a Pinoy Kindle and Ebook Blog

November 25, 2009

Kindle Firmware Update!!! (NOW!)

Filed under: kindle, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 6:06 pm

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…

November 15, 2009

Automaticaly Download/Read Gutenberg eBooks on Kindle for PC

Filed under: ebook, Free eBooks, Kindle for PC — Tags: , , , , — talkintech @ 7:11 am

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.

KfW

  • 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.

HAPPY READING

November 10, 2009

Kindle for PC beta: No More Kindle-envy! (with short review)

Filed under: books, ebook, kindle, Readers — Tags: , , , — talkintech @ 10:41 pm

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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!

BUT

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.

November 6, 2009

Enable Kindle’s Advanced Mode Browser

Filed under: kindle, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 11:47 am

I often wonder why I see “Basic Mode” on top of my Kindle’s browser each time I fire it up.  It turns out that the Kindle has an “advanced mode” on its built-in web browser!  On “advanced mode”, the browser becomes a more capable, but slower, browser because it can now translate CSS and Javascript.

To enable Advanced Mode, fire up the Kindle’s browser (at the main screen, press Menu and select Experimental –> Basic Web).  Once the browser is on-screen, press Menu again and choose “Advanced Mode” and that’s it!

If you find the browser too slow, you can always revert back to its Basic Mode anytime.

Kindle 2’s Whispernet Access is Brought to You By…

Filed under: ebook store, kindle — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 1:10 am

A “mystery telco”?  You be the judge.

i was able to hack into my Kindle’s “Select Wireless Provider” screen and here’s what was displayed:

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As you can see, the Kindle detects all local cell phone service provider.  But who or what the heck is “515,03,2”?  Someone said that it is Smart Gold but how come its not displayed on-screen?

November 3, 2009

Kindlepedia: Wikipedia Articles on the Kindle

Filed under: Free eBooks, kindle — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 9:32 am

I know that the International Version of the Kindle has free access to wikipedia through Whispernet.  But access to Whispernet is spotty and let’s face it, wikipedia through Whispernet is not exactly as fast as we want.  This is where Kindlepedia comes in: individual wikipedia articles can be processed and converted to a Kindle-friendly format.

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I tested downloading an article and it worked pretty well with my Kindle. The output file format is in .mobi so other ebook readers can also take advantage of this service.  This should come in handy for Kindle-toting students.

November 2, 2009

Quick Tip: FREE News & Blogs on the Kindle International Edition

Filed under: calibre, kindle, news, Readers — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 10:37 pm

I admit!  I am a news junkie.  I start my day poring through Engadget, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, Downloadsquad and io9.  Then I go over to Inquirer.net for local news.  This habit has been occupying a lot of time in the morning, preventing me to do legitimate work while surfing the ‘net.  Enter Calibre.

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Calibre has a built-in facility to dowload blogs and news and I have been using it to get the blogs and news first thing in the morning.  After the update, I plug in my Kindle and Calibre automagically transfer those newly downloaded stuff, allowing me to read all those blogs and news later in the day.

I understand that it costs $$$ to download news and blogs to the Kindle through Whispernet but thanks to Calibre, I get to read them for the low, low price of FREE.

October 28, 2009

jetBook-Lite: The Most Affordable eBook Reader (to date)

Filed under: ebook, Readers — Tags: , — talkintech @ 10:58 pm

ECTACO, a company that manufactures eBooks announced the cheapest eBook reader to date:  The jetBook-Lite.  ECTACO sees the jetBook-Lite to retail at around $149, that is at least $100 cheaper than most eBook reader.

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The current crop of jetBooks are not expensive to start with (they retail at around $179 after discounts/rebates) but a $149 pricepoint may be the sweet spot where people will *really* take notice and start getting an eBook reader of their own.  Another advantage the jetBook has over other eBook readers is its support for various formats (ePub, Mobi, PRC, RTF, .txt, .pdf, .fb2, .jpg, .gif, .png, and .bmp) and this makes it an attractive alternative to the Kindle and the Sony Reader.

October 26, 2009

Kindle International Version – An eBookster Review

Filed under: ebook, kindle, Readers — Tags: , , , — talkintech @ 11:22 pm

August 26th is the official birthday of my Kindle.  It arrived two days earlier than expected and I’m so happy for it.  It may have cost me a pretty penny but I think I’ll have a long and fruitful relationship with this pretty little thing.

First Impression

My Kindle came in a nondescript box that is actually pretty hard to open (at least I find it hard to open).  The side of the box whimsically says “Once upon a time…”.  The package itself is very light and I began to doubt if there’s actually anything inside.  When I finally got to open the package, my first thought is “Its an iPod with a keyboard!”.  The next thought that came into my mind was how puny this gadget is.  It is thin and weighs almost next to nothing!

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So I removed the plastic cover and switched the Kindle on.  It took some time to “boot up” but once its up and running, I was greeted by the Kindle’s user manual.  After skimming the contents of the manual, I pressed the “Home” button and lo and behold:  the free book samples I checked out of the Amazon website is automagically downloaded and ready for reading!

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The Kindle itself looks tough despite its diminutive facade.  It is solidly built and the only moving parts are the buttons.  No creaks and squeaks when you press any area of its body.  Text displayed by its E-ink screen is indeed paper-like and it really feels as if I am reading from a printed paper.

Loading MY eBooks

When I connected the Kindle to my netbook using its bundled cable (which doubles as a charger cable if connected to the included plug), it is immediately recognized as an external storage device.  Windows 7 even offered to use it to “boost system performance” but then again what’s the point?  So I loaded up some of my existing eBooks which I converted using Calibre and those books are immediately displayed once I disconnected the Kindle from my netbook.  Eager to continue where I left off in my eBook (Guilty Pleasures: Book 1 of the Anita Blake series), I initiated a search on the eBook.  Now, since I just loaded this particular eBook, I was prompted by the Kindle that it can’t find my search expression – the eBook is probably still being indexed.  When I tried again after a few minutes, I was able to find my place in the book so I started reading.  Reminder:  The Kindle is detected as a storage device.  To prevent the possibility of corrupting its content, eject the Kindle from your computer before unplugging it.

Whispernet

As I’ve mentioned earlier, my queued eBook samples were already downloaded when I opened my Kindle.  It only goes to show how fast the an eBook will probably download.  Other local users report that downloading entire eBooks can take up to 3 minutes – probably depending on the size of the eBook.  One gripe I have is that I still can’t access Wikipedia from my Kindle up to now.  I’ll have more time to try it out later.

Text-to-Speech

I tried one of the “killer” features of the Kindle – Text-to-Speech – an it worked as advertised!  The default setting is using a male voice and it was able to read the contents (at least some of it) of the eBook I loaded earlier.  The voice is quite natural and not as computer-sounding as I expected.  I think I’ll use this feature to “read” while driving. 🙂

Charging the Kindle

I only had time to charge the Kindle when I got home last night.  One can read while charging so I was able to finish a chapter or two as it was charging.  The Kindle has an orange light while it is charging and once the batteries are topped up, the light will turn green.  The slot used for charging micro-USB.  This means I can leave the Kindle cable at home and simply use my Nokia’s micro-USB cable if I need to load up the Kindle at the office.

Reading in the Dark

This is one thing that I often do using my Nokia e71 – something I know I can’t do using the Kindle.  So before going home last night, I was able to get an el cheapo booklight for Php100 (approx. US$2).  The booklight allowed me to read in the dark but I don’t think it was the ideal way to read.  I think I’ll invest in a better booklight or even just get a reading light that I can use on my bed.

Verdict

I think the money I spent in getting the Kindle is money well spent.  Now to continue with my reading.

October 23, 2009

Kindleware for Win7

Filed under: ebook, ebook store, kindle — Tags: , , — talkintech @ 12:13 am

It looks like my decision to go Kindle is timely.  Amazon has just announced that they will be releasing the Kindleware for Windows and it should be able to synchronize books between my PC and my yet-to-arrive Kindle.

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As far as I know, the Kindle doesn’t come with any PC software (yet) and the upcoming Kindleware should be able to fill this void.

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