Even though I managed to write up a ginormous post the other day on my ereading experience with the kindle, I still left out a chunk of stuff like covers and updates and such. I would very much like to get some sort of protective cover for the kindle otherwise it floats free as is in my bag. There’s a few things that interest me on Amazon however for some reason, as in the case of this Moleskin cover, they’re unable to ship to my default address. I have a sneaking suspicion that Amazon may class such as “electronics” rather than bookish paraphernalia. Regardless I am unable to order it. There you have it. Oddly, as I return to this draft, having done the initial research a few weeks ago, I can now order the kindle cover I originally wanted via Amazon. The moleskin cover is unable to ship to my address but this one from M-edge is, “Flip Kindle Jacket“, yet it wasn’t a few weeks ago. So astonished was I that I have just ordered it and the order was accepted. Fingers crossed. In the interim, I have bought a hard cardboard exercise book of similar size to the kindle, and ripped out all the pages. The kindle sits nicely within and I hold it shut with a hair band. Mostly effective.
[update: the flip jacket arrived today (1st July) – a mere 4 days after I ordered it. The colour is good (orange) and works for me. It is sturdy and protective, though a little chunkier than I anticipated. Mostly it seems to hit the spot.]
I had come up with a workaround to the problem of the kindle cover…of sorts. I had an idea to be crafty and make my own – I even popped down the road to Reverse Garbage and for a mere 3 bucks, got a collection of suitable material out of which to construct something truly unique…and possibly very ugly. The downside of such an approach is that I am not particularly craft minded, nor do I have the tools or knowledge to construct what I need – the idea at least was good. I then mused on the possibility of commissioning someone crafty to take my ideas and their skill and combine them. I also considered seeking a local leather worker and asking them to create something appropriate. Neither approach has gotten anywhere so far as I haven’t got round to pursuing either option; and indeed have fallen back on methods of old, and ordered something online. I also checked Etsy but didn’t find anything that suited the sort of thing I had in my head with most being bags rather integrated covers.
Recently, I installed the new software upgrade for the kindle, 2.5. I haven’t played with it much as yet, though it was straightforward to install. The big thing I was looking forward to was the introduction of collections ie being able to create folders and storing books in them. I don’t have many books yet but do have a mix of free and paid content, which means I have 2-3 screens to scroll through to see all the titles…and that’s only with 23 titles. It’s already annoying. Unfortunately, the collections feature doesn’t work and appears greyed out in the relevant menu.
As near as I can ascertain, I need to be able to connect to Amazon via the kindle’s whispernet in order to synch with my account. Collections doesn’t seem to work without connecting to its mothership. This is where it gets problematic – I have the US kindle, not the global kindle, and I’ve been unable to get whispernet to work. I have read somewhere that the US kindle can access whispernet outside the US but my current suspicion is that it needs to be registered first. I have added it to my amazon account but there seems to be no easy way of letting the device itself know that it has been registered…so to speak. As I’m heading to Mexico in a few weeks time, I’m going to try and activate the whispernet connection while I’m in transit at LA Airport. My thinking is that it may work so long as I’m within the US – once the kindle has registered itself then I’m hoping that I’ll be able to use whispernet outside the US. Indeed, I should be able to test that functionality in Mexico. Well, that’s the plan for now, and until I can get whispernet working, I’m unlikely to be able to use the Collections feature.
The other aspect of the new upgrade that I was anticpating was better PDF handling – this at least I was able to test. Prior to 2.5, the kindle would shrink a PDF page to fit on the 6″ screen and there was no way of enlarging the font or image. This effectively made PDFs bloody hard to read. It was possible to view them sideways ie turn the image 90 degrees and hold the kindle on its side. With 2.5 it is now possible to enlarge, with settings, up to 300%, or to display it in its original size. Of course that does mean it’s bigger than the screen and does require some screen manipulation to move the document around, for which controls are provided. A vast improvement over what was previously available.
It’s also possible to convert some PDFs to the mobi format that the kindle recognises. There’s software called Calibre that is able to manage ebook libraries and seems to be able to convert just about anything to anything. It should be noted that this works best with PDFs that are primarily text as it’s a trickier matter to convert complex PDFs eg PDFs that contain tables and images. Calibre does not however handle the conversion of DRM encoded files and when attempted, states that it cannot do so and suggests the user uses a third party tool to remove the DRM. A quick search on google revealed a few possibilities.