Toolie Travel Blog

A million-mile flyer talks about the life of a business traveler.

Newsletter: Kindle as a Productivity Device

Well it's been a month since my Kindle Fire HD arrived, and I've been having a lot of fun with my petite tablet device.  Shortly after it arrived, I found a suitable cover for it that has protected it well.

Go to to see the one I bought on Amazon for $15.23. It sets the Kindle up for easy viewing, and the magnet in the cover activates the standby feature in the device.

The App List to Date

I think I mentioned buying an office suite app for taking notes on my Kindle.  I've only used it a couple of times because my Verbatim keyboard is paired primarily with my iPhone.  I can however switch the keyboard at any time.  Now that I have a case that stands the Kindle up for good viewing, I suspect that I will use both the keyboard and the Kindle more for note-taking.

The rest of the apps I've loaded have been free apps: an Amazon Web Services Console app (that's the division in Amazon where I'm currently working), Facebook, LinkedIn, Skype, a calculator, GoToMeeting, IMDB, Pandora, Pinterest, and Wikipedia.  I've used all of them so far except Pandora, but eventually I will use Pandora because the speakers on the Kindle Fire HD are fantastic!  Even with the case on, the sound comes through loud and clear.

The Accessory List to Date

I have recently gotten a lesson in the High-Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI.  This is the video-out connector from the Kindle that can be used to connect your device to a number of video screen types.  The Kindle connector is an Micro HDMI Type D (very tiny!), and I found an adapter on Amazon for about $6 that would connect my Kindle to a standard HDMI cable ($7) that had a DVI monitor connector on the other end.  So that beautiful widescreen monitor I inherited from Dad becomes my Kindle big-screen when I'm sitting here working on my laptop.

I also ordered a Micro HDMI to VGA adapter for use when I want to connect my Kindle to a standard projector.  That device was about $18 because it involves converting the video signal (in this case downgrading it) to a VGA.  Needless to say the resulting image is not as nice as what my Kindle displays, but it's a good adapter to have if the projector available doesn't have DVI.

Still on my list of adapters to buy is a composite video cable or possibly an SD cable (if such a thing exists) so that I can stream video on through my Kindle to either the TV in my office, or the big TV upstairs.  Lately I only have time to watch video while I'm working, but that leads me to the next topic.

Oh My What a Video!

My decision to get the Kindle Prime Membership is definitely one of my best decisions of 2012.  I discovered that through the Amazon Instant Video site, I can stream hundreds of movies and thousands of TV episodes.  The first 8 seasons of Mythbusters episodes is included in my membership, which means I can watch any of them anywhere I can get a wireless signal.  I watch Mythbusters episodes at night to relax, so that alone makes Kindle ownership a complete success for me.  Beyond that, you'd only spend US$1.99 for most TV episodes and US$2.99 for most movies.  I have dozens of movies on my Watchlist, waiting for me to spin them up on-demand.

I had no idea how much I'd enjoy the Amazon Instant Video as part of Kindle and Prime.  I've already borrowed 2 Kindle Books from the Kindle Owners Lending Library, so portable entertainment is leading the usage stats on my device.

Nevertheless, when my time at Amazon is over, I suspect I'll be watching and participating in social media for my business, using the Kindle as a "third screen" devoted to those activities.  The convenience factor is very high, and the fact that I'm not looking over my glasses at a tiny iPhone screen to post on LinkedIn is a real advantage, given that I'm now in my bifocal era.

By the way I retaliated on McAlister by arranging to get him an iPad for his recent milestone birthday.  Now we have dueling tablet devices at the dinner table.  If he ever looks the other way long enough, I'll snatch his iPad and write about it here also.
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