Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special software update 2.3 version

This is a special software update 2.3 edition of Frequently Asked Kindle Questions.

Q. What is the software update 2.3?

A. Amazon sends out software updates from time to time for the Kindle.  This is an update that was made available November 24, 2009.

Q. What does it do?

A. That depends on which Kindle you have:

Kindle 2 International 

  • Longer battery life when using Whispernet
  • Native PDF (and option to convert)
  • Manual screen rotation
  • Words per line adjustment

Kindle 2

  • Native PDF (and option to convert)
  • Manual screen rotation
  • Words per line adjustment

Kindle DX 

  • Better “cropping” (reducing the outer edge white space) for pdfs
  • Converting a pdf is now possible
  • Auto-time out to go to sleep mode extended to twenty minutes from five minutes

Kindle 1 

  • Unaffected by this update

All affected Kindles

  • New sleep mode pictures
  • Minor other changes, like a splash screen that says “opening”

Q. How do I know if I have it?

A. You can always check your software version by going to Home-Menu-Settings, and look in your right corner of the device.  If it starts with anything besides 2.3, you haven’t gotten it yet.

Q. Are there disadvantages in getting it?

A. The only thing I’ve heard is the Kindle running more slowly, but that has not been widely reported

Q. Will I get it automatically?

A. If you have Whispernet connection, eventually. 

Q. Can I get it manually?

A. Yes.  Go here.  You’ll find the appropriate file for your Kindle, and instructions.

Q. What might I do wrong installing it?

A.  Make sure you pick the right file for your device.  It’s not good to try and install the wrong version.  Make sure you put the file in the “root” directory of your Kindle.  That means you just put it on the Kindle, not into one of the folders.

Q. I’ve installed a hack…do I need to remove it first?

A. Yes.  The “hacks” that are out there (unauthorized modifications of the Kindle software…one popular one changes the fonts and another allows for personal sleep mode pictures on Kindles other than the Kindle 1) will block updates.   I do not recommend using them, because the violate your Amazon Kindle Terms of Service.  For more information, see this earlier post.

Q. How does it extend my battery life?

A. Currently, this is apparently only true for the Kindle 2 international.   What it does is manage the battery use better when using the Whispernet.  It supposedly has no impact when the Whispernet is not used.  This leads me to speculate that it limits its attempts to contact the network (which is part of what uses the battery).  It would attempt to connect when told to do that by you, but may not do so as much as it was doing before.

Q. Will that make it harder to connect to the internet?

A. This is only speculation, but it may make take a bit more time.  Once connected, it should be the same. 

Q. How much will it extend the battery?

A. Battery use is affected by a number of factors, including temperature.  With the Whispernet on, Amazon now says it is “up to seven days”.  The “up to two weeks” life without using the Whispernet remains the same.

Q. What does “native pdf” mean?

A. Portable Document Format (pdf) is a popular type of file from Adobe.  Native reading means that the device (the Kindle 2 and Kindle 2 international) will be able to read the file without having it converted to another format.

Q. Does mean that reading a pdf on a Kindle 2 international will be the same as reading it on a computer?

A. Not exactly, but it will be pretty close.

Q. What will be different?

A. The most obvious thing is screen size.  A six inch diagonal screen is pretty small for most pdfs.  You also won’t be able to select text, and a really complicated pdf may not look right (but most will look okay).

Q. How do I put the pdf on my Kindle?

A. You’ll attach the Kindle to your computer using the incuded pdf cable.  You’ll put the pdf into your Kindle’s documents folder.  For details, see this earlier post.

Q. Can I e-mail it to my Kindle?

A. Yes.  If you e-mail it directly to the Kindle, you’ll be charged fifteen cents a megabyte rounded up in the US, and ninety-nine cents a megabyte rounded up for US customers outside the US.  See that previous post for information.

Q. What is the conversion option?

A. Before this update, the Kindle 2 and Kindle 2 International could have the file converted by Amazon.  The Kindle DX could not have a pdf converted by Amazon.  Now, all three devices have the option to have the document read natively, or converted to AZW (the main Amazon Kindle format). 

Q. Why would I convert it?

A. A native pdf is treated pretty much like an image file.  This limits what you can do with it.  You can’t add notes or highlights, you can’t search, you can’t use the dictionary, you can’t increase the text size, and you can’t use text-to-speech.

Q. Why wouldn’t I convert it?

A. Tables and columns will look better in an unconverted pdf.  You’ll also get page numbers. 

Q. How do I convert it? 

A. When you e-mail it (either directly to your Kindle or to your free Kinde address), put

convert

in the subject line.

Q. I heard there was a probem with the conversions not happening.

A. There was initially.  It’s working now.

Q. After I convert it, how do I find it?

A. It will say “pdf” to your left on the homescreen.  Some people are saying it does not appear at the top of the homescreen when first entered.  If this happens to you, try Home-flick up-flick left.  Change the filter to “Personal Documents”.  You’ll probably be able to find it then…open it.  Change the filter back to All Items.  It should be at the top.

Q. What about the manual rotation?

A. The Kindle DX has been able to change the way the screen display from “portrait” (taller than it is wide) to “landscape” (wider than it is tall).  This can help with reading smaller text.  It was able to do it with an inclinometer: it could sense when the Kindle was turned on its side.  With the update, the Kindle 2 and Kindle 2i can also do this.  Hit the Aa key: you’ll see options.  You can display the image four different ways.  Notice that the display will stay this way until you change it: if you go back to the homescreen when it is landscape, it will stay landscape.  The 5-way controller will react properly, but the menus may be sideways to your current orientation.

Q. What does “words per line” do?

A. When you hit Aa in a text document (not an unconverted pdf), you’ll get the option to change the margins.  You can leave it at default, make it lower, or lowest.  How many words  you get will depend on your text size setting.  This is similar to a feature in the Kindle for PC app.  If you choose fewer words per line, the margins will get bigger, and therefore fewer words will fit.

Q. Was the User’s Guide updated reflect these changes?

A.  Yes.  It should be in your archives, or you can read it online (and download it, if you like) here.

Q. Where can I get more information?

A. Amazon has created a help page here.

If you have additional questions or things you found, feel free to let me know.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

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6 Responses to “Frequently Asked Kindle Questions: special software update 2.3 version”

  1. Joan Huston Says:

    How can I tell if I have the US version or the Global version?

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joan!

      There is a serial number on the back of the Kindle. Check the beginning of that number.

      For the current 6″ Kindle, B002 is a US, B003 is international.

      For a DX, it’s B004 for US, B005 for international.

      All K1s start with B001 (there aren’t any internationals).

      I think that’s right. :)

  2. Brook Says:

    Hey! I just got a kindle today, and i accidentally entered in the wrong phone number, and hit enter when i was registering it. How do i change it, because I am worrying about it since i put the wrong number. How do i get back into that and change the phone number? Thanks.

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Brook!

      Welcome to the Klub! :)

      When you initially register a Kindle, you don’t need to enter a phone number, so I’m not quite sure where you put it.

      If you put it on the Kindle under personal information, you change that by doing

      Home-Menu-Settings, Next Page, Next Page, Personal Info, edit

      If you were putting it somewhere else, please write again.

  3. Jyoti Kumar Says:

    how do i upload Indesign files into kindle… i have tryed various process so far but the allignments is not oke and the pictures are also not oke in the kindle

    can you plz help me

    [phone number removed for security]

    • bufocalvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jyoti!

      Unfortunately, that doesn’t surprise me.

      InDesign, like QuarkXPress, is a complex lay-out program. It’s not supported for direct conversion by Amazon. The kinds of images commonly used with it may not look good in 16 grayscale E Ink.

      Even multi-column PDFs don’t convert well for the Kindle (although they can be displayed natively).

      I worked a little with Pagemaker, but haven’t really worked with InDesign. What export options do you have?

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