Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Kindle Fire Tips plus one KindleTouch Tip. Follow-up Info on recent software updates. Free audio/video enhanced Kindle books to try.

Fire - v10.3.0, v7.3.0, and v8.3.0

Kindle Touch, v5.3.2 and
Q: "After the software update, my Collections are no longer listed.  The books are just listed in abc order.  So, I tried to reenter a title such as Suspense, and it says the title is currently in use and to enter a different title.  Does anyone know what I should do?"

A:   Amazon made an odd decision there.  Normally, when you tap 'Recent' or 'Title' or 'Author' sorting options while choosing "Books" to view on the Home Screen, you'd expect to be able to see another option, which would be 'Collections' -- but that option doesn't show up when you have selected only "Books" (where they SHOULD show up).

  You have to lightly tap 'Books' (or 'Periodicals,' 'Audible,' 'Docs' etc.) below the top row and choose "My Items" instead before you can get the 'Collections' choice for sorting now.  It may be due to Amazon's defining 'Books' as Kindle Books only, while "My Items" includes Docs, etc.

Recent Kindle Fire updates, x.3.0
  Enhanced Kindle Editions with Audio/Video feature that came with the recent Kindle Fire updates.
  There is an added step to see these, if you've downloaded the book previously.

Q: "How do you get the audio/vidio to work?"

A: People are finding out that they need to remove any current copy of an Enhanced Kindle Edition from their Kindle Fire (2nd gen, 7" HD and 8.9" HD) and then RE-download the title previously purchased with audio and video, before they can access the audio/video portions of the book with the Kindle Fire.

  Hyperion offered, In Sept. 2011, the Audio/Video Edition of the Jacqueline Kennedy Historic Conversations, for $10 rather than the regular $16.49 price, but it was usable only on "iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touch devices" (and it's still described that way despite the software updates).

  Nevertheless, at the time, figuring Amazon would make this available for their own tablets someday, I bought the enhanced edition at that price (it was and still is available without the audio/video for $10 too,  but why not get the one with more features, for later?)

  So, this week I downloaded the never-read Kindle book from my Cloud, and sure enough the audio and video features work very well on the Kindle Fire HD 7" and 8.9" tablets I have.

  Bear in mind that that the Enhanced Edition will take up a LOT of tablet storage space.
  For instance, the Kennedy Conversations Edition WITHOUT audio/video (readable text and photos only) is s 5 Meg file, which already (because it has photos) is over 5 times larger than an average novel.

    The Audio/Video Edition, however, is a 500 Megabyte file, 100 times larger, and essentially HALF a GIG.  The basic Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet can store 16 Gigs but a few gigs are used for system files.  I bought the 32G model and 5 gigs are set aside for system files.
  If I'd bought only the 16G basic Kindle Fire, I'd have no storage space left by now, as I have only 16 gigs remaining on my 32G tablet.

  Of course we can always remove files from a device, and any Kindle purchases (and personal documents we've sent to our "Personal Documents" storage space (via EMail) are re-downloadable at any time, when we actually want or need to read them.

  I tend to keep a lot of favorite Youtube video files on mine, but there's no reason that I need to have as many books ON the device as I do.

  BONUS Tip - Here are a few FREE Enhanced Audio/Video Kindle Books (from time to time) that you can try, via this special link.

Q: "Why does Time to Read (the remaining pages of a chapter or book) seem to work only sporadically if at all?

A: 1. You need to be on WiFi for this to work, when reading a book, as the servers keep track of time taken to read, and they calculate time remaining based on that.  This information, they say, is not retrieved for the server but kept on the Kindle device.  Some people like to know, when they need to sleep or leave, how much time it might take to finish the chapter (or the next one).

    2. Also, when you're seeing location number (and page number for books that have this) and the timeline bar at the bottom of a screen, you can get the other options (Time to Read, Page No. only, Location No. only) by lightly tapping just above the bottom timeline bar.

  Then tap whatever NON-timeline-bar option is showing at bottom left to get the other options.
  If you want the timeline bar back, lightly tap just above the normal bottom-bar area, near the center.

  Note: When the timeline bar is showing, don't touch the bar itself, as it changes where you are in the book if you move it at all (which is too easy to do).

Comments and advice from the Amazon Kindle Forum Kindle Fire software update x.3.0 topic.  Emphases and bracketed comments are mine.
Kim Shown says
  [in response to questions about glitches after the update]
I suggest contacting kindle customer service, Scott. My kindle hd 8.9 was fixed in less than 15 minutes. He had me go to another power outlet & plug it in, then wait a couple of minutes before depressing the on button & hold it down for 30 seconds. After that, He asked me to wait 20 seconds & repeat the process. I did this 3 times, at his request; then he told me to remove it from the charger & power it back up (holding the power button for less than 15 seconds) & voila, it magically came back to life with no problems. I did get the update & that is what caused the problem, but it works fine now! I hope this helps!

A. Rupert says
" ... I made it so my email wouldn't check for new mail. "
  [I turned that one off from the start.  I don't want my tablet to be checking email all the time.

  I also make sure that my applications don't automatically update. (See Settings / Applications)  I just don't want that activity going on all the time, especially when I don't use most of my apps that much, so I don't need the constant updating that would occur.]
Murtaza Aliakbar says:
Hi I develop for Kindle Fire, and I confirm that "Collect App Usage Data" surely has nothing to do with the Battery Drain issue.

  [I posted, re this new Kindle Fire setting, found under 'Applications']
Are you actually saying that gathering info on app use and taking it back to the server does not use battery life - I don't mean extraordinary use but any WiFi activity does use battery and we don't know how often you're taking that info.

mbuff says:
I had the battery drain issue (Kindle Fire HD 8.9" wifi), and now it is resolved.  Not sure exactly what fixed it, but here's what I did:
1) I turned off "Collect App Usage Data"  (I suspect it was this, not sure)
2) I [then] held down the power key for 20 seconds until my Kindle shut itself off.  Then, turned it back on.  Previously I had tried shutting it down multiple times the "normal" way without success.

KiddWilliams says:
Battery drain issues for my Fire 2nd gen., after receiving the update, seem largely resolved for me now after
1) turning off the Collect App Usage Data, and
2) doing a hard reset: press and hold the off button for a full 30 seconds, ignoring all screen prompts, etc., then waiting for a minute and turning it back on.

Dr. Bobby H. Wang MD says:
  Good news is that 7.3.0 & 8.3.0 can finally handle a >50,000 Item Cloud Library.
[ Emphasis mine -- this is good news. ]

Alan Harrah says:
For those with battery drain problems, you might try turning off location services.  Once turned on by an app that used it, it was THE main reason my battery was draining.  It seems to not allow the kindle to sleep. This needs to be fixed obviously, but turning off location services for now is something you might try to see if it helps in your case as well.
[That's another setting I do turn Off unless an app I am using REALLY needs it for something I want.]

[I also do not have Weather apps active.   The constant use of battery for some weather apps may be worth it to some, but not to me.] '

That's the latest I've seen on the discussions following the recent software updates.

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  1. I want to thank you for the Kindle Touch tips in this post. It's hard to believe, but after almost 1.5 years of owning a KT, there's still things to learn :-)

    The tip about the menu items at the top of the home page was particularly illuminating, and it prompted me to play around with these a bit.

    To set the stage on a KT, the home page is broken down into five horizontal sections starting from the top as follows: a main selection bar consisting of a back arrow, a kindle store (shopping cart) icon, a search gadget, and a menu pull-down icon. Underneath this top bar is a line of (what I'll call)secondary menu items: a device/cloud selector, a "My Items" selector, and a sort order menu pull-down (I'll come back to these in a bit). Beneath that, the third area consists of the item display area (the majority of the page). Next comes a single line with a page#/of # pages all the way to the right (I'll come back to this as well -- as there's some functionality hidden there that I just Found :grin). Lastly, if you have a KT with special offers (as I do), there is a small banner ad across the bottom of the page.

    Now I keep my secondary selections set as follows: location to "Device", my items to "All Items", and the sort order to "Collections". With these settings my "home" page display consists of four pages listing out my 16 collections followed by my eight subscribed blogs (including yours :-)), my one magazine subscription, Dictionaries (2), Periodicals: Back Issues. If I buy a book (or books), direct them to be sent to my KT, they will appear on my home page after the collections amongst the blogs (sorted based upon time of delivery to my KT). I typically would immediately place all newly bought books in my "+TBR" collection.

    Now if I were to change the My Items secondary selection to "books", the only thing that appears on my home page are any books on my kindle that are NOT in any collection (for me this would only be newly bought books). Mostly in my case this would mean that nothing would show up on my home page -- as you described above. On sort order menu pull-down "Collections" is checked, however, if I change the selection to anything else (like Recent, Title, Author), all the books on the KT will appear based on the sort order chosen, AND now the "Collections" sort order selection is greyed out (the only way to get the "Collections" sort order back is set the My Items selection back to "All Items").

    Now it turns out that there's more to learn about the KT's secondary selections, and some other things (including some tips that I want to pass along), but this is getting long so I'll put the rest in a following comment.

    1. Edward, I just read 3 reviews on the new Kobo but only one of them mentioned features of the device (options given, how they work etc.) other than just seeing the text on the glass. Amazes me.

      Re the the "single line with a page#/of # pages, (discovered Dec 2011) -- why Amazon doesn't draw attention to these things is beyond me, but that's for the next note.

      Re your finding that an All Items viewing 'Collections' (the only way these can be viewed) -- when clicked on and changed to "Books," no books that are IN Collections are shown.

      And that's how it was intended, from the start. If you could view Collections, the trailing list of books under Collections would not include those that were in the Collections.

      The flaw here is that they must not have envisioned (not much QA testing during which people test each click possibility?) that people might click on 'books' while 'Collections' was still the choice of Sorting options left over from a 'My Items' viewing -- and as a result, the books don't show BUT they ALSO don't allow you to SEE the collections, not even the folder or label names, much less the books that are in them.

      So, yes, that will confuse people and shouldn't have been allowed to stay that way. But it's true of the Paperwhite also. (Same UI software essentially after the updates to KTouch.)

  2. When I realized this was going to have to be split into 2 posts, I moved it to MS Word to aid in splitting, and keeping track of character counts. Luckily I saved the Word doc – so here’s the revised post with better para-breaks.

    If I set My Items to "periodicals", I will get a listing of all my subscribed blogs, and magazines followed by "Periodicals: Back Issues”. A couple of comments here: you can only save back issues for magazines not blogs, and blogs and magazines cannot be put in collections -- both of these would be useful additions to the kindle UI IMO. The behavior of the sort order selection pull down is as described in my previous comment.

    Moving right along setting My Items to “docs” will give you a listing of "personal documents" on your kindle followed by "My Clippings". Personal Documents are files you place on your kindle via side loading, emailing to your kindle, or by using the "Send to Kindle" application. This list will also include most books you buy from non-Amazon sources (strictly speaking any book that does NOT have an ASIN number in the book's metadata).

    Some of the content displays (the third display section) can be lengthy – running on for multiple pages. The page reference at the bottom right of the display (the 4th display section) can be touched, and this will bring up a handy dialog allowing one to specify what display page to go to, or you can choose to go to the page containing titles "starting with". I just found this -- I don't know whether it's generally known. This capability exists not only on the home page, but on any of the individual collection display pages as well. Using this capability you don’t have to swipe from one page to another to move through home page or collection display pages (as I have been doing lo these past 1.5 years ).

    Fooling around with this led me to another discovery having to do with KOLL borrowed books. A borrowed book is treated just like any other book – it can be put into a collection for example. I typically put borrowed books into my “+TBR” collection as soon as I receive it on my kindle. When I finish reading it, I move it to my “Already Read” collection. When I want to borrow another book, my kindle will notify me that I have to return the previously borrowed book. When I return it, the returned book is removed from my “Already Read” collection, and a new item is delivered to my kindle: “[Returned} . This item CAN be placed in collections. I put it in “Already Read”, and in a new collection: “+Returned”. If you don’t move the returned item to a collection, the next time you return a book will replace the previously returned item from the home page. By placing each returned item in a collection, you are able to maintain a history of the books you have borrowed – something I need as at my age it’s easy to forget what you've already read.

    You can use the touch on the page count on the “Already Read” collection display, and select “Ret” to move to the list of returned KOLL books.

    Lastly, on the time left to read feature: if I touch the top center of a page I’m reading, I’ll get two bars across the top of the page, and one bar across the bottom of the page – this bottom bar will display ALL the “location” stats: %, loc, time in chapter, and time in book. If instead, I repeatedly touch whatever location stat is displayed on the lower left of a page, the KT will toggle through all the location choices.

  3. Edward, thanks for re-sending and the for the good points.

    Yes, re magazines and blogs. Newspapers used to be limited to the last 7 issues, per publisher wishes, but that's how many can be kept on the server, so that if you change to another Kindle they won't be re-downloadable, and those issues won't of course be transferrable.

    Some background on the "single line with a page#/of # pages"
    Yes, this carries on a sort of tradition since 'Touch' Kindles were produced.

    In Dec. 2011, Tom Semple discovered this feature and I included it in the blog body. Here's how it went:


    Monday, December 5, 2011
    Kindle Tips: for Kindle Touch and Kindle Fire

    . . .
    Blog commenter Tom Semple adds several other good tips also. Some of his finds and suggestions:

    Tom found that, on the KTouch, you can tap the "Page x of y" indicator at the top right to bring up a dialog box that lets you enter up to two alpha characters, to jump to the first title starting with those letters.

    It also lets you enter a Home listing page number so you can access it directly.
    For one thing, when the Home screen is sorted by "Most Recent Order" the 'Periodicals: Back Issues" folder created by Amazon for our subscriptions is on the last page, and you can jump to that page by putting the last page number in this dialog box.
    There's another method to access the folder..."

    I like your way of working it so that the name of a previously borrowed KOLL book is kept, in a Collection so that when a new book is borrowed from the Prime Lending base, its download to the Kindle (on the Home Page) won't then overwrite the name of the previous book borrowed.

    I do also prefer the way they show EVERYthing about location/page #'s and time to read at the bottom when you just press the center top to get menu and options...

    Thanks for putting all this down. Will link to these this weekend, into the body of the blog, so that more can read them.


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