Monday, January 26, 2009

Kindle Update - Traveling without a battery

I had to go to the UK recently and took my Kindle along. I put some thought into my Kindle use before I left and ended up with things not working out as I planned.

The planning went into the trip because I usually read on planes and I expected to have lots of time flying from Denver to London and back. Since the Kindle can't purchase books overseas I read quite a few samples in the weeks before I left and then purchased about 10 or 12 new books to take with me. With the 3 or 4 I was reading, I had plenty to do.

That was good since I got stuck in Chicago with a broken plane overnight and read 4 books before I got to London. Plus I was partway into 2 more.

However I didn't really work on my computer on the way over, which was a problem. I didn't charge the battery in Chicago and by the time I arrived in London, my battery was almost dead. By the time I got through a day of work in London and back to the hotel, the Kindle battery was completely dead and I couldn't charge it.

The Kindle has a special charger, and despite being a miniUSB plug, it doesn't work with most mini-USB chargers, like cell phone chargers. There is a USB cable, which trickle charges, but it won't get things charged unless you can boot the Kindle first. I couldn't and spent all week without anything to read until Thursday night when I went to a Borders and bought a couple books.

From Thur night to Saturday night when I got home, I read 5 books and started a 6th. It was a hassle to carry them around, especially on planes with my bag stuffed with 5 paperbacks and overflowing. I missed the Kindle during those times, wishing I'd brought the charger.

Why didn't I? I have a travel adapter, but only one and the last time I was overseas, I was struggling to get things charged. Between my laptop and cell phone, I knew I'd be competing for plugs and so I brought the USB cable. What I didn't count on was running the battery low and not being able to charge that way. I did buy a 2.5A, 5V charger in the UK, but it didn't work. I read online that there is a Samsung charger that works, but I couldn't find one in a few stores and didn't have time to search widely. has one, but they didn't have express shipping or I would have ordered one.

I learned a few lessons here. One is that I need to charge more regularly on the road. Two is that I should just bring the wall charger. Three is that the Amazon Kindle team are idiots. How much money could they be making from selling spare chargers? Why wouldn't you just use a blackberry compatible charger? Poor, poor design choice.

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