Kindle 2 and the unintentional acquisition of knowledge

Amazon's Kindle 2 has received a great deal of acclaim for improving upon many of the shortcomings of its predecessor: shrinking its size, improving its usability, and adding a handful of new features such as rudimentary web browsing and the contentious text to speech function.

What's difficult to quantify is the effect it has on the user; that is, the degree to which it simplifies or improves one's life. Since I've had mine, my reading has gone from two books a month to eight, but because the majority of the books I read would best be classified as "light reading," I feel like the impact it has had on my personal improvement is negligible.

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As it turns out, I've gained the most from one of the Kindle's most unlikely educators: the screensaver. Each time the device is put into sleep mode, a full-screen image of comes up, most frequently of famous authors and playwrights. Thanks to my daily use of the Kindle, my visual recognition of at least a dozen great writers has inadvertently gelled.

While someone's appearance is not exactly an important thing to remember, especially for writers, I cannot help but think of it as an accidental educational perk to an already highly regarded device.

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