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May 20, 2011

kindle 3 tricks & hacks

The Kindle e-Reader is quite the device and in my first review, I brought some ideas on how to maximize its usage. The open source Calibre software and Dropbox library are still some of the best features to keep all of your book library in sync on many computers (and on any platform). In short, you make sure your Calibre library is in your Drobox folder. You can read more about it here.

Since that article, new toys and information have emerged. One of the best tools I found is Klip.me, a browser extension that can send a web page to your Kindle, or to your Instapaper and Evernote accounts. I personally use it to send any lengthy webpage to my Kindle so if I find some interesting article while at work, in 2 clicks I can send the information to my Kindle.

My second greatest discovery for the Kindle world was to learn how to disable my screensaver!! I was so annoyed that the Kindle would revert to a screensaver, when holding a page is probably less energy consuming than loading the screensaver! In a few keystrokes, you can disable it and leave the Kindle screen at the latest page that you’re reading. I’m testing the battery longevity right now, so I am not 100% sure that it won’t drain the battery in 1 day, but with the e-paper technology I would assume that the battery level should stay the same. EDIT: 2 days later and the battery doesn’t seems to drain any faster!!

Now here is the big secret :

Home screen:
(enter)
;debugOn (enter)
~disableScreensaver (enter)
;debugOff (enter)

And voila! You won’t get any visual feedback about it but you can then leave your Kindle on and see what happens.

There are other hacks from the ;debugOn list, you can list them with the ~help or simply try these (play at your own risk, I only used the ScreenSaver personally):

~changeLocale, ~disableIndexing, ~disableScreensaver, ~dumpIndexStats, ~exec, ~help, ~indexStatus, ~meminfo, ~reloadContentRoster, ~resumeScreensaver, ~startIndexing, ~stopindexing, ~usbNetwork

These have been the 2 major improvements that have happened in my Kindle relationship, but there were also some other neat little tricks.
Here is an excerpt from http://www.geoplanit.co.uk/2010/09/kindle-3-some-hidden-features.html

Games
shift + alt + m = play Minesweeper (from homescreen)
GoMoku: press G from Minesweeper

Hot Keys at any time
alt + shift + G = screenshot (plug your Kindle in via the USB and navigate to the folder ‘documents’ screenshots are GIF and named something like “screen_shot-******.gif”)
alt + G = screen refresh
alt + home = Kindle Store
alt + top row of letters on keyboard = numbers 1-0

Menu
Press menu to check the time
Press menu on homescreen to see available memory
To change the primary dictionary by going to settings then menu

Power Switch
Standby (uses minimal power is my understanding) Quick switch of the power slide.
To turn off kindle 3 (i.e switch off the screen as well) by pressing and holding the power slide for 7 seconds
To reset the kindle by pressing and holding the power slide for 15 seconds (restart is also in settings then menu)

Hot Keys Whilst Reading
alt + B = add and remove bookmarks
shift + Sym = Turn text to speech on and off
set cursor down the page to start text to speech from there
right arrow on nav controller = skip to next chapter
left arrow on nav controller = skip to previous chapter

Music Controls
alt + space = turn music on and off
alt + f = skip to next track

Kindle 3 Image Viewer
Kindle has an image viewer. Who knows why it’s hidden (other than maybe its not very good), but still it’s there and simple to set up. I’m assuming a Windows-based PC for these instructions, but it probably is similar for a Mac and others…
Plug your Kindle 3 into the computer with the USB.
Open the Kindle drive that is now in your displayed with your removable drives, in the root (i.e. not in another folder) create a folder called “pictures” within that folder you can create a number of other folders (think of them as collections), then add your images/pictures to this (or these) folders. I’ve only tried Jpegs and they work fine.
Once finished safely unplug the kindle and then press “alt” and “z” on the homescreen, this will refresh the screen and add your new folders.
Click on the folder/collection and Image Viewer should launch.

Image Viewer Functions
Page forward and back to see different images
f = full-screen
q = zoom in
w= zoom out
e = reset zoom
c = actual size
r = rotate
nav controller = pan

You can also root your device in many ways. At the moment, I don’t feel the need to go there (the screensaver was really the main annoyance) but you can read about it here: