Should I get my mum a Kindle?

Peter Corlett abuse at
Wed Sep 21 15:24:05 BST 2011

On 20 Sep 2011, at 14:02, David Cantrell wrote:
> So ... a Kindle.  If I buy her a Kindle with 3G (it has to be 3G, cos
> there's no wifi network available) can I "push" audio content to it?  Or
> if not, could I configure the web browser on the Kindle to have
> something that I control as its default page, and she can download audio
> from that?

The Kindle is a cute idea, but its music-playing basically doesn't work and you'll set yourself up for a horrible support load again. It is also expensive to populate it over 3G, assuming that it doesn't choke on the files because it only expects text that way. So it's a non-starter.

Consumer electronics are also set up with the assumption that the user knows what they're doing and will pull their chosen content into it, rather than you pushing it. So that reduces your options a bit.

One wheeze you might wish to consider is to set up a podcast feed to deliver her requests. Then configure the device with the feed URL, and you've got a handy channel. iOS devices need initial activation with a computer, but can then find podcasts on their own. However, both the iPod Touch and the iPhone are small fiddly devices, and the iPod Touch also needs to get Wifi somehow. (Perhaps from a MyFi device hidden away somewhere, or a subscription to a pikey broadband supplier?)

An iPad might be an idea, as there's an iPlayer app, allowing her to pick what she wants without having to wait while you download it for her. Usually the deals of getting an iPad cheap/free with a 3G data subscription are poor value (because people usually have a mobile phone already that they can tether to) but could work well in this case. Three's current offer works out at £829 for a 16GB device and Internet access over the two years of the contract. How much do you love your mother? :)

(Legally, you need a TV Licence if you're watching the live iPlayer TV streams, but not for time-shifted streams, nor of course live radio. So either don't do that, or don't get caught.)

There are also cheap Android tablets out there, and you can get podcatchers for them, but I can't recommend any particular one because I don't use Android. Again, they usually require Wifi or a 3G account of some kind. I've got a particularly crap example of an Android tablet in my junkbox if you want to take it away and have a play.

Another possibility is a DAB radio with a record function, but that's only useful if you know in advance what you want to listen to. DAB radios also seem to all have hateful user interfaces, and setting a timer and record function on one may be just too much.

As another idea that might just pay off: contact the RNIB and ask them what devices they recommend. Your mother might not be visually-impaired, but the requirement for a device that DWISOTT and doesn't have confusing crap on it is much the same.

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