Wednesday, October 20, 2010

electronic lazarus

It was not the Hindenburg going down in flames.  No cries of "Oh, the humanity."

But my world was shaken for a bit.

My Kindle died.  At the beach.  Not in Mexico, as I had predicted, but in Oregon.

I had been having trouble with the sliding power switch for a week.  It would catch now and then when I turned the Kindle on or off.  That should have been a warning sign.  The equivalent of dizziness for a diabetic.

I bought the Kindle solely for use in Mexico.  I love reading.  But, I have loved books even more.  The feel of their weight in my hands.  The smell of leather bindings.  The texture of the paper.  Hedonism writ large.

Books have always been one of my favorite sensual pleasures.  So, I was a bit surprised when I started using the Kindle.  It turns out that reading is my true pleasure.  And I read more using the Kindle.  No idea why that is true.  But I hear it from my fellow Kindle users.

That is why I was a bit concerned about the power switch.  Something bad was about to happen.

On Saturday night, I was well into James Swanson's Bloody Crimes: The Chase for Jefferson Davis and the Death Pageant for Lincoln's Corpse when I stopped to do something.  I turned off the Kindle.  When I returned to resume my reading, I flipped the switch and -- nothing.  I tried again.  Nothing.

Thinking I might have drained the battery, I plugged the Kindle into the wall.  Nothing.  Not even an indication that power was getting to the device.
Amazon has a good reputation for fixing or replacing damaged goods.  But my departure date for Mexico would probably arrive before a repaired Kindle could UPS itself back to me.

I decided to try one last option.  Before my Kindle arrived, I loaded the Kindle software on my laptop.  The user guide was part of my electronic library.  I started browsing the trouble-shooting chapter.  Of course, I had taken each of the steps recommended.

But there was one last step I had not thought of.  Before I retired, my favorite professional device was a Compaq iPaq -- a PDA.  I loved it.  But it was notoriously unstable.  I had to soft reboot the device regularly.

I never thought that the Kindle might have a similar reset button.  But it does.  If you hold the power switch to the left for 15 seconds, it will do a soft reboot.

In my case, it worked.  I was back to reliving the days following the end of the Civil War in minutes.

Just like Lazarus, what was dead, now lived.

And the power switch is sliding easily without catching.

Its ultimate fate (and value) now resides in Mexico.


Leslie Limon said...

The same thing happened to me about 2 or 3 weeks after I received my Kindle. I just about had a heart attack. I read the manual on my pc and was so happy that I was able to get it to reboot.

My Kindle freezes from time to time, but I've found that pressing ALT + G helps to refresh the screen!

Krystal said...

I'm really wavering with this investment. I love to read as well but I have Kindle for Android on my phone and the netbook as well. Is there any map that allows you to check if your part of Mexico has 3G coverage?

Calypso said...

Hombre you had me going there for a minute (until I read further down). No doubt your intention - set them up - THEN tell them about the reset button. hmm.

Anonymous said...

What a relief, to recover something thought lost. For me it's a rare occurance and such joy when it happens. I can't wait till I get old.

Jackie said...

Whew! Good to know about the reset button. I got my Kindle but I have yet to read a book on it. I have 9 books loaded on it for upcoming trips though. Earlier this month when I went to Isla I chose to take “real” books so I could leave them in my apartment to give them friends to read when I go back in December. Next month I am going to Cabo and I am only going to take my Kindle since I don’t want to leave books in a timeshare condo. The best of both worlds to me is to have real book an a Kindle.

jennifer rose said...

And when was the last time you had to hit "reset" on a book?

Brubor said...

Thanks for telling us of your experience with the Kindle. I don't have one yet, but I'll probably get one eventually. I'm into gadgets...Anyway, if that happens with mine, I'll know what to try.

Laurie said...

Thanks for the tip about the reset button. My Kindle cometh soon.

Felipe said...

You´ve got that antique Kindle, and you just now learned of the reset button? I´ve reset mine a number of times already. Piece of cake.

The sliding power switch, however, is a bad design. I don´t like it, but it´s an imperfect world.

Steve Cotton said...

Leslie -- I have not had a freeze yet. But thanks for the "alt>G" tip. I am certain it will happen.

Krystal -- There is. Take a look at 3G coverage in Mexico is, not surprisingly, grouped in the urban areas. But wireless coverage is extensive. I will soon see how well it works.

Calypso -- A telegraphed punchline never makes a good tale. Tension is a writer's best friend.

Francisco -- But then there would be a dilemma in discovering one's seniority. Almost a Zen moment.

Jackie -- When you start using your Kindle, you will probably find it difficult to put it down. And our Fall weather has been glorious enough to spend time outside reading.

Jennifer -- Some book attributes are hedonistic. Some merely practical. The lack of a "reset" button on a book is one of the latter.

Brubor -- If I had not moved south, I am not certain whether I would have bought a Kindle, I doubt I would have tried it.

Laurie -- One of the nice thing about so many expatriate bloggers owning Kindles is that we get the value of their experience.

Felipe -- In this regard alone, I have been the luckier man.

Ron said...

I have a two day old iPad.

I love it already - bought my first book and it reads just fine - and it is a general purpose computer.

Steve Cotton said...

Ron -- I hope you bring it with you to the conference.