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On this blog we will track down the latest Amazon Kindle news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great Kindle3 tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest KindleDX accessories.

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September 2016
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Unicode Font Hack v0.2, now for Kindle International too!

kindle-international-unicode-font-hackI’ve create Unicode Font Hack that also works on Kindle 2 International. I’ve also reorganized the files to minimize download times. Each device/font combination can now be downloaded as separate file. That file would contain only update binaries. Source code for all binaries can be downloaded separately. I’ve updated the hack page accordingly. You can find instructions as well as more detailed information there.

I’ve made the following changes to the hack:

  • Removed browser only hack since it didn’t add much value – if you still want it you’ll need to build it from the sources yourself.
  • Changed the uninstaller so that it removes extra font files completely as some of you have requested this feature.
  • Since droid hack uses the same font, rather than making multiple copies I’m using symlinks now so the hack uses less disk space on Kindle.

Here are installation instructions:

  1. Download one of the following files:
    1. Droid fonts: this is an open-source font that comes from Android Google OS. This font looks quite nice and supports Asian characters. However it only comes in sans serif style:
    2. Liberation fonts. These fonts come from RedHat linux and are open-source. Personally I don’t find them as nice as droid. It doesn’t support Asian characters. However it does support all 3 font styles – serif, sans serif and mono-spaced.
  2. If you have international version of Kindle 2 you need to jailbreak it first:
    1. Connect your Kindle to PC via the USB cable.
    2. Download this file: update_freekindle-k2i.bin
    3. Copy it to the root directory of your Kindle.
    4. Press Home. Press Menu. Select Settings. Press Menu. Select Update Your Kindle. Select OK.
    5. The update WILL fail. This is expected. However from now on you will be able to install custom Kindle updates.
  3. Connect your Kindle to PC via the USB cable.
  4. Copy update package that corresponds to your device to to the root directory of your Kindle.
  5. Press Home. Press Menu. Select Settings. Press Menu. Select Update Your Kindle. Select OK.
  6. The update will install, Kindle will restart and when it does – new fonts are going to be in effect. Please not that for International Kindle it will take some time before the installation progress bar moves as font files are large and it takes a long time for Kindle to verify the update signature.

To uninstall:

  1. Connect your Kindle to PC via the USB cable.
  2. Download  and copy uninstall package that corresponds to your device to to the root directory of your Kindle.
  3. Press Home. Press Menu. Select Settings. Press Menu. Select Update Your Kindle. Select OK.
  4. The update will install, Kindle will restart and when it does – old fonts will be used and there will be no trace of the hack in the Kindle file system. So official updates will install once again.

If you would like to customize the fonts – you can do so by downloading the hack sources and modifying them. I have to warn you that this is risky business though. It may be a good idea to install the antibrick hack before you proceed.

Kindle anti-brick hack

When I was first working on Unicode Font Hack for Kindle 2 I bricked mine by messing up the fonts configuration. This prevented Java GUI from starting up so I had to way to install an update that would reverse the change.

While this hack will not fix your already bricked Kindle it will give you a chance to unbrick yours in the future. All it does is it installs a startup script that would scan check system directory for exec.sh and execute commands that are in there. File is then renamed to exec.sh.done to avoid infinite executions. This will give you a chance to run some commands even if Java GUI doesn’t start for one reason or another. It will also give you ability to run commands on your Kindle without having to roll updates for every command, use serial console or USB networking hack.

Since this gives you the ability to run any commands on your Kindle this surely gives you the ability to irreversibly brick it as well. So if you don’t know your way around Linux I don’t recommend you install it at all.

That being said, the hack can be downloaded here: kindle_antibrick.zip

All you need to do is copy appropriate  (update_antibrick-k2.bin for Kindle 2, update_antibrick-kdx for Kindle DX and update_antibrick-k2i for Kindle International) file into root directory of Kindle USB drive just like any other hack. It will also copy small sample exec.sh into system directory. Upon successful installation this script will create a file antibrick-success.txt in the root folder.

If you are doing this on Kindle 2 international you need to jailbreak your Kindle first.

Since it doesn’t change any existing files it is not intrusive in regard to official Amazon updates and will not prevent them from being installed.

update_antibrick_remove-*.bin files remove the hack. Once again you should use the file that corresponds to your device version.

I’ve decided to publish this before I publish the updated Unicode Fonts hack so that people who would want to modify the hack may install this first.

Hacking the International Kindle – First Attempt

RS-232 to TTL converter for Kindle

RS-232 to TTL converter for Kindle

If you were wondering why there were no posts lately – I’ve been busy trying to come up with a way to install Unicode Font Hack on Kindle 2 International. Rather than ordering ready-made USB-RS232-TTL converter I’ve decided to have some fun with little hardware project and create one myself.

Unfortunately I’ve short-circuited something within Kindle when connecting wires to the serial console and pretty much bricked the unit. This is yet another reminder to people that you shouldn’t try to hack something like Kindle unless you are willing to brick it.

Right now I’m waiting for the next specimen to arrive as I’m determined to make Unicode Font Hack to work and make International Kindle truly international.

I bricked one Kindle a while back when I was creating the original Unicode Font Hack and succeeded on the second attempt. I hope that with international Kindle this will also be the case…

Kindle 2 Disassembled

Folks from iFixIt.com have disassembled Kindle 2 and here is brief scoop of what they’ve found:

  • Battery used is 3.7V 1530mAh Li-Pol battery model number S11S01A. It weights 1.1 oz which is 10% of total weight of the device. It has slightly less capacity than iPhone 3G battery which is 1400mAh. Freescale MC13783VK5 is used as a battery power management chip.
  • There is no protective cover on the display. So if you scratch it or break it repairs would be quite expensive.
  • Main processor used is MCIMX31LVKN5C M91E CTAH0850V. It is ARM-11 CPU that runs at 533 Mhz and is manufactured by 90nm process. This is an upgrade from Kindle 1 which used 400 Mhz Marvell PXA255 CPU marked with LUPXA255A0 G7171929.2 0744 KR C400.
  • RAM is represented by 128MB DDR Samsung K4X1G323PC chip. This is an upgrade compared to 64MB RAM found in Kindle 1.
  • Flash memory is 2GB moviNAND. Major upgrade from 256MB built in Kindle 1, but as we know it comes at a cost of not having external SD slot.
  • There is unused space on the PCB for SIM card. This hints to possibility of international versions of Kindle.

We’ll probably get much more comprehensive coverage on Kindle 2 once Igor from Reversing Everything gets his hands on one.

Hacking the kindle.

Recently I stumbled upon a blog which describes how to hack Kindle in great details. Even though I’m not a big hacker myself it is quite interesting to see what is going on in my Kindle internals and what steps I would need to take in order to modify it.

Based on his post in order to see Kindle boot sequence you will have to do some additional electrical wiring. That’s how crude final connected version looks like.

If you want to hack you Kindle you’ll need several things:

- Some electrical engineering education… Or be a hacker in your soul.

- a TTL-RS232 or TTL-USB converter.

- a 20-pin 0.5mm pitch flat flex cable with a connector.

- Strong desire to do it.

Or you can keep it simple and send your Kindle to Igor and ask him to hack it :)

Read his entire post on connecting Kindle to a hacking device.

In the next post I’ll try to cover more aspects on kindle hack process I read about in Igor’s blog. It will include some hidden features and easter eggs you have in your Kindle.

If you have tried hacking Kindle and successfully done so please send details to me. I would love to post about them.