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

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-our-problem dept.

Technology 182

judgecorp writes "Amazon has poured cold water on the story, but reports insist that 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."

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Reminds me of when NY sprayed for mosquitos. (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125654)

Everyone was told it was perfectly safe, but to cover their cars because it would strip the paint right off.

why just the kindle? (5, Insightful)

skydyr (1404883) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:why just the kindle? (4, Insightful)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125782)

"Why just the iphone?"

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

Dumb slashdotters (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126308)

Oh, then the slashdot readership is fucking stupid then.
A gadget name makes it less likely that i'll click, because it will seem less genuinely newsworthy.

Re:Dumb slashdotters (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126716)

You (and people like you) are less than 1% of the readership.

Re:Dumb slashdotters (1)

M0j0_j0j0 (1250800) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127044)

What is a gadget?

Re:Dumb slashdotters (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127564)

Oh, then the slashdot readership is fucking stupid then. A gadget name makes it less likely that i'll click, because it will seem less genuinely newsworthy.

Did you just find out why nobody read the articles? The slashdot readership is fine, but slashdot is only reporting on existing articles. It is as good as the media are in general. If you don't like nerd stuff becoming mainstream, maybe it is because you are a hipster? Try reading 4chan's technology board, i heard all the posts are of superior quality.

Product placement (-1, Offtopic)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125858)

It's a chef's pal! A dicer, peeler, grater, all in one!

Slashdot often gives me the surreal feeling of contrived product placements. How many stories do we get where iphone did X, where actually any old phone would have done?

Re:why just the kindle? (5, Insightful)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126560)

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.

Re:why just the kindle? (4, Informative)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#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:why just the kindle? (1, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127006)

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.

Re:why just the kindle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127054)

The brakes will stop the car, case closed. What you're meant to do is turn the damn engine off so the brakes don't overheat and fail!

Re:why just the kindle? (5, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:why just the kindle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127390)

His attorney, Brent Schafer, took up the case following Toyota's sudden acceleration recalls this past fall and winter. An expert Schafer hired said the brake filaments in Lee's car exploded during the accident, indicating the brake lights were on even though the car was accelerating.

Re:why just the kindle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127414)

There is no problem with his statement, maybe "any currently in mass-production" would be better wording since that's what I suppose he meant but anyway.

Brakes wear down (also the brake fluid will overheat and stop being brake fluid which makes getting sufficient pressure to the brakes kinda hard) so unless the brakes were totally shot to begin with one should be able to stop the card and stall the engine by just slamming on the brakes and keeping them full-on untill the engine stalls (and in case of serious charlie-foxtrot in electric engine that might try to restart on it's own just keeping them on untill power connection from battery to engine has been removed).

By not committing to the full-stop and instead trying to slow down just enough one will just wear down the brake pads really quickly and in the process overheat both the pads (causing them to wear down even quicker) and the brake fluid (see above) and thus possibly making it impossible to get sufficient braking power to overpower the engine (not to mention even more damage to the brakes [pads, discs, fluid] in general)

Re:why just the kindle? (1)

JohannesJ (952576) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126998)

Not necessarily for example if they used fake or Gray /black market parts so prevalent today, they may not have the same resistance to x-ray radiation at the more expensive legitimate parts. Do they even have any engineers on staff who can Identify fake parts ? Do they even test for those ? Major manufacturers and Military have had such problems It would be foolish to think a consumer company cant have even worse problems We also shouldn't assume they used these parts deliberately but who knows ?

Re:why just the kindle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126586)

I was thinking the same thing - my nook went through multiple scanners at airports and never suffered a problem. Unless there is a basic difference between the two, I can't see why one would be affected and the other wouldn't...

Re:why just the kindle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126634)

It's just the Kindle because it's not actually happening. Someone, somewhere, incorrectly put two and two together and got five. Now everyone who has a messed up Kindle and has been to the airport is reaching the same result.

Amazon Racist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125664)

Only hatin' on Static cuz hes black yo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_Shock [wikipedia.org]

Nothing here (5, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125710)

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 (5, Interesting)

Baldrake (776287) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Nothing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126050)

While you were on the flight? This is talking about while going through security.

Re:Nothing here (4, Funny)

SJHillman (1966756) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126234)

Stop taking flights over the Bermuda Triangle. Problem solved.

Re:Nothing here (2)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126250)

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:Nothing here (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126468)

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??

Re:Nothing here (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126510)

Trans-Atlantic means higher altitudes means more cosmic rays.

Re:Nothing here (1)

del_diablo (1747634) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126900)

The scanner still pushes more more radiation trough it than the flight.

Re:Nothing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127214)

There's a tremendous difference between X-rays and cosmics rays. X-rays are EM radiation; cosmic rays are very energetic particles.

Re:Nothing here (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127488)

People regularly fly across the Atlantic, but the X-Ray scanner has a bright yellow warning advising you to not enter it.

Re:Nothing here (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126834)

Pressure also changes dramatically.

Re:Nothing here (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127576)

Not enough to matter, unless the unit was airtight (it wasn't)

Re:Nothing here (1)

oursland (1898514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127396)

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.

Re:Nothing here (1)

psydeshow (154300) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126380)

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.

Re:Nothing here (1)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126486)

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 gadgets that is either:

a) affected by the pre-flight scanners.

or

b) the in-flight instruments.

Re:Nothing here (4, Funny)

Zebedeu (739988) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Nothing here (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126914)

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 screen.

Re:Nothing here (1)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127148)

I think the Archos 5 uses resistive screen. But I agree. It could have been anything else. Even the greater proximity to God.

Re:Nothing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126714)

You're holding it wrong! Err wait...

Re:Nothing here (5, Informative)

DocJohn (81319) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125992)

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]

Re:Nothing here (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126134)

My Kobo e-reader is only 1.5 years old, and the e-ink display is $%#%$#$%^. My scientific guess is that it is because of some combination of static electricity and low/high humidity. If you don't get, here more details: When you have low humidity, the probability for static charge increases a lot, this combined with some artificial humidifiers (A/C or sudden change of geo location, like flying with air-plane), could increase the probability of static discharge by ten-fold. The result, i need new e-in reader, the cheaper the better (it would be gone in 2 years, so why bother with the fancy one?)

Re:Nothing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126356)

Seconded. I have a Kindle DX that has no problems going through airport security. Only issues I've had with it over the years is that they keyboard labels are starting to rub off...

Re:Nothing here (2)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126596)

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.

Re:Nothing here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127262)

Thanks for the spam

Re:Nothing here (1)

GiantRobotMonster (1159813) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126030)

What, "some users" isn't good enough for you?

I would say that "some users" have flat batteries.

The problems with the kindle (5, Funny)

Oswald McWeany (2428506) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125712)

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

Re:The problems with the kindle (5, Funny)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125752)

Exactly, it's not so much that it doesn't work, more than it's scared and unwilling to carry on anymore.

Re:The problems with the kindle (3, Funny)

dstyle5 (702493) | more than 2 years ago | (#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."

Re:The problems with the kindle (5, Interesting)

Thumper_SVX (239525) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126552)

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. :)

Re:The problems with the kindle (2)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126752)

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.

Anecdote!=data (5, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Anecdote!=data (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125946)

I heard cookies are tasty. But some people disagree.

Re:Anecdote!=data (1)

Splab (574204) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126024)

"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 (4, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126174)

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

Re:Anecdote!=data (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127042)

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.

Re:Anecdote!=data (2)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127256)

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 one of the first ones at a major airport with a modified version of the new "thing to have" device - and make it look right.. then they will have zero trouble getting through.

But again this is security theater so we know that really isn't a problem.. But really if your going to do security do it right..

Re:Anecdote!=data (2)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126820)

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.

Don't think there is a problem (3)

rickett81 (987309) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125778)

My kindle has been on many flights. If only the flight attendants would let me read the stupid thing during take-off and landing.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125830)

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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (3, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (4, Funny)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126162)

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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (2)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126292)

Please please don't. Otherwise they might ask us to start taking out the battery next.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (2)

Abstrackt (609015) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126600)

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

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

micsaund (12591) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126878)

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

Re:Don't think there is a problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38127004)

These days, I tend to just hear that we're supposed to turn off all electronic devices that have an off switch.

I expect they wouldn't be happy if I removed the off-switch from my phone and kept it on. :-)

Re:Don't think there is a problem (2)

owlstead (636356) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127380)

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

Re:during take-off and landing (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:during take-off and landing (1)

Dan Ost (415913) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126488)

Exactly this.

If you weren't an anonymous coward, I would have modded you up.

Re:during take-off and landing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126682)

Have you seen the thickness of some of the books people read? I'd much rather be hit in the face with a kindle than one of those.

Re:during take-off and landing (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126846)

I'd rather be hit by a 5oz Kindle than a 4lbs hardcover.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126226)

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:Don't think there is a problem (2, Informative)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126302)

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

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

tompaulco (629533) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126432)

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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126100)

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 a few minutes. Is this so much to ask.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (3, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126112)

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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126276)

Great. So have the Mythbusters 'definitively bust' that myth for every airlines planes, in the configurations the airlines use, and indemnify the airlines against against any problems that actually do occur. When that happens, you can say they 'definitively busted' it.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (2)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126330)

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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127612)

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 plane.

The FCC does extensive testing of communication devices before consumers get to touch them. If we need to add resonance frequency testing, so be it. But allowing one freak accident to forever inconvenience billions of air travelers is just plain stupid.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (4, Insightful)

caseih (160668) | more than 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

PhotoJim (813785) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126388)

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.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126778)

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 and magazines in my laptop bag for in-flight reading, but I paid a lot of money for a lightweight, portable laptop. I don't want to carry around paper that weighs almost as much as my laptop.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126632)

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

As if the kindle was doing anything different in "off" mode than it is doing during "on" mode, except maybe running a timer. Fortunately they haven't forced me to completely shut it down.

Re:Don't think there is a problem (1)

omnichad (1198475) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127222)

Even better - the Kindle with Special offers leaves a picture on the screen when it's "off."

E-Ink screen failures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125814)

I don't have Kindle nor do I fly (never catch me in an X-ray backscatter body scanner)
but I have gone through 2 Kobo Wireless eReaders (currently waiting on replacement
of the 2nd) because the screens or something failed and part of the screen froze with
a partial limage fixed in place.

So, I wonder ...

Re:E-Ink screen failures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38125942)

I don't have Kindle nor do I fly (never catch me in an X-ray backscatter body scanner) but I have gone through 2 Kobo Wireless eReaders (currently waiting on replacement of the 2nd) because the screens or something failed and part of the screen froze with a partial limage fixed in place.

So, I wonder ...

Thanks for the contribution.

Re:E-Ink screen failures (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125948)

e-Ink screens definitely can and do fail. [terrychay.com] The question is whether an airport scanner can make them fail.

Me, I'm thinking it's much easier to break your screen by packing your Kindle poorly than to break it by exposing it to X-rays or microwaves, but it's easier to get Amazon to replace your Kindle if you can grab a headline.

You're lucky (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126282)

Imagine if you'd been reading a porn comic when it froze.

Physical damage (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#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...

So why does Amazon bother denying anything? (5, Interesting)

hellfire (86129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38125984)

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.

Re:So why does Amazon bother denying anything? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126110)

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.

The submitter is obviously an eWeak drone (mouse-over the submitter's name), probably in conjunction with some hidden deal with Geek.net to draw more hits for pointless articles (for both /. and eWeak). Geek.net is nothing more than a pay-per-click aggregator these days.

Re:So why does Amazon bother denying anything? (1)

TheDarkMaster (1292526) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126782)

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

Re:So why does Amazon bother denying anything? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126838)

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.

Amazon pouring cold water on the Kindle? (1)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126096)

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.

Well, yeah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38126248)

rendered useless by airport baggage handling

I went to Disney a few years ago, and i had my bag searched.
I was just thrilled to get to my hotel and find out that my bag had been searched, as well as my camera. They took the damn thing apart, and so I have no pictures of that vacation
I'd imagine they do something stupidly similar with Kindles.

Re:Well, yeah. (2)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126924)

rendered useless by airport baggage handling

I went to Disney a few years ago, and i had my bag searched.

I was just thrilled to get to my hotel and find out that my bag had been searched, as well as my camera. They took the damn thing apart, and so I have no pictures of that vacation

I'd imagine they do something stupidly similar with Kindles.

I'm assuming this was a film camera? Every quality film camera I've owned loads the film on the takeup spool upon loading, then as you take photos, it winds it back into the canister - so if someone opened the camera, I'd only lose a photo or two since the rest would be safely inside the canister.

But even if they did manage to expose the entire film that was in the camera - are you saying that you'd only taken 24 (or 36) photos on your whole Disney vacation? Every time I've been to Disney I shot that many pictures on the drive to the parking lot.

Does X-Ray Equipment Create Static Charge? (1)

dietdew7 (1171613) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126268)

Often when I pick up my things from the TSA conveyor I get a static shock. So far my laptop has survived, but what causes that static? Is it because of the X-Ray machine or is the rubber belt acting like some kind of Van De Graaff generator?

FUD? (0)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126372)

Sounds a bit like pre holiday shopping season FUD from the iPad marketing department.

Xrays CAN damage electronics, scrambled my PDA (2)

neurocutie (677249) | more than 2 years ago | (#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).

interfere with sleeping patterns (1)

chrismcb (983081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38126688)

and does not interfere with sleeping patterns if read in bed

I don't understand this quote, how do other devices interfere with sleeping patterns? Are they implying other devices require the screen to be backlit? But the kindle requires the screen to be front lit by an exterior light.

Re:interfere with sleeping patterns (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127312)

I don't understand this quote, how do other devices interfere with sleeping patterns?

You can run Tetris/Bejeweled/Angry Birds/Plants v Zombies and view pr0n on them :-)

We need a Bezos demo (1)

Anomalyst (742352) | more than 2 years ago | (#38127498)

Showing that the whingers are holding it wrong.
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