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Old 01-03-2014, 10:30 AM   #1
flyboy320
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Kobo E_Reader wifi upgrade gone bad

I have an older wifi e-reader (N647) that I recently let itself upgrade to the latest firmware/software. It went OK and I was able to use the device for a day or two. I powered it off yesterday, and when I went to power it on today, it said "updating the software on your ereader", and then when it does that and turns on, there are no longer any books in my library. When I hook it up to my desktop (XP) it sees the drive and I can see the books in the drive, but when I disconnect the reader from the computer and it then says searching for new content, it still says "no books found".

Is there a way to force it to re-install the firmware or any other ideas I can try?

I have tried a soft reset, and hard reset (menu and d-pad), and factory reset, but all to no avail...

Last edited by flyboy320; 01-03-2014 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:46 PM   #2
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Well I managed to get a sd image from another member here and flashed that to the internal sd card. All is good now...
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Old 01-04-2014, 02:10 PM   #3
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Well I managed to get a sd image from another member here and flashed that to the internal sd card. All is good now...
hi
can i get the image also please
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:03 PM   #4
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I've got the same problem. An older N647 that has been working just fine. Connected to wifi for the first time in many months this morning (I usually load books via SD card) and it forced an upgrade. The upgrade supposedly worked.

However, it could no longer find any of the books on the external plugged in SD card. The ones that had been loaded via USB or wifi to the internal memory were still there.

I forced it to rebuild the sqlite data by renaming the existing file. It spent quite a long time on the adding new books screen, and then came up blank. No books at all.

The "software version" reported in settings is now 1.9.11 (6/1/13)

The version prior to the update was 1.9r35373 Mar 9 2011 rev 2001

I suspect that this "update" should never have been applied, but how do I back it off?
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Old 01-04-2014, 04:52 PM   #5
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I'm curious if any of you removed the SD card after powering down and before rebooting/allowing the update to install. Or tried removing/reinserting it afterwards? I'm asking because there have been similar issues with other firmwares for the newer devices where sdhc contents were ignored until the sdhc was cycled. Just a thought.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:01 PM   #6
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I have removed and reinserted the SD card several times. Restarted the device without the card in, powered it off, reinserted the card, restarted the device after the card was back in place. Nothing changes.

It no longer recognizes even the books that are present on the internal memory. I can see those when I mount the device with a USB cable.

Note that I can no longer see the SD card through the USB, though it used to be visible as a second device. I think the update has completely lost the ability to detect or reference the external SD card. But that still doesn't explain why it also can't see the books on the internal memory.

By the way, the books on the external SD are still there too. Inserting them into a second Kobo of the same model that was not upgraded finds them just fine, and I can see them untouched if I insert the SD into the slot on my laptop.

Last edited by Altivo; 01-04-2014 at 06:04 PM.
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Old 01-05-2014, 01:35 AM   #7
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Wow, that's even worse than I thought!
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:43 AM   #8
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After restoring a copy of the pre-upgrade sqlite file (fortunately I had saved a copy,) the device can once again see the books on the internal memory. I then used the laptop and USB to copy a couple of titles from the external SD onto the internal memory. The reader did once again recognize those and made them available. So the internal memory is still accessible after all. The external SD simply doesn't exist any more as far as it's concerned. When I have time, I'll try a different physical SD card because I have a suspicion that this is an error related to timing and initialization of the hardware. I've seen something like this in other hardware in the past.

Another disturbing issue with this upgrade, though: the screen display formatting has changed so that books that were displayed normally before the upgrade now have issues. Italic text is being displayed not as Italic but instead is enclosed in |_ ... _| for instance. Some characters, such as the long dash, are replaced by a question mark. I don't know yet whether this affects everything or only certain files. It does affect the book I was reading at the time of the upgrade, which is a public-domain distribution. (A free book from a commercial distributor, one of those ones they use as give-aways.) The display of this book used to have a margin of one or two character widths around the edge of the screen, but now the text fills the screen right to the edge, which I find a bit distracting as well.

I suspect the coders were doing what they thought of as "improving" the display usage, without regard for the preferences of the end user or the book producer. It also looks as if they didn't test things out very well on the older devices or with older epub files.

Last edited by Altivo; 01-05-2014 at 06:47 AM.
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:59 AM   #9
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More specifics, in case anyone can use them:

Kobo Wifi (the original black and white, non-touch screen model N647?)

Previous firmware version:
1.9(r25373, Mar 29 2011) Revision 2001

Forced upgrade via wifi on Jan 4 2014:
1.9.11 (6/1/13)

Problems identified after upgrade (which device said was successful):

1. No longer recognizes external SD memory. Tried 3 different working chips, it just doesn't see them. Another identical N647 without the upgrade sees those same three chips and recognizes the epub book files on them.

2. Ebook files that were readable before the upgrade now have formatting issues. Possibly the fonts were replaced? For example, a free ebook from a commercial website now has difficulty with Italics (displays them in normal font but enclosed by |_ and _|) and cannot display an em dash in the text (substitutes a ? for it, which is a pain as this author uses a lot of dashes.) Same file still displays correctly on the N647 without the upgrade, with the dashes. (I'm not sure the older firmware handled Italics either but at least it didn't insert spurious brackets or tags around them.)

3. Display margins appear to have been eliminated, which runs the text right up tight to the screen edge. This is not as easy to read as the older version which left 1/8 or 1/4 blank margin at left and right. So it takes a few more page turns the old way, so what? The newer display format is less readable.

4. It seems odd too that the old firmware displays chapter headings with numerals and centered bold face ("Chapter 13") while the new firmware displays them right justified and spelled out in all caps, not bold ("CHAPTER THIRTEEN") even though the exact same ebook file is in use on both devices. This is a minor irritation but really seems a pointless change.

I'd report this all as bugs in the developer section of the forum, but their reporting instructions are so obtuse that I'm afraid to try. They seem to be entirely focused on the newer devices anyway.

In the end, I really want my external SD access back, and am willing to revert to the older firmware to get it, but I can't find any information on how to do that. Surely there must be a way. I do have access to another device that hasn't been upgraded. Is it possible to "clone" the internal memory over to my "upgraded" but not so usable Kobo?
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Old 01-05-2014, 08:23 PM   #10
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There is something strange going on.

1.9.11 on the WiFi has been around for a couple of months. The first report I had was in mid November because calibre was no longer recognising the updated device. At the time Kobo said they had been rolling it out for a few weeks. The build date was shown as 28/10/2013.

Apart from the calibre issue, I don't remember seeing any problems. Any font problems are among the first to be raised. Margins are also a popular discussion point, but, have you checked the settings for these? Kobo has changed the range in recent firmware, so you might need to adjust this.

The chapter titles are interesting. Where are you seeing these? At the beginning of the chapter? In the footer or in the TOC? I can think of reasons for the change with the latter two, but not the first. Of course the simplest is that you have updated the copy of the book at some time and it is only now been reprocessed to pick up the changes to the TOC. Was the book sideloaded using calibre and the extended driver?

At the moment, I suspect an incomplete upgrade. As there is a download link for 1.9.11 in the firmware link thread, I would download that an apply it manually. That generally solves this problem. Alternatively, do a factory reset so that the firmware can be installed over that.

If you want to revert to the older firmware, you can take a copy of the internal SD card from the non-upgraded WiFi. Then apply this to the SD card in your WiFi. I would recommend getting another card and using that just in case things don't work. The instructions for doing this for the newer devices should work for the WiFi.

Last thought: The upgrade was done via the Kobo desktop application. Was this also upgraded?
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Old 01-06-2014, 12:32 AM   #11
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>There is something strange going on.

I have to agree with you there.

>1.9.11 on the WiFi has been around for a couple of months. The first
>report I had was in mid November because calibre was no longer
>recognising the updated device. At the time Kobo said they had been
>rolling it out for a few weeks. The build date was shown as 28/10/2013.

When I look at the settings in the Wifi now, the only date associated with the version I got appears to be June 1, 2013. I don't usually use Calibre with the Kobo, but I can check to see whether it still recognizes the device, and will let you know tomorrow.

>Apart from the calibre issue, I don't remember seeing any problems. Any
>font problems are among the first to be raised. Margins are also a popular
>discussion point, but, have you checked the settings for these? Kobo has
>changed the range in recent firmware, so you might need to adjust this.

I have no idea how to adjust the margins, and the documentation provided certainly doesn't offer a clue. As for fonts, I mentioned them because of the issue with Italics and the inability to display the em dash in text.

>The chapter titles are interesting. Where are you seeing these? At the
>beginning of the chapter? In the footer or in the TOC? I can think of
>reasons for the change with the latter two, but not the first. Of course the
>simplest is that you have updated the copy of the book at some time and
>it is only now been reprocessed to pick up the changes to the TOC. Was
>the book sideloaded using calibre and the extended driver?

The chapter titles to which I refer appear in the text, at the beginning of each chapter. They are not headers or footers. They scroll off the page as you move on. No, the copy of the book has not been updated or altered in any way. I copied it directly from the SD chip that was in the external socket and is no longer being recognized by the device. I copied the file from the SD chip directly into the internal memory of the Kobo Wifi via USB, which then recognized the book again but presents it with different formatting and the issues I mentioned, such as the Italics and the em dash character being changed to a question mark. The file is still the same. The same file, copied to the other Kobo that was not upgraded, still looks the way it did before, with numerals in the chapter headings, etc. and the em dash displayed properly.

>At the moment, I suspect an incomplete upgrade. As there is a download
>link for 1.9.11 in the firmware link thread, I would download that an apply
>it manually. That generally solves this problem. Alternatively, do a factory
>reset so that the firmware can be installed over that.

I can try that tomorrow, once I find the download link you mention. The device did report that the upgrade was successful, and then announced that it would reboot, which it did. After the reboot, the external SD chip and its contents were all gone from the display and no longer accessible, though the actual files are still there and can be seen by moving the SD chip to another device or a computer with an SD socket..

>If you want to revert to the older firmware, you can take a copy of the
>internal SD card from the non-upgraded WiFi. Then apply this to the SD
>card in your WiFi. I would recommend getting another card and using that
>just in case things don't work. The instructions for doing this for the newer
>devices should work for the WiFi.

I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that the internal memory of the device is actually an SD chip as well, as is the case in most smart phones? I have no idea how to even get the Kobo case open.

>Last thought: The upgrade was done via the Kobo desktop application. Was
>this also upgraded?

The Kobo Desktop application was not involved. I do not use it. I rarely connect the Kobo wifi using the wifi port, but I did so on Saturday for the first time in many months, perhaps over a year. It immediately insisted that I allow it to install a "critical update" which it then downloaded by wifi and this is the mess that ensued.

The only reason I would revert to the older software is to get back my access to the external SD socket, since I have nearly 200 books stored that way. I normally side-load my books by copying them to the SD chip in that external socket. I don't use Calibre or the Kobo Desktop, and I generally avoid Adobe Digital Editions by reading only materials that have no DRM applied.

Last edited by Altivo; 01-06-2014 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 01-06-2014, 04:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altivo View Post
The chapter titles to which I refer appear in the text, at the beginning of each chapter. They are not headers or footers. They scroll off the page as you move on. No, the copy of the book has not been updated or altered in any way. I copied it directly from the SD chip that was in the external socket and is no longer being recognized by the device. I copied the file from the SD chip directly into the internal memory of the Kobo Wifi via USB, which then recognized the book again but presents it with different formatting and the issues I mentioned, such as the Italics and the em dash character being changed to a question mark. The file is still the same. The same file, copied to the other Kobo that was not upgraded, still looks the way it did before, with numerals in the chapter headings, etc. and the em dash displayed properly.
So, the chapter titles are part of the text. Which means the title you are seeing have to be coded in the text. The only thing I can think of is if one version of the firmware is displaying the title or alt attribute rather than the text. What gets displayed in the same place if you open it with another reader or app? ADE or the calibre viewer would be suitable. Or, can I get a copy of the book? If it is freely downloadable somewhere, post the link. Otherwise, PM with a download link or for an email address to send it to.
Quote:
I can try that tomorrow, once I find the download link you mention. The device did report that the upgrade was successful, and then announced that it would reboot, which it did. After the reboot, the external SD chip and its contents were all gone from the display and no longer accessible, though the actual files are still there and can be seen by moving the SD chip to another device or a computer with an SD socket..
There is a possibility that some files didn't get replaced properly. They should, but things happen. The thread with the download links is http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=185660. Just search for "1.9.11".
Quote:
I'm not sure I understand this. Are you saying that the internal memory of the device is actually an SD chip as well, as is the case in most smart phones? I have no idea how to even get the Kobo case open.
Most of the Kobo devices use an micro SD card internally to hold the firmware. You can take the card from a similar device, image it to another card and use that card in your device. To open the devices, most need something slim pushed into the back edges and then the back pried off. I don't know exactly how for the WiFi, but there is good chance someone has done it and posted instructions here.
Quote:
The Kobo Desktop application was not involved. I do not use it. I rarely connect the Kobo wifi using the wifi port, but I did so on Saturday for the first time in many months, perhaps over a year. It immediately insisted that I allow it to install a "critical update" which it then downloaded by wifi and this is the mess that ensued.
OK. I didn't know the WiFi actually did updates over the air. I was thinking it only used it for books.
Quote:
The only reason I would revert to the older software is to get back my access to the external SD socket, since I have nearly 200 books stored that way. I normally side-load my books by copying them to the SD chip in that external socket. I don't use Calibre or the Kobo Desktop, and I generally avoid Adobe Digital Editions by reading only materials that have no DRM applied.
As I said, I haven't seen any reports of issues with 1.9.11 on the WiFi. I am pretty sure at least one of the users was using the SD card and I know I would have heard screams about font problems. I can only hope that something above helps.
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Old 01-06-2014, 07:56 PM   #13
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Well I did check Calibre (version 0.8.38) and it no longer recognizes the Kobo wifi. Totally invisible, though the Linux OS does see it as a mountable external storage device.

Calibre looking at the test case book was inconclusive. It displays some but not all the Italics (others appear with the [_ _] around them, and some bold text has [* *] around it too) and shows chapter headings all caps and right justified the way the upgraded Kobo does. This book, being something that was apparently passed through OCR and incompletely proofed and formatted afterward, is probably not a good evaluation tool. I'll have to look at a professionally produced title instead.

Downloaded the firmware but after looking for explicit instructions on how to install it manually and finding only vague generalities, decided not to mess with it.

Likewise, cloning the internal SD memory from the second Kobo doesn't seem like a good option. Opening the cases appears to be questionable and as with the firmward upgrade, the available information is vague and doesn't feel comfortable to me.

I can afford to do a factory reset and see if the device can properly update itself from there, since all my books are backed up elsewhere. I will probably try that once I get back to work where there is fast wifi and when I have time to mess with it.

Overall, this reminds me of similar bad experiences with the upgrade for the Literati firmware, which also came from Kobo and failed repeatedly to complete the upgrade properly. I did finally get it to work, but mostly by sheer luck and certainly not through any reasonable support from Kobo or Sharper Image.

In the long run I'm probably going to forget these dedicated and shifty devices and get an Android tablet that can run reader software instead.

Thanks for your advice, in any case. I'll post here after I try the factory reset and upgrade again method.
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Old 01-06-2014, 09:39 PM   #14
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The uodate to teh WiFi changes the USB device ID, a change that was only added to calibre in the 1.12 release
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:26 PM   #15
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Even on Windows I've not seen any Calibre release higher than 0.9. I do accept those updates whenever I get the prompt for them.
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