Sunday, May 31, 2009

Accessing Facebook with the Kindle 2

It does take patience.
 I was asked by mathmom, at the Web-browsing guide/tips article here, if I was able to access Facebook with the Kindle 2 to do anything interactive rather than just passive reading.

That's a very complex site and I'd never thought to go there, so I tried it out.
  Often, large sites today will offer a mobile-unit version of their pages, so I tried using and that link got me to a somewhat trimmed-down version of the Facebook site.  And, even if you put in just '' (the Kindle provides the "http://" part for us), it knows when you're on a mobile unit web browser and then takes you to the mobile version anyway.

    Update 1/4/11 - Try if encountering problems.  That works best with Kindle 3's, according to reports.

Since the site tends to run a lot of scripts and Basic Mode did not seem to allow me to log in, I went to the Kindle browser's Menu option for "Settings" and chose "Advanced" and enabled Javascript.  That allowed me to log in with the user email and password I usually use for Facebook though I don't go there often.  BUT sometimes the site is busy and you have to try again.

(This all works far better with the Kindle 2 than with the Kindle 1, as the latter requires the silver scrollbar's pop-up menus and many more menu choices just for input, and even I don't have the patience for it with a place like Facebook.)

The 5-way button did allow me to navigate Facebook's stream of personal news from everyone and to read what I wanted pretty quickly, but the goal was to post a note.

  I went to the profile of a friend and followed the instructions to post a message to his space.  When I finished typing a short note (you don't want to type long ones on small devices), I clicked on 'Post' and got a notice that I had to sign in first.  I was already signed in or would not have had access to see my private areas!  Nevertheless, I dutifully logged in again, and after I did, I was taken back to that page and saw that the note was posted, as you can see here.  (I did remove the user ID from the photo.)

I later went back to try again.  This time, after I wrote a note, I was again told I had to log in.  So I obeyed, but it then told me that the site could not be accessed and to try again later.  This is the type of false alert that I described in the Kindle webbrowser guide.  The failure alert pops up when sending email or posting to a forum.  I went to my computer and found that the note HAD been posted. This false failure-message for posting/sending from the Kindle seems to happen consistently.  I'll report this to

  The upside is that the message does go through and is posted.

Not the best experience in the world, but useful if really needed and you're away from computers.  As many know, you can Twitter away at

Kindle Fire  7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
- $99/$139
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow 3G web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
OTHER International
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
  Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
  Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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  1. Thanks for addressing my question so completely! Your experience is pretty similar to mine. I was hoping to find something a little better, but I guess that is not to be at this time.

  2. Hi Andrys! Love your site! I'm debating whether or not to get the new Kindle DX, although I've never owned a Kindle before. How does the Internet experience differ among the models when accessing Facebook, Gmail, Yahoo Mail, etc.?

  3. Anonymous,
    Thanks! The Internet experience is a better experience on the DX because the webbrowser tends to want to show the whole screen across and our computer screens are Landscape in the first place, so what you get on the Kindle 2 is web -info- if you want it, but the website letters are then really tiny.

    I am nearsighted, so can read tiny print and I use the K2 web browser mainly to get info when not at home w/ the computer.

    The DX screen has a surface over 2 times bigger and you can turn it sideways to spread the lines (enlarging the fonts) to fit the width.

    It works pretty much the same, but you just are able to see the web results in a much more comfortable way. I have some pictures of the Kindle 2 on the web, at 2 and some pictures of the screen display of the DX in portrait and landscape modes on the same material, at

    The Internet experience is slow with either Kindle. I ask for a page and then do other things :-) or wait almost patiently, but being able to get google or yelp info in a car or in a cafe w/o needing to find a hotspot is sometimes like magic to me, and since it's free (no monthly access charges), I don't expect it to be as fast as on a computer.

    On all the sites you mention, we can access mobile-focused versions of those sites so that it's more doable.

    See my
    for tips on web browsing.

    Good luck on your decision.

    - Andrys

  4. Thanks for responding so quickly! I'm almost sold on the DX, but I have read that Internet browsing seems slower on the DX than on the K2. Have you noticed any difference? Also, as far as you know, has Amazon promised free, unlimited Internet coverage for the life of the device?

  5. Anonymous,

    Internet browsing slower? It's about the same. Sometimes slower, sometimes faster.

    It's essentially the same processor -- and the amount of data brought to the screen to fill the larger space while keeping the resolution high is where there's more work but I don't sense any difference in getting pages and sometimes it does seem faster.

    I'll just say this. At home I never use the Kindle 2 for this while I use the DX quite often when in the living room and kitchen where I have no computer.

    Here's another thing. It's something you'd get mainly to read books and periodicals. I wouldn't get it for the Net access except that I am one who really likes that aspect of it as it then justifies the higher cost of the units. I am sort of a Net animal too, so it draws me a bit more.

    Amazon has not promised the free, unlimited Internet access for 'life' as some say, especially when their own policy language says they reserve the right to charge for web browsing (when it is worth paying for it, I presume) that is not at their store.

    In the meantime, they put on bookmarks to encourage people to explore the 'experimental' web browser :-)

    Lately, a video of a Q&A with an Amazon rep at Case Western, a partnering university tihs fall, shows the rep telling the partner school that "it's an important thing to remember that it's free... no wireless charges...we cover all ...that..." Says you can use online resources without having to get up and go to a computer.

    Further, in Bezos' talk to the Wired mag conference in mid-June, he stresses that he could have gone the subscription route as cell phone/wireless vendors do but that he chose to put the cost of that into the cost of the unit instead.

    So he is not going to be able to charge any monthly fees for at least a year or he would lose all credibility. With so many pushing him to go the 2-year subscription route, Amazon has an opening there though later.

    And, as a buying decision there's this.
    The cost of wireless added to a device that's not just a cellphone, is $60/mo. for unlimited service. So multiply that by the first year, and it's $720 we don't pay for that first year.

    Beyond the first year, who knows? In no way do I see a web browsing experience that anyone would pay Amazon more than $3 to $5/mo. for, tops, considering there is no flash and no video but there are certainly wait-states ;-)

    Maybe there'll be a tiered pricing later on, but the market will change a lot in a year. Right now the free wireless is their main selling point.

    - Andrys

  6. Thank you so much, Andrys. You rock! :) God bless you!

  7. Hey, Anonymous,
    I'm glad if it was helpful. Thanks!

  8. Hey, I finally just tried twitter today, and again basic web is great for reading but I can't seem to tweet at all. Twitter tells me "Something is technically wrong" and my tweet does not show up. :-/

  9. mathmom,
    I don't think has been useable for tweeting for some time - error messages usually. If that's in my mobile web doc, I'll remove it.

    However, with Basic Web, logins usually don't work due to javascript being needed, so I'm surprised we can get in and read tweeters we follow.
    But, in no case have I been able to follow links people give.

    I was, strangely enough, able to tweet one when in Desktop mode on my DX (equivalent to Advanced on K2) but that was from rather than

    And using plain old, the colors are 'translated' in a grotesque way so that all you see is a dark gray but no words. You can see images.

    I think I was in Desktop mode in regular when I was able to do a tweet, but I was, shall I say, flying blind. Couldn't read anything on the screen except "Update" and "Send" and I chose the Update box.

    As with gmail and facebook, it told me I couldn't make contact with the site and to try again. Sure enough, the tweet had gone through anyway.
    That was one step better than the 'error' we get otherwise.

    This made Facebook via Kindle look useful. :-)

    Won't be trying that again. I would contact about their browser being unable to deal with twitter well, but I suspect they don't want to improve that or we would be on it constantly, using up expensive bandwidth.

  10. Yes, the bottom of your document does recommend I think you're exactly right about amazon not wanting to encourage us to use more bandwidth, although with new competitors like the B&N reader, they may be more inclined to help those of us who want a basic internet machine as well as a great text reader.

  11. I just tried tweeting from and that works fine. The colors are fine. I was in advanced mode. I was still logged in from my attempts at yesterday so I don't know about the login process but if you go to the top link is "skip past navigation" and if you click that you go right to your update box. is better for reading, and once you're logged in, switching to basic mode makes the text black instead of gray, so much more readable. I think overall that (along with selective twitter update on FB or something like that) is an easier way to send a status update from the kindle than facebook. (Guess I should try FB again to be fair -- that experience may have improved too for all I know.)

  12. Mathmom,
    Thanks for this. If you find something that works consistently, let us know.

    Also, you don't mention being able to follow the links people leave. That was missing yesterday from mine.

    Twitter has sporadic excessive-load problems that affect availability even on the computer, and yesterday, it couldn't "find" Twitter at times on the computer so it probably affected the Kindle access even more.

    Will see how it goes for you!

  13. @kindlenewsCJ is able to tweet from but I am still not able to (in advanced or basic mode).

    In advanced mode, I can tweet from but not follow links. In basic mode on I can still tweet(!), the screen is readable, but I still cannot follow links.

    I'm surprised that the links don't work. I can select the text as a link, but clicking doesn't get me anywhere.

    For my use, of infrequent browsing and updating, in basic mode looks like my best bet for now, or in basic mode for reading only. The no links is a drag, but not a show-stopper for me.

  14. by the way, I don't get the gmail-esque error where it tells me that it can't make contact. When I tweet from it works "normally"

  15. mathmom,
    All good info and I will likely link to it later, quoting it for Kindle edition people.

    All in all, it's a pain and not ultra useful, but an available emergency reading or tweeting capability is better than not being able to do any of that at all, I guess. :-)

    It's amazingly how differently this all works for @kindlenewsCJ. you, and for me. I'd say it's not ready for prime time and I sense that's how they want it.

    Thanks again!

  16. I wonder if competition from the Nook will influence how useful they decide to make their Basic Web access...

  17. With iRex, Plastic Logic, the Nook, and other up and comers, it was very smart of them to suddenly offer Wikipedia (used by only those who want information rather than just fun-surfing) to the entire global Kindle community.

    It is the one huge differentiater from all the others. It's amazing how many would prefer to gaze on a color sub-screen while having no web access at all except to the store.

    Text to speech is a plus for those who use it for on-the-go 'reading' but is not the draw a free web browser is, though gadget reviewers seldom mention it or short-shrift it from a bad early experience.

    The minimum worth of the web browser (useful for quick lookups when on the street -- especially for those who won't pay for web access on a phone) is $30/mo., which is $360/mo. and yet people talk about any of the others having 'more features.'

    But yes, Amazon doesn't move quickly unless needing to respond to competition, so all hail the Nook, the Que, and the iRex with the strange, unmemorable numbers :-). Oh, and the Sony too, but the Sony has been with us for awhile and is well made and even allows its units to be reviewed before selling them to customers on faith.

  18. I don't/won't pay for web access from a phone, but I think $30 is still overvaluing the current state of Basic Web access from the Kindle. Wikipedia works great, and that's nice, but so much else works poorly, and it's not exactly fast! But if Amazon were to improve it just a bit, clean up some of the clunkiness and make it just a bit more user-friendly, I think it would be a huge selling-point and differentiator. It is in fact why I bought the Kindle rather than the Sony or anything else. But I wish it were a bit better :)

  19. mathmom, I won't pay for it either, and what I've seen is slow even on the iPhone.

    I find the Kindle browser works considerably better these days, and faster. However, I picked the figure $30/mo. because AT&T, Verizon, Sprint are all charing $60/mo. for Netbook wireless that's not even Unlimited.

    Just a good amount for decent daily browsing. The $40/mo. offering is useless by all accounts.

    So, halving that, at $30/mo. for slow access, unlimited, is about right.

    I worry that they'd make it work too well, and then start charging for it. I don't care for web access -that- much and I don't mind daily limits, but I want no charges for something extraneous.

    I recently wrote a blog entry for speeding up Wikipedia. That actually works well for most sites that have mobile-optimized versions. It also works faster for the other sites.

  20. I updated the old facebook posting to add that the Kindle 3's, at least, do better with the URL

  21. Was just able to "share" a clip from an article in the San Francisco Chronicle on my Facebook page. This little device is amazing! I am going to Paris in June and am looking forward to seeing how the 3G on my K2 will work. I have the most updated software for the web browser loaded and the Amazon site showing AT&T coverage in Paris is good. I'll let you know how it works.

  22. Anonymous,
    I agree. And yes, that capability was added to the Kindle 2's and DX's (sharing on Facebook or Twitter) back in July 2010.

    The 3G (including web) will work in Paris for U.S. customers. Would love to hear back about your experience in any case.

    Thanks for the report!

  23. geeesh... with all the issues of wireless internet and web browsing, why not just settle for an Ipad???

  24. Anonymous,
    When something is free, some of us are more patient. 3G is always there if it's ever there at all. I often use twitter, gmail and I don't have to worry about cost. I just do quick look ups... Works well for step-by-step directions with google maps/text too.

    An iPad is $500 and not something I'd carry around. We're talking light and fantastic in daylight.

    There really is more than one way of seeing things and not everyone has to pay $500 to begin (before camera kit) and not much storage for videos. Do you ever look at what others are actually looking for?

    But, yah, it does take patience. Sometimes it's like a game.

  25. Anonymous, I forgot -- a 3G wireless iPad would be $130 more for the 3G capability, so $630. And then there's the month by month data plan too.

    And no, I don't want to go hunting free hotspots where I have to stay where that is.

    So I hope that answers your question :-)


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