Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tip for the absent-minded: checking what day it is - UPDATE3

UPDATE 9/7/10 - Robert Presser found that the old delightful Day, Date, Time result (with '@t') no longer works in the old way after software update 2.5.x for Kindle 2, and I found it doesn't work for Kindle 3 either.  But there's a new way.

  Using "@time" now will get you the full Date as well as Time, in longer format, at the top of unwanted search results for 'time' if you want that info while reading.  And there's more, as Diane tells us below.

UPDATE2&3, 9/7/10 - Diane Gorman added in the Comments that the Date/Time info we get now is available without the '@' sign, so you can just enter 'date' or 'time' to start the search we don't want but which will give us the date/time info at the top of the search results.
  AND best, clicking on that top piece of info, which is a LINK to the top 'search result' for 'date' or 'time,' gives THE DAY + Date and Time.

   I've modified the tip below for the above and also to give examples of using a URL from the home page in two ways.

First postings of this tip in its original form, June 2009, with updates
Reminder for newer Kindle owners:  If you're ever reading your Kindle and wondering, as I do too often, what day it is (or isn't), you can find out without putting down the Kindle.
  This long-format Date/Time AND linked-info-popup works for the older refurbished Kindle 2's and DX's, and the newer Kindle 3's and Kindle DXG.

  Typing 'time' or 'date from the HOME screen and clicking on 'search my items' (or just pressing the Return key because the current Action shown IS 'search my items) will get you, then, Day, Date & Time at the top of (unneeded) search results and then clicking on that underlined link will get you the full info with DAY and timezone.

NOTE: A search of the Kindle takes awhile of course, since it searches to see if a word is in any of the books you have on the Kindle.  The Kindle may SEEM to 'freeze' during the search, because the keys aren't workable while the Kindle is performing a search.  Be patient, because it'll end eventually. The spinning wheel at the upper left will go on for awhile.
  Doing subsequent requests for 'time' or 'date' seem to take less time though.

  MORE IMPORTANT though, the '@' is not needed anymore for the new date/time info, but I will leave in the "@" in the steps below so that readers know how to bring up the '@' sign at the beginning when that's needed.

Note that the '@' is not necessary for Date/Time but is needed for @dict, @help, @print [? - a useless one], @store, @url, @web, @wiki, @wikipedia, which I discussed a bit at a blog article in July '09 in a @-shortcuts entry.

  Also, the @url shortcut can be used on the home page by just typing, for example,
"@url" and then, since the 5-way button Action showing this is by default "search my items" and that's the one we want (as above) when using the "@url" feature, you can just press the Return key to start it.  I made a link-shortcut (just below) for the simpler, faster, and more reliable mobile Google Reader page for the Kindle:

  EXAMPLES (going to google reader or cnn)

  It's important to NOT use "http://" when using @url  and to use
      'search my items' as the 5-way button Action

  DIFFERENT EXAMPLE for the Main way to do a URL from Home Page:
    (not using '@url' "shortcut" at all)
  MAIN way to do this, though, is to just type the URL alone
      (No 'http://' and No '@url')
  Then, 5-way to the right until you get to "go to" and press the 5-way down
  on that.  It's easier because there's no '@' symbol to do.
      Try typing just and 5-way to the right to "go to"
  to see how fast that does work now.

At the Home page, press the Enter key (or the Del key under it) to bring up the search box.
Enter '@' by pressing SYM key and navigating to the '@' symbol
    and then press down on the 5-way (clicking it) to choose that '@' sign.
Type 'time' or whatever other function from the ones above.
Press Return/Enter key.
And you'll get DATE/Time in long-form on top of unwanted search results.
  (Again, this is just a how-to on bringing up the symbol box.
    The '@' sign is not needed for the Date function now.)

Getting expanded day/date/time information while reading a book
The main factor here is that 'date' or 'time' is used with "my items" as you saw above, although the Home screen's version of that option is worded "search my items."
  The "my items" wording means that it is looking through the entire Kindle.

  So, when you're in a book, the same principle holds.  If you type 'date' or 'time' while in a book, the default search action is "find" and that means find something WITHIN the current book. &nbps;Clicking that Action option won't work for day/date.  However, moving the 5-way button to the right just one step gets you "my items."  And that means Search the entire Kindle instead of just the book.  Click on that to start the search for 'date' or 'time'...

  As a result, so to speak, you get the same full Day/Date/Time and Timezone pop-up info from within the book that you get for the Home Screen search.

CAUTION repeated here:
NOTE: A search of the Kindle takes awhile of course, since it searches to see if a word is in any of the books you have on the Kindle.  The Kindle may SEEM to 'freeze' during the search, because the keys aren't workable while the Kindle is performing a search.  Be patient, because it'll end eventually. The spinning wheel at the upper left will go on for awhile.
  Doing subsequent requests for 'time' or 'date' seem to take less time though.

Also, you can use any  "@"-key shortcut  within books also, by:
. pressing spacebar to bring up the typing/search box and
. entering the "@[search word]" as before, and then
. doing a 5-way to the right to get to "My Items"
. and pressing down on the 5-way on that option.

[EDITED, on same day in July 2009]  Am just adding here that this is an undocumented feature that I discovered in June 2009 when experimenting with keyboard combinations.  I posted it with other "@x" features but my post about them was fairly incoherent and I'll modify and repost the still-working ones later.)

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.

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. Andrys - just wanted to say that I downloaded the Frederick Douglass book you mentioned in your recent blog, "My Bondage and My Freedom." Wow, what a book! I never would have thought of reading that. Everyone knows slavery was bad, but this was really an eye-opener. I would have loved to hear him speak in person. What a genius. Thanks for posting these things periodically - I am getting a very-well rounded education in my old age from the Kindle and blogs like yours. Thank you!

  2. PaxtonReader,
    Thanks for letting me know that was a worthwhile tip for you! I've only started reading it but was amazed when I read about it and found it was one of the free books.

    And thanks for the generous words too. The Kindle has been an amazing window for me and I often feel there's something magical about it even if I spent most of my years working with computers and understand how these things work. There's that extra ingredient though.

  3. Hi Andrys. First of all congratulations to this blog, I think this is the best Kindle blog currently available.
    I have a slightly off question: is it possible to use the cover of the book I'm currently reading as screen-saver when the device goes into sleep mode?
    Currently after 10 minutes it switches back to one of the default pics. I was just wondering if there is a way around that.

  4. Richard,
    Thank you !

    Unfortunately, no, we can't use the cover of the book we're currently reading as a screensaver.

    It's best, though, when you're leaving the Kindle, to press the "HOME" button because that 'closes' the e-book and allows the Kindle to log the Last-page you were on and record permanently any notes and highlights you made during that session.

    If you were to have a freeze for any reason, that info would be lost if you don't do this.

    When I leave a document or book I'm reading, I press that Home button and even put it to sleep because that way I can't pick it up and inadvertently do a page turn, etc.

    Not important though - it'll go to sleep on its own in 20 minutes or so if it's a Kindle 2 and up.
    And there is no worrisome amount of battery drain when you put it to sleep, as there is no drain unless a pixel is changed.

    That type of battery does very slowly lose capacity over time whether or not you are using it -- even when in a drawer. But it should last for longer than you're likely to have that Kindle.

    SCREENSAVER - You CAN, install a screensaver "hack" -- which is just a set of pictures you choose to be put in the place of Amazon's set but it's best used by people comfortable with computer file-moving etc.

    Here is an excellent forum help page with details on how to do the screensaver set workaround with Kindle software V2.3, which is the latest one. It's at a very helpful forum.
    So if any of it is puzzling, read some of the answers and then ask your own questions.

    That's at

    Good luck !

  5. Dear Andrys,
    Congratulations on your excellent blog. I own a Kindle DX since October 2009 and am using it with great enjoyment. But the date feature that you posted on Jan 2nd does not work here in Brazil because my DX does not link to Whispernet (I download my books to my PC and then transfered them to the DX via USB cable). I was aware of this limitation when I purchase the DX since I prefered it over the smaller Kindle International (which picks up the network here in Brazil).
    Do you know: 1) if there is a way I can update the date (which is presently set at Jan 06, 1970 04:24 PM) and 2) if the DX battery will keep the time and date correct after that?

    Best regards

    Claudio Janowitzer
    Rio de Janeiro - Brazil

  6. Thanks a lot for this extensive answer!
    Workaround is interesting, but I wouldn't want the additional pain with that. I'm fine with what they have preinstalled, I was just curious.

  7. Richard,
    Like you, I don't use it -- I did for awhile but I dislike having to remember where I put the custom-screensaver Uninstall file when a firmware update from Amazon is ready and therefore an uninstall needs to be done before the update can be done.

  8. Claudio,
    I did forget that those with DX's and Kindle (US) models in countries outside the U.S. can't take advantage of that feature since their wireless components and access methods are different, so I will amend the post to mention that.

    I don't know how you knew you'd prefer the DX but that's something I found too even though I originally bought the Kindle 2 (which I still occasionally use, but I just prefer reading on the DX despite having loved using the smaller one until then).

    I had also never thought about the problem for DX's in other countries in that there is no way to get the current Time if the model doesn't have the outside-U.S. wireless method used.
    Even if they preset the time for your time zone (but I think the DX could be sold only to a U.S. address) a Reset of the Kindle after a freeze (like any computer) could lose the time and there's no way to get that back as it's done only with wireless access.

    No, I'm afraid I've never heard of a fix for that. I wish they'd have a way to just manually set one's Kindle clock but they don't and I've seen no workaround for it.

    The DX Int'l will be out this year (and more likely than not, early in the year, and at that point you can sell your DX to someone in the U.S. (via Amazon's used-Kindle area or via EBay) and get the new DX when it's available.

    Sorry I don't have a better idea! But glad you too are enjoying the DX.

  9. You can also push the menu button and the time will appear at the top bar of the kindle.

  10. Gabe,
    Yes, that's the documented way to tell the time, and it's in the User's Guide.

    This entry was about an undocumented way to get the day (and also date) as well as the time.

    I suppose I should add it to the top, but I am so wordy as it is. Let me think on that!

  11. Yeah, too mutli-faceted device to list them all :-). Thanks as always Andrys, such a wonderful blog!

  12. Thanks, Gabe, for the morning smile :-)

  13. @t gimmick does not work with Kindle 2, firmware 2.5.x.

  14. Ross,
    Sad! However, a remnant remains. I got the DAY, date, time one suddenly at one point OVER the search results when choosing "my items"... Was not able to get that one again but it's lurking in there somewhere.

    But it's consistent that if you use @time and choose 'my items' (rather than 'find') the Date and Time are shown at the top of the search results. This is true whether in a book or at the Home page.

    As before, at the Home page you need to press Return key or Del key to bring up the Sym box -- and within a book, you need to press spacebar to get that sym box.

    So, we're left with DATE and TIME at the top of search results. I'll miss the DAY thing. And will update the old tip tomorrow sometime.

    The above works with Kindle 3 also.

    Thanks very much for the alert.

  15. Hi Andrys

    If you just search for DATE or TIME (no @ needed) from the Home screen (or search 'my items' from other screens), the date/time is the first result. If you select that first result, the window pops us with date/date/time/time zone info.

  16. Dianne,
    Thanks for the tip that the '@' is not needed for the Date/Time they now give us when we search for either of those.

    ('Time' brought up too many pages for me).

    Love your shortcuts article on your blog and I made a couple of shortcuts for others to use to remember how to find your article, which you make accessible via the Kindle with your downloadable Mobi/prc file.

    and, shorter, of course,

    I remember all the '@' from my explorations in June '09 and glad to see most still work but I DO miss the 'day' info popup.

    If you ever happen across it, let us know.

    Will modify today's '@time' entry. Thanks again.

    Not sure it's in your list, but if you're searching and the current Action on the right to be selected with the 5-way happens to be the one we want, we don't have to cursor from a word to get to the Action (too slow when the cursor is near the front of the word or phrase) -- we can just press the Return or Enter key.

    Same for URLs when webbing, if the Action to the right of the URL is the one we want, then the Return key will start it going. Am lazy and use that more often than not.

  17. Andrys - I'm surprised you made any sense at all of my gobbledygook comment! I meant to say "If you select that first result, the window pops UP with DAY/date/time/time zone info." So the day popup is still there when you click on the search results.

    I did know about the default click and use it all the time, but didn't mention it in my shortcuts file. Thanks for mentioning it; I'll add it, which will bring the shortcuts up to ver 1.3 when it's done.

  18. Dianne,
    That's GREAT! Off to revise my entry yet again!

  19. Thanks for these very useful information! I haven't bought a kindle yet. What I am curious is, it it possible to use the google viewer, google notes, and google books on kindle? With the google viewer, one can view online documents, like pdfs, while with the google notes, one can add notes.

  20. The long link

    didn't work for me, but the short link was perfect. Thanks.

  21. Dianne,
    I had made it for dianne' with two n's of course and mistyped the link here. Gads.

    Glad I didn't mistype the shorter one that just uses But I did want to do one with the full name.

  22. Dianne,
    One more thing. If you add a '+' sign to the end of either one, you'll get stats for the clicks done to get people to the right place and other info.

    That's a very useful part of it, except that it doesn't differentiate between which one is used and looks only at clicks using shortcut site to get to your article. You can later search on a word you used for an article topic and will get the custom shortcut and stats.

  23. Thanks for the '+' info, Andrys - I don't use much and don't know much about it.

    I had created for posting in the Kindle Community forum. It shows how many lurkers there are - 950+ clicks! Of course, a lot of those could be people going back to get updates to the files. Even so, my almost-never-used blog site will be wondering what all the sudden activity is about.

    Ver 1.3 now has links inside the file itself for checking the web site and downloading the mobi/azw directly from the Kindle, which should make it easier for people if I do any more updates.

  24. Dianne,
    Very nice! It also counts all the visits from people who passed your Shortcuts article (and download) around. And I'm sure it's going far and wide.

    Very slick having that URL to check for the update and the download direct to the Kindle. I have a downloadable mobile-sites bookmarks file that I have to update for Kindle 3 now since I'll need to make them different for Kindle 3 and Kindle pre. :-) That's at Sorely out of date, and I did try a LOT of web browsing tonight with the new update.

    Much faster browsing on the K3 than I would have thought if you go to the right sites and that Article Mode is fantastic -- apparently based on the 'Readability' tool. I'm used to the experimental web browser running out of memory but it didn't happen tonight in a long, sort of frenetic session.

    Thanks again for all your help.

  25. Andrys,

    I *love* article mode!

    The shortcuts are now up to ver 1.4 (mostly to add a note about pausing TTS: if it's paused, most of the keyboard is still locked; if you forget you have TTS paused, it appears that the Kindle has frozen).

    If you want to post the shortcuts themselves (or a subset, or whatever) in your blog, please feel free to do so. I have no ownership over these as they are just an amalgam of what I have learnt from many sources over the years (in fact, some of them probably came from your blog initially :D).

  26. Dianne,
    Coincidence! I posted a response to an Amazon Forum post tonight about a freeze happening with using TTS and told him he may have inadvertently pressed (or had forgotten he'd pressed) the space bar and that if it happens again he should press that spacebar again to unfreeze the keys. I might use it in the coming add'l tips articles but I usually forget, not being overly well-organized, to put it lightly.

    I've already linked here in Comments to your special page of shortcuts -- most people who come to this article after the first day will see all Comments here, so that should help them get out there in the long-run.

    Yes, some shortcuts were found by me inadvertently last year, but all finds by everyone get well-circulated and it's good to have various sets on the Net so they can be found more easily. Some turn them into book, and I think you'd be especially good at that.

  27. Coincidence indeed, Andrys! I was fiddling with TTS (trying to break the 3.0.1 update) and thought I had made it freeze - until I pressed Aa and found I just had TTS paused. Interestingly, Home still works and has the good sense to turn off TTS.

    I doubt I have a book in me. I would need to do things like investigate the intricacies of wi-fi. I had our wi-fi password written down, but it's 32 char long (set up by my son) and extended over two lines in my notebook. I though it was two separate passwords, and couldn't figure out why neither of them would work. There are some things where I may not be the best person to be dispensing advice ;)

    BTW, I do have your mobile sites file on my K2, thank you. I look forward to an update!

  28. Yes, glad they thought of leaving the Home button unfrozen.

    My WiFi didn't provide a connection though it has 2 laptops and a printer/scanner connected and very easily at that.

    But I didn't do the manual setup because my WiFi here and Comcast for one of my neighbors and me (I suspect they have us sharing a cable and we shouldn't be) just drops off sometimes. It stops doing that when I release the current Comcast connection and get a new one and then it's okay for awhile.

    Wouldn't want that happening while the Kindle's downloading stuff.


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]