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Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

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p0et

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Post Sun Apr 10, 2011 10:43 pm

Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

I'm debating whether or not to buy the new Kindle 3.  I'm going to be spending a lot of time in commute to my job on the bus and I'd love to read some of my security books such as the CEH study guide, Botnets book, etc..  Anyone else read these kinds of books on a Kindle or is it too much of a pain?  I think the first Kindle had a rough time of rendering graphs & tables but not sure about the newer Kindles.  In some of the books, there are figures/graphs, timeline charts, tables, etc. and not sure how they will look on a Kindle.

Thanks guys!
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abbymoss

Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:32 am

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

I think the Kindle 3 is not that good enough. The out of box experience is terrible, the documentation stinks. The tech support is terrible and the company’s attitude is revolting.
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RoleReversal

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 3:42 am

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

I find the Kindle great for fiction books, but for technical books I've found it unworkable where formatting and/or illustrations are important.

YMMV, but I'm sticking to dead tree versions of technical resources for the time being.
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yatz

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:25 am

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

This is a great question.  I bought a Kindle 3 a month ago or so to self-study Cisco certs, so I now have working knowledge of this dilemma.

First, Kindle was designed using the e-ink display to avoid glare and backlighting, which I thoroughly enjoy.  Some people are affected by backlights and some aren't, but I am and I tell you it's great.  This was the selling point for me, at least enough to give it a try.  Not sure how the subway/bus is for lighting, but if the surrounding light is good then Kindle is the way to go.

Second, form factor is 1000x better than having hard copy.  I love to keep my book collection at hand, and I don't have to carry around a 5-pound textbook everywhere I go, especially for studying.

Third, and most importantly, as Andrew says, Kindle is awesome for "books."  By that I mean books that are meant for reading, cover to cover.  Tech books are typically NOT meant for reading cover to cover.  During my studies for the first Cisco cert, I used the Kindle book exclusively and found it challenging to hop from one part of the book to another (such as practice questions that had answers in the back).  Perhaps this is improved in the Kindle metadata for the book, or perhaps this is improved in future Kindle releases, I don't know.  All I can say is, right now, it was not intuitive.

Fourth, your fears about graphics are true - sort of.  In my Cisco book (Kindle version, might I add), graphics were decent.  The type embedded into the images was a bit hard to read because of the small font scaling, but the rendering was legible.  If you have a PDF version of the book and either did a straight copy to device or a convert through the Amazon conversion service, graphics were pretty terrible.  If you go with Kindle, be prepared to purchase the Kindle version.

Side note: I did pass the CCENT test with just the Kindle book (and experience).

In summary, Kindle is great for normal books, but for studying you will pay a price for the form factor.  I will continue to use my Kindle for studying the material since I pretty much do read the text books cover to cover, just to absorb the info.  But, when test time approaches, get ready to bust out the hard copy.
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jason

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:10 am

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

I presently have both a Kindle 3 and a Nook Color. I've tried to use both for both technical books and for entertainment reading. For reading novels, ebook readers are awesome. I've gotten rid of a massive amount of random paperbacks and have picked up the electronic versions where I cared to. Either reader works well for these, and the screen being color or not just isn't a factor with this type of reading. I'm able to take a huge collection of books on trips and absolutely love being able to do so.

For tech books, they both suck equally. Formatting of graphics is horribly inconsistent from one book to another, sometimes they're ok, but much of the time they're awful. As yatz mentioned, not being able to easily move around in a tech book is a problem. Most of the time, these are not front to back reads, but reference material, and this is definitely a problem. Also, when I'm trying to research something or am looking for a solution in a particular area, I'll have a stack of relevant books under, around, and on my desk with various bookmarks, propped open, etc... this is really only doable, presently, in dead tree format.  The color screen for tech books, again, not really a big deal. Most of the books that I have are in b&w anyway.

As a last note, the Nook Color is going back. The interface is more complicated and the backlit screen hurts my eyes when I read it in the dark. I'm also not sure whether a touch screen is the way to go for a reader. Having fingerprints all over a screen that you're staring at for extender periods of time is bothersome.
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p0et

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 5:23 pm

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

Thanks for the great replies.  That sucks to hear that the Kindle may not be the best choice for reading technical manuals/books since I do want to read up on that material on bus rides and such but it's great to hear that it's an awesome device for regular novels & books. 

I guess the only device would be the iPad which would read a PDF or CHM with the graphs/tables as you see them on your desktop but it also comes with a hefty price tag and possible eye strain. 
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Dark_Knight

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Post Mon Apr 11, 2011 8:20 pm

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

I agree that technical books can be a pain on the device. But I have gotten used to it. What I hate is that the security titles are so darn limited............. 
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timmedin

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Post Tue Apr 12, 2011 11:01 am

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

I totally agree with everyone here. If you are just reading, then it works fine, but pictures, illustrations, and such are not displayed will on these devices. A tablet of some kinds works the best, but the battery life and back light are somewhat limiting.

Ironic, books on technology fail miserably when viewed on the latest technology.
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lorddicranius

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Post Tue Apr 12, 2011 4:24 pm

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

timmedin wrote:Ironic, books on technology fail miserably when viewed on the latest technology.


lol :-P

I was just listening to the Wireshark University certification video this morning and the issue with images, tables, etc is exactly why the Wireshark Network Analysis book wasn't made into an electronic version.

I've never used a handheld ebook reader, but I've always had issues reading PDF versions of tech books.  I just flip back and forth way too much for an ebook to work for me.  From the sounds of it, this is one of the issues with the handheld ebook readers too.
Last edited by lorddicranius on Tue Apr 12, 2011 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dynamik

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Post Fri May 06, 2011 7:36 pm

Re: Anyone read your InfoSec books on Kindle?

If you want to do technical books, PDFs, etc., get a Kindle DX. I have one and love it, and I have yet to encounter any formatting issues. I thought the lack of color might be problematic for some graphics, but I really haven't encountered any problems there either.

The other thing that's awesome is I have the Kindle reader on my iPhone, work laptop, home desktop, and personal netbook. I have access to my books wherever I am, even if I'm only waiting in line for five minutes. Anything that has an internet connection (3G is built into the Kindle) will automatically synchronize to the furthest page read.

The downside is that I'm finding I'm now spending a lot more on books. I used to get a lot of used books that were 10-20% of the new retail price. Now you're stuck with premium pricing (not that the individual resources aren't worth it, but that stings when you're building a library of technical books). I've even re-purchased some of the hard-copies I had for the convenience.
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