Saturday, September 17, 2011

iPhone apps: Kobo vs. Kindle

I last posted in November 2009 that I still can't get the hang of e-books. It's almost two years now and here I am not only stating that I am a confirmed e-book convert but trying hard to help a friend with hers too.

I was having a chat with Stella last week when she told me she purchased herself a Kindle. I asked if she realised she will not be able to buy e-books for her Kindle so easily. She did not. She was not happy to find that out and so I offered to help her figure it out, which I did.

Then I thought I could do the same with the Kindle app for my iPhone, since I am not too happy with Kobo now (long story, how it happened). And I now I am a happy Kindle customer. The Kindle app may not have the nice-to-have features like statistics and awards, but I find it better than Kobo.

Here are my take in comparing the two apps:

PerformanceKindle performs better. It has less waiting time and moves to a new chapter like another page. Kobo has a few seconds of waiting time from a chapter to another.Kindle
Turning the pagesIt does not give you a book-like page turning. It swipes. I did not like it at first but soon got used to it.I like Kobo that it emulates a real page quite well. I do prefer this on Kobo.Kobo
Search functionIt has the so-very-important search function. Nada. Go figure.Kindle
Reading between devicesKindle synchronises reading seamlessly between devices and backs up notes and highlights via Whispersync. It actually asks you first before the syncing to ensure you want to do it. I find that smart, so it does not automatically go to a page I do not want when I change devices.It does not sync between devices and I lost ALL my book highlights and more importantly, my notes. How that happened I'll tell later, when I feel less traumatised.Kindle
Storage of booksI am able to archive books in Kindle, so I can choose to keep a selected number of books in my devices.I can remove books from my app and later add it back by bookmarking it in the site. Not from the app like Kindle.Kindle
Reading in landscapeI like the way the iPad displays the book in landscape mode. It columnise the book into two making reading much easier. It really feels like I am reading a book book.Kobo does it all in one huge column.Kindle
Highlight and notationAccess to the highlights and notes in Kindle is just two taps away. You need three in Kobo. May not seem like a big difference but in an intense flow of reading a book, it does.Kindle
DictionaryOxford. Access right on the page you are reading, hence it might be truncated but most of the time, it is sufficient.Webster. The whole page comes up, making it easier to read. Provides options to check it out in Wikipedia and Google within the app. The strength over Kindle is that Kobo allows you to define phrases and not just one word.Kobo
Screen orientationKindle's screen orientation lock is very intuitive and can be performed in the midst of reading. For now, it uses the iPhone/iPad's orientation lock.Draw
Screen brightnessYou need to close the Kindle app, do it at Settings in iPhone and get back in. You can change the brightness of the screen right there on the book. Very useful.Kobo
Reading ProgressionKindle kept it simple. One progress bar in any page you are reading. It is good, important really, to know how far you are at any one point. However, it does not show you progress by chapter.It only show your progress within the chapter. You have no any idea how much into the book you've read. It may be better in iPad but I still could not figure what it actually shows.Draw
InterfaceKindle's interface could be improved. It will be nice to have books in shelves. Not necessary, but nice to have.I like Kobo's interface and it looks better. Books can be displayed in shelves. Display of books can be customised, new folders can be created. It logs your activities, reading patterns, it keeps track of which book you have finished. The awards a' la FourSquare are pretty cool, not necessary, but cool.Kobo
TextKindle fully justifies the text in the page leaving big gaps in some of the lines.Kobo is easier to read with word-hyphenation. I don't mind that it is not justified.Kobo
Copy and pasteA hard-to-get thing but still, I wish I had it. Kindle allows me to share selected text in Facebook or Twitter. Now, why would I want to do that?Kobo does not have it too but at least it allows me to email selected text, albeit limited. I email what I need to myself but it is a long piece, it is quite troublesome.Kobo

11/5/2012 update: I am encountering problems purchasing ebooks from both Kobo and Kindle, but I am not giving up on them, I am using them both now. And on the contrary, I am now all for ebooks. I wish I could exchange some of my book books into ebooks.

25/2/2013 update: Kobo has made improvements to its app and I am enjoying using it now. I have made updates to the above table and now there is a draw. However, I am not using Kindle as much now and if you do not agree with my points above on Kindle, let me know.


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Be a fountain of blessings!

Today's devotion by Oswald Chambers is a continuation of yesterday's. I find it so good and true, and I'm including it here.
Fountains of Blessings by Oswald Chambers

The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life —John 4:14

The picture our Lord described here is not that of a simple stream of water, but an overflowing fountain. Continue to “be filled” (Ephesians 5:18) and the sweetness of your vital relationship to Jesus will flow as generously out of you as it has been given to you. If you find that His life is not springing up as it should, you are to blame— something is obstructing the flow. Was Jesus saying to stay focused on the Source so that you may be blessed personally? No, you are to focus on the Source so that out of you “will flow rivers of living water”— irrepressible life (John 7:38).

We are to be fountains through which Jesus can flow as “rivers of living water” in blessing to everyone. Yet some of us are like the Dead Sea, always receiving but never giving, because our relationship is not right with the Lord Jesus. As surely as we receive blessings from Him, He will pour out blessings through us. But whenever the blessings are not being poured out in the same measure they are received, there is a defect in our relationship with Him. Is there anything between you and Jesus Christ? Is there anything hindering your faith in Him? If not, then Jesus says that out of you “will flow rivers of living water.” It is not a blessing that you pass on, or an experience that you share with others, but a river that continually flows through you. Stay at the Source, closely guarding your faith in Jesus Christ and your relationship to Him, and there will be a steady flow into the lives of others with no dryness or deadness whatsoever.

Is it excessive to say that rivers will flow out of one individual believer? Do you look at yourself and say, “But I don’t see the rivers”? Through the history of God’s work you will usually find that He has started with the obscure, the unknown, the ignored, but those who have been steadfastly true to Jesus Christ.



Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Shine, Jesus shine through me

My devotion this morning was a good one from Oswald Chambers: The Far Reaching Rivers of Life.

I have only very recently thought of myself being a river where God's goodness can flow through. I think it was from an mp3 sermon by John Piper that taught me that truth, and I am thankful for it. And here again in this morning's devotion, I am being reminded again that I must stay close to the Source for this river to flow and be a blessing to the people I come in contact with. I must never let any emotions or experience block the river from the Source. I must always stay close.

Chambers also commented rightly that, "God rarely allows a person to see how great a blessing he is to others," and I thought that is wise, lest we be proud of who we are or what we've done.

In the midst of the devotion, I was reminded of the song: Shine Jesus Shine, and it took on a fresh meaning for me, though it would be better if it went "shine through me", rather than "shine on me".

Lord, The Light of Your Love
Lord, the light of your love is shining
In the midst of the darkness shining
Jesus light of the world shine upon us
Set us free by the truth you now bring us
Shine on me, shine on me

Shine, Jesus shine
Fill this land with the Father's glory
Blaze, Spirit blaze
Set our hearts on fire
Flow, river flow
Flood the nations with grace and mercy
Send forth your word
Lord, and let there be light

Lord, I come to your awesome presence
From the shadows into your radiance
By the blood I may enter your brightness
Search me, try me, consume all my darkness
Shine on me, shine on me

As we gaze on your kingly brightness
So our faces display your likeness
Ever changing from glory to glory
Mirrored here may our lives tell your story
Shine on me, shine on me
Shine Jesus shine

~ by Graham Kendrik (1987)


Monday, September 05, 2011

I forgot to breathe, eat, sleep, mull, write and pray

I had a great week off, being the long Hari Raya-Merdeka break last week, and I've taken the time to do and catch up on quite a bit of stuff, one of which is my sleep debt. Too bad sleep cannot be deposited but it can be owed, cause I slept quite a lot! At least for the first couple of days, and then I'm back at my bad habit of staying up late. But I made sure that I settle the debt the last two days over the weekend.

But one thing I have not been doing, i.e. updating my blog. I was too caught up with the break. Well, in that case, there is one even more important thing I have not been doing - keeping my prayer and quiet time. I notice that this is always the case when I get long breaks. I get lost in the flow of all the things I want to do that I can't do on ordinary days. That is bad, I still need to breathe, eat, sleep, mull, write and pray; and not play all the time.

But the break is over, sadly and gladly, and I'm back to life, back to reality, contentedly back to the quiet spot where I meet my God everyday. I'm sorry for my absence in the past week.