"Propose to an Englishman any … instrument, however admirable, and you will observe that the whole effort of the English mind is directed to find a difficulty, defect, or an impossibility in it. If you speak to him of a machine for peeling a potato, he will pronounce it impossible; if you peel a potato with it before his eyes, he will declare it useless, because it will not slice a pineapple"
I'd completely forgotten about this deliciously bitter quote from Charles Babbage in The Philosophical Breakfast Club, but thanks to Amazon's Kindle profiles site, I re-discovered it listed in my highlights. I was very excited when I stumbled across this social feature, I've been looking for an automatic way to share my reading list with friends. I've even experimented with scripts to scrape the reading history from my account, but never got anything complete enough to use. My dream is a simple blog widget showing what I'm reading, but without the maintenance involved in updating GoodReads with my status. I'm often reading on a plane or in bed at night, so the only way I'll have something up to date is if it uses information directly from my Kindle. I looked at the highlights page, and it looked like exactly what I was after, a chronological list of notes and the books I'd been reading recently:
Now all I needed to do was figure out how to make that page public. First, I had to go through all 160 books, and manually mark two check boxes next to each of them, making the book public, and then making my notes on it available. That was a bit of a grind (and something I guess I'll need to do for every book as I read it), but worth it if I could easily publish my highlights. After that though, I realized there was nothing like a 'blog' page for my notes that was available to anyone else. The closest is this one for my public notes:
It just has covers for the five books I most recently altered the state of, whether or not they have any notes or highlights, and you have to click through to find any actual notes. The "Your Highlights" section that only I can access is perfect, exactly what I would like to share with people, its simplicity is beautiful. Short of posting my account name and password here, does anyone have any thoughts on how I could get it out there? Anybody at Amazon I can beg?