Mark Nelson has never sounded better

I recently purchased a Kindle 2. I’m one of those people that iPhone and other gadget makers target. I like to play with toys. It probably explains my deep relationship with my X-Rite 810 densitometer.

I have an original Kindle also – a Christmas present from my wife. I was resistant at first, but then started using the Kindle to hold various manuals and PDF documents off the web, instead of carrying them around with me while traveling.
The Kindle 2 has a couple of improvements over the original version. It is a little easier to use with better button placements (it was hard to pick up the old Kindle without hitting a button). It is sleeker and more attractive. It displays images with 16 shades of gray compared to the previous 4, which is a remarkable improvement (and reminiscent of LCD screens from the 1980’s).
And it has the ability to translate Text to Speech, with a choice of speaking voice: male or female. I think you see where this is going…
I’m finding the Kindle 2 mildly fun and useful in the darkroom where I turn on Text to Speech while I work. Since it uses E-ink screen technology and is not a backlit LCD, it can be used in the speech mode in the darkroom easily. I was listening the other night to A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (one of my favorite books) while completing my work on Mike Ware’s New Cyanotype and my old stock of Crane’s Weston Diploma paper. 
I couldn’t send the original PDF to my Kindle e-mail account to convert and download to my Kindle – it may have been too large for my mail system. I reduced the size from the original 24MB to 6MB using Adobe Acrobat Pro (part of Creative Suite 4) to optimize the PDF.
I think I need a slightly more sexy voice. Something with a British accent? Precision Digital Negatives read by the female voice of the Kindle 2 sounds like being lectured to by a stern librarian with no sense of humor.
I don’t think this technology is going to replace Mark Nelson instructing directly, or is a serious threat to audio books in the near future. But it is pleasantly distracting while working in the darkroom.

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