Retina Count Exceeded

Retina Count Exceeded

Jan: “Whatcha reading?”

Kris: “It’s called Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!, It’s got a hundred haikus about this zombie kid, but the really cool thing is these cartoons by Gahan Wilson.”

Jan: “Oh, I love Gahan Wilson! Let me see one.”

Kris: (turning the Kindle around so Jan can see): “Here you go.”

Jan: “I don’t see anything.”

Kris: “What do you mean?”

Jan: “The screen’s blank.”

Kris: (turning it back): “Huh. Looks okay to me. Maybe it’s the  angle of the light or something. Come take a look over my shoulder.”

(The screen changes to read, “ERROR:RCE”)

Jan: “What does that mean?”

Kris: “I don’t know. It’s never done that before.”

Jan: “Oh, well.” (sits back down)

Kris: “Hey, it cleared up again! Come look!”


Jan: “Did you wiggle it or something?”

Kris: “I don’t think so. It was fine until you came over here.”

Jan: “Maybe it’s me.”

Kris: “Ha, ha. This is weird. I’m going to call them.”

Kindle Support: “Hello, Kris, how can I help you today?”

Kris: “Well, my Kindle has this weird message that keeps coming and going. I thought you could tell me what it was.”

Kindle Support: “I’m sorry to hear that you are experiencing a difficulty. I’d be happy to help you with that, Kris. What does the error message say?”

Kris: “It says, ‘ERROR:RCE'”.

Kindle Support: “One moment…RCE stands for Retina Count Exceeded. Have I answered your question?”

Kris: “Not really…what does that mean?”

Kindle Support. “One moment…is there someone else there with you?”

Kris: “Um…yes.”

Kindle Support: “That person must have been looking at the Kindle at the same time you were. I see you recently purchased Brains For Lunch: A Zombie Novel in Haiku?!. The license, to which you agreed when you purchased the book, only allows it to be read by one person at a time. When your device’s retinal scan detected three eyes focused on the device at the same time, it would have displayed that message.”

Kris: “Retinal scan?”

Kindle Support: “Yes. That is a feature of your new Kindle. Your personal documents are protected without the use of an easily-forgotten password. The Kindle recognizes you through your eyes’ unique retinal pattern, and only then will it display the information.”

Kris: “How does it know I’m me?”

Kindle Support: “It scanned your eyes during set up. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Kris: “Let me see if I have this straight, first. When I go to read this book, my Kindle scans my eyes and knows it’s me, and then lets me read it? And when Jan came around to join me, it counted three eyes, and wouldn’t let us read it until Jan left?”

Kindle Support: “One moment…yes, that is correct.”

Kris: “What if I had a black eye, or something, and could only use one eye? Does that mean I couldn’t read it?”

Kindle Support: “One eye would be below the maximum limit for that book of two eyes. You could also read it with both eyes shut.”

Kris: “Riiiiiight.”

Kindle Support: “Is there anything else I can help you with, Kris?”

Kris: “Just a second…Jan, take a look at the book.”

Jan: “Nope, blank screen.”

Kris: “When I turn the Kindle all the way around, the screen keeps going blank…do you think there is a loose connection?”

Kindle Support: “There are no connections which could come loose. Stand up and hold the Kindle in front of you. Now turn around quickly while watching the screen. Did the device maintain an  image?”

Kris: “WoooWooWohhh! Done. It looked okay the whole time.”

Jan: “You looked ridiculous.”

Kindle Support: “That shows that it isn’t the motion. Is Jan registered to your account, Kris?”

Kris: “No…wait, we have to register people to the account, now?”

Kindle Support: “No, Kris, it’s up to you. If Jan had been registered, the Kindle would have displayed the information when Jan was the only one observing it. Someone who is not registered can not view information. This will keep your Kindle safe from theft, since it has no value if stolen.”

Kris: “What if two people on the account want to read the same book?”

Kindle Support: “That is no problem. They can each individually download the book  from your Amazon Secure Cloud to different devices which recognize their owners retinal patterns. Each device will allow the owner to view the book. “

Kris: “What if I want to sit with my kid and read a book?”

Kindle Support: “You would need to register both yourself and your child, and get a book with an allowed retina count of more than two. You can conveniently purchase them in multiples of two, in case your child has more than one eye.”

Kris: “Don’t most children have two eyes?”

Kindle Support: “We don’t judge what is an appropriate number of eyes per child. Kris, is there anything else I can help you with today, Kris?”

Kris: “I guess not. This eye thing just seems weird.”

Kindle Support: “We are proud to be able to help you. Have you heard about Amazon’s new Kindle EyeScan? Our newest Kindles know who you are, and protect your device from unauthorized use. Your secrets are safe with us. Our free EyeScan+ app can identify a person’s age and gender through retinal characteristics, so you can get customized recommendations and use our state of the art parental controls.”

Kris: “Isn’t that what we were just talking about…this eye thingie?”

Kindle Support: “Thank you for your continued support!”


This story was inspired by limitations people run into when trying to watch a video using the HDMI out on a Kindle Fire. Some apps refuse to show the video on a TV when a cable is plugged into the device, as a limitation of use. That got me thinking about ways that it could be done with books, and what that might mean. I do think eye movement recognition may come in the not too distant future on tables (so that you can select and click things without touching them), and I extended that idea here. The Kindle Support person is meant to represent the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence)…a robo-rep. In reality, I’ve found Kindle Support to be helpful and knowledgeable…it was just more fun to write this way. 😉

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


5 Responses to “Retina Count Exceeded”

  1. Pam Says:

    Bufo, that was an eye opening post! Hehe! 🙂

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Pam!

      Well, as a pupil of my work, I’m glad you could lens me your ear. I guess it had the white stuff. I couldn’t (catar)acts for more… 😉

  2. Zebras Says:

    I love the way your mind works! I can always count on a chuckle when you post something funny!

    On a serious note, I do eventually want to upgrade my Fire almost solely for the reason of being able to plug it into the TV. What are people having trouble with?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Zebras!

      Yay! My mind works…good to know. 😉 Seriously, I appreciate your comment.

      Some videos prevent themselves from being shared, which seems in part to be done by recognizing that an HDMI cable it plugged into it. For example, I ran into it with the Xfinity app when I tried to watch Attack the Block on my TV. It worked fine on my Fire, but when I plugged in the HDMI cable, it wouldn’t play, and gave me a message to remove the cable.

      I also have run into limitations using Juice for Roku with commercial videos.

      Generally, it works well, and my guess is that apps like Xfinity and HBO GO (I don’t use it, but I’ve heard about issues there as well) will decide to allow TV use and figure it out.

  3. Paging Dr. Page: your Amazon Author Central page Says:

    […] Retina Count Exceeded (humor speculating on future license control) […]

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