Vietnam’s success and continued effort in handling Covid-19

Vietnam has gone for more than 2 months without any community transmission. The only new cases we have seen are from repatriation flights which carried Vietnamese nationals back home overseas. As of this writing, we haven’t had a single death from Covid-19. The record looks to be intact after the most serious case of all, patient #91, has recovered miraculously after being close to death a few times. Exemplars Health had an article that covers it pretty well why Vietnam has been successful so far in dealing with the pandemic.

Certain aspects of Vietnam’s response to COVID-19 may not be replicable in other countries. Its experience with past epidemics encouraged citizens to take significant steps to slow the spread of the virus. Because Vietnam features a one- party government with a chain of command reaching from the national level down to the village level, it is particularly suited to mobilizing resources, implementing public health strategies, and ensuring consistent messages while enforcing regulations stringently.

– Investment in a public health infrastructure (e.g., emergency operations centers and surveillance systems) enables countries to have a head start in managing public health crises effectively. Vietnam learned lessons from SARS and avian influenza, and other countries can learn those same lessons from COVID-19.

– Early action, ranging from border closures to testing to lockdowns, can curb community spread before it gets out of control.

– Thorough contact tracing can help facilitate a targeted containment strategy.

– Quarantines based on possible exposure, rather than symptoms only, can reduce asymptomatic and presymptomatic transmission.

– Clear communication is crucial. A clear, consistent, and serious narrative is important throughout the crisis.

– A strong whole-of-society approach engages multi-sectoral stakeholders in decision-making process and activate cohesive participation of appropriate measures

One of the things that I think we did very well is contact tracing. The authority in Vietnam demands that every patient provide detailed information on where and when they had been in the few days prior and whom they had been in contact with. From there, the authority will reach out to those F1 and F2 cases and take appropriate actions. Below is the general idea how it works

Life is almost back to normal in Vietnam, to some extent. Domestic flights have resumed, people have gone back to office and establishments have been reopened. However, the borders still remain closed to international flights, despite no new community transmission over two months. According to a new report, it is almost impossible to expect any commercial international flights before August. The earliest estimate is September, yet the situation remains fluid. There will be flights between Japan and Vietnam in the next coming days, but those flights are restricted to only businesspeople and come with enhanced security measures. Some may regard this policy as “draconian” or “extreme”, but if you look at countries and cities that have reopened, the results are mixed. Some saw only a few new cases while others like Arizona or Florida have seen new daily record number of cases also every week for the past two weeks. Folks have different preferences and agendas. Some prioritize the economy’s health while others put safety on top of the list. Personally, I am just glad I don’t have to make such decisions. But I will say this: seeing foreigners stuck in Vietnam express their gratitude to Vietnam for saving their lives during the pandemic is heart-warming and makes me proud. To me, that’s more important than some economic salvation.

I’m immensely grateful to the government of Vietnam for the privilege of being here, and for their smart and fast action — in such contrast to my own government. People here say to me, “Oh you’re American? I’m so sorry.” 

Source: Business Insider

Before closing this entry, I want to speak a bit about how some media outlets cover countries that have been successful in handling this pandemic. Time.com ran a piece labeled “The Best Global Responses to COVID-19 Pandemic“. To my and others’ surprise, the article doesn’t mention a whiff about Vietnam, Uruguay or Mongolia.

  • Mongolia: 215 confirmed cases, 158 recovered and 0 deaths
  • Vietnam: 349 confirmed cases, 328 recovered and 0 deaths
  • Uruguay: 885 confirmed cases, 815 recovered and 25 deaths (though there seems to be a spike recently)

I get that these countries’ brand names may not be as well-known as those such as European Union or New Zealand. I believe there is a sentiment among folks in developed countries that if the situation is bad where they live, it must be a catastrophe in developing countries. It’s annoying to see this kind of reporting. Articles like the one by Time.com only add to the aforementioned sentiment that don’t give developing countries enough credit. Individuals have our own strengths and weaknesses, and so do countries. Vietnam may not have a shiny record on a lot of things, but we can be very capable in other areas. Our success in handling Covid-19 and SARS before that is an example.

We should make some much needed amendments to the Constitution

On this Friday night, I did something that I hadn’t done before, but I should have: read the Constitution itself. The document is often referenced in politics and in our life. It is one of the Founding documents upon which this country is built. After almost 250 years, I think it needs some much needed amendments sooner rather than later.

Take Congress. As far as I know, there is no term limit to congressmen or congresswomen or Senators in Congress. We see many folks who serve multiple terms and are still in office despite being of age. There is undoubtedly the benefit of wisdom that comes with age, but there is also a risk that elder folks do not catch up with the technological and societal advances in our life. If you watch hearings on technological issues that took place in the past, you can see how much our lawmakers don’t understand technology. There is a minimum age at which one can apply to be in Congress. So why isn’t there an upper limit on age?

Another issue I can think of is the Electoral College. Electoral College favorably gives power to Midwestern States, which are much less populated than coastal states. In 2016, Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, but lost the election due to the Electoral College, something that happened 5 times in the past. In my opinion, a democracy should follow what the majority say. Hence, that’s something we should change. Getting ride of the Electoral College doesn’t strip anyone of their vote. Each individual vote would become equally important. As of now, that statement cannot be said about the Electoral College.

The same vein can be applied to the Senate. Each state sends two Senators to the Senate. As in the case of the Electoral College, the rule doesn’t take into account the population size of each state. Consequently, senators from less populated states have the same power as senators from usually coastal states. When it comes to votes, senators represent folks from their state. Put it this way, let’s say every vote from a senator is worth a million points. One state’s two votes are worth two million votes at a time. If California has 40 million people in population, each Californian’s representation is 0.05 points. If Wyoming has 500,000 in population, the representation of each citizen of Wyoming in the Senate is worth 4 points. So, isn’t it against the tenet of democracy that the two states’ voices carry the same weight?

Another amendment that should be added relates to the 2nd amendment or the right to bear arms. First of all, I do agree that the freedom and right to bear arm should be given to citizens. What I think should be clarified in the writing of the Constitution is that such a right should be in accordance with regulating rules. We are entitled to drive a car to the streets, but we all have to get licensed to do so. Then, why is it different for bearing arms? And since so many folks get hung up on the language of the 2nd amendment, the best way for this country to move forward on this issue is to give more clarification to the amendment.

Lastly, the impeachment. The Constitution says that a President can be impeached for “High Crimes or Misdemeanors”, but it fails to clarify what High Crimes or Misdemeanors actually means. When there is ambiguity in the language, there is a change that it will be misused and taken advantage of by folks with motive. To avoid the situation, we should clarify as much as possible what the terms mean. The Office of The President is extremely powerful. Because of the power it wields, we should be as precise as possible in how we can hold Presidents accountable. I don’t think we take into account all scenarios in one update of the Constitution. What we instead can do is to keep it a living document, updating it frequently.

Buying or renting a place

Let me save you the suspense. This answer to this question is pretty much down to each individual case. It differs from one person to the next. Nonetheless, I still think it’s legitimate to put on the table some arguments. Personally, I prefer renting.

It’s not “building or increasing immediately your equity”

Some of my friends, after settling on the decision to become a home owner, told me that they wanted to start building equity. However, what exactly does “building equity” mean? In the trading world, equity means stocks. In the accounting world, it’s the difference between total assets and total liabilities. Hence, equity in the personal finance world simply refers to the difference between one’s assets and one’s liabilities.

Let’s say if you have $100k in cash and want to get $300k in mortgage, in addition to $50k from your own money, to buy a $350k house. Excluding all the administrative expenses related to buying a house, the moment you buy that house, your equity doesn’t increase immediately. Your original equity was $100k since that was what you had in assets and no liabilities. After you buy a house with the mortgage loan and half of your cash, the house and the leftover money will push your asset to $400k, but your liabilities will also increase to $300. The notion that your “equity” is built or increased immediately upon the closing of a house is simply false in my opinion.

“It’s a high return investment”

Yes it is, but with caveats. When you invest in stocks, unless you are day-trading which may involve fees and continuous monitoring, there is no other expenses involved. Personally, I spend time on researching which stocks I like and want to buy. Afterwards, it’s a case of “sitting on my ass and letting my return compound”. I don’t spend a single dollar on anything else. To become a home owner; on the other hand, can involve a lot of other expenses such as home improvement, broker fees, house evaluation fees, mortgage payments, maintenance, housing taxes and so on. One of my friends was told by a seller that she would have to pay to repair the street leading to the house in question after closing the deal. It would have added another $20,000 to the equation.

Similar to the fact that noone can tell with certainty whether a stock will go up or down, noone can predict exactly when to sell a house to get the biggest profit. Take this current crisis as an example. The housing market was great before February. After the crisis hit, it is in shambles. It is an opportunity for those who can afford to buy as houses are cheaper, but it’s an absolute disaster for those who were poised to sell as the prices won’t be as good any more. The point is that owning a house comes with a lot of expenses that can make what seems to be theoretically a sound investment no longer sound. Of course, if all works out well, investors can reap out much bigger rewards from a house than from owning stocks. One has to be aware that there will likely be numerous expenses involved and that a big payout is not guaranteed.

An unpredictable event can turn your investment on its head

Ask yourself this question: would you borrow to invest in a stock that you don’t know will increase in prices?

If the answer is no, then put some more thoughts on whether it’s a good idea to borrow money to invest in a house. Institutions have teams working 8-10 hours a day to come up with models that can help the institutions make as much money as possible with their assets. Do you think car dealerships put you on a payment plan with lower downpayment out of the goodness of their hearts? Do you think banks give you a mortgage simply because you are a good and nice person? No, they do it because they believe that they can have a reasonable return on investment. If you default on the payments, your car or house or your other assets can be collaterals. If you think you own a house, try to default on your 29th or 30th year of your mortgage and see who actually owns the house. Covid-19 put many out of their jobs and stripped their ability to pay mortgages. Nobody could foresee this pandemic. How many can actually factor this kind of crisis in their investment plan?

The way I look at the idea of owning a house is that I’d have to borrow money at a significant interest (compounding), endure a lot of expenses in a foreseeable future and still have no desirable outcome guaranteed. It’s an awful lot to ask. That’s why I prefer renting and investing money into stocks which offer a much better degree of liquidity, a much lower level of maintenance and still reasonable odds of return on investment. Of course, when there is an emotional reason to invest in a house, there is no counter argument as it’s purely personal. From purely a logical investment perspective, my choice is rent, for the time being.

Covid-19, data, arguments and made-up minds

If we look at the number of confirmed cases in the world and the death count, US is one of the worst hit countries in the world and delivered one of the worst responses to the crisis. Allegedly.

But folks would argue that the figures, when put in terms of per capita, wouldn’t look that bad. The death rate isn’t that bad, compared to that of Iran, Spain or Italy. Allegedly.

But even if the death rate per capita is bad, other countries might have under-reported their figures to make the US look bad. Allegedly.

Let’s say if all reported numbers are true, some would say what is happening is, allegedly, actually better than what was projected by the models which were created to prevent the worst from happening.

And even if things are bad, losing 100,000 to 240,000 American lives isn’t the worst. There is nothing anybody could do or foresee, allegedly. There were other lethal pandemics that killed more in the past when the healthcare infrastructure wasn’t what it is today. Or the number of deaths from the flu or traffic or other causes is bigger than the death count from Covid-19, except the fact that those deaths by other causes are often cited on a 12-month timespan which is far longer than a few weeks of Coronavirus.

The older I become and the more I read and work with numbers as they are my day job, the more I become certain that nothing is 100% certain (see what I did here?). My default feelings go from “am I looking at the numbers from a correct perspective?” or “am I making an apple-to-apple comparison?” to “am I missing something?” or “is it remotely possible that the counter-thesis to what I am thinking is right?”. I realized that we often come to an issue with some pre-determined assumptions. Depending on how open we are to the legitimacy of evidence, especially opposing evidence, there are no numbers or arguments that can change such assumptions. Numbers can be manipulated. Arguments can be doubted and rejected. Like the scenario above.

If you think that there are serious shortcomings in our healthcare and other aspects of life, the data from Covid-19 should help you back up that opinion. If you think that the US is fine as it is and that despite what has happened for the last few weeks, there is nothing anybody could do and there is nothing we need to do after this crisis blows over, the data could help you too, depending on how you slice and dice it. Or not, and you wouldn’t care anyway.

I am in the “there is a lot to do in the US as this crisis shows” camp. But in an alleged democracy (why I say “alleged democracy” is a topic for another day), what matters is the opinion of the majority. For my own personal sake and for the sake of many, I truly hope the majority is in the same camp as I am.

Covid-19-crisis-induced mix of feelings

It has been a few extremely weird few weeks. I don’t think anybody is prepared for what is unraveling around us. Personally speaking, I have encountered mixed feelings while dealing with the current crisis. I wrote these down mainly because I know how it feels knowing that somewhere somebody is going through the same thing as I feel. It is helpful and that’s exactly what I want to do.

The most overwhelming feeling is gratitude. I haven’t caught the virus yet. Based on the coverage on what it can do human bodies, I count myself lucky not to be a patient. If you are safe like me so far, I wish you would stay the same throughout this pandemic. Plus, I am feeling blessed for having a full-time paying job that covers my insurance and helps me pay bills. It’s a luxury for many people and something that I definitely do not take for granted. I enrolled in a dual Masters degree in Omaha in 2016. If I had followed the normal path that numerous students did, I would have graduated in December 2019; which would mean that I would have been thrown into a chaotic job market where companies were trying to downsize and the chance that I would be sponsored would have been slim to none. I tried hard to graduate early simply because I wanted to work as soon as possible and get paid better. By no means, I predicted this would happen. I am very grateful for whatever forces there were that put things in place for me.

Like everybody else, I am worried about the future. The economy is shattered and looks to remain so, if not get worse, in the foreseeable future. Given the economic outlook, it doesn’t come as a surprise that companies, including my employer, seek to cut costs and downsize. Though I am employed at the moment, there is nothing set in stone, except the fact that any request such as pay raise or sponsorship may have to wait for a while.

Even though the virus has decimated dozens of countries around the globe, the US is now the most affected. Nobody knows the full extent of the damage done to this country. The government expects next week to the worst week, but what if it was wrong? A few weeks ago, the whole disaster was called a hoax. Masks were recommended only when you were sick. Now, the CDC recommends citizens wear masks in public places. The odds of being affected through community spread increase by the day. Self-isolation will continue for a while and personally, I don’t expect this crisis to blow over before June, if I am being extremely optimistic.

Living alone in America in this time is hard. I have only myself, my computer, my phone and my apartment to keep me entertained and occupied. Of course, I chat with my girlfriend and friends every day, but the constant stare at the screens and the lack of human interaction sometimes are unbearably exhausting and excruciating. On top of that, my family in Vietnam kept checking on me as the news on America in Vietnam worried them. I don’t blame them, but at the same time, I hate making them worried. On the other hand, I am worried about my family, especially my parents who have underlying conditions. The feeling of powerlessness, compounded with the angst and frustration and boredom, is tough to deal with.

Nonetheless, the crisis doesn’t necessarily give me only negative feelings. I tried to look at this in a positive light in a sense that it might be an opportunity. Personally speaking, this crisis presents a chance for me to step up at work. The pandemic prompted a barrage of requests with short turnaround time “in the office”. Everybody in my team has worked more urgently and harder these days. There were days when I felt completely spent around 4pm. However, if I could emerge from this as a reliable and valuable contributor, my boss or his boss would look at me more favorably.

Additionally, my personal portfolio has taken a beating. It’s definitely concerning to lose money on your investments. Assets’ values have gone down significantly, whether they are bitcoins, real estate or stocks. But if you look at it from another perspective, it can be a good time to buy. When the falling knives stop falling and if I can pick the right time, it’s a tremendous opportunity to snap up cheap assets.

Finally, this self-isolation can stimulate self-reflection and creativity. With fewer distractions and plenty of time on hand, all of us should be freer to think about the past, present and future, to reflect, to plan ahead, to live a little slower and to be more creative.

It’s impossible not to acknowledge the detriment of this pandemic. Yet, there is no reason for us not to find opportunity from it either. I hope you will stay safe and come out of the other side safe and better.

The time of crisis

In good times and when the sea is calm, everyone can sail the ship. Not everybody can when the sea is rough.

The last few weeks has been nothing, but extremely challenging. Uncertainty and fear take hold of our society. Stock markets suffer beating after beating, dragging along with it our 401k or saving with no signs of the plunge abating. Lives are disrupted or, worse, lost.

In times like this, we need leadership, starting with looking the truth in the face. Germany’s Chancellor honestly told everyone that 70% of the German population would be affected. Whether the citizens approve of the German’s government’s reaction to the crisis is another matter. Nonetheless, at least the head of the state didn’t lie or mislead its citizens. Another example is Dr Fauci. He admitted that the US’s healthcare setup was inadequate to handle the mass testing at the moment. That’s the honesty we need. No spinning. No lies. No misleading information. No claiming that we have nothing to worry about when the crisis is upon our door.

If you watched the series Chernobyl on HBO (if you haven’t, I highly recommend it since we are staying at home anyway), the nuclear disaster could have been prevented. However, lies and denial led to one of the worst catastrophes in humans’ history.

From the enterprise perspective, some CEOs and companies took little time in setting an example and helping out. Aaron Levie and Box are an example:

Or Zoom and its CEO:

Or from a Chinese that wants to help out fellow human-beings, despite the difference in nationalities

On the other hand, there are companies whose behavior in crises like this is highly questionable and deserves scrutiny. Take Whole Foods as an example:

On Wednesday, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sent out an email to grocery store employees with a list of benefits and options for those who fall sick during the coronavirus pandemic. Among his six suggestions was an option for employees to “donate” their paid time off (PTO) to coworkers facing medical emergencies.

“Team Members who have a medical emergency or death in their immediate family can receive donated PTO hours,” Mackey wrote in an email reviewed by Motherboard, “not only from Team Members in their own location, but also from Team Members across the country.”

In that same email, Whole Foods also said that it will offer unlimited, unpaid time off during the month of March and two weeks of paid time off for workers who test positive for Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus—a policy announced this week for all Amazon employees and contractors that has also been adopted by tech companies like Uber, Lyft, and Instacart.

Source: Vice

I believe that eventually we’ll come out of this and get back to where we were a few months ago. At the end of the day, this is not the first disaster humanity has faced in the last hundreds or thousands of years and we’re still here, more advanced than ever. The issue is whether we’ll be more prepared for the next disaster. Since 9/11, we haven’t had a similar incident like that, but we have had SARS, Ebola and Swine Flu and look how prepared we have been for Coronavirus.

This is a golden time for true leaders to show their worth as well as for us to know who are not.

“Progressives” blind hatred on billionaires

The Presidential candidates from the Democratic party are spending thousands of dollars on ads and hours on television to tell the public how much they abhor millionaires and billionaires, and why such rich folks shouldn’t exist. Here is an example from AOC

This kind of logic and blind hatred doesn’t make sense to me. Who ever got rich by only trading time for money, by not making money while sleeping or by not having additional income outside the usual salary?

Working harder or working long hours isn’t the only ingredient in the recipe to get rich. In my opinion, there are a few factors:

  • Luck! Name me one rich person who sincerely wouldn’t admit that he or she hit one lucky break before
  • Working hard. If being rich were easy, everybody would be rich by now. If being a billionaire were easy, we would all be Bezoses, Zuckerbergs, Gateses now. Since everyone wants to get ahead in life, anyone who wants to get rich has to pay their dues and work hard
  • Offering values to the society. Realistically, compensation climbs up with the values delivered to the society. The more value is delivered to a bigger audience, the more valuable the value creator is and the richer he or she will get. Building an application that connects 2.5 billion people on Earth and allows advertisers to reach millions of people delivers far more value than packaging goods in a factory. Don’t get me wrong. I respect people’s occupations. I am merely talking about how compensation reflects a value proposition. That’s why an experienced executive who is perceived as much valuable than an entry-level staffer gets paid more. Of course, the executive is expected to shoulder immensely bigger responsibilities and results.
  • Work smart. This is tied up to the point right above. Working smarter enables one person to be more productive and become more valuable faster. The number of hours doesn’t necessarily reflect the production.

Going back to the topic at hand, reaching a millionaire or billionaire status isn’t easy. Like I mentioned, it’s not easy. In fact, it’s exceedingly difficult. That’s why only a minority of people achieved the status. Hating on billionaires who made their fortune by working hard and smart and delivering value to millions of people is just disrespectful to them. I am sure that there are cases where folks created a fortune with questionable legalities or through inheritance. Nonetheless, that’s why making a generalizing unfavorable comment on billionaires who legitimately reaped the fruits of their work is misleading at best and irresponsible at worst, in my opinion.

Plus, if these Democratic politicians hate millionaires and billionaires that much, would they give away their fortune or not act on a lucrative opportunity if they had it? I remember Bernie Sanders used to mention “millionaires” in his speeches until he became one after his book. Now, he solely rages on billionaires. Just an observation.

Don’t get me wrong. I am against almost every thing GOP politicians (not the conservative ideologies, they are two very different things) represent now. However, at the same, I lament the myopic talking points, the blind hatred and the misleading statements that come from “progressive” Democrats.

When we really want to dig deeper, the reason why income inequality is appalling in America is because the laws allow it. If it weren’t legally possible, it wouldn’t happen. The millionaires and billionaires just play the game better than others. It is the politicians who are the law-makers that allow it. If they want to look for anyone to blame, well, start by looking into the mirror.

The cost of bad reputation

I came across this article on the fact that Japan is imposing stricter visa process for individuals from certain countries, including Vietnam

According to Nikkei Asian Review, Japan will also expand its list of countries subject to stricter visa checks. Currently, only students from seven countries, including China (excluding Hong Kong and other regions), Vietnam, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Mongolia are under strict visa screening processes. Vietnam currently has the highest number of people overstaying their student visas, 3,065 in total.

It is really shameful to see my country included in such a list. Nonetheless, as I have lived abroad and seen actions by my fellow Vietnamese overseas, I am not surprised at all by the new policy from the Japanese government. I saw Vietnamese students take advantage of the trust by Finnish to avoid paying metro tickets. I heard about the distasteful actions by Vietnamese community in Prague and saw first hand how unfriendly a Vietnamese market was in the city. Hell, there is a lot of ambiguity on how much it costs for a citizen like myself to renew my passport. The fees will depend on one’s occupation and income.

The misdemeanor by a few tarnishes the reputation of a whole people. There is a certain degree of unfairness that some have to suffer by the actions of a few, but that’s just how it works. And Vietnamese people do suffer from having a bad reputation. We essentially need visas to travel anywhere except to a few countries in South East Asia, Africa and South America. My H1B is valid for 3 years, but the maximum length given to a Vietnamese passport is just one year. I do know that my Chinese colleagues get 5-year visas. The lack of credibility creates a great deal of inconvenience, time consumption and trouble. We, as a people, would save a lot of time and money on all the visa paperwork if we had better credibility and if our citizens thought about the overall impact of our actions.

My thought on Mitt Romney’s decision

The impeachment hearing is over. The result is exactly what many who had been following this saga and I expected. The defendant was acquitted along the party line. Much of the noise that came out of the hearing was Mitt Romney’s decision to join Democrat senators to vote in favor of the article(s) of impeachment. Ever since, the former presidential candidate has received plenty of praise for the act.

I wouldn’t particularly get on that train and give him total credit. To be clear, I am in no position to speculate what was behind Senator Romney’s decision to support the impeachment. His coming out to support the Democrats was at the end of the hearing when it was mathematically impossible to remove the President from office. His decision came already too late and looked suspiciously a bit self-serving.

The main reason why I suspected the Senator’s motive was that he didn’t vote to subpoena evidence and witnesses. He already swore his oath at the beginning of the hearing and I believe in my heart, regardless of how I would have preferred the trial to turn out, that his duty was to be as impartial and fair as possible. Impartiality would involve getting as much information and truth to light as possible and that meant calling for evidence and witnesses. Had he come out in support of the subpoenas, other Republican senators on the fence would have had more leverage and support. Democrats would have had more momentum. THAT would have been a true and undisputed example of courage and upholding the faith that he talked about.

I believe that Senator Romney’s character played a role in his decision. I am not that paranoid or cynical. However, I would have believed him more if he had come out in the end and said: sorry everybody, I messed up on the subpoena votes, I am sorry and I now support the article(s) of impeachment. Or if he had voted on the call for witnesses or evidence. It’s exceedingly tough for me to overlook the fact that he went along with his party at the expense of the oath that he took.

Kindle App vs iBooks on iOS 13

Amazon isn’t exactly known for its design capability, yet I am relatively pleased with the Kindle App on iOS 13. Below is a brief comparison between the two apps in terms of features and UX.

Appearance

The Kindle app offers different options to adjust the font, the theme, the spacing between rows, the brightness and the view.

With the exception of the ability to change spacing between rows, all the other features are very similar to what iBooks provides. Personally, I appreciate the green theme available on Kindle.

Looking up and translating words

Additionally, readers can translate, look up unknown words and learn more about them via Wikipedia inside the Kindle app handily. All readers need to do is to select the word and the features are automatically presented.

On iBooks, it’s a little bit different. After clicking on a word and choosing “Look up”, readers will be taken to a page that includes various options related to the word in question

Taking notes

It’s a little bit frustrating to take and copy notes on iOS. As the short video shows, users have to select a block of text manually again for any use.

If users want to use the copied text somewhere, iOS has a default footnote that comes with every single copy. The note itself reminds users of the title and author at hand, but it creates another step that becomes annoying if repeated.

On Kindle, taking notes is a bit easier. A whole block of text can be chosen and copied with only a touch of your fingertip. Additionally, there is no default footnote as in the case of iBooks.

Flashcard

Kindle has one feature that is absent on iBooks: Flash Cards. It’s pretty handy for those that like to take notes and come back later to test their memory.

In short, the two apps provide very similar core functionalities. The difference comes, I suspect, mainly from special use cases. Personally, because I often copy quotes and notes from books to this blog in my book review entries, I prefer Kindle to iBooks.