Kindle Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess the subject line states it pretty well....

The new text hacks and a Kindle 9000 DecalGirl skin are helping tremendously in making reading easier, but the light text is not the only difference in contrast with the K1. I compared my K1 and K2 again this week, and it was depressing how much darker the K2 screen is. Certainly it makes reading in dim lighting much harder than with a paper book. I'm amazed that Kindle would make the contrast worse on a new product. How does a darker background help anyone, whether reader or shareholder?

With Ted's font hacks and a lighter screen, I could be the world's most content Kindle user.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
auntmarge said:
I'm amazed that Kindle would make the contrast worse on a new product. How does a darker background help anyone, whether reader or shareholder?
Right. Darker background on many units. Lighter text on most units. And it's a second-generation product. That's like Apple releasing a matted 3-inch LCD screen after the iPhone. It's a rookie mistake that Amazon doesn't want to admit. Hopefully, with a little constructive feedback and a lot of people getting LOUD & VOCAL, we'll get a fix, if not from Amazon, then from another industrious soul in her basement (Ted-san's inventive twin? ;)).

But as of today, no background hack, no adjustment possible, and no firmware update...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,457 Posts
While there is no "hack", there are productive things you can do. Those below are in the order I would try them.

#1 is determine how bad it is and call Amazon if you're that bothered by it. It might be helpful to photograph the K1 & K2, side by side in the same light as evidence--they've sometimes required that for the fading font issue. Talk to more than one CS agent if you have to, and make it a phone call, don't bother with email as a primary contact. Get names & follow up with email if needed. Companies keep track of statistics around the issues being called in to CS; plenty of people calling in an problem is always going to be the most effective way to get a business to take notice of the larger issue.

If you get nowhere with them, or you don't want to deal with the hassle of replacement--again evaluate how irritated you are with this. You can always return the K2 (if you're still within 30 days) or sell it, assuming there's no reason you can't use the K1.

If you want to keep it, there are other options:

#2--put a darker colored skin on the K2 (or use one of several new jacket-style cases that surround the Kindle with black leather). Thanks to an optical illusion that makes the screen appear lighter, many people have found their reading experience improves if the kindle frame isn't stark white. A terrific demo of the experience is on tedsan's site here: https://sites.google.com/a/etccreations.com/kdesignworks/Home/more-than-skin-deep

#3 add tedsan's font hack. Light text with a darker background is just plain harder to read. Get the text darker and you may find it more comfortable.

#4 use a reading light for lower light reading. With a Mighty Bright, I found that the background faded to nearly white. Many people use reading lights all the time as household lighting isn't always the best for comfortable reading.

Eventually someone will figure out a way to hack the issue, or a firmware update will come out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
435 Posts
FlannelE said:
Right. Darker background on many units. Lighter text on most units. And it's a second-generation product. That's like Apple releasing a matted 3-inch LCD screen after the iPhone. It's a rookie mistake that Amazon doesn't want to admit. Hopefully, with a little constructive feedback and a lot of people getting LOUD & VOCAL, we'll get a fix, if not from Amazon, then from another industrious soul in her basement (Ted-san's inventive twin? ;)).
Someone on another discussion board has stated an opposite view. He said only "a few" K2s have background/text issues while "most" do not. I don't know how anyone can speak with assurance about what is what on "a few", "many", or "most" K2s. Only Amazon knows how many units have been sold and how many have been returned or replaced because of the background/text problem, and no one knows how many people are hanging on to defective K2s and doing nothing except complaining.

Another person has said that the background/text issues are the result of a bad run that resulted in faulty screens. I don't know if that is a guess, an informed opinion, or a quote from Amazon. In any event, it is speculative and therefore unfair (IMO)to characterize the problem as a rookie mistake when there is at least a possibility that a manufacturing mishap is to blame.

Whatever the numbers and whatever the cause, the fact remains that anyone who has a defective K2 can return it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
LibbyD said:
Someone on another discussion board has stated an opposite view. He said only "a few" K2s have background/text issues while "most" do not.

Whatever the numbers and whatever the cause, the fact remains that anyone who has a defective K2 can return it.
It's a pretty widespread problem. I've looked at 9 different K2's side-by-side with the K1, and they've all had noticeably lighter text. Articles have been written, podcasts have reported, users have posted, microscopes have been used, and petitions have been signed. Got so bad, a hack was invented to address the problem.

The "a few" statement was made by an Amazon PR person who was interviewed for a Wired piece. This link is a good start to get informed about the issue that "many" of us are dealing with:

https://sites.google.com/a/etccreations.com/kdesignworks/Home/articles

We all love our Kindle 2's and don't want to be forced into a "love it or leave it proposition." We know that we can return our Kindles...but we stick with the ones we're with in hopes of making it better. Hope you can understand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Hi LibbyD,

Believe it or not, I used to say the same thing about those people who belittled Amazon or the Kindle. I called them Kindle Komplainers: "If you don't like it, return the darned thing." I was sort of in denial that my beloved device was less than perfect. Especially after spending over $350 on it!

But after comparing it with my Kindle 1, reading some of the forums, and communicating with people involved in the contrast petition campaign, I realized that I was not alone in my thinking/perceptions: lots of people were disappointed that the Kindle 2's text wasn't as dark as it could be.

The last nail in the coffin came when I tried out Ted-San's hack fonts. It was overwhelming. My kindle 2 was glorious, clear, and well, before I start to pontificate, you should really check out the community's comments here:

https://sites.google.com/a/etccreations.com/kdesignworks/Home/font-feedback

At the very least, most people agree that Amazon could have done a better job with either the fonts or the darkness of text.

Best,

C. Levine
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,967 Posts
Since I just got mine and have been keeping up with the posts here on the darker screen and lighter fonts, I was surprised by it. The darker background doesn't bother me but the fonts were an issue. The hack fonts cleared up that problem and now it is perfect as far as I'm concerned. Ted-San did a great job of offering different fonts for different reading issues. Thanks Ted-San.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
VictoriaP said:
While there is no "hack", there are productive things you can do. Those below are in the order I would try them.

#1 is determine how bad it is and call Amazon if you're that bothered by it. It might be helpful to photograph the K1 & K2, side by side in the same light as evidence--they've sometimes required that for the fading font issue. Talk to more than one CS agent if you have to, and make it a phone call, don't bother with email as a primary contact. Get names & follow up with email if needed. Companies keep track of statistics around the issues being called in to CS; plenty of people calling in an problem is always going to be the most effective way to get a business to take notice of the larger issue.

If you get nowhere with them, or you don't want to deal with the hassle of replacement--again evaluate how irritated you are with this. You can always return the K2 (if you're still within 30 days) or sell it, assuming there's no reason you can't use the K1.

If you want to keep it, there are other options:

#2--put a darker colored skin on the K2 (or use one of several new jacket-style cases that surround the Kindle with black leather). Thanks to an optical illusion that makes the screen appear lighter, many people have found their reading experience improves if the kindle frame isn't stark white. A terrific demo of the experience is on tedsan's site here: https://sites.google.com/a/etccreations.com/kdesignworks/Home/more-than-skin-deep

#3 add tedsan's font hack. Light text with a darker background is just plain harder to read. Get the text darker and you may find it more comfortable.

#4 use a reading light for lower light reading. With a Mighty Bright, I found that the background faded to nearly white. Many people use reading lights all the time as household lighting isn't always the best for comfortable reading.

Eventually someone will figure out a way to hack the issue, or a firmware update will come out.
As I mentioned in my original post, I've already hacked the fonts and added a dark skin. I've given my K1 to my niece and wouldn't take it back, and I've just assumed I'd have to suffer along with the K2 as it was until a better one is made, but the hack has certainly helped (not sure about the skin, but it's neat whether it actually helps or not).

I've already returned the K2 once and thought the second one had very slightly better resolution of illustrations, but it didn't make any difference with the contrast between font and screen. I could try requesting another, but although CS has been generally helpful those times I've had to call them in the last year, asking for a replacement for the screen darkness was not met with willingness. I guess I could ask for a third one, but does the fact that I've hacked the fonts eliminate the possibility that the unit can be exchanged (even if I uninstall them)?

Taking side-by-side photos is something I'll do, but my impression of CS is that this is an issue they don't want to admit is a problem, and their attitude is reflected by K users who say (1) it's no big deal or (2) go back to the K1 or (3) use a light. Yes, I could use a light, but why should there be a need to when the screen could be lighter?
To those who think the screen darkness isn't a problem, I'd ask if they would prefer a DTB with off-white paper or medium gray paper. There's a reason books are printed with light-colored paper.

At any rate, my question is: is the gray of the screen the lightest of the 16 shades, and if not, does anyone know how it could be hacked?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
75 Posts
auntmarge said:
As I mentioned in my original post, I've already hacked the fonts and added a dark skin. I've given my K1 to my niece and wouldn't take it back, and I've just assumed I'd have to suffer along with the K2 as it was until a better one is made, but the hack has certainly helped (not sure about the skin, but it's neat whether it actually helps or not).

I've already returned the K2 once and thought the second one had very slightly better resolution of illustrations, but it didn't make any difference with the contrast between font and screen. I could try requesting another, but although CS has been generally helpful those times I've had to call them in the last year, asking for a replacement for the screen darkness was not met with willingness. I guess I could ask for a third one, but does the fact that I've hacked the fonts eliminate the possibility that the unit can be exchanged (even if I uninstall them)?

Taking side-by-side photos is something I'll do, but my impression of CS is that this is an issue they don't want to admit is a problem, and their attitude is reflected by K users who say (1) it's no big deal or (2) go back to the K1 or (3) use a light. Yes, I could use a light, but why should there be a need to when the screen could be lighter?
To those who think the screen darkness isn't a problem, I'd ask if they would prefer a DTB with off-white paper or medium gray paper. There's a reason books are printed with light-colored paper.

At any rate, my question is: is the gray of the screen the lightest of the 16 shades, and if not, does anyone know how it could be hacked?
It's a valid question. But a lighter background 'hack' is highly unlikely. From what I know of the technology, the 'white' that we get represents full reflectivity from the white pigments in the E-Ink. My microscopic analysis of the screen shows that white really does represent basically full white that is possible. The specs from E-Ink state a full white reflectivity of about 40%.
However, since there appears to be variation from screen to screen, it may be, that on the darker screens, the electrostatic field that is applied to bring the white pigment granules to the surface may be inadequate to fully bring them up. But, this is mere speculation, and without microscopic analysis of "light" and "dark" screens, I couldn't say.

All this said, seeing pictures comparing K1 and K2 screens, side-by-side, I conclude that the K2 is capable of having as white a screen as the K1 and if your comparison shows it being much darker, you probably have one from a bad batch and it's worth returning until you get a good one.

For example, check this photo:
http://www.pbase.com/jeepy206/image/109620704

can you post a side-by-side of yours somewhere?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,028 Posts
Well you needn't worry about the font, or any other hack. It's easy to restore the Kindle to factory defaults, and Amazon would be none the wiser. I'd say if you're really unhappy, keep at them until you are. Maybe they can even find a refurbished K1 laying around if it's that much better. Exchange with your niece, who might not be as bothered by it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,457 Posts
Apologies for covering territory you've already tried--that's what I get for responding in the morning prior to caffeine! :)  I clearly didn't read thoroughly enough.

At this time, I don't think anyone's found a way to lighten the screen, and I haven't seen any posts in other forums indicating it's being worked on.  

As far as returning another unit, if you did decide to try it, just take the font hack off & clear off the extra files it adds to the root directory.  It shouldn't be an issue for exchange at that point, so far we've not heard of anyone having a problem with Amazon because of it. The warning about potentially voiding the warranty has to be posted because while Amazon has officially stated it's not an issue with the screensaver hack, we don't have the same confirmation for the font change; however, it's not been enforced anywhere I can find.

I know CS can be a royal pain in the you-know-what, but it really does seem to be hit or miss as to whether or not you get a good representative.  Some seem willing to replace units for the slightest problem, and others seem so full of misinformation that I wonder if there's a system in place to report them back to Amazon.  I think it's still worth a shot since it's obviously an issue that bothers you a lot, but I can also see where it just may not be worth your time.  

If you contact them, please post your experience; I know I for one would like to see just how Amazon really is handling these problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
VictoriaP said:
Apologies for covering territory you've already tried--that's what I get for responding in the morning prior to caffeine! :) I clearly didn't read thoroughly enough.

At this time, I don't think anyone's found a way to lighten the screen, and I haven't seen any posts in other forums indicating it's being worked on.

As far as returning another unit, if you did decide to try it, just take the font hack off & clear off the extra files it adds to the root directory. It shouldn't be an issue for exchange at that point, so far we've not heard of anyone having a problem with Amazon because of it. The warning about potentially voiding the warranty has to be posted because while Amazon has officially stated it's not an issue with the screensaver hack, we don't have the same confirmation for the font change; however, it's not been enforced anywhere I can find.

I know CS can be a royal pain in the you-know-what, but it really does seem to be hit or miss as to whether or not you get a good representative. Some seem willing to replace units for the slightest problem, and others seem so full of misinformation that I wonder if there's a system in place to report them back to Amazon. I think it's still worth a shot since it's obviously an issue that bothers you a lot, but I can also see where it just may not be worth your time.

If you contact them, please post your experience; I know I for one would like to see just how Amazon really is handling these problems.
Hi Victoria,

Sorry if I sounded cranky.... I am, but not at you. The whole background thing seems like such an unnecessary problem. I'll have to think about contacting them again. Gotta be in the mood, you know?

Margaret
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,457 Posts
auntmarge said:
Hi Victoria,

Sorry if I sounded cranky.... I am, but not at you. The whole background thing seems like such an unnecessary problem. I'll have to think about contacting them again. Gotta be in the mood, you know?

Margaret
No worries, I didn't think you were being cranky. :) I'm sorry you're having to cope with this, and you're right, I don't quite understand why there isn't a way to tweak the settings on both the font & the background. It shouldn't be this big a problem to fix! But then again, my hot button is the lack of folders, and I don't understand why hasn't been corrected either.

And I completely understand needing to be in the right frame of mind to deal with this stuff. I HATE the hassles with any kind of returns, and calling Customer Service with any company is even worse. A lot of people are comfortable buying things & just returning them because they don't like them. I only wish I were that way; I end up leaving them around the house until it's far too late to take them back!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
406 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Here is a photo of my K1 and K2 side-by-side. This photo was taken before I hacked the font on the K2 and added a dark skin, so the reading experience is easier now, but I'm posting this to show that there is quite a difference in the two background.



It's hard to look past the text, so here's a comparison of cuts from the K1 and K2 areas of the photo:



Of course, the grays will look different on each computer screen, but the second photo should at least show the darker quality of the K2 screen.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top