Custom screensavers on a Kindle 4

After seeing the fairly pedestrian and pretty crappy default screensavers one time too many, I figured it was time to bust open the Kindle and put my own on there.

A quick google reveals that you don’t even need one of the firmware hacks on the new devices. It’s pretty easy, but the set up is done on a Windows PC, which will put some people off trying it. Fear not. It still works for us Mac OS X users.

Basically, you create a file on the Kindle with a specific name. This kicks the Kindle into diagnostic mode, allowing you to set USBnet on (you connect to the Kindle like it was another computer), ssh in, rename the old screensaver folder, make a new one, and symlink it to the area of the Kindle that mounts on your desktop.

Easy eh?

So taking it a bit more slowly, connect the Kindle via USB to your Mac. In TextEdit, create a new file, then save it with the filename ENABLE_DIAGS (no .txt or anything) and just save it into the mounted Kindle drive and reboot (Settings > Menu > Restart)

Next, with the diagnostics menu up, select the following—

usb networking > Misc individual diagnostics > Utilities > Enable USBnet — then click the right button on the directional pad.

Next, I plugged the Kindle in again, and was alerted by System Prefs / Networking that a new device had been located, and should I continue and set it up. Yes. Go into the Advanced menu and set the TCP/IP settings as follows—

Subnet mask:

Leave everything else blank.

Next, fire up Terminal, and ssh into the Kindle. Things to know: the login/pass is root/mario!

$ ssh [email protected]

and enter the password, mario.

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