My Kindle3 (Kindle Keyboard) recently started grinding to a halt every time I added a note or a highlight (a wait of up to a couple of minutes to save each note). A bit of digging showed that my firmware had recently updated to version 3.3 and this had re-enabled indexing.
Indexing is great for finding text within books. As any software coder will tell you, indexing isn’t easy to get right and there are always trade-offs. I’m an editor. I often make several thousand Kindle highlights and notes every month. That makes my usage pattern unusual enough that Amazon’s default settings make my Kindle unusable. I had previously solved this by disabling indexing. Unfortunately I’d forgotten how.
So here, as a reminder-to-self for the next time I need this, is how to disable indexing.
- Start at the HOME screen
- Bring up the search window (hit a letter key and then delete the letter you just typed)
- type in ;debugOn + ENTER You need to match the case and you need the symbol window OFF before you hit enter (the bit in the middle of the 5-way controller)
- type ~help + ENTER into the search window to check you’ve activated debug mode. (you need to bring up the search window, as in step 2, to give you something to type into)
- enter ~disableIndexing into the search window (match case)
- enter ;debugOff into the search window (yes, match the case)
Incidentally, there are a whole host of keyboard shortcuts you might not know about. Here’s a few:
- ALT+SHIFT+H Takes a screenshot (as a .gif file) and leaves in your ‘documents’ folder on the kindle
- HOME->MENU->Settings->MENU->Restart This gives a soft reset. Basically, if anything seems wonky, try this first. It’s like rebooting your PC.
- ALT+SHIFT+M is naughty, so I won’t mention that.
There are loads more. Here’s a site that keeps a list. You can even download them to your Kindle. You might come across hacks that are downloaded applications. Be vary wary of these as they might become unstable with future firmware updates, and could be malicious.
JAN 2012 UPDATE for Kindle 4
When I wrote these notes, the Kindle 3 (now renamed Kindle Keyboard) was the most recent model, and the Kindle Fire was just a rumour. Since then, new Kindles have been launched without keyboard (so keyboard shortcuts are going to be tricky) and with different firmware versions (firmware is the ‘operating system’ software that Amazon put onto your Kindle so that it knows how to display books). A keyboard shortcut or diagnostic setting (such as turning off indexing) that works for one version of firmware might not work for another. With so many firmware versions on the go, you need to pay attention to your Kindle’s firmware version when seeking out shortcuts; check they match. Me? I only have a Kindle 3, so can’t tell whether any of the shortcuts work for other versions.
You can determine your firmware version by viewing this Amazon help topic and clicking your your Kindle device. The major version numbers for devices released 2010 or later:
Kindle3/ Keyboard: is firmware version 3
Kindle no touch : is firmware version 4
Kindle touch : is firmware version 5
Kindle Fire : is firmware version 6
Right. That’s your warning out the way. Now for some shortcuts for Kindles 4,5& 6.
Now for some tips
- Amazon provide some shortcuts for basic navigation here, this includes ways to ‘type’ faster without the keyboard.
- MobileReads.com is an excellent source of information at every level. Here’s a page on Kindle4 (no-touch) shortcuts including screen capture and picture collections. There’s even a mobi version (not checked) that you can load onto your Kindle.
I’ll add more tips as I find them.