jordan.terrell
Just trying to make sense of things...

Kindle: Where Does My Feedback Go?

Wednesday, 12 August 2009 13:55 by jordan.terrell

I recently provided a review of my Kindle DX experience – and it continues to be a positive one.  The “screensaver” that runs on the Kindle rotates through a number of images, the last of which displays an email address that you can use to provide feedback and suggestions about your Kindle experience.  I’ve done this twice, and here are the suggestions I’ve provided:

  • Organization
    • I would like the ability to mark books/documents as read or unread.
    • I would like the ability to mark items as private or public - show only public items on power up - provide some way to navigate to private items
    • I would like the ability to apply arbitrary tags to items - allow me to filter the item list by one or more tags
  • Screensaver settings
    • Allow the user to specify the amount of idle time the Kindle waits before it enters the "screensaver mode"
    • Allow the user to change the images used - some of them I really don't like (one or two I personally find mildly offensive) and I have turn the Kindle on and then off just to change it
    • Allow the user to disable the use of images - blank out the screen and display a simple message indicating that the Kindle has gone to sleep
  • PDF Support Enhancements
    • Add indexing/searching support across multiple PDF files - I realize this will not work with PDFs are are just images of text
    • Support dictionary look up of words in PDF files that contain text

After submitting this feedback, I received the following message:

Hello,
Thanks for writing about Kindle DX feedback.
I'll send your comments to our Kindle team for consideration.
Strong customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the service we provide, and we're glad you took time to write to us.  It is always important for us to hear how customers react to all aspects.
Thanks for your interest in Amazon Kindle.
Please let us know if this e-mail resolved your question:
If yes, click here:
http://www.amazon.com/rsvp-y?c=xxxxxxxxx
If not, click here:
http://www.amazon.com/rsvp-n?c=xxxxxxxxxx
Please note: this e-mail was sent from an address that cannot accept incoming e-mail.
To contact us about an unrelated issue, please visit the Help section of our web site.


Best regards,
Prakash
Amazon.com
We're Building Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company
http://www.amazon.com/your-account

Pretty standard boiler-plate “thanks for submitting your feedback” message.  Now, I’m not complaining about this message – it is the expected initial response.

However, I have not a clue where my feedback has gone or what is being done with it.  Did the product team review it?  Has it been added to a backlog of feature enhancements the development team is working on?  Or is it just rotting in a database somewhere?

I don’t think Amazon has done a good job of communicating the future roadmap of improvements and fixes to the Kindle platform and devices.  Even if they never plan to add enhancements, I am in some ways I’m okay with that – I really enjoy the Kindle experience as it is today.  But by giving me an avenue to submit feedback, Amazon has created an expectation that my feedback will somehow be acted upon.

Anyone at Amazon want to clue me in on what happens with the feedback from Kindle users?

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I Don’t Borrow Books to People

Tuesday, 28 July 2009 23:06 by jordan.terrell

That might sound like an incredibly random and selfish statement, but let me expand on this thought:

I don’t borrow books to people, but I will give them away as a gift.

Telling you this was prompted by a review of the Kindle 2 by Rockford Lhotka. Rocky basically said one thing he doesn’t like about the Kindle is the inability to borrow books to other people – something that is easy to do with a real book.

This doesn’t bother me at all.  Rarely do I borrow books to other people, and this is because I’m very particular about how my books are treated.  For instance, I try not to eat or drink around them in a way that might risk wreaking them.  I also refuse to write on my books.  I’ve seen people borrow books from someone they know and then write their own notes in the margin. In my opinion that is a just a little rude.

The other reason I don’t borrow my books out is because I tend to buy books that have longer term value.  Generally I won’t buy a book about a new technology stack that will be here and gone inside of a year.  I did, however, say “generally” – not never.

I do have a double standard though – I will borrow your book if you let me.  I will treat it will respect and care, and I’ll be sure to set expectations as to when I plan on returning it.

So for those who know and interact with me in real life, don’t take it personal.  However, I might gift a book to you if I’m done with it, or I think you really should read it.

One more thing – someone recently asked if they could borrow my Kindle. Uhhh… Not going to happen!

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Review: Kindle DX

Monday, 13 July 2009 09:16 by jordan.terrell

History

Six years ago the very thought of reading a book on a electronic device was something I cringed at.  This reaction was not due to a dislike of technology, but because the technology had not matured to a point where the experience even came close to reading a real book.  LCD screens, although having improved, did not work at all outdoors, caused eyestrain, and required much more power than was convenient.

I can’t remember when this happened, but I remember when a technology company made the announcement that they had developed electronic paper that they felt would be viable in a reader device.  The idea of a reader device working just as well outside and inside, having no backlight and thus causing no eyestrain, and requiring power only when the paper needed to be updated (i.e. turn the page) – all of this intrigued me.  However, I made the assumption that such technology would not be available to consumers for 10-15 years.

Then came the first-generation Kindle. Guess I was wrong on the timeline.  Everything about it sounded (to me) like a viable platform.  However, content for the Kindle became my next issue.  It seemed like the Kindle’s content was heavily weighted toward the crowd most interested in the latest New York Times Best Sellers.  As I looked through the content that most interested me (mostly technical/reference), almost nothing was available via Kindle.  So, I promptly disregarded the Kindle release.

Then came the second-generation Kindle.  Definitely an improvement over the first generation device.  By this time some of the content I was interested in was starting to become available, but not enough to justify buying the device.  At this point I noticed that the Kindle could have other content converted, as long as you emailed it to a special Kindle email address.  However, I found out that this butchered most technical content.  So, once again, I promptly disregarded the Kindle release.

The DX

A few months later Amazon announced the Kindle DX.  At first glance the biggest distinction I could make is that it was a bigger screen.  Nice, but what really caught my attention was this: “native PDF support”.  Excellent!  There was way more content that I was interested in available in PDF format.  On top of that, I could produce documents in PDF format and use it for giving presentations.

I ordered and received the Kindle DX three weeks ago – it’s been a game changer.  I’ve already finished two books on the Kindle and I’m working on my third.  I’ve been using it for many other purposes as well, one of which is giving a talk off of it.  The PDF support has been phenomenal, and it is THE reason I’ve enjoyed owning the Kindle.  I’ve got way more content on my Kindle than I could probably consume in two years, but that’s okay.  It allows me to carry things along as reference material, and it lets me take advantage of those 5-10 minute gaps between activities to get some reading in.  I’ve even purchased some Kindle content directly from Amazon, which is almost TOO easy to do.

I’m hoping they continue to add support for the PDF format (e.g. searching across multiple PDFs, dictionary lookup of words while reading a PDF). That being said, I strongly recommend the DX, even if you are not interested in technical content.  The PDF support alone makes this a great platform!

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