Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving, Kindle Fire Review and NaNo Update

So its that time of the year where we all start thinking about the past year and what we're thankful for. Well upon looking back at the last year, I've realized I have more to be thankful about than any other year. I thought I would take the time to verbalize ( by written word) who and what I'm thankful for this year. There really is SO much I am thankful for, but for the sake of your sanity and my fingers...I'm going to list just a few. 

For starters...I have to say all of you guys are at the top of the reasons I've had such a great year. Not only have I become a better person, writer and reader because of you guys and your blogs, but I've "met" some amazing people. Thank you to the people who have been with me since pretty much the beginning of Chasing Empty Pavements inception. You know who you are and I appreciate and love you guys! I am so thankful for a community of accepting, brilliant, talented individuals who make everyday of my life as special as it could be. I wouldn't be where I'm at today without you! I should also give thanks to blogger itself, because in discovering blogging, I also discovered a place to talk about my passion for reading and writing. Lastly, I'm thankful for ALL the bloggers who've found success in publishing, getting an agent or self-publishing. Why am I thankful for their success you ask? Well their stories give me hope and inspire me. They give me strength to keep writing and dreaming.

As much as I wish I could be thankful for my paycheck, (I seriously make below the poverty level!) I AM thankful for my job. I was in a dark place for a while before I got the job I'm in now and I was pretty scared for myself but I am so thankful that my employer took a chance on me and gave me an opportunity to show them what I could do. In fact, I am thankful that I got a career-type job BEFORE I even graduated. I don't have any of the stress of trying to find a job after graduation because I already have it! I am thankful for the amazing co-workers I've had at my last and current jobs. Some of them have become close friends and I can't imagine life without them.

I am thankful for my huge, crazy family. I have such an amazing family, its annoying sometimes. They are loud, obnoxious and totally awesome. They would do ANYTHING for me and I can honestly say that I'm a much better person because of them. My parents have pretty much supported all my crazy ideas and you know what? Putting up with someone who frequently refers to books as her "friends" isn't that easy! Thank you to all my family that have not only accepted me for the crazy woman I am, but thank you for encouraging me to be the best I can be.

Lastly, I have to say I am SO incredibly thankful for my best friend, partner in crime, the pea to my pod, the peanut butter to my jelly (you get the picture right?). My fiance is one of the most amazing men I've ever met. I honestly could not have found a better match for someone to share my life with. He understands me completely, quirks and all. I can be my complete, dorky self with him and he not only accepts me for it, but loves me despite it. He challenges me on a daily basis (sometimes it gets REALLY irritating though) and he is always there for me whether my problem is big or small. (I usually think it's big and he convinces me that really it's a small problem!) All of my life, I knew reading and writing was something that was important to me and always would be. When I got into college and started to realize that the amount of people who believed in me and supported me in regards to writing was dwindling, it made me very nervous. It made me feel like I was never going to find someone that knew how much writing and reading meant to me. Until I met fiance. He not only supports my crazy-book-hoarding-and-hole-up-under-the-covers-to-read habit, but he understands just how much those moments and books mean to me. As if that wasn't enough, as I've struggled this past year with trying to overcome my fear of putting my writing out there on a limb and learning more and more about the craft and the industry, he has been an endless supporter. There are times when he believes in me more than I ever have. Actually, I'll be honest here, MOST of the time he is the one cheering me on and convincing me that I'm talented and that it's a matter of WHEN not IF when it comes to publishing. I know it gets irritating and frustrating for him, but he hasn't a clue in the world how much his support means to me. His family has also been a source of such happiness for me in the past year. I don't know how I got so lucky that I have more family than I know what to do with. I'm marrying into such a wonderful, loving family and I'm SO SO SO thankful for that. 

Now my keyboard is sopping from my emotional teary response at writing this. I now need to move on to something that makes me both happy and mad at the same time. The KINDLE FIRE!

Not gonna lie, it's a gorgeous device. It's exactly the right size, it's sleek and goes with me everywhere. Now, I had a Nook Color before I got this and other than a few surface flaws...I really loved my Nook Color. Maybe it was the greediness inside of me, the curious cat or just a desire for something new but I decided to trade my Nook for the Fire. Bad decision? Haven't decided yet, but I'm going to be honest and say that I'm more than disappointed with a few aspects. I wanted to give you all a real, honest review since many of you are maybe thinking about purchasing one or giving one as a gift and I wanted to do my review since I am just the Average Jane and not some super-smart-techy-guy who will try to tell you all about the technology and get you confused. I hate that. So anyways. I'll go through thing by thing.

The Screen: The screen is super sharp looking and obviously of really nice quality. I'd say the screen itself is better than the Nook's however, there is a glare from the light sometimes whereas I didn't notice it as much on the Nook. 

The Books- Honestly, I have always been a fan of Amazon's ebook store more simply because of the affordable-ness and the ease with which to purchase the books. I think they have a bigger selection and with the rise of self-publishing, I love that I could browse for hours and hours to find new authors and new books. You can do this somewhat with the Nook but not as easily and not FROM the Nook device. You have to do it from the computer whereas the Fire allows you to search from the device itself. 

Movies/Music/Apps-This was one of the huge selling points for me for the switch and I can say that this particular aspect has the Nook blown out of the water. There just isn't really a comparison. They Fire just lends itself so nicely to being able to watch movies or listen to music or use the apps. I'm happy to say that Amazon at least delivered on that aspect. 

Magazines/Newspapers- I was subscribed to two different Mags on the Nook and while they are offered on the Fire, I'm not sure yet if I'll subscribe or not. I haven't really played with the magazine option on it yet, so I can't comment on whether the Fire or Nook is better in that arena however the pricing for the magazines are pretty consistent with each other. 

Storage- Okay this is where I'm going to rant for a moment. As MANY of you are members of NetGalley and get sent ebooks from publishers, authors, friends or what have you, I think that the storage is one of the most important aspects to an e-reader device. I loved loved loved this about my Nook. It had 8GB with expandable storage in the form of SD cards. I was able to load up ALL of my e-books on it without a worry in the world that I would use up all my space. Amazon made this whole big deal about how the Fire was better than the Nook because you could get store stuff in the "cloud" and then it doesn't take up space on your device and you can then download as you see fit. Simply brilliant in theory but it was not executed or delivered on. What they fail to tell you is that you only have 5GB of free cloud storage (which really is a lot but that's not the point...they tell you it's "limitless" but 5GB sounds like there's a limit to me...) they also fail to tell you that if you put things in the cloud that aren't purchased from Amazon (so for all of us who get sent e-books in PDF format for example) you can put it in the cloud but there's no way to download it FROM THE DEVICE. So you either have to go in to your computer, go into the cloud drive, find the file, find the right section and have it "sent" to your device. Well, by the time I do that, I could have moved the file over ten times by just transferring it using the USB cord. It's really irritating to me that they build their entire platform on this idea but then the users can't even use it in the way that they need too! So now instead of having all my books at my fingertips, I have to pick and choose what ones I *think* I will read that week and put them on the Fire because space is so limited and taken up by my Kindle books. So just beware of this if you are deciding between devices. If storage is a HUGE factor to you, than I'd say you should probably go with the Nook Color/Nook Color 2 than the Fire.

Overall- I really do like the Fire, I think it's a great alternative to the iPad and other expensive Tablets. It does what I need it to do which is be an e-reader and have some internet access. I wish I would have known a little bit more about the cloud and the storage before purchasing it, but such is life. I would give the Fire a B+ only because I was really disappointed in the lack of storage and the way they deceive their customers a little bit. 

It is day 23 of NaNo and I'm sitting around 25K which is HIGHLY disappointing to me. I haven't quite accepted that I'm not going to make it yet...I could still have a couple of really good days where I catch up. But knowing my schedule, probably not. When I first realized that winning may not be an option for me this year, I was seriously bummed out. I was depressed, told myself I was stupid and I wasn't disciplined enough and that other people with busier lives than me were doing it. But then I realized something. The difference between failing this year and failing the other times comes down to DESIRE. The other years, I simply gave up and didn't really care one way or the other. It didn't bother me. But now.... I'm beyond bothered by not being able to win. Granted, this is my busiest year yet...I'm stunned I got 25K in, but its the desire to keep going that I realize this year is different. I don't want to stop writing, I don't want to quit. I want more than anything to keep going. The desire to finish is so strong that I know I WILL finish it, even if it's not done in November. It's this little reminder that softens the blow of failing, if it happens. Knowing that I'm not failing because I'm a bad writer or I don't have anything to contribute or I'm just "giving up" but because of external factors makes me feel a lot better. That being said, I'm not saying I'm not going to win yet. I'm not saying I'm going to fail and I'm saying I'm quitting. I'm going to try my hardest to "win" but if I don't, at least I know that the writer in me is still there, still begging to come out and play. By fingers or by pen, this story will get written!

I hope you all have a WONDERFUL and AMAZING Thanksgiving and it's full of family, laughter and love.  And possibly lots of reading and writing too :) Thanks for letting me share my thoughts with you all today!


DL Hammons said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Jade! I'm really glad you've had a joyful year! :)

PS. The CLOUD is a brillant concept in theory, but in the practical world it leaves much to be desired.

Steven Whibley said...

Great post, and what a great year you've had! (your blog is looking great, btw).

Cheers and have a great thanksgiving!

seamonster02 said...

Yeah, I think I'll stay with my Nook and eventually upgrade to the next Nook. I agree about the Amazon thing though - Amazon does have cheaper downloads but I like downloading directly to my Nook which B&N does. Netgalley is easy to move too. :-) I'm totally sold on the Nook - absolutely love the thing.

Glad you had a good year and that things are going well. Keep with Nano - I have done 8,000 words at a sitting to get up there so hopefully you can get some time to do so too. :-)