"The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress" (Robert Heinlein)
by Bill Matthews
"TANSTAAFL" - I'm now on my 4th Kindle. #1 & 2 were eink devices and #3 & 4 are a Generation 1 Fire and a 8.9 Fire Neither are HD) and I love and use both. A few months ago I sent the #1 Kindle to be recycled, it had languished in the care of my pre-teen grandson, who now has a gen 1 Fire and a school furnished iPad. The #2 (Kindle Keyboard) is with one of my sons so he can have access to my books along with the ones he has on his iPad. However, my Fires stay right next to my chair, except when we leave the house, then the 8.9 (w/4G) goes with me. My 7" was given a new life last month when I installed N2A0s and upgraded it to become a Android 4.2.1 based tablet.
Most of the family use iPads - but two are teachers and one is a student. My wife still uses a iPad V1 with a case that makes it look like a Etch-A-Sketch, she did start with a Kindle eink v2, which still works. It is almost time to upgrade her device, but we don't like to rush. My car is 19 years old and her's is 6.
Now, back to my story title. Heinlein was not the first to use the "There ain't no such thing as a free lunch" in his book. If you want to read more, Mr. Google can help you out. Granted we have spent some money on these devices over the past several years, but they have been worth the expense. Only 1 of the 5 has actually failed and there is no way of knowing where in my grandson's room it may have ended up. I did have one usb cord that lost part of the plastic and Amazon gave me credit to get another one (both are still functional). Did I get a good deal? You bet. Most of my apps were free when I got them and the vast majority of my books were free. I have a moderate collection of movies (bought at Estate Sales) that have been converted and downloaded to a wifi drive for use when traveling. I am a "happy camper".
A few weeks ago I had somewhat of a different experience. I was asked about reading the Bible on a Kindle or iPad by a friend who has a son with a terminal illness. His vision is poor and he is unable to read his Bible because of the print size. He lives in a small West Texas town with very poor cell service and limited wi-fi (none at home). The situation ruled out both the iPad and Kindle Fire options because of costs and connectivity. I then looked at some of the "low cost" tablets and settled on a little known brand and got a 9 inch. The specs were not great, 8 GB (4GB & 4GB SD card), 1GB memory, 800 x 600 resolution, Android 4.0.4. Was I crazy? Perhaps, but I knew that once I had set it up for him, the odds of him wanting to change and/or add anything was small. I did have to get him an email account. The device did not support GooglePlay but came with getjar and 1Market and some other apps. I discovered that neither of these would cooperate and let me download the You Version Bible app, but would give transmission errors. I finally signed him up for an Amazon account and got the app installed. I then deleted the payment info from the account. Next, I wanted to add some church music I had found on the internet but the USB support for the tablet was very poor and I could not make the connection. However, the device did support connecting a USB stick via a provided cable and, with the assistance of the pre-installed file app, the music was copied. After doing a short write-up on "how to use", doing some clean up, I gave it to his mother and she sent it on. He was thrilled.
What I learned from doing this was a greater appreciation of what Amazon and the Kindle family really provides. Said another way - You Get What You Pay For.
The Kindle family is a bargain.