Kindle hack adds value to the wallpaper

kindle-screensaver-hack
What if your Kindle displayed useful information as the “screensaver”? Now it can thanks to this extension of the Kindle weather display hack we covered a year ago. [Pablo Jiménez Mateo] figured out how to display time, date, weather, and tasks as his Kindle wallpaper while retaining the original functionality of the device as an ePaper reader.

The hack isn’t strictly standalone. Like the Kindle weather station hack on which it is based, you need a computer to act as the server. We see this as a good thing. The server generates a vector graphic which is used as the Kindle screensaver. This process of scraping and packaging the data is just too much for the computing power of the Kindle alone.

Now that [Pablo] got this working without disrupting the normal function of the device, you can remix the hack with your own information sources by working with the server-side code. For those that aren’t familiar with the Linux commands needed to get the Kindle ready, don’t worry. This is reasonably non-invasive. You do need to Jailbreak your device. But once you do, the steps used simply load a small script to grab the images.

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    “This process of scraping and packaging the data is just too much for the computing power of the Kindle alone.”

    The Kindle CPU is reasonably powerful. If it can run a GameBoy emulator I’m sure it can scrape a few sites.

  2. noouch says:

    I’ve got an old Nook that I’ve been meaning to do precisely this with (weather + calendar). Glad to see most of the work is done for me! And yeah, these devices definitely have enough power under the hood to parse a website, and this could probably be done standalone.

    • monster says:

      if you’re talking about the original lcd/e-ink nook i’d really like to hear more about how you did it

      • Luke says:

        I came here to say exactly the same thing! I bought the nook when it was reduced with exactly this in mind. I’ve changed the android wallpaper a few times but I can’t figure out an easy away to update the image file to include the date, weather, news headlines etc.

  3. Typo in the title, “adds” not “ads”.

  4. geekmaster says:

    Not just gameboy emulation. Even the older slower kindle 3 can play real-time video. You can download a kindle video player and some silent films for it here:
    http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=177455

    So yeah, no need to keep a desktop PC powered up to supply the data for this to display. Even the tcc (tinycc) C compiler has been ported to all the eink kindles, so you could not only build an app to do this on the kindle but you could even compile it on the kindle too.

    Needing to keep a desktop PC powered to supply the screensaver images is inefficient. And to save battery, you can partially wake the kindle periodically to refresh its screensaver image. Lots of developer support over at the MobileRead Kindle Developer’s Corner forums…

    • hat says:

      True, about the inefficiency, but you might be able to use a Raspberri Pi as the server, which would cut down the energy consumption considerable.

      • Mike Szczys says:

        Pablo told me he did try this with a Raspberry Pi and it worked perfectly.

        I don’t have a Kindle to test out the computing power. Maybe someone will figure out how to internalize all parts of this hack and we can post a follow-up.

    • Pablo Jiménez says:

      Hi, I’m the author. I all the testing with my Raspberry Pi but as I have a powerful dedicated server rented I used it for this, this way the kindle only has to worry about fetching the image from the server and nothing else.

      • Robert Ely says:

        If your interested I can donate a VPS to this, You could set it up as a service for people.

        • Pablo Jiménez says:

          Could you contact me via my github? I have a few ideas for that VPS and this service. Basically a free service where a user can log in, select his location and ical url and is given a URL with the automagically generated image.

          If you are interested just contact me

  5. Carl Hage says:

    I’m using an unhacked kindle as a daylight visible (and night with paperwhite) display for (race) sailing navigation with one second updates. I’m using the regular kindle web browser that loads a simple ajax javascript program to fetch readings, update the display and draw graphics with HTML5 canvas. It works amazingly well as the screen updates seem smart and only flip the pixels needed. I disabled the screen saver so it doesn’t shut off when idle. I have a $23 TP-Link to use for a WiFi server. To get the kindle to connect on WiFi without an outside internet, I had to fake out the phone-home page retrieval. I haven’t had time to write it up, but plan to later.

    • Dennis Hambleton says:

      Carl,

      This is exactly what I would like to set up on my Sydney 36CR. I have a Digital Yacht WLN10 sending out a stream of NMEA sentences over wifi which cost me way more than $23!!. Could you share the javascript program so I can duplicate your setup? I have a K4NT.

  6. matt says:

    does anyone know how the screensaver ends up on the screen? Can we avoid rebooting?

  7. hmm, might be in interesting way to display a list of recent items added to SABNZBD or to an XBMC/DLNA library.

    Sort of a “whats new” info panel.

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