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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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March 2009
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Kindle 2 Contest winning date is set

I just performed my everyday 0:01am check and I see 256,806 books available in the Amazon Kindle store.

finalbookcounts

It means that the winning date is March 31st, 2009 (03/31/2009)!

Now I’ll go and scan all e-mails I received for the competition to find a winner. It may take me some time but I expect to notify Kindle 2 winner within next 2-3 days.

Thanks everyone for participation and I’ll keep you posted!

Kindle 2 Recovery Mode

There is this undocumented feature of recover mode in Kindle 2. I’m posting about it but please don’t mess with it unless you know what are you doing because it can potentially brick your Kindle. K1 had an option of 100% wiping and reflashing the device to the origianl state. This option doesn’t seem to be present in K2 tough.

To enter Recovery Mode you need to hold the “Home” key while the device is rebooting when the screen flashes from black to white for a couple of seconds. If you see “Amazon Kindle” and boot progress bar – it’s too late and you need to reboot again.

When in recovery mode, you can hook up your Kindle to computer via USB and mess with the files just like in the normal mode. You can also press “1” and this will initiate installation of update from the root directory of Kindle drive. However normal updates (2.0.1 and 2.0.2 as well as screensaver hack) don’t install this way – Kindle just ignores them. With a little tweaking I was able to get Kindle to see the update but it would still fail to install.

Pressing “R” key will reboot your Kindle 2 back into normal mode.

What is interesting is that when I called the number on the screen the tech didn’t know what “Recovery Mode” I was talking about.

This is not a whole lot of useful information yet even that I had to piece together from different places on the Internet when trying to repair my Kindle 2 myself. I eventually gave up and called the warranty.

If I figure out the “recovery mode update” trick I’ll surely post about it.

kindle 2 recovery mode

Ernest Hemingway, Good Kindle Books at a Glance #3

In the previous post of this series, I wrote about American classical literature, commenting on Mark Twain’s books and works about him available in Kindle edition.  Today I’ll continue with the classics, namely, Ernest Hemingway, popular not only in the USA, but also through out the world.

The Old Man and the Sea written in Cuba in 1951 brought the Pulitzer Prize to the writer in 1953. The novella recounts a battle between an aging fisherman Santiago and a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. The story is told in a simple manner, which is quite typical of Hemingway. Still, the seeming simplicity only emphasizes the complexity of ideas the story brings to the surface – about a strong spirit and courage of a man, who fights the fish with the limits of his body and mind. “Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.”

The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway: The Finca Vigia Edition is a treasure for Hemingway’s admirers. “The Finca Vigia” refers to the home owned by the writer in Cuba from 1939 to 1959. The book is unique in the way that it contains not only The First Forty Nine Stories, but also additional 14 not included in the previous edition, as well as 7 others unpublished before.

Ernest Hemingway on Writing is a collection of the writer’s thoughts on the subject, compiled from his letters, interviews and an unpublished manuscript by Larry W. Phillips. “Sometimes ponderous, other times offhand, these thoughts form a portrait of a man driven to create not solely the best writing he could, but the best writing, period.” A nice book for Hemingway’s fans and writers.

A man’s got to take a lot of punishment to write a really funny book.

-Ernest Hemingway

kindle-ernest-hemingway


Kindle Warranty

I just had to exercise warranty on my Kindle 2. Hence the reduction of the number of posts on this blog…

The quality of the warranty service was a very pleasant surprise to me indeed. It goes way above and beyond of what I’ve experienced with other companies:

  • Phone wait was less than 3 minutes
  • The only thing I was asked to verify was that my Kindle 2 was fully charged and rather than telling me to do it anyway and call back in 3 hours like some other companies did. They took my word for it and emailed me the RMA shipping label. Easy and simple.
  • Now for the best part – Kindle warranty replacement uses one-day shipping and cross-shipment. This means that if your Kindle needs to be replaced – you’ll most likely get it within 24 hours and before you actually send the damaged unit back to them.
  • Since I wasn’t expecting such fast turnaround (in the past I had to wait for weeks for my electronics to come back from warranty repair) and I had several long trips planned for the next week I actually ordered another Kindle 2 with one-day shipping so that I’ll not have to spend days in planes, trains and automobiles without my books. When I called the warranty I was told “no problem”. They refunded me the shipping charge and set up RMA as return for refund.

kindle 2 year warrantyNow does this rock or what? Hopefully other companies will use Amazon as example.

While I’m on the topic – there are some 3rd parties providing extended warranty for the Kindle:

1) 2-Year Extended Warranty for Kindle 2 by ServiceNet. They extend the basic warranty to 2 years and cover 1 incident of drop related damage.

2) http://www.squaretrade.com/ offers 2 and 3 year extended warranty options for almost all electronics, including Kindle 2. For K2 I was quoted $49 for 3-year extended warranty.

Both warranties need to be purchased within 30 days of Kindle purchase. Since my current warranty replacement is officially a return for refund and new purchase I’ll heavily consider using one of these options. I doubt that any of them would offer 1-day cross-shipping though…

Please let me know if had any experience with either of these warranties.

Mark Twain, Good Kindle Books at a Glance #2

And now, more good books that are available on Amazon Kindle

When I’m thinking about American classical literature, the name of Mark Twain instantly comes to my mind (actually, it’s his pen name, his real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens). A wonderful combination of a writing talent, rich humor, keen wit and knowledge of colloquial language well served him in creating the array of works, which were popular during his lifetime and are no less enjoyed a century later.

One of my favorite books of his is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. I read it in childhood, reread it in youth, and I’m going to reread it again, many years later. “A seminal work of American Literature that still commands deep praise and still elicits controversy, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is essential to the understanding of the American soul.” Now the book is available in “full” edition, with omitted episodes, which help understand the novel better.

If you want to laugh your head off, give a try to Mark Twain’s short stories –  funny, smart and thought-provoking.  “For deft plotting, riotous inventiveness, unforgettable characters, and language that brilliantly captures the lively rhythms of American speech, no American writer comes close to Mark Twain.

Those who are looking for “a different Mark Twain” may be interested in Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World. It’s a chronicle narration of a steamboat trip, which creates a very vivid picture of people Twain met and places he visited. A very enjoyable and educational book to read.

You may learn more about the author from Chapters From My Autobiography. As Mark Twain states in the introduction, “…this autobiography of mine does not select from my life its showy episodes, but deals mainly in the common experiences which go to make up the life of the average human being, because these episodes are of a sort which he is familiar with in his own life, and in which he sees his own life reflected and set down in print.” You may also like My Mark Twain written by William Dean Howells, who was Mark Twain’s friend for over 40 years. “Warm, compassionate, beautifully written work offers unparalleled perceptions of celebrated humorist’s faults, foibles, and personality, as well as insights into the spirit and style of his writing.”

A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way.

Mark Twain

Mark Twain



Free Kindle 2 Contest Update #3

As of 00:01 PST 3/20/2009 the book count was 252,289 so starting from that time no more entries are accepted.

At the time of this posting the count is 252,758. This means that pretty soon we’ll have a winner who will receive a brand new Kindle 2.

Kindle 2 Software Update 2.0.2 (309510017)

My Amazon Kindle 2 just updated itself to new firmware version 2.0.2 (309510017).

kindle software 2.0.2 (309510017)

At the moment there are no official release notes from Amazon.com, however by looking at the source code I could speculate that there are some changes related to sound system (most likely bugfix). There seem to be changes related to watchdog timer. In plain English it’s a software and hardware system that will reboot your Kindle automatically in case it freezes and stops responding to user input.

Some people have reported that screen seems to refresh a tad faster now. Now that I’ve read it I seem to notice it too but it could be the placebo effect. Please leave a comment if you noticed any changes in your Kindle 2 after the update was applied.

If you have Kindle 2 Screensaver Hack installed you’ll need to uninstall it first and then apply the update manually. After update is installed you can re-install the hack.

Amazon Kindle Store Breaks 250,000 Book Count

As I look at it right now, there are 251,651 books availabale for purchase. Way to go Amazon!

This also means that unless some books are pulled back (which did happen several times before), today would be your last day for submitting entries to win a free Kindle 2 contest. So hurry up. You have until 11:59PM PST 3/19/2009 to submit your entries. 235 entries has been submitted so far. Good luck!

Fujistu FLEPia features color eInk

Fujitsu has launched FLEPia – “color e-paper mobile terminal”. It features:

fujitsu-flepia

  • 8″ 1024×768 e-Ink resistive touchscreen that can display either 260,000, 4,096 or 64 colors. Depending on the number of colors page update time ranges from 1.8 to 8 seconds.
  • 158 x 240 x 12 mm size and 350g weight. This makes it larger and heavier compared to Amazon Kindle 2 (135 x 203 x 9 mm and 289g). I would imagine that version with 12″ screen would be even heavier.
  • SD slot that can accommodate up to 4GB of flash memory
  • Connectivity is represented by 802.11b/g wireless, Bluetooth 2.0 and USB
  • It runs Microsoft Windows CE5.0 on XScale RISC CPU
  • Battery life is 40 hours or 2,400 page turns which is impressive for a device with these capabilities.
  • eBook formats supported are: BunkoViewer XMDF and T-Time .book. Both are eBook formats widely used on mobile phones in Japan. Since device runs a generic Windows CE5.0 OS I can speculate that it would be possible to broaden format selection by installing additional applications
  • Price tag is ¥100,000 ($940)

While I didn’t have the opportunity to play around with this device I’ll speculate a little bit…

Although some news sites might call this device a “Kindle Killer”, it’s obviously not that. First of all it’s geared heavily towards Japanese market and Japanese users. Secondly, it is not hooked to Kindle Book Store which is crucial to Kindle‘s success. My personal belief is that Kindle would have been successful even without eInk technology though maybe slightly less. And thirdly even 8″ version costs around $1,000 which is to high for “eBook reader for the masses”

It is good to see this device comercially released though because it would allow for further development of color eInk technology and eventually prices will come down and we’ll see more devices featuring it…

Discovery Communications Sues Amazon For Patent Infringement In Kindle

According to www.broadcastingcable.com Discovery Comminications is filing a law suit against Amazon for patent infringement related to “secure, encrypted system for the selection, transmission, and sale of electronic books” (used in Amazon Kindle and Kindle 2). The patent in question was issued on November, 20 2007 – one day after Kindle US launch. Currently Amazon declined any comments.

Looks like more and more people realize that there is money in eBooks and market is growing day-by-day. Now suddenly everyone wants a piece of this pie. Just recently Authors Guild threatened to sue Amazon over text-to-speech feature in Kindle 2. Then it was Amazon sending “cease and desist” letters to MobileRead.com and possibly other websites about script that allowed books purchased from eBooks vendors other than Amazon to be read on Kindle.

As the market will grow more I’m sure we’ll see more turf wars like this one. As for patents… nowadays for any given thing you can find someone who holds a patent and “believes that he/she is entitled for compensation“…