Amazon Races Itself to Market

The Kindle 2 is quickly outdated by the Kindle DX, reprising the rapid obsolescence of the Kindle 1

4 min read

Amazon, which announced a third-generation Kindle just weeks after releasing the Kindle 2, has been in a design race against itself. It was working on Kindle 2 even before the first model came off the manufacturing line in November 2007, Amazon told IEEE Spectrum. And judging from the 10 weeks that elapsed between the Kindle 2 launch in late February and the Kindle 3 announcement in early May, this latest version also had to have been in the works.

Kindle 2 is a sleeker Kindle 1 with better software. Kindle 3, now named Kindle DX, will have a 24-centimeter (9.7-inch) screen, more than twice as big as on the earlier models and, at a resolution of 1200-by-824 pixels, will show twice the content. In form, it is a larger twin of Kindle 2, except the DX has a nifty rotating display.

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From WinZips to Cat GIFs, Jacob Ziv’s Algorithms Have Powered Decades of Compression

The lossless-compression pioneer received the 2021 IEEE Medal of Honor

11 min read
Photo of Jacob Ziv
Photo: Rami Shlush

Lossless data compression seems a bit like a magic trick. Its cousin, lossy compression, is easier to comprehend. Lossy algorithms are used to get music into the popular MP3 format and turn a digital image into a standard JPEG file. They do this by selectively removing bits, taking what scientists know about the way we see and hear to determine which bits we'd least miss. But no one can make the case that the resulting file is a perfect replica of the original.

Not so with lossless data compression. Bits do disappear, making the data file dramatically smaller and thus easier to store and transmit. The important difference is that the bits reappear on command. It's as if the bits are rabbits in a magician's act, disappearing and then reappearing from inside a hat at the wave of a wand.

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