Kindle 2 First Impressions

I broke down and bought a Kindle.

My interested in eBooks started when a friend loaned me his Sony Reader. It was cool, but not compelling enough. The first version of the Kindle was a breakthrough, but I held off for version 2. Well, version 2 is here.

My first impression when I saw the box tucked in my front door was that that can't possibly be the Kindle, the box was too small! The packaging is great and certainly in the vein of Apple's minimalistic packaging. The box contains three items, the Kindle, a combined charger/USB cable, and a quick start guide. The full users guide is an eBook on the Kindle (of course).

I was immediately impressed with the increased speed of the Kindle 2 vs. the Sony Reader. The Sony's page refreshes were so slow the menus were nearly unusable. The Kindle feels very snappy by comparison. I'm not sure how it compares to the original Kindle other than the quoted '20%' faster. When reading, the Kindle 2 changes pages as fast as you could turn a page in a real book.

The built in dictionary function is very easy to use and unobtrusive. It is a great idea and shows how eBooks can be better, not just 'as good as' real books. The ability to search Wikipedia in addition to the current book, the whole Kindle, and Google is great. The browser is passable.

My biggest issue is that I have to go finish the paper book I'm currently reading before I can really dig into a book on the Kindle! I'll post a more complete review once I've used it for a while.

And thanks to Jeff's Kindle posts for pushing me over the edge, even though he's sticking with his OLD Kindle. :)

Google cleans up URLs

I'm a little 'uptight' about URLs. I've blogged about my frustration with the Java Servlet mapping constraints before, and I'm a believer in W3C recommendations on URLs.

Google just announced a tool for Webmasters that allows users to specify a canonical URL for a single 'page', even if you can access it from multiple URLs. This is a nice patch for systems that don't really conform to the above W3C recommendation but believe in the concept. It also helps clean up Google's indexes, which is another good thing.

Since their approach is a simple tag added the the section of an HTML document, hopefully the other search engines will adopt it as well. The example from their post:
<link rel="canonical" href="" />