Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Questions from the Comments area, some with answers - UPDATE2

The below is from recent comment-area questions to the blog.

Q: hi. i am travelling round the world with a 3g enabled kindle. all the lonely planet books on it fantastic. email on the move with no roaming charges. fantastic.
  however. i would like to be able to book hotels on the move. whats the best site to use for really good searches and quick booking. i have only managed to get something booked on the iphone so far but that needs wifi so its not practical.
  any ideas."

A: I enjoy the Lonely Planet books on the Kindle too.
 I've used tripadvisor.com for great user input in connection with decisions on most things and yet find I get a better deal calling the hotels direct, but the search-sites need people to of course book with them if that works out.  I couldn't find a mobile site for Trip Advisor though.

  Recently, I used hotels.com and got a very good deal but they are run by travelnow.com and I'm seeing customer complaints about them.  I lucked out in actually getting the best deal in the area for that night, as it turns out, but they told me they had reserved a specific room when they didn't.
  The Kindle 2 gets a mobile version of the site that is easy enough to use.
  The Kindle 3 gets the regular site and it's very hard to read the small fonts, but I could not type into the input boxes of the mobile version.  The Kindle 3 seems weak on mobile sites, which is unfortunate since they're more readable on a small e-reader.

 Question from me: Do any readers know of any good sites for booking hotels direct on the Kindle?

UPDATE (Original posting 10:42 Am) - Neil has already replied, to recommend booking.com as "by far the best (and cheapest) way to book hotels globally"...
  In trying them out, I found it's best to use m.booking.com on the Kindle, as the full site is not a pleasant experience on a little e-Ink e-reader and the mobile version is quite good.  Thanks to Neil for that.

Q: by Woodyjavascript:void(0)
I don't think the Amazon Android Apps store is going to be a KINDLE apps store. It's a competitor to Google's (and Verizon's) app store for android.
  I wish it weren't so - would love a calendar app for the kindle - but there it is.

A: Woody,
They put out a call for developers to do apps specifically for the Kindle and put out some pretty strict rules about the price of the apps based on how much 3G bandwidth might be needed since Amazon says they provide that upfront.
  Some can be free, but if the app requires 3G use, then for certain amounts used (spelled out), they have to set fees.
  I do think that they will also do what you describe...

  I'd be shocked not to get a calendar or notepad app for the Kindle.

Right now I'm using bit.ly/g_tasks in the web browser to just view the tasks list made in my regular gmail on the computer and the gmail calendar has all the tasks in it, in date order.

  GMail Tasks are Not editable in Kindle, just readable -- it goes to an 'android' link and the Kindle isn't exactly an android device, but it does allow me to be able to read the Tasks when I'm out.
  It appears to allow adding new tasks but does not accept new input in either the Kindle 2 or Kindle 3 and definitely no editing of older tasks.

I sometimes just add 'notes' into an existing Kindle file that I made for making notes while out (I made a Notes file on a computer and moved it to the Kindle.  And I can search the file.   It's mainly a ToDo list.
 As a shortcut, I have sometimes added ToDo notes to the My Clippings file and then later I can search the file for "todo"...

The Calendar in gmail is nearly impossible to read on any Kindle, though the URL http://bit.ly/g_mail works well enough on the Kindle for gmail itself (as a quick-look type of thing), up to a point. (I've described in an earlier blog entry the tedium of replying to a gmail note with the Kindle3 right now -- it's easier w/ the Kindle 2, ironically -- the problem is having to go to the bottom of a reply you're making and down-arrowing out of the reply box before you can Send the reply.

Q: 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.

A: Oldtimers will know this, but those new to Kindle won't.  This works for Kindle 2, Kindle 3, and Kindle DX's.
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.
That works most of the time and is called a "Restart" or "Reset" and is similar to doing a soft reboot of your computer when it's not responding due to memory conflicts, etc.

  ALSO - (Updated information) - It was discovered later that the non-lighted Amazon Kindle Cover can cause starting-problems and Kindle-freezes and reboots.   If you have one, try removing it to see if that helps.  See the article on this Kindle-Cover problem and Amazon's answer for that.  If you're in the UK, however, see the UK Amazon-cover article.

UPDATE2 - If the Kindle still doesn't respond (rare), call Kindle Support at 866-321-8851 or contact them at the Kindle Support web page by clicking on the gold-colored "Contact us" button on the right at that page and choosing the Tab for 'phone' if you can, otherwise, choose form mail.
  Here's a quick web-link for contacting Kindle Support though.

  Also corrected TripAdvisor spelling and made small modifications for more clarity.

Q: by Essjam
My first Kindle just arrived today. A Graphite Kindle 3G. So far I love it, especially the ability to enlarge the font for these old eyes of mine. I have downloaded a few books to start my library. I have been amazed by how quickly they appear.

  The one thing that I find odd is not being able to remove a single "My Clipping" entry by using the device. I found a Google entry about editing the file while the Kindle is connected to a PC as a USB device. Sort of strange, but not a big deal.
  While it was attached as a USB, I was able to upload several PDF files. The built in reader is not too bad.

Thanks for the information on this blog! It has proven very helpful already.

A: Scott / Essjam
Glad it's helped already, and thanks for letting me know.

Re the "My Clippings" file - it's essentially a log file in chron order of COPIES of any and all annotations you've made and is an added file that allows you to have all notes in a text format file so that you can copy the text-file to your computer in order to print portions of it or to edit it.

The actual notes are put into the book's secondary file, which is in binary format and therefore isn't in editable text format.

Then you can move the My Clippings file back to the Kindle or copy it to the Kindle after backing it up on the computer OR delete the one on the Kindle and start fresh on the Kindle.  (When the Kindle is attached to the computer via the USB port, you can edit the Kindle My Clippings file directly but I'd rather leave it alone until I know my edits are okay.)

Then there's the password-protected personal webpage Amazon makes for each customer who doesn't disable backup of annotations. You can read about that at http://bit.ly/knotesweb.

That lets you see all your highlighting and notes for any Amazon-received book, and to see them all on one scrolling page if you want.  That can be highlighted and copied to your computer for editing/printing etc.

That's all part of a larger piece on the My Clippings file readable at http://bit.ly/kclippings.

That also includes information on a free macro file available that takes your My Clippings file and outputs the info sorted by book into table format.

That should get you started.

I agree that the PDF reader is pretty good and the main problem is that PDFs were meant for a physical page that is more than twice the size of the 6" Kindle. But it can be very useful.  I tend to read PDFs in Landscape mode when on the Kindle.

You can also ask Amazon (by sending an email to [you]@free.kindle.com with 'Convert' in the subject field]) to convert a copy of the PDF into Kindle format for easier reading (if it's not a complex PDF) and to be able to use all the Kindle features, while keeping the original PDF (layout) on the Kindle for reference.

You can use the search box at top right to search for topics...

Kindle Forum questions I just happened to respond to a minute ago.  Thought I may as well add them here also:

Q: (A wish was expressed for a shortcut avoiding Experimental Web page.)

A: Richard,
You can go to the Kindle's Home screen.

There, just start typing without ado (no menu pushes) something like


and then use the 5-way button to go right until you see "go to" and click on that. It'll take you right to the url.

(That assumes you've turned Wireless ON, but if you haven't, it'll offer you the choice.)

Q: (Frank, wondering whether or not to get a Kindle said he was told the dictionary was "a little basic.")

A: Frank,
The dictionary definitely seems basic to those who don't know that it is just a summary-definition on the status line for the word your cursor is on and that you need to press the Enter key if you want the full definition, pronunciation, and etymology.

When finished reading the full dictionary entry for a word, press the Back button to return to the book page you were on before looking up a word.

If this is useful, I may do more of these, since I spend a lot of time answering questions, which aren't seen when people visit the site or read the Kindle Edition blog.

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.
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  1. Thank you, these answers are really helpful.

  2. A) it's tripadvisor.com

    B) booking.com is by far the best (and cheapest) way to book hotels globally


  3. I would add a note regarding the Kindle Dictionary being basic. It's great functionally, but I've found (and please accept my apology, because I know this sounds really arrogant) if I need to look the word up, it's not in this dictionary. The vocabulary is too small. I wish I could think of a good example here. I just kept running across words that are actual, legitimate words, but are obscure or archaic. Those are the ones I need a dictionary for.

  4. Hi, Clarissa,
    Thanks for the quick feedback!

  5. Neil,
    Good thing that TripAdvisor thought of people like me and redirects tripadviser.com (which domain name they wisely bought) to tripadvisor.com. Will change that in the body of the text though.

    Thanks re booking.com

    I tried it, and the Kindle 3 defaults to the full site, with tiny letters, so I'll list the recommendation as m.twitter.com for both Kindle 2 and Kindle 3. (I guess you use it on an iPhone?.)

    I'm not entirely sure it would be the absolute cheapest, as I had a flooding decision and searched for hours for a hotel during a bad time here ($$ due to insurance probs) and with all the booking sites I found on google, hotels.com saved me about $50 from the next cheapest, per night.

    But your experience with it means a lot and it has a good interface if we use the m.booking.com URL.

    Thanks for the quick correction and recommendation!

  6. Zach,
    Most of us don't do it for "need" but to get a maybe better idea of the various uses of the word and to look up the origin of the word and similar ones (which I find really interesting).

    In reading, I run across a lot of words not there either, but it actually has a larger vocab than I do :-) and the idea is to have one for the standard audience. One problem is that you need the exact word and not a substring.

    I've found words I thought weren't there but they were under a mild variant.

    The OED would be a bit expensive for the Kindle and we now get the ODE as an added dictionary that we can substitute for it but I don't know if that's better.

    "obscure or archaic. Those are the ones I need a dictionary for"

    Which one do you use for those?

  7. These are great. I think it is a good idea for you to do this every once in a while, as I learned some new tricks that I wouldn't have thought of asking about.

  8. Anonymous,
    Thanks for the feedback, I guess I will - As you can see it's a good way for me to learn a few things this way as well, from visitors here who catch my errors :-) or have good recommendations.

  9. I've found (the one time I it turned off my DX and couldn't get it to come back on) that just plugging it in to a computer would cause it to turn itself on again. No need to use the switch :)

    Guess receiving a USB signal for synching from a PC is enough to cause it to wake up even if it appears to be turned off.
    If the battery is completely flat that might not work of course.

  10. Anonymous, Oct 12, 9:02:00 PM PDT,
    Yes, when the only reason is the battery being too low, but the other works in almost every type of case (there are many things that can cause it, bringing up no little anxiety) and with a low battery would likely need the 2nd method.

    If it's just the battery you normally get a message saying you need to plug it in.

    USB powering -- Depends on the power from the USB port -- I have two higher-powered ones and one lower-powered.

  11. Have you seen this Business Wire article?

    Amazon to Launch “Kindle Singles”— Compelling Ideas Expressed at Their Natural Length

  12. Anonymous at 11:00PM PDT,
    Yes, it's on my list of brief news items I am listing and linking for the entry for tonight or tomorrow morning. There's so much news, and the one I saw and kept is from a slightly different source but they all get them from Amazon, which sends us alerts to the originals too. Very intriguing idea.

    Thanks for making sure I saw it.

  13. kindle3 3g book cover built in light doesn't work

    1. Anonymous, did you pull the light stem ALL the way out? At first, I too thought it didn't work, but the very last part has to be pulled up and out a bit harder than I thought at first.

      AND, it works only when the power is set to ON. When the Kindle goes to sleep, the light goes out too, which is a battery saver for when you fall asleep at night reading etc.

      Let me know how it goes.


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