Tag Archive for Tablets

How Does a Blogger Discover One’s Voice?

When I knew I wanted to be a writer back in the ’80s, I read a Writer’s Digest article that offered a simple path: Get an apartment in New York City, place a typewriter on your kitchen table, sit down and start writing. When you get up in 10 years, you will be a writer.

Microphone.jpg

Well, I did not get an apartment in New York and opted for a dedicated word processor (I believe it was an Amstrad sold by Sears) in 1986 and a few years later an IBM-clone. Wouldn’t you know, in about 10 years I finally got the sense that maybe I could write.

Another way of looking at this is that it took 10 years for me to find my voice in writing.

Since December 2012, I have been blogging regularly, and it is mildly discouraging that I have found neither a voice for my blogging nor my blog.

The Z Section is supposed to be about anything. I fought the urge to “specialize” and focus on a niche to give me the freedom to write about whatever caught my attention. What I have discovered is anything can be anything and sometimes anything can be too daunting so anything becomes nothing.

Will I specialize? Will I focus on a niche? Truthfully, I am not sure.

But, here is what I know:

  • I have varied interests.
  • These interests include my Christian faith,
  • Reading the Bible,
  • Family,
  • Technology,
  • Smartphones,
  • Tablets,
  • Computers,
  • Social media,
  • Leadership principles,
  • Journalism,
  • Blogging,
  • Writing,
  • Pets, and
  • so much more.

The thing is, down the road I want to write books, and I want them to focus on potential material for Sunday school classes. However, as I look over this blog, admittedly about anything, I find very little that point toward that direction.

So, you can expect more regarding faith and how it intersects with all of those things above. Perhaps there I will find my voice.

I hope it doesn’t take 10 years.

Have Kindle Fire HD Will Travel, er, Work

In my role as a journalist, there are times when I have to adapt and improvise. Such an occasion arose recently when I was working on a couple of stories for a special section.

Kindle Notes

The special section focuses on arts and music in the schools. I had conducted my interviews a few days earlier, but had not yet started to write my stories.

I started to write one of them while in a Burger King getting breakfast. I was between interviews in a city about 20 miles away from the office. Whenever I head out to this city, I like to have a number of interviews and stories to work on so I can maximize my efficiency and cut down on the amount of mileage the newspaper has to pay.

Because I had some time, I decided to go to the Burger King because it has free Wi-Fi. I proceeded to order a large caramel iced coffee and order of tater tots, sat down and whipped out the reliable Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

With my notes on the table and the tablet in my hands, I started writing my story in GoogleDocs on my Kindle Fire HD. I have written before about how this tablet has improved my productivity, and this is just the latest example. Though I had some down time in terms of interviews, I did not have to stop working because the free time was converted to writing time.

I could have brought my laptop with me and accomplished the same thing. The writing process would have been quicker because it is much easier to type on a physical keyboard than a virtual keyboard. But, it was a very cold day, and the laptop would have been outside most of the time in my Jeep.

Instead, the Kindle Fire HD stayed in my pocket instead of the Jeep, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice.

Also, as I have written about before, I use the text-to-speech functionality of the Kindle to make my books audio books, and I listened to one of them on my drive out to do the interviews and on my way back to the office. (Check out all of my blog posts about this tablet here.)

My Kindle Fire HD cannot do everything, but it does a lot, enough to keep me busy, anyway. What about you?

Kindle Fire HD 7: Five Reasons I Love It

It has been about a month since I purchased a Kindle Fire HD 7 for my birthday (I have such generous family and friends), and I have to say I am finding more uses for it today than ever.

Kindle Fire HD 7 screenshot

I am a geek in the sense I have studied computer programming (a long time ago), am able to rip open a desktop computer and add and change hardware and am all over social media (though I have yet to label myself a “social media expert” — when you figure out what that is, let me know).

However, I am not such a geek that I can tell you with clarity and specificity why, from a hardware and software and operating system point of view, the Kindle Fire HD 7 is an excellent machine that is better than the competition.

But, I can tell you there are five reasons why I am so grateful I purchased the Kindle Fire HD 7.

  1. I read more. Look at the screenshot above; I am reading those books and more. Generally, all I read was the Bible, The Daily Record newspaper and political websites. Now, I am reading more books about writing, building a platform and business. And, yes, I am still reading my Bible.
  2. I write more. I have actually begun working on some writing projects outside of my daily reporting duties at the newspaper. It feels good to be focused on some of these efforts.
  3. I watch less TV. With the boob tube blackened out most of the time, I have a ton of time to read and write.
  4. I blog now. The Kindle Fire HD 7 actually was a factor in me deciding to start my own self-hosted blog. I wrote about that here.
  5. I sell books in the Kindle store. It is really an article that I have sold, but it is a start. It would not have happened without the Kindle Fire HD connecting me with the Amazon website more and the Kindle store in particular.

Do you have a Kindle Fire HD? What are your thoughts about it?

My Take on the Kindle Fire HD, and Where the Kindle Fire HD is Taking Me

When Amazon introduced its new line of Kindles, the Kindle Fire, I was curious about how it would compete in the ever-growing tablet market. Perhaps I am the only one on the planet, but I have an aversion to Apple products. I don’t know why, exactly. I have been wanting a tablet for years, even before Apple introduced the iPad. I saw a laptop computer with a repositionable screen, and it intrigued me. Given Amazon’s reputation, I felt the Fire might give Apple a run for its money.

Even though I wanted a tablet, my wife talked to a friend of mine who owned an iPad, and he told her I would probably be better off with a smartphone rather than a tablet. So, for Christmas 2011, I got an HTC ThunderBolt. I love it as a device; I hate it as a phone. Nevertheless, the smartphone was a good choice for me at the time.

Fast forward to December 2012. I reach a milestone birthday, and my family and friends are generous … generous enough that I can buy a tablet.

From everything I read, the iPad and the iPad Mini were the best tablets on the market. I do not dispute that; I just don’t like Apple. Also, Apple’s price point did not jive with my birthday cash, so it remained out of reach. I seriously considered the Google Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire HD 7. I thought briefly about a Nook.

When the time came to make a decision, I consulted with two of my cousins. One travels around the globe for Microsoft, and the other works in the IT Department at Harvard University. Both said I would not go wrong with an iPad, Google Nexus or Fire HD. Apple wants to make money on its hardware, so its tablets cost more. Amazon wants to make money on its content and Google wants to make money with ads when people browse, so their tablets sell for less. I was also told Amazon wanted to build good machines that would last for years because the company was more interested in selling content than in producing the latest, greatest machine.

I did some other research, and I ended up purchasing the Kindle Fire HD 7 because my wife and I already had an Amazon Prime membership. With this membership, we have access to thousands of streaming TV shows and movies, and we can borrow one book a month from the Kindle Owners Lending Library. It made sense for us to go with the Amazon machine because we were not looking for a portable computer (we have an ASUS netbook for that).

I am quite pleased with my decision because I am looking at the tablet more so for content delivery than anything else, and it does a great job of streaming video, better than my Dell All-in-One Computer and better than my media center computer I put together for our HD television.

What I did not realize when I purchased the Fire HD was how it would change me. All of a sudden, I am more connected with the Kindle store. I begin looking at things. I begin wondering how I could sell articles, booklets and books through the Kindle store. And two days after purchasing my Amazon device, I had an article published via Kindle Direct Publishing, and it is selling. You can read about the article here.

Because of publishing the article, and the desire to publish more in the future, I needed a platform. And here it is, The Z Section blog. I had a lot of influences that led me to creating this blog, and I talk about those influences in my introductory blog entry here.

So, the Kindle Fire HD 7 is taking me on a journey. Where it ends, I do not know, but I am enjoying the trip so far.