Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Using the "Send to Kindle" Browser Extension

Using the "Send to Kindle" Browser Extension

By Dennis D. McDonald

During the day while on the web I’ll run across something I want to read later. I’ll then use the browser’s “Send to Kindle” extension to upload the page or article to Amazon from which it’s then downloaded to to my Kindle Fire, my 6 inch black and white Kindle, or my iPhone’s Kindle app. As an example, here’s a recent list of articles:

  • ‘Genome: Unlocking Life’s Code,’ at the Smithsonian
  • Just thinking about science triggers moral behavior
  • The Latest Twists in the Snowden Affair
  • Steve Ballmer and the Art of Managing a Monopoly : The New Yorker
  • Birder, Serious Birder, or Backyard Feeder Viewer, This ZUP’s for You
  • Science Fiction in the Fifties: The Real Golden Age
  • Introduction to 1950s Science Fiction
  • Living in a Science Fictional World
  • Denial Is a River In Egypt
  • On Narratives of Decline, or The Age of Denial Is Fifty

Usually the process works seamlessly. I can read them then delete them  later on, usually after work in the evening. Two exceptions to this smooth process are when article formatting is too complex for the “Send to Kindle” extension to format and the second is when the article is a .pdf.

In the first case — which happens infrequently — the upload via the extension fails and the onscreen “progress” symbol just keeps spinning. If that happens I download the page and email the file to Amazon using one of the email addresses Amazon assigns when you register your Kindle. Emailing Microsoft Word documents also works and they usually end up nicely formatted for reading on the Kindle.

The second issue arises with .pdf files although the problem is not with the sending but with the display. Many “white papers” released by tech companies are formatting-heavy with multiple columns that are a pain to read on the Kindle due to the inability of the .pdf document to automatically reformat responsively to accommodate different screen dimensions. This is one of the reasons why I have adopted a very simple format for my own downloadable documents which you can see by clicking the image at the top right of this article.

What I seem to be finding is that my reading of books, articles, and even technical documents for my business is becoming more divorced from the PC. Devices like the Kindle and the ability to easily transfer files to them for convenient and easy “anywhere reading”  is further reducing the need for the PC to act as a universal device.

I don’t know if this is another sign of the “death of the PC” or if it’s evidence that the PC just needs to morph into something more specialized.

But I do know  that I really enjoy being able to carry hundreds of books and articles around in my pocket that I can then read just about anytime or anywhere.

Copyright (c) 2013 by Dennis D. McDonald

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