Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kindle & Last Journey

When walking, just walk.
When sitting, just sit.
Above all, don’t wobble.

A Zen haiku, quoted from the first book I’d read on my Kindle.  In some ways the little poem seems to embody the Kindle’s approach as well.  In order to conserve battery life, the Kindle designers made several deliberate interface choices in pursuit of that mantra.  One example is how the Kindle does not allow more than one application to ever run at once.  Even the web browser is limited to one page at a time.  This is strange and limiting to users who, like me, are used to multi-tab browsing and running chat and music applications in the background all the while.  It makes each page into the whole of the reader’s focus, instead of just another data blurb to ingest.

The volume of books I have on the Kindle and library of options I have access to in the Kindle Store (so long as I have internet access) is staggering.  I just finished Last Journey: A Father and Son in Wartime and in it, the son had become a voracious reader of philosophy, religion, and history.  I can't imagine using military transport (as mounted infantry!) with bulk of books he'd brought with him on his two tours in Iraq.
Image from Tower Books
The book itself was good to read.  I mean that while it wasn't especially well-written, the context and information about their circumstances and leadership are specifically valuable to me on my middle-eastern excursion.  The middle of the book was unflinchingly bloody; the authors wanted to tell the whole story instead of the sanitized-for-evening-news version and he was an infantryman in the thick of it in 2005 and 2006.  I am glad that I have yet to see that side of the war and hope the rest of my tour passes peaceably.  But I have a greater understanding and appreciation for my senior NCOs and officers who've been through tours like that.

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