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Kindle for PowerShellers. Part 3. Reading your favorite blogs. Instapaper

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In the previous post of this series, we tested Amazon’s blog subscription. Now we must review an alternative solution, because it’s so common in the modern world to have free and/or open source counterparts of almost every application. I’d like to announce the Instapaper service review!

At first, let’s look at their version of how to publish blogs. The Contents is, in my opinion, better than the one Amazon compiles (but contents list of newspapers and magazines I like the most):

The View Articles List layout is exactly the very layout in Amazon’s subscriptions:

The following pictures display the article itself, the same one we tested earlier:

No pictures is added to an article, thus I’ll give only one screenshot to help you comprehend how much and, at the same time, how infinitesimal the difference between paid and free solutions.

The paid solution provides pictures, but the free one provides the better contents list. One thing to finish this comparison is to go the same way the user must go every time one wishes to download a new issue.

After registration on the Instapaper page, the registration is free, but you are given the possibility to pay $1 a month to support the project, you might begin collecting your articles list. Mine, used as an example for the subscription shown above, is today as follows:

The figure shows several noticeable things:

  • The ‘Add folders’ link to make the Contents of your issue organized in a manner you’d prefer
  • The ‘Read Later’ bookmarklet, the mechanism which you will use to gather pages you want to have in the issue
  • The Download options, where the central of them allows you to compile the issue right now and download it to a computer, whence you may sent it to a Kindle through wire or air.

I rarely use the first bullet owing to the perpetual lack of time, so that let’s immediately discuss the second one. After installing the bookmarklet, all the work you need to perform is to navigate to a page you want to add and to click the button. A monotonous, but not a very long and Amazon’s paiments-free task.

When your collection is replete with articles and you are ready to compile the issue (automated compilation and sending to a Kindle never worked for me), it’s about time to visit the ‘Account Settings’ section:

By clicking on the ‘Manage my Kindle settings’ link, you are in the very heart of your subscription:

Here you may set delivery settings and the address of your Kindle. Don’t forget to click on the ‘Save changes’ button. Also, here is one of the most interesting features of this service, the ‘Send now’ button, the button I used to demonstrate the issue.

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Written by Alexander Petrovskiy

May 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Kindle for PowerShellers. Part 2. Reading your favorite blogs. The Amazon’s way

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The Kindle gives great possibilities to read blogs you accustomed to follow. The first way to do that is what Amazon offers – the blog subscription. The number of blogs you may choose to subscribe is significant, so that there are ratings, categorizing  and search helping you.

By today, the extent of quality of pictures and the usability of reading long lines of text and code are not what all the users agree to accept. Therefore, the two weeks’ trial is the time you may decide whether you need or needn’t to subscribe. No more restrictions here, even hundreds of blogs can be tested for two weeks.

To see what does a PowerShell blog on a Kindle  like, let’s take one of officials blogs, the PowerShell Guy blog. Below is today’s article:

As can be seen, pictures are now allowed in blogs as well as in newspapers (only several months ago pictures were almost prohibited here and there, in newspapers). Unfortunately, pictures are not of perfect quality due to the promise to deliver a blog in sixty seconds including the transmitting over 3G networks. On the other hand, technical blogs are not for seeing photos.

Amazon provides two options to see more on pictures: to increase on a click

and to visit the source by clicking on the small icon at the right side of a picture.

Articles are collected to a something like a newspaper (newspapers I like more because of their Contents style):

Even with the smallest available font size the contents is worse, to my mind, than those in a newspaper:

The contents in a newspaper or in a magazin is always of one page, whilst for the blog we took we see seven pages, what is sometimes even more than in some books of a thousand pages.

Owing to the discrepancy between text rendering in an HTML page and the Kindle screen, text and code are readable, but even with the smallest font the lines are longer than the width of a Kindle screen:

To conclude this review (and to turn to a review of alternative ways to read blogs), there’s time to say that you are usually charged to pay for this service from $0.99 to $1.99 a month. So that it’s your clue to choose blogs that to be updated daily or weekly, the more the blog is informative, the more often it gets updated, the more money Amazon ask for reading it.

Written by Alexander Petrovskiy

May 26, 2011 at 10:01 am

Reign over your network with only a Kindle?

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Although any kind of advertisement is not the intent I am writing on these pages, the latest buzz motivated me too to drop a word on web powershell.

Have you ever thought about how to manage your network(s) laying languidly upon the beach, tanning and using the worldwide free Internet access? I have. Now I’ll be showing the facts and you the reader is the judge if it is possible to administer maximally remotely from a resort or not yet.

The check list of preparations is of three items (with exception of course sandals, towels and so forth):

  • a Kindle connected to a some network (Wi-Fi or GSM 3G is what is needed) from $114
  • a Mobile Shell box – from one 3G KIndle or two Wi-Fi special offer’s Kindles apiece
  • some scripts, especially changing security settings or touching the file system your boss’s host, to make the life breathtakingly sharper.

At first, buy and register a Kindle and download your copy of MobileShell here. While the latter can be downloaded on a monthly trial basis, the former needs defraying (you may try to use Amazon Return policy, though. If your test failed only). Go throught the text below if you have already checked all items above.

Install the software as said here (won’t you read the manual going to a beach?) and out, out to the beach. Any tests on a Kindle can be performed from there, for what else reason you sponsored the development of Pearl screens buying it?

Let’s connect to the MobileShell host. The only note here is that you need use strictly the mobile version by typing https://host_name_or_address/MobileShell/mobile , otherwise the Kindle bravely tries to swallow the desktop version, its browser got swollen and died until the device restarts.

After Kindle said you your rights, you are connected and may or may not see the choice if somebody knowing your login and password, you for example, was last night here:

We are leaving out the Favorites list

since we wanted to run a script or a piece of code. Probably unlike you, I forgot to write scripts and will run something useless. Meet the Kindle PowerShell Code Editor:

Of two colors, black and white, isn’t it? The very conservative design, easier than ‘vi’, though.

Some English IntelliSense helped us and our script is ready!

The first run is in a second, take a sip of what you drink on the sand and press the Run button!

Oops, the folder where I stored screenshots is where I’m sitting and I’m sitting not on the MobileShell host. But it would have found the folder if I’d written right, beyond the doubts.

Written by Alexander Petrovskiy

May 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Kindle for PowerShellers. Part 1. Notes and Highlighting

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This post is the first one of the small series regarding how to use a Kindle to be deeply involved in PowerShell. All the written in most cases are applicable to any technology or language, or environment, but since the theme of this blog is PowerShell, so that the series is named ‘Kindle for PowerShellers’.

The first idea to share is how to have with you your thoughts that came at the time you’ve been reading something PowerShell-ing. Kindle is a great instrument to do that. When I’m reading I often use highlighting to spare ideas, phrases, code samples and all I’ve found noticeable.

Since the version 3.1 got available on February, Amazon supports public highlighting. What’s it? If you wish, you might not only save your selections, but make them public by pressing Alt + Enter. The figure below demonstrates highlights done by the Kindle owner:

The following highlight is ready to be published:

At last, this one is how you can see others’ highlights:

The result of selecting the View popular Highlights menu item as well as what you see during the reading is a one or more underlined rows and the number of users which highlighted the excerpt.

In addition, there is a way to say something about you’ve read a moment ago by adding a note (I don’t like typing on a Kindle :), but somebody possibly does). Thus, there is also a way to see what others wrote by selecting the View Notes & Marks menu item. It brings to you not only your bookmarks, highlights and notes, but also others’.

The second amazing thing is that you might access all of these almost everywhere. Kindle for most popular platforms can be downloaded here.

That means that you are not obliged to buy a hardware Kindle (I sincerely advise to if you love reading comfortable for eyes and a half of pound is not a weight for you), instead you may use, for example, Kindle for PC (but not with every corporate proxy, though).

The last but not least, you may access your notes as well as other readers by using an Internet connection. To perform this, go to the Kindle page, log in and navigate to or search for books you are interesting in. The Your books section is a starting point for that. All your notes are available in a browser window! The direct link to the full collection is https://kindle.amazon.com/your_highlights .

From my point of view, the web access to your or other readers’ notes is the best way if you want to conspect the book or remember key points.

Also, there is the possibility to publish your notes and highlights in case that they are private yet. Not being a native speaker, I highlight much of the book (all the phrases I found sound or interesting) so that I almost never share mine:

The pleasant thing here is that you may add new notes at the web page, using your favorite full-size desktop keyboard or notebook’s one instead of Kindle keyboard approximately of a mobile phone size.

Having trouble with your head’s RAM? There is the Daily Review flashcards helping you scoop up the knowledge from the book currently in reading.

Finally, the experimental Kindle for the Web is available on this remarkable page – with this tool you are given the opportunity to eye into the books you are only licking your lips at:

Bringing this long panegyric to an end, can I omit the Sync to Furthest Page Read menu item? I can’t, this does the reading on several devices and desktops even more comfortable. Have I forgotten to say that with any Kindle application you are given (especially if you like me are not trueborn English speaker) with two Oxford English-to-English dictionaries and one Duden Wörterbuch as well?

Many thanks to the books starring in this post: 🙂

1. Layman’s Guide to PowerShell 2.0 remoting

2. PowerShell for Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Administrators

Written by Alexander Petrovskiy

May 16, 2011 at 3:53 pm