1) Ann Althouse doesn't like the Kindle because the gray-on-gray print is too hard for her to read. E-ink is basically an electronic etch-a-sketch, so the screen is not perfectly white because of the magnetic particles behind it. Or so I understand it.
This bothers me not at all, particularly since you can resize the text--a feature I find more useful than black-on-white when I have forgotten my glasses. But I know a lot of older readers complained about contrast during my previous website's brief foray into dark-gray text, so if you think this might bother you, you should definitely borrow someone else's for a test run before you take the plunge. I would be surprised if this troubles anyone under forty who isn't legally blind. But it's a good point.
This, however, is not:
The truth is, I hardly ever touch the damned thing.
(But please, if you buy one, buy it through this link so I can get a percentage of the $359 purchase price. And I'm saying that mainly to prompt some skepticism about rave reviews of the Kindle you might be reading in blog posts with Amazon Associates links like that in them. So if you appreciate that little lesson in skepticism, but still want to buy a Kindle, reward me by using my link.)
Most bloggers have Amazon Associates accounts that generate a fairly trivial amount of revenue. Perhaps Instapundit makes a fortune off of his, but the rest of us--and I've had one for years--get enough money to buy a nice electronic gadget once a year, maybe. This is hardly worth jeopardizing my relationship with my readers, my reputation, and my salary in order to push worthless crap.
The Kindle is, for me and the friends I have bullied into buying one, the best thing since the MP3 player. For other people, like Professor Althouse, it's apparently a dud, which is not surprising--no one likes everything (thank God!) But the commission on the one or two Kindles they might sell through their website is not enough to push many bloggers into praising the thing without merit. Most of them would make more money for hour popping nuggets into the deep fry down at McDonalds than hawking Amazon merchandise.
2) This seems like the most useless product ever. Can someone explain?
3) Amazon guarantees that if the price drops on an item within thirty days of your purchase, they will refund the difference. For big-ticket items, it is worth checking the site two or three times a day just to see if the price has dropped. For example, if you bought a Kindle during the last thirty days, they just knocked $40 off the price. Go email them about it.
4) Holy cow, I'm living in the future!