Jailbreaking the Kindle 3

I'm on my phone... a lot. Mostly to browse Mastodon, Reddit, Instagram, or read RSS. But I also read books on my phone. However, I don't like the fact that my kids see me staring into my phone and think that I'm ignoring them or wasting my life doom-scrolling, when I am reading a book instead.

I remembered that I had an old Kindle 3 somewhere, and searched around the house until I found it in a decorative box that we call (un)ironically call the "treasure chest".

I think I've had this Kindle for about 10 years or so, and it was probably sitting in the treasure chest for 6 of those years, so of course the battery was completely gone. I tried charging it for a few days, but no go. I bought new battery for around $30. Replacing it was easy, you pop the back off, unscrew the battery, pop in the new one, snap the case back on.

Now that it was working, I was spending time reading on it, and it was great. However, I wanted to see the cover of the book I was reading. I think this is a feature on the newer Kindles, and with a little searching on the internet, I found out that if you jailbreak the kindle, you can get this functionality on the Kindle 3.

The first thing to figure out is the type of Kindle you have, and then find the abbreviation for it. The abbreviation is used on the jailbreak software, so knowing that will let you download the correct software for your device. I used https://wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/Kindle_Serial_Numbers, and for the Kindle 3 it was "k3w".

Honestly the mobileread website was a fantastic resource of information, using this page I was able to figure out what type of jailbreak apps I wanted on the Kindle. For my use case, I wanted to grab the Kindle 3 jailbreak, python, and the screensavers hack.

To install them, you have to extract the zip files, then pick the .bin file that is appropriate for your model. Connect the kindle to your computer, and drop the file in the root of the device. Once that is done, on the Kindle, press menu, go to settings, then press menu again, and pick "update device". It will reboot and install the update based on the file that is in the root folder.

While the method is simple, you do have to do it for each bit of software you want to install, so it is a little time consuming. Install the jailbreak, reboot, install python, reboot, and install the screensaver hack, reboot.

To configure the screensaver hack, I wanted it to show the book I was reading when the kindle was off, so I put an empty file named "cover" in the "linkss" folder. Then guess what? Reboot!

There is a tool called KUAL which seems to offer a GUI to enable and disable a bunch of things, but since the Kindle is where I want it right now, I'm going to hold off on installing it.