Amazon Kindle Hacks

Well it’s not really hacking but it is hacking in the sense of getting things to work just how I want them to.  I’ve been really impressed with the Kindle 3 it’s a lovely light device and when you read some of the books that I do like this, this  and especially this you really need something light.  It also totally gets around the problem of book pages falling out when you’re reading a novel in hot sunshine and the book binding melts just enough that the pages drop out! Grrr!  So what are my best hacks?

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BUY BOOKS FROM AMAZON

It’s obvious but the Kindle store is a really easy place to buy books.  Making it easy makes it worth it and for my wife it really is worth it.  She no longer needs to buy books in advance of going on holiday, where she is almost anywhere in the world she can download a new book when she finishes her last one.  Also buying them in this way supports the free Whispernet that empowers most of these other hacks.

YOU CAN GET BOOKS FROM OTHER SOURCES IN .MOBI FORMAT

I do quite a bit of reading of stuff from Microsoft Press, aka O’Reilly and the very very very good folks there often send me ebooks in .mobi format.  I can just drop them onto my Kindle and read in a really easy way and since those books tend to be an inch or so thick it’s a real help.  You can get eBooks from O’Reilly or Safari.

EMAIL STUFF TO YOUR DEVICE FOR FREE

Connect your device to your home wireless (or create an adhoc network on your Windows 7 PC) and you can email stuff to your Kindle for free.  All you need to do is find the email address of your Kindle from the settings page and change the address from xxxxx@kindle.com to xxxx@free.kindle.com.  You can then email PDFs, .mobi eBook files, DOC and DOCX files directly to your device.  If you don’t use the free address you’ll be charged a little for the send.  Putting convert into the subject line will convert things to AWZ format (the Kindle’s native format) so that you can make better use of features like changing the font size.  I’ve had particularly good results sending DOCX files, in fact I don’t print things any longer.

EMAIL YOUR TRAVEL DOCUMENTS TO THE DEVICE

When we just went away we put all our important documents, like insurance papers and hotel reservations on the device.  It reduces all the paper you need to take with you and if you follow the next tip you’ll stay secure.

PASSWORD PROTECT YOUR DEVICE

From the settings screen set a password, that way you can send confidential (ish) stuff to your device.  Beware though that it’s still possible to access documents over USB without the password.

USE INSTAPAPER

Instapaper has some great features for the Kindle.  Instapaper is a bookmarking tool that can take a snapshot of a webpage and either on a daily or weekly basis can email an eMagazine to your Kindle device that contains the text and pictures from those sites and it makes them far more readable on the Kindle.  An example of how I use this workflow is that if I come across a site that has too much information and I need to read it later ‘cos I don’t have time I can just hit my Read Later bookmark and save the page, then it gets delivered to my device and I can read it at my leisure.

READ FEEDS ON THE EXPERIMENTAL BROWSER

The web based feed reader works really well on the device in mobile mode, not the iPhone mode but the mode of mobile phones.  Got to http://google.com/reader/m/view from the Experimental web browser, it’s a bit clunky but works well generally.

CREATE A WEBPAGE FOR YOUR IP CAMERAS TO KEEP YOUR HOUSE SAFE ANYWHERE

I monitor my house with IP cameras so I create a simple xHTML web page and hosted it that stores simple jpeg snapshots from the IP Cameras in and around my gaff.  Now wherever I am in the world I can just check my cameras using Wispernet and not incur additional browsing charges like I would on my phone.  You could do the same with your home automation system to turn on the lights remotely or something…must get round to that.

imageUSE KINDLE READER ACROSS DEVICES

The Windows Phone 7 version is just out, there’s a PC version too and versions for those iPhone and Android things.  With them you can view books you’ve bought on any device you own and the bookmarks and where you’ve read to stay in sync.  I also just used this when I was reading a self paced training kit so that I could read instructions and do exercises on two screens in my home office rather than having to pickup and use the Kindle to navigate the book.

HUGE TIP TO GET KINDLE WORKING ON WINDOWS 7: you will want to run the Kindle App for Windows in compatibility mode as per this excellent set of instructions Amazon need to fix this.

Do you have some more top tips or hacks for your Kindle…let me know in the comments!

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