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Your new Kindle Paperwhite (and the wi-fi password glitch)…

Posted Nov 17 2012 7:19am

I have a shiny, new Kindle Paperwhite.  For Kindle newbies, the quick start guide shows where to plug in the USB power lead (in the USB port – oh, wow!). And, er, that’s it.

Turn it on,** though, and no matter how computer and Kindle literate you might be, you are forced to go through a familiarisation routine. And I do mean forced – there is no Thanks very much, I’m not an idiot, option. The assumption is that you are an idiot, you’ve never used a touchscreen in your life, and you must be indoctrinated (OK, I know at least one person like that), but anyone who needs to be led by that hand like this is going to forget anyway (but see below re the manual).

**Press the on/off button and nothing will happen – you have to press and hold. Clearly a precaution against it being accidentally turned on, but I prefer the Kindle 3’s slider.

Note: You don’t get a charger, just a USB charging lead.

There is no text-to-voice option on this model, and no mp3 facility either, neither of which bothers me as I didn’t use them. However, people might order this assuming they’ll get the same functionality as the K3, but with an illuminated touchscreen, and they won’t be pleased. So, if you’re in the market, do be sure to read all the information on Amazon.

Talking of Amazon, I bought mine in the first release, so how come Amazon is already littered with reviews, since no-one will have received theirs before me?

But what of the famed Paperwhite screen? First of all, if you turn off the light, it’s not unreasonable to expect it to look like a K3. Instead, it’s utterly unusable. You have to use the light, and about 80% of max seems reasonable in room lighting. The LED lighting creates shadows at the bottom of the screen, but as this doesn’t impact on the text, it’s of no consequence.

Looking at my two Kindles side by side, the screen of my K3, with which I had been happy, now looks very dull indeed! It’s possible to select identical text size and spacing though, and it synchronises nicely to the last page read in my current book, so that’s cool.

Unlike my K3, the Paperwhite allows selection of individual books from the cloud, rather just  a basic synchronise operation, which is good, as I want to use the Paperwhite for my unread fiction and, when I have a moment, archive** and then empty the K3 and just load my reference books and dictionary.

**Connect you Kindle to your PC. Go to Computer (or My Computer, depending on your version of Windows), double click the Kindle icon, locate the folder called Documents (this holds all your books), and copy and paste it to somewhere safe.

Kindle also creates a folder called My Kindle Content in (My) Documents, but if you have a lot of content from non-Amazon sources, as I have (mostly from Project Gutenberg), then that folder won’t be complete – the one on the Kindle, is.

Having had a canter through the Paperwhite, I can see no problems with it, other than the initial tendency to treat everyone as if they’ve lived in a cave on Mars for several years, and totally missed the touchscreen “revolution”. The thing is, though, a lot of buyers, or recipients at Christmas, won’t have the foggiest notion about touchscreens or Kindles, and a manual, if only on the Kindle, is a must and, as if by magic, one has appeared on my Paperwhite!

But here’s the thing. It wasn’t there when I first switched it on, which is when many people will need it, it’s auto-downloaded at some point while I’ve been typing this.

By default, the Home page displays the book covers. It also displays an ad from Amazon which borders on the unacceptably intrusive. Switching to list view, which is far more convenient anyway, gets rid of the ad.

One final comment. K3 asked for the wi-fi password, which confused a lot of people (I wrote a blog post clarifying it, which still gets loads of hits), and that’s repeated in Paperwhite. By password, it means your Network key. Your ISP should have provided you with that, or you can access your router via your browser (if you know how – sorry, I can’t help with that, you need the http access code), and look it up there. If all else fails, contact your ISP.

And by the way, don’t feel smug just because you know that the wi-fi password is the Network Key – many thousands of people don’t know that, as the hits on my original post on the subject will testify.

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