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Whispers in the Dark

June 13, 2011

One of my favorite things about the Kindle is Amazon’s Whispernet Wifi and 3G wireless system (and the Whispersync techonology for syncing across Kindle devices). I don’t have the KIndle 3G, so today’s post will be assuming the use of Wifi rather than 3G. Everything here will work for the 3G device, but I recommend still following the instructions below using your @free.kindle.com address and Wifi rather than your @kindle.com address and 3G in order to avoid data charges from Amazon.

Calibre + Whispernet

Most people who have been using ereaders for a while know about Calibre, a fantastic program for managing your ebook library. For anyone not familiar with it, I highly recommend you check it out. The program has a great number of uses, many of which I will explore over time in this blog. The one I want to discuss today involves using Calibre to download news, send it to your Kindle, then delete it from your library to avoid clutter. The best part is that all of this will be set up to be done automatically.

Before we get into Calibre, let’s set up our Kindle account to receive documents from our email account. You have probably already set this up, but if not, log into your Amazon account. Go to Manage Your Kindle, and click on Personal Document Settings. Near the bottom, make sure your email address is in the list of approved email addresses. For this sample, we will use the fictitious myemail@gmail.com. Now Amazon will accept documents sent from myemail@gmail.com and forward them to our Kindle using Wifi (we use the also fictitious someone@free.kindle.com as the address for our Kindle).

Now let’s set up Calibre to enable us to send a book or document to our Kindle via Wifi using our @free.kindle.com address. (We can also “sideload” books and documents by hooking our Kindle up to the computer using the USB cable, but we will concentrate on using Wifi in today’s post.) First, after opening Calibre, we click on the Preferences icon, then on the “Sharing Books by Email” button under the section “Sharing.” Click on the “Add Email” button and fill in the information as shown. (I have checked the box for Auto Send; we will use that for the News download in a bit.)

Now click on the “Apply” button.  Test this using  a book or document in your Calibre library; my example shows today’s Public Domain Recommendation, the H.P. Lovecraft story, The Whisperer in Darkness, which is already in my Calibre library:

Now click on the “Connect/share” icon and choose “Email to someone@free.kindle.com.” Make sure your Kindle is on and Wifi is on, and within a couple of minutes you should receive the file on your Kindle. If all has gone well, we are now ready for the news.

Calibre already has hundreds of “recipes” for downloading news of all kinds in a couple dozen languages. For this example, I’m going to schedule Calibre to download news from the Associated Press every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday morning. It will send the news to my @free.kindle.com address automatically (remember, we checked the “Auto Send” option earlier); then it will delete the news from the Calibre library after sending it (I’ll show how to enable this in a bit; you don’t have to do this if you don’t want). First click on the “Fetch news” icon. Then click on the + sign next to English to see all the choices. We go to Associated Press and highlight it. We pick the options we want and click “save.”

Lastly, if we want Calibre to delete the news after sending it to the Kindle: Click on the Preferences icon, then click the “Behavior” button under the Interface section. Then check the box for “Delete news from library when it is automatically sent to reader.” That’s it!

Calibre is very powerful and has many more tricks up its sleeve, but next time we will look at several other programs that are designed specifically for sending articles from the web to your Kindle. These are not library management programs like Calibre, but perform their particular functions very well.

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