. Avoid complacency in our technology based “Brave New World.”

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This article originally appeared in the Nov. 10 issue of the Setonian. Although it has no byline, I wrote the article based on the opinions and emotions of our editorial staff.

Check out my other article from this issue…

Federal authorities deny bail for professor This is a developing story at Seton Hill University.