My previous post mentioned one of the places that we visited on our trip (and the HDR photo’s that I created afterwards!), we also took a trip to Truro so that Emma could go shopping with a girly friend. I took the chance to visit the Cathedral and take in a few sights.
Whilst we were down there Emma’s dad Keith gave me digital copies of all of his late wife’s books, with the intention of me re-publishing them to the Kindle Store. Emma’s mum Ann was (alongside her many talents) an Author and Artist, their house has several of her paintings on its walls. Ann’s books are a mix of fantasy and historical fiction, they were all published between 2006 and 2008 in paperback. Unfortunately shortly after they were published Ann fell victim to cancer and the books were never given the publicity they deserve. As such we are now giving them a new lease of life via the Kindle (I have also re-listed all the remaining hard copies on Amazon).
You can read more about the books on their dedicated website (as it evolves) at www.awsome-books.co.uk (deliberate spelling for AWsome Books, AW being Ann’s initials).
I hope that at least one of you will buy one of the books, if you do feel free to give me your opinions on the story! The first book “The Stone of Gardar” will be released in the Kindle Store within the next few days once it has been cleared by Amazon.
I am sat here keeping up to date on the outside world via the great @bristolriots twitter account, and in memory of these riots I have created a new kindle screensaver (I’m bored).
Currently Bristol is all calm and safe, lets just hope it stays that way!!
You can find more of my Kindle Screen savers over on their dedicated page, and instructions on how to set your kindle to use them here.
When the Amazon Kindle was several hundred pounds then spending £30 on a case to protected it seamed like a great investment, but now that a Kindle can be acquired for a little over £100 the cases seam a little over priced! On top of the price many people also like to hold their Kindle directly when they read, something you can’t do with a full case.
Being the true geek that I am I chose to make a case for my Kindle out of Gaffa Tape, the geek’s best friend! I like to think that most problems can be solved with an application of Gaffa Tape, but that is another story!
The biggest plus point of the Gaffa-Kindle (catchy?) is its price, you can get a whole roll for less than a fiver (even from Amazon!) and then a C Sized jiffy bag for around 60p. All in all this case cost around £1.50. The cheapest case on Amazon at the time of writing is the “Belkin Knitted Kindle Sleeve” for £17.49, which makes the Gaffa-Kindle a great “buy”.
Making the case only takes about five minutes (for an expierenced Gaffa-Crafter like myself, so maybe give yourself fifteen minutes!), and couldn’t be much simpler. However you need to remember one thing throughout this task, once Gaffa Tape sticks to it’s self it rarely comes unstuck! To perform this task you will need a roll of standard sized Gaffa Tape (or Duck Tape / Duct Tape / etc) in your chosen colour (try B&Q or even Amazon!), a C Sized Jiffy Bag (try the post office) and a sharp blade (perhaps a stanley knife from B&Q also?).
Prepare your work space, a cutting mat would be best but if you don’t have access to one then use a hard flat surface. Be aware that you may leave score marks on the surface.
The first cut you need to make is to remove the flap from the top of the Jiffy Bag, if you were to cover it in Gaffa then it would become to rigid to fold. The C sized bag is already big enough to hold your Kindle with out the need for a seal.
Cut strips of Gaffa Tape that are about four centimetres longer that the width of the bag, affix this to the bag as shown in the second picture below (starting at the bottom of the bag) and fold the edges around the sides of the bag as shown in the third image. You can then repeat this to cover one side of the case until you get to the last strip, simply overlap each strip slightly (just under a centimetres).
The final strip on this side needs to overlap the opening of the bag, this requires a few cuts to the tape ensuring it wraps correctly. Once you have made the cuts shown in the next photo just fold the long flap into the inside of the bag.
Now you just need to cut some more strips of Gaffa Tape to finish off the other side of the bag. These strips just need to be long enough to cover the bits that you folded around earlier. The final strips need to cover the bottom of the bag and the other lip of the opening as you did in step 4, use a cut similar to the previous one (hard to demo as it depends on the size of the tape, etc).
Enjoy your new found Kindle Case!
Jailbreaking you Kindle is not as hard or dangerous as it sounds. In comparison to Jailbreaking an iPhone it’s child’s play! However performing a Jail Break on your Kindle isn’t nessessarly something you need to do, infact you may not even want to, but if you do read on!
The main reason that people JB their Kindles is to import custom screen savers, as nice as the standard set of screen savers is they aren’t to everyone’s taste. A Jailbreak also allows you to import custom fonts for foreign books, but I will focus on the simple Jailbreak and Screen Saver modification.
The Kindle automaticly backs up your books to the Amazon Cloud, but if you have custom collections / anotations / custom books / etc that you would hate to loose then you should do a quick backup first. Although I havn’t read that anyone has lost anything by performing this Jailbreak, in my experience all my books / etc were still present afterwards.
Unlike Apple who like to hit Jailbreakers with big sharp sticks, Amazon have actually actively released the source code for all versions of the Kindle. This has allowed the Jailbreaking community to develop modifications without having to guess at everything. If you want to read about Amazon’s release of the code you can do so on their site here.
Plug your Kindle into your PC with the USB cable and browse to it in Explorer (or your computers equivalent). In windows you will need to navigate to “Folder Settings” and set it to display all files (see here for instructions@@@). You should then see a window like the one to the right.
Once you can see all four folders, you should select them all and copy them somewhere for safe keeping. That way should you have a problem you will at the least have a copy of your collections / annotations / etc. On a side note, if you copy / email extra documents and books to your Kindle it is a good idea to regularly take a copy of the “documents” folder so that if you loose or break your device you can restore the documents to another one!
Now you need to download the Jailbreak, I have bundled up the copies that I used to Jailbreak my Kindle today. Those copies should be fine for any Kindle currently in circulation, but if you are reading this some time in the far future you may wish to google for a more recent copy. You can download my bundle from here (an advert will show, sorry). The bundle contains several different versions of the firmware for different Kindles. The files are named according to the type of Kindle, for example “update_jailbreak_0.6.N_k3w_install.bin” is for a Kindle 3 Wireless edition where as “update_jailbreak_0.6.N_k3gb_install.bin” is for a Kindle 3G UK edition. Please ensure you pick the correct firmware.
Once you have chosen the correct BIN file copy it to the root of your Kindle (the main folder), then safely remove your Kindle and unplug it. You now need to tell the Kindle to install the Jailbreak, you do this with the following key presses “Menu >> Settings >> Menu >> Update Your Kindle.” The Kindle will take anything from a few seconds to a few minutes to install the update, then you should be presented with your Kindle as normal.
You are now Jailbroken, easy wasn’t it! There isn’t much different about your Kindle at this point as you haven’t installed any modifications.
In the same download from earlier you will find the modification for custom screen savers, the files are named much in the same way as the initial Jailbreak (“update_ss_0.20.N_k3w_install.bin” for my Kindle 3 Wireless edition).
Re-attach your Kindle to your computer as you did in Step 1 and copy the relevant BIN file to the same directory as you did in Step 2. Again safely remove your Kindle and perform the same update as you did in Step 2 (Menu >> etc).
Now that you have successfully installed the Jailbreak and Screensaver mod you can put some new screensavers on your Kindle. Once you re-atttach your Kindle to your computer you will find a folder called “linkss” has appeared, within that folder is another called “screensavers” any JPG or PNG that you put in there will be used as a screensaver.
Valid Kindle Screensavers are JPG or PNG format in 8-bit Grayscale sized as 800×600. You can create them via Photoshop with the following settings:
You can of course use any image editor to create the files, I just like to use Photoshop. Other options are to download pre-made screensavers from one of the many sites you can find on Google, or to take a look at my custom screensavers!
Once you have copied a screensaver (or more) to the Kindle you need to safely remove it and restart it via “Menu >> Settings >> Menu >> Restart”. It will take a few moments to perform the restart, but then your new screensavers will be active!
I bought a Kindle in mid 2011 and I fell in love with it very quickly, I wrote a sort of review of it back in June 2011 that you can read here.
Over the time that I have had the Kindle I have come accross a few things that I thought I would share, they are simply usage instructions to more complex jail breaking instructions! So you can find links to all those things here.
The image to the left displaying my current book is generated by a mini-plugin that I wrote that displays the cover of a book on a miniature kindle screen. You can also provide it with a link to the book on Amazon so that others can buy the book! If you want to use the plugin on your WordPress blog you can see more about it here.
Jailbreaking sounds like something big and naughty, but with a Kindle it is actually something simple that Amazon has all but authorised by releasing the Kindle’s firmware. Read more about it here.
The Kindle comes with some interesting screensavers that display when your device is asleep, but via a simple jailbreak hack you can put your own images onto the Kindle. Read how to do it here, or view some of my screensavers here!
After jailbreaking my Kindle I decided to create a few screensavers of my own. You can view them all in my Screensaver Collection.
Being the true geek that I am I chose to make a case for my Kindle out of Gaffa Tape, the geek’s best friend! I like to think that most problems can be solved with an application of Gaffa Tape, but that is another story! Read more about it here.
A little over a week ago I purchased an Amazon Kindle and I am loving it! I thought that I might write a little review of it both from the point of a book reader and from that of a geek! Firstly I will start with my reason; I had been using the Kindle application on my iPad since I bought it last November so I already knew that the ‘idea’ of the Kindle was a sound one. Although at first I had loved my iPad I more recently realised that I hadn’t been using it other than to read Kindle books; so I bought a Kindle and sold the iPad (the Kindle was £111 so the iPad more than paid for it)!
Being the geek that I am I have tried every mainstream eBook reader on the British market and the Kindle impressed me the most, although I was never happy with them in the shop. The Kindle uses a special type of screen known as e-Ink, the screens appear more like paper than they do a traditional screen. A benefit of e-Ink screens is that they only use battery power to change what is displayed; this means that devices using them have very high battery lives. The Kindle’s battery can last for up to two months as long as the Wi-Fi is turned off, the last thing you want is to run out of battery half way through a good book! On the flip side, and this is what I was never happy with, e-Ink screens have a distinctive slow refresh rate meaning that when you ‘turn a page’ it takes a moment for the screen to change. A friend of mine purchased a Kindle several months ago (he is rarely without it) so naturally I had a play with it, I came to the conclusion that the slower refresh rate of an e-Ink screen is actually a benefit and not a hindrance. The refresh time allows your eyes to refocus on the top of the screen, to me it also seams to help prevent eye strain and as such headaches. I work with computers for the majority of my waking day, both at work and home, so limiting the strain on my eyes is a rather good thing!
So onto the Kindle itself, it weights a measly 241 grams and measures less than 9mm thick (which is less than a pencil)! It is just the right size to fit in a hand, I generally hold it in one hand using my thumb to hit the page turn button. Although if you have smaller hands it is also very comfortable to hold in two hands at the keyboard end. There are four page turn buttons, to backwards and two forwards, they are placed on either side of the screen meaning you can use either hand. The rest of the keyboard on the Kindle is a standard qwerty layout with a few extra command buttons (menu, 5-way, etc), along with that there is a simple slide switch on the bottom to power the device. Powering off the device leaves what can only be described as a screen-saver, these screen-savers display various famous people or scenes from literature; something that is always nice when you finish a reading session!
The Kindle can hold around 3,500 books, the Wispersync service keeps track of how far you have read in each book across all your devices (be it a Kindle, iPhone or your PC). This allows me to pick up a book where ever I find myself, I always have my iPhone in my pocket so I can sneak a page or two when the time presents itself and be able to return to the same place back on the Kindle later. Wispersync is a service provided by Amazon that not only keeps track of your place in each book but also any annotations you make in those books (just like you would with a pencil). There are plenty of books available on the Kindle for free (all the out of copyright books), along with many low price books (I’m reading the complete Sherlock Holmes collection that cost only £2.08!). One plus point of the Kindle is that it’s e-books are often substantially cheaper than a print book (another I am reading called Revalation cost me £4.11 rather than the £6.99 list price). All Kindle’s come pre-loaded with an English dictionary that allows you to highlight any word in another book and see its meaning, very useful with the genre of books I read (historical crime novels mostly).
All in all I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend a Kindle to any other book worm!