TWO GADGETS: Tempour and Kindle Fire HD

 

This is the latest in a series of articles about innovative products about which you may not know enough.

 

TEMPOUR

The explosion of interest in wine has occurred seemingly across all demographics. Oenophiles attend nearly every dinner party. Although I was once dubious about all the alleged nuances among wines, I began to come around when I analogized to audio speakers. My ear could detect differences among various speakers, and I realized the tongue can do the same among wines. In any event, a huge industry has evolved around the enjoyment of wine. Tempour is a four-in-one device: pourer, chiller, filter and aerator.

tempour 1The detachable chiller is gel-filled and built from stainless steel, as is the rest of the unit. The chiller is stored in the freezer until ready for use. You then attach the chiller to the rest of the unit to keep the wine at optimum temperature. The chiller is most logically used for white or rosé wines and champagne, and I am finding it especially helpful in these summer months. A filter screen is built in to capture nasty sediment, although most of my wines are too new to have collected any such residue. A tastefully designed stopper and pourer helps avoid nasty dripping.

tempour 2In much the same way that home coffee making machines like Nespresso have made ordinary activities more personal and interactive, Tempour allows greater involvement in the wine consumption process, and thereby increases the pleasure of the activity.  It is well designed and blends effective functionality.

At $50, it is a quality product at an attainable price point.

www.soireehome.com

 

KINDLE FIRE HD

Lawyers have been watching with interest the ongoing saga about eBook pricing that pits Apple and Amazon and the book publishers. As with many of these issues, everyone has an opinion on what effect it will have on the public. My take is that prices of eBooks will generally drift down, which is what invariably happens around new technologies. Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD resides within the legacy of the original Kindle, which brought the idea of an electronic book reader to front and center. The original Kindle was not a Swiss Army knife (which is what an iPad really is); the original Kindle was touted as simply the best electronic book reader on the market. But Jeff Bezos and the folks at Amazon saw the digital writing on the walls, er…screen and knew they had to offer something akin to the massively popular iPad.

The beauty of Bezos’ thinking is that he understands that if you keep the price of the hardware low enough, you will make money on the software. Sony grappled with that for years, never fully drawing on the synergy between a once-vibrant electronics company and a media company with significant presence in film, TV and music.

The Kindle Fire HD is a great device at a great price. It is closer to a Swiss army knife than its predecessor, but as Amazon expands its empire users can tap into more than just eBooks. Indeed, Amazon positions the Kindle Fire HD as a tablet rather than an eReader. As such, the full panoply of film, TV and music can be accessed via the Kindle Fire. Amazon is spending large sums of its cash on acquiring content, and investors seem happy to let that strategy continue.

kindleAs an eReader, I loved my original Kindle. The Kindle Fire HD provides all the features I came to love, such as the ability to book mark passages, make notes and click on any word to find its definition. The latter was especially helpful as I waded through Moby-Dick.

All Kindles allow for various permutations of sharing, which addresses the value of the analog book: the ability to loan. Kindle books can be loaned to another reader for a period of 14 days. The borrower does not need to own a Kindle because Kindle books can also be read using the free Kindle reading applications for PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices. Of course, each publisher determines which titles are eligible for lending. The lender will not be able to read the book during the loan period and books can only be loaned once.

As a kid I came to love the public library; the day my Dad took me to meet the librarian and get my library card was a red letter day. As a longstanding patron of the library, I came a bit late to the eReader market. But Amazon addresses that concern with the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which allows eligible U. S. Amazon Prime members who own Kindle devices to choose from over 300,000  books to borrow for free. The library includes over 100 current and former New York Times Bestsellers and patrons can borrow a book a month, with no due dates. No due dates essentially means ownership.

The Kindle HD sports a brilliant tablet screen, and a host of features to leverage the interactivity of film and TV offerings. Hollywood directors have long ago accepted that no longer are their films solely enjoyed at the Bijou. Over the last century, films have come to TV and then video allowed folks to watch whenever they wanted. Now films are consumed across the full range of screens. Amazon’s “X-Ray for Movies and TV” enhances the TV and movie viewing experience by bringing the power of IMDb directly to television series and movies on Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and the Amazon Instant Video app on Wii U. Many industry observers have commented on consumers’ multi-screen consumption patterns, and X-Ray consolidates this with some intriguing interactivity.

Whispersync is a beautiful feature which ensures your Kindle content is exactly where you left off as you move across devices. I enjoy chipping away at Moby-Dick on my mobile phone when standing in line at the Post Office, so that when I get back to my Kindle I recommence from the last place I read.

And finally, if you have kids who are clamoring to use your device, FreeTime is a means by which you can put limits on what content they access and for how long your kids are grazing on your device.

Kindle prices start at $69 and prices for the Kindle Fire HD start at $130.

www.amazon.com/kindle

 

 

 


Brad Auerbach has been covering the media, entertainment and technology scene for many years. He has written for Time Out London, Village Voice, LA Weekly and once upon a time won a New York State College Journalism Award.

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