Sunday, March 15, 2009

Amazon's Kindle

This post is kind of off-track from my normal posts, but I figured I would follow-up and explain my use of the Kindle. I recently had a conversation with Harlan Carvey about the Amazon Kindle, as the 2nd edition of his Windows Forensic Analysis book is coming out soon and I was asking him if the publisher planned on releasing it in the Kindle format.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Kindle, it is basically a eBook reader. You can read more about it at Amazon's site here. This is the coolest little device. I am not really a book reader, other than technical books. I don't really read fiction or other non-technical publications, but I had a friend who had the first generation Kindle and he showed it to me, and I was impressed. I quickly envisioned how I could load it up with technical books to read on planes. As it turns out, after loading it up, I have used it more at client sites or when talking to people about forensics than reading on planes, and that says a lot since I am on planes a lot! ;)

So basically, I load the thing up with technical books and it has a bookmark and search function. When I come across a section that is important or I feel I will need to later reference, I can bookmark it and then later get back to it quickly, without needing to remember where it was or what book it was in. I also wanted to mention that the Kindle has the ability to subscribe to blogs, magazines and newspapers. Everyday the Kindle can download your favorite blog, newspaper or magazine (if available through their service) and have it delivered to your Kindle. How is it delivered? That is the coolest part! Amazon has an arrangement with Sprint to supply free cellular data service to the Kindle. The Kindle has a built in radio that communicates on the Sprint network anywhere in the US. Best of all, its free, you don't pay anything other than the initial purchase price for the device! You can open a limited web browser on the device and browse books, magazines or blogs and then buy them right then and there, and then they are downloaded via the cellular network within about 60 seconds, all free (other than the purchase price for the book, which is much lower than the print version).

The Kindle v2 came out at the end of February. It holds even more books (1500) and is even smaller. It has its own email address that you can send PDFs or other documents to the device through its cellular data connection and then read it on the device at your leisure. It also has a usb connection that the device shows up in Windows and Mac as an external storage device. So you can download books via your computer and load them onto the device that way.

I travel A LOT. I have been out of the country since January. When I received the new Kindle, I was out of the country and the website says the cellular data connection does not work, therefore you will have difficulty loading ebooks onto the reader. Well, following the instructions here, I am able to connect the Kindle to my laptop and then have it use my laptops internet connection to get the books, blogs and newspapers I subscribe to. Not as convenient as having it done everyday automatically via the Cellular connection, but it works while I am overseas!

So for those of you who are regular book worms or like to have a full library of technical books, I cannot recommend it enough. As Harlan mentioned on this blog post earlier today, On Amazon's site when you view a book, there is a link that says "Tell the publisher" you want it available on the Kindle if its not already available. Right now, there about about 30% of the technical forensic books available via the Kindle. Hopefully as more people use it and tell publishers they want the book in the Kindle format, more books will become available. Just from a price point perspective, it pays for itself after a dozen books or so. Take the "File System Forensic Analysis" book for example, by Brian Carrier. you can buy the printed version from Amazon for $54.99 or the Kindle version for $34.01, thats a 43% savings! So take that $25 savings, multiple it times a dozen books and you have paid for the device. With its search and bookmarking capabilities, it makes it a absolutely necessity for work/reference, and thats exactly what I am gonna tell the IRS when I claim it as a business expense! ;)

Stay tuned, forensics of the Kindle is coming soon! ;)

For those that can't wait, here is a peek:

Computer Forensics, Malware Analysis & Digital Investigations

Random Articles