The Kindle Wi-Fi – Unboxed and Useful


The Kindle is packed in Frustration-free packaging and like the rest of the world, assembled in China

The Kindle 6″ Wi-Fi is shipped in an unattractive box and but as the old saying goes, never judge by box alone. The package is certified (by Amazon, I assume) to be frustration-free which is something that should be extended to people as well.  On seeing the box, there is the usual excitement due to anticipation of the thought of a new box and what it will bring.

The Kindle is ready to use, straight out the box

I can also certify the box is frustration-free and once it’s opened, the Kindle is on and ready to use. The battery life for the Kindle is amazing and the folks at Amazon, including Jeff Bezos, made sure the battery technology in the Kindle could live up to reader’s expectations. When last did a paper book need to be recharged using a USB port?

The next item in the Kindle box is the tiny users' manual

The paper manual included with the Kindle is a quick-start guide. For more details on how to do fancy stuff like uploading PDFs, making the Kindle talk, searching, play MP3s etc, the user would have to either download (in Kindle format) the real manual or simply visit the Kindle page at Amazon.

The only two items included with the kindle is the USB cable and an AC adapter

Simplicity is the motto in designing the Kindle so using the Kindle, including charging should be intuitive. If you get one cable and one AC adapter you will not have to think too much, just like using paper books.

Like a supermodel, the Kindle is thin

The Kindle is easy to hold though thinner than most good books. It leaves the reader feeling confident that he or she holding on to something that is of high quality and being assembled in China is irrelevant. Everything good now comes from China  like the iPhone, the Kindle, the corruption-free construction industry.

The quality of the screen - E Ink Pearl - is unbelieveably clear and crisp

I showed the Kindle to several people – skeptics and believers – and everybody agreed that reading anything on the Kindle was effortless and just like reading on paper. The Kindle is a black and white only device which for most readers, is not an issue. So far, I think the Kindle is amazing and useful, but in the short- term, it will not replace paper as many books are not available in Kindle format for complicated reasons that might sound either stupid or greedy to most.

Photos look good on the Kindle

Setting up the Wi-Fi is easy and buying books is a little too easy. One-Click-Ordering was designed to make buying effortless, but in the hands of the weak and impulsive, it is good for the American economy.

Maybe the Government should give students Kindles instead of paper text books as it would help save trees and protect the backs of students from muscle strain and also reduce incidents of slip disk. This e-text book idea is already being explored in Africa.

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The Kindle in Trinidad and Tobago – The Nook, The Bad and The Ugly


I held and cuddled a Kindle in the palms of my hands on more than a few occasions and it made no emotional connection like the paper book it was designed to replace. The Kindle is supposed to be an alternative and an improvement to the paper book but I am not sure if people who are addicted to the mysteries and smells of books and bookshelves will appreciate Amazon’s creation.  I think one of the problems Amazon is trying to solve with the Kindle is not only how to make books more accessible but how to make more money by turning a want into a need. What you can’t do as easily with a Kindle compared to a real book is sniff the paper, ruffle the pages, put dog-ears on them or enjoy the thrill of breaking down a friend’s door to retrieve your long overdue book. I am not sure how resilient a Kindle is to the spilling of rum and Coke or withstanding a leaking chicken roti but most real books survive these everyday occurrences if acted on promptly. If these spills happen to a Kindle it might have to be returned to its makers for evaluation, deodorizing and a hefty repair bill. I would hate to think I can’t read any of my favorite books because the curry went out of control.

The Kindle is affordable to those who can easily afford to blow TT$320 at Movietowne twice a month. For those who can’t see or read too well, the Kindle can read to you in a voice reserved for curing bouts of insomnia. It is easy to read a book on a Kindle and the adults of tomorrow will wonder how people ever read a paper book without audio.  The Kindle is now US$189 down from US$259. Only yesterday on Amazon’s recently acquired popular online store, Woot, the Kindle was being sold for US$149 but those sold out in record time.

A common message in Trinidad and Tobago

The Kindle will work in Trinidad and Tobago as Amazon has negotiated worldwide roaming data charges with cell providers.  In Trinidad and Tobago we do not have the fast 3G networks like some parts of the US and Colombia which means we will have to settle for our books being delivered at not significantly slower times using GPRS/EDGE. What customers and potential Kindle customers in Trinidad and Tobago must also note is that not every Kindle book that is available to US customers will be available to us. Many new bestsellers will not be available and we in the backward Third World may have to wait months or forever to have these books on Kindle. Of the top ten bestselling Kindle titles today, only one is available in our region. Don’t blame Amazon for this but blame the wicked and greedy book publishing and distribution mafia. Also blame yourself for being a Third World citizen. Don’t panic too much as Amazon has made 417,446 Kindle books available to the Caribbean and Latin America. But when you consider US customers can buy around 620,000 books,  you feel you are being discriminated against.  A few newspapers are also available for subscription via kindle like the Shanghai Daily in English at US$9.99 a month and Brazil’s Jornal de Santa Catarina in Portuguese at US$11.99 a month.

There is one very serious issue which makes the Kindle unattractive to US residents and ugly to people not living in the US – the new Kindle has to be shipped back to Amazon to have the battery replaced.  The battery may last years but that is a hope and a guess. I can’t recall ever having to return a real book to Amazon or even RIK to so that I can read it. One other issue with the Kindle in Trinidad and Tobago and most countries outside of the US is that web browsing is blocked probably because of the high roaming data charges, so blogs are obviously not supported via the Kindle in our region. If the Kindle had Wi-Fi, web browsing may have been possible outside the US.

As far as the international market is concerned, Amazon has nearly all of the portable ebook market. Their major competitors in the US is the Nook from Barnes and Noble which is still a US-only device.  The Nook has nice features that are not present in the Kindle such as a colour LCD touch-screen, SD memory expansion, and Wi-Fi. Despite the Nook having Wi-Fi for downloads of books, any attempt to buy books using a foreign IP address or non-US issued credit card will be blocked. We are not a global society as some like to boast and people in the Third World should always know their lesser place. You can also get Kindle books on your iPad, iPhone, PC or laptop but the Kindle is pencil thin and easier and cheaper than an iPad to fall asleep with. Kindle for Google Android phones are supported in many countries but not as yet in Trinidad and Tobago. Kindle for Blackberry is not supported for customers outside the US, including illegal US immigrants who don’t have a US credit card account.

30 million dollar bikini

I doubt I will be getting a Kindle soon since the Kindle doesn’t solve any problems I have or satisfy any cravings except the need to show off. The Kindle is however a good device to travel with since airlines are now charging extra for every ounce of overweight luggage and bookshelves.

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Time Traveler’s Wife – A Male Butt Movie


The-Time-Travelers-Wife-eric-bana-2695338-1500-1000Some might say Time Traveler’s Wife is a Chick Flick since is contains more male nudity than any movie in my recent memory. The reason for the mostly backside male nudity has to do with the fact that people can travel back and forth in time but not their clothes. This quirk makes it embarrassing for the time traveler when he arrives at some random destination at some random time; usually near a clothes store. For this reason I don’t recommend women pick up time travel even as a hobby since women are fussier about clothes than men.

Time travel at random and unpredictable times makes for a mushy love story with some blood and minor sex scenes. Time Travelers Wife (formerly a book) is also a movie containing good looking actresses and actors, Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana. Beauty had to be an important part of this movie because love stories with ugly people are on their way out since there is too much ugliness in the world and on the streets as it is. It’s hard to say if the Time Traveler’s wife is a tear-jerker but at Movietowne the lights went on later than normal at the end  so I couldn’t say for sure. I heard some coughing  but that might be mostly people trying to finish their popcorn.

Yes, I would recommend you go see Time Travelers Wife if you are a guy with the need to impress a chick and she will be impressed if she goes with you. You will not only impress her it will give her a famous butt she can compare your sorry butt to. Rachel McAdams‘s butt wasn’t too bad either.

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Seven Pounds – A Weighty Movie


Seven Pounds - More Than Just A Weight

Seven Pounds - More Than Just A Weight

Seven Pounds is probably the best movie I have seen for the year 2008. However, in keeping with this blog’s sense of warped humor coupled with great insight, I give you some brief comments. Please note there are some unintentional spoilers ahead.

  • Seven Pounds is not only the latest offering from Will Smith; it’s also the amount of weight you will put on for the Holidays.
  • Seven Pounds is the only movie which dares to show the relationship between the Blackberry and the Jellyfish.
  • Seven Pounds is a movie with such a great plot you will rush out the movie theater and tell all your friends just so you could spoil it for them.
  • Seven Pounds features such a passionate love scene between Will Smith and Rosario Dawson you can’t help wonder if she would suffer a heart attack.
  • Seven Pounds will make you cry at US$7.00 a ticket.
  • Seven Pounds is a movie that is so good it doesn’t need explosions.
  • Seven Pounds is more than a love story, it is a reason to cry.
  • Seven Pounds is the name of the movie which doesn’t explain why it’s called Seven Pounds.
  • Seven Pounds = 3.17514659 kilograms

Ben Thomas: I did something really bad once and I’m never gonna be the same!

Seven Pounds - Wallpapae

Seven Pounds - Wallpapae

A Tobago Vacation Review


Tobago Bench

Tobago Bench

How to get there:

It is no longer necessary to hide in the wheel well of a private jet or jump on the back of a sea turtle to get to Tobago from Trinidad as Caribbean Airlines now runs an amazingly efficient air bridge between the two islands. On the down side, airport security checks are still annoying but are in place for our safety and inconvenience. If you have a good camera bag the x-ray machine will only serve to confuse the security officers more. It appears that through the eyes of an x-ray machine a zoom lens looks like a bazooka and a four-pack of AA batteries is the splitting image of four sticks of dynamite.

Where to stay:

Crown Point Hotel is my favorite place to stay in Tobago because it overlooks Store Bay and girls in bikinis. According to pictures on the wall in the reception area, in 1966 Queen Elizabeth II stayed at Crown Point Hotel with a married man. The man was her husband and she was on her honeymoon. I doubt she wore a bikini back then since the royal g-string wasn’t invented until the 90s.  Maybe she would return one day and grace us with that sight.

Dove - Tobago

Dove - Tobago

What to eat:

Crab and dumpling, the trademark Tobago dish, is still holding at $45TT or about $7.25US but the current crabs have thinner legs and the dumplings are on a diet. Still, there is nothing like Tobago crabs.

If you are the type of person who is into boneless lamb, and money I recommend Bonkers located just down de road from Churches Chicken, Sheppy’s Car Rental and The Iguana pub in Crown Point. Last year I tried the seafood restaurant, Pelican Reef (sounds strangely like Pelican Brief starring Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington and Sam Shepard) but their prices are not as attractive as their waitresses.

There is a genuine Italian pizzeria, La Cantina, in Crown Point with dozens of different thin-crust pizzas made in a brick oven made from bricks. To put it bluntly, you will never taste better pizza in Trinidad and Tobago, or most parts of the US. One pizza can cost around $75TT but taste like $95TT. There is even a pizza with raw beef.

Where to go:

I was again disappointed that Pigeon Point, the best beach in the world after Englishman’s Bay, had no topless bathing except for a few old men. On this trip to Tobago I went to Castara and Englishman’s Bay for the first time but didn’t sample the water since drinking saltwater and driving should never be mixed. Englishman’s Bay is smaller, more rounded and easier to pronounce than Castara making it better liked and cozier. On my visit, the bikini content on both beaches was miniscule, but can change drastically with the arrival of one tour bus or two rented cars.

Avoiding suspicion:

Tobagonians are suspicious of long-lens camera people because of past experiences. Most, if not all, Tobagonians welcome the photographer but want to make sure he or she gets the name of their boat and island right. A photograph of Pigeon Point once ended up in an ad for Jamaica, I was told. The locals become suspicious if the photographer looks professional but acts like a point-and-shooter.

Pigeon Point

Pigeon Point

Nude Bathing:

Nude bathing is only allowed in an enclosed, non-transparent bathroom.

The Dark Knight’s Dilemma


The Dark Knight Poster

The Dark Knight Poster

The Dark Knight was a good movie because during the movie I wasn’t distracted by the fact Heath Ledger was no longer alive and  Christian Bale was recently arrested by London police for allegedly assaulting his 61 year old mother, a former circus clown, and his sister. Good movies are always full of distractions.

The Dark Knight was an intense movie which never let up for the 152 minutes of screen time. It was a good versus evil movie and I am beginning to wonder what the movie industry would do without evil, or good for that matter. As everybody said, The Joker stole the show from Batman but he always did and in every incarnation as that is the nature of evil. This movie was filled with moral dilemmas such as does the good of the one you love outweigh the good of the masses. Or can evil exist simply for evil’s sake or does evil have a plan that is more attractive than Batman’s. Naturally the movie suggested that Batman made the right decision which was probably the wrong one in the end. I find The Dark Knight to be disturbing for that reason but little children and young teens may not find it so since munching popcorn and texting requires concentration.

The Dark Knight - The Joker

The Dark Knight - The Joker

Batman is a better superhero than Spiderman, Ironman, and Hulk, and is on par with Daredevil, and Hancock. Batman is better as he bleeds easier than most superheroes which makes him more human but is extremely wealthy which makes him a bit of an idiot for wanting to dress up as a bat in order to fight crime. However, I was made to understand that some women are attracted to Batman because he has a private jet (or missile), wears a black cape in bed, and has a mask with needlessly protruding ears. It’s difficult for the ordinary man to compete with that.

This Beach Called Life – One Year and Few Days Later


Blog Stats

Blog Stats

Preface to the Introduction

I decided to write this post because I didn’t know what else to write and I felt I should write something. It’s these voices next to my head.

Introduction

This Beach Called Life – The aka_lol’s Blog was imported from Blogger into WordPress just over one year ago and I think it was a good year for the blog compared to a bad year. It was a good year, and not just for visits, but for poor grammar, disjointed paragraphs, and nonsensical post. As you may not have realized there is no theme for this blog other what goes on in my mind and keyboard. I am not nuts but some say insanity becomes me. Despite my self-proclaimed sanity, sometimes this blog goes crazy and attracts many visitors who become speechless on entry. Nevertheless, it’s nice when the visits go up on my stat counter and I am always curious to know what brought visitors here.

The Actual Superficial Content

This blog has been visited 27,826 times since July 16th, 2007. The most amount of visitors in one day occurred on February 7th, 2007 with 641 visits because of Carnival. More recently, the peak of 428 on the 17th July was due to the Trinidad Storm entry, Halle Berry and The Happening. Carla Bruni has been some help in keeping the stats above 100 per day and Everything You Wanted to Know About Aka has become popular and I think I figured out the glitch that made it so. Bikini Carnival continues to plod along but barely.

Friends of this Blog

I would like to thank those who commented and I would also like to thank those who commented more even more.  You know who you are. The Blogroll on the side bar has a list of good bloggers who may have commented and some who are the silent type. Don’t be afraid to say what’s on your mind but just remember I offend easily.

The Future

One day I hope to sell the movie rights to this blog and finally make aka_lol a pronounceable household word.

The End

There is no end in sight.

Hancock – A Real Superhero


Prelude

aka_lol: Two tickets for Handcock please.

Female Ticket seller: Handcock? You mean Hancock.

aka_lol: That is what I said, Handcock.

Female Ticket seller: The name is Hancock not Handcock.

aka_lol: Pleased to meet you Handcock, can I have two tickets please?

Female Ticket seller: Wait here sir while I get security.

aka_lol: That won’t be necessary, I feel very safe here.

Hancock scene

Off screen Entertainment

After a brief scuffle with security, I was eventually allowed to see Hancock, Will Smith’s latest offering. But, even before that I was entertained by looking at the four Venezuelan girls in the line of people who support the concession stand with their outrageous prices. – The concession stand’s prices. Each girl was more beautiful than the next with their leader appearing rather wild and young for a leader.

Venezuelan Girl: cuatro perritos calientes, por favor.

Concession Stand Seller: Waahh?

Hancock whale scene

The Review

Hancock is not your average superhero movie and there is a twist which I saw coming from early. Hancock is a very good movie because it confronts the reality of the consequences of having a superhero operating in a big US city, and the effects of the indiscriminate damage to public property in the pursuit of justice. Hancock also explores the taboo subject of superhero depression and alcohol abuse.

Everybody knows superheroes normally wear a costume to hide their identity from their girlfriends, aunts and bosses for theatrical reasons plus it distinguishes them from the general public, who only wear costumes at Halloween, Carnival and one night stands. Hancock points out that a costume might look gay with its tightness around the pelvic area but it is necessary if the superhero wants to create a better public image. The movie, Hancock, was loosely based on the movie Unbreakable as both had nearly unbreakable superheroes in nontraditional roles. Unbreakable certainly had more of a twist but Hancock was funnier with a surplus of remarkable special effects. To describe Hancock as a simply a funny movie is to miss the point that in order to make it big at the box-office serious themes must be hidden among special effects and humor. Hancock is much more than a summer popcorn cruncher. I am going to rate Hancock much better than Iron Man because I enjoyed it more since it had a decent amount of obscene language and an original theme. Aka’s rating for Hancock is 8 out of 10.

Hancock at the beginning

Epilog

Hostage Taker: [Hancock arrives on the scene] Oh shit, Handjob!
Hancock: Yep, now just tell me what you need.
Hostage Taker: Well I need them to put those guns down.
Hancock: [to the cops] All right fellas just put the guns down.
Hostage Taker: Now I need you and that tight ass Wolverine outfit to get me outta here asshole!

The Happening – A Review


The Happening

The Happening opened today, 11th June, 2008 in Trinidad and this is my incomplete review that may seem a bit disjointed.

Walking forward out of the cinema, as opposed to walking backwards, I came up with some alternate taglines for The Happening:

Froward Ever, Backward Never

The Answer, My Friend, Is Blowing In The Wind

If you have to see one movie for the summer you must see The Happening. That sounds like a marketing line from a biased reviewer but it is just my opinion. The Happening was a haunting movie that was fun, gruesome, intense, dramatic, sad, chilling, disturbing, intelligent, believable and yet sprinkled with humor. Though The Happening is an R-rated movie you would love, it is not for the squeamish regardless of age. I am not sure if Shyamalan wanted to prove something to his critics but he wasted no time in getting to the point. It was pure cinematic efficiency. As usual, Shyamalan’s characters were mostly believable except when there was a need or two for an unbelievable one. The atmosphere created was one of suspense and hope. You will jump, believe me, you will. The cinematography by Tak Fujimoto under Shyamalan’s direction was once again outstanding so please, finish your popcorn early. But that wasn’t all as Shyamalan called on James Newton Howard once again to settle the score, and settle it good.

Mark Wahlberg, Zooey Deschanel, John Leguizamo, Ashlyn Sanchez, Betty Buckley and M. Night Shyamalan pulled it off and pulled it off in style. Mark Wahlberg was outstanding with Zooey Deschanel and John Leguizamo giving good support. Ashlyn Sanchez has a bright future ahead. Betty Buckley was simply bloodcurdling. M. Night – spoiler ahead – did not appear; at least physically.

I can’t figure why, but The Happening is a movie that is strangely satisfying in an unsettling way.

But in the end they wanted more.

Wednesday 12th June, 2008 – update: – I want to see this movie again and who is this Joey character anyway.

Friday 13th June, 2008 – further update:I just had this thought – People and critics are once again going to end up reviewing Shyamalan and not The Happening which will be an injustice to the movie.

The Happening Poster The Happening - The TeamMark WahlbergThe HappeningThe FieldThe Happening - The TicketClouds

Cloverfield – A Camcorder Gone Mad


Cloverfield

“My name is Robert Hawkins. Approximately seven hours ago, uh, some *thing* attacked the city. Um, if you found this, if you’re watching this, then you know more about it than I do.” ~ Robert Hawkins – Cloverfield

“If this is the last thing you see… that means I died.” ~ Hud – Cloverfield

“Warning: May cause motion sickness” ~ Cinema Owners

“We have no more shrimp” ~ Movietowne

Cloverfield is a down-to-earth movie not only because it was filmed from the perspective of a small group of friends using a camcorder, or that monsters invaded New York again. It was realistic because it caused motion sickness and did not appear to have a happy end, unless you are a 9/11 terrorist that is.

Warning Cloverfield was based on reality therefore the camcorder batteries lasted just under 1h:24m and had a night vision mode. I didn’t actually see anybody puke or stumble out of the cinema but I did hear cries of “Ah wan mih money back!” and “Don’t touch me!” Despite Matt Reeves’s overdone attempt to make this a reality monster movie, it was a movie worth seeing. The characters were heroic and the Army was typically organized and defenseless. When characters died the audience felt the loss. When the Statue of Liberty’s head came rolling down a Manhattan street the audience sighed “Not again.” The movie was dark, dismal, poorly lit, occasionally nauseous with rodents and camera-shake. It was the truth of everyday life gone worse. Reality shows are normally aimed at those who want to be easily entertained by putting their brain in surface mode but Cloverfield did not attempt to easily entertain. It was made to challenge the emotionally mature and those who are willing to consider the fact that despite our best efforts, life can have an unhappy end in Manhattan.

There is a Cloverfield part two in the works and I am suggesting it be called Cloverfield – Batteries Recharged or I am Legend. Several people didn’t like the uncertain or the more than likely tragic end to Cloverfield and therefore a sequel is needed as an apology and a money spinner. I recommend you go and see Cloverfield and remember that nobody knows what a cloverfield is but only the Army called their monster-containment operation just that.

3:10 to Yuma – an imitiation Review


10 to Yuma

The following is aka’s false impression of a teen’s review of 3:10 to Yuma in one simple sentence.

My mom, who is still an adult, wanted to see 3:10 to Yuma but I and my sister didn’t want to go, after all it was a western and we don’t like westerns since we are very young and was brought up by special effects which are nice to look at, especially when someone gets their blood splattered by an axe or blown to bits by a bomb or missile for no reason because it looks so real these days, I think, and real looking is what young people want because young people just simply love grossness inside and outside, but I admit I never seen a western before but my friend told me his grand dad only looks at westerns everyday while sipping rum and coke before he passes out about lunchtime so if they are so bad to get his grand dad to pass out then I don’t think I want to see a western even if my mom said we must open our minds to new things, such as full stops and it is a new movie that stars Russell Crow and that dreamy hunk Christian Bale but we did end up seeing the movie because families are not real democratic and we didn’t pass out but my mom did.

Prime Restaurant, Trinidad – A Review almost in toto


Prime

The brand of urinals at the men’s room of Prime Restaurant, Trinidad is called Toto. That almost made my night but was overshadowed by the Herb Crusted Colorado Lamb Chops costing $295, which was made up of two double chops, cous cous, and rioja reduction. The lamb was done to perfect perfection. I was an invited guest so price was not my problem, and lamb is what I wanted. I love lamb but I almost never eat it ever since some clever doctors uncovered a plot by certain diabolical sheep to slowly and silently kill humans. Beef is the catch of the day at Prime and a 16 oz New York Strip goes for $495 while a 22 oz Porterhouse sells for $545. The prices are in TT$ and all major credit cards with sufficient funds are happily accepted. These prices are not final and a ten percent service charge plus fifteen percent VAT must be compounded for a  surprise ending to a happy meal. This jacking-up-of-prices is the norm at fine restaurants in Trinidad and Tobago, and several foreigners and thousands of locals have complained, but only in their cars on the way home.

The waitresses at Prime are attractive and well trained actresses who perform a skit for each table of newcomers before they – the newcomers – place their order. The skit is called “This is what the food looks like” and it is done with precision and grace. Demo plates showing the various sizes of steaks and lobsters, encased in plastic wrap, are presented to the captured audience. It’s like dinner theatre except questions are entertained at the end and the full performance takes almost five minutes. The demo food-models are shown to guests so that there would be no surprises concerning the size of the meat when the dishes are finally served. Some of the people at my table were wine connoisseurs from California, or pretended to be – connoisseurs I mean – so I simply went along saying I don’t like wine, it gives me a headache. I understand Prime has a good selection of wine and they use Rabbit wine openers to open the bottles in the presence of guest, some of whom may be lawyers.

Prime was designed to be among the finest restaurants in Trinidad and in my very modest opinion, it is. But nothing is perfect and the only improvement I can suggest to Prime is the addition of a loans counter and a mini pawn shop. Everything else is just right.