X-RayHmm, OK, tapping a word is a bit easier than typing on the tiny keyboard. "Descriptions from Wiki and Shelfari"; how would that work? I know S3 and EC2 refer to the online information cloud; does that mean every search would automatically access the internet? Even if I only want to know who had lunch with the victim last Monday in this specific book? That could be a bit overwhelming.
For Kindle Touch, Amazon invented X-Ray–a new feature that lets customers explore the "bones of the book." With a single tap, readers can see all the passages across a book that mention ideas, fictional characters, historical figures, places or topics that interest them, as well as more detailed descriptions from Wikipedia and Shelfari, Amazon’s community-powered encyclopedia for book lovers.
Amazon built X-Ray using its expertise in language processing and machine learning, access to significant storage and computing resources with Amazon S3 and EC2, and a deep library of book and character information. The vision is to have every important phrase in every book.
On my Kindle 2, annotating text is a major hassle and to save the note it only wants to tweet it. Huh? Couldn't we just save it? On the Touch 3G the description says:
Add annotations to text, just like you might write in the margins of a book, with a virtual keyboard that appears just when you need it. And because it is digital, you can edit, delete, and export your notes.
With memories of Sister MM thundering "Defacing a book, are we, Miss?" and wielding her yardstick I have always felt constrained from making marginal notes, even in books I own. Sadly, with paper books, only Post-its have been available for the purpose (or very light pencil). This feature is very clunky on my present e-reader. If they have managed to streamline it, I'd be thrilled, but haven't found a video or good description of of that feature yet. I'll keep watching.
Let's see if they have done anything with page numbering. Discussing a book with someone who is reading a paper copy when I have the e-book can be a real challenge. Aha, found it!
Easily reference and cite passages or read alongside others in a book club or class with real page numbers. Using the computing fabric of Amazon Web Services, we've created algorithms that match specific text in a Kindle book to the corresponding text in a print book, to identify the correct, "real" page number to display. Available on tens of thousands of our most popular Kindle books, including the top 100 bestselling books in the Kindle Store that have matching print editions. Page numbers are displayed when you touch the top of the screen.Oh frabjous day, that did it. Someone was listening when we moaned and complained on the fora and to Customer Service. So I'm in line now, with an expected ship date just before Thanksgiving. But I'll be keeping a weather eye on the fora to see how these new features are working out. When did simple reading get so complex?