News – 1) Jakob Nielsen pans the usability of the Kindle Fire and elaborates in an interview with David Streitfeld of The New York Times. Click here for Nielsen’s review of the second-generation Kindle back in 2009. 2) Meanwhile, Amazon reports that Kindles — Fire and others — are selling more than a million a week. Bloomberg/Businessweek tracks how the market reacts.
Tech Tip – Sorry about my mixup last week on WiFi security. The one you want is WPA, not WEP. I had them reversed, but George from Tulsa set me straight. Also, be mindful of where you tap your Kindle Touch screen, or you may go skittering off to some web site you had no intention of visiting.
Interview (Starts at 13:22) – Sven Birkerts, editor of the literary journal AGNI and author of The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age, sees the Kindle as a step back from the cultural commonality of the book. I spoke with Sven by phone and Skype on December 12. His latest book of essays is titled The Other Walk, and his 2009 Atlantic essay is titled “Resisting the Kindle.” As director of the Bennington Writing Seminars, he sees little evidence of Kindles among students earning their MFAs in creative writing in the program. Also mentioned: “The Machine Stops,” a prescient 1909 short story by E.M. Forster.
Content – Music: Goat Rodeo Sessions with Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer, and Chris Thile. Movies: Return of the Pink Panther and Fahrenheit 451. Apps: Bufo Calvin’s overview includes ColorNote and WiFi Explorer. I also like Any.do, a To Do list maker. Books, etc.: Sven’s books and Eric Loss’s latest blog post. Plus my essay titled “Visual Intensity of Words” in the Winter
2001 2011 issue of Nieman Reports.
Other links mentioned: Mark Roberts on “Will E-Books Destroy the Democratizing Effects of Reading?”
Next Google Plus video hangout: Wednesday, December 21 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please e-mail your Google Plus profile URL to PodChronicles AT Gmail DOT com if you’d like an invitation to participate.