If you don't consider the price, it's no contest. The iPad2, starting with its magic cover, wins. With the color, versatility, and all those apps the iPad2 makes the Kindle look like a Model-T. I've had all three versions of the Kindle, and I loved them all. So simple, so convenient, but its really only good for one thing: reading long-form text. The black & white e-ink is great in the sun so I will keep it handy this summer.
But even the thing the Kindle does best, the iPad does better: reading a book feels like, well, reading a book. You see the spine and the cover and the dust jacket of the book. You turn the pages like you would on a book - they even turn gradually like a paper page does. It has the note/highlight/dictionary function that I don't know how I ever did without.
Plus you have apps like Netflix and HBO-Go that bring you movies and TV instantly, if you're near a WiFi hot spot. And with my standard disclaimer that I work for Time Inc., I honestly can say that reading magazines is a revolutionary experience. The photography is dazzling - the colors so rich and crisp. Watching videos, scrolling through photographs not available in the paper editions, pressing buttons for captions - it's all new and, and at least for me, much more engaging than the traditional. To prove my lack of bias, I'd recommend Vanity Fair as the best example I've seen yet of exploiting this new medium. If you have a subscription and your magazine is available on the iPad, good news. You "authenticate," prove you have a subscription, and you can download your issues for free.
But, like I said, the iPad is only the winner if you want to spend the money. At the Kindle's new low price, the iPad is about five times as expensive: $150 vs $800, roughly. For some one like me, who loves the technology and will really use it, it was an easy choice. If you think you will only use a device like this for reading, you can stick with the Kindle. As cool as those folding pages are, they're probably not worth the extra expense.
The Borgias vs Game of Thrones
I thought these two huge costume dramas set would have a lot in common, at least I thought they would before I watched Game of Thrones. It's a strange, fantasy world with indelible characters and a narrative that keeps you guessing and wanting more. I'd never read or even heard of George R. R. Martin's cult books A Song of Ice and Fire that "Thrones" is based on, and when I watched only a piece of the second episode, I was totally lost, except I loved this cute little tom boy who infuriated the little lord from another kingdom. She made me start over, and with a little struggle the complications and connections of the three different families vying for the Throne became clearer. Go back to HBO on demand and start watching, you'll thank me. Don't miss The Imp!
"The Borgias," on the other hand, is over-hyped. Great costumes, beautifully filmed, but hollow. So many good actors, but they preen. Their self-impressed performances do nothing to advance the story, which is pretty thin in any case. Irons plays Pope Alexander VI and the main concern of him and his children - things were different back then - is that he stay in power. The French army is marching though Italy hoping to take over the Kingdom of Naples, most of South Italy, and then depose the godless, Spanish Borgia pope. One son is a cardinal, the other the general of the Papal Army (!), and his daughter, the infamous Lucretzia (pronounced loo-CRET-zia, not loo-CREE-sha), has been married off to a northern Italian noble family at 14. Oh, and the Cardinal has an interest in his little sister that is way too worldy.
So there is some fun to be had with "The Borgias", but if you only have an hour on Sunday night for TV, spend it with "Thrones."
Grades: "Thrones" - A
"The Borgias" - C+
Obama vs Osama
Finally, something we can all agree on. No liberal hand-wringing, no conservative finger-pointing. He's dead. Good. In case you missed it, here's Maureen Dowd's very definitive last word on the whether we were right to kill him. As they said in The Godfather, "He sleeps with the fishes." The Corleones couldn't have done it any better.