Sunday, September 23, 2012

Webcomics On Kindle

Interesting discovery with my Kindle recently is that it has a rudimentary web browser. It's a little slow, and sometimes tricky to click on links if they're small, BUT I found that I was able to read most of my webcomics on it really well.

I use Google Reader to pull in RSS feeds of my favorite webcomics. I keep JUST my webcomics in there and don't muck it up with any general news feeds or anything like that so, with a few odd exceptions that do NOT have handy RSS feeds (Seriously? It's 2012 and your webcomic doesn't have an RSS feed? Who does that?) I can go through my Google Reader account to keep up with my faves.

So, on the Kindle, all I need to do is log into my Google Reader via their web browser. It provides a simplified version of what's normally visable from a desktop application; it seems to pick up on the fact that I'm using a mobile-type browser, even though this specific browser seems to generally go unrecognized. So it presents the simplified version of the Reader.

As I select individual posts within the feeds, it resizes the images to fit the width of the screen. So the only scrolling that might need to be done is for particularly tall comics and, even then, a standard comic page size is only just larger than one screen when some of the browser chrome is included.

Obviously, the colors were all converted to greyscale, but they all looked very smooth, and not muddy at all. I suspect that certain color combinations might not work, but I haven't encountered any yet. There were a few comics that wound up being too a little small too read, but as I looked at them, they tended to use particularly narrow fonts.

By and large, I was very pleasantly surprised to be able to easily keep up with my favorite webcomics while I was on the road this weekend. I can't tell you the number of times I've come back from a two or three day trip to find literally hundreds of webcomics piled up, waiting for me to read. Technically, I could read them on my phone, but the small display made things extremely cumbersome. Between the Kindle's larger screen and its higher resolution, I had no problems spending a few minutes here and there keeping up, and I'm pleased that, upon returning to a desktop, I don't have a ton of comics (often sensitive to current events) in my backlog.

2 comments:

Shannon Smith said...

That is pretty cool. I had no idea. I just have the old fashioned Kindle so it is kind of tedious. My daughter has the Kindle touch. Might have to "borrow" it. How do you get your google rss subs in there? Are you just manually keying in the google reader site link?

Sean Kleefeld said...

I just manually typed in the Google Reader URL initially. It provides a couple of boxes to login, and then I bookmarked that. I haven't really tested it extensively to see how long it will take before it requires me to login again, but it at least lasted a few days.

I did not see an easy way to add new feeds but, since I'm using it as a webcomic reader for travel, that's not a big concern for me. I'm just trying to keep up with the ones I'm already following.