I went looking for more Kindle tips and tricks — and discovered the mother lode. When the Kindle was first released, a hacker named Igor Skochinsky poked around through the Kindle’s hardware, and discovered some undocumented features. For example, he posted instructions on how to create a book on your home page which is actually a set of your favorite pictures. (When you e-mail pictures to your Kindle, each picture appears as a separate ebook, but Skochinsky appears to have found an unsupported way to pull up a special “Picture Viewer,” which can also re-size pictures to fit the Kindle screen, adjust their dithering, and even select one of them as the Kindle’s screen saver.)
Confession: I didn’t actually try that tip, because I was afraid it might void my Kindle’s warranty. But I can pass along five of the other tricks which worked great on my Kindle 1.
1. Automatic Page-Turning with “Slideshow” Mode
You can teach your Kindle to turn the pages for you! When you’re reading an ebook, just press Alt-0 to “enable” the special slideshow mode. Then pressing Alt-1 will start the automatic page-turning — and Alt-2 will stop it. It seems to have only one speed, but it’s easy to keep up with if you increase your text’s font size, which reduces the number of words on each page. And pressing Alt-0 again will “toggle off” this special functionality.
“Slideshow mode” can also be used like one of those educational tools that they use to teach speed readers to read faster…
2. Display the Current Time
If you’re reading an ebook, pressing Alt-T will actually spell out the current time, in letters, in the lower-left corner of the screen (where the Kindle usually displays your current location in the ebook).
If you’re on your Kindle’s home page, pressing Alt-T will display the current time, in numbers, in the same lower-left corner.
And entering @time as a search will also display the complete time, including the month and day!
3. Switch to a Different Song
If you’re playing an mp3, pressing Alt-P will stop (and re-start) the Kindle’s music player. But if you want to continue playing music, and just switch over to a different song, then press Alt-F to go Forward to the next song in your Kindle directory.
4. Find Out How Many Hours You’ve Used Your Kindle
On a phone you’d dial 411 to call information. On the “Settings,” screen, you type 411 to get information about your Kindle. It’s a diagnostics page, with mostly cryptic technical information like “Kindle Version: Linux version 2.6.10-lab126.”
But it’s kind of fun to see your Kindle’s “awake time” and “sleep time” statistics.
5. Find Nearby Restaurants on Google Maps
If you’re using the web browser, try typing Alt-3. This automatically brings up Google Maps with a page listing restaurants near your current location. (And Alt-2 brings up nearby gas stations, while Alt-1 shows your current location.)
Note: I’ve had some erratic results using this feature. It seems like now, Google simply displays “Not Avail, Not Avail” for my city and state — and then performs the search using the last city that I’d accessed through Google Maps. But that’s still a pretty handy feature….
Click here for an earlier article, My 10 Best Kindle Tips and Tricks.