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Amazon Denies Reports That Airport Scanners Ruin Kindle's e-Ink

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  • by Kenja (541830) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:15PM (#38125654)
    Everyone was told it was perfectly safe, but to cover their cars because it would strip the paint right off.
  • by skydyr (1404883) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:15PM (#38125660)

    If this were a problem, wouldn't it also affect nooks and other readers that use e-Ink? The displays are all made by the same company, after all.

    • by Bobakitoo (1814374) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:23PM (#38125782)

      "Why just the iphone?"

      Because a well know gadget name in the headline get you more advertisement views.

    • by LordKronos (470910) on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:35PM (#38126560) Homepage

      If this were a problem, wouldn't it also affect nooks and other readers that use e-Ink? The displays are all made by the same company, after all.

      Remember when Toyota was in the news for the unintended acceleration thing? Funny, because up until that point, all brands had similar numbers of sporadic cases of UA, but none of them made the news. Then suddenly Toyota makes the news, and out of nowhere, nearly all models of Toyota's began exhibiting the problem at the same time. And it didn't matter if it was a new car just off the lot or a vehicle that had been driven for several years. Suddenly they all started failing at once. Then just as quickly the problem disappeared. But surprisingly, none of the other non-Toyota brands made headlines for similar problems, even though they all experienced it.

      So, the answer may very well be that publicity has drawn people's attention to it. Did my nook fail? Well then I guess it was just a piece of crap. Did my kindle fail? Yeah, well then I guess it too was just a....wait a minute...did someone say something about airport scanners? I was at the airport recently. The airport scanners killed my kindle.

      • by gnasher719 (869701) on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:57PM (#38126902)

        Remember when Toyota was in the news for the unintended acceleration thing? Funny, because up until that point, all brands had similar numbers of sporadic cases of UA, but none of them made the news. Then suddenly Toyota makes the news, and out of nowhere, nearly all models of Toyota's began exhibiting the problem at the same time. And it didn't matter if it was a new car just off the lot or a vehicle that had been driven for several years. Suddenly they all started failing at once. Then just as quickly the problem disappeared. But surprisingly, none of the other non-Toyota brands made headlines for similar problems, even though they all experienced it.

        At the time a Mercedes engineer said that on every Mercedes, and in his opinion on every car sold, the brakes are about four times stronger than the engine. In other words, you can bring _any_ car with working brakes easily to a standstill by hitting the brakes hard until the car stands still, no matter what the engine tries. The essential bit is hitting the _brake pedal_ and not any other pedal. And actually stopping the car; if you drive at 70mph with your engine revving and hitting the brake pedal to stay at that speed, then eventually the brakes will overheat and fail.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by hawguy (1600213)

          At the time a Mercedes engineer said that on every Mercedes, and in his opinion on every car sold, the brakes are about four times stronger than the engine. In other words, you can bring _any_ car with working brakes easily to a standstill by hitting the brakes hard until the car stands still, no matter what the engine tries. The essential bit is hitting the _brake pedal_ and not any other pedal. And actually stopping the car; if you drive at 70mph with your engine revving and hitting the brake pedal to stay at that speed, then eventually the brakes will overheat and fail.

          So which is it? Are the brakes four times stronger than the engine, or can the engine overpower the brakes?

          On the one hand you say you can bring _any_ car with working brakes easily to a standstill by hitting the brakes hard until the car stands still, no matter what the engine tries, but on the other hand you say if you drive at 70mph with your engine revving and hitting the brake pedal to stay at that speed, then eventually the brakes will overheat and fail.

          • by Obfuscant (592200) on Monday November 21, 2011 @03:21PM (#38127322)

            So which is it? Are the brakes four times stronger than the engine, or can the engine overpower the brakes?

            Today's words are "chronic" and "acute".

            If you push on the brakes hard enough, they will stop the car. The acute usage of the brakes can overpower the engine.

            If you ride the brakes, thus both wearing them down and heating them up, the chronic application of braking will eventually cause them to fail and they will no longer overpower the engine.

            However, I don't believe that the appearance of ABS has been considered in this claim that they will overpower the car. If the ABS says "no", they will override the four-times-overpower and you'll have a lot less.

            • Mass hysteria again (Score:5, Informative)

              by kriston (7886) on Monday November 21, 2011 @04:49PM (#38128478) Homepage Journal

              Toyota somewhat respectfully did release results from the so-called "sudden acceleration" problem. In one specific case, where the retired state trooper killed himself and his family in a Lexus, the in-car computer recorded several seconds of full application of the accelerator pedal before the data stopped recording. We're not talking about the throttle, we're talking about the user input device, the accelerator pedal, that was at full application. Of course, it was operator error, and everyone knew that from the beginning. It's sad.

              "[T]he verdict is in," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "There is no electronic-based cause for unintended high-speed acceleration in Toyotas." http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20031069-503544.html [cbsnews.com]

              So, yes, this is mass hysteria. Same thing happened to Audi/VW back in the early 1990s where claimants insisted their Audis' cruise control caused cars to plow into buildings when moving from a parking space. Audio/VW's solution was to prevent shifting without simultaneous application of the brake pedal. On newer Audis these instructions are on the display in big, bright letters.

              • by Gordonjcp (186804)

                I know that on two VW vans fitted with automatic gearboxes (very uncommon though they are) the gear selector is blocked by a solenoid in P and N unless you put your foot on the brake.

              • by TechwoIf (1004763)
                Are you sure it wasn't the software fault thinking the accelerator was press all the way down, hence the full power and recording of the event of pedal was at full pressed?
                • by kriston (7886)

                  Would it help if I also point out that the brake pedal indicated zero application? In these cases surviving drivers always claim to be "standing" on the brakes but in reality the brake pedal and brake system instrumentation reflects *zero* application on both.

                  Mass hysteria is usually real.

                  Oh, to keep on topic, I own a Kindle and it goes through X-ray machines regularly and it's perfect. It's also got a non-lighted cover with painted metal clips and the battery never dies. *Shrug*

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            If you are driving in *any* car at *any* speed and you put the brake pedal to the floor (even if standing on the accelerator as well), the car will stop. Starting by riding the brakes for some period of time before attempting to actually stop the car can result in brake failure (thus triggering the "working brakes" condition). American cars suck for brakes, often with not-light family cars with drum brakes in the back and undersized solid discs in the front. I managed partial brake failure in a 90's Olds
      • by tgibbs (83782)

        I actually experienced unwanted acceleration in a rental car, not a Toyota. When I took my foot off the accelerator and hit the brake, I felt the engine "fighting" me, rolling into the intersection in spite of the brake. By stomping down even harder on the brake, I brought it to a stop a couple of feet beyond where I intended to stop. I continued to drive the car for a week, and the problem never recurred. I reported it to the rental agency when I returned the car, but only barely. With no repetition, and k

        • by AK Marc (707885)
          That's the joy of ABS. I've rolled into many intersections (more than one is "many" when you are talking about rolling into intersections) in my Subaru Impreza WRX. There was a TSB about it, "not a safety issue, just a personal preference" of whether to replace the ABS computer with one that worked. The failure was that if one wheel lost traction completely (going over a bump, railroad tracks, or a patch of dirt/sand), the braking would be greatly reduced for about 5 seconds, no application of the pedal w
    • by JoeF (6782)

      I have carried my Nook through airport scanners lots of times. No problem whatsoever.
      This is unlikely to have anything to do with the e-ink display. It is obviously some other "feature" of the Kindle (just like the "kill switch.")

    • by fafaforza (248976)

      Probably because eInk and Kindle have been one and the same for a few years now. Companies like Sony, who have had these readers for far longer, never get mentioned. Might be simple reporting, or it might be the simple readers that reporters are reporting to.

  • Nothing here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PCM2 (4486) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:18PM (#38125710) Homepage

    Boy, talk about a flimsy claim. It's as if eWeek couldn't resist running a juicy rumor, so when they couldn't find a single piece of evidence in support of the rumor, that became their headline (thus allowing them to run a story based on the rumor). They couldn't even find anyone to make the claim in a quote.

    Let the anecdotal evidence begin. I've sent B&N Nooks (with e-ink displays) through airport security scanners at least a dozen times. No ill effects.

    • Re:Nothing here (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Baldrake (776287) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:37PM (#38125960)

      Ok, since you asked, here is my anecdotal evidence. I have owned my Kindle for about a year. With daily use, it was worked flawlessly for all of that year, with three exceptions. In each of these cases, the reader froze, and had to be hard-reset and recharged.

      All three happened while I was on trans-Atlantic flights.

      It's a bit of a coincidence. I personally would not outright dismiss the possibility that there is something going on.

      • by SJHillman (1966756) on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:04PM (#38126234)

        Stop taking flights over the Bermuda Triangle. Problem solved.

      • by Lehk228 (705449)
        During flight? Sounds more like an issue of radiation or, depending on when and where, the mobile data uplink getting confused as it flies through far more cells and sees far more cells than it normally would.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Yeah, it is "radiation". Do people even stop and thing before they write something? You can get you Kindle through an x-ray scanner, and it is OK, but "radiation" on the flight will scramble it, not once, but 3 times!... yeah right. Do you people even have a clue about radiation flux in an x-ray machine (Ie. scanner, whatever), vs. real life???

          the mobile data uplink getting confused as it flies through far more cells and sees far more cells than it normally would.

          On a trans-Atlantic flight??

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Pressure also changes dramatically.

        • by oursland (1898514)
          If it is a radiation issue, I'd like to remind you that airport scanners are a source of radiation. You bring up a very good point about the cell tower. We need more info from the GP about whether or not the 3G modem was disabled or not to rule that out.
      • by psydeshow (154300)

        Ok, since you asked, here is my anecdotal evidence. I have owned my Kindle for about a year. With daily use, it was worked flawlessly for all of that year, with three exceptions. In each of these cases, the reader froze, and had to be hard-reset and recharged.

        All three happened while I was on trans-Atlantic flights.

        It's a bit of a coincidence. I personally would not outright dismiss the possibility that there is something going on.

        Did it get really cold at some point?

        My original Kindle always needed a hard reset after I walked to the subway from work in temperatures below freezing.

      • by N!NJA (1437175)

        I own an Archos 5 IMT, which, although doesn't use e-ink, has a touchscreen. Recently, during my first flight with it, I noticed the screen had become completely unresponsive. I was forced to put it aside. The device was working properly the day before, and was back to normal again when I tried it again at the hotel. While not a sample size as large as yours, it's meaningful to me because my device has always worked properly with the exception of that flight.

        There might be some component inside these gadg

        • by Zebedeu (739988) on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:57PM (#38126904)

          You should've requested the captain to disable all of *his* electronic equipment.

          What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Or changes in air pressure, humidity, and Lord knows how many other environmental changes (cosmic rays? 100 other cellphones looking for their towers at 100% broadcast power? static electricity?).

          In particular, I know that capacitive touch screens are affected by humidity, and airplanes have notoriously low humidity... like under 10%. Capacitive touch screen specs typically call for at least 5% humidity to work at all, so you might have been just experiencing very low humidity or <ahem> a touchy scree

          • by N!NJA (1437175)
            I think the Archos 5 uses resistive screen. But I agree. It could have been anything else. Even the greater proximity to God.
          • by mikael (484)

            They could prove one way or another using a Van-De-Graaff generator (static), air ionizer (ionized particles), industrial X-ray (x-rays), ultrasound scanner (vibrations), checkout conveyor belt (rubber belt), shop security gates (magnetic fields). Tesla coil might be pushing it though.

      • by MrTester (860336)
        Im curious... Did you have a cover without the light?

        I had one of those and was having a problem with locking up and sudden battery drain nearly once a week.
        It turns out that the hooks that hold the cover on ALSO provide power to the light in the cover with the light. If the plastic coating on the hook of the lightless cover wears off, it makes some kind of connection that shorts the Kindle out.
        From the time that I replaced that cover about 6 months ago with a cover with a light it has not happened again.
    • Re:Nothing here (Score:5, Informative)

      by DocJohn (81319) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:41PM (#38125992) Homepage

      I've had both 1st and 2nd generation Kindles and have flown with them each dozens of times. Which means they've been each X-rayed dozens of times.

      They both work fine and have never had to be reset. With the 3G radio off, a single charge on either of them lasts weeks, even with daily use.

      Kindles are bullet-proof, hardy devices that you can read in direct sunlight. I've even dropped them both, with no damage to either.

      This is exactly what an e-reader should be.

      --
      Psych Central - get your psychology on [psychcentral.com]

      • by chrismcb (983081)

        Kindles are bullet-proof,

        I would not call the kindle "bullet-proof." I recently returned from a trip, and on the trip back my kindle started to get vertical and horizontal lines in the screen (either the line remained completely on or off) The Kindle was less than 6 months old and Amazon replaced it. But when I called Amazon about the problem they asked me if anything touched the screen. I mentioned that I kept it in my backpack, and they said that might be the problem.

        • by cdrguru (88047)

          The important thing with Amazon customer service is to never, ever say the "D" word. Whatever happens, you didn't drop it.

          Yes, there may be a huge shatter mark in the glass and they will understand when they get it, but customer service will pretty much just replace them as long as you didn't drop it. I have even seen one get replaced after the year warranty was up.

          • by kesuki (321456)

            i've dropped mine twice to hard surfaces at about 3 feet off the ground. they landed on their backs and the unit is fine.

  • by Oswald McWeany (2428506) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:18PM (#38125712)

    The problems with the kindle only occur when the TSA give the kindle a cavity search.

    • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:21PM (#38125752)
      Exactly, it's not so much that it doesn't work, more than it's scared and unwilling to carry on anymore.
    • by dstyle5 (702493) on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:18PM (#38126402)
      "Oh, so your owner is reading Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451."

      "Sir, we need to get step into our Assessment Room for further questions."
      • by Thumper_SVX (239525) on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:34PM (#38126552) Homepage

        You laugh... but last year my girlfriend was caught up in a detailed customs search on returning to the USA from Ireland because she had quite a large number of books in her backpack. They seriously couldn't understand why she had so many large books with her at once in her carry-on. I can't even remember what the books were off the top of my head, but I think the most subversive thing she was carrying was probably the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

        This year for our trip to Germany, she got a Kindle. :)

        • by Svartalf (2997)

          I would have a Kindle, Nook, or Kobo for this stuff. I'm still buying paper books, but for travel like that, there's few better answers and it's easier to get around with the device as long as you've a means to charge the device while out and about away from normal AC power.

        • by RMH101 (636144)
          I guess potentially they could be one time pads...although when we get to this level of paranoia then the turrists definitely *have* won
  • Anecdote!=data (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zerth (26112) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:19PM (#38125722)

    That said, I've taken 3 different kindles(gen 2, gen 3, and the DX) through several airports in the US, plus taken the smaller ones through a few in Europe. Never had any problems after going through the xray.

    Well, no problems with the kindles, anyway. Once I got extra screening because the chargers "looked suspicious".

    IIRC, the 4th generation of kindles have exposed metal contacts on the back, so static from the rubber conveyor belt sounds much more probable.

    • by Splab (574204)

      "looked suspicious" or their machines needed training?

      Just after the iPad 2 came out we where on a business trip to Croatia and a colleague had one with him, they gave his iPad 2 a few more scans to teach the machine how to recognice the iPad. (At least what they told us, might be some weird electronic fetish)

      • Re:Anecdote!=data (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Amouth (879122) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:58PM (#38126174)

        so they taught/calibrated a security device with a sample of unknown and questionable origin.. yeap.. sounds like security theater to me.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          Why, how large a population of people are there who know how to make a dangerous device that looks exactly like something that would come out of Cupertino? Now how many people from that population are unstable enough to bomb an airliner - and go down with it? Now make a Venn diagram, and combine it with Venn diagrams for the people who have also managed to stay away from any list of bad actors. The "theater" seriously diminished the pool of people with the capability and motivation to bring down an airliner

          • by Amouth (879122)

            right - but this is supposed to be security, something that (if you believe the people pushing it) is preventing passengers from death.. is it really too much trouble to have an actual chain of custody for calibrating the one and only check point for it? we have more stringent requirements for day to day police evidence gathering.

            It's not so much that it happened once.. but that it happens at all. If the people of "Questionable Intent" know that this is policy - then they will just make a point of being

    • by tgd (2822)

      I had my Kindle unknowingly spend several hours *underwater* without any bad effects other than the battery having been killed. A year later, its still fine.

      Is been through literally hundreds of XRays, including the "oh my god, I'm starting to glow" kind in third-world cesspool airports, and its never had a problem.

      And yes, I know one data point isn't all that interesting on its own.

  • by rickett81 (987309) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:23PM (#38125778) Homepage
    My kindle has been on many flights. If only the flight attendants would let me read the stupid thing during take-off and landing.
    • My kindle has been on many flights.

      If only the flight attendants would let me read the stupid thing during take-off and landing.

      They want to pay attention during your last few seconds of life (as the plane careens down the runway). You'll only have a few moments left to sign up for the frequent flyer rewards program.

    • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:37PM (#38125958)

      My kindle has been on many flights.

      If only the flight attendants would let me read the stupid thing during take-off and landing.

      We're getting close to the power levels where they'll let you.

      If a small battery can run the thing for a month, even if it channeled all that power into an intentionally interfering signal, it still wouldn't be a problem.

      The biggest problem, aside from tradition, is convincing passengers that a milliwatt class Kindle is "low enough" yet the 100 watt gamer laptop is "too high". I could see all the airlines and manufacturers conspiring into releasing devices with green cases, or maybe pink with glitter, if they're "aircraft rated" as being safe. Then they just have to tell stewardesses to look out for gamer laptops with obvious done-at-home spray paint jobs.

      • by rufty_tufty (888596) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:57PM (#38126162) Homepage

        Announcement "Please turn off all electronic devices."
        Me "Erm my watch doesn't have an off button"

        Okay I've never done this but my inner idiot makes me want to.

        • by Baloroth (2370816)
          Please please don't. Otherwise they might ask us to start taking out the battery next.
          • by Abstrackt (609015) *

            They'd probably just make you put it in your checked luggage. Problem solved!

            • by micsaund (12591)

              And, that would boost the airline revenue thanks to checked baggage fees! Win! erm... nevermind...

        • by owlstead (636356)

          Anyone turning off his pacemaker, don't forget to register with the Darwin awards first (if applicable).

        • Me "Erm my watch doesn't have an off button"

          Or pacemaker, insulin pump, etc...

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:02PM (#38126222)

        The power levels have nothing to do with the safety risk of being smacked in the face by some wayward gadget during a rough landing.

      • If a small battery can run the thing for a month, even if it channeled all that power into an intentionally interfering signal, it still wouldn't be a problem.

        It has at least one, in some cases two, fully functional UHF radio transmitters.

        If they make you turn off your phone, why would they not do the same with your Kindle? The Kindle transmits on exactly the same frequencies, with the same power levels, and has far more battery capacity than a phone.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by gumbi west (610122)

        Theoretically, they make you put away magazines too, I don't see why the Kindle is any different.

        • by tompaulco (629533)
          I've NEVER had them tell me to put my book away during takeoff or landing. But I usually buy softcovers, so they are less likely to damage someone if they go flying around the cabin.
    • There is no way for them to tell that you are competent to turn off the WiFi etc. Nobody is willing to certify planes safe with electronic equipment running. The landing and take off actually does often rely on correct radio communication. It's only 10 minutes. There actually have been incidents where radio equipment has endangered landing or (see comp.risks archives, for example) caused real accidents.

      Please please just read the in flight magazine or stare at the air-host(esses - your choice) bum for

    • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:53PM (#38126112) Homepage Journal

      On charter flights, they don't force people to turn off electronics because they don't interfere with anything.

      Mythbusters also definitively busted the myth that signals from electronics would disrupt any system on the airplane. They ripped open the plane, removed the shielding and put electronic devices next to unshielded cables and still couldn't cause a problem.

      On top of that, many of these devices that we're forced to turn off either don't have wireless signals, or can be put into "Airplane mode" where are wireless signals are killed. The government has decided that stupid fear-mongering should overrule facts and reality.

      • The shielding may be the problem. The reason we turn off electronics is a single engine fighter jet crash caused by a system using the resonant frequency or the casing for the fire detection system in the engine that lead to a crash.

        • Mythbusters did test with and without shielding.

          And if we're concerned about the possibility of crashing/shutting down an engine, then that should be enough of a concern not to allow wireless electronic devices, period. But as soon as you're up in the air, it is no longer a concern. I'm not doubting your claim, but I'm not aware of the incident you're referring to. And I believe Mythbusters said their research couldn't come up with a single incident of wireless electronic devices ever interfering with a pla

      • by caseih (160668) on Monday November 21, 2011 @03:26PM (#38127416)

        Normally what the Myth Busters do is at best anecdotal evidence. They certainly can't do enough testing to be statistically significant in this thing. So no. They have not definitively proven anything about electrical interference. Not even close. As they say, an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It's likely they are correct that very little interference would happen, but no one is willing to risk certifying that this is so. Nor should you or any other passenger.

        • They mentioned that they couldn't find a single recorded verifiable claim of interference occurring. Zero examples in the history of recorded flight is pretty statistically significant.

          A Congressional study ended up with the same conclusion.

          The article I linked to above mentions that Boeing had one incident where flight equipment wasn't working. They suspected a laptop using wireless internet might have been related, so they purchased that laptop and tried to reproduce the condition but were unable to do so

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by bws111 (1216812)

            There are not zero recorded incidents. In July a report was issued documenting 75 instances. The congressional study was in 2000 - the number and varieties of devices has shot up since then.

            The problem with relying on anecdotal evidence, which you are doing, is this. Right now, the rule is 'turn off all devices'. Most people do this. A few people will forget, and a few more think they're special and don't do it. On a flight with 200 people, maybe 5-10 devices are left on when they shouldn't be. Now,

            • No, the article said there were 75 anecdotal claims over the years, and the report stated that there was no direct correlation between wireless devices and malfunctions. Did you opt not to read that part of the article?

              Did the choose to ignore the word anecdotal? Even better, one of the cited examples that happened between 2005 and 2009 was a phone and 3 iPods being used during a flight. An iPod pre-2009 was likely not to have a wireless connection at all. But since something malfunctioned on the plane, the

            • by xenobyte (446878)

              The only incidents that count are the ones where this sequence occurs:

              1) An electronic malfunction is detected.
              2) The cabin crew searches and locates someone using on of these 'electronic devices'.
              3) The device is turned off
              4) The malfunction goes away.

              Only then is it likely that there was a connection between the electronic device and the malfunction.

              It is highly unlikely that any device left on will cause any malfunction. After all, avionics are heavily shielded and are designed to work through both the h

    • by PhotoJim (813785)

      Bring a real book along with your Kindle. They still work if you drop them, too, which is a bonus.

      I use my Kindle to keep up with news and for portability, and I definitely read a lot of books on it, but I still buy quite a few physical books, and I always take one with me when I fly - ideally one that I am just starting, so that I have lots of reading material if I need it.

      • by hawguy (1600213)

        Bring a real book along with your Kindle. They still work if you drop them, too, which is a bonus.

        I use my Kindle to keep up with news and for portability, and I definitely read a lot of books on it, but I still buy quite a few physical books, and I always take one with me when I fly - ideally one that I am just starting, so that I have lots of reading material if I need it.

        For me, that kind of defeats the purpose of taking a Kindle with me when I fly - I don't *want* to carry around a bulky book. My Kindle is lightweight (6 oz) and fits neatly into my laptop bag. A book takes up more room and is heavier than the Kindle.

        At home I still read paper books because they are often cheaper than eBooks, but when I'm on the road, I almost exclusively read eBooks. I even stopped carrying magazines because of the extra weight in my bag. There once was a time when I'd shove a couple books

  • by vlm (69642) on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:39PM (#38125982)

    Kindles are sometimes rendered useless by airport baggage handling and security checks. Many people report no problems at all but if something is going wrong, the culprit may not be the X-ray scanner, but a static shock.

    Maybe, just maybe, its because they beat the heck out of it or dropped it and don't want to admit it and don't think anyone would guess what they did and would agree with a witchcraft-level explanation. Just maybe...

    • by jafo (11982)

      That sounds very plausible. A friend of mine dropped her kindle onto the concrete. There's no physical sign of the damage (she doesn't know exactly which way it landed), but when she tried to turn it on the display was totally messed up. It also gets hot right in the middle between the screen and the keyboard. But looking at it, there is no obvious sign that it was dropped.

  • by hellfire (86129) <deviladv.gmail@com> on Monday November 21, 2011 @01:40PM (#38125984) Homepage

    Okay this article is weird.

    It starts with the conventional "idiots who don't understand science think x-rays damage their electronics". But it quickly switches to the "more likely a static shock" line which is much more feasible. But then why is this a story? Static shock affects all electronic devices, the Kindle is no different.

    Then it goes into a "eWeek licks Amazon's balls happily" advertisement about how awesome the kindle is, which has no place in an article like this. Why the hell go this far? And then Amazon out and out denies the problem even exists. They don't say "it could be static shocks which no device is immune from." They use the "a bunch of other people don't have a problem" fallacy to deflect the issue. While it does nothing for me, that's kind of stupid because it will stir up the conspiracy theory wonks like a storm of bees.

    Looks like this article was written for eWeek by an Amazon Marketroid, not by Steve McCaskil, which makes sense now that I think about it. Deflect and deny rather than address.

    • Well, a x-ray beam can cause very bizarre bugs on electronics, if are strong enought (or the device do not have proper shielding)... If the bean is strong (or the device is very sensitive), you can even fry the electronics
    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Okay this article is weird.

      It starts with the conventional "idiots who don't understand science think x-rays damage their electronics". But it quickly switches to the "more likely a static shock" line which is much more feasible. But then why is this a story? Static shock affects all electronic devices, the Kindle is no different.

      If it's true that a static buildup from the drive belt is killing Kindles, that seems like poor electrical shielding (or the eInk display is particularly sensitive to static). I have a cheap Dell Netbook that gets zapped by static from my hand at least once a week in the winter and it's never had a problem.

      However, my Kindle has been through dozens of flights with no ill effects, so I'm not so sure this is a real problem.

  • Yes... Pouring cold water on the kindle would probably be bad for it. Well... I guess not distilled cold water, but cold water from the Amazon river would definitely kill it. The piranhas would also munch on your fingers.

  • by neurocutie (677249) on Monday November 21, 2011 @02:17PM (#38126384)

    I've had first hand experience with airport Xrays damaging/corrupting my electronics, specifically a instant-on mini laptop that used SRAM as its memory. It happened not just once or twice but three times. I believe it would have to do with the strength of the Xrays and the depth of the charge wells or the size of current that would need to be opposed in order to flip bits. This happened a while ago (15 years) and hasn't happened recently, although I think I remember airport Xrays also scrambling one of my old Palm Pilots once, so let's hope the intensity of the Xrays used has gone down and the memories used are more hardened against Xrays (or cosmic rays, etc).

  • Showing that the whingers are holding it wrong.
  • I would just like to say that it was an absolutely superb customer service experience dealing with my broken Kindle when this flight-related problem happened to me. Seriously, this will keep me going back to Amazon-branded goods where beforehand I didn't really care. So while an article like this is important to highlight potentially unresolved widespread problems, it's also worth mentioning what the company does about it... and what they do about it to the 99% ;)

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