On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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February 2009
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Gmail on Kindle

It is perfectly possible to access your Gmail account using Amazon Kindle browser. All you need to do is visit the mobile version at http://m.gmail.com rather than full version. Loading full version will cause some kind of error after you enter your login and password. I don’t think it would render well anyway.

So here you go: you can now send and receive emails using your Amazon Kindle anywhere there is WhisperNet (read Sprint) coverage absolutely free of charge courtesy of Amazon :)

Project Gutenberg Books for Kindle

This post commences series on absolutely free books available for Amazon Kindle. There are many places on the web that have very good literature available for Kindle for free legally and these places are worth knowing.

First such place is ManyBooks.net. It has 20,000+ public domain books digitized and hand proofed by Project Gutenberg. ManyBooks.net adds value by making these books available for download in many formats including Kindle native AZW which makes if very convenient.

You can visit ManyBooks.net using Kindle browser via WhisperNet and books will be added to your collection once they are downloaded or you can download files to your PC and copy them to Kindle via USB connection or SD card. One drawback is that website wasn’t designed with Kindle browser in mind and is a bit awkward to navigate

There is also mobile version of the website available at mnybks.net. It’s more optimized for mobile browsers including one on Kindle. You would want to download Mobipocket PRC versions as they are the ones natively supported by Kindle for direct downloading.

So you can read great classics like Mark Twain, Jane Austen, Alexander Dumas and many others completely free.

Reset Kindle

I’ve got several emails from users asking how to hard reset Kindle. For some reason Googling for it does little good. So I might just as well do a post on this topic for those who are too lazy to read the manual or don’t have it handy (possibly because their Kindle that has it in a form or e-book froze).

Kindle 2 or Kindle 3 reset: This is easy – just hold the power button (next to the headphone jack) for 15 seconds and the device will reboot.

Kindle DX reset: Same as Kindle 2 – hold the power button (next to the headphone jack) for 15 seconds and the device will restart.

Kindle ResetKindle 1 reset: This is a bit more tricky since you’ll need a paper clip or something similar (it was reported that ear-rings work quite well). First remove Kindle back cover by pressing on it firmly while sliding the cover to the right with your thumbs. Then find the reset button above the battery compartment as shown on the picture and press it with the paperclip. After several minutes your kindle should be rebooted.

Kindle 2 Easter Eggs

I can’t believe that I never did a post about Kindle easter eggs. Here is the most complete one. I’ve checked them all one by one and here are the ones that still work in Kindle 2:

  • Minesweeper can be started by pressing Alt-Shift-M in the home screen.
  • Picture viewer is hidden within Kindle 2. To activate it connect Kindle via USB cable to your PC and create “pictures” folder in Kindle USB disk. Create subfolders there and copy pictures. Subfolders will become “book” names and pictures will be pages. JPG, PNG and GIF files are known to be supported. Once you’ve copied the files, disconnect the USB cable and press Alt-Z in the home screen – you should see your picture folders among books now.
  • You can take screenshots of almost any screen in Kindle by pressing ALt-Shift-G. Screenshots are stored as GIF files in the /documents folder
  • Symbol shortcuts. When entering text folling shortcuts work:
    • Alt-6 – ? (question mark)
    • Alt-7 – , (comma)
    • Alt-8 – : (colon)
    • Alt-9 – ” (double quotes)
    • Alt-0 – ‘ (apostrophe)
  • Search commands. Typing @help in the search string will display other supported search commands like @dict, @url etc.
  • Hidden settings. While in settings type one of the following:
    • 411 – shows diagnostic data
    • 611 – shows current radio diagnostics data and keeps refreshing it

Sadly, all location based Google maps services in the browser seem to be disabled.


Received my Kindle 2

I meant to publish this post yesterday but got carried away by other business. First of all – kudos to Amazon for timely shipment and large supply. I don’t think that anyone who ordered Kindle 2 was left without one. Sony should take the time to learn from this good example. A friend of mine was sitting on the fence until the last day and finally placed his order at 3PM pacific time on the 23rd and he received his Kindle about the same time I did – around 3PM pacific time on the 24th. I checked the Amazon website and looks as of today (February 25th there is no backlog) – you can still order and get it on the next day (or later if you want to save on shipping).

Here it is…

Kindle 2

First impressions are really good. Amazon Kindle was a good thing to begin with and they didn’t do anything wrong in the second version. In fact I wouldn’t call it v2 (nor does Amazon say so anywhere on the device itself) – it’s a nice evolutionary development of well engineered device:

  • Photos and pictures look better with 16 shades of gray rather than 4
  • 5-way button is a bit more convenient than scroller (but that’s just my opinion)
  • The geek in me misses the SD card slot as it (the geek) would like to eventually stuff entire library of congress in the device but the rational part of me realizes that 1.4GB is quite enough given that device is almost always online.

These are just my first impressions. I’ll keep using Kindle 2 and will post on my impressions again in 2 weeks, than in 1 month, then in 3. Of course I’ll post about other related topics much more often… Stay tuned.

Jeff Bezos and Kindle 2 on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Now you can read books with one hand

Watch how “you can read books with one hand”, unforgettable laugh of Jeff and other fun moments about Kindle 2.

Amazon started shipping Kindle 2 today

My order status changed to shipped today (February 23rd). So I may be getting one in a couple of days ;)…
It looks like Amazon was able to set up its manufacturing process right and there is no shortage of Kindle 2. So if you’re interested go to “Kindle 2 description page and see if you like to have one.
Don’t forget to scroll to documentation section to see all interface details. This can give you more details on whether you’ll like it or not…

Kindle On eBay

With Amazon Kindle 2 shipping in just a few days there is a lot of related activing on the internet auction eBay going on. There are Kindle 2s that actually already sell for $400+. Some people who have confirmed shipping resell their Kindle 2s for profit in hopes that Amazon will not be able to satisfy the demand during the launch. Something like that actually happened with Sony PRS-505 was released. Supply was much lower than demand and for months after the official launch it sold on eBay for double it’s retail price…

I don’t think that this will be the case for Kindle 2 but I’ll still keep track of the prices with this widget out of pure curiosity.

Either way there are also many Kindle V1s sold there by the owners who are upgrading. So if you wanted to buy Amazon Kindle at great discount eBay would be a great place to do it now. If you want to get some extra cash for Kindle 2 upgrade, selling V1 on eBay would be a way to go. Just remember to de-register the device first.

Update: since flash widget would keep displaying wrong items – here is a manual update from me:

  • Kindle 2 prices dropped to the official retail price of ~360 USD. There is no underproduction as was the case with the Sony reader. This is confirmed by a friend of mine who ordered Kindle 2 around 3PM PST on the February 23rd, 2009 and he’s on track to receive it on the next day. He didn’t have Kindle 1 so he didn’t get priority shipping (nor he needed one)
  • On the other hand there is predictably increasing number of Kindle 1s that steadily sell for around 270 USD as people are upgrading. Some are never opened. So if you were looking for that $100 off kindle coupon – here is your chance :) I’ve bought and sold 100+ items on eBay and never had any problems.

Update 2: it looks like some would be enterpreneurs are trying to cut their losses and there are some Kindle 2s selling below Amazon prices. Another discount opportunity.

Kindle 2 user guide is available

Amazon just added Kindle 2 user guide to their web site. So now you can read it online while you Kindle 2 is being shipped.

Just search for “Documentation” or  “Kindle 2 User’s Guide” on Kindle 2 Product Description Page. Or just scroll to the technical details section there (it is at the very end of this section right before “Warranty and Service”.

Or download PDF file with it directly from here

Kindle 2 (version 2.0) will ship on February 24th – Order Now!

News are out and Kindle 2 will be shipping on February 24th.

So hurry up and get in line if you’re interested.

There are some good news for current Kindle owners who will order Kindle 2 today. According to Jeff Bezos “Current Kindle owners who buy one by tonight will move to the top of the queue”
Update for current Kindle 1 owners (from Amazon site):
Even though we’ve increased our manufacturing capacity, we want to be sure our original Kindle owners are first in line to receive Kindle 2. Place your Kindle 2 order by midnight PST on February 10th and you will receive first priority.

Quick summary on features from Amazon

Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines
Lightweight: At 10.2 ounces, lighter than a typical paperback
Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, service plans, or hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots
Books in Under 60 Seconds: Get books delivered in less than 60 seconds; no PC required
Improved Display: Reads like real paper; now boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and even crisper images
Longer Battery Life: 25% longer battery life; read for days without recharging
More Storage: Take your library with you; holds over 1,500 books
Faster Page Turns:20% faster page turns
Read-to-Me: With the new Text-to-Speech feature, Kindle can read every book, blog, magazine, and newspaper out loud to you
Large Selection: Over 230,000 books plus U.S. and international newspapers, magazines, and blogs available
Low Book Prices: New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases $9.99, unless marked otherwise