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Hi. I'm a Unix Administrator, mathematics enthusiast, and amateur philosopher. This is where I rant about that which upsets me, laugh about that which amuses me, and jabber about that which holds my interest most: Unix.
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Kindle for PC? Why do you mock me?!?!

Posted 12-29-2010 at 09:50 AM by rocket357

Last night I decided to try out Kindle for PC (I'm thinking about purchasing an ebook reader and I'm having trouble deciding between the "liquid ink"-based Kindle and the touchscreen LCD nook). I get the PC software up and running on my WinXP machine at home, and make a startling discovery...Books in the "Popular Classics" section of the Kindle Store are...wait for it...completely free! Every page had half a dozen or so books that make me go "Hey! I remember reading that as a kid! I LOVED that book!"...ancient books like "The Art of War" and "The Republic"...not to mention literary classics like "Great Expectations", "The Divine Comedy", "Gulliver's Travels", "Treasure Island", etc...the list is *literally* too long to post here.

Several hours and half my monthly bandwidth allocation later, I went to bed. I didn't make it through a single chapter...I was too busy going "oh! I NEED that book!".

Now I'm at work, and I've decided to test out a theory. I have an old laptop running WinXP that I use as a "flash slave" (read about the setup here) that is a prime candidate for testing how the Kindle handles "distributed" reading. I download and install Kindle for PC on my flash machine and it's off to the races...or so I thought.

Now, most everything works as expected...but I recently switched to cwm (from fluxbox, which I've used since my Gentoo days probably 5-7 years ago), so I'm entirely open-minded to the fact that this is likely user error or "perception-related". Problem is, cwm auto-focuses windows (a very neat feature, IMHO). This works excellent for native applications. What it *doesn't* work well for, however, is "Redmond OS"-based applications.

I highlight a particular button or key or whatever. The mouse jumps off of the button to the right. I've seen graphical artifacts with rdesktop before, so I file that little incident under "wtf?" and try again. I highlight the button and...the mouse jumps off the button to the right. If this behavior survives round 3, I'll know I have a real issue on my hands, so I muscle the cursor back over to the button and, after an ever-so-brief pause, the cursor jumps off the button to the right. Nice touch, adding that's mocking me.

After scratching my head briefly, I notice that it's those damned user-friendly tooltips that pop up. rdesktop apparently puts those in their own window, which causes cwm to auto-focus them. Since I'm remoted into this machine, it takes a moment for the popup to actually appear, and cwm is aware of them well before they display. cwm focuses them before they appear, but since the mouse has moved off of the button, the tooltip will no longer show. The end result? "Phantom" cursor movement...creepy at best and downright un-usable at worst. It's stupid moments like this when you realize "hey...did that tooltip have a...tooltip?". And don't get me started on the "Start"'s completely useless now, as every time I open it, if I don't speedily navigate through, I automatically get sent to WinSCP's documentation website link (actually, the tooltip just to the right of that link...sigh).

Looks like I need to a) figure out how to turn off tooltips globally in Windows (can it be done?), b) run my flash slave in a window of it's own (currently running seamless), or c) turn off auto-focus in cwm. I'm somewhat new to cwm, so ideally I want to learn cwm's default configuration before I go changing stuff around...and I'm rather fond of seamless rdp, so I need to "get googlin'" to find an answer to "a".
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  1. Old Comment
    @ free books

    Those are public domain books. They are free a lot of places on the net. Google even has them (however google scans the real books with page warp and often misses pages or sections completly)

    @ Kindle Vs Nook

    It really depends on how much you want to spend, where you want to read, and what you want to read.

    I don't want to spend a lot, have the option to read outside, and only need it for books.

    The obvious choice is then the Kindle.

    The Nook is more of a cross between e-book reader and tablet without any of the advanced options and applications of the tablet. As I understand it, the nook has colored magazines and online shops. Both of which I don't need. Additionally with a tablet, you can get a kindle app anyway. So if I had the money, I would go with an android tablet.

    @ your problem with auto focus.
    Remove auto focus? I never really liked my windows managers moving my mouse button around, especially when it moves it to the YES button but I wanted NO. Odd really though. I'm surprised it's treating the bubble tip as a window. I know you can turn bubble tips off in windows for at least all windows bubble tips. This may help a little. At least with menu navigation. I can't remember the exact setting or where to find it. You may actually need the Windows 'Power Tools' to turn them off.
    Posted 12-29-2010 at 12:48 PM by lumak lumak is offline
  2. Old Comment
    The issue isn't so much that free books are available, lumak, it's more that there's a central location to get them conveniently that impressed me. Yeah, I could hunt down copies of nearly everything on Amazon's Classics list, but the work of finding it is already done for me, which I like =)

    I am still up in the air on the idea of what platform I want to use for kindle/nook. Money is a big concern...but more importantly, most of the books on my Amazon wishlist aren't available on kindle. I may scrap the idea and just buy paperback.

    I don't really use the mouse that often unless I'm rdp'd to a Windows machine (or using a FOSS giant like firefox or OpenOffice)...and the only time rdesktop exhibits the "tooltip-in-it's-own-window" behavior is when running in seamless mode (which is strictly for this flash slave XP machine). Honestly the auto-focus doesn't bother me until I try to use this particular XP box because I really don't use the mouse that much. It could be argued that I don't need auto-focus because I don't use the mouse, but it makes it really simple to open a new window and start typing immediately. I tend to stick to efficient workflows, so anything in the spirit of vi makes me happy.
    Posted 12-30-2010 at 10:10 AM by rocket357 rocket357 is offline


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