Kindle: It’s what Textise was made for

Textise on a Kindle

An Independent article displayed using Textise

If you, like me, have been lucky enough to receive a Kindle this Christmas (ask my wife about the importance of pester-power in any grown-up relationship!) you’ll probably have had a go at the “experimental” Kindle browser and concluded that it’s just a bit too hard to use. It’s a bit like viewing the Internet on a smart phone, except the screen’s bigger but monochrome. You have to select portions of the screen to zoom in on, which is a bit clunky. There’s an “article mode” you can switch to, that nicely formats articles on, say, news sites, but this only works on certain sites and, even then, not on their home pages. You can see where this is going.

What the Kindle needs is a program that can convert web sites into the sort of lovely, clean, clear text that it was designed to display so beautifully. A program like Textise.

So, if you’re a Kindle user, here’s what to do:

  • Navigate to the Textise home page in the Kindle browser (www.textise.net) and bookmark it (on the Kindle, click the Menu button and select Bookmark This Page). This will allow you to get back to Textise whenever you want to go text-only on a page.
  • Next, select a site you think you’ll want to visit regularly (for me, it’s http://www.independent.co.uk) and type its address into the Textise home page. Hit the Textise button and you’ll see a text-only version of the site. Bookmark this (Textised) page. Repeat for all often-updated sites you visit regularly.

I’ve found that this works brilliantly with The Independent’s web site, and it’s a lot cheaper than the £13.99 per month subscription they’re charging! The down-side – on The Independent’s site and many others – is that you have to page through all the annoying links at the top of the page. This is a problem exacerbated by the fact that internal bookmarks that “skip to main content” don’t currently work in Textise. Rest-assured, I will be fixing this soon.

Of course, what the Kindle really needs is a Textise macro/add-on like the one I’ve written for Firefox, allowing you to easily flip into text-only mode, so I’ve applied for Beta developer status on the KDK (Kindle Development Kit) so I can write one. Still waiting to hear back…

And finally, I’ve realised that bookmarks for Textised pages should be prefixed “Textised!”, just so you know. Fixing that too.

Happy New Year to all Textisers out there! Wishing you all a great, text-only year!

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