The Kindle and FFnet


 

Okay, the mailman came EARLY today! All is forgiven. Hmph.

The Kindle (I have a Kindle Touch, mind you), has an “experimental” web browser. That is, a feature not fully supported, and they want feed back on if they should develop it, etc. Oh, they talking to the right person for THAT. But the thing near gave me a heart attack when I thought I’d have to return it….

First off, when the Kindle arrives, you probably want to take it out of the (hella cool) box and turn it on. Mine came in about half charged, according to its battery indicator. Don’t plug in the USB cable right away, or it will start acting like an external drive and you can’t use it until you tell the computer to Eject it.

First, you will need to get to the Menu so you can log in to your wireless network. Yes, it accepts passwords for security-enabled networks. Mine uses WPA2-AES, and the Kindle Touch works fine with it. Remember not to touch anything after you enter the password — it may take a minute to connect. (Especially if you enter the wrong one, like I did. :X )

Once you log in, it should recognize you, and you should become registered. Sha-ZAAM! Then on the Menu, you can go to Experimental, which is where the browser is. You’ll see a stack of bookmarks they give you. To remove any, first tap the Remove button at the bottom of the screen. Then you’ll get checkboxes to select which ones to Remove. That took a little getting used to: you hit the button first, then click your selection; not the other way around.

Tap in the URL window at the top to type in an URL. I don’t know how you can move the cursor back and forth without erasing any text — there’s no HOME or cursor buttons on the Touch keyboard. I did manage to position the cursor when I edited my bookmark name, but that was a different text input area.

Now this is where I got freaked out. I put in my FFnet url: http://www.fanfiction.net/~bloodsong13t. The tilde is hard to find; you go to the number keyboard (the 123 button on the lower left), then the special punctuation keyboard (the #-; or whatever it is button where the shift key usually is). It came up and said m.fanfiction.net/~bloodsong13t does not exist! Wait, what? M? I didn’t hit M, I hit the WWW key.

Yah, well, apparently the experimental kindle browser forces you to “mobile” mode. Luckily, FFnet DOES have a mobile version! Just click “mobile edition” on the top bar (in your regular browser) to see it. But no, you’re not there. You have to find your author name in the Find section. Once you do, you’ll see you’re not tilde somebody, you’re some-number somebody.

Either type that all in, or navigate the Kindle to m.fanfiction.net and do the search from there. (The drop-down boxes can be a little slow to respond. Tap on them, and a menu will pop up with the drop-down choices in it. You’ll also use this once you get to the chapter selection drop-down.) Once you get to your microscopic homepage, you can find your favorited stories and authors by tapping the link.

 

Here’s where things leave a bit to be desired.

The mobile version of FFnet doesn’t have the chapter selector box at the top. Instead, it’s at the bottom of the page. Normally, this is not an issue, because there is a V tab at the top of the page that will jump you down to the bottom. However, it does not work in the Kindle browser. (It uses anchor tags, apparently the Kindle browser doesn’t recognize these.)

So you have to scroll to the bottom of the page. Normally, this isn’t a problem either… but…. Okay, first of all, the web page does not work like an e-book page. If you tap to “turn the page”/”page down,” nothing happens. If you try to swipe down the page, like you are grabbing the scrollbar, or rolling your mousewheel; that’s wrong. What you want to do is swipe UP the page to drag it up in the view.

Okay, that’s convenient, BUT… I started to notice that the end of one page and the top of the next ‘page’ were not congruent. I found that it was only scrolling up about half a page. Or that it dragged the page up as far as I swiped. So to actually page through, I’d have to swipe from the bottom line to the top line. Even that wasn’t going all the way, nor consistantly enough to read like a book (or even an e-book).

Then I found there is a faint, very skinny, scrollbar on the right side of the Kindle display. I tried grabbing the electronic “thumb” (you know, the grey tab in the scroll bar you grab to move around?) and using it as a normal scrollbar. No. No dice.

Well, I got to the “Jump To” (chapter) selector at the bottom of the page. Finally. Tapped to open that up. Only to discover that, in order to save space on the mobile version, FFnet only displays “Chapter #” for chapter titles. You know, I’m bad with numbers. If they’d just left the “#.” and a truncated part of the chapter name, I might’ve been able to find my spot.

I picked a chapter… I was wrong. I hit the “Back” button on the browser. Only to be at the top of the previous page. With alllllllll that scrolling to do! Zonk.

One last complaint… And FFnet and Kindle share the blame for this… The FFnet font is a sans-serif font, and I can’t use my Kindle font size/style preferences on it. I mean, FFnet is very basic html. Changing the browser font shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Hey, full browsers let you do so. And/or the FFnet mobile version could have some of the full version’s reading options. Like… font style.

 

Now, for reading a Fan Fiction work from start to finish, this is going to be a blast! The scrolling thing isn’t too bad. Usually when I’m reading a web page, I don’t read top to bottom, anyway; but scroll up and read somewhere in the top third. Not that Kindle is a computer screen, though. But I can half-read and half-scroll pages. In bed, too! I’m so excited!

 

Oh wait! I found the FFnet mobile font options, at the bottom of the page. Oops, they’re only font size, and the default size is the smallest they have. Ah well.

PPS: Okay, apparently FFnet shunted Kindle over to the “m” version of the site based probably on browser info. Because I can get to my WordPress web pages on the regular www side. Oddly, though I have mobile themes enabled for these blogs, I don’t see a mobile-enhanced version of my pages. Only a very, very squished Garland theme. :X

 


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