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Old 01-24-2008, 11:08 PM   #1
snookums
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Lightbulb Ideas for Hacking Kindle WiFi

Some people have stated that they would like to have 802.11 wireless access on the Kindle. When we consider the possibilities for hacking the Kindle to 802.11 enable it, the best bet would probably be the Tivo brand Wireless Adaptor. There are several reasons why it is the best choice in my opinion.
  • The Tivo Wireless Adaptor was born for this type of task, i.e. offloading wireless processing from an embedded device with a limited cpu.
  • It's usb. The Kindle is usb.
  • There are already work on open source Linux drivers for this particular wireless adaptor.
  • They look so cozy together.

There are other issues obviously. Could the store and browser be forced to recognize a different adaptor? Is the Kindle's usb port setup in such a way that it can be used for this type of communication? Are the current Linux drivers even usable. They are in the alpha phase right now.

I doubt we'll see anything in the next year or so, but there are some possibilities.
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:09 AM   #2
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Two points/questions that occur to me:

Is the Kindle's USB a master USB? I mean, can it power the WIFI adapter?

Tivo WIFI adapters are ... kinda big ... and they connect via a cable. Might a smaller flash-drive-like WIFI dongle be a better choice?

I'm not all that familiar with the Kindle's workings, or I might have a better idea of the answers to those questions already.
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Old 01-25-2008, 02:06 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
Two points/questions that occur to me:

Is the Kindle's USB a master USB? I mean, can it power the WIFI adapter?

Tivo WIFI adapters are ... kinda big ... and they connect via a cable. Might a smaller flash-drive-like WIFI dongle be a better choice?

I'm not all that familiar with the Kindle's workings, or I might have a better idea of the answers to those questions already.
Being a master is a lot more than just being able to power the unit. Kindle is a slave device that talks to a computer as a master. It is not a master device and is not designed to control another slave unit so it would require a driver change. USB isn't just a serial port, it is a protocol bus master/slave system.

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Old 01-25-2008, 12:15 PM   #4
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Yes, the USB controller used in Kindle supports USB host mode. In fact, the CDMA modem is connected via USB (using usb2serial module). There is also an unconnected 4-wire socket next to the controller which is most probably the second USB port. I've been thinking about attaching a USB WiFi stick to Kindle after seeing this but it's not too high on my todo list...
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Old 01-25-2008, 12:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igorsk View Post
Yes, the USB controller used in Kindle supports USB host mode. In fact, the CDMA modem is connected via USB (using usb2serial module). There is also an unconnected 4-wire socket next to the controller which is most probably the second USB port. I've been thinking about attaching a USB WiFi stick to Kindle after seeing this but it's not too high on my todo list...
Very interesting. Looks like some future products could be really versatile if they wanted to go that way. Planning for the future is a good thing.

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Old 01-25-2008, 12:57 PM   #6
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BTW another thing on my todo list is SDIO WiFi support for Reader. But that will require quite more work, as the controller specs are closed and there's no driver for Linux available yet...
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Old 04-29-2008, 05:11 PM   #7
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any thoughts about a SD Wifi Card? while it probably wont fit under the current rubber cover, im sure something could be done. would be nice to get off the EVDO network to bypass any unwanted automatic firmware upgrades.
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:59 AM   #8
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My wishlist for current Kindle is:

-- root console,
-- PDF/DjVu reader,
-- Unicode fonts of ttf/cleartype/opentype qualities,
-- Skype-type cell phone over EVDO,
-- Bittorrent and/or other p2p support to swap titles and whatnot,
-- Co-operative/co-authoring/classroom modes,
-- Opera, anonimizer proxy and openDNS,
-- SD WiFi card,
-- smart dock/keyboard cradle,
-- if above looks doable, then price below $300.

If not, then here's my wishlist for Kindle 2.0:

-- 9+" OLED (or similar) hi-res 65000+ colours touch display,
-- "nicer" outer design, plus maybe hinges to hook Kindle ver 1.0, so that double Kindle will look like an open book,
-- GPS/Glonass tracker,
-- HD H.264 cam plus video player (accordingly, some quality CPU/GPU/mpeg2/mpeg4 chips would be needed),
-- surprise me,
-- and I would consider buying such a reader if below $1K

Igor & Hackers of the World! Kindley Konsider these Kindlehacks!
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Old 05-12-2008, 07:52 AM   #9
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If the EVDO system on the Kindle is "hacked", the inevitable result will be the withdrawal of free internet access on the Kindle. Remember that EVDO data traffic costs Amazon real money. If there's a massive increase in traffic due to someone porting P2P applications onto the Kindle, the inevitable result of people wanting "something for nothing" will be "nothing for anyone"!

Do you really want an OLED display, by the way? Limited lifespan and very easily damaged or destroyed by moisture. Doesn't really sound ideal for a portable device, IMHO.
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Old 05-12-2008, 03:33 PM   #10
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I believe Amazon has promised that Wikipedia search would remain free but they have made it quite clear that access to the rest of the internet is "experimental" and can go away at any moment. Like Harry, I have no doubt that would happen quite quickly if people started doing P2P.

As for the OLED, I think you'd be waiting a long time to get that for under $1K with screen prices as they are. Maybe that could be Kindle 3.0 or 4.0. Harry has a good point about the portability, too, but then I wouldn't view a 9" device as quite as portable as my Kindle. It's more like a laptop or a tablet which I'd carry around in a special padded bag and would be used in a more protected environment. I'd use it at home or at work which is where I really want that large screen. Tech docs at work don't do so well on the Kindle. The Kindle is small and convenient. I still have to protect it with a padded cover but it gets tossed in my handbag and comes out on a train, when I'm waiting in a line, even at the grocery store and my kitchen (it has my shopping list and recipes on it). I do want a large reader someday but I think at that point I'll likely have two (a large and a small) unless they come up with a good folding device.
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Old 05-12-2008, 04:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
If the EVDO system on the Kindle is "hacked", the inevitable result will be the withdrawal of free internet access on the Kindle. Remember that EVDO data traffic costs Amazon real money. If there's a massive increase in traffic due to someone porting P2P applications onto the Kindle, the inevitable result of people wanting "something for nothing" will be "nothing for anyone"!

Do you really want an OLED display, by the way? Limited lifespan and very easily damaged or destroyed by moisture. Doesn't really sound ideal for a portable device, IMHO.
I don't see how Amazon could even think of pulling access to its own titles out of ALL Kindle users. Sounds like seppuku/harakiri to me.Though yes, I can imagine that some diehard bandwidth hogs might be capped, I admit.

I also doubt that Amazon paid any "real" money to any EVDO provider, or roaming service. In Googlespeak, some AdCents changed hands almost invisibly, that's all. All you could see would be an unusual high rank/placement of Sprint spam in your Amazon search results. Click on these once a day, and you've paid for everything including those occasional cell phone calls via your hacked Kindle.

Though yes, I might be wrong on OLED still. It was a promising energy efficient hi-res display technology for handhelds in 2000 or 2001. Pity it didn't evolve. Though I've heard they learn how to vacuum, harden and seal those panels to last 50K+ hours in TVs.

On the other hand, do you have better color hi-res alternatives for Kindle 2.0? Please share. I'm sure some Kindle developers browse these forums, they might be interested. That eInk stuff, how many grey levels is it potentially capable of?
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Old 05-12-2008, 05:57 PM   #12
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Alisa said:
"I believe Amazon has promised that Wikipedia search would remain free but they have made it quite clear that access to the rest of the internet is "experimental" and can go away at any moment. Like Harry, I have no doubt that would happen quite quickly if people started doing P2P."
I hope Amazon is not located in People's Republic of China (yet!) where you can really limit access to many domains/proxies/anonymizers etc. I don't believe that that "Whispernet" or whatever has physical capabilities to limit "outside" browsing by Wikipedia only, and say, charge for or outright block access to, say, Google, or Mp3.com, or Craigslist, or any proxy of my choosing.

Some p2p interaction within Kindle/other ereaders communities, to support some swap meets or such, would be IMHO much lesser evil in terms of bandwith wasting than the inevitable mp3/mp4 streaming.

In that sense, I can even understand the logic to go with the weird (some say "ugly") Kindle 1.0 design: if it doesn't look like oversized iPod/other MP3 player there might be less motives to hack it into this direction.

I can withdraw the desirability of 9...9.7" OLEDs for Kindles 2.0, or 3.0: 170...200 dpi 65000 colors 6" Kindle hingeable to another one, and to one's laptop display is just fine, heh.
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Old 05-12-2008, 08:05 PM   #13
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OH I could see Amazon revoking wireless privileges from someone who has hacked their Kindle

Quote:
Originally Posted by aludal View Post
I don't see how Amazon could even think of pulling access to its own titles out of ALL Kindle users. Sounds like seppuku/harakiri to me.Though yes, I can imagine that some diehard bandwidth hogs might be capped, I admit.

I also doubt that Amazon paid any "real" money to any EVDO provider, or roaming service. In Googlespeak, some AdCents changed hands almost invisibly, that's all. All you could see would be an unusual high rank/placement of Sprint spam in your Amazon search results. Click on these once a day, and you've paid for everything including those occasional cell phone calls via your hacked Kindle.

Though yes, I might be wrong on OLED still. It was a promising energy efficient hi-res display technology for handhelds in 2000 or 2001. Pity it didn't evolve. Though I've heard they learn how to vacuum, harden and seal those panels to last 50K+ hours in TVs.

On the other hand, do you have better color hi-res alternatives for Kindle 2.0? Please share. I'm sure some Kindle developers browse these forums, they might be interested. That eInk stuff, how many grey levels is it potentially capable of?
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:09 PM   #14
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QUOTE: "OH I could see Amazon revoking wireless privileges from someone who has hacked their Kindle"
This would be what I'd call a harakiri (obviously, non-existent) attitude on the Amazon part. Not gonna happen, ask Igor.

A quite opposite attitude was voiced by Kindle father: very close to invitation to hack.
From the practical point of view, these 126Labs guys could only appreciate hacks that enhance the usability and value of their gadget.

Then again, can someone explain to me, except for thorough "cavity search", how this imaginary Amazon anti-hacking squad can legally determine that this or that particular unit was hacked?
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Old 05-12-2008, 11:51 PM   #15
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It wouldn't be hard at all technically for them to block access to anything but Wikipedia and I don't think it's dictatorial at all to do so if they want. They're paying for it. It isn't free. They wouldn't be saying you couldn't do it, just not on their dime.
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