Tag Archives: Kindle Tips

Kindle Tips and Tricks

Kindle!

As some of you may know I’ve been enjoying my SUPER amazon kindle (the 3G) for two and a bit weeks now. I bought it never having seen one, on the basis that someone took one to London Hackspace (where I’ve never been) and then later tweeted that several people had bought one on the strength of seeing it.. so I decided to as well! Here are some things I’ve learned/figured out (and read elsewhere..) that make it go faster/better. If you want to buy one (As you can gather I think they really are very good!) then you can click here:
Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 6″ Display, Graphite, 3G Works Globally – Latest Generation

General impression:

 

Very nice pictures!

Kindle Screensaver

 

It’s thin, it’s light, the screen is excellent (and the pictures that come on like ‘screensavers’ are very cool – though I wish I could put my own up there.. I’m sure I’ll figure that out in the future), speed of page turning and loading is acceptable and the battery life is highly impressive – only managed to flatten it out once by playing MP3’s out loud and surfing the internet for about an hour, after a week of usage and not much charging.  The keyboard occasionally suffers from bounce (i.e. two of the letter you wanted), though given it’s size and compactness it is very usable. The 3G internet access worked first time out of the box and also worked first time off the plane when I arrived in Geneva. Occasionally it has a hiccup, but for the cost of the device and the service it provides I’m extremely satisfied!

I’d give it a 10/10.

Photos:

 

Image display

 

With some searching of the blogosphere I was able to find out how to upload some trusty JPG’s onto the device. I think I created a folder called ‘Pictures’ and then put my photos in there in sub-directories, each of which then appear as individual items on the Kindle home screen. They’re quite hi-res photos (Thanks Justin!) so it doesn’t always display them correctly, probably if I have time I should re-scale to something less megapixeltastic. It would also be nice if the viewer had a slide show mode (and also the books/pdf viewer had an auto page turn mode), but I’m sure this will get added.

Books:

Books are fairly self explanatory. I’m currently reading The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carre, which is one of the Smiley series – and apparently the sequel to Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I’ve also bought Lustrum, Robert Harris and Smileys People, so I’ll get round to those soon enough!

Web:

 

Renders black and white pages rather nicely!

 

By far the best single feature is the ‘experimental’ web browser. It’s all in black and white and doesn’t open ‘new window’ links. However thanks to the smart deal that Amazon have done with Vodaphone, it works in most parts of the world at no additional cost. Some of my new colleagues don’t actually believe this! I’m not sure how long it will last, though whilst it does it’s definitely a key differentiator for the Kindle in comparison to all the other ebook readers (and of course the iPad). I’ve added/amended some of the default links in the browser bookmarks for an improved experience –

  • http://mobile.twitter.com < Mobile version of twitter, works well but struggles to open links
  • http://mail.google.com/mail/h/ < HTML version of Gmail works a treat. Much faster than the javascript version.
  • http://m.facebook.com < Mobile version of Facebook, though actually I log in via the Touch site (http://touch.facebook.com) and then go back to the mobile site once I have the cookie (which lasts for a while, at least several days!) – downside of the mobile site is that text entry doesn’t seem to work that well. It is of course great for reading stuff and 100x faster than the full site.
  • http://mobile.yahoo.com/mail < Mobile yahoo mail. Works fine.
  • http://facebook.com < Comes on the default list, though crashes occasionally. One of the most impressive features of the Kindle so far is that it runs the Facebook java based chat client very well indeed!
  • Google Maps – the standard Javascript version, switching to HTML doesn’t appear to make a difference. This as my friend Simon has pointed out is potentially another killer app – the Kindle doesn’t have GPS (or that fancy GSM Cell Ident triangulation thing that most phones do these days), but in the case that you already know where you are, finding out where your going with a googlemap is rather useful! I used it with some success to find bike shops in Geneva last weekend, though unfortunately most of them were shut and/or unhelpful – not that I can blame googlemaps or my Kindle for that!

Other stuff:

If you’ve got one already and read the user guide then you may already know that the Alt+Space works at any time to start/stop the MP3 player – the sound quality is impressive for such a flat device that’s basically just a book. When I’m showing people it’s particularly impressive as I’ve filled it up with Jimi Hendrix.

WiFi:

Occasionally it doesn’t seem to like wifi access points that are open/or even secured when you know the password. For example I tried it in the local mall, and got to the last stage on their web log in before it failed. But it isn’t really necessary if you have 3G…

Cases:

I haven’t bought one of these yet – there are some neat (if expensive) ones from Amazon, that include a built in LED light that clips into two slots on the side of the case. I think these power the light, and have some clever connectors in – I saw some folks at the hackspace had done a partial teardown of their new kindles to find out, but as of yet I don’t think there are any third party lights available. £50 is a bit steep for the case, even though it’s very cool – especially as most of the places where I would want to read already have er, lights! I might opt for a slipcase type thing in the near future, hopefully before I have any accidents!

Summary:

Excellent device. Best gadget I’ve bought this year! It is to ebooks (and also tablet/pad/flat pc type devices) what the macbook pro is to laptops. If you don’t already have an ebook/iphone/smartphone/ipad, you should definitely consider it. I think my new boss might even buy one after seeing mine!

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