Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Working with the Kindle 2 and DX Web Browser

The experimental Basic Web browser on the Kindle 2 can be used from almost anywhere a cell phone works and at any time.

Expectations for it should be in line with what you'd expect from any mobile phone except for how much of a web page you can see on the screen (considerably more with the Kindle 2) and no color.  Mobile unit web browsing is best done on sites which make versions for mobile units' small screens.

 With a Kindle, you don't have to hunt for a WiFi hotspot and hope that it's free, because Wireless access is almost always available where there's Sprint cellphone coverage, but it's slower than WiFi, which is slower than your normal cabled Internet experience.

  Most of the steps below (but not the 5-way button portion) work on a Kindle 1 also, though the Kindle 1 is slower in response time and doesn't always finish rendering a page with larger photos.

The key is knowing how to choose between several settings offered by the Home page's Menu option for "Experimental" which gets you to "Basic Web" (which you just click on, as the other options are not available there, only described).
  The Kindle will ask you if you want Wireless 'On' if it's not on already and then you can OK that.

  You are then taken to the Kindle's Bookmarks page with a choice of websites for mobile unit access.  Press the Menu key there and choose Settings.
  These are all toggled options.

  The most used Settings to choose from when browsing would be:
    1. "Switch to Advanced Mode" (if you're in "Basic Mode)
          ("Desktop" mode on DX's)
          or "Switch to "Basic Mode" (if you're in Advanced Mode).
    2. "Enable Javascript"
    3. "Disable Images"

Choosing Modes:
. Basic mode, Disable Images - Fastest.  Use when you just want data quickly and don't want to wait for images to load.
. Basic mode, Enable Images - 2nd fastest.  Best with simpler websites and small photos.

  With Basic mode, article bodies will be in B&W rather than the harder to read gray shades that emulate color gradations.
  You'll need to remember that on pages with columns of links or ads, all of the first column's text will show up first, going down and you have to "Next Page" (or down-arrow) through them before getting to the center column for the article.

. Advanced Mode - Use this when you want to see the full width of a web page and all columns showing.
   The browser will then make the fonts TINY to fit it all in and will emulate colors, giving harder-to-read multi-gray shaded text and sometimes the background may be too dark.
  With some sites, it can be surprisingly readable though some will want a magnifying glass.
  With this mode you won't have to page through several Kindle 'pages' of a website's left column.
  The Kindle often chooses advanced mode, and when I want to read an article in the normal sized font, I'll switch to Basic and do the NextPage thing.

. Advanced Mode, Enable Javascript - the Kindle browser often switches to this when it knows javascript is needed to load the page at all.  This will be the slowest mode.
  Sometimes the javascript is needed just for an ad and you can do without it, and at those points I have sometimes tried "disabling" javascript to speed things up.  But most won't bother as it doesn't make that big a difference.  If javascript is needed but isn't enabled, the page never loads, so I tend to leave it alone.

Other web browser options:
. The browser Menu lets you "Enter URL" to go to a specific page you want.
. You can "Bookmark This Page" if you're on a webpage you want to return to without having to type the URL again.
. There's a (current-session) "History" page so you can jump to a webpage you want to revisit.
. You can "Go to Top" of the webpage.

Moving around the webpage
You can move around the page with the 5-way button, which will take you to areas for input, or links to click on for another web page or web-page area, and allow you to scroll down (instead of having to use 'NextPage' if you're on a long page.
  To get back to the previous "jump" (from a link) press the "Back" key.

. You can generally change the text size but not the line spacing on a web page.
. You can download some files offered, usually "TXT" files and unprotected MOBI, PRC ones.  The Kindle format is AZW, and you can download that and AZW1 files, though I've never seen these offered outside the Amazon store.

See an example of links on a Kindle webpage.   For other webpage examples for both the Kindle 1 and 2, see the screen comparison page that I made for these.

For more information and screen samples, see Section 6.1 "Using Basic Web" in the "Kindle 2 User's Guide, 2nd Edition" -- this is at Location 834,

Caution: Using wireless for browsing will drain the battery faster during a session than reading a Kindle document will.  It'll be a shorter time before you need to recharge.  Here are customer service advisories for how to keep the battery in good shape.

TIP: When sending an email from or, you'll get an alert that a connection could not be established with the website's servers.  98% of the time, it's a false error alert.  The email goes through (but typing on this unit is arduous, at best, so I e-mail rarely), and the same thing occurs with posting a reply to a forum.  The reply does go through and is posted despite the alert.  Do log in before posting, though.

The Basic Web browser on the smaller Kindles is extremely handy for quick lookups when away from your home/office computers.  It isn't something you want to do at length, though I was surprised that Wired can come through so well, with good resolution on the photos on the Kindle 2.

You can download a file of bookmarks I collected for mobile-optimized sites, which will load faster.

( If you find blog entries like this one helpful, please check the "Interesting" box so I can get an idea of the level of interest for how-to's for features not often used -- judging from what I read on the forums.  Thanks for taking the tme. )
  7/5/09 - I've eliminated the 'Interesting/Cool' Google widget because it caused the page to take too long to load, but on the Tips/Guides, it did give me good (easy to rate) indication of interest in those. Thanks to those who took the time let me know.

Check oftenLatest temporarily free non-classics or late-listed ones.
  Guide to finding Free or Low-Cost Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. Do you have any advice on using Facebook from K2? I wonder if I just don't have the right settings, but it seems that I have a lot of trouble logging in, and when I do succeed, it's hard to "do" anything more than just read -- if I want to post a status update or comment on someone else's, it quite often makes me (try to) login again!

  2. mathmom,
    That's one of the most complex pages on the entire Net! But, one can go in with at least, which is a somewhat mobile-oriented scaled down version.

    I decided to use Advanced with Javascript to go on there because the place is filled with scripts running.

    When I logged on, that was okay, though the first time it said it couldn't be accessed and to try again, so I did.

    Then I got on and read a few Wall comments from the crowd in my Wall area and chose one because someone had a new profile pic. I decided to comment there and explain that I was accessing with my Kindle as a test, and when I pressed SUBMIT or SEND, it said I had to log in first. Of course I HAD or I couldn't have read my 'wall.' So I logged in again, and it took it right away and submitted my note to the wall.

    This may not be worth it to others, but when in a pinch outside the home, it's doable.

    Except for making me log in again, it was not bad, and everything was readable. I took a photo of it but actually have just taken a screenshot, what was I thinking. I'll do an entry on it later. Am watching the Cliburn piano competition, live, in high def. Amazing world.

    Let me know how your next try is, with those settings.

  3. Make that, "I SHOULD have taken a screen shot, but of course I still can.

  4. mathmom,
    I've made a new blog entry about testing the interactive option of posting a note. I hope it helps.

  5. Ashik, thanks for taking the time to let me know. Will try to do more re the mostly-unknown features.

  6. I just realized I gave mathmom a bad link for the new blog entry about testing the interactive option of posting a note (to Facebook, in this case).

    That should be:

  7. What is the storage limit of the SD card that can be used in the Kindle 1?

  8. Anonymous,
    Their marketing said up to 4G but people found they could use 8 and 16 gig cards without problems.

    However, I'd still back up any SD card contents to the computer hard disk or an external one.

    I just googled the following together
    "sd card" kindle 1 which

    This gives results you might find useful.

    Good luck!

    - Andrys

  9. Can you go to or

  10. Anonymous,
    Yes, I was able to go to both. On the 3rd set of items on the right side there was an Error 400 and an error in the code. But I got into books and browsed.

    It shows the full page and so the main font is tiny and the gray shade too light. When I chose a story, the font was still tiny and still light, so I went into Basic mode instead and then the story filled the screen with normal sized text in pure black and white and was easy to read.

    Adultfanfiction was accessible except that the questions if you were over 18 or not were not readable due to the color combination , I guess. I looked at my pc. Clicked on it and then had to give them age and swear to die if I gave them the wrong info and that's as far as I got.

    Remember that if what you're thinking of buying doesn't work for you, you do have up to 30 days to just call them to get a Return started, for any reasons for a full refund unless the unit has been damaged. They're good about that.

    - Andrys

  11. Is there a way to lock down the browser to one URL page? Also, is there a way to lock it down so that the user cannot toggle between applications?

  12. Anonymous,
    No, no way to keep the browser to one URL.

    And one can't toggle between applications on this device, so no lock down needed.

    - A (out until later tonight)

  13. I cant get my kindle 2 to go to any websites. can you help me out? No matter what URL I go to, even the pre-loaded bookmarks, I just get a blank screen and nothing ever happens.

    Thanks in advance

  14. jec,
    You may have an improperly functioning radio modem.

    Call Kindle customer support at 866-321-8851 and they'll either help you get it working (maybe something is not enabled on their side) or send you a replacement.

    They answer the phone right away, generally.

    That's awful what you're seeing. Good luck!

    If you have time, let me know what they say.

    - Andrys

  15. Lots of good info here. Have you used Skweezer? Many Web pages that are unusable on a Kindle will become usable.

    Check it out here:


  16. Woody, from the Amazon forums?

    Yes! If you download the mobi-optimized website links-file I made, mentioned in this blog entry (I link to the explanation of the file and it has the download link), you'll see Skweezer in there, highly recommended. I love it.


    - Andrys (Maybe I should make it more prominent in the file?)

  17. Question about Yahoo Mail

    I can get on the web without a problem but I cannot access Yahoo Mail .I get a message the web site you requested is not responding . I get on the Yahoo web site to start without a problem .The problem is getting the mail Any ideas

    Thank You


  18. Anonymous -
    I used it at Barnes and Noble, actually, one day, so it's doable but I write in my entry here the problems people normally have with the not-connecting error message and that it's often spurious. I get that after sending an email but the email was actually sent (I describe this).

    HOWEVER, when you log in anywhere, you usually need to be in 'advanced' mode (or 'desktop' mode with the DX) in order to be
    able to connect as you to read/write.

    I do gmail on Kindle as it is more reliable than yahoo mail on it.

    Also download my free mobile-optimized sites Kindle file with ready-made links and try the sites on the 2nd page that give you alternative links to 'Email' to see if those work better.

    Good luck. I won't be back until late, so can't reply to email for rest of day probably.

  19. Can you go from page 1 to page 200 in a book with the advanced page key??? I can't seem to find this answer anywhere. I think I am going to order the Kindle 3g.

  20. kiwi32
    Canada was enabled for some web browsing, but I missed your message when you wrote it. Apologies.

    Anonymous in Aug, 2010,
    I don't know what the 'advanced page key' is or its relation to a 'book' (as you asked) since this topic has to do with web pages.

    But, with Kindle books, Amazon uses Location numbers instead of Page numbers.

  21. Question for you.

    With the 'Kindle 3' 3G version in New Zealand, will I get charges, while Web Browsing, whilst using it on 3G ? I am based in New Zealand.

    Thanks for any information you can give in advance :)



  22. Tim,
    If Amazon allows the 3G web-browsing for more than Wikipedia it will be 'free' as they advertise. There are no charges. That's been true here in the U.S. and definitely in the UK, Japan and some other places.

    They list '3G' web browsing (experimental) as one of the features on the Int'l page -- though that would be true wherever it is actually enabled for that.

    I'll be interested to hear whether you are able to use 3G in New Zealand or not, for the Webkit web browser.

  23. I would LOVE it if you would do something like this for the K3 web browser. I just can't get it to work well at all. Especially atrocious with mobile sites. VERY disappointing!!

  24. Anonymous,
    Yes, I'll need to update it for the Kindle 3. However, the main difference is that you no longer have "Basic" and "Advanced" modes. You have only WEB mode and Article mode.

    It works better with normal sites.

    Have you seen my blog article on trying out the web browser? I have tips about gmail and the best link for that with the Kindle 3:

    Also, I show some shots from NY Times at different points in just browsing the front page and then trying out the article mode.

    That's at

  25. My Kindle DX does not turn on. I have have been using it for about six weeks now. It has a full charge. I slid the power button over to turn it on but without success. Any ideas? Thank you.

  26. Anonymous,
    Slide the power button to the right and hold it for about 21 seconds.

    Then let it go.

    Go away.

    Come back in about 5 minutes and it should be starting up again but let it take its time correcting everything.

    If that doesn't work
    then plug it in
    Wait 10 minutes (go away)
    and do the same steps as above.

    Let me know if that works.

    Let me know

  27. I would like you to look at this website called, as it has hundreds of really great, Kindle-friendly websites for you to try out.

    I got so frustrated with having to change the font size, screen settings etc to see a website, that I was tempted to give up. However, I had a better plan. I built the very first website designed to be seen on any Kindle, where all the links from my site are all Kindle-friendly.

    Every link from my site is ready to be seen. You don't need to change the font or any of the settings to have a great Kindle browser experience. Try it today and see what you think.


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]