I know I haven’t posted in forever. I started writing this post with all the reasons why, but honestly, do you want to read all of that? I didn’t think so. I wanted to mention in, though, because I want you to know that I thought this idea was so great that I got my lazy behind back on here to share it with you.

HERE is what’s got me so excited:

Aren’t you glad I shared it with you? K, bye. Have a great day.

OK, fine. For those of you who have perfectly clean houses all the time I’ll explain.

I can not keep my kitchen clean. One of the biggest problems is that someone gets a drink, puts their cup down, walks out of the kitchen. When they come back they see the cup and think – “Is that blue cup mine or is it the one my germy brother or sister used?” Not wanting to take the risk, they get another cup, leave it somewhere on the counter – wash, rinse, repeat. (Except without the washing and rinsing) OR – someone (me) decides to clean the kitchen only to hear – “Where’s my cup?!? I wasn’t done.”

I haven’t tried this yet but I have high hopes that this simple tool will have my kitchen looking sparkling clean all day. Or, at least my counters.

Thanks Kathryn for the great tip!

(idea and pictures courtesy of http://www.beeinourbonnet.com/2011/12/coaster-tray.html)

{ 0 comments }

That was not fun. And to those of you who got that um… inappropriate post in your email or RSS reader, I am very sorry. Looks like it’s all fixed now, thanks to the amazing people at Host Gator. I love them. I’m not even a big fish in their pond. I just have a baby gator account but they fixed me right up. I’m sure if it was terribly complicated I would have had to hire someone to fix it but it was such a nice surprise to get the email this afternoon – We’ve restored your account, please upgrade to the newest version of WordPress. (Oops. OK. Sorry.)

Thanks Host Gator! I heart you.

(FYI – It’s important to to keep your WordPress installation updated to the most recent version. Most upgrades include patches to security holes.)

{ 0 comments }

I was in love with my Kindle when I got it. The words were so crisp and clear and I could put rooms full of books on it! I took it everywhere, showed everyone, and talked about it all the time, but I didn’t use it a whole lot. I read a few books on it but still found myself reading a lot of books from the library.

This wasn’t because the reading experience was any better with paper books. I actually thought reading on the Kindle was more enjoyable. I’m just cheap And I read a lot, a whole lot. But I’m not rich. I can’t afford to buy every book I read. I’ll buy a book if I think I’m going to want to refer back to it in the future, but for the most part I read a book and I’m done. I knew this about myself before I bought my Kindle, I just thought I could read borrowed library ebooks on it.

My library has an account with Overdrive so I am able to check out electronic books and audio books. (You check them out and they expire after two or three weeks. No late fees!) I thought I was going to be able to check out all kinds of library books for my Kindle and be in book heaven forever and ever.

Amazon had other ideas. They put some serious restrictions on what you can and can’t do with your Kindle and the ebooks you purchase from them. If you own a Kindle you can only read books purchased from the Kindle store. If you purchase an ebook from Fictionwise, legally, and with your own money, you can’t read it on your Kindle.  If you want to utilize the free books from your public library, that you support with your tax dollars and late fees, too bad. If you didn’t buy it from Amazon you can’t read it on your Kindle.

But maybe you’re rich. You don’t need to use the library and you certainly don’t want to waste your time shopping the internet to save a couple of bucks on every book you buy. Yay you! 2 years later a new ebook reader comes out with a color screen so you can see the pictures in your photography books and the pretty decorating ideas in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. This new ebook reader makes it really easy to take lots of notes, too. You can even cut pictures and sections of text and paste them into a project folder for later reference. This new ebook reader is everything you’ve ever wanted! (I wrote this way before the iPad came out. Seriously! I was actually writing about the rumored Microsoft Courier. I want it way more than I want an iPad.) But it’s not made by Amazon. If you buy this new reader you’ll lose all of the books you purchased for you Kindle. Or, you’ll have to keep your Kindle forever if you want to access those books in the future. LAME!

THAT is my major beef with my Kindle.
Things I like about my Kindle –

  • BIG page turning buttons – I crank up the font and can read on the treadmill. Because the buttons are so big it’s easy to turn the page while I’m running. (I’m not sure about the new version of the Kindle. The buttons are larger than on other ebook readers but I’m not sure if they’re as treadmill friendly.)
  • Book prices – Amazon almost always has the lowest price on ebooks
  • Books purchased books are stored by Amazon – If you buy an ebook from Amazon you can download it to your Kindle over and over again so if you need to free up space, your Kindle crashes and erases everything, or you upgrade to a new KINDLE you’re OK. (If you upgrade to another brand, you’re in trouble. But we’ve already discussed that.)
  • Sharing books – You can have up to 6 Kindles on your account and all Kindles have access to the same books. If you and your spouse have Kindles on the same account you buy one book and load it on both Kindles.
  • Book selection – Amazon has more books available than any other ebook seller.
  • It reads to you (Kindle 2 only) – It doesn’t sound like a robot, either. Well, not too much. You can choose male or female and even give it a British accent! How cool is that!?! Not sure I’d use it but I still think it’s cool.

Things I don’t like about my Kindle –

  • No memory card slot – (I have the Kindle 1. It has a memory card slot. The New Kindle 2, does not.) I like being able to expand the memory so I don’t have to try to figure out which books to delete to make room for new books.
  • No replaceable battery – If the battery dies you need to send it in for expensive repairs or you need a new Kindle. (Again, I have a Kindle 1. I can replace my battery.
  • Can’t move books purchased from the Kindle Store to another brand of reader.
  • Can’t read books purchased from other sources.
  • Can’t read free ebooks borrowed from the library.

{ 2 comments }

ebook reader or paper books?

Photo by goXunuReviews

I’ve mentioned before that I own a Kindle and was going to post a review. I haven’t posted it yet because, despite owning my Kindle for over a year, it’s taken me until now to really decide how I feel about it. I’ve also owned a Sony Reader so will review that as well. But first I thought I should explain why I made the switch from paper books to ebooks.

I am a book lover. I love the smell of a new book. I love the feel of a book. I love the weight and the texture. I like to play with the pages as I’m reading. You can’t get that with an electronic book. I’ll keep my tree killing, space taking, paper books thank-you-very-much. This is probably the biggest objection I hear to ebook readers. “You can’t get the same experience from a cold, unfeeling piece of plastic” and it’s true.

But…

Did you know you can put thousands of books on an ebook reader? That’s a whole library full. A LIBRARY! And you can take them ALL with you. Everywhere.

stack of books

Photo by ccacnorthlib

At any given time I have 20-30 books checked out of the library. Business books, craft books, writing books, organizing books, cook books, fiction books… I never know what I’m going to be in the mood to read. Anytime we go out of town, even just for a few days, I have to decide which books to bring, and which to leave home. What if this story is lame? What if it’s so good I can’t put it down and I finish it before the trip’s over? What if I’m I the mood to work on my writing, or what if I get motivated and want to learn how to improve my business? I will be so bummed if I don’t have the right book with me! So I used to pack a bag with the top 10 (or 15, I’m not a very good decision maker) and will probably need shoulder surgery some day because of it. (I couldn’t even go to my daughter’s soccer games without at least two books because, what if?) And that’s why I made the switch from paper to electronic books.

Most ebook readers use e-ink. It’s really amazing stuff. The words are so crisp and clear, very much like words on paper. When I turned my Kindle on for the first time I looked at the screen from every angle for at least half an hour trying to figure out how it worked. (Ok, maybe only 3 or 4 minutes but it felt like a long time. And no, I never did figure out how it worked.) There’s no backlight or anything so it’s just… amazing! How do they do that? Go to Best Buy or Target or Barnes and Noble, anywhere that has ebooks on display, and check them out. Even after a year I am still amazed.

You can't flip the pages in an ebook reader

Photo by Horia Varlan

There are some things that I miss about paper books, though. You know how you can flip through the pages to find a diagram or a phrase that you know is on the right side towards the middle of the book? You can’t do that with an ebook. Well, you can, but it’s slow. This is the one time I really miss my paper books.

I just remembered that there’s a search function so you can search for a particular word within a book. I haven’t used it but will see if that helps and report back.

Another thing I miss about paper books is… um… color pictures?

So color, smell and flipability. That’s what paper books have on ebooks.

Oh, and about 5,000 pounds.

{ 0 comments }

I’m not a very good letter writer. I misspell things, have poor handwriting, decide what I wrote is stupid, and take so long to write things that the first part is out of date by the time I finish! I almost never get a letter mailed out. Thank goodness for computers and email! I’m still not very good or consistent but it sure is easier.

My grandparents don’t have a computer, though. We tried. My dad owned a computer store and made sure they had everything they needed. Everyone taught them how to make it work, send and receive email etc. They tried it for a while but it was just too much for them. They prefer a nice typewriter, thank you very much. They never heard from me.

Then my aunt found Presto. Thipresto email printers is an amazing product/service. AMAZING! I really wish I had thought of it, but since I didn’t, I am so glad someone did!

Presto is an email service with a printer. That’s it. Several times a day it will connect to the internet, retrieve any email that has been sent and print them out. Pictures, too! After the initial setup it’s all automatic. No dialing, no logging in, no viruses and no spam because only emails from pre-authorized email addresses are accepted. You can even specify the font size and style so the emails are easy to read.

You (the technically savvy one) can monitor ink levels online and arrange to have refills sent when needed. Or Presto can send them automatically when the ink levels reach a certain level. This way you don’t have to worry about your technically challenged loved ones driving all over town to find ink only to come home with the wrong kind. They’ll send paper, too if you want.

I still don’t write my grandparents as often as I should but it’s certainly better than the nothing (yes, nothing) they got from me before.

You can read all the details on their website. Amazon sells the printers for just $50. The service is $15 a month or $150 a year.

**Presto isn’t paying me or giving me any free or discounted products to write this post. I just think it’s a great product and want you to know about it if it will help you and your family. The above link to the Amazon page is an affiliate link so I will make a few pennies if someone purchases a printer through that link. This link is to the same page but not an affiliate link if you prefer to purchase it that way.**

{ 0 comments }