Kindle Fire $30 off today only

Enter “firedeal” at checkout to get it for $129 instead of $159. Be aware that for that price ($129 today or $159 regular) that you don’t get a charger. That’s $19 extra. And you sometimes will have to watch ads.

If you miss the one day sale you ought to think seriously about skipping the base Fire and getting the Kindle Fire HD. It’s faster and has a higher-res display and more memory. Cost is the same $199 the original Kindle Fire cost a year ago. By the time you buy the regular Fire and pay to turn off the ads and then order the charger you might as well have bought the HD version. That’s how I’d go.

We still like our Kindle Fire, BTW, and the new HD version looks even better. There’s also a bigger model with an 8.9″ display similar to the iPad. The 7″ is nice for portability and reading and is fine for apps, but is a little cramped for general Web surfing.

We’re Cutting the Cable TV Cord. We’re Cord Cutters.

We’ve cancelled our cable TV. Not because of any high-minded desire to get ebil television out of our lives. We did it to save money.

With a third child we need a bigger house and we need to rearrange our finances to do that. That third child spent his first week in the NICU and we decided we wanted to pay off those medical bills sooner rather than later. My wife and I are also starting Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University to tighten up our finances. First class is this week.

Once we made our choice we didn’t hesitate. We decided to cut the cable. Just as soon as “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men” ended their seasons. Now the cable’s gone as of sometime this afternoon (“the agent will be at your home between 10 and 4 because we run our cable company like a Swiss train”) at least until the medical bills are paid off.

What we’ll watch instead of cable TV

  • We bought a $40 digital converter to watch over the air HD channels.
  • We already have an Amazon Prime membership, so we can watch lots of free videos on the computers, on the Kindle Fire, or on the two flatscreen TVs that have PC/VGA inputs. Between free shipping, free video and free Kindle books Prime is a steal.
  • Last night we connected a laptop to a 40″ TV with a VGA cable I had lying around and watched some Amazon Prime free video. The quality was outstanding.
  • We’re going to buy a Roku box for watching Amazon Prime and other video on TV. Compared to the laptop the Roku is smaller, doesn’t tie up a laptop, doesn’t require a TV with a PC input, and has a remote. Plus it has zillions of other features. I talked to Uncle last night and he loves his.
  • The kids have a Wii and lots of DVDs. They love watching Amazon Prime videos on the Kindle Fire. We’ve already taught them the difference between the free Amazon Prime videos and the pay videos. Only once has one of the kids bought a pay video.
  • We have hundreds of hours of TV shows and HD movies saved on the TiVo. If the spirit moves us we can use the TiVo to rent movies from Netflix and Amazon.
  • I need to introduce the kids to Hulu.
  • We can get free DVDs through the library, which has a good online catalog and reservation system. They have seasons 1-3 of Breaking Bad, which my wife and I have been meaning to watch.

So, yeah. Somehow I think we’ll survive without cable. It’s amazing how much free video is available in 2012 without a cable TV subscription.

Beyond that we hope to spend less time watching TV and more time walking, reading, taking pictures, and doing things like family game night that we’ve gotten away from.

Rumor of 10.1 Inch Kindle Fire in Q3

At RANsquawk.

Kindle Reader December Sales

4 million Kindles sold this Christmas. The Fire was the top seller followed by the Touch.

Splash Safari Case for Amazon Kindle Fire

I bought the Splash Safari Case for the Kindle Fire. It’s a minimalist, inexpensive case with two interior pockets. Cost is about $14. The only thing I can think of that it lacks is some kind of exterior closure to keep it from coming open. Add a little DIY Velcro and you’re golden.

Splash Safari Case for Amazon Kindle Fire

Front Cover

Splash Safari Case for Amazon Kindle Fire, Open

Two pockets inside the case. Top: One pocket holds a set of earbuds, though it makes closing the case slightly clumsy.Bottom: One pocket holds a microfiber cleaning cloth that's a near-necessity for the Fire's easily-smudged LCD.

Splash Safari Case for Amazon Kindle Fire, Standing

The Safari case folds to support the Kindle Fire for watching videos.

Jakon Nielsen on the Kindle Fire

Kindle Fire Usability Findings:

Mobile web sites work best on the 7-inch tablet. Users had great trouble touching the correct items on full sites, where UI elements are too small on the Fire screen.

Lileks ain’t crazy about his Kindle Fire

To say the least. Via Glenn. He’s especially not happy about the page-turning performance when reading books and the poor battery life compared to his regular Kindle. To be fair, nothing with an LCD screen is going to match the battery life of the other Kindle’s electronic ink screen.

Interestingly, I haven’t tried reading a Kindle book on my Fire. But I have a confession to make. I have an original Kindle I received as a gift and I’ve never read a book on it.

Since having children I’ve had very little time for reading the kinds of books that work well on the Kindle, namely books that are mostly text. These days the little offline reading I do is mostly non-fiction that relies heavily on illustrations, such as photography books.

My fiction reading is what I can fit into 15 and 20 minute bursts, which is mostly graphic novels. Those exist in electronic form, but I’m not wild about them. My friend Kevin showed me some comic books on his iPad. It was interesting, but I couldn’t really get into it. I had the same experience when my friend Tony loaned me a DVD of comic books and I tried reading them on a PC with a big monitor. Reading comic books on a computer screen just doesn’t do it for me. I want to hold the book and turn the page.

There’s a comic book app for the Fire that I’ve been meaning to try. They tell me the third time’s the charm.

More Kindle Reviews

Alan has a review. So does Ace of Spades, Walt Mossberg at the WSJ, and Engadget.

I’ll say this as a comment on how much my kids like it. I’ve already had to referee their first big fight over who gets to use it.

My kids use the Fire for the video more than for the apps so far, though it will be interesting to see if that changes over time. I like the Kindle Fire best as a video and Android app platform. For Web browsing the 1000 x 600 screen is unsatisfying, so I surf from our Windows computer when we’re at home. If we’re out, then the Fire is a better Web browser than my wife’s Samsung Android phone and lightyears better than my Blackberry, but so far we haven’t thought to take it with us.

I think Rex Hammock is right that iPad vs. Kindle Fire isn’t really a vs. The Fire really starts making a lot of sense if you’re an Amazon Prime customer. That’s when you start getting free TV shows, movies, and the one book a month from the Kindle lending library. The iPad’s bigger screen makes it a better browsing platform, and the iPad has a bigger app library and more gadgets like the GPS and camera.

Kindle Fire First Impressions, Using it With Children

UPS delivered the Kindle Fire the day it was released. First impressions after getting some feedback from co-workers and using it at home with the kids:

  • Interface-wise, there’s a power button, headphone jack, and a microUSB for charging and connectivity. That’s it.
  • I love the size. I always thought the iPad was a little too big – if I’m going to carry something that big I’d rather it be a light laptop. The Fire fits into the pocket of dress pants or cargo pants. If you’re carrying any kind of bag, purse, or backpack you’ve got room for the Fire.
  • The kids and I watched part of the Jetsons movie in HD and three episodes of “Fractured Fairy Tales.” Even on our home cable modem that doesn’t have the fastest cable speed the video streamed smoothly without a blip.
  • The two speakers are on one of the narrow ends. There isn’t much stereo effect and when you’re watching video in portrait mode the sound comes from one side. Earbuds will be a popular accessory. (And I like the kids watching video on the Kindle better than TV. It’s quieter.)
  • My friend Adam thinks the most popular accessory will be a microfiber cleaning cloth. The screen shows smudges pretty readily.
  • That’s two accessories. A carrying case with a small pocket would be swell. Or I guess tape a Ziploc to the inside of a carrying case. Black duct tape FTW.
  • More apps will make it more better. The Email app works okay with Gmail, but I’d like to use Google apps, either officially supported or sideloaded through the USB port.

Won’t someone please think of the children?

I bought this for my 5 and 7 year old kids. With children in the house I have to ask myself a few questions when I’m buying something:

  • “Could my kids break this?”
  • “If they broke it, could I afford to run right out and buy another one just like it?”
  • “Without having an aneurysm?”

The Kindle Fire’s $199 price tag makes it affordable enough for the kids to use. If they destroy it I’m not out too much money. If they start fighting over it it’s cheap enough I can buy another one to keep the peace.

We had a quick Kindle class where I showed them how to open apps, get to the Home screen, scroll, change volume, and fast-forward and rewind in videos. They took to the touchscreen instantly.

We also talked about the Kindle Rules:

  • We don’t buy paid apps unless mommy or daddy say it’s OK. Only free apps that have a price of $0.00. I also showed them the Amazon Prime symbol, which means movies and TV shows are free.
  • If the screen gets dirty we don’t clean it with water or Windex. Water is bad for electronics, boys and girls.
  • When you’re done with the Kindle it always goes on a table. Not on top of something on the table, because it could slide off. It goes flat on the table.
  • The Kindle doesn’t leave the house unless mommy or daddy say it’s OK.
  • Next step: decide on a place to put the Kindle when we’re done with it. When we put it up connect it to the charger so it’s ready the next time we need it.

Whenever you download an app – pay or free – Amazon sends you an order email, just as if you had ordering something from their store. Since the Fire is registered to me, that means I know everything that’s been downloaded and can make sure the kids aren’t buying apps or movies.

My Kindle Fire will be here tomorrow, Tuesday the 15th

The official release date is the 15th, which was when mine was supposed to ship, with delivery on the 17th. I got notice that the order has already shipped. Amazon says it will be here on the 16th, but UPS tracking data says it will arrive on the 15th.

Amazon Kindle Fire is on its way

Someone asked if I was going to order the Amazon Kindle Fire I blogged about and that’s a roger. I ordered it the next day.

November 15th is the release date. Amazon is saying mine will arrive the 17th.

Kindle Fire Link Dump

Any reason I shouldn’t buy the Amazon Kindle Fire for my kids?

I’ve been batting around the idea of getting the kids a tablet computer for a while now. Something that’s easy for them to use, lets them play their stuff (Facebook-based Flash games and Poptropica, mostly), and that won’t get infested with malware they download along with their Windows games.

The iPad is right out. Too pricey for five and seven year old kids to play with. iPads won’t play their Flash games so it’s a non-starter.

Android tablets like a good fit. The Amazon Kindle Fire is Android-based and the price is right at $199. I like Amazon and already have a Prime membership and a Kindle. They already have loads of content and they’ll have an app store with apps built for the Fire’s 7 inch screen. The Fire supports Flash, and Amazon has some sort of whizbang technology on their servers called Silk that’s supposed to speed up the Flash experience.

Any reason not to pre-order one for Christmas?