My new Kindle Fire

I have no idea what it does, rather I bought it out of rational Bayesian inference.  It looks and feels cool; at first I thought Apple had sent me a new product by mistake.

Unfortunately, other than turning it on (itself a struggle), I cannot figure out what to do next.

Yana will be home later.

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rather I bought it out of rational Bayesian inference

No, just ... just no.

That might be one of my favorite MR sentences of all time.

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I believe he was joking.

That's just what he wants you to believe.

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Can someone please translate this into layman's terms?

"rational Bayesian inference" probably means that he held a prior belief that Amazon makes good gadgets (e.g., the Kindle) and/or that gadgets that get a lot of positive buzz are usually worth buying, and therefore it was best to just buy the Kindle Fire now rather than take a lot of time to research and deliberate, because the probabilities favored it being worth buying.

Anyone getting in line to buy the next Apple release are doing the same thing.

A while back all the rage was these little old-fashioned lab notebooks. I'm not sure what the must have academic accessory is right now, I guess a Kindle Fire.

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Also I think there is a feedback loop implied in Bayesian inference. As in he has believed that Amazon made good gadgets, has bought them and then reinforced his belief and possibly iterated through this loop multiple times...each time increasing likelihood of further Amazon gadget purchases and/or usage.

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"Yana will be home later."

I'm still giggling.

+1

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It's like these people, MP3 players, books, video devices, haven't figured out that they have the ability to put instructions on something other than a 4 by 6 foot foldout with 12 languages.

Sorry, your completely wrong in this case. The Kindle Fire ships with minimalistic instructions. The exact opposite approach, though you would have been right most of the time ;) Maybe the instructions are minimal because Amazon is competing directly with Apple who are well known to follow a minimalistic approach.

"The Kindle Fire is packaged simply in a cardboard box inside a sleeve. The only items inside are the Kindle Fire itself, a charger, and a card in a slot printed with the briefest of instructions. "

From ArsTechnica's review - http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/reviews/2011/11/kindle-fire-first-impressions.ars

The foldout with 12 languages is an example of minimal instruction, despite the hyperbole about the size.

His complaint (which I take as probably tongue in cheek, though it's hard to tell on the internet) is exactly that the instructions are minimal, and thus Tyler had trouble turning it on or knowing what to do with it.

(Though, again, I'm 99% sure Tyler is not ... entirely serious about that.)

No, my complaint is that an I-Pod comes with an instruction sheet rather than an instruction audio.

I like to listen to music and read instructions. Perhaps you're the other way around.

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Really? There's so many things wrong here...

Tyler, I think you're brilliant on culture, current events, and economics. I think perhaps you shouldn't branch into tech discussions.

Why not? If Tyler only pronounced on things he knows a lot about, this blog would be a more boring place to visit.

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My grandfather (born 1905) once said to me "My grandfather knew how everything he owned was made. Now, people buy things even though they don't know how it's made, don't know how to use it and don't know what it can do. Sometimes they don't even know what it's for."

The loss of knowledge that comes with modern technology has a cost, to be sure, but the benefits (usually) seem to outweigh them. The things that I own can do far more for me than anything your grandfather owned, even if I do occasionally have to pay for replacements or repairs.

Nice reply, I was about to go into my 'things were better in my days' mode.

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Related link:

http://www.ted.com/talks/thomas_thwaites_how_i_built_a_toaster_from_scratch.html

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Really? He knew how wheat grew? Or just in vague general terms like "You put the seeds in the ground and they just grow." Which means he really didn't know any more than the guy who says "you just put steel and rubber into a car factory and they make a car", but we've outsourced the magic part to a plant rather than other humans.

I never met my grandfather's grandfather but I know he was a flour miller in Herfordshire. So, yes, I am pretty sure he knew quite a lot about how to grow wheat. My point is that, 150 years ago, most people (and most people did not live in cities) would have known the person who built their house, made their clothes and grew their food. Most of them, given the tools, could have made a serviceable if inelegant version of nearly all their (few!) possessions. On the other hand, I don't even know how to make a pencil and I suspect that no-one here knows either.

No, I do not lament the good old days. I would not prefer to have this discussion by posting a letter :)

My point is that, 150 years ago, most people (and most people did not live in cities) would have known the person who built their house, made their clothes and grew their food.

No. 150 years ago was 1861, and the industrial revolution was already nearing 100 years old at that point. There were international markets in all kinds of products (hell, there were international markets in mass-produced goods -- wine, oil, grain, pottery -- during Roman times). In 1860, if people knew who sewed their clothes (possibly themselves), they did NOT know who grew the cotton, or who wove it into cloth or who designed and manufactured their sewing machine. If they knew who built their house, they didn't know who felled the timber, or cut it into lumber, who made the glass for their windows, or the nails and screws, or who produced their stove, or their pots and pan, or pottery, or tools, or ...

The 19th century had an incredible amount of international trade. Chances are you didn't even live in the same country as the people who grew the cotton for your dress.

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"I have no idea what it does, rather I bought it out of rational Bayesian inference."

Isn't this the epitome of crass consumerism?

Yes, but that's Tyler for you.

I think you guys have been trolled. I guess... that's Tyler for you.

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Somehow I've turned into a late-adopter, so I eagerly await Yanna's conclusions on its value.

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Basically, you buy sh*t.

Basically, your comment is the same.

Basically, your mama dresses you funny.

Basically, it seems we have too much time.

Touche, sir.

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You could be gazing on a new Kindle.

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I rather rely on a good old book: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/03/27/print-is-king/

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Any chance of a link to define terms such as "rational Bayesian inference" for the journalism majors in your audience?

Might be Tyler's tongue-in-cheek sarcasm of Jeff Bezos' letter to shareholders which starts with this geeky blather:
"Random forests, naïve Bayesian estimators, RESTful services, gossip protocols, eventual consistency, data sharding, anti-entropy, Byzantine quorum, erasure coding, vector clocks .."
http://sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1018724/000119312511110797/dex991.htm

Well, the "rational" part refers to wishful thinking.

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My reading list of academic papers is getting out of hand. For everyone one I actually read, at least two more get added to the list. It seems like a waste of resources (and physical space) to print them out (especially the ones I know I'm not gong to read in detail), so they just get added to a folder on my computer where they sit until I have the free time to read them. Often, when I find myself with the free time to read such things, I'm nowhere near my computer (like waiting in a doctor's office, or when I crawl into bed). Recently, I've been thinking that if I had a device like the Kindle Fire that I could more easily travel with, I'd be more likely to read that ever-growing list of pdf's. Heck, maybe I could put the Kindle Fire on the little magazine shelf on the elliptical machine at the gym and I could read papers while I work out.

Or maybe I'm just creating an excuse to buy a new gadget. I really can't tell. I do know that the iPad seems too expensive to justify solely for the purpose but that the simpler Kindle/Nook things just don't seem "fun enough" to get me excited enough to buy one. I'm thinking the Kindle Fire (or the new Nook) might hit the sweet spot of being potentially useful and also "fun."

I'd be curious to know how it works out for you.

I had the same issue - use Kindle or Kindle DX not fire. Problem solved. Your addiction will get worse though.

I wish they updated the Kindle DX, you really need the big screen for pdfs

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An iPad with the Papers app works wonderfully...you can tag papers with information about the authors, journal, etc. You can also create your own collections and file one paper in multiple collections. Finally, you can highlight text and type exportable notes...which then makes writing referee reports a "breeze." Plenty of other excuses to buy an iPad.

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I tried with a regular Kindle and was a fail. Like A. says one needs the big screen for pdf's. Also, I found that reading a paper without being able to annotate it was a bigger handicap than I realized. The images and graphs rendered pretty bad too.

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This is pretty much the only reason I'm interested in it. The ipad is way too expensive if the primary purpose is to read pdfs, and there's no really good program that converts .pdfs into Kindle format and makes them look remotely readable.

The 7" form factor is just plain too small for PDF reading for any length of time - the extra couple inches of space you get with a 10" tablet (iPad or the by now significantly cheaper 10" Honeycomb tablet - Galaxy Tab, Iconia, Transformer, etc.) is worth at some of the extra cost. Plus the Fire seems pretty locked down.

Difficulty reading PDF on e-paper...Howard Roark just barfed in his grave.

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I've found that my reading life has been transformed with the Kindle w/ 3G access. One can annotate and highlight passages, and then export them to an Excel file using the free service at www.clippingsconverter.com. Also, one can tweet passages. I use twitter now to keep a collection of excerpts that I find particularly compelling.

Several extensions to the Chrome browser allow you to quickly send PDFs and HTML files to the Kindle. PDFs are converted. True, sometimes this doesn't work out well -- some graphics don't come out very well. But I've been satisfied on the whole. I didn't get a Kindle DX because I wanted something relatively small that I could read on the subway, on a walk, etc. Also, I know that a device that I carry with me all the time is eventually going to break -- probably within 1 or 2 years. I don't want to pay $380 for a device that I know is going to need replacement within such a short amount of time. I think the $140 Kindle 3G -- with a $30 case w/ light is perfect.

to quickly send PDFs and HTML files to the Kindle. PDFs are converted
Amazon do that for free. But graphics pdf does not convert. Google books for example.They could be converted until one month ago. Even if the format contained mistakes

This may not hold for the older Kindles, but the new ones display PDFs natively. However there's no option for text re-flow, so you have to manually zoom in/out of a static PDF. Depending on the PDF, this can be a giant pain in the ass.

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I submit that if you can't use a Kindle Fire without help, you may not be equipped to live in this century.

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There may be an Ipad App that can show you how to use your Kindle Fire.

Siri is going to be despondent.

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I'd have thought that the words "kindle" and "fire", coupled with the onset of cool weather, might have been a clue.

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Yes, I suppose pressing the button on the top could be considered a struggle.

The power button is on the bottom.

I work with tech all day and have loads-o-gadgets, and it took me a few minutes to figure it out.

Make sure your hands are clean - it is a fingerprint magnet.

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There's something Cowen can't do? That's inconceivable!

One must signal effective use of graduate students from time to time.

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Rational Bayesian inference, aka "The Next Big Thing":

Millions of consumers proceeded to their nearest commercial centers this week in hopes of acquiring the latest, and therefore most desirable, personal device.

"The new device is an improvement over the old device, making it more attractive for purchase by all Americans," said Thomas Wakefield, a spokesperson for the large conglomerate that manufactures the new device. "The old device is no longer sufficient. Consumers should no longer have any use or longing for the old device."

Added Wakefield, "The new device will retail for $395."

Able to remain operational for longer periods of time and occupy a demonstrably smaller three-dimensional space, the new device is so advanced when compared to the old device that it makes the old device appear much older than it actually is. However, the new device is reportedly not so radically different as to cause confusion or unwanted anxiety among those familiar with the feel of the old device.

"Its higher price indicates to me that it is superior, and that not everyone will be able to afford it, which only makes me want to possess it more," said Tim Sturges, owner of the old device, which he obtained 18 months ago when it was still the new device. "I feel a strong urge to purchase the new device. Owning the new device will please me and improve my daily life."

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Playing with it for a while, it's obviously worth $200, but it makes you realize that the iPad 2 is worth $1,000.

+1

AppleFanbois

@Deman

wrong again

My comment was based on the logic behind comparing the utility of a product with another product three times the price.

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@Deman, yours was bad logic. Irrespective of the price, the Kindle and iPad have overlapping functionality. The price doesn't have anything to do with it.

Similarly, I drive a nice car. There are cheaper cars. Far cheaper in fact. Driving though, I tend to value my car more - perhaps even more than the premium that I paid to own it in the first place. Rephrasing - my experiences with other vehicles have left me in a spot where I wouldn't trade you even if you gave me the difference in sales price, plus a bit.

You weren't using logic, you were making an ad hominem attack. Basically, you were suggesting that the OP was blinded by his love of Apple and unable to form an informed opinion. This despite the fact that OP has (or had possession of a Kindle Fire), which suggests that his opinion is more informed than yours, if not more so.

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@mrpinto

I wasn't disagreeing with OP. I know the Ipad is the best tablet out there even though I don't have one - it seems to be the gold standard. However, I suspect my 'logic' will only be apparent to non-apple fanbois i.e. the relevance of comparing different classes of products as evidenced by other fanboi comments. I suspect this comment will also fall on apple-deaf ears.

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After a bit of use, I actually prefer the Kindle Keyboard 3G with offers for $139.

Also see
http://gigaom.com/mobile/hands-on-with-kindle-fire-its-mostly-hot-for-199/

Err..the Kindle Keyboard 3G is an E-reader - something completely different from a tablet (Ipad or Fire).

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I applied to be an Apple Fanboi one time. I got an e-mail reply that said "Please leave us alone."

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what do you do with an ipad?

About 100 times what you can do with a Kindle. Though if you're only interested in reading books, the Kindle's nice.

Yes it makes complete sense to compare a e-reader to a tablet. Bravo Fanboi.

The Fire is more than an e-reader. Further, the iPad IS an e-reader, among other things. The two devices are competitors among some classes of consumers. If even the so-called fan boys realize this, why can't you?

I've rarely seen the term fanboi wielded intelligently. You're just making the "rarely" even rarer still.

@mrpinto

You are confused. For your benefit:

Ipad=Tablet
Kindle Fire = Tablet
Kindle/Kindle 3G/DX/Keyboard = E-Reader

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One major thing you can't do on an iPad is read a book with anywhere near the physical and ocular convenience of a Kindle. Read a book on a Kindle while riding the subway and you will never read a book on the iPad again. This probably is not true for the Fire.

Andrew B. I would disagree about reading books on an iPad... I use a Kindle app for reading books while commuting on the metro. Standing on packed metro trains, I hold my iPad in one hand sideways. It took some practice, but I can comfortably flip pages with the same hand and not drop the iPad. Sure a Kindle may be easier for reading e-books, but there are costs to hauling around and keeping track of one more gadget. Plus on my iPad I can switch easily from books, to PDFs, to blog posts (which BTW are nicely viewed in the Flipboard app).

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Agree

I hate carrying any extraneous stuff on short trips, so use the Kindle App on my Droid phone - its synced to Kindle so opens to the right 'page' where I left it on the kindle. Also I can use the phone to check gmail, surf the net etc. It would be a bother to carry anther gadget - e-reader or tablet.

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@Deman, lol. You have an Android?

Fanbois!

Am I doing it right?

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Yes I have a Droid Phone. I also have a symbian smartphone and a Kindle. I also have a dell laptop and a desktop running Ubuntu. I hope you find this information useful.

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Half the videos on the internet cannot be watched on an iPad because Steve Jobs has a feud with Adobe.

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Ces Fanboises, ils sont fous.

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Can one write on the Fire like one does on some tablets? i.e. Handwriting recognition?

don't see why you couldn't write on it, the only question is if there's an approved Android app for that. For now it's essentially a media device for consuming Amazon content. So . . . 1) open box 2) charge battery 3) turn on 4) connect to wi-fi 5) navigate to Amazon 6) buy Amazon Prime 7) watch endless reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show.

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It is possibly the case that the Touch would have been preferable to the Fire! But - a practical suggestion. Download a copy of Siddhartha Deb's "The Beautiful and the Damned: Portraits of the New India." I guarantee you that you will enjoy it. (Ignore if you already have a 'real' copy!)

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At this point I will never need to buy another doorstop. Do you liberate gadgets?

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Tyler, can't believe you are technologically inept.
You have to start learning programming, now.

http://learnpythonthehardway.org/

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Doesn't he already have an iPad? Why buy a fire as well?

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At $200, the Kindle Fire is almost an impulse purchase, and it'll do everything that 90% of people do with their iPads (web, ebooks, Netflix, play angry birds). One important drawback is no android marketplace and no google apps (gmail, maps, earth, docs) -- at least not without some hacking. And there is no camera, no GPS, and no microphone (so no Skype calls); it's really a media consumption device, not a general purpose tablet. The main potential advantage is the Amazon 'ecosystem' -- streaming video included with Amazon prime and their new Kindle lending library, for example. The Fire will live or die depending on the appeal of the Kindle ecosystem -- but the device itself is, by design, nothing special (it's actually less capable than the B&N Nook Color tablet).

How can one live without a GPS and 5G camera in your computer?????? It almost makes you think Americans could have been wiped out by Big Foot when he sneaks up on lost hikers without cameras.

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Anyone getting in line to buy the next Apple release are doing the same thing.

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