Earlier, I posted the news that Amazon will be updating the Kindle’s firmware to add functionality to my beloved ebook reader. Everyone thought that the update will come next year but a few minutes ago, I received an email from Amazon informing me that the update is now ready.
Knowing that I have crappy Whispernet access here at home, I opted to do update manually. Downloading and updating the Kindle took less than 15 minutes. After a rather lengthy restart, I uploaded a PDF file to my Kindle and it can now read the file without any need for conversion! Pressing the font-resize button also allows me to read ebooks in landscape mode. This will probably come in handy when reading “wide” PDF documents.
The only thing that I have not yet tested is the purported longer battery life.
Now, if only they add native ePub support, I’ll be a happy puppy.
Excuse me while I curl up in bed and read…
I created an FB group for local Kindle users. If you already own a Kindle, or is planning to get one, or if you simply want to learn more about the Kindle, join me at Kindle Philippines.
I am very excited with this recent press release from Amazon:
In brief, the press releases says that *native* PDF support is coming to the Kindle, together with a better power management through an upcoming over-the-air (OTA) firmware update. Here’s a snippet of the actual press release:
SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Nov. 24, 2009– Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced two new enhancements to the latest generation Kindle—85 percent more battery life and a native PDF reader. Kindle now has battery life of up to seven days even with wireless turned on, a significant improvement from the previous battery life of four days. Battery life with wireless turned off remains at the previous level of up to two weeks. Battery power management for portable wireless devices is a complex technical area, and the battery life improvement announced today is the result of a six month firmware improvement and testing program.
Current users who need to read PDF-formatted documents has to send those files to Amazon. After converting, Amazon will then send the converted document back to the users through Whispernet. I tried this service once and I was not very happy with the document sent back to me – to much formatting errors. But once native PDF support is rolled out, users should be able to simply copy over those documents to the Kindle and it should be displayed “as-is”.
This is a follow up to my previous post.
Another way to expand the library of your Kindle for PC is to use Calibre in conjunction with it. As good as it is, Calibre, in my opinion, has one weakness – its eBook rendering application is not very good in displaying ebooks. But there is a way around this You can use Calibre’s “save to disk” option to export your ebooks to Kindle for PC.
On Calibre’s screen, highlight the book you want to read on Kindle for PC and click on the “Save to disk on a single directory”. Then let Calibre save it to your Kindle for PC folder (found at “My Documents” –> “My Kindle Content”), Once saved successfully, open Kindle for PC and the new eBook should be visible in the main screen on your PC’s Kindle. Just make sure that the ebook you are saving is already in .mobi or .prc format.
If you live outside the U.S. and is using Amazon’s Kindle for PC, here’s a tip on how to automagically download and read free public domain books.
- Click on this link to download the Magic Catalog of Project Gutenberg eBooks
- Once downloaded, load the .prc file to your Kindle for Windows by double-clicking on the file. This is assuming that you already installed Kindle for Windows installed on your computer.
- Once opened on the Kindle for PC, you should see a list of books. Choose any book and click on it using your mouse.
- After clicking, your default browser will open and automatically download the book your chose.
- After downloading, just double click on the downloaded file and you should now be able to read it on Kindle for Windows.
When I installed Amazon’s Kindle for PC yesterday, I was disappointed to see that there was no option to install my own eBooks on it. There was no menu option for adding or even managing books I already have!
Well, I was wrong. It turns out that the Kindle for PC *can* read books not purchased from Amazon! So here’s a short instruction on how to add non-DRM’d books to the Kindle for PC.
- Go to your favorite free ebook downloading site. Make sure that the ebooks that can be downloaded are in Mobipocket format (either .mobi or .prc) (I recommend Feedbooks.com)
- Make sure that you’ve already downloaded and installed Kindle for PC on your computer.
- Download your desired ebook.
- Once downloaded, simply double click on the file (either .mobi or .prc) and choose to open it using Kindle for PC.
- That’s it! The ebook you have just downloaded can now be enjoyed using Kindle for PC.
The picture below shows my Kindle for PC with an ebook I recently downloaded from Feedbooks. It also shows the Kindle’s Users Guide that came with my *real* Kindle.
The beta version of the PC version of Kindle is now available for download. So for people who have Kindle-envy, do not fret. You can now buy, read and organize kindle books on your computers!
I heard that people from Canada can’t download this app just yet. Bummer!
UPDATE: I have downloaded and installed this application to my laptop (running Win7) and I must say I’m underwhelmed. I thought I could manage my Kindle using this program through the USB but I guess I was wrong. But it does sync with the Kindle through Whispernet.
I was also able to send a sample book to the Kindle for PC. Reading a book using this program is nothing to write home about. Its no different from reading a plain old PDF file on the computer.
Will I be using this program? I don’t think I will. Reading on my Kindle is a far better experience than this. However, if you are still holding out on your Kindle purchase, maybe this application can get you started because you can start building your ebook library through this program and when you finally get your own Kindle, you’ll be set.
I am a foodie. I love eating food and when I’m not eating, I do the next best thing, read a local food blog called Marketmanila. When I noticed that Marketmanila has an RSS feed, I created a simple recipe on Calibre and dutifully downloaded it and transferred it to my Kindle. This is how it looks like on my Kindle:
Yummy, isn’t it?
- Connect the Kindle to your computer through the USB cable supplied with it.
- View the contents of your Kindle. It should have the following visible folders: “Documents”, “Audible”, and “Music”.
- Create an additional folder and name it “Pictures”. Double-click your newly created “Pictures” folder and create subfolders for each group of picture you intend to view on your Kindle. i.e. “Vacation”, “Party”, etc.
- Now you can start copying pictures to the subfolders you’ve created. The Kindle will accept the following formats: .JPG, .GIF, and .PNG.
- Unmount the Kindle from your computer.
- At the Kindle’s “Home” screen, press [ALT] + [Z] and the Kindle should recognize the sub-folders you’ve created as “books”. Select any subfolder and click.to view the pictures.
- You can then go forward/backward through your pictures using the Next page and Previous page buttons of the Kindle.
Note: Resize your pictures to lower resolution. High resolution pictures takes a lot of time to render on the Kindle and eventually end up not looking too good on-screen.
When I was using the EeePC with Windows XP, one of my favorite programs was PortableApps. PortableApps allows me to run my preferred applications without actually installing it on my Eee’s meager 4GB storage.
I just learned that PortableApps is now working on a portable version of Calibre. This is good news because if this pushes through, then I can save/maintain my Calibre eBook library from within a single flashdrive. It will also be quite handy for people who use multiple computers, allowing them to access and maintain their library without having to install Calibre on each computer that they use.
What’s more exciting use for this? Users can even save the portable version of Calibre from within their Kindle! Cool huh?