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Kindle Customizable Screensavers

April 13, 2011
Winter River

Amherst Railroad Bridge

Upon discovering that a firmware upgrade was available for Kindle 2 last night, I promptly upgraded in great hope of it having customizable screen savers. (Please understand that such a feature would be extremely desirable to a photography and art fanatic such as myself.) Well, it didn’t, much to my great disappointment. So, I decided to jump into the bottomless pit, head first, and go for a hack. Hacks are available. They come with dire warnings of “not responsible if this wrecks your Kindle.” I’ve had the Kindle long enough, and I’ve done suicidal software things often enough to not be too bothered by the warning anymore. I did a web search.

A hack called Jailbreak was first on the list and rather dominant in the searches as well. I read through the Jailbreak instructions, came upon a section where the developer pointed out that Amazon had made the Kindle source code available to the public, thus inviting hackers to hack away – like giving full permission without actually saying so. After reading that, I was extremely peaceful about doing this.

I downloaded the hack files and began to hack away, following the instructions very carefully; however, I made one mistake. Kindle 2 has a regular and international version. I assumed the international version was for foreign customers. Not so. It dawned on me later, following two failed installation attempts and then a visit to another web page (in search of a different hack) that turned out to be clarification of the instructions for Jailbreak. The international version is the one with 3G. I was not aware that Kindle 2 had a version that did not include 3G wireless. Thankfully, when one tries to install the wrong Jailbreak version to a Kindle, nothing horrible happens. It just fails to install and then promptly disappears – very convenient.

So, anyway, I then added the correct version, or so I thought. Following the first two tries, I had deleted all the nonessential versions, intending to keep a nice little folder that contained only what I needed for my Kindle, which amounted to: the hack, the screen saver function, and an uninstall file for each. Suddenly, I realize I have to retrieve or re-download some of those deleted files. Fortunately, they had only gone as far as my recycle bin. I went in there and attempted to restore them. There was one I could not find, but I thought I had at least found the one I needed first, so I restored it, trotted over to its location, sent it to my Kindle, installed it, installed the screen saver function, tested, FAILURE! It was then that I realized I had installed the uninstall Jailbreak (the files look much the same). I went digging for the other essential file, did the whole wretched thing over one more time, and this time I had complete success. YEA!!!! I then made myself a couple of screen savers from my beloved photo collection, dropped them into my Kindle, switched the Kindle on and off a few times in order to view my new screen savers, and suddenly I was happy. It was 2:00 a.m. by this time. Ridiculous!

On that clarification page, it also explained how to easily add two pleasant little processes to the new screen saver function: random shuffle and automatic reboot. Random shuffle runs the personalized screen savers randomly, as opposed to alphabetically by file name – not very important but I decided to do it anyway. As for auto, every time one adds some new screen saver, the Kindle must reboot in order to recognize them. With auto reboot, it just does it without my having to do: menu—>settings—>menu—>restart. I’m lazy and forgetful; best if the Kindle takes care of this matter for me.

There! Wasn’t that exciting? I bet you just can’t wait to do it too.

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