The Amazon Kindle has become the ubiquitous portable eReader of choice in the last couple of years, partly because of the agressive pricing policy that Amazon have adopted, but also in no small part to the massive library available and the ease of which other devices such as phones and tablets can be turned into Kindle readers with the adition of a single app.
If you are one of those curious Kindle owners who wonder what else you can do with your device other than read books downloaded from Amazon you’re not alone, with the application of a few simple tweaks and ‘hacks’ it is possible to open your Kindle up to a whole new world of uses and applications.
If regularly transfer non Amazon purchased content from your PC to your Kindle such as PDF files, text files etc, and just do it by using the file manager built in to your PC’s operating system, Calibre is the program for you. This free to use eReader management program will allow you manage the libraries for almost every device on the market including the Kindle, now it’s easy to transfer and manage vast libraries with just a few mouse clicks.
Do you ever wish you could transfer webpages on to your Kindle so that you could read them offline whenever you have a few spare moments. This web browser extension will allow you to do exactly that – head over to www.instapaer.com, download and install the plug-in, and you will then have a button on your browser allowing to save and transfer the current webpage to your Kindle.
3. What’s the time.
If you’re engrosed in reading and don’t have your watch on, pressing Alt+T will display the current time.
4. Play Minesweeper.
Pressing Alt+Shift+M in the home screen opens up the ever popular Minesweeper game. Minesweeper is a single-player game where you have to clear an imaginary minefield without detonating a mine.
At the start, you’ll be presented with an empty grid. Move around the grid using Kindle’s five-way controller. Click an empty mine using the middle button, and if you’re not that unlucky, numbers will show up on and around the opened cell. If at all you expose a mine, you lose the game, and in that case, you’ll have to restart by pressing R. Minesweeper involves a lot of guesswork, so if you think a particular cell contains a mine, you can mark it by pressing M.
5. Play GoMoku.
Also known as Five in a Row, GoMoku is an ancient strategy board game. It is more like a leet version of Tic Tac Toe. The winner of the game is the first player to get an unbroken row of five crosses or zeroes horizontally, vertically or diagonally. To play the game, first start Minesweeper by pressing Alt-Shift-M. Then, once the game starts press G to play GoMoku or Press N to start a new game. During the game, use the five-way key to navigate around the grid. Pressing the middle button marks the cell. You can press S to swap positions. To go back to Minesweeper press M and to go back to the main menu press the Home button.
6. Email Documents.
All Kindles have their own unique email address that can be used to email documents directly into the device – very useful if you’re away from your PC and someone has an urgent document for you to read. To find your unique email address, hit the ‘Home’ button, then from the Home screen hit Menu and then select Settings where you should find your Device E-Mail on screen. Be careful with this tip though as Amazon charge for this service as the document will be sent over the 3G network. If you want to use it for free change the ‘@kindle.com’ part of the email address to ‘@free.kindle.com’ and you will get the document next time you connect your Kindle to a WiFi network. Also be aware that it’s not possible to send PDF documents this way.
7. View Pictures.
Did you know you can use your Kindle as a rudimentary picture viewer so long as your pictures are stored as .jpg, .gif or .png files. Firstly create a folder named “Pictures” in the root of your Kindle drive (or SD card if you have one). Next create another folder inside it and copy all the pictures there. The pictures saved in this sub folder will be read as a single book. Go to the Home screen, press Alt-Z. A new “book” should appear. Open it to view your pictures. In the local menu you can also toggle dithering, resize to fit and full screen mode
8. Screen Refresh.
Do you ever see a little ‘ghosting’ when you change page? Most Kindle users do, it caused by the way ePaper works. If the ghosting is excessive or annoys you, pressing Alt+G simultaneously should refresh the screen and clear the ghosting.
9. Kindle Free Book Club.
If you’re a big reader and find that the cost of those eBooks you’re reading is getting too much, it will be no surprise to learn that there is a Facebook group for Kindle owners looking for free books – check out The Kindle Free Book Club at http://www.facebook.com/KindleFreeBookClubto keep abreast of all the latest free books available from Amazon in both the US and UK.
10. Use your Kindle as a calculator.
Another hidden function within the Kindle is its use as a calculator. And it’s not just a simple calculator in fact, it can compute even trigonometric functions pretty accurately. To use the functionality, just type in the expression you want to evaluate and press enter, the answer will be displayed instantly. For example typing in sin(98) displayed the answer accurately up to 15 digits. Here’s what else you can compute with it: Multiplication, division, square roots(sqrt), power functions (^), trigonometric functions (sin,cos,tan,atan). The above functions work fine on the Kindle 3 and Kindle DX, however they might not work on older models.