Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kindle 3 gets another 2010 product award + a renewed kinstant links page


"Trusted Reviews" site is an excellent UK site for information on just about any technology in the modern world.  I had meant to include their ultra-thorough review of the Kindle 3  (UK: K3) earlier but somehow forgot.

  Be sure to take a look at that; it includes a video and excellent photographs and details.  They are also knowledgeable enough to understand and value the rather revolutionary aspect of the free (even if slow) 3G web access.  I suspect other reviewers would too if this feature turned up on other e-readers (which won't happen).  The Kindle has the only free 3G web browser not confined to the company store.

Product of the Year, Runner Up
  As it turns out, I see that Trusted Reviews also awarded the Kindle 3 "Runner Up" status, 3rd place in its TR Awards 2010 for Product of the Year 2010.

  What was 1st place?  Microsoft Office 2010/Microsoft Office for Mac 2011, which they said came into its own with this update.
  2nd place?  The HTC Desire HD smartphone

  They gave the Apple iPad an "Honorable Mention" partially because of the cost of it relative to its features, but they recognize that Apple "singlehandedly" created a new hardware segment.

The title of this Trusted Reviews story, however, is incorrect.  The Kindle browser is in no way "revamped" by the offering of the reviewed website as the title suggests, but the recommended website of mobile links, http://kinstant.com can be very useful while browsing via any Kindle because it is a list of mobile-device-oriented site URLs specifically chosen for use with the Kindle 3 and previous Kindles identified in a slightly different category.   [EDIT: Kinstant also lets you search Google for a site and will squeeze down the sites you visit from Search routine.]

  All is not as simple as it looks though, as the Kindle 3 and previous Kindles react so differently to some mobile-device-optimized sites, especially Google's, which presents input problems for the Kindle 3, which alternative URLs have helped resolve.
  Those are explained in the downloadable mobiweb file from this blog, revised today for claritiy.

Browsing Modes
  With previous Kindles, using BASIC mode will help with clarity (black and white pages instead of translation of colors to barely-readable gray shades) -- but if there is javascript necessary on the website, then you need to use 'Advanced' (Kindle 1 and 2) or 'Desktop' mode (DX) instead of the easier-to-read Basic mode, on those older models.

  The 'advanced' and 'desktop' modes of the older Kindles use fit-to-page method with tiny fonts and color translations to various gray shades instead of the high contrast black and white of the old Basic Mode.

  With Kindle 3's, however, there is just the general WEB mode when first accessing web sites and these are invariably fit-to-width results -- but if you have selected a single article to read from the hard-to-read layout (always a small-screen problem) and are struggling with the partial zooms given us on Kindle 3's, it's better, when reading a single-article, to then press the Kindle's Menu button and select "Article Mode" to bring up pure text in readable reflowed, single column format.

  See the example of NY Times in Kindle-3 fit-to-width mode and then the Article Mode that you can use to read the text in more comfortable size, reflowed.

  Going to the mobile-site version of the NY Times, at http://mobile.nytimes.com will give you an easier read.  Mobile version sites like this are also found in WEB ON YOUR CELL, which is one of the "umbrella" style sites in the downloadable mobile-device-optimized-sites file that I have at http://bit.ly/kwmobiweb.  As I say in mobiweb file, that is a terrific site.

For Kindle 3, see Mobiweb file's alternate Google Gmail/Gtask links
  Since the main input problems on Kindle 3 website access are with Google's regular mobile-version pages, you should (until Amazon fixes the problems) use that downloadable mobiweb file for Google's sites and use the kinstant page for most other websites if that's more comfortable for you.  I think the organized layout will suit most. (You can add the Gmail/Gtask workarounds to the customizable kinstant Kindle-3 webpage also.)

  Again, bear in mind that there are other worthwhile mobile-page umbrella-type sites linked in the long-downloadable Mobiweb file also and they bring you full news from newspapers all over, etc., and also a link to a place that "skweezes" out unnecessary images and ads from normal pages.

  kinstant's webpage has come up in the past, but a few of us had not mentioned it because a fellow blogger's Kindle happened to stop functioning while accessing one of the linked sites (Egg Timer) and wasn't revivable and there were no answers to email from kinstant at the time asking them to check it.  The failure may have had nothing to do with the Egg Timer site, but the lack of response at the time from kinstant didn't make us comfortable.
  However, when I do a google "site:" search for kinstant, I no longer see the Egg Timer link (which was a tool enjoyed by some).  That link was likely harmless but I didn't find it just now while it was a highlighted front-page link before.

  Trusted Reviews probably put kinstant through some testing, and here's what they say about kinstant's webpage (which has a clean, unconfusing layout and offers some neat features).

kinstant is customizable
  So, kinstant is a customizable webpage, which offers optimized mobile browsing.  Bookmark the kinstant page to get automatic access to Kindle-friendly versions of many sites including Gmail [though problematical on Kindle 3 with these normal mobile links], CNN, BBC and other news sites.  They list several categories with more site links and headlines & summaries for those sites.

  This IS a newer version of kinstant's site and you can add in your own links, either directly on the Kindle or via a computer web-browser.

  To do that, you add the regular website address into a field, and when you click the link, you're taken to a very simplified version of the site, formatted for the e-reader.  This apparently does something similar to the Skeezer utility I described that's in the old, downloadable mobiweb file.

 kinstant also added a calculator and Google Maps, which is pretty much what I've described in a step-by-step guide for times when you're lost, w/o a GPS unit, and need driving instructions.

You can get kinstant for your Kindle by just using your Kindle experimental browser to go to "kinstant.com" (no "http://" is needed or wanted on the Kindle) and then bookmarking that page for future access -- or type the URL again in the future since it's pretty short, with no symbols needed.

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.
UK-Only: recently published non-classics, bestsellers, or highest-rated ones
    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.
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  1. No joy with Kinstant on an aging Kindle 1. The permanent links work, i.e. to the BBC, but nothing else I could find either on their K3 or K2/DX pages. I even tried going directly to the maps page:


    Again, no luck, although that page did work well enough on my iPod touch, I bookmarked it.

    Unfortunately, their Viewpoints category (at Show Menu-news+views) tilts heavily to the left. Currently, it offers a single "view" rather than varied "views." HuffPost desperately needs balancing with websites such as National Review or Powerline. Given the last election, perhaps the developers need to take a vacation and spend some time outside Boston.

  2. The Kindle 1 is incredibly slow and often does not finish drawing images.
    Kindle 2 was a big improvement though of course still slow.

    See my very first posting on the blog - showing the Kindle 1 and Kindle 2 displaying the same web pages:

    I mentioned today caveats even with Kindle 3 which I find makes web-browsing more arduous for those of us who are focused on READING the resulting webpage rather than loading time for the page.

    They should redo their approach on the K3 web browsing method and refocus on mobile-optimized sites but fix the input problems on Google sites as well as the New Window problem.

    You rightly complain about news or 'views' balance.
    Did you ever try the http://bit.ly/kwmobiweb file and the several umbrella sites that are given in the 2nd half, two of which lead to almost every major newspaper around?

    Currently, the file's text about google-site problems with K3 makes it too hard to deal with the front section of the file, so I should change it, but check out the long-time interesting mobile-device optimized links in it after the opening gmail section. The umbrella sites. Some very good stuff in there.

    MAPS - I've mentioned that this is just NOT WORTH it in Kindle 2 or earlier and I don't like it in Kindle 3 either.

    E-Ink was not meant for that. See http://bit.ly/kdriving re the MAPS thing. I recommend there not using the maps, just getting text steps when needing directions. It's saved me a few times now.

    It's really good mainly for web text look-ups rather than 'surfing' ...

    You have infinite patience, staying so long with the Kindle 1 and its incredibly slow screen (which therefore doesn't allow direct access to words in the display).

    I've had better luck with the big DX (the old one) with web browsing. See http://www.pbase.com/andrys/image/114672828. Using the Kindle 2 and rotating to Landscape mode is also useful if you concentrate on mostly text pages.


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