new Kindle 3 owner advice

Your friend gets a new Kindle 3 and asks you your advice for a new Kindle 3 owner – What would your advice be?

Just writing down my thoughts – Please do add what you think are the top 3-5 things a new Kindle 3 owner should know.

Taking Care of your Kindle 3

  1. Be careful when handling Kindle 3 and carrying it as the screen is delicate – drop it and it’s likely to break. Consider getting a cover or case. It’s great for keeping the Kindle 3 safe.  
  2. If you have a cover that uses side notches to lock-in your Kindle 3 remember to not hold Kindle by just its case and to be gentle when attaching and detaching it.
  3. When carrying it put it in a case and not next to sharp or hard things. When packing it don’t pack it into baggage unless it’s in a hard box. Even hand baggage might not be safe as turbulence might bounce your Kindle 3 around.  
  4. Keep it as far away from water as possible. Kindle 3 is not water-resistant.
  5. Charge your Kindle when the battery charge gets low – don’t wait for it to drain out completely. It’s best for the battery if you charge it when 1/4th of the battery charge is left.  

A replacement Kindle will probably cost nearly as much as a new Kindle 3 – being careful will help new Kindle 3 owners to avoid the cost of a replacement.

How to use WiFi

On the Kindle Home Page press Menu and then choose Settings. On the Settings Page click the ‘View’ button next to WiFi Settings. This brings up a list of detected WiFi networks.

Identify the one that corresponds to your home WiFi (or if outside your home, choose the one you have access to). Enter the password (if needed). If it connects great else try another WiFi network or check for the correct name and password.

You might have to set up the WiFi network details yourself. If the Kindle fails to connect to a network then choose ‘Set up Network’ from the failure message box and enter the details. If you need help call the company that set-up your home wireless network or ask the cafe/shop/airport attendant for details of the WiFi settings.

Kindle switches to 3G automatically when it detects the WiFi is missing and reconnects to WiFi when it’s available. Kindle WiFi can only connect via WiFi so it’s entirely dependent on the availability of a WiFi network. Note: You can read books even without WiFi or 3G.

Kindle 3 Basics

At the bottom of the Kindle 3 is a power switch and a volume control. Slide the power switch to put the Kindle into sleep mode or to get it out of sleep mode. The bottom also has a slot for headphones, a microphone (which at the moment isn’t used), and a USB slot that can be used to charge the Kindle or to connect it to a computer.

If you connect the USB cable that comes with your Kindle 3 to the Kindle 3 and then to the power plug (that also comes with the Kindle 3) you can plug it into a wall socket and charge it. You can also use the USB cable to connect the Kindle 3 to a computer. Kindle will charge and also show up as a drive named ‘Kindle’ and you can drag and drop files to it.

Book files and PDFs go in the ‘Documents’ Folder. MP3 files go in the ‘music folder’.

When you bring the Kindle out of sleep mode you start on the Kindle Home Page or if you were reading a book you start on the page you were last at. If you turn on the Kindle (slide and hold for 5 seconds) or reset it (slide and hold for 15 seconds) you always start on the Kindle Home Page.

On the Kindle Home Page click on a book or item using the 5-way to open it. You can move up and down on the home page using the 5-way and change pages using the Previous Page and Next Page buttons.

In a book the Previous Page and Next Page buttons are used to turn the pages. Pressing Home will take you to the Kindle Home Page and pressing Menu will bring up the Menu. When you turn the pages there will be a 0.5 to 0.8 second delay as the eInk screen refreshes.

Kindle 3 Tips & Tricks

All the top Kindle 2 tips ought to work on Kindle 3 – except the Line Spacing tip.

Press Alt+Spacebar to start or stop background music. You have to load mp3 files (Apple format files don’t work, mp3 files with DRM don’t work) into the ‘music’ folder of your Kindle. They are played in the order they were added. Press Alt+F to skip ahead to the next track.

You can type out numbers by using Alt+Q for 1 and so forth (Alt + qwerty row =  1 through 0). You can also type out numbers and special characters via the SYM key.

You can change fonts via the Aa key. You can try out the Browser and Text to Speech by going to the Experimental Section (On Kindle Home Page press Menu and choose Experimental).

First 5 Kindle 3 Things to try out

Perhaps -

  1. Click on a book and read it and see how you like the experience.
  2. Go through all the free book offers and public domain books at Amazon’s Kindle Store (on Amazon.com). For public domain books simply search for ‘public’ and Sort by Price Low to High. For free books search for ‘-public -breakthrough’ and again Sort by Price Low to High.
  3. Try out the Kindle Store and the free Internet. Press Menu on Home Page and choose ‘Shop in Kindle Store’. Press Menu on Home page and choose ‘Experimental’ and then on Experimental page choose ‘Web Browser’.
  4. Try out the Text to Speech. Press Aa button when in a book and then in the Font options menu press ‘turn on’ next to Text to Speech (Read to Me).
  5. Play around with the font settings. Again, press Aa button when in a book.  

Best Features?

Some of the more interesting Kindle 3 features are -

  1. Built-in dictionary. When reading a page press 5-way up or down to get a cursor. Move it to the beginning of a word to get the word meaning. Click on the 5-way to go to a page with the full word meaning and usage. 
  2. Alt+ B – Bookmark a page. You can also bookmark a page by bringing up the cursor and pressing the 5-way twice.  
  3. Move the cursor to a spot and start typing using the keyboard to add notes. To add highlights press the cursor once to start the highlight, move the cursor using the 5-way to select text, and then press the 5-way again to end the highlight.
  4. Font Options – Press Aa to get various font options. You can change the font between 8 font sizes. There are also 3 Font types to choose from and options for words per line and line spacing. You can change the screen orientation between portrait and landscape. You can start and stop Text to Speech, change the speed at which text is read out, and also choose between male and female reading voices.
  5. Try out the Voice Guide feature. You can turn it on in the Settings Page and it reads out Menus and Book Lists to you.
  6. Try out the experimental WebKit based browser. Try out some complex websites like espn.com to see how it handles them.
  7. In the browser go to a blog and try Article Mode which strips away everything except the main text. 

There are lots more features to try out – To get a better understanding of how to access the various Kindle 3 features check out the manual or this post on Kindle 3 insights.

Where to get Books?

Well,

  1. For simplicity and for new books – Kindle Store.
  2. For public domain books – Gutenberg and Many Books.
  3. For DRM free books – Tor, O’Reilly, and Smashwords (independent books).
  4. For free book offers – Kindle Store.
  5. For Library Books – These are not supported on Kindle 3 unless you strip away the DRM.

Compare Kindle 3 against other reading options

Convince yourself it’s the best option –  

Contrast the eInk Pearl screen with a plain sheet of paper. Compare and contrast with a paperback and a hardcover. 

Compare size and screen with an iPhone or iPad. Check out B&N and Sony Store and compare with Nook and Sony Reader. 

How to get Photos on your Kindle 3

Connect your Kindle 3 to your PC and in the Kindle’s main folder (the one that has music and Documents folders) create a folder called Pictures. Within that folder create other Folders that will become your ‘Photo Albums’.

Put photos into these Photo Albums. So in your Pictures Folder you might have three folders – Family Photos, Book Covers, and Trip Photos. Only the images within these folders will show up – none of the pictures saved in the ‘Pictures’ folder of your Kindle will show up.

Now unplug your Kindle and on the Kindle Home Page press Alt+Z. Each of the Folders within the Pictures Folder will show up as a separate entry. So you will get three items – Family Photos, Book Covers, and Trip Photos.

You can click on any of these to see a slideshow and there are various options – please see the Kindle 2 Tips post, linked to above, for details.

In Closing

The Kindle 3 Product Page has a lot of details on Kindle 3 features. The Kindle at a Glance section and the ‘Features’ section spell out what features you can look forward to. The Kindle 3 Product Guide provides a detailed explanation of how to use these features.

You also have the Kindle Forum – Click on the tiny ‘Discussions’ link on the top right of any Kindle Store page on Amazon.com (it’s a little below the search bar). There you can ask fellow Kindle owners for help with your problems. To the right of the ‘Discussions’ link is a link to ‘Kindle Support’ which is also a good resource.

Overall, the Kindle 3 has a ton of very good features and a lot of help options (especially the Kindle 3 guide) to help you get the best of them.

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