TKC 104 Hoa Loranger

News – 1: As reported by TechFlash and elsewhere, Amazon flirts with the $100 price point by offering, as available, refurbished Kindle six-inch US-only models for $109.99. Try here or here to see if they’re back in stock.  2: FastCompany and The Guardian report the demise of a would-be Kindle Killer, Interead, the UK-maker of the Cool-er Reader. 3: Anand Chokkavelu of the Motley Fool revises his assessment of the Kindle’s prospects competing against the iPad. Click here for the Fool’s excellent weekly podcast, hosted by Chris Hill.

Tech Tip – Andrys Basten of A Kindle World blog shows how you can use your Kindle to get Google map text directions. You might also want to try KindleMap, brought to her attention by Bob Hart.

Interview – I spoke with Hoa Loranger, a director of user experience at Nielsen Norman Group, on July 14th about the research which she ran comparing user experiences with Kindle, iPad, desktop computer, and book. Click here for information about the tutorial she will be presenting next month in Toronto.

Content – So many books, so little time.  My lament, and — whaddya know? — there’s a book for that!

Comments – Ken Clark on Ender’s Game, Jean Remple on the Nielsen study, Mark Brass on Kindle questions showing up on cruise line forums,  John Halkias on what people asked about his Kindle this year on vacation compared with last.  Plus, comments quoted from recent posts here at the show notes page from Jeffery Koroknay, Pastor Mark Pierce, Marie Sotiriou, Peggy Poellot, Chris Martin, Alejandro Bonilla, Jim Jones, and Rick Askenase.

Click here to download this episode.

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Comments 6

  1. Wayne Choy wrote:

    It was great and timely that Len could get this interview into the podcast so soon, but it disappointed me that the interview did not touch on how other factors effected things, like dictionary use or notetaking or highlighting which are things you can do on a Kindle but not (the latter two) on an iPad, and the iPad has an inferior dictionary.

    My homepage is over 200 pages long with lots of pdfs and I just got a new ipod with 160GB and know that it will also make it hard to find things but don’t know how to limit what content I put on my devices and suppose lots of other people have the same “problem”.

    Posted 17 Jul 2010 at 12:29 am
  2. Cindy Brooks wrote:

    Hi Len!
    Love the show; it is my regular companion on my Saturday morning walk and I always look forward to it.

    I was interested in your comments about the Graphite DX, since I bought one myself last week. This is my first experience with a Kindle DX. I owned the original Kindle (bought November 2007) and the Kindle 2 US which I’ve been reading on for about the last year and a half. I was one of the people who had to go through several K2’s to get one that didn’t fade in the sun, and while I finally did get one I could read outdoors, I was never happy with the contrast level. Nonetheless, there were so many other great features on the K2 that I kept it and have been reading on it, as mentioned earlier, for the past 15 months or so. I had been toying with the idea of a DX for a while, spurred on in part by Andrys Basten’s enthusiastic blog posts about her DX, and also the thought that it’d be perfect for reading newspapers.

    Well, the Graphite DX arrived and there has been no looking back. Forget newspapers – I’m on my third novel in a week! The contrast between the K2 screen and the GDX screen is striking, and as you mentioned, outdoors it is simply phenomenal. The first time my daughter saw the new DX, she commented that it looked backlit, it is so bright and clear. I love having that vast screen area, and more text on the page. I have my controls set at the default font size, but with the fewest words per line, giving a nice margin to the page of text. I find this to be so easy on my eyes, especially after the unsatisfactory reading experience of the K2. I would always have to increase the font size on the K2 in low light, and it still did not approach the clarity of the DX. My particular unit seems really well built – solid and sturdy with no creaky buttons – and is simply beautiful to look at.

    I was surprised to find that the heavier weight did not bother me at all as I tend to read with my Kindle propped either on my lap or in a bookstand. I did order the burgundy leather Amazon cover, as I didn’t want to get my fingerprints all over the screen while carrying my DX, and I still don’t find it too heavy. Obviously, I’m thrilled with this purchase, and for anyone interested in the larger format who is still on the fence: the Graphite DX really is that much better.

    Posted 17 Jul 2010 at 7:56 am
  3. Al MacDiarmid wrote:

    With the dramatic drop in price for the refurbished DX, I ordered one. When it arrived it didn’t have the update, but it did that over night when I left the whispernet on and asleep, but plugged in. I got this because of all the comments on forums about the DX being a great platform for reading PDF files. I found it disappointing, not any better than the K2 and decided those reviewers must have much better eyesight than mine. I was also disappointed in the balance, I had to put it down to type at all. It presently is sitting all boxed up ready to return on Monday when the UPS store opens up. I also found out that I have to pay for return postage, or at least some of it. I had not seen that about the refurbished units anywhere before.

    Posted 17 Jul 2010 at 9:33 am
  4. Errol wrote:

    Len, Good to hear you interviewing one of the heavyweights of usability. Although the Nielsen Norman Group could have undertaken a more indepth study of reading habits on electronic reading devices vs print books, the interview you did with Hoa Loranger was still a great interview. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. Looking forward to next weeks show.

    Posted 18 Jul 2010 at 1:35 pm
  5. Jim Jones wrote:


    Listening to your interview with Hoa Loranger in TKC 104 compelled me to write. I was glad to hear Ms. Loranger give more expansive details about the study that was the subject of your interview. It seems that often when the results of research studies are reported in the general media and blogosphere, one nugget of a finding is presented as representing much more than could be reasonably taken from the raw data or the official report. In this case, many seemed to take the finding that the study group read print text slightly faster than they did on the Kindle and iPad as somehow being “anti-those devices.” Having read the study report that you linked to in the show notes three times now, I just don’t see how what was presented there (“Thus, the only fair conclusion is that we can’t say for sure which device offers the fastest reading speed. In any case, the difference would be so small that it wouldn’t be a reason to buy one over the other.”) could be said to take a position, period, let alone for or against anything. As Ms. Loranger pointed out several times, this was a preliminary study. These sorts of investigations, with what seems to be a too-small participant group, or too few variables compared, are often done to determine what hypotheses to test in a more expanded study. So while comprehension, to take one example, wasn’t examined in this effort, for a number of reasons it’s not possible to test *everything* in one fell swoop. And even if it were “true” that reading print is definitively, absolutely, and invariably faster than reading digital text (*and I don’t believe any reputable researcher would make such a claim after one trial), there are potentially important implications of that beyond those associated with long-form reading. For example, if e-readers become more immersed in the school environment, where students regularly take examinations and other assessments on a timed basis, it might be critically important to know what format will allow them to make the most efficient use of that time. It could theoretically be possible that an e-reader (particularly one with an on-board dictionary) might be the more powerful *study* tool, whereas, at least for some, a printed text might be better suited for *test-taking*. I just don’t see it as a zero-sum case, which I suppose is the real catalyst behind this comment. It’s frustrating to me that so often “camps” form around these issues, and anything that’s not a full-throated song of praise about the “home team” is seen as an attack. So I appreciate the continuing platform you give to a variety of voices contributing to the discussion. Thanks, and take care.

    Posted 05 Aug 2010 at 8:59 pm
  6. Andie wrote:

    Len, I love your podcast – thank you so much for producing a great show every week. I feel compelled to write after listening to this one, however (I am a little behind, obviously!).
    I am happy that you interviewed Ms. Loranger about this preliminary work, but I’m left unclear exactly how she was related to the work. Throughout the interview it seemed as though she wasn’t one of the primary investigators and was unable to answer questions, such as “Was that difference statistically significant?”. Of course I understand that researchers don’t want to bore the public with complex statistical data, but at the very least a “yes, it was significant,” or “no” would have been useful for those of us who really did want an answer. In addition, she seemed to dodge your excellent question about whether reading time is really the appropriate measure of usefulness in a reading device.

    I applaud your attempt to unleash an informative interview here, but was left wondering what the real significance of the study was, since there were absolutely no data mentioned to back up Ms. Loranger’s nebulous conclusions.

    Posted 29 Aug 2010 at 4:25 pm