Amazon Kindle DX 2.5.3

Just 4 days with 2.5.2 and my Kindle DX has been updated again – this time to 2.5.3. I can’t see any difference in the functionality and the browser still works. Maybe this will be the final release.

Kindle DX Update 2.5.3

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Amazon Kindle DX 2.5.2 Update

It’s a bit of a mixed bag. I have to admit being disappointed by some of the updates and very surprised by some others. Let’s start with the biggest disappointment – PDF zooming and panning. I find the implementation to be clunky with the zoom options limited to 150%, 200%, 300% and actual size.

Kindle 2.5.2 PDF Zoom Options

While it is an improvement, I had hoped for something which fits to the screen and allows for smaller increments so that one can get rid of useless borders while retaining the larger zoom options if needed. On the Kindle DX, the “fit to screen” zoom level is about 50% – moving to 150% is a big jump – come on guys! In the image below, you can see the 150% selection box when zooming into a PDF fitted to the Kindle DX screen size. Panning, once zoomed in, can also be excruciatingly slow in some PDF documents, so the feature is of limited use. I still recommend trimming your PDFs before downloading them to the Kindle as described in one of my previous posts.

PDF Zoom Selection Box at 150%

The next feature I had been wanting is collections and thankfully this feature delivers – and given it’s simplicity, so it should. In the home screen, one can press the menu button and then select “Create New Collection” to basically create a folder. After creating the collection, simply move onto the document you want to place into the collection, move the joystick to the right and select “Add to Collection…” which gives you a list of your collections into which the document can be placed. Pretty simple. Additional features include sorting your home screen “By Collections” as well as the ability to rename and delete collections. Below is a screen shot of my much tidier home screen via the use of collections.

Documents Sorted into Collections

Here is a screen shot of the Kindle in my electronics collection.

Kindle 2.5.2 Collections

As expected, the “social networking” options do not work in Germany and presumably all owners of the Kindle outside of the US will have the same issue. The really big surprise, and I don’t know if this is a mistake which will be patched later, is the ability to use the built-in browser. In the previous version of the firmware, this was impossible for international users – now it works just fine. If you are an international user of the Kindle and have the 2.5.2 update, press the menu button in the home screen, select the option “Experimental” and the launch the browser. Happy surfing, but please be aware that you may be charged for it’s use. I haven’t been able to find any official comments on this topic yet.

Browser on International Kindle DX

Update: My Kindle DX is now running on 2.5.3.

Amazon Kindle v2.5 Software Update

In the immortal words of Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, good news everyone! It looks like there is an imminent firmware update for the Kindle waiting in the wings – version 2.5. The exciting new features in this release seem to be collections for organizing books and documents into one or more groups or “collections”, PDF pan and zoom, improved clarity and more fonts. It will also apparently support some social network features such as facebook, twitter and shared “highlights” or interesting passages in books – ok, but I’m more interested in its book reading capabilities. In my opinion, this fixes almost all of the niggles with the device.

Update: My Kindle DX now runs with 2.5.2 – details here.

Free Textbooks For The Kindle DX

There is a surprising amount of high quality free textbooks available on the internet in PDF format if you spend some time searching for them. Two sites which are definitely worth taking a look at are: E-Books Dictionary which has over 3300 free e-books in over 400 categories and Free Computer Books. Most of the e-books on these sites seem to be available in PDF format which is perfect.

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