Kindles are stupid; also, a review of “Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux 2” by Daniel Dieterle

I recently picked up “Basic Security Testing with Kali Linux 2” by Daniel Dieterle. Because of the price, I ordered it on the Kindle instead of a hard copy.  Plus I liked the idea of working tutorials with the Kindle rather than a book that needed to be held open.

Working through the book was engaging and fun. I followed along with the tutorials and the external download recommendations and continued tutorials, and enjoyed several exploits along the way.  It really helped to solidify my understanding of some of the tools in Kali, and when to use which tool.

I’m considering the intermediate book next. However, I’m confused by the Amazon listings.  According to Amazon, the Basic book was published in May 0f 2016, but the Intermediate book was published in November 2015.  I’d hate to think I’m buying an intermediate book that was already out of date…  So I’ll do some more research before pulling the trigger on that.

Meanwhile, I have a number of other security books in various digital formats: .pdf, .epub, etc.  I thought it would be useful to convert them to be usable on the Kindle.

Not as straightforward as one would suspect, and not as straightforward as vendor and open forums would lead oine to believe.

First, I copied all of them in their respective formats to the Documents folder on the Kindle.  Turns out, there are specific file types that are preferred by the Kindle.  So next, I converted them all to .mobi files and reuploaded them (via the USB cable, which is called sideloading).  They still did not show up on my home screen, which I was led to believe they would.

So I did some research.  Turns out, a lot of people have this problem. Some claim to have resolved it by converting the documents to .azw3 format, by uploading them one at a time, by performing strange sexual rituals with their kindle, or you get the idea.  There is no consistent solution that seems to work for everyone.

Beyond that, some say it’s not a problem at all, the Kindle just “needs time to index them.”  And you can find this out by searching your Kindle for a random string of characters. When you get no results found, click below on “Text in Books” to determine how many “Items Not Yet Indexed” are on your Kindle.  I currently have 23 books on mine that have not yet been indexed.  There does not seem to be an interface to manage or force the indexing.  Some say indexing takes minutes, others say hours.  Probably depends on the size of your books.

Actually there is a way to sort of force indexing.  Mount the Kindle via USB, go to <Drive:>\System\Search Indexes and delete everything in there, then eject it.  Now instead of 23 items, I have 53.  Yay.  Going to leave it like that for a while and see if that properly reindexes everything.

And… nope.  Indexed everything that was already there, but still hasn’t recognized the new content.  Fuck Amazon and their stupid-ass Kindles.

UPDATE: Finally found a post that mentions that sideloaded documents show up when you click “Downloaded” on the home screen.  How annoying and stupid.  They don’t show up under “All” — only under “Downloaded.”  Wouldn’t common sense tell you that “All” includes “Downloaded?”

I understand that Amazon has an incentive to make it more difficult toi upload non-Amazon material; after all, that’s their bread and butter. However, I’m not at all interested in spending a not-insignificant amount of money re-buying a number of books I already have.

Until I can resolve this issue, I’m far less likely to invest in Amazon Kindle content.