Saturday, November 12, 2011

How to read Kindle books without buying a Kindle

The Kindle ebook reader is a lovely device that some people love. However that love comes at a price. The cheapest version cost less than $100, and if you buy one, you have to put up with the hassles of learning how to use it, keeping track of, and maintaining it.

You can avoid the expense and hassle of buying a device by downloading a free Kindle application that will let you use your computer, tablet, or smart phone to read Kindle books.

Why is all this good stuff free?, the company behind the Kindle, isn't in the charity business. While the Kindle devices generate revenue, over the long term they will make most of their money through the paid content, including books, that can be displayed on the Kindle device or on one of the free Kindle apps you can download.

How do I get this free Kindle App?
Simply go to at and download the appropriate Kindle app for your device. You can get an app for the following devices:

- Windows PC
- Mac PC
- iPhone
- iPad
- Android
- Blackberry
- Windows Phone 7

Once the download is finished, you can use your account to log into the online Kindle store to either buy content or to download free content. You don't have to have a account to read books and use other content, there are several advantages. One of the biggest ones is that you can download a sample of a book and evaluate it before you decide if you want to buy it.

Magic Kindle Powers
Since the Kindle app is free, you can download it for every device that you have. There are two ways that Amazon makes this a convenient option. First, if when you purchase a book, you can download it and read it on every device where you have a Kindle app. Second, if you make notes or bookmarks in a book on one device, when you open up the book on another device, all the notes and bookmarks transfer as well.

Try these free books
You don't have to get your books from Amazon. You can read .mobi format ebook file on your Kindle reader. Check out these two free ebooks from's partner Speedbrake Publishing.

Parenting and the Internet
The Podcasting Manual

Sunday, May 29, 2011

5 ways to use Google Docs to run your business

Google Docs has three great things going for it: it's free, it keeps getting improved, and it is flexible. The first advantage is obvious, and the other two are well illustrated in a short video from Sharon Vaknin of CNET News. You may also know her from Geek and the City

The following are the key points about Google Docs you can pick up from the video:

1. Easy uploading: You can upload files of almost any format to Google Docs, and also drag and drop files from your hard drive to the Docs home page. You can also upload an entire folder (like your My Documents), into Google Docs, and it would keep your folder and subfolder organization intact.

2. Insert photos directly into a document: You can insert a photo into a document by dragging and dropping files from your hard drive or from the web.

3. Add comments: This is a great option if you are collaborating with someone on a document. You can highlight a block of text, add a comment, and that comment, along with the name of the person who wrote the comment, will appear in the sidebar, where other collaborators can reply to that comment. You can even send the comment to a specific collaborator with a Twitter-like capability by typing "@" followed by the person'sname. If you move the highlighted text, the comments will move with it.

4. Easy file backup: With a few keystrokes, you can download all of your Google Doc files into your hard drive, and even specify what kind of format you want to use. For example, you can save a document file either as a Word file or an OpenOffice file.

5. Helpful Google Rappers: While not technically a part of Google Docs, you can go to YouTube to see Google employee rapping about how to use the help functions in Google Docs.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

What to get when starting a new online effort

If you are thinking about creating a new online presence, and intend to create something that would be attractive to a wide audience, it usually helps to plan it so that people can relate to what you are doing in several different ways. Doing just a web site, or just a podcast, or just a Facebook page isn't enough. With a little bit of planning, you should be able to get something useful up and running in a day or less.

What to add and how quickly?
Ideally, you would have all your content created and ready to go on day one, and a very clear idea of what you want to do online. Realistically, you may have only some of the content created, and only a vague idea of where you will end up even a few weeks down the road. My suggestion is to prioritize what you do by how important it will be to you later. A few years ago, that meant getting a domain name. Today, you probably would still need a domain name, or at least a user name or other identifier that would end up in the URL of services like YouTube and Twitter.

Case study -
My latest project was creating a web site promoting financial education and investment services. Based on my experience with the airline safety site, I understood that to get and keep an audience's attention and to attract traffic, it helped to have several different elements to an online effort, including widely used online resources like web sites to resources like Twitter and Facebook that may be used only by a portion of my target audience. While few would likely use every resource, my goal was to have a range of options for someone to choose.

I wanted to start with three new online resources: a web site, a Twitter account, and a YouTube account. I also wanted to pick a domain name that could also incorporated in the user name of the Twitter account and the URL of the YouTube account. After a short search, I found that was available for a domain name, so I went ahead and had the site created. I then created a new Twitter account and YouTube account with MoneyBahn as the user name.

With these key elements in place, I was assured that the most likely resources I would use to promote the new web site (Twitter and YouTube) would have URLs that would include the 'MoneyBahn" portion of the web sites domain name. With these new elements in place, I could not concentrate on creating more content. To see how that is shaping up, you may want to visit the main site at, or sites Twitter account and Facebook page.