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Old 03-09-2012, 01:54 PM   #1
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Smile Kobo standalone? (never want to connect to Kobo, or activate)

I've been reading the forums, and other blogs and stuff, including the Linux Desktop thread, other Linux threads and the FAQ, and I can't seem to find a clear answer.

If I want to buy a Kobo, and *never* connect it to Kobo (or indeed, anywhere else), nor use the desktop app (I'm running Linux and understand I *could* use the desktop .deb), some people often seem to state that you have to activate it once (and to do this, you either need a late model and use WiFi, or connect it to the app (Windows, Mac or Linux)). I don't want an account at Kobo, nor will it be of any use to me as I won't use it.

According to this blog: http://www.darkcoding.net/misc/kobo-...-ubuntu-linux/

you don't actually *have* to activate it? I've played with one in the shop, and it didn't appear to be activated, and was in "Airplane Mode", and seemed to work just fine. I just want to hook it up via USB and either drop files on it, or use Calibre to do the management. I don't see myself ever buying any books from Kobo, and definitely don't want any of the recommendation stuff!

I am happy to not have the latest firmware (I plan to do those kinds of updates manually (I don't currently like the look of 1.9.16, plan to try 1.9.14 first).

Is this possible? What does activating get you, other than an account at Kobo and the latest firmware? (and presumably, stuff you don't want like the recommendations, and the more cluttered home screen? (and over time, useage tracking). Can you not activate and just start using it in "usb/airplane mode"? Does it nag you?

Any help most appreciated, as this isn't something I seem to be able to find a straight answer to, but is key to knowing before I buy (if I like it, I'll get 2,3 or 4 for the family).

Cheers,

Matt
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:30 PM   #2
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If you want to use the device as a purely reading device for your ePubs, you don't have to register or connect. You can just skip setup. But you'll be missing out on firmware updates which I personally would not sacrifice. Kobo also offers free book offers every month once you activate your device which would normally costs you anywhere between 2-12 dollars. I use my device for purely ePub reading as well. Registering just give you the piece of mind that your device will be covered by warranty and customer support as well. Plus it's your choice whether you want to shop at Kobo or not. One more thing, the firmware updates also add features to your device. In the past, they've added the ability to add custom fonts and optimized page turns.

Consider all the benefits and absolutely no costs of registering, I would recommend registering on your buddy's PC if you're stuck with linux.

Welcome to the Kobo forum!
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:26 PM   #3
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Thumbs up

Many Thanks for your (prompt) reply! It was very useful to me.

From reading all the threads I mentioned, it looks like you can manually put the firmware updates on the device over USB (or even Telnet/ftp, if you go that way), if you need/want to change the firmware version!?

Also, I have a dual bootable box with Windows on it if I *really* need it (don't hardly ever use that), or Windows inside a VM when that suits, plus I run the occasional Windows app under Wine (plus I can run the native .deb linux desktop app if need be). Lots of options, if need be

Do the "free" books, you mention, come as Adobe DRM encumbered, like the usual pay-for books? Just worth knowing, to balance up if "free" is worth it. The registration/warranty stuff isn't required, at least in the EU, where you get a manufactures 2 year warranty by law, and that doesn't involve having to register it, just requires proof of purchase. ASDA and WHSmith here in the UK (the main sellers) also are usually pretty good with customer service/returns.

Thanks again,

Matt (now to find the best deal for purchase)
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Old 03-09-2012, 03:32 PM   #4
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If you buy a Kobo with an older firmware, it will work as a pure play reader (but wifi will be disabled, so not downloading from Calibre server for you.) However, as old units eventually sell out and new units go on store shelves with newer firmware, even that function will be disabled. The new firmware will not accept new books until it's registered. New firmware is also needed for basic fuctions, (Like your own bookmarks, rather than just remembering the page where the book was last closed.)

Fortunately, you can have your cake and eat it too. Especially if you are a Linux user. If you must buy a Kobo rather than a Sony, there are 2 things you can do to get a full function device:

1. Instlal SQLite3 and open the KoboReader.sqlite in the .kobo directory.

Give it this command:

INSERT INTO "user" VALUES('aaaaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaa','aaaaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaa','xxxx@xxxx.xx','xxxx@xxxx.xx','2aaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaa==');

Next, you can download firmware 1.9.16.zip from Kobo. They don't publicize the link, but you should be able to find it in the Firmware thread.

Unzip the contents of the zip file into the .kobo directory. Eject/Unmount the Kobo and disconnect. It should update itself and enable all functions that are usually disabled until registered.

You can PM me if you need further clarification, but again, if all this seems like insane work to make a device you pay money for work, splurge a little on the Sony.
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:52 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by rashkae View Post
INSERT INTO "user" VALUES('aaaaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaa','aaaaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaa-aaaaaaaaaaaa','xxxx@xxxx.xx','xxxx@xxxx.xx','2aaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaa==');
INSERT INTO "user" VALUES('foo','foo','foo','foo','foo');
also works. Or whatever you want, except umlauts. There's no test of a well formed email address.
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(now to find the best deal for purchase)
Good luck with Kobo-hunting

Last edited by Koboyashi; 03-10-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 03-10-2012, 04:52 AM   #6
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Thumbs up

Thanks guys, that's *exactly* what I needed. So, you *can* use it unregistered, but not full functionality (or indeed, apparently, just able to add books), so the sqlite command sounds perfect (I'm used to using the command line and sqlite so that's no biggie for me). I've seen those firmware instructions elsewhere (presumably on the firmware thread ), so thanks for that also.

I don't want a Sony, and this might sound stupid, but I do my best to boycott Sony products wherever possible since the Rootkit fiasco. I won't not buy a Sony "to cut my nose off to spite my face", but, I won't give them my business unless I absolutely can't find a better/alternative product (or go without, sometimes). The Kobo, apart from the silly activation/Kobo account nonsense, seems to otherwise fit the bill.

Thanks again,

Matt
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Old 03-10-2012, 07:08 AM   #7
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Just wanted to mention, I bought a Kobo Touch but had to return it because of the well known And well documented page turn bug. I had reservations about the kindle but had to give it a try. Bought one in a store, I discovered that if you buy from amazon they already set it up to your account, but if you buy from a store, it's not setup to an account. It's simple to download the firmware update manually from amazon.com. I also converted my epubs to mobi via calibre without any issue, I don't plan on ever registering it with amazon, and I'm glad I have that option.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:27 AM   #8
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One drawback with your Kindle is that you can't sort your books into collections if you don't register it.
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Old 03-10-2012, 08:07 PM   #9
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The reason I dismissed the Kindle, was because a reader that doesn't support ePub was out of the question for me (and I'm certainly not going to get into converting to a non-standard format just to suit a particular device!). If a kindle isn't registered, can you not create folders, and move books into those folders? (is that what a collection is, or is that something else?).

I also wouldn't have a registered Kindle (or at least with any Amazon bought books), as they have final control over your device, and content, and that's not acceptable to me, for something I paid for!
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Old 03-10-2012, 11:41 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mutant_matt View Post
The reason I dismissed the Kindle, was because a reader that doesn't support ePub was out of the question for me (and I'm certainly not going to get into converting to a non-standard format just to suit a particular device!). If a kindle isn't registered, can you not create folders, and move books into those folders? (is that what a collection is, or is that something else?).

I also wouldn't have a registered Kindle (or at least with any Amazon bought books), as they have final control over your device, and content, and that's not acceptable to me, for something I paid for!
Pretty sure that's what collections mean, but note that the Kobo doesn't have official support for folders/shelves/collections. It will come in a future update, but don't hold your breath. There's a good plug-in that will take the crap off the homescreen and activate shelves. You can see what else the plug-in does in the Kobo Touch plug-in interface thread.
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Old 03-11-2012, 12:56 AM   #11
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There's a good plug-in that will take the crap off the homescreen and activate shelves. You can see what else the plug-in does in the Kobo Touch plug-in interface thread.
Thank-you for that suggestion. The plug-in is a bit rough around the edges, but it is great to see third-party developers getting into the picture.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:37 AM   #12
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Collections on the Kindle aren't actual folders (isn't it just Pocketbook readers that support folders?), but yes it lets you sort your books into your own custom categories (and you can have them in more than one), then you can display your books in these categories instead of just listing all the individual books.

You have to register and connect via wi-fi once to enable collections, I think that's the only 'feature' that's missing. After the initial registration (which can be done with your Kindle containing nothing but the user guide), you don't have to ever buy a book from Amazon, use your account, connect to their servers, etc, etc. Just like the Kobo (and probably any ereader), you don't need to, but there are good reasons for registering, and there's nothing sinister about it.

I know a lot of people value the ease of buying books from Amazon and getting them delivered to their Kindle wirelessly at the click of a button, it's a cool feature. Personally I usually sideload my books, and while I'm not concerned about Amazon having "control over your device, and content" (why on earth would I be?), I rarely turn the wi-fi on.

I know I have some concern with book recommendations and other stuff on the Kobo, but I believe it is possible to turn most of this kind of thing anyway?

Last edited by soulfuldog; 03-11-2012 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 03-12-2012, 03:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by l_macd View Post
Collections on the Kindle aren't actual folders (isn't it just Pocketbook readers that support folders?), but yes it lets you sort your books into your own custom categories (and you can have them in more than one), then you can display your books in these categories instead of just listing all the individual books.
Just going on my experience with helping the father-in-law setup his Kindle (using his PC which is running Kubuntu Linux), all I did was connect it up via USB and both transferred some books onto it with a file/folder copy (is that what you guys are calling "sideloading"?), and also, with Calibre (to prove/test both methods). IIRC, I also created a new folder on the Kindle, and moved a book into it (the books came from Guttenberg), and when I disconnected the Kindle from the PC, it restarted, and displayed a "folder" in the home screen, with the book in it. *unless I remember this incorrectly. The Kindle was bought via the web, so I think, came pre-registered...

Quote:
You have to register and connect via wi-fi once to enable collections
Perhaps collections aren't what I'm thinking of (and hopefully, the above makes it clear what I *am* talking about?

Quote:
I know a lot of people value the ease of buying books from Amazon and getting them delivered to their Kindle wirelessly at the click of a button, it's a cool feature.
Hard to argue with the ease and simplicity, certainly, and can understand why it helps sells books.

Quote:
and while I'm not concerned about Amazon having "control over your device, and content" (why on earth would I be?), I rarely turn the wi-fi on.
IMO, because Amazon have demonstrated they can't be trusted with the content you thought was yours when you paid for it (Big Brother being removed from people's devices was one, there was another I forget which), plus the fact that they have control on how many times a title can be re-downloaded, and the fact that you have to rely on the device supporting their DRM, forever. I don't trust anybody like that. (I realise, to some people, that sounds ridiculous (and I also realise there are ways to get rid of the DRM), but, "different strokes..." )
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:37 PM   #14
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IMO, because Amazon have demonstrated they can't be trusted with the content you thought was yours when you paid for it (Big Brother being removed from people's devices was one, there was another I forget which)
Even though the blame can be placed squarely upon Amazon's shoulders in this case for not verifying who held the rights to 1984, they were selling a product illegally and a recall was appropriate.

Quote:
plus the fact that they have control on how many times a title can be re-downloaded
As far as I can tell, they do not place restrictions on how often you can download a title on a particular device. They may restrict the number of devices that you can download a title to different devices, but I've always been able to get around that by going to their device management tools and removing devices that I no longer use.

Quote:
and the fact that you have to rely on the device supporting their DRM, forever.
This may be splitting hairs, but Amazon and their servers could self-destruct tomorrow and people would still be able to read their books for as long as their ereader is in working order.

Please don't get me wrong here. I agree that these are significant issues. I disagree with the facts being manipulated to represent a particular view point because other people will recognize the faults and (I'm guessing) will be less likely to support the campaign against DRM.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:06 PM   #15
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Just going on my experience with helping the father-in-law setup his Kindle ......<snip full details>...... when I disconnected the Kindle from the PC, it restarted, and displayed a "folder" in the home screen, with the book in it.
Yes that's sideloading, but I think you are remembering incorrectly. The Kindle only displays a text list of books, sorted either by author, title, or collection (unlike the Kobo & PRS-T1 it doesn't display book covers). For the first two, the titles of all your books are listed individually on the home page. If you sort by collection, the titles of your collections is shown, and you click to open a collection to view the books listed in it (just the same way you would do if it was a folder).

You can create a folder on the Kindle and load books into it, but they'll just show up as individual books on the home page, the folder itself is ignored. They won't appear in a collection unless you add them to the collection (either via the Kindle itself or using the Kindle Collection plug-in for Calibre).

So in short, the Kindle doesn't support folders, but if you use collections to sort your books, it tags your books with whatever collection title to you use, and it makes it look as if they are in folders.

The only thing I'll add to what BWinmill has said in reply to your other points is that regarding the removal of those books (Animal Farm & 1984) is that although Amazon refunded the money when they deleted them, they did concede that they handled it badly and in future, if something similar was to happen (i.e. the publisher didn't have the right to publish those books and they shouldn't have been sold in the first place), they wouldn't delete books without asking customers permission first, and if you refused, that'd be the end of it.

Anyway, if you'd prefer to use epub, this is probably all pretty immaterial

Get yourself a Kobo, register it, then just don't the wi-fi on, I assume you can do that?

Last edited by soulfuldog; 03-13-2012 at 01:08 PM.
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