Tag Archives: kindle

How I Have Stopped Using Amazon’s Kindle for my Digital Reading

July 20, 2020

Culture and Society / Reading Books

I read a lot of books, and I love the convenience of being able to take a book anywhere with me when I use digital formats. For the record, I still like actual books made of paper and comprised of tactile pages I can turn; however, the advantages that come with digital reading make my life as a daily reader much more streamlined, easy, and focused.

Up until recently, I have used Amazon’s ubiquitous Kindle ecosystem on its desktop and cell phone apps and largely on its e-readers. I love being able to switch easily between all three spaces without losing my place in a book. The simple and lightweight form factor of both their e-reader and my cell phone make it convenient to take them wherever I go in any kind of weather.

Fast forward to today when I have now eliminated my use of the Amazon Kindle platform. Relating to my last post (which you can read HERE), I am slowly moving away from using Amazon for anything. They are a multinational corporation and monopoly that rakes in HUGE profits for its billionaire CEO and its many coffers. At this point in my life, I want to support smaller businesses and exercise my right to direct my spending power away from these major conglomerates (such as Walmart, Target, etc.). Small businesses matter, and a diversified marketplace cultivates a wider variety of job opportunities, more ideas, and innovation.

My move away from Kindle does not mean I have stopped reading digitally. It is, in fact, one of the best decisions I have made that has enhanced my reading life.

This is what I have done:

  • I researched alternative e-readers and discovered a Canadian company called Rakuten that manufactures its own line of Kobo e-readers that has all of what Kindle offers and even more at reasonable prices.
  • I’ve found alternate apps such as Overdrive and Libby that grant me access to the digital resources of several libraries in different areas.
  • I’ve utilized the resources of the library at the college where I recently graduated from last December. My status as an alumnus grants me certain perks.
  • I have hunted down little free libraries that can be found virtually anywhere in the US. These are literally tiny wooden libraries in mostly residential neighborhoods in which people can take and leave books. (www.littlefreelibrary.org) There are two that I know of within an hour of where I live. (There are several in Nashville over an hour away from me.)

Instead of relying on the one Kindle ecosystem for all of my reading pleasures, I now have access to a treasure trove of different resources.

As far as my new Kobo e-reader goes, here are some details:

  • From a selection of great options, I chose the Kobo Libra H20.
  • Through a full charge, I can read for several hours.
  • I can store thousands of books with its native 8 GB of storage.
  • It offers12 different fonts and over 50 font styles.
  • There are exclusive font weight and sharpness settings.
  • The 14 file formats it supports include EPUB, EPUB3, PDF, MOBI, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, TIFF, TXT, HTML, RTF, CBZ, CBR.
  • It has Wifi connectivity to access the Kobo Bookstore and the internet.
  • With built in access to Overdrive, I can place holds and borrow books from my library of choice for free. (Kindle does not offer this.)
  • Language options are English, French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Brazilian, Portuguese, Japanese, Turkish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish, and Chinese.
  • Screen specs: 7.0″ 300 PPI E Ink Carta display, 1680 × 1264 resolution
  • It is waterproof up to 60 mins in 2 metres of water.
  • There is a front light that has adjustable color temperatures. (I read a lot in bed at night. I love this feature!)
  • Unlike Kindle, there is no advertising whatsoever (and no extra price to remove advertising, for that matter).

My Kobo Libra H20 e-reader is easily the best e-reader I’ve ever used so far. It is also well designed with a rubberized and textured backing that makes holding it at different orientations much easier.

Initially, I was hesitant to leave Kindle because of my long history with it and its ease of use, but now, I’m so glad that I did. I have a much better digital reading experience with my Kobo and access to so many more free books!

Change can be a very good thing.

PS: If you haven’t seen it already, here is my newest weekly film release called “The Package”. It is a 5-part saga in just over 4 minutes. Enjoy . . .

How I Am Minimizing my Google and Amazon Usage

July 13, 2020

Culture and Society

As a law-abiding human being, I do not ask much out of the companies I do business with. I simply want good service and a quality product out of the deal in exchange for my money and continued patronage. With certain multi-national corporations however, I am getting far more than I ever wanted—and ominously so.

The ubiquitous Google empire, with its search engine, email, navigation, Android technology, productivity tools, and YouTube, certainly has numerous services it offers to anyone with access to the internet, but what we surrender is our privacy and personal information. It uses its services to enable algorithmic technology to process and predict our buying patterns and sensibilities. As if that was not bad enough, they probably know far more about us than we would reasonably allow if we actually had a say in the matter. (Google contends that we do. I do not believe them.)

Over the last three years, I have been phasing out my usage of Google. For my purposes as a filmmaker and musician, I cannot eradicate Google completely, but I have made progress.

Here’s a list of what I’ve done:

  • I do not use Gmail and have opted instead to use a company called Proton Mail that encrypts my emails and protects my data.
  • I do not use Google Chrome as my web browser. I use a browser called Brave that blocks all ads and internet trackers to maintain privacy .
  • I do not use Google Search and use an engine called DuckDuckGo that does not track or record your search history.
  • I do not use Google Docs, Sheets, Photos, or any of its document services. I generally stick to Microsoft products or a simple text program to meet most of my writing needs.

Now, with that said, Google still has its grubby tentacles firmly entrenched in my life. My cell phone uses Android software along with Google’s ridiculously convenient navigation system. I publish my weekly short films on Google’s YouTube platform because it’s free and is an effective way to get my film work out into the world.

Someday, I’ll find a cell phone that is not manufactured by Google or Apple that is just as good as those behemoths. One day, I will not need to publish my films on Youtube to get people to watch them. Until those days come, I’m stuck in my dance with the devil for now.

If anyone out there has thoughtful suggestions about what I can do to remedy this, I am completely open to possibilities.

More recently, given the insane amounts of profit Amazon has raked in during the current Coronavirus pandemic along with its mistreatment of its warehouse employees, this worldwide monopoly is my next target. I mean no offense to close friends of mine who work for Amazon, but I’ve started to extricate myself and my purchasing power from this corporate giant.

For starters, I have stopped using Kindle technology to read ebooks. I recently purchased a different e-reader called the Kobo Libra H2O to satisfy my modern reading needs. It’s made by a Canadian company named Rakuten and does everything that Kindle does (and more).

The other more tricky way that I am eliminating Amazon from my life is not ordering from them and ending my Amazon Prime subscription. I’ve started to patronize other online companies (like Sweetwater and B and H Photo and Video) to order the film and music supplies that I need. When my prime subscription runs out in less than a year, I will not renew. I have plenty to watch on Netflix already, in addition to SO MANY BOOKS to read!!

Maybe all of this is a fool’s errand, and these huge companies, one way or another, are virtually inescapable. But is it too much to want some degree of control and balance in my life regarding my privacy and freedom of choice?

I do not think so.

These massive monopolies wanting to have a hand in so much of what I do is all feeling a little too dystopian and “big brother-ish” to me, and this cannot be good.

I’m not stopping with Google and Amazon either. I’ve got my sights set on Apple and Facebook on the eventual horizon.

What are you doing to safeguard your personal information and freedom of choice? I am doing all that I can at the moment and plan on doing a lot more.