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Via Slashdot today:
http://www.keionline.org/blogs/2009/05/13/kindle-2-vs-reading-disabled-students/

The Kindle has a number of 'remote kill' flags built in to the hardware that, among other things, allow the text-to-speech function to be disabled at any time on a book-by-book basis. 'Beginning yesterday, Random House Publishers began to disable text-to-speech remotely. The TTS function has apparently been remotely disabled in over 40 works so far.' But what no one at Amazon will discuss is what other flags are lurking in the Kindle format: is there a 'read only once' flag? A 'no turning the pages backwards' flag?
I've never agreed with Amazon caving and allowing publishers to have TTS disabled on their books, but coding the Kindle so your content can be meddled with at any time? No thank you.
 

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Let me preface by saying that I own a KK, and I love it. I read it every day.

However, things like the above are what make me very leery of the e-book market and the future of e-books.

When I purchase a hardcopy book, I don't have a certain number of licenses on it before I have to purchase it again. I don't lose my entire library if a book "breaks," whereas I will lose my entire Kindle library if my KK breaks and I decide not to purchase a new one; I am restricted only to reading them on another Kindle. There are no "flags" in hardcopy books that could affect their content or usage in the future.

Again, don't get me wrong, I love my KK. I just think the e-book industry has a long way to go before it could ever even possibly match or replace the regular print industry.

That's just my opinion, though.
 

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You can read kindle books on the iphone with the kindle app if you have both. I'm not concerned with the text to speech being turned off probably because I can't ever imagine using it ( if I ever upgrade my K1). I hate listening to that voice on automated phones, I sure don't want to hear it reading my books. I'm guessing that the publishers are concerned about losing out on sales of audio books? I don't know? I have a few books that are favorites in both audio and print versions. I even have a couple that I originally bought in hardback and later purchased audio and kindle versions of them. And some books you just can't beat the author reading it, like Kitchen Confidential with Tony Bourdain and Deepak Chopra reading his own works.
 

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I'm not sure how many K2 owners use the TTS feature the way I do, but I use it to auto-turn pages (with the volume turned off). This allows me to work out on the treadmill without having to press the page turn button myself. There was an auto-turn feature on the KK that is not present on the K2, and without TTS there is no way to do this. I hope Amazon is developing a workaround, as that would be a big disadvantage (at least for me) if a lot of books had TTS turned off by the publishers.
 

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I was at work the other day demo-ing my K1.  I had mentioned that the new Kindle and DX do not support the SD card and then he said "do you know why?"  I think he hit the nail right on the head.  

They can not "zap" content or regulate anything that is stored on an SD card.   Books have to be on the Kindle itself in order for them to monitor its license and usage and "remote kill" something illegal or whatnot.  In theory, I can put my Kindle books on a SD card and give it to another Kindle user.  If they don't ever turn on the wi-fi, they can read the books on the SD card.  So it is not a "design flaw" that they killed the SD card option, it's very intentional.  It makes perfect sense and this is evidence that they are doing this sort of thing!  

Love my K1, don't love the book restrictions so I am in total agreement with MWVickers.

 

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Wunderkind said:
I'm not sure how many K2 owners use the TTS feature the way I do, but I use it to auto-turn pages (with the volume turned off). This allows me to work out on the treadmill without having to press the page turn button myself. There was an auto-turn feature on the KK that is not present on the K2, and without TTS there is no way to do this. I hope Amazon is developing a workaround, as that would be a big disadvantage (at least for me) if a lot of books had TTS turned off by the publishers.
I use TTS in the same way. I really miss the auto page turn feature of KK. Sending feedback again to Amazon to please reinstate this feature.
 

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raccemup said:
They can not "zap" content or regulate anything that is stored on an SD card. Books have to be on the Kindle itself in order for them to monitor its license and usage and "remote kill" something illegal or whatnot. In theory, I can put my Kindle books on a SD card and give it to another Kindle user. If they don't ever turn on the wi-fi, they can read the books on the SD card. So it is not a "design flaw" that they killed the SD card option, it's very intentional. It makes perfect sense and this is evidence that they are doing this sort of thing!
Unfortunately it doesn't work this way with the SD card either. If you purchase books from Amazon and transfer them to an SD card and give the card to a friend with a K1 they will not be able to open and read the books. The DRM protection licenses the book ONLY to the registered Kindle from which it was purchased or downloaded again to another registered Kindle on a shared account. The SD card is not a DRM workaround, just additional storage space.
 

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I have heard that works, but never tried it.  Although I do have an unregistered extra K1 here.  Anyone up for a little experiment?  ;)  jk lol 

Ok, conspiracy theory #109 shot down.  ;D

No but seriously... If I bought a book and moved it to my SD card, could Amazon regulate it or Remote Kill it or not?  I'm thinking not but I don't know.  If K2's had a SD card would they be able to remotely disable TTS on books on the SD card or just on the Kindle itself?  I think it's that kind of thing that led them to get rid of the SD slot.  Not sure of the actual logistics of it all but on principle, I do think that's why they removed that option.
 

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I had a book I bought from amazon. It wasn't formatted correctly. I wanted to experiment so I moved it to the sd card. Then called amazon. They "refunded" my $$. When I turned my wireless on the book was removed from my sd card. I didn't mind, as really I just moved it to the sd to see if they could pull itif it wasn't on the Kindle, and they did. Also when I had to get a replacement k1 and I moved the sd card to the new kindle the new one would list the titles titles, but wouldn't open the books. Both k1s a were on same account. But the new one  wouldn't open amazon books, any converted by amazon, or Feedbooks from the Sd card I tranfered from the other k1, even though both were registered on the same account.
 

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Red said:
I had a book I bought from amazon. It wasn't formatted correctly. I wanted to experiment so I moved it to the sd card. Then called amazon. They "refunded" my $$. When I turned my wireless on the book was removed from my sd card. I didn't mind, as really I just moved it to the sd to see if they could pull itif it wasn't on the Kindle, and they did. Also when I had to get a replacement k1 and I moved the sd card to the new kindle the new one would list the titles titles, but wouldn't open the books. Both k1s a were on same account. But the new one wouldn't open amazon books, any converted by amazon, or Feedbooks from the Sd card I tranfered from the other k1, even though both were registered on the same account.
I can understand the ones purchased from Amazon not transferring, but the ones from Feedbooks or converted by Amazon don't make sense to me. A friend & have emailed several books between us, both downloaded from Feedbooks and PDFs converted through Amazon's @Kindle.com setup. Files work fine on both K2s regardless, and they are NOT on the same account. Different setup for K2s perhaps?
 

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Red said:
I had a book I bought from amazon. When I turned my wireless on the book was removed from my sd card. I didn't mind, as really I just moved it to the sd to see if they could pull itif it wasn't on the Kindle, and they did. Also when I had to get a replacement k1 and I moved the sd card to the new kindle the new one would list the titles titles, but wouldn't open the books. Both k1s a were on same account. But the new one wouldn't open amazon books, any converted by amazon, or Feedbooks from the Sd card I tranfered from the other k1, even though both were registered on the same account.
If you had taken the SD card out of your Kindle after transferring to the SD card and before turning on WN, I am pretty sure it would still have been there and would have stayed there as long as the SD card was in but WN not turned on (I have never tried this so I certainly could be wrong). And yes, SD cards from one K1 to another even on the same account won't work, you have to download to the new K1 from your account manager at Amazon since it wouldn't be in the "shared" content manager on the device itself if it was moved to the SD card on the first one. You can "share" Amazon books on the same account but not SD cards. I don't why the books from other sites didn't work, my friend has sent me non-DRM books on an SD card and I have been able to pop it in and start reading.

Just so the thread isn't completely hijacked, it is kind of a Big Brother feel that Amazon has coded flags that can control our Kindles whether we want them to or not. I suppose retaining that type of control is the price we pay for the ease of WN. The Kindle is certainly completely usable without ever turning WN on if it really concerns you.
 

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It's a double-edged sword.  They can go in and add restrictions, but they can also go in and add content or corrections to books as well.  It's just part of what you have to deal with for the convenience of a fledgling technology.  I don't agree with the TTS thing and I will probably try to avoid books with it blocked, but I don't use it and if there's something I really want to read I don't think this will be a deciding factor any more than a book being priced over $9.99.
 

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crebel said:
If you had taken the SD card out of your Kindle after transferring to the SD card and before turning on WN, I am pretty sure it would still have been there and would have stayed there as long as the SD card was in but WN not turned on (I have never tried this so I certainly could be wrong).
Of course it would, but my point of the experiment was to see if Amazon could pull the book off of the SD card via WN. Sorry if my post wasn't clear on that.

And yes, SD cards from one K1 to another even on the same account won't work, you have to download to the new K1 from your account manager at Amazon since it wouldn't be in the "shared" content manager on the device itself if it was moved to the SD card on the first one. You can "share" Amazon books on the same account but not SD cards. I don't why the books from other sites didn't work, my friend has sent me non-DRM books on an SD card and I have been able to pop it in and start reading.
Had they used the SD card on their Kindle? Because I had used it on mine, then had to return a kindle, registered the new kindle to the same account, put in the SD card, and it showed the titles on the content manager, but I got an error message with everyone of the 25 books, some email conversions, some direct download via feedbooks to kindle to SD card. They were all non-DRM.
 

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VictoriaP said:
I can understand the ones purchased from Amazon not transferring, but the ones from Feedbooks or converted by Amazon don't make sense to me. A friend & have emailed several books between us, both downloaded from Feedbooks and PDFs converted through Amazon's @Kindle.com setup. Files work fine on both K2s regardless, and they are NOT on the same account. Different setup for K2s perhaps?
I couldn't understand why the feedbooks ect didn't transfer via SD either, they sort of did, it would read the titles off the SD, but an error message happened with attempted opening, none of them would open. And it is the kk. Kindle 2 doesn't have an SD card.
 

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I am a little confused...I don't see the quote from the OP anywhere in the article...where is that info about "remote flags" coming from?
Also, Amazon can access your Kindle 1 or 2 or DX even if the WN is off. It is still on the network and they are responsible for making sure it isn't being abused. When the Harry Potter book were made available, illegally, I got them without thinking about it. I had called CS to have them removed if they were not legit copies and I was told they were looking into it and if they were found to be pirated they would pull them and refund my money. A couple days later they were gone...and my WN hadn't been turned on. I also returned an eBook (it was a short story that was also included in an anthology I wanted) and by the time the call with CS was over the bookwas no longer on my Kindle...again the WN was off.
So, yes. Amazon can access our Kindles any time. Read all the fine print! We have rights as well. If for some reason Amazon goes under the books would be made available on another server. We will not lose our books. And as for the licences, that is not as big a deal as everyone makes it out to be. Any book may be licenced to (x) devices. For most books that number is 6. The licences CAN be removed from devices no longer in use!!! If it breaks, or you sell it you just need a list of the books that were on it and CS can manually free those licences for reuse. You don't lose your licences, but once the licences are applied to a device the book is tied to that device until you free it up. They are rather picky about doing it and will only remove them for certain reasons, like breakage or sale.
Ok, I'm done. Deep Breath.

ETA: Sorry about that rant, I hadn't had my coffee yet and I had wandered over to the "other side" and I guess all their bit**ing got to me a little. That will teach me! ;)
 

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Interesting information MAGreen, I didn't think it qualified as a rant!  I knew my K1 does some things when WN is off, like indexing; but I didn't realize Amazon could access and delete or add things without a direct connection via WN or USB.  Since I will be continually adding books, they will certainly would have access to mine either way.  Like Scheherazade said, it's what we deal with for the convenience of the technology.  It is worth it to me!
 

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Other than the Big Brother aspect of this, I wonder about the legality of Amazon removing a feature such as TTS that was part of the package when you bought a title.  I suppose they'd say since they caved on TTS in general it has to extend to individual titles, but it would be interesting to see if they'd refund the purchase price after removing a feature they sold you. 

But does this mean Amazon feels they have the right to change internal content, too?  What if the author decides to edit a chapter, change the ending, remove sections? 

 

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crebel said:
I didn't realize Amazon could access and delete or add things without a direct connection via WN or USB.
I doubt they can, unless there is a goat sacrifice involved. Alternatively, the Kindle may wirelessly phone home once in a while if in a service area, even if the Whispernet is turned off.

I don't believe they can just delete things without a wireless connection of some sort. I don't even see how they could do it via a USB connection.

Mike
 

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I will never use the text to speech, cause the voices creep me out. Still I find it disturbing too. I rarely turn on my wireless though but it does seem every time I do, I get some kind of update, which usually happens after I turn it off? My Kindle will restart on it's own?
 

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i'm new to rereaders and infact do not have one yet but i have to say this "big brother" stuff i'm reading here really bothers me. am i alone?
 
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