Kindle - Tips & Tricks

There are 3 generations of Kindles. Only the latest is now available. It’s available in two sizes—the “big one” and the “little one,” and in several colors (black and white). And you can choose whether you want it to be wi-fi-only, or also with 3G. My daughter has the little black one, “with 3G.” (The 3G works in China.) They’re all B&W—there are no color Kindles. (We have all three generations.)

I recently bought Kindles for all my kids & their cousins (in China, Europe, & the US), and they all share one account, so that if any one of them buys something, they all have/get it.

The Kindle has a browser built in. When you want to buy content, you can do it via the built-in browser, or you can use your PC to log in to your Amazon account and buy something, and then whatever you bought is auto-downloaded to your Kindle (next time it’s “online”). The auto-download only works for one of the Kindles on a given account (whichever one you select when you make your purchase); other users of that Kindle account would have to go into the “archives” folder and select a book in order for it to get downloaded and be accessible for reading.

FWIW, the Kindle’s browser “tunnels” to the Amazon server in Seattle, so incidentally, there’s no Chinese cybercensorship on it. But I wouldn’t use it much for browsing, since it’s rather slow and not that fun (the K’s great for reading, but not so great for pictures).

Using the nipple on the Kindle, you can navigate to any word on the screen, and the built-in dictionary will show you the meaning. It’s not the Oxford Unabridged, but it’s usually good enough. The Kindle also has a small keyboard, so you can type in a word to look it up, if you so choose.

Most interestingly, it turns out you can share K content by deregistering your Kindle off your account and then re-registering it onto someone else’s account (presumably with their permission, since you’d need their credentials)—and the content on your Kindle stays there.

Whether the particular content you get has graphics in it depends on whether the publisher of that content put them there, but regardless, they don’t look very good. It wouldn’t be an optimal device on which to consume a book which depends on the pictures for the storyline (e.g. Seuss). If you really want color, go with the

Also interesting about the Kindle is that increasingly, other content providers are making their content available in Kindle format (Kindles can read .mobi files). E.g. Project Gutenberg has over 30,000 books (mostly ones on which copyright’s expired, e.g. anything more than ~100 yrs old) …

There are some games available for the Kindle—some from Amazon (Sudoku, …), some from other providers—but it’s not an optimum platform for that (the nipple isn’t a very convenient mouse).

Really, the Kindle’s a super-good reader. But if you want to do other things like games, go for the iPad. It’s just twice as heavy and takes up twice as much volume (and has 1/10th the battery power, and can’t be read in the sun). As Sandra mentioned, there are applications available for many other devices which allow you to consume your Kindle content on your iPad, your iPhone, your Droid phone, your PC (whether under Windows, Mac, or Linux) …

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