Saturday, November 28, 2009

KindleWiki - Getting faster Kindle access to it - Updated

Since all International Kindle owners with wireless access in their countries get free 24/7 Kindle access to Wikipedia, this is a tip on how to do it more easily than with the traditional way.  (See Updates.)

FIRST -- a one time set-up,
  unless needing to 'reset' the Kindle after a memory freeze (it's a computer),
  . Click on Menu button
  . Click on 'Experimental' option
  . Click to get 'Basic Web'

  You'll probably see a 'Bookmarks' page.
  Don't bother with it, even if 'Wikipedia' is listed.

  . Click on Menu button again
  . Click on "Use Basic Mode"

After this, you shouldn't have to go through that again.  But it's how you get into 'Basic Mode' (or 'Advanced Mode' if needed -- which is usually for password log-ons or when javascript is required -- but Wikipedia doesn't need either one).

"Advanced mode" (which we're avoiding for Wikipedia) translates web colors to various shades of gray and tries to emulate the width of a web page -- but it is quite hard to read translated colors on e-ink's 16 shades of gray.  Instead of vivid black, you get words that are grayish and harder to read.  That's a reason I try to stay in Basic mode - and it is faster access also.
  There are no color-translations to be done, no routines to convert words to tiny characters to squeeze them all in to emulate a web page.
  Basic Mode keeps the text larger, blacker, and it wraps (or reflows) text as needed.

  For those with Kindle web-browsers enabled:
  A drawback when web-browsing complex, multicolumn pages:  you have to read the left column material first, but that's not a problem with Wikipedia pages.
So it's best to be in Basic Mode for it.

"Basic Mode" will show at top middle while you're browsing Wikipedia if you have set it up.
It COULD be the default Internet-setting of your new Kindle and that'll save you the above steps.

* Turn on the wireless to access the Internet.*
  Normally, people would press the Menu button and go to 'Experimental' and then go to the "Bookmarks" page (which is likely on the Kindle International model, even in countries with the web browser disabled currently) and then they would click on Amazon's pre-set 'Wikipedia' link on that page.

  However, you'd then need to type in the Search term, and that keyboard is not optimal as web browser input :-) and there are too many steps involved.

TIP: If I see a word, name, or phrase in a book or article I'm reading and want to know more about it, I can (1) search the book for that or (2) put the cursor in front of the word to get the inline-dictionary summary definition.

Normally, we just type out a word or phrase for a search.

 But there's another way and I use it often.  (This tip works with Kindle (U.S.),  Kindle (Global),  and Kindle DX.)

  I start a "highlighting" process on a word or phrase of interest in a book or article by clicking in front of the word(s) w/the 5-way cursor -- but instead of ending the highlighting at a certain point in the usual Kindle way, I end it with a Spacebar-press and that copies the highlighted word(s) into the search-box that comes up when pressing the Spacebar at that point.

  When doing this:  instead of opting to 'find' the result in my book or periodical, I can choose from the other options in that bar, which include 'Wikipedia' as the search-location ( I love this.)

  Here are the steps.
  1.   Begin to highlight the word or phrase that you want to search, by pressing down the 5-way button where you want to begin the copy of the search-word(s).

  2.   5-way to the right, and when you get to the last character to be highlighted,   be sure to NOT press the 5-way button down to end the highlighting of the name.

  3.   Instead, press the space bar.  That'll bring up a search field at the bottom.

  4.   Your now-highlighted word or phrase is pasted into the search bar.

  5.   "find"  is the default Action shown (at the right) to be done by the Kindle -- and that finds instances of the search-phrase in the book.
  But that's not what we want in this case.

      Instead, 5-way to the right until you see the Action wanted, which is 'Wikipedia' for this topic, and then click on the 5-way while 'Wikipedia' is highlighted.

Tip 2:
Anything you highlight, copy and paste this way, you have the option of searching for in Wikipedia
Caution: The Kindle doesn't search substrings.  You need to search a full word.  Searching just part of a word won't work.  But I can usually find a word that works.

TIP 3:
After browsing Wikipedia search results and reading the one(s) you want,
  press the 'BACK' button to return to the list of results and then press 'BACK' button once more to get back to the page you were on before the search.

You should be back at your book or article.

I hope this helps! To US & Canada folks, a fun, stomach-filling Thanksgiving Night.

11/28/09 at 3:06 AM (Original posting 11/26/09 at 3:24 PM))
To make your access probably several times faster, if images are not necessary:
  DISABLE IMAGES by doing the below while browsing a webpage:
  . Click on Menu button
  . Click on 'Settings' option
  . Go down to "Disable Images" and click on that.
Remember to go back and "Enable Images" when you want them though.

11/28/09 at 3:06 AM (Original posting 11/26/09 at 3:24 PM))
For Wikipedia lookups, the Kindle 2 and DX automatically take you to

  Some other mobile units use, which has no images and makes sure that sub-categories are links you have to click, rather than included on the page as happens with the Amazon Kindle's choice.
  I prefer the Kindle's inclusion of other pages, even if that takes longer to load, since then you can page through them instead of moving the cursor to the link and clicking and then waiting for each page-set.  Load-times for just one section at a time will be faster with the choice over the default Amazon choice that loads pages for all the subcategories at once (but I prefer the latter).

  When you try to do a new bookmark for the alternate Wikipedia, the Kindle feels it's the same one and will do it only if you allow it to overwrite the Wikipedia bookmark that is already there.  I wouldn't do that though.
  Disabling images if you need speed will be fast enough (for me). 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. )
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  1. Anonymous,
    Most welcome. It's good to know that it's useful. Thanks!

  2. Andrys, I found this quite helpful, even though I have a K1. Wikipedia has always been practically useless on my Kindle - crazy formatting, slow loading, freezes - so I'd grown increasingly puzzled (and frustrated) reading how people use their Kindles for this.

    I had been using Advanced Mode. Your suggestion to set the browser to Basic Mode (what is called Default Mode on the K1) completely cleared up the problems I was having with Wikipedia. Thanks a lot.

  3. Peter,
    Terrific. Also, the mobile-unit optimized version of Wikipedia is if that's not what's in your K1 bookmark.

    Thanks for letting me know!

    By the way, have enjoyed your posts on the forum.

  4. Hi Andrys,

    I love your blog - but I always forget to check it!

    Can you set up an RSS feed for this blog? So I can read it on Google Reader?

  5. Anonymous,

    Thanks, and it's nice you don't always forget to check it :-)

    Re the RSS feed:
    When full feeds are set up and then people no longer need to go the site to read it, site-owners lose traffic and Google ranking (Google thinks no one's interested in going to the site).

    But since a full feed is needed for the Amazon-Kindle Edition of the blog, which sends Kindles the latest 25 entries daily for 99c/mo., the regular feed was set up as a full feed.
    Normally sites set up a 1/3 feed to encourage visits to see the rest of the info so that website analyzers register interest in the site

    At any rate, fhe feed was set up some time ago.

    Hope that works for you. Visit when you can.

  6. These are some great tips and I'm liking your blog. I got a Kindle for my birthday and could really use your blog as a nice Go-To place. I even put my own blog up for available subscription on the Kindle and am curious how that whole thing will turn out. Thanks for sharing your knowledge on all things Kindle!

  7. Nanny Goats in Panties, or, NGIP :-)

    Thanks! And does that mean A Kindle World might be on your Kindle someday ? :-)

    Good luck with your own blog's Kindle edition - definitely looks like fun - and you've already had quite a bit of success with transitioning to freelance writing! Terrific list of accomplishments there.


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