Scott Hanselman

Amazon Kindle vs. Amazon Kindle DX - The Final Word

August 28, '09 Comments [33] Posted in Reviews
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Amazon Kindle vs. Amazon Kindle DX

I'm absolutely thrilled with my Amazon Kindle. I read it every night and have probably bought a dozen books with it, several newspapers and I read many dozen PDFs. I own the standard-sized Amazon Kindle 2 - it's the little one in the picture on the right.

The Kindle 2 is 8" x 5.3" x 0.36" but the screen is 6" diagonally. It's got a 600x800 pixel display, so that's 167 dpi with 16 grays. As a comparison, you monitor is likely 96dpi, possible 120dpi. An iPhone is 163 dpi.

The Kindle DX is 10.4" x 7.2" x 0.38" and the screen is 9.7" (yes, nearly 10"!) diagonally. It's spendy, but the screen is MASSIVE. That's 1200 x 824 pixel resolution at 150 dpi. It's got 4gig internal storage which I've found is effectively unlimited.

The screen on a Kindle is EXTREMELY clear. It's not backlit and it's not an LCD. It's e-ink and it's totally unique when you see it. It's very very close to paper and once you've started reading you really do forget it's not paper. There's zero eye strain, or no more than a regular book.

Let's get serious on size and layout here. The real tragedy of the Kindle is the bezel. That's the space between the screen and the edge. I don't know what the technical limitations are and I don't really care. There's just WAY to too much "whitespace" between the edge of the kindle and the screen itself. It's distracting and it's wasteful. There's easily enough room on the Kindle 2 to make the screen a 7" screen just by tightening up that space. Also, the keyboard on the Kindle 2 uses far too much vertical space.

Here's a screenshot taking from the Kindle 2 of a book. Notice that it starts with the word "morning" and ends with "duration, so the."

screen_shot-35927

Here's the same book, same point, starting with "morning" on the Kindle DX. The "so the" appears right in the middle of this screen. Effectively you can fit double the text on the page of the Kindle DX.

screen_shot-64748 

Also, the Kindle DX has native PDF support. That means you can just plug it in over USB, copy a PDF and boom, you're viewing it. It works for 95% of PDFs, but every once in a while I've had it fail. Rare, and usually it's because there's some advanced PDF feature being used that the Kindle doesn't support. The failures have only been on internal documents that have annotations and stuff. I don't know what the real limitations of the PDF support are, but I'm sure they're improving it constantly, and the Kindle can update it's OS over the 3G network, so those updates will presumably just happen.

Here's a screenshot of a PDF taken from the Kindle DX. It's totally readable. It would be totally NOT readable on the non-DX Kindle for two reasons. First, no PDF support built in, and two, if it was converted to Kindle-format, it'd be destroyed.

screen_shot-64745 

In English, this means if you're wanting to read technical books, you get a Kindle DX. Period. The small-size Kindle 2 is fantastic for prose and horrible for charts, graphs and code.


Kindle Thickness 

If you're torn between the two, it's understandable. After having used both for a week, I am also. The Kindle DX is too big and the Kindle is too small. By too small,I mean, the Kindle should have the SAME size and a larger screen. I could totally see another Kindle that's in between sizes, but I know that'll never happen, which is a shame.

Kindles Side By Side 

Bottom Line

If you're interested in a Kindle, and you read a lot of PDFs or non-Amazon eBooks, get the Kindle DX. If you read fiction and rarely, if ever, need PDF support (or only need the basics) then get the little Kindle.

While the DX is large, its PDF support is so nice that I'm compelled to prefer the DX over the little one, for myself. 

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About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 176 - NServiceBus with Udi Dahan

August 21, '09 Comments [5] Posted in Podcast
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Udi Dahan My one-hundred-and-seventy-sixth podcast is up. Udi Dahan is an Enterprise Development Expert and also the author of NServiceBus. Udi educates Scott on how a service bus works, and how it fits into a world of brokers, workflows and services.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Download: MP3 Full Show

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 175 - Optimizing Your Website with Jeff Atwood and Stackoverflow

August 17, '09 Comments [6] Posted in ASP.NET | ASP.NET MVC | Podcast
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JeffAtwood My one-hundred-and-seventy-fifth podcast is up. It's the return of Jeff Atwood. He and the team have been making lots of great speed optimizations to Stackoverflow lately. What tools are they using? What kinds of speed improvements are they seeing, and what can you do to exploit their experience?

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Download: MP3 Full Show

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Hanselminutes Podcast 174 - Hanselminutiae-five with Richard Campbell

August 14, '09 Comments [7] Posted in ASP.NET | Podcast
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richard_headshot_webMy one-hundred-and-seventy-fourth podcast is up. In this slightly unusual episode, I sit down with my good friend Richard Campbell and we share stories about scaling large websites over the years. I thought this was a really good show, if a little long and I'm thinking to have Richard on as a regular thing, if he's interested.

Subscribe: Subscribe to Hanselminutes Subscribe to my Podcast in iTunes

Download: MP3 Full Show

Do also remember the complete archives are always up and they have PDF Transcripts, a little known feature that show up a few weeks after each show.

Telerik is our sponsor for this show.

Check out their UI Suite of controls for ASP.NET. It's very hardcore stuff. One of the things I appreciate about Telerik is their commitment to completeness. For example, they have a page about their Right-to-Left support while some vendors have zero support, or don't bother testing. They also are committed to XHTML compliance and publish their roadmap. It's nice when your controls vendor is very transparent.

As I've said before this show comes to you with the audio expertise and stewardship of Carl Franklin. The name comes from Travis Illig, but the goal of the show is simple. Avoid wasting the listener's time. (and make the commute less boring)

Enjoy. Who knows what'll happen in the next show?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Top 10 Tips Working Developers Should Know about Windows 7

August 9, '09 Comments [36] Posted in Win7
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Windows 7 Logo I've been tweeting about Windows 7 lately but I had a flash tonight that I should write some of this stuff down. Here's my list of the Top 10 Things Working Developers Should Know about Windows 7. I say "working developers" because if you're a .NET developer you either have run into these questions or you will, so why not put them in one place.

These are in no particular order. Also, in case it's not clear, each heading here is a link.

Windows 7 includes .NET 3.5SP1

If you're developing apps for Windows using .NET you'll be happy to hear that Windows 7 comes with .NET 3.5SP1 already installed. It's in the box, so one less thing to install for you.

Visual Studio 2008 works great on Windows 7

Have no fear. I run VS2008SP1 all day long on my Windows 7 machines (4 of them now) and it works fine*. Remember also that even though you're running Windows 7 and .NET 3.5 SP1, you can still compile for and target .NET 2.0 and Windows Vista or Windows XP clients.

You can write a single app for XP, Vista and Windows 7

...and that single EXE can "light up" on the newer OS's. I'm going to blog more about this soon, but there's a great Reference App called "PhotoView" (yes, I know, another photo app, but at least it's not Northwind). The point is that this managed WPF application runs nicely on XP, but if you run it on Vista you get Windows Search and UAC, and if you run it in Windows 7 you get Taskbar Integration, Transactional File System, Libraries, etc. One app on three Windows, working well and looking nice on all of them.

You can code to Windows 7 features today using the .NET Framework

There's a great Windows API Code Pack for the .NET Framework that's a library of source code that lets .NET folks access these new features even though they're not baked into the framework. That means .NET 3.5 SP1 developers can be writing Windows 7 apps today. This includes all the new shell features, search, the new Explorer Browser, new Dialogs and controls, and hundreds of new APIs. Check out the Windows 7 Developer Guide as well. Also, if that's not enough details there's dozens and dozens of new Win32 Samples and articles to go with them in the newly released and plainly named Windows SDK for Windows 7 and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.

PowerShell is built-into Windows 7

You don't need to wonder if a machine has PowerShell. If it's running Windows 7, it's there and it's PowerShell 2.0. This not only means you can use PowerShell Scripts to automate things in your development process, but you can also use the PowerShell scripting engine in your apps without installing anything extra.

There's an extensive Windows 7 UX Guide

 Also available as a PDF, this guide helps you design your User Experience such that it fits into Windows 7 seamlessly. This includes guides for resolution, DPIs, windows sizing, alignment and control spacing. There's a great section on aesthetics as well.

There are Free Book Chapters for Upcoming Windows 7 Books

There will no doubt be a flood of Windows 7-specific books coming out soon. For now, there's a bunch of free chapters for "Windows 7 Inside Out," "Windows 7 Resource Kit" and "Windows 7 for Developers" that you can download now in PDF or XPS.

Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers

This is a nice rolled-up download of presentations, hands-on-labs and demos. It's got examples on how to use  new Windows 7 features like the Taskbar, Libraries, Multi-Touch, Sensors/Location, Ribbon Controls, and more.

There's a new "Windows on Channel 9" Site

This is a whole new section of Channel9 on MSDN that's dedicated to Windows 7 content. There are dozens of great videos, in-depth interviews with folks like Larry Osterman (the guy that makes Windows go beep) and Mark Russinovich. There's a Programming Windows 7 area with video deep drives on the new Sensor and Location Platform, Multi-Touch, Animation, and the new Graphics Architecture.

Boot to VHD Saves You Time

I'm going to beat this drum until everyone is booting to VHD. For my development machine, I'm running Windows 7 and VS2008 on my C: drive, but I sometimes boot into a Windows 7 and VS2010 Beta running on a VHD. Not a VM, no, they're too slow for me, but the Hard Drive is virtualized on the VHD. It's a nice way to keep crazy (or old) stuff in a separate place without fear of messing up partitions or my main machine! Here's a video demonstration and how to turn your Windows 7 media into a VHD ready for booting.

Did I miss anything?

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* If you install SQL2008, you'll get a compatibility warning during install. Keep installing, then just get SQL2008 SP1 and you'll be all set on Windows 7.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.