Amazon Finally Makes It Easy to Reset the Furthest Read Location on Your Kindle

Kindle furthest read location

If you share your Kindle account with someone, it could be a headache to read a book that the other person has already read. The problem? If you use Amazon’s Whispersync technology, your Kindle will think that the furthest read location is the end of the book (or wherever the previous reader left off). I previously wrote about the convoluted process you could use to reset the furthest read location on your Kindle. Fortunately, Amazon has now come up with a much easier way to reset the furthest read location.

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Read It Later Gets a Facelift and a Brand New Name: Pocket (Web, iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)

Read it Later Gets a Facelift and a Brand New Name: Pocket (Web, iOS, Android) | 40Tech

Read It Later has been one of the most popular tools of its ilk for years now, starting way back in the dark ages of 2007. Along the way, it’s found itself up against some stiff competition with apps like Instapaper, Readability and, more recently, Evernote’s Clearly, but has remained a fan favourite with over 300 connected apps and services. It’s possible that the competition was getting a bit stiff, however, because Wednesday brought about a major change: a complete re-do of the look and feel of all apps, along with a total rebrand.

Meet Pocket, Read It Later fans.

There must be something in the air or water — or maybe it’s was Big Update Month or something. Facebook pushed all of its Pages over to the new timeline feature, confusing many a marketing guru and causing some frantic thinking as to how to force people to keep liking their pages; Google continued its Google+ focused design rollout, changing the design and navigation of their social network into something more icon-driven; and Springpad dropped a bomb of a new design on its (mostly) unsuspecting userbase.

The main difference with the new Read It Later is that, while the other services have been met with responses that vary from meh to ARRRRRRGH!!!!, from what I’ve read, Pocket has been received with almost universal positivity. This is not without reason, however, as everything about Pocket is an improvement.

 

Look and Feel

The new look and feel is easier to navigate, and visually appealing. It kind of reminds me of the new Springpad, in some ways — but don’t worry, new Springpad haters, the icon view isn’t too huge for the design, and the list view is still there, if you don’t like it. The colors are nice, the new branding is pretty and simple, and the icons in the mobile versions are pretty much self-explanatory. It also helps that, while some views are obviously going to be different depending on the device you’re on (no grid view for iPhone for example), the interface is consistent throughout. The end result is that it is a lot easier to find your way to and through the content you’ve saved, as well as to mange it (read, unread, tags, delete).

Pocket - Formerly Read It Later - for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

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Functionality

Pocket did the smart thing and didn’t remove functionality it’s users we’re used to. Instead, they added features that make the service even more useful! Pocket gets that the web is more than just words and that you want to bookmark more than just articles for later viewing. Now you can bookmark and view images and videos from all over the web right in your Pocket apps. On your computer or iPad, you the video pops up in an overlay, and on the iPhone, they open in the native video player — and in all services, you can launch them right from the little play button that appears on thy our bookmark’s thumbnail.

Info: Videos need an active internet connection, but articles and images still download for offline viewing.

Note: If you had a favourite app, extension, or bookmarklet for Read It Later, they should all still work with Pocket. You can also send to Pocket by email, and they’ve redesigned the official Google Chrome extension to get things into your list with a single click.

Pocket has some quick filters to aid in navigation (All Items, Articles Videos, and Images), as well as Home, Favorites, and Archives in the main menu. You can also use the search functionality, or navigate by tags, if you like.

You can still toggle between the pretty read view and the native web view for an article, and it’s now a lot easier to change the look of an article. There are only two fonts to choose from (FF Yoga for serif, and Proxima Nova for sans serif), but getting to that change, as well as changing the font size, screen brightness, or from and to night reading mode now takes no more than the touch of an obvious button. No more double-tapping on your mobile screen or any other such nonsense. The menu bar is always on and doesn’t get in the way of the reading experience.

 

Sharing content from Pocket is easier than ever, as well. Just hit the little share arrow-button that has become the universal app symbol to pass it on, and touch to share on Twitter, Facebook, or send to Evernote. Not enough? Hit the more button and you can copy the entire article in a single click, email the link or the entire article, open it in Safari, or send it to a multitude of services (Box.com, Buffer, Google Reader, Diigo, Delicious, Pinboard, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, and all of the major social networks). Still not enough? Scroll a bit lower on iOS and you can send it on to EchoFon,Twitter for iPhone, Twittelator Pro, and even Omnifocus and Things.

That last — Omnifocus and Things — as well as the email capability, can make the things you save into actionable tasks, which is handy. And, as a nice little add on, the share services that you used most recently are the ones that will show up before the More button the next time you open it.

 

Downsides?

No app is perfect, and Pocket still has a few things it needs to be the best Read It Later type app out there. For one, it needs Google+ sharing and +1 capability. That was a glaring omission from the share list — though it may not be entirely their fault, as the Google+ API is still being extended. It would also be great if Pocket had the time of day activated night mode that Instapaper has, as well Instapaper’s ability to dim images as well as text. Oh — and the ability to apply night mode to the entire app would be peachy, as well. It would save more than a few eyes when users switch from an article back to the interface when reading in the dark.

Finally, I wish Pocket had some sort of reminder feature that could be applied to articles. One of the reasons I stopped using the original Read It Later — even though I loved the idea — was that the things I saved in it would never get read. They would get clipped with the bookmarklet, apps, or the Chrome extension (the new one makes this even easier), and then I would never look at them again. I actually started using Springpad to clip my articles for exactly this reason. Yes, I can send an article to my task manager to take action on, later, but only after I’ve read it — and when you see a lot of shiny things on the web or in your reader apps, your reading list can get intimidating, fast. So, yeah… Pocket, do me a solid and add a reminder function, eh?

What do you guys think of Pocket as the new Read It Later? Success? Fail? Does it trump Instapaper for you?

Get Pocket

Read All the Skyrim Books on Your Kindle, Nook, or Other E-Reader

Skyrim

After a long love affair with Bioware games, I’ve found myself smitten with Skryim, by Bethesda. As with the other two games in the Elder Scrolls series that I’ve played, Morrowind and Oblivion, Skyrim features a huge, do-anything world for you to explore. Unlike those two earlier games, Skryim has me completely addicted. If you’re not playing it, you’re missing out on one of the best games in years. Skyrim’s world is tremendously immersive. The number of books that you’ll find all over Skryim adds to that immersion. The drawback with the number of books that you can find is that reading them takes some time. I have limited time, so I wanted a way to read the books when I wasn’t in front of the computer. Thanks to an enterprising gamer, you can do just that.

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Make Web Pages Easier to Read on Your Kindle, With Article Mode

Kindle Article Mode.jpg

We’ve previously talked about a few ways to make web pages more readable, and we’ve also covered an extension to do the same in Chrome and Firefox . That’s on the PC, though. How about on the Kindle? The Kindle has an experimental web browser that can do the trick in a pinch, but it isn’t the most pleasant experience, given the Kindle’s limitations. There is a trick, though, to making web pages a bit easier to read on the Kindle.

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eReaderIQ The Easy Way to Find Free eBooks (and Track Price Drops) for Your Kindle

eReaderIQ The Easy Way to Find Free eBooks (and Track Price Drops) for Your Kindle | 40Tech

Borrowing eBooks is a great way to get your free on in Kindle-land, but if you want to actually own the books — and not be subject to time limits — then check out eReaderIQ. Sure, you probably won’t find the latest best sellers, but you will find a lot more than just public domain. The price drop notifications don’t hurt, either.

eReaderIQ is fairly easy to use, though the interface is a bit busy, and they have recently added a Kindle-friendly version of the site so you can browse right from your device. The database is updated hourly and is region-specific, which helps you to avoid any cross-border licensing disappointments. The 10 regions cover the planet, for the most part, though some are very generalized (like “Asia & Pacific” — does it include Russia? Who knows?) and there is a note at the bottom of the site that states prices and availability are accurate for US customers, regardless of the region you choose. It should also be noted that the book links take you directly to Amazon.com, not the Amazon site that is specific to your country.

Free eBook Database, eBook Price Drop Tracker, eReaderIQ | 40Tech

You don’t have to register for anything, or provide any personal information at all to eReaderIQ for it to work, but if you do provide your email (upper-right corner of the site) you will be notified up to twice per day of any new free Kindle eBooks outside of the public domain. You can also watch specific books for price drops by adding the ASIN or Item URL, your price-drop Notification Threshold, and your email address.

Another cool feature of the Price Drop Tracker is that you can see a list of books that others are watching (again, with no identifiable information), and can sort by percent of the drop, recent price drops, and most watched. There is also an icon legend to quickly note things like Text-to-Speech, Lending Enabled, etc., which makes it easy for you to find what you are looking for.

eReaderIQ is a great service for Kindle readers looking for free and price-reduced eBooks. Hopefully, they will expand to cover other eBook stores as well, like Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and iBooks. If you want more details on using the service, check out this review by Guiding Tech.

Where do you find your free eBooks?

The Long Road to Kindle “Success” (An Author’s Perspective)

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Today, 40Tech is pleased to present a guest post by Kosmo from The Soap Boxers.

For the past two years, I have been writing a new fiction story nearly every week for my blog at The Soap Boxers. Sometimes it’s an uplifting sports story, sometimes a children’s story – but most often, a crime story that ends up with someone dead. In a good story, a few people die. Although most of the stories are rather short, it’s no easy task coming up with a new idea every week – and finding time to write it while balancing other demands of life.

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How to Borrow eBooks From Strangers Using the Kindle Lending Club

Kindle Lending Club banner

One of the great features of the Amazon Kindle is the ability for users to loan books to each other. Eligible Kindle books can be loaned once for a 14 day period. The borrower doesn’t even need to own a Kindle, as long as he or she has a device that supports the Kindle app. This includes PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, and Android devices. If you don’t have enough friends with Kindle eBooks to make borrowing worthwhile, you’re in luck, as the Kindle Lending Club is an online service where you can lend and borrow Kindle eBooks to and from complete strangers.

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How To Turn Your Kindle Or Nook Into an RSS Reader

google reader for Kindle and Nook

The Kindle and other eReaders are great for reading books, but you don’t have to stop there. With a bit of initial work, you can turn your Kindle or Nook into a competent reader of your RSS feeds from Google Reader. G:RSS-Web is a service that allows you to access your Google Reader feeds in your eReader’s web browser, in a format designed for your device.

Go to a G:RSS-Web address in your device’s browser (on the Kindle, you can find your browser in the Experimental section), where you’ll be walked through setting up your account. G:RSS-Web uses OAuth for accessing your Google account.  On the Kindle, the device that I’ve used with G:RSS-Web, you use keys to navigate through your feeds. Typically, each link on the page has a keyboard letter associated with it. Hit the key, and load that link.

google reader for Kindle and Nook full

G:RSS-Web won’t have you rushing to throw away your computer or your mobile phone, but it is definitely serviceable. It is also free.  Do you access Google Reader on your Kindle? If so, let us know how in the comments.

G:RSS-Web