Archive for March, 2013

Mount the Kindle Fire HD in Linux and hack it!

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013

Ok, so I know I’m not the only one that’s had this problem and my wife’s been getting on me to blog all this stuff when I figure it out so I’m about to tell you all my exploits with mounting the Kindle Fire HD in Linux.


First, let me give you a little background information. I’ve been an Amazon Kindle junkie since they first came out. I missed getting the very first Kindle but have gotten all the versions ever since and have a couple of them floating around my house and family since we’re big on reading. Once the first Kindle Fire came out soon it was easily recognized by my computer and I really didn’t have a problem. Now a lot of the new tablets are using a new standard called Media Transfer Protocal (MTP). MTP is supposed to make it easier for the device to look at media being transferred over and figure out what it is and assign it properly. I really haven’t seen the advantages of this but maybe that remains to be seen.

As you might have read in a previous blog post about my ebook managing software Calibre I mentioned how I love to send everything to my Kindle since I’ve gone digital. Lately I’ve even been scanning in all my written notes on my printer that saves to PDF and sending them to my Kindle. The cool thing about Calibre is that it reads almost EVERY format. Yes, that does mean that it can read the native Amazon DRM formats too and convert them. I of course don’t endorse this since I find giving $10 for a Kindle book is like buying 2 premium coffees and I keep that knowledge forever being the best deal in town but I won’t judge you.

First step you’ll need to do on a Debian based system like Ubuntu is download Calibre, mtp-tools, and mtpfs. So from a terminal line do the following:

Sudo apt-get install calibre mtp-tools mtpfs

That should do it. For RPM distributions like Fedora, RedHat and Opensuse these should be available in the main repositories as well. I’m not sure about pacman or Gentoo repos so please comment and let us all know.

Next make a mount directory.

mkdir kindlefire

After that I wrote a quick little script that you can run every time. I named it kindlemount and do the following.

touch kindlemount

chmod u+x kindlemount

That made the file and made the script executable. Now you want to open the file in whatever editing software you use and put in the following:

sudo mtp-detect
sudo mtpfs -o allow_other ~/kindlefire

That’s it. Using ./kindlemount when your Kindle is attached should mount it under kindlemount for you to copy files over to it whenever you want.

HOLD ON A SECOND THOUGH. Before you run the script to mount you Kindle notice that Calibre has built in mtp support since a month after the Fire HD came out so you will be able to see and convert and send files over to the Kindle with one small problem. Only ebook formats and it doesn’t see what’s already been bought on Amazon. “I want to put movies and music on this thing” you might be saying. Well here’s the cool part.

Exit Calibre and run your kindlemount script. In your kindlefire directory you should see the folder Movies, Music, etc. Copy movies and music to it and look at them with with a video viewing app on your device (WARNING: You may need to download one like MoboPlayer which will view almost anything).

Now, to backup your books start Calibre again. This time tell it to Add books from directories…Multiple books. Select ~/kindlefire/Books as the directory and watch the magic happen!

Also note: You may need to check your Kindle Fire HD video format sizes and convert them to MP4, 3GP, VP8 (.webm) with software such as Handbrake or ffmpeg. Happy Kindle-ing.

My daughter the computer guru

Friday, March 1st, 2013

This past weekend at the SCALE conference I had the pleasure of introducing my 11 yr old daughter Keila Banks as a speaker. In her “Free to be a kid” talk she gave a story of how an 11 year old can use open source software and be a website designer, publisher, programmer and graphic artist using software such as Linux, GIMP and PHP. Well, enough said. Why don’t you check it out for yourself. Feel free to share it to the world!