New Kindle Fire Woven App Provides Free Photo Viewer

The Kindle Fire has a pretty standard photo viewer. Despite the Fire’s lack of a camera, there is still built-in photo functionality for any pictures you want to save from the internet or transfer from a storage card.

But what if you want to have all your photos – from Instagram, Flickr, and Facebook, for example – in one spot? That’s where Woven wants to help. Woven is a recently released free app that provides iOS, Android, and Kindle Fire users with an easy-to-use photo album viewer.

Woven’s interface is very intuitive. Some apps have trouble integrating with touch-screens, but according to early reviews, Woven has been designed to seamlessly integrate with touch-screen devices.

So how does Woven work? Well, users put all their photos from their smartphone, Instagram, Flickr, Facebook, and other accounts into one single app with a simple interface. Let’s say you want to show your friend a new profile pic on Facebook. Instead of having to log in to Facebook manually, you can just go to Woven, tap the ‘Facebook’ section and see a grid of all your recent photos.

Woven automatically pulls photos from all your social media accounts. There’s no manual dragging and dropping. Instead, Woven keeps track of recent updates across all your accounts, and any new photos are instantly added into your Woven account.

Here are all of the social media accounts that are currently integrated with Woven:

  • Flickr
  • Facebook
  • Picasa
  • Instagram
  • Windows Live
  • Photobucket
  • Dropbox
  • Shutterfly
  • SmugMug

It’s important to note that Woven doesn’t pull photos from friends’ Facebook accounts. So if you’re planning on stalking your Facebook friends from the safety of a third-party app, forget about it.

If you’re looking for a free, simple, and effective way to manage all your photos, then Woven can certainly help. Check it out today on the Amazon app store.


Top 4 Kindle Books for Government Workers

Public sector workers and government employees of all kinds face unique challenges in their line of work. Often, even as they labor to serve the public, they are resented by the very people they work to support. Working successfully in government requires skills in maneuvering through bureaucracies and entrenched systems that may differ greatly from private sector work. For the many dedicated and hard-working government employees out there, here are four great books available on Kindle to guide and inspire.

cc licensed flickr photo shared by kodomut

1. Managing Your Government Career:

Success Strategies that Work, by Stewart Liff. The author has more than 30 years of experience in government work, and his advice throughout this book is based in that invaluable firsthand experience. Liff covers everything from how to get that first job to how to ascend through the ranks in the public sector. The scope of the book is broad enough to make it of interest to new workers and those still contemplating the possibilities of government work as well as more seasoned public employees.

2. The First 90 Days in Government:

Critical Success Strategies for New Public Managers at All Levels, by Peter H. Daly, Michael Watkins and Cate Reavis. There are many good books on management and leadership, but this one specifically looks at the public sector and how new managers can navigate in environments where they may be in a far higher-profile position than a typical business leader as well as being answerable to the entire population of a city, state or country, among other challenges. Daly, Watkins and Reavis identify a number of concrete, practical strategies that managers can use to ensure success.

3. Confessions of a Tax Collector:

One Man’s Tour of Duty Inside the IRS, by Richard Yancey. Twelve years after answering the mysterious ad that led to his employment with the Internal Revenue Service, Richard Yancey quit his job and sat down to write about his strange and varied experiences as a revenue agent. His book is engaging and funny, not at all the dry tome one might imagine emerging from a stint with the IRS. Many public sector workers are likely to laugh with recognition and sympathy at some of Yancey’s misadventures as an employee in one of the more disliked governmental institutions in the United States.

4. The Federalist Papers, by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay

For government workers in need of inspiration, this classic of American political science and history serves as a reminder of the foundation of this system of government and why it matters. Hamilton, Madison and Jay wrote these 85 articles over the course of nearly a year as part of an effort to encourage the ratifying of the Constitution. Today, it’s a look at the early ideas underpinning the first documents that defined the nation and serves as a reminder of the principles that continue to unite this country today.

All career fields have their high and low points, and government work is no exception. With these four books loaded on their Kindles, however, government workers can chart their careers, laugh at the mishaps inherent to public sector work and remind themselves of the noble roots of their profession.

Carl Fallon is a city administrator and guest author at Best MPA Programs and Degrees, a site which discusses the career opportunities available for those who pursue MPA degrees.

Amazon Exec Hints About New Kindle Fire?

The world may be only a few days away from an announcement of the next Kindle Fire, but Amazon is staying quiet about any potential upgrades to its flagship tablet.  No official announcements have been made as of yet, and although several rumors have pointed to July 31 as the date Amazon will announce the next Kindle Fire, it’s all just educated guessing at this point.

That hasn’t stopped reporters from pestering Amazon executives about the potential Kindle Fire 2. Amazon just released a strong Q2 earnings report. Sales were up 29% to $12.83 billion, even in the face of competition from Google’s popular Nexus 7 tablet.

In that earnings report, Amazon stated that the Kindle Fire continued to put up impressive sales figures.  The Kindle Fire also remains Amazon’s best-selling item. So all those rumors about the Nexus 7 crushing the Kindle Fire into oblivion were apparently untrue.

In the 2Q earnings report, Amazon’s CFO, Tom Szkutak, said that he liked the “roadmap” of the Kindle Fire as the company looks into the future. At any other time of the year, this would appear to be a normal, run-of-the-mill statement from the executive in charge of Amazon’s finances. However, with rumors about the Kindle Fire 2 continuing to swirl, some are interpreting Szkutak’s roadmap comments as a hint towards the next Kindle Fire.

Szkutak’s statement was made after a reporter commented that the first edition Kindle Fire had been on the market for a while. The CFO responded by saying:

“We’ve been very excited about the progress we’ve made so far from both the device and content standpoint and we are super-excited about the road map we have.”

It’s easy to see how these comments could be taken to mean that the Kindle Fire 2 was on the horizon. But is it definitive proof? Certainly not.

What do you think? Do these comments mean absolutely nothing? Or is Amazon’s CFO subtly hinting about the next Kindle Fire?

Could the Amazon Kindle Phone be paired with an MVNO?

Rumors about the Kindle Phone continue to swirl, and some tech experts are debating whether or not Amazon should enter the market at all. Critics claim that the smartphone market is way more competitive than the tablet market, and that tablet users are more likely to purchase media content from the Amazon store than any smartphone users. Since Amazon’s store is a major reason behind the Kindle’s success, it could be risky going into the smartphone market.

However, supporters of the Kindle Phone say that similar arguments were made before Apple launched into the smartphone market with its iPhone, and we all know how that turned out. They also say that consumers – and Kindle fans – would appreciate a fresh face in the mobile space.

However, one reason why people are supporting the potential Kindle Phone is that Kindle could partner with – or even become – a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO).

What does that mean? Basically, instead of owning the wireless network infrastructure needed to control mobile data, Amazon would effectively buy access to that infrastructure at wholesale rates and then choose its own retail prices. In other words, Amazon would be able to create attractive plans that catered to Kindle users as opposed to being limited to restrictive AT&T and Verizon plans in the US market.

Some industry experts are even suggesting that Amazon packages the Kindle Phone with a service plan. For example, the Kindle Phone might be free with an 18-month or 3-year contract.

This idea might seem like it comes out of nowhere, but it’s not as far-fetched as it may seem. Amazon already is an MVNO in Japan, and the company could seriously change the US market if it did something similar stateside.

It’s unknown if Amazon would be brave enough to make that move. It’s a big step that consumers might love or hate. But it has the potential to completely flip the mobile space on its head. Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about the Kindle Phone as more details are released!

Kindle Fire 2 vs Nexus 7: Who Will Win?

kindle fire 2 vs nexus 7The Kindle Fire made a splash in the tablet market when it was first released. It was the first legitimate contender in the sub-$200 range, opening up tablet computing for consumers with tighter budgets. However, Google clearly saw an opportunity in that market as well, which is why they recently released the Nexus 7.

The Kindle Fire 2 is expected to be announced later this month, or at the beginning of August. In that announcement, Amazon will likely have one target in mind: the Nexus 7. published a list of features that the Kindle Fire 2 could use to top the Nexus 7. Here are a few highlights from that article:

Higher resolution display: The Kindle Fire had an admirable 1024×600 resolution. However, the Nexus 7 features a stunning 1280×800 resolution, and the Kindle Fire 2 is going to have to match (or better, exceed) that if it wants to have a chance of competing with the Nexus 7.

Camera: This one’s obvious. The Nexus 7 has a front-facing camera, the Kindle Fire does not. Amazon needs to include a decently-powered front facing camera on their next device if they want it to succeed.

More storage space: The Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 have one thing in common: 8GB of internal storage space. Would it really be that difficult to bump that space up to 16GB in the Kindle Fire 2? If Amazon could do that, the company could increase sales at its online store while protecting their market from Google.

Fast performance: Even lower end tablets now feature powerful dual-core processors. However, the Nexus 7 blew those lower end tablets out of the water with its quad-core processing power through the Nvidia Tegra 3. Let’s hope the Kindle Fire 2 has a quad-core processor as well.

Better graphics and gaming: The Nexus 7 features powerful game-playing capabilities. While Amazon’s store has plenty of games, the gaming capabilities of the Kindle Fire lag behind that of the Nexus 7.

The article also mentions that the Kindle Fire 2 can beat the Nexus 7 with prettier features, a 3G/4G upgrade plan, and a lighter weight. Read the full article here.

Until the Kindle Fire 2 is released later this year (hopefully), we won’t know how it stacks up against the Nexus 7. However, if the Fire 2 is going to be announced later this month, we should get a better idea of just how competitive the sub-$200 tablet market could become.

Amazon Seeks to Impress with GameCircle

As you might already know, Amazon is about to release a feature called GameCircle to the Kindle Fire. GameCircle will provide video game developers with a range of cool new features, including the ability to add achievements, leaderboards, and cloud syncing to their games. And, even better, these features will be seamlessly tracked across multiple Kindle devices, which will be great for those who plan on purchasing the Kindle smartphone.

Amazon’s support of GameCircle is expected to encourage game development on the Kindle operating system. It’s also expected to allow Amazon to beat Apple at its own game. Apple already has a Game Center feature that developers can use, but it isn’t half as versatile as GameCircle. Instead of providing leaderboards and achievements, it simply adds cloud syncing for game developers.

Many tech industry experts see video game as Apple’s major weakness. Billy Pidgeon, principal analyst for M2 Research, says that “…Apple – especially under Steve Jobs – never understood video games.”

If Amazon can beat Apple at its own game – literally – then it could generate the hype needed to promote the upcoming Kindle Fire 2 and the rumored Kindle smartphone. Now that video game developers have the incentive and tools needed to develop games for the Kindle Fire, all it takes is one ‘killer app’ or game to give the company a wave of momentum.

Expect to see GameCircle-powered Kindle games appear on the market shortly. Since Kindle Fires are built on the Android operating system, it should be easy to port existing Android games over to the Fire.

What does this news mean for gamers? It means that Kindle Fire games will be more functional than games on other mobile operating systems. Expect games to feature persistent saving across devices for score tracking and progress, as well as the ability to compare performance to other players, win awards, and receive updates while playing.

Amazon clearly means business in the mobile space. The ability to run apps and track progress across multiple devices could provide a huge boost to potential Kindle smartphone sales in the future. All signs point to a big device announcement towards the end of July, so stay tuned!

Some hotels have replaced Bibles with Kindles

Last year, Bible publisher Gideons International distributed over 84 million printed copies of the Bible around the world. Many of those Bibles ended up in hotel nightstands.

However, the reign of the paperback hotel Bible might be coming to an end. Some hotels have decided to replace the traditional version of the Bible with a high-tech e-ink copy on the Amazon Kindle. That’s right: instead of opening up your nightstand and seeing a leather-bound Bible, you might soon be seeing the sleek, attractive casing of an Amazon Kindle.

InterContinental Hotels Group has been the first to modernize its hotel chains. Starting this month, it has replaced Bibles at the Hotel Indigo in Newcastle, England with Kindles. And the best part about this plan? The Kindles feature a Wi-Fi connection, which means that if you get bored of the Bible, you can always buy other e-books from Amazon!

As of now, the initiative is still in the pilot stage. If customers at the Hotel Indigo respond well to the decision, expect to see Kindle Bibles pop up in hotels all over the world.

So what to Bible distributors think of this decision? The response by Christian groups has been one of approval. According to CNN, a Gideon spokesman was quoted as saying that “anything to put the Bible in people’s hands is a good thing.” Gideon was established in 1899 as a non-profit organization to distribute Bibles to hotels, students, hospitals, members of the military, and other groups.

What do you think of this decision? Is there any difference between reading the Kindle version of the Bible and a real Bible? Or does the same message get across either way? Let us know in the comments!

Kindle Fire 2 could be released as early as July

According to  CNet, the latest generation of the Kindle Fire could be released much sooner than initially expected. Based on evidence provided by a “credible source”, the Kindle Fire 2 is slated for a July 31 release date.

At this point, everything is based on rumors and speculation, and nobody is sure that Amazon’s new premium tablet will even be called the Kindle Fire 2.

However, there have been some juicy rumors floating around about some of the new and improved specs on the second generation Kindle Fire. Here are some of our favorites:

-One source said that the Kindle Fire 2 would feature a high resolution 1280×800 display resolution.

-Some have suggested the new Kindle Fire will have a number of exterior modifications, including a new camera and physical volume button controls

-Little is known about the hardware inside the Kindle Fire 2, but expect it to be an upgrade over the fixed 8GB memory limit on the original Kindle Fire. As of yet, it’s unknown what kind of processor will power the device or whether or not Bluetooth functionality will be included.

If the Kindle Fire 2 is released on July 31, expect prices for the original Kindle Fire to drop as low as $149 soon afterwards.

The original Kindle Fire was released in September of 2011. This year, it looks like the 2nd generation Kindle Fire could be released much sooner than that. You might want to hold off on buying that tablet upgrade for at least another month.

What about the next generation Kindle?

Last year, Amazon launched the Kindle Fire and a new generation Kindle at the same time. For the rumored July 31 event, a similar thing could happen. Many people expect Amazon to release a light-up version of the Kindle very soon, especially after Barnes & Noble’s Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight has been on the market for a couple of months now.

Amazon might also see competition from new tablets featuring Android 4.1, also known as Jelly Bean. Using that operating system, 7-inch tablets from Asus and Samsung could both challenge the Kindle Fire for dominance in the value tablet market.