Sunday, September 12, 2010

From the forums and a few more tips

Before I note a few things I saw on the Kindle forums yesterday, here are a few more Kindle 3 (UK K3) tips.

Whenever you see ghosting or faint remnants from a previous page
  Press the Alt-key and the 'G' key to do an Alt-G combo to refresh screen.

As with the Shift key for capital letters, you can do this in fast-sequence style instead, with one hand.
  This does a redistribution of black and white and can also leave your screen a bit lighter at times, for awhile.

Commenter Elmo Glick points out that you can also do this with a quick double-tap of the Menu button.  Many will prefer this easier method even if the Menu flashes up briefly.  Thanks, Elmo.

For faster Google website features
GMail: use
  This will keep the view to the mail listing while "Menu" is available at top left.
    It avoids tedious cursoring to the sides when having more material on the screen.

Google Reader: use
  Easy up-down reading of RSS feeds (from newspapers and blogs)
  Additions of feeds need to be done first on the computer with this one.
    As with the GMail link and its "Menu", you'll see "Feeds" at top left
      and can cursor up to it to click it for Feed options.

Typing Web Urls at the Home Screen
You can type web URLs at the Home screen by LEAVING OUT the "http://" and moving the 5-way button to the right and then clicking on "go to" which takes you right to the website.
  Note that you'll have to use the Symbol Key for "/" - an unfortunate loss from Kindle 2.

WEB feature reminder
A 6" e-reader screen, when presenting you with screens that look somewhat like the original website ones, will display text that is really too small to read comfortably.

1. You can use the Aa Text-key to rotate the screen display to Landscape mode, and this has more room for larger fonts, which the Kindle will automatically show in Landscape mode, making the screen text more readable.

2. You can go to mobile(phone) versions of the websites instead, which tend to show you less but with much more readable text.  Example:
  Notice how fast that loads, and how much easier it is to cursor through w/ the 5-way.

3. When you do choose an article to read from the many website options on a home page and it's not easy to read, press the Menu button and choose "Article Mode" -- this is a terrific feature.  It works mainly with non-mobile sites.

  When you're through reading the article in that mode, press Menu button again and this time choose "Web Mode" (which is the normal mode).

  (This works VERY well with Google Reader, by the way.)

1. Amazon Customer Service replied. to a message thread on strangely unavailable books by Stephen King.
' Amazon Kindle Customer Service says:
There is currently a technical issue causing some books to be unavailable in the Kindle Store.  We are aware of the problem and are actively working to correct it.  We will have the books available for sale again as soon as possible.

Best Regards,
Amazon Kindle Customer Service '

2. Somewhat costly but useful idea for vision impaired children
By Dusty,
"The main reason I bought the DX [instead of the K2 earlier this year was the availablilty of larger-sized fonts.  I teach blind and visually-impaired children, and some of them are able to read books now on my Kindle without using a regular book with a CCTV.  I have really encouraged my students' parents to invest in Kindles for them!"

  My own caveat is that the DX's are somewhat fragile for that use.

3. To Reports of slower page turns when reading in sunlight
By heidiann
"To put things in perspective: according to a recent lawsuit, the iPad completely shuts down after 10 min in the sun.  My MacBook air slows to a snail pace in midday heat.  Modern electronics do have an issue with overheating, and slightly slow page turns is one of the milder consequences."

  On the other hand, several reported reading in sunlight for hours without slower page turns.

  As a side note, I'll add that the Kindle customer support advisories on optimal battery use warn heavily against leaving a Kindle in a closed hot car in high heat to protect the battery.  (Someone had mentioned this had not slowed the Kindle.)

4. When Text to Speech is used and the spacebar is pressed
The spacebar pauses the text.  A nice feature.  But it also freezes the keys, and people think their Kindles are freezing up.

By me
"That's a strange freeze.  But it's happened to me when I forget that I pressed the space bar to pause the speech while I leave the room.  Maybe sometimes that is done accidentally, but it freezes the keys on the machine when you do that and the only possible action (besides stopping the program or pressing the Home button) is to press the space bar again, which restarts the text-to-speech feature."

5. Actual freezes
  A.  If you can press the Menu key, select Settings and then press the Menu key again and then select "Restart.  That does a softer reset and closes what it can.

      ShirleyKat adds:
"If you have use of the keys, it's better to press Home before doing a restart. That should save your page number.  Leaving wireless on during restart might also keep the collections.  Has anyone tried that? If you lose them, most have gotten them back by de-registering and then re-registering."

 The last option:
  B.  If you can't press the Menu key, or wake it up,
    Don't panic.
    Move the power slider to the right and hold it there for about 20 seconds.
      Then go away.  After awhile it'll restart and put things back in order.
      The Home Screen files will show '0' for awhile but soon all will be fine.

6. Is the contrast really better?
This is just a forum message thread that some might find interesting.

7. UK customers give their verdicts on the Kindle 3
The Amazon UK store just opened its Kindlestore recently.  I enjoyed this message thread and learned a few new words too.  Time to make use of the new 2nd Kindle dictionary we have now, which is the Oxford Dictionary of English (not to be confused with the OED, but which costs $58 on Amazon in hardcover.

  Welcome also to the new UK The allKindle Forum.

Kindle 3's   (UK: Kindle 3's),   DX Graphite

Check often: Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's 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.

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  1. Some nice tips, Andrys. One suggestion you might want to add; to refresh the screen to remove ghosting, I find it much easier to just quickly double tap MENU, rather than doing ALT-G. (BTW, the wife finally caved and got a K3 to replace her much-loved K1).

  2. Elmo,
    Thanks for adding it in this way. Visitors arrive from links to the blog article and they also see the Comments that way.

    The only reason I don't use the Menu button for this is that it brings up the menu, which annoys me, as I just want to watch the refresh. Of course, pressing Menu again or Back button will get rid of the menu.

    That's 2 key presses. But it's quick if you just press Menu twice.

    My preferred way is the sequence I mentioned -- with one hand, pressing first the Alt-key and then the 'g' key, mainly because I can just press them quickly and see the results.

    However, others will find it easier to press Menu twice as it's right there and you hardly have to look to find it.

    Thanks again.

  3. Elmo,
    I missed the word "double-tap" which will be faster for most while flashing the Menu. I suspect most will like this better.

    Your wife probably really appreciates the K3. I still have my K1 and was interested to find that font size 4 on that is not far from K3's font size 4 in blackness, but the K1 was always tuned to have darker text and contrast and I suppose the K2 wasn't as a compromise to get better speed maybe.

    Where the K1 fails vs the K3 is in the default font size 3. It's decidiedly more faint than the size 3 of K3. Maybe the K1 size 4 was done with some minimal bolding...

    I like the K1's bolded Home screen listing still.

  4. Anonymous,
    Good point re tending to be more careful.

    Also true re the keyboard, since it really cannot be relied on the way a real, touch keyboard can be (at all).

    Too bad about the lack of Kindle content that's of interest to him, since the largest fonts now would be very helpful. Maybe eventually...

    Thanks for the feedback.

  5. I inadvertently deleted the comment that I replied to above when thinking I was removing the email notice of it. Here it is from the email records:

    From Anonymous
    I'm not worried about the DX being too fragile for vision impaired kids.
    Vision impaired people tend to be more careful with things than others, kids included. They know they have a handicap and actively try to prevent breaking things (of course that's once they realise they have a handicap, but they won't such specialised help until they do anyway).
    I'm more worried that for the severe cases, the keyboard buttons may be too small, making navigation with the device a tad difficult.

    Well worth experimenting with though, and the experiment apparently goes well :)

    Certainly way better than my father (who's severely impacted by cataracts) who needs a bright spotlight and a magnifying glass to read. A child would not enjoy reading in those conditions and might never read again (I know my father hates it, but for him it's better than not reading at all and there's not enough Kindle content in the genres he reads or we'd buy him one).

    Posted by Anonymous to A Kindle World blog at September 13, 2010 4:15:00 AM PDT

  6. Must buy another Kindle. They should have told me they were going to make them in black.......and cooler.......and better........

  7. Igotnothing,
    As is my style, I got the 'uncool' one. But the text is just gorgeous.

    Maybe someone can use your K2? Bring a little happiness to someone? :-)

  8. Note that global search does not look into PDF files. So if you need, as I do, this feature, you need to convert those PDF in Kindle native format.

  9. Spaceman Spiff,

    I keep the original PDFs on the Kindle to check layout (diagrams, tables) but on ones for which the full Kindle device search should include search results, I just convert a -copy- of the PDF to mobi/prc format using the free Mobipocket Creator utility or I have Amazon convert it with a simple e-mail to [you] (putting the word "Convert" into the Subj field of the email)

    -- and now Amazon sends a free converted copy direct to your Kindle when you are on WiFi (and if you don't have WiFi in the home, you can just download the converted file from the link they send you in a return email).

    I'll include this tip in a later entry. Thanks for the reminder that this is important for people to know.

  10. Hi Andrys,

    I'd be interested to see how Google Reader works on the Kindle 3. I helped develop a program to take RSS feeds and put them on the Kindle (still in beta, but free at

    If Google Reader works very well, that would be really convenient. I haven't been able to try out a 3G enabled Kindle 3 to see how it works...

  11. rsteckly,
    I use the shortcut to read my Google Reader things.

    I wrote briefly about that at with a couple of things to watch for.

    Will check out this week. Thanks.

  12. Interesting info, here. Thanks for sharing!


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