Fall Storms Roll Through Auburn University Today :: Photos

It was a dreary cloudy day in Auburn today, but almost 80*F in the middle of November, until this really fast moving storm system sort of caught everyone saying “what just happened?” These storms have now moved east doing about the same damage as they head towards the east coast. We didn’t have any damage at our place but there was pretty significant damage all around Auburn in the form of downed trees and power lines, some turned over cars, and apparently some damage to Auburn High School and Haley Center on campus. We are thrilled to hear that, so far, there haven’t been any injuries associated with the storm.

The only reason Deb and I happened to be on campus at lunch time today was to get her out of the house for a quick lunch in Foy Hall where they have one of her favorite places to eat. Once the sirens started going off on campus (see a really splotchy video here) everyone headed for the hallways and campus became like a ghost town. It’s just part of living down here in the south, glad no one was hurt. I did however get some photos while we were walking/driving around trying to get home (all taken with my cell phone here). Stormy weather always makes for such great lighting conditions, even if it is just on your cell phone.

Alabama Tornado Storm Damage from Dadeville Today :: Photos

Almost impossible to describe what we saw today as we took a small group of people from Cornerstone into Dadeville, AL. We didn’t know what to expect when we got there and most of the area was closed off, but the houses the police directed us to were way beyond needing trees cleaned up or anything like that, they just needed help finding their personal belongings so they could leave the area. It wasn’t partial damage where we were, it was complete destruction. The homeowners were more than gracious for having just lost everything and then having total strangers walking around their property. I tried to document what we saw as best I could while respecting the owners of the property. I spoke with each owner before taking any shots of course and they were more than accommodating to our group. To see the entire gallery from today visit Alabama Storm Damage April 2011.

Damaged or Defective Kindle 2 Screen Failure :: Photos

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Screen Shot of Damaged Kindle 2 Screen

Working Kindle Screen

Last week I traded in a few pieces of camera equipment for the new Kindle to really see if I could just whip through books at lightning speed and to my surprise, after about 2 days of use, I managed to mess up the screen.  I am in the middle of doing an in depth review of the Kindle 2 that I will post at a later date, but after having the Kindle 2 for about 2 days, I seems that the screen on the Kindle 2 was damaged beyond a simple fix.  The reason for this post was really to show what the customer service representative at Amazon did to fix the problem.

For those who don’t know, I really missed my calling in life to be a product tester.  No matter what the product, I can an uncanny way of being able to break the unbreakable and find problems or issues that manufactures somehow seem to miss.  I was told that the Kindle 2 was tested for durability and could withstand a drop from a two story building, but 2 days in my backpack managed to screw up the top of the screen.

Once I went through the normal troubleshooting that I knew how to do, I called the customer service number for the Kindle.  She walked me through a few other tests, had me “reboot” the system (you can hold the power slider over for 20 seconds and that will initiate a reboot on the Kindle 2).  After that (all of which took about 2 minutes total) Amazon told me they would just ship me a new one overnight.  No questions asked, they just shipped me a new one.  They paid for the shipping to return the old one, and I transferred all my book from the old kindle to the new kindle.  It was easy as it possibly could have been.

As for what I did to the Kindle, I have no idea.  I did put it in my backpack (in its own case) and perhaps to much pressure what applied to the top of the screen somewhere.  I am not sure about the 2 story drop, didn’t try that, but I will be a little more careful with it in the future regardless.  I was totally and completely thrilled with Amazon’s customer service on the kindle.

That doesn’t really have anything to do with the practicalities of the Kindle, that will come later, but as far as their customer service goes, it was great.  Having also sold on Amazon for years, I can say that all of Amazon’s customers service is geared towards their buying customers (as opposed to their sellers) and they will bend over backwards to provide the best service they can.

You can see the screen issue on the photos below.  It covers about an inch from the top with a blank line of gray going across the screen with a slash in the upper left corner.  The last two shots are what the screen shot from the damaged kindle looks like (so it is seeing everything correctly under the screen issue) and what the new one looked like when it arrived.

Update May 21, 2010

I thought I would update this post with a few comments since it is still one of the most read posts on my blog. As some have suggested, my Kindle was NOT dropped.  I simply put it in my backpack, which also wasn’t dropped, and took it out an hour later and it showed up with the damaged screen.

I did get a free replacement from Amazon, but I returned the replacement within a week for a refund (see my review A Not-So-Normal Kindle 2 Review for my reasons), but one major reason was I knew the “free screen replacement” was only going to last a short time, and it was a one time shot.  Amazon did replace the damaged screen, but they said they weren’t going to do it again.  Looking back now, more than a year later, it was the best decision and I am not super happy with my iPad.

Update February 12, 2011

As this post still gets heavy traffic and questions, I will say after using and testing the Apple iPad since it came out, I have never had a better ebook reader than the iPad and I am looking forward to seeing the new iPad 2 some time around April. The Kindle App for the iPad is one of the ebook reader apps I use, and although not my favorite, I do use it frequently.

The problem I still have with the Kindle is you basically can’t do anything else with it other than read a book. I can type out notes and highlights in my Kindle app on the iPad and it works great. The one great thing Amazon has done for the Kindle is continue to lower it’s price, but if you have an iPad I’m not sure what use one would have for the Kindle.