I’ve added a new feature to the blog which, in one respect, gives me something you could easily call pause. But on balance I think it’s a good thing:
You probably already know you can subscribe to RAMH either via email or using some blog-subscription application like Google Reader (soon to go away), Feedly, etc. (See the “Subscription Options” area in the right sidebar, just below “Hats Recently Chased.”) But if you don’t want to subscribe to the blog that way, just want to save occasional individual posts for later offline reading, wouldn’t that be nice? After all, I do tend to write awfully long posts…
At the foot of each post at the site — also on each non-post “page,” as WordPress calls them (like the About page, for instance) — you’ll now find a little button, which looks like this:
It does pretty much what you’d expect: transmits the corresponding post’s content to your Kindle-reading device. (This can be either a Kindle (duh), or a smartphone/pad Kindle app. Unfortunately this does not yet include the Amazon Cloud Reader app for desktop PCs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that got added at some point.) When you click on it, you’ll get the usual Amazon page which prompts you for your login credentials. If you’ve got more than one reading device, you can select it at the next screen.
…and a moment or two later, you’ll have that post at your disposal for offline reading.
Now obviously, actually using this feature on a very short post — like this one, or like Thursday’s cartoon-and-commentary post — doesn’t make a lot of sense. And if non-textual/-pictorial content is important, you probably won’t find it anywhere on the target device; I’ve got my most recent Midweek Music Break post open in my Android app at the moment, and it includes neither (a) the video clip, nor (b) the two little audio-player widgets which let you stream music and spoken content to your browser.
Note 1: If you have the secret RAMH square-bracket decoder ring, though, you can still listen to the audio clips I post here.
One other caveat: As you may know, when you’re looking at the RAMH home page in your browser, not every post appears in its entirety. (For instance, the weekly whiskey river Friday posts show only the selected quotations from whiskey river for that week.) In order to continue reading the rest of the post, you click on a Continue reading link (or of course, you can click on the post title to see the whole thing.) The caveat is that the send-to-Kindle button also appears on the RAMH home page below every Continue reading link: clicking on one of these buttons sends to your device only the portion of the post visible from the home page, not the full post. To send the full post, you must have the full post open in your browser, and click the send-to-Kindle button there.
Either the Amazon folks will eventually provide workarounds for the above, or I’ll figure out some other approach.
So what’s the thing which gives me pause? Just this: it requires you to use Amazon’s own little porthole to the content. True, you don’t need to own a Kindle per se. But requiring the use of any vendor-specific technology, even if in the form of apparently benign smartphone or pad apps, doesn’t feel like a comfortable fit to me.
Note 2: You can also read a post later by using the “Share/Save” button which has been at the foot of every post for years now. However, this doesn’t really let you read it offline; all it really does is make a link available to be clicked on. I don’t know, though. Maybe it’s a small distinction.
I’d be curious to know what any of your experiences might be with this, especially if you try it out using something other than a plain old Kindle or Android smartphone. If you’re using a Kindle Fire, can you see the audio widgets/videos? If you’re using an iPhone?