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Old 10-20-2010, 07:56 PM   #1
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Weird Kindle feature

I just discovered a strange feature on my Kindle. You can activate this "Collecting information mode" (as I call it) by flipping the sleep switch on and off rapidly as if you wanted to turn your Kindle on and off 10 times in 3 seconds. If you do it right, your Kindle will enter an information collecting mode. You should try it - it won't damage or mess up your Kindle. I provided an AVI file in an attachment. The video file shows me accessing this feature on my Kindle.

Does anyone know what this feature is for?
Attached Files
File Type: avi Wierd Kindle feature.avi (6.89 MB, 474 views)
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:15 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonecold View Post
I just discovered a strange feature on my Kindle. You can activate this "Collecting information mode" (as I call it) by flipping the sleep switch on and off rapidly as if you wanted to turn your Kindle on and off 10 times in 3 seconds. If you do it right, your Kindle will enter an information collecting mode. You should try it - it won't damage or mess up your Kindle. I provided an AVI file in an attachment. The video file shows me accessing this feature on my Kindle.

Does anyone know what this feature is for?
This is just a quess, but I would think that it's storing some hardware/software diagnostics for future analysis because it figured that your kindle was technically wacked going on and off like that. :-)
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:21 PM   #3
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Yep, probably just a typical crash dump. It probably just saved everything in select memory locs/logs and upped it to amazon.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:24 PM   #4
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What the others said. It thinks you're in a crash loop and is generating diagnostic information for Amazon to debug the issue.

It generally isn't a good idea to do that rapid on/off cycling for electronics anyway so don't do it :P
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:48 PM   #5
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What the others said. It thinks you're in a crash loop and is generating diagnostic information for Amazon to debug the issue.

It generally isn't a good idea to do that rapid on/off cycling for electronics anyway so don't do it :P
Actually, the on/off switch for Kindle is just a software switch (i.e. it could be programmed to be the Next Page button or even to be a "reset to factory defaults" button). It's not a hardware switch. The only damage you could do by flicking it on and off like that would be caused by physical wear-and-tear.
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:52 PM   #6
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Yep, probably just a typical crash dump. It probably just saved everything in select memory locs/logs and upped it to amazon.
Then should I do that after my Kindle freezes/glitches/encounters a Stop Error etc so that Amazon are able to look at the log files and correct the problem? Or would it just bug them?
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Old 10-20-2010, 08:56 PM   #7
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Yep, probably just a typical crash dump. It probably just saved everything in select memory locs/logs and upped it to amazon.
Do you think it's just a physical memory dump? And if so, is it a dump of the Kindle's entire 256 MB of SRAM?
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stonecold View Post
Actually, the on/off switch for Kindle is just a software switch (i.e. it could be programmed to be the Next Page button or even to be a "reset to factory defaults" button). It's not a hardware switch. The only damage you could do by flicking it on and off like that would be caused by physical wear-and-tear.
You're still causing the rest of the Kindle to power up and power down. Just because it is a soft switch doesn't mean that you're not causing other things to happen inside the Kindle.

If you really think nothing will happen then mash on the power button on your PC and tell me how long it lasts :P

Last edited by Tiersten; 10-20-2010 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:03 PM   #9
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Then should I do that after my Kindle freezes/glitches/encounters a Stop Error etc so that Amazon are able to look at the log files and correct the problem? Or would it just bug them?
No because this is to help them diagnose issues with Kindles that are stuck in a crash/reboot loop. You'd just make it more confusing for the Kindle developers to work out what the problem is because you're generating extra logs for something which isn't actually happening.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:10 PM   #10
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Do you think it's just a physical memory dump? And if so, is it a dump of the Kindle's entire 256 MB of SRAM?
Doubt it. That'd be a bad idea to have to upload via 3G even after compression. Its more likely the logs and a dump of various important parts of memory.
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:35 PM   #11
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No because this is to help them diagnose issues with Kindles that are stuck in a crash/reboot loop. You'd just make it more confusing for the Kindle developers to work out what the problem is because you're generating extra logs for something which isn't actually happening.
Wouldn't they quickly realize that the Kindle wasn't stuck in a crash/reboot cycle? They'd also probably quickly realize that something was wrong with the Kindle and be able to analyze and diagnose the problem even if it wasn't stuck in such a loop. And why didn't they make it so that it was impossible to activate manually?
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Old 10-20-2010, 09:39 PM   #12
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Stonecold View Post
Wouldn't they quickly realize that the Kindle wasn't stuck in a crash/reboot cycle? They'd also probably quickly realize that something was wrong with the Kindle and be able to analyze and diagnose the problem even if it wasn't stuck in such a loop. And why didn't they make it so that it was impossible to activate manually?
You're assuming that they're just dealing with your crash logs and nobody elses. That they will spend the time to look through every single one of your logs to find the common elements and then separate out the false information you're providing them. The only outcome is that you've just increased the workload of the Kindle developers for no reason.

Or you could just leave it alone and not do that and let them look at the diagnostic logs that gets generated anyway by the crash instead of generating a load of other logs which are useless.
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Old 10-20-2010, 10:51 PM   #14
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You're still causing the rest of the Kindle to power up and power down. Just because it is a soft switch doesn't mean that you're not causing other things to happen inside the Kindle.
Have you ever noticed how, if you put your Kindle into sleep mode and take it out seconds later, it "wakes up" almost instantly? And if you put it into sleep mode, wait a minute, and then wake it up it can take up to 5 seconds to actually respond. This is because it's not really powering down - it's just in standby. The important data related to the current GUI state is dumped into the Kindle's flash memory. Then, when you turn it back on, the data put into the flash memory is dumped back into the RAM, causing the Kindle to wake up at the exact spot you left it. However, it doesn't enter hibernation mode instantly. First, it goes into standby mode (the only power being used is being used to mantain the RAM). In standby mode, the Kindle's screensaver is literally that, a screensaver. All it's doing is notifying you that you pressed the power button. That's why you can wake the Kindle up instantly in the first 30 seconds or so of being in screensaver mode (at that time the screensaver is just a picture, and pressing the power simply removes the picture). After a little while, the Kindle assumes it's not going to be turned on for a while and begins dumping certain parts of it's RAM into it's flash memory. After that, if you turn it back on it'll take a longer time to start up because it has to extract "previous state" data from its flash memory and place it in its RAM as well as initialize certain processes. If I turn my Kindle on and off, all it's doing is showing me a picture and then removing that picture quickly. It's just as if I were quickly pressing the Next Page button on the Kindle's picture viewer. It's not really shutting down (or even hibernating) the second I press power.

The difference between putting a Kindle into screensaver mode (pressing the power button) and turning it off (holding the power button for 7 seconds) is that, in sleep mode, Kindle is still storing its firmware in its RAM. When you actually hold the power button to fully turn it off, it dumps a small portion of its RAM containing GUI state into its flash memory (just like putting it into sleep mode), but it also shuts down power to its RAM, causing the firmware in its RAM to fade and be lost. When someone turns Kindle back on from off mode, it has to copy its dumped GUI state as well as all of its firmware back to its RAM so that it can process data. In sleep mode, Kindle is still storing its firmware in its RAM and that take a small amout of power (that's why Amazon reccomends you turn your Kindle OFF if it's not going to be used for a long time. When it's off, almost no power is being consumed but it takes a while to boot back up).


Here are the summaries writen in third-person pseudocode:

Hibernation ON summary:
1. Power button is pressed
2. Kindle brings up screensaver image
3. Kindle waits to make sure you aren't going to turn it on immediately
4. Kindle dumps GUI state into flash memory
5. Kindle shuts down non-vital processes
6. Kindle mantains power to RAM to retain firmware
7. Kindle waits until power button is pressed again

Hibernation OFF summary:
8. Power button is pressed
9. Firmware in RAM is utilized and certain processes are initialized
10. Kindle retrieves previous GUI state from flash memory and places it in RAM
11. Kindle reads GUI state from RAM and opens processes that were closed upon shut down
12. Kindle deletes previous GUI state data from flash memory
13. Kindle removes screensaver image
14. Kindle is now ready to be operated again


Power OFF summary:
1. Power button is pressed and held down for 7 seconds
2. Kindle removes current image from screen and leaves it white
3. Kindle dumps GUI state into flash memory
4. Kindle terminates ALL processes
5. Without any active processes, the CPU immediately fails and power to the RAM is lost
6. Kindle is now OFF

Power ON summery:
1. Power button is pressed and the CPU receives power
2. The CPU initializes the BIOS which in turn loads the firmware from the flash memory which can take up to 10 seconds
3. The firmware instructs the CPU to scan the flash memory for previous GUI state data
4. The GUI state is loaded into the RAM
5. The CPU reads the GUI state in the RAM and opens processes that were terminated upon shut down
6. The previous GUI state data is deleted from the flash memory
7. The Kindle is now ON and is ready to be operated


Sorry for the long post. I kind of got carried away... I wrote this all on my Kindle, by-the-way, so there might be some typos. This took over an hour to write, so I had no time to proof-read. Excuse this post if it's a little hard to understand.
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Old 10-20-2010, 11:01 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiersten View Post
You're assuming that they're just dealing with your crash logs and nobody elses. That they will spend the time to look through every single one of your logs to find the common elements and then separate out the false information you're providing them. The only outcome is that you've just increased the workload of the Kindle developers for no reason.

Or you could just leave it alone and not do that and let them look at the diagnostic logs that gets generated anyway by the crash instead of generating a load of other logs which are useless.
The problem with that is that devices (such as Kindle) don't always know when an error has occured and Amazon never find out. For example, I take screenshots when ever a visible glitch occurs and I mail the screenshots in a ZIP file to kindle-feedback@amazon.com so that Amazon are able to diagnose the problem(s). I recently asked Amazon if they actually benefit from this or if it's only a nuicence, and they replied that it is actually quite helpful. I then asked them if I should include a copy of the message log (all_logs_as_of_xxx_xxx_xx_xx.xx.xx_PDT_xxxx.txt) at the time I took the screenshot of the glitch so that each glitch screenshot had a message log attached. They said that would actually be quite helpful because Kindle won't always know when a glitch has occured and won't send the log files to Amazon.
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