Friday, March 5, 2010
Back in November of 2009, Amazon released its Kindle for PC software. The program is free and available for Windows 7, XP, and Vista. A future version for Mac is promised. While I have never used a physical Kindle (holding anything but my breath is no longer an option for me), the software appears to recapitulate most of the function of the device. The most important part for me (and for all advanced-stage PALS) is that it behaves very well with my optically-controlled assisted communication system. I use the ERICA from ERT. ERT was recently purchased by Dynavox but the K4PC should still work on that platform as well as the Tobii. Downloading and installing is very simple. Once installed you need to register the "device" to your Amazon account (like the physical Kindle each registered software counts as one of the 5 devices on which you are allowed to share your purchases). If you don't have an Amazon account you will need to set one up (I recommend letting an assistant do the data entry here although I was able to do this myself). For those who already have a Kindle, you should see your previous purchases sync to the software. If this is your only device, new purchases from Amazon will appear within 30 seconds of purchase. Each page has large, easy to read type and the size and spacing can be adjusted for comfort. To either side of the page are white arrows to turn the page. They only appear on mouse-over, and if you click even near them you will hit the target. They are spaced far enough away from the text that accidental page turn is almost impossible. If you close the application with a book open your place is saved automagically. Other bookmarks are easily set. The software is considered beta at the time of writing this post but works very well for me. Updates are automatic but can be set to manual. For software not expressly written for handicapped users it satisfies some important requirements. I am very happy to be reading books again!