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#157377 - 12/06/08 04:06 PM Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader
brandtb Offline

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 407
Loc: S.E. Pennsylvania
My father-in-law is about 90 and is having trouble seeing - especially reading. He can read with a large fresnel lens over a book or newspaper, but it's frustrating and slow.

Does anyone have experience with using an Amazon Kindle in a low vision situation? I would appreciate your comments.
Brian Brandt

#157388 - 12/06/08 06:07 PM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: ]
Yuccahead Offline

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
No experience using one in low-vision but it does come with 6 different font sizes that the user can choose from. Size 1 is tiny. Size 2 is what I use and is about the same as in a publication like the WSJ or this forum. The largest size 6 has letters that run from 1/8" high for a small "o" to about 3/16" for a capital "I".
Making a lot of assumptions about your computer,
"This is about the size of the largest font."

I believe I have also read that it is possible to "hack" the Kindle and add different fonts. A check through some of Kindle forums such as www.kindleboards.com may be more helpful.

I have also heard they are on back-order until Feb.
-- David.

#157396 - 12/06/08 07:33 PM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: Yuccahead]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078
Probaly better off getting a Wireless Laptop with a large high resolution display or if a large screen 1080 HD TV is available connecting the Laptop to this. Then install the Opera Browser (turn up the magnification upto say 300% in the bottom right hand corner depending on the monitor display size - Internet Explorer has the same facility) then access news pages via their mobile WAP webpages. You don't then get issues with side to side web page display issues and very few annoying adverts etc which can confuse matters. The opera browser also allows text to audio speech as well. WAP portals tend to be very fast and efficient because they were designed for slow 2-2.5G wireless mobile handsets with limited bandwidth requirements. I suspect that the Kindle is just a glorified WAP browser anyway.


Here are some other WAP portals for news media

http://wap.go.com/wireless/abcnews/index Arghh they even have adverts on the WAP portals as well.



Other WAP sites such as wikipedia are also very useful


Here's a web site with a list a WAP portals


Edited by Am_Fear_Liath_Mor (12/06/08 07:35 PM)

#157417 - 12/06/08 11:25 PM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
Yuccahead Offline

Registered: 07/24/08
Posts: 199
Loc: W. Texas
Beyond the good points made by AFLM, "mini laptops" can now be had for about the same price as a Kindle. Their screens are around 9" (diagonal) and offer more room for larger fonts relative to a Kindle.

The drawback is that it would be hard to get most recent (copyrighted) books. Otherwise, there are thousands of classic books that can be found on the web in text format.

A shortcoming of the Kindle is that it is awfully easy to turn a page when you don't want to -- such as when you are first turning it on or moving it around a bit. The keyboard might also be difficult for your father-in-law to use. It's small and the text printed on all of the buttons would probably be impossible for him to read.
-- David.

#157494 - 12/07/08 06:11 AM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: Yuccahead]

I love my Kindle, it has hundreds of books on it, and I am now buying my aged mother one after she accosted mine during a visit over Thanksgiving. She has to wear reading glasses to read, but not with the bigger fonts on the Kindle. She fell in love with it immediately.

So since I'm buying it, she can download all of the titles I've already purchased for free, plus I can now get some new titles as she reads and adds to hers.

I read the Kindle set on the size "3" font, and occassionaly make it larger if tired.........

I also recommend the Kindle to my senior clients.

The DOWNSIDES to Kindle are:

> The large page turning buttons are easy to accidentally hit, as mentioned above, and on more than one occasion I have fallen asleep with it in my hands only to wake up and realize I've been turning pages.
> You can't organize your titles into folders, and if you download free material (widely avalaible) and send it to your Kindle, your "author" becomes your e-mail address.
> They have a rudimentary web browser that I tried a few times but it is slower than dial up. They also used to have an "Ask Kindle" feature that I really like that they have discontinued- it was great for getting info on the book you were reading.
> The e-mail feature is one-way, you can recieve but not send.

The UPSIDES are:

> It uses the same eInk technology as the Sony reader, very natural looking pages but you need light- either "land based" or a booklight. I bought a cheap booklight at Walgreen's and it has worked fine for those times I needed one. I have had backlit e-readers and they make my eyes tired too quickly, just like a computer screen.
> I've had it over a year, the battery still lasts over a week. I flew to Florida and back, read it on the plane both ways, and all week long in the hotel, about an hour per night, without re-charging.
> The built in dictionary is great- you're reading a page, there is an arcane word, it looks it up at your request.
> You can "try before you buy"- send yourself a chapter and if you like it buy the book later.
> The price of most books is less than a paperback and it (in theory) lasts forever.
> I used to pack a half a dozen books for a trip, now I have this one compact unit with hundreds of readily available titles for any mood I'm in, including a couple of preparedness texts and the Ship's Captain Medical PDF mentioned in another post on this forum.

So a thumbs up from me!

#157501 - 12/07/08 07:41 AM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: Yuccahead]
UTAlumnus Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 03/08/03
Posts: 1004
Loc: East Tennessee near Bristol
Here's a link to a chart of some of the different readers with pictures. One of the big items to consider is what formats it supports, what DRM format it supports, and what publishers/sources are partnered with that hardware. I went with the Bookeen Cybook because the publisher (Baen) of a lot of the authors I read uses the MobiPocket format. They've also got a lot of their older books available free. Every so often, they've added a CD full of books, pictures, etc. to the first printing of an author's latest hardback book.

#157507 - 12/07/08 11:46 AM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: brandtb]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2155
Loc: Bucks County PA
I have a Kindle. Although the screen is good, it is in no way suitable for a low-vision situation. Mostly because of the navigation and control buttons, as well as navigation text, which is small.

Not suitable at all.

#157508 - 12/07/08 11:48 AM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: Yuccahead]
MartinFocazio Offline


Registered: 01/21/03
Posts: 2155
Loc: Bucks County PA
The small notebook computers - called "Netbooks" in the stores, are a product category I cover for work, as a result. I have 12 different models.
None is a suitable ebook reader.

As an aside, you can get a LOT of current-release books in eBook format at www.fictionwise.com in a multiplicity of formats.

#157540 - 12/07/08 04:37 PM Re: Need advice - "Kindle" for a low vision reader [Re: MartinFocazio]

I would only disagree, Martin, because my 70+ mother has poor sight, used it, loved it, no issues except hand placement, but that comes with use.

I have had it over a year, as noted, and rarely use the keyboard, so not an issue, in fact that is where I place my thumbs, and the "Home Screen" is already larger font and bold, so no issues there.

Naturally, the original poster should get one to try with his father, individual abilities vary.

#157569 - 12/07/08 09:12 PM off topic, question for Martin [Re: MartinFocazio]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
Originally Posted By: martinfocazio
cover for work, as a result. I have 12 different models.

Off topic, but Martin, do you have a favorite model? I'm looking at a couple of them, and having consumer doubt and indecision. The only think I know I don't want is a SSD and XP, but SSD and *nix or a HDD and XP would both be fine.

When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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