Kindle DX broken by air-travel

Broken Kindle DX

Broken Kindle DX

Almost a year ago I posted about Kindle 2 being broken by air-travel. Well this time if was Kindle DX that got it… I was returning from a vacation with my parents and since there were many of us travelling and all of us love reading, Kindle DX that was usually stay-at-home kind was taken along for a want for more portable e-Readers. Once the plane was in the air my Mom tried to power it on and instead of Walter Scott novel saw some horizontal lines that I was all too familiar with. This time around they were accompanied by some vertical lines.

Since this time around I didn’t power the Kindle on after I’ve cleared security I can’t tell for sure where it was ruined by X-ray machine (which I still consider unlikely but not impossible) or by slight decease in cabin pressure that accompanies the take-off.

As usual Amazon customer service was top notch. Within 24 hours of a phone call there was a new Kindle DX on my porch. I secretly hoped that Amazon wouldn’t have any CMDA B004 Kindle DX left and that the replacement would be a newer GSM B005 Kindle DX with better battery life but unfortunately it wasn’t so. Even so I can’t really complain.

Airplane didn’t brick my Kindle this time

Recently I took another transatlantic flight with my family. I was reading Wolves Of Calla on Kindle DX, my wife was reading Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy on Kindle 2. Unlike previous time both devices survived the flight just fine.

It’s worthwhile to note that TSA folks made me take both Kindles out of my carry-on and run them through the security¬†scanner separately just like they do with notebooks. But they’ve let them through without any problems of course.

Airplane Bricked My Kindle 2

Recently I had to take a couple of long trips on airplanes. And supposedly Amazon Kindle is just perfect for such occasions. I stuffed mine with tons of books and even more samples so that I could browse though them on the first leg of my trip and then buy the books that I’ve liked while I waited for a connection flight. WhisperNet rocks!

However this wasn’t meant to be. As the airplane started to gain altitude and I paged though “The Waste Lands [The Dark Tower III]” I noticed that some lines didn’t update as I turned the pages. At first I thought that it was some weird software glitch and rebooted my K2. However the stubborn lines persisted. As I kept paging though the book more and more lines got stuck. Until soon enough it wasn’t possible to read anymore and my Kindle 2 looked like this:


My speculation is that eInk display has a lot of wires connected to it from the “motherboard”. It’s usually done by gluing a sticky plastic band with metallic wires on it to the display that has metallic contacts. Most likely during the production of my particular unit an air bubble was caught under the plastic band. However it wasn’t big enough to cause trouble during quality assurance. However when airplane gained altitude and cabin air pressure dropped a bit, the bubble expanded and gradually ripping more and more of¬† the contacts apart. Oh, well. No big loss because I ended up having a very interesting chat with a guy in the next seat. As I arrived I had several hours until my next flight so I phoned Amazon support and let them know what had happened. I initiated an RMA so that at least there would be a working Kindle 2 waiting for me at home when I arrived.Once again: Kindle warranty rocks!

What really struck me as odd is that Amazon confirmed my suspicion that the only way you can buy Kindle is from website. I realize that Amazon is an online business but wouldn’t they make a killing in sales if they had kiosks selling Kindles in the airports? Imagine an automated kiosk that allows you to get a Kindle device just by swiping a credit card and create an account in case you don’t have one yet. And then you can immediately start buying your reads right from the device. What also struck me as odd is that there were Sony eBook readers readily available for sale in several airport stores. I guess that they may be useful if you have a notebook computer with WiFi ready to fill it with books. I didn’t though so they were as useful to me as my bricked K2…

Oh, and BTW – no problems with TSA whatsoever.

U.S. agents can seize you Kindle arbitrarily, indefinitely

TSA border security agentI came across a worrying story today from Reuters news today which said;

U.S. federal agents have been given new powers to seize travelers’ laptops and other electronic devices at the border and hold them for unspecified periods the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Under recently disclosed Department of Homeland Security policies, such seizures may be carried out without suspicion of wrongdoing, the newspaper said, quoting policies issued on July 16 by two DHS agencies.

I have been aware of agents searching through laptops and copying the data, and in some cases even seizing them for prolonged times, which is one reason why I don’t take my laptop with me on flights. However, seizing any electronic device without suspicion of wrongdoing is very worrying.

It gets worse;

The policies cover hard drives, flash drives, cell phones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes — as well as books, pamphlets and other written materials, the report said.

Basically any electronic device can be seized, including out beloved Kindle arbitrarily and indefinitely.

Books are not expect either, which seems odd. The last time I went through US border security I was reading “The Post-American World” by Fareed Zakaria, a fabulous book by the way, considering that most people will think your an American-hating traitor for reading this book, it could have been seized along with my other electronic devices, which included my cellphone, iPod and Nintendo DS. Thankfully it was in my carry-on bag, the border agent didn’t see it and I passed through without a problem, which was a good thing since I was only halfway through the book!

So just a word of warning to Kindle owners, either keep your Kindle hidden, or hope you don’t run into a paranoid TSA agent at the airport.

Source: Reuters