Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tips & Tricks: Using the Fire While Charging, Book Notes, and Adjusting Screen Timeout

Continuing our theme this week of looking at some of the basic functions of the Kindle Fire, we'll spend a little time today looking at some of the tools available to you while you're reading for things like looking up words in the dictionary and taking notes. After that, we'll dive into the settings a bit more and tell you how to control the time it takes for the screen to dim while inactive.

But first, we got a very cool tip from on of our readers about a great way to make better use of the Fire while it's charging. I don't know about you, but for me I rarely use the Fire while it's charging because of the cord and everything, making the device so cumbersome, but Billy Crow found a great solution that makes reading or watching videos while charging a much better experience. Considering the Fire can use cell phone chargers, he found that some other accessories work as well, name the Micro USB SKN6258 Adapter.
In Billy's own words, "I got my part in today to make the Fire a little easier to use while it's charging. All this is, is a connector with an elbow (or L). You don't have the usb cable coming straight out of the bottom of the fire causing pressure on the connection. I can rest it on my stomach and read the Fire while its charging. I've tried it out today and it works great."

And it's very nice to see that the Micro USB SKN6258 Adapter only costs about $4.00.

Also worth mentioning is that there's an extra loooong 6 feet USB Data Sync cable for the Fire that's an astounding 70% off! It's the CCM®, 6 Foot Long USB to Micro-USB Cable.
Kindle Fire Reading Tools
There are a number of helpful functions at your disposal while you're reading, should you come across a word you don't know or something that you want to remember. Perhaps the easiest one is to use the magnifying glass at the bottom of the screen to search your document for a specific word. I'll often use this when I'm trying to find a specific section, but I'm not sure where the location of it is. Remembering an usual word or two that was there makes it easy to search for a passage.

A function that's a little less obvious is the ability to highlight sections and take notes. When you find something in the text that you want to take note of, touch your finger to the beginning of the phrase, line, or paragraph and drag it to the end of the section you want to mark. Lift your finger, and you'll see an options menu that'll allow you to Highlight or Take Notes. Highlighting just one word in this way will also call up the dictionary definition, which is handy and quick.

Setting the Screen Timeout
The time it takes for your Fire to activate the screensaver is fully adjustable, giving you the option of having it come on after as little as 30 seconds of inactivity, as much as an hour, or for it to never come on. The default is 5 minutes, I believe, but if you're a serious energy-saver or are having issues with the screensaver coming on while you're using applications or something, you may want to change it. Here's how.

First, tap Settings in the upper right hand corner, and then tap More to bring up the expanded settings menu. Tap Display and then Screen Timeout to see the various options you have: 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 15, 30, 45, 1 hour, or never. Make your selection, and voila!

11 comments:

  1. What about a car charger for those long trips?

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  2. Hi Nancy, we've got a great car charger up in our Best Fire Accessories page. It's the HHI Amazon Kindle Fire Car Charger. Enjoy!

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  3. Just a quick question, and I am not sure how much it pertains to the power cord vs a manufacturing issue. I am on my third Fire, due to the port becoming so loose I had a time getting it to make contact to charge. When I first got my Fire, it was a fight to get the plug in the port. It gradually loosened up. After almost a month, I had to contact CS for a replacement. That one must have been a refurb, it was loose when I got it, and was in the same shape after one week. I decided to purchase the third outright, to make sure I got a brand new one. Now after a month, I am seeing the same signs. I love My Fire, but not loving this hanging over my head.
    Have you heard many people having this problem??

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    1. I'm really sorry to hear about that, EC75. I have heard of people having connection problems, and then they'd get a replacement and it'd be fine. It really sounds like you're getting the short end of the stick, and all I could tell you is to make another call about it. :(

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    2. I have trouble with my kindle fire turning itself off in the middle of reading or playing a game. What is wrong with it

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    3. Hi Ruby, having your Fire turn off definitely means there's something wrong with the device. Your best bet is to call Amazon Customer Service and tell them about it. Most likely they'll ship you a replacement. Sorry for the trouble!

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  4. The right angle cord looks like a good solution.

    But there's a lot easier way to deal with it and it doesn't cost a thing. Just turn your Fire upside down. The screen will flip around and everything works just like before except that the power cord comes out the top now where it isn't in the way...

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  5. Has Amazon or anyone else for that matter, come up with a way to sort our books on the Fire? It's a real pain to find a particular type of book when you have literally hundreds of them! The ability to sort by genre, or age group, or any criteria you want would make this Fire the best thing going!

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  6. We definitely agree, Suzie, but there really isn't a way to add collections to the Fire yet. If I could make an app myself I'd find a way to do just that!

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    1. Suzie's question is exactly the reason I was searching on here. I share my library with another family member and we have totally different tastes in reading material. It would certainly make my life easier to be able to sort the books/apps.

      I just happened to stumble across this site and it looks wonderful! I'm going to send the URL to other Fire owners.

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    2. Thanks so much for your support, m. We're glad you found us! We also feel strongly that a way to sort books is needed, which is why we at one point a few weeks ago attempted to find a way to make an app ourselves that would allow us to organize. Unfortunately it didn't work out, but you can be sure we'll be pushing hard to find a way to allow people to get the most enjoyment of their Fires!

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