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This is The 38th Signal, a weblog about design, coding, design, experience, design, constraints, cookware, and so much more. Established 2007 in Angola.

Kindle bursts into flames posted by RJ Nov 23, 2007


Yesterday, a lot of bad people took one look at a bad product, Amazon's Kindle, and decided they didn't like it. Why? Because it looked crappy, has an ugly screen, is covered in buttons, and costs a lot of money. But they were premature - they'd never actually touched a kindle; never felt the sweet caress of it's bulky keyboard against their skin; never stared longingly into that beautiful black and white low-res digital paper display. Without actually having used it, without walking a mile with Kindle in your shoes, so to speak, you really have no right to judge. What you need to understand is, when it comes to what you want, you don't know shit.

Trust us - you want this thing.

Many products that look bad are actually great, and it's unfair of you, the petty user, to complain about them before shelling out the ~$400 it requires to test them. Remember the Zune? Everyone said, "What a piece of crap! It doesn't look anything like an iPod! Why would I want to use that?" And then a few of you actually bought one, started "squirting" songs with your friends, and you realized that you were wrong. You realized this was something you could really get into - that what your iPod was lacking was the color brown (as in 'poop') and the ability to share songs with a plethora of restrictions across certain types of wifi networks. You realized you were wrong, and you humbled yourselves before the feet of Bill Gates.

Similarly, we'd like to see you humble yourself at the feet of Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, personal inventor of the Kindle. He also invested a lot of money in our company, and called me this morning asking me to calm you idiots down. Sir Bezowith spent 3 years of his life and countless sleepless nights building the epic glory that is Amazon Kindle. He worked really hard, all right? And he deserves a break.

One of our highest company values here is not judging things prematurely. We never give our opinions on things we don't understand, like Cookware for instance, and certainly never complain about things we haven't tried. We try our best to be inclusive and insightful, never polemic. We'd certainly never ban comments by bloggers from a parody blog.

I'm calling on you, the user, to show the same sort of discretion and good will towards our financier and not bash the Kindle. Please, all of you, think good and hard this Holiday season about whether or not you might be able to spend $400 on something you don't need in order to give a more unbiased, enlightened (en-kindled, if you will) opinion. Then, please come post back on our blog about how much you like the Kindle. It'll make Bezos happy, and might get us a bonus or invited to a party with Bono or at least a good cigar. And that's what I call a good user experience.

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