Month: May 2022

Give me my words!

The Kindle Adventure – A Preamble

Historically, because he’s both a curmudgeon and lover of the printed word, Uncle Aaron has read his books the way J. Gutenberg intended: printed on paper.

Being somewhat of a techie, the electronic versions of books were also appealing. For some time, he lived with toes in both streams.

At long last some years ago he purged all printed matter save that which had some emotional import. At that time, the reading of words in book form switched to the world of the Kindle. Now mind you, with many devices already in inventory, he didn’t want to add yet another, so the Kindle application was used on tablet and mobile phone. Occasionally the Kindle web reader was called to service when required.

It was a good life. The birds sang. The flowers grew. The band was together and making beautiful music.

But as does happen in life, things change. And our hero took to a different point of view. Lying in bed to read from the Kindle app running on his tablet fatigued his portly arm sticks. Reports from his word-inclined associates raved about the improved experience to be found by reading on a true Kindle device.

Uncle wasn’t sure if he’d like or use a dedicated Kindle device, so he didn’t want to spend much money to give it a virtual page-turn or five. Normally he goes for the top-of-the-line, newest model where tech is concerned. Not for bragging rights, mind you, but to have the longest practical life and best performance available. But on this occasion, spending hundreds of dollars on something that may quickly become a coaster was not appealing.

Those facts in pocket, our boy bought the oldest Kindle kit available: the 2010 version of the Kindle Paperwhite. This device got great reviews, though it only works on 2G Wi-Fi networks, has limited (by current standards) memory and processing speed. But at $87-ish dollars, it was a price that was tolerable for a testing-of-the-waters.

Once the device arrived, Aaron was really quite pleased. The device was small and light and easily handled. It held a charge for long periods of time and, as his associates had advised, the reading experience on the purpose-built display was superior.

The reading-of-words life continued to prosper, books were checked out from the local library, books where purchased, books were shared, words were consumed. Team Kindle for the win!

Uncounted words later, and after many months, Uncle Aaron one evening picked up said device from the charging area only to notice the warm display showed the icon of a battery with an exclamation mark in it. This gave significant pause – surely this was not a good portent.

With millions of unread words locked away behind that icon, screaming to be ciphered, Uncle Aaron started the investigations, troubleshooting and other machinations oft-associated with bringing computational devices to heel.

Because it was an older-model device and because it had been in use for a number of months, Amazon happily informed Uncle that there was no warranty coverage for the battery. But alas, they were willing to sell him any of the new Kindle models available. In fact, it seemed that it would bring them great joy to do so!

On a careless whim, he also checked on the feasibility of replacing the battery all by his lonesome. A replacement battery was found for a mere $16. Several YouTube videos demonstrated the replacement procedure. While said procedure would not be summarized as “easy” nor “simple” – they were not too scary. So, willing to gamble $16, and with encouragement from Mrs. Uncle Aaron (the undisputed brains of this operation), the battery was ordered.

Mr. Aaron resumed word consumption on his iPad, which reinforced his affection for his favored device from the land of Kindle. The battery arrival could not come too soon….

The Kindle Adventure: our hero is challenged

You may remember from the first installment above that Mr. Aaron did much research on the replacement of the battery in his Kindle. During that research it is important to note that the only marking he was able to find on his Kindle was the following text on the back: Kindle Paperwhite 10th Generation. No date. No serial number. No part number. No model number. And he used a magnifying glass.

When he searched for a replacement battery online, he used the search phrase “Kindle Paperwhite 10th Generation” which returned many legit-looking results.

As an aside, Mr. Aaron also watched at least five YouTube videos detailing the process for replacing the battery. In all of those videos the only identification used was Kindle Paperwhite 10th Generation. And in all of the videos, the device shown matched Mr. Aaron’s…seemingly in an exact way.

Can you see where this is going? Mr. Aaron’s audience is a wise and intuitive one…this author has faith in your Sherlockian powers.

The replacement battery was ordered from an Amazon seller with many good reviews. The cost, including all taxes and fees was $16. But before pulling the trigger, just for fun, Uncle confirmed that Amazon still had approximately 1,500 of these Kindle models in stock and listed them for pennies under $80. So, $16 was perhaps a good gamble to repair the device.

The battery eventually arrived at Mr. Aaron’s domicile. There were no instructions whatsoever just a plastic box and the battery. Upon first inspection, there was surprise at the size and shape of the battery. It looked very small compared to what he’d seen on the YouTube videos. Looks can be confusing, no? And the manufacturer claimed that this replacement battery was of an improved, more efficient design and offers “…up to nearly twoce (sic) the power life…” of the original. So, an apparent difference in size was perhaps understandable.

In all of the YouTube videos, those demonstrating the replacement were “professionals” with a proper set of disassembly tools. Even with those tools they all cautioned that one should make small, careful movements because it is very easy to crack the case or the screen. They all mentioned that the slightest bit of “torquing” could render the unit beyond repair.

Not having such tools and not wanting to buy yet another set of single-use tools, Mr. Aaron elected to use old plastic credit cards and his innate raw skill.

This observer is happy to report that after a mere 20 minutes of tedious and admirable work, the Kindle was dismantled without even the slightest bit of concern. No crack, no twist, no breakage, no uttering of oaths. It wasn’t easy, and all of the lessons from the videos were accurate and useful.

But in the end, joy was not to prevail on this occasion. The sadness was not the result of disassembly woes. No, reader, that was not the cause!

The first order of business was to remove, with tweezers, a blob of silicone that sealed the battery connection to the main board. This was a fairly fussy procedure, but was done successfully. That’s when it became clear that the new battery was not, in fact, a replacement for the old. The connector of the existing battery bore nearly no resemblance to that of the new. Imagine trying to swap out the plug to your toaster with a hose nozzle. One is not like the other.

At this point in the adventure, minor oaths were in fact uttered and a cloud of frustration rose in the kitchen.

Mr. Aaron was ready to call it quits. A fair and valiant attempt had been made, but it didn’t work. End of game.

But Mrs. Aaron cheered him on: “The hardest part is done! You got the Kindle opened without breaking it! See if you can return the old battery and order the right one! Keep going!”

One part of Mrs. Aaron’s argument held this wisdom: with the device opened, he could get the exact model and serial number from the existing battery – hopefully allowing for the ordering of the exact item required.

The First Order of Business was to see about a return of the incorrect battery. A couple of Amazon communiques with the supplier authorized a return. Normally they don’t take a return at all once the battery tab is removed, but they took heart and agreed to refund his monies. However, the shipping would be at his expense. They emailed a return label, RMA, etc. with instructions to take it to a UPS Store for packaging and shipment.

The Second Order of Business was to order the correct battery. Allow me to remind the reader that the first battery was a mere $16. The more correct battery, including taxes, fees, bribes and other inducements, was $35. Still less than the cheapest Kindle replacement, so he pressed on and ordered up the new juice box.

Alas, this new part will arrive sometime within the next 4-12 weeks. Clearly it is being hand-crafted by electronics wizards just for Uncle and his reading pleasure.

In the meanwhile, in reference to the First Order of Business, the Aaron family, with a fresh UPS label printed and battery in hand, visited their friendly not-so-nearby UPS Store.

The store manager tended to the transaction personally. She said the battery needed to be put into a special vacuum-sealed plastic battery shipment pouch. So, she went to the back room to pull off that bit of preparation. Then she did some data-entry work, procured a box to put everything in, added some foam peanuts for good measure, taped it all up nice and tidy. She then informed our boy that such batteries cannot go in flying machines, so it had to be sent via Peterbilt or Kenworth –more expensive, but the law is the law.

After much punching and whirring, the final bill from UPS was $37.

To return a $16 battery.

The Kindle Adventure: you won’t believe this…

This journey surely does continue, but not without a twist, a turn or, dare I say it, a pivot!

Some days after Battery Number Two (I’ll call him El-Shocko) was ordered, an email fluttered into Uncle Aaron’s Inbox. Along with the official Amazon logo there were words that indicated that El-Shocko was, after all, out of stock! The minions at Amazon were quite red-faced over this and assured our hero that his monies would be refunded and that he could order again “…at your pleasure in the future.”

The End.

But wait! That is not the end of the story!

The next day Uncle Aaron was sitting in his recliner and pondering his next action when yet another missive from Amazon arrived. This one said that the earlier message about El-Shocko being unavailable was in fact an error. Be assured, it said, that El-Shocko is on some American interstate, rocking and rolling his way toward delivery!

And you know what happened the very next day? Again, you’re ahead of me, aren’t you! But you’re correct – El-Shocko made a personal appearance in Uncle’s mailbox!

Once again Uncle set up at the kitchen island and arrayed all of the pieces and parts called for. But this time the battery appeared to be a perfect match for the dead older brother of El-Shocko. The connector was the same in fact. Success, it could be tasted!

There was a sense of joyous wonder in the air, albeit muted joy. As you may recall, a similar path had recently been trod, with unhappy results.

After some work to remove the dead, but glued-in, battery, El-Shocko took up residence in his new environs. The battery cable was attached to the main board. The power switch was activated. A moment passed. Then three. Then five. Then – the Kindle logo appeared! The startup sequence was observed. Uncle’s library appeared.

There were words! Words, millions and millions of words! Small, lightweight, easily-read, economical, brilliant, gripping words!

To finalize the process the cover was re-attached and words were read. Together, Uncle and El-Shocko read and read and read.

The good life returned. The birds resumed their song. The flowers bloomed. The band was together and making beautiful music.

Oh, and the Butler did it with a fire extinguisher!