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Archive for February 24th, 2009


Jeff Bezos kept his word and launched his beloved gadget on time; as a matter, of fact, one day sooner than previously announced.  The Seattle-based online retailer said it began shipping the $359 Kindle 2 yesterday to make sure it is going out to customers by today, which was the date it gave when Amazon announced the updated device on Feb. 9th.

The new Kindle keeps the same price as the first version of the e-reader, but is thinner and includes upgraded features. It can store more 1,500 books—instead of 200 in the previous version—and can read text aloud from two small speakers on its back.

A couple of factors made the Kindle a modest hit when it made its debut in November 2007. First, it incorporated a screen made by E Ink that looks amazingly close to ink on paper.

Unlike a laptop or an iPhone, the screen is not illuminated, so there’s no glare, no eyestrain—and no battery consumption. You use power only when you actually turn the page, causing millions of black particles to realign. The rest of the time, the ink pattern remains on the screen without power. You can set it on your bedside table without worrying about turning it off.

The big Kindle breakthrough was its wireless connection. Thanks to Sprint’s cellular Internet service, the Kindle is always online: indoors, outdoors, miles from the nearest Wi-Fi hot spot.

It’s all a thousand times more convenient and more exciting than loading books from a PC with a cable, as you must with Sony’s Reader, the Kindle’s archival. As a bonus, the Kindle includes a simple Web browser, great for quick wireless  Wikipedia checks and blog reading.

The Kindle catalog is bigger, too; now 240,000 books are available. New York Times bestsellers are $10 each, which is less than the hardcover editions. Older books run $3 to $6.  Getting more content onto the Kindle remains a goal.  Amazon’s long-term goal is to get every book, including out-of-print titles, onto the device.

The Kindle is the most successful electronic book-reading tablet so far, but that’s not saying much; Silicon Valley is littered with the corpses of e-book reader projects.

Now I’ll play with the “if” word regarding the Kindle in Panama.  If the price is reduced to around $150 and if you could use Sprint’s wireless communication to download content at no extra cost, I would be willing to open my wallet and give it a chance–even in these uncertain economic circumstances.  Otherwise; nothing, nil, nix, null, naught, zilch, nada, zip.  Good Day.

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Credit:  Pizdaus, The House of Pics We Like

Credit: Pizdaus, The House of Pics We Like

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If you have read the About Me page of this blog, you already know that, “I’m happily married with the same woman for 29 years. No kids. Two pets—one red and one white goldfish.” Since we couldn’t have babies, and the process to adopt one was extremely bureaucratic, I turned my attention to aquariums and fishes.  I’m what you would call a fishkeeper.

The keeping of fish in confined or artificial environments is a practice with deep roots in history.  For example, the Chinese developed goldfish 1,000 years ago, and the keeping of fish was a part of their lifestyle even before that.

By the 14th Century they had begun to keep and breed goldfish indoors.  The main differences between now and the Ming period would be the use of glass and plastic containers instead of porcelain and wood, the (sparing) use of electricity, and the introduction of fish species from the New World.

Particularly brightly colored or tame specimens of fish in these domestic aquariums have sometimes been valued as pets rather than food, and some of these have given rise to completely domesticated varieties, most notably the goldfish and the koi carp, which have their origins in China and Japan respectively.

Selective breeding of carp into today’s popular koi and goldfish is believed to have begun over 2,000 years ago. Depictions of the sacred fish of Oxyrhynchus kept in captivity in rectangular temple pools have been found in ancient Egyptian art. Many other cultures also have a history of keeping fish for both functional and decorative purposes. The Chinese brought goldfish indoors during the Song Dynasty to enjoy them in large ceramic vessels.

Freshwater fishkeeping is by far the most popular branch of the hobby, with even small pet stores often selling a variety of freshwater fish, such as guppies, neon tetra, platy, betta, Chinese algae eatergoldfish, and angelfish.

Worldwide, the fishkeeping hobby is a multi-million dollar industry, and the United States is considered the largest market in the world, followed by Europe and Japan. In 1994, 56 percent of U.S. households had pets, and 10.6 percent owned ornamental freshwater or saltwater fish, with an average of 8.8 fish per household. In 1993, the retail value of the fish hobby in the United States was $910 million.

In Panama, due to its large Chinese community, fishkeeping is very popular.  In most Chinese homes or restaurants, you will find exquisitely decorated aquariums, almost like an art in the way they are beautified with all sorts of ornamentations.  In most supermarkets and pet shops, you’ll find both tropical fishes and aquariums of a wide variety.  Obviously, El Machetazo Supermarket is one of them.

During my last visit there, I was sure to carry my Birthday camera and took several shots of their fishes for sale.  It was an exciting and refreshing experience, since this is one of my preferred hobbies.  In absence of babies, these are my adopted babies.

This is what I recently saw at El Machetazo of San Miguelito.  Enjoy Nature dressed in full dazzling colors.

View of one aquarium displaying cute tropical fishes at El Machetazo.

View of one aquarium displaying cute tropical fishes at El Machetazo.

This photograph shows more brightly-colored tropical fishes. Looking at them is a wonderful experience, specially if youre living a rat race in an urban environment.

This photograph shows more brightly-colored tropical fishes. Looking at them is a wonderful experience, specially if you're living a rat race in an urban environment.

This is my favorite aquarium.  Viewing so many fishes constantly moving is totally mesmerizing.  I love it.

This is my favorite aquarium. Viewing so many fishes constantly moving is totally mesmerizing. I love it.
Those of you who have an aquarium will agree with me that viewing them is like enjoying an aquatic ballet in slow motion.

Those of you who have an aquarium will agree with me that viewing them is like enjoying an aquatic ballet in slow motion.

This tank is totally populated by Chinese goldfish.  Isnt this magnificent view?  It just cant get any better.

This tank is totally populated by Chinese goldfish. Isn't this magnificent view? It just can't get any better.

Every time I go el El Machetazo, my wife knows exactly where to find me.  I wish I could buy them all.  Good Day.

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