Sunday, 31 October 2010

Problems connecting your Kindle 3 to the 3G Network in South Africa?

Update: 9th November 2013 - the all new Kindle Paperwhite has been released for international shipment - check out this post for more: 


However if you are just trying to fix you Kindle 3 - read on:

So after 5 days of having my new Kindle 3 3G/WiFi e-reader I started to wonder why it would never connect to a 3G network when I wasn’t connected to a WiFi network.  It would connect EDGE even when in a clearly de-marked 3G coverage area and even when my iPhone showed that there was a 3G network available.
Dread suddenly filled me as I thought that maybe my Kindle, which after only 5 days already I had become inseparable from, could be faulty and after reading the warranty I realised that this could mean sending it back to Amazon for them to assess this before sending me another.  That was not an option and with my technical head screwed on I got to work on Goggle looking for an answer.

There were few recorded instances on the internet of people whose Kindle exhibited the same problem and all of those were in obscure places like Switzerland, the back end of the bush in Australia and one in Canada to name but a few and all were fixed with slightly different solutions.  I was hoping that I might something more specific to my own country: South Africa, especially as the problem was related to the connection of the 3G which would include a local network and service provider.

After trawling some blogs and forums I started to understand that the problem could be self-‘troubleshooted’ by digging into the GSM settings.  Now when you get your Kindle you will note that access to this and other types of ‘techie’ or administration options are not visible to the user so I started to wonder how one was supposed to access these.

Finally I started upon the concept of the “311” menu.  The 311 menu gives you access to the 3G settings and allows you access to decide which network to connect to. But all the blogs seemed to present a way of navigating to this menu that wasn’t possible on my Kindle 3 (latest generation).
So this blog entry is to tell you, if you are having problems getting your Kindle 3 to connect to a 3G network, how to get into the 311 admin screens to self select.

Make sure your Kindle 3 has a good charge – you don’t want it to power off half-way through.

  • Turn on your Kindle 3
  • Press ‘Home’
  • Press ‘Menu’
  • Scroll Down to ‘Settings’ and click the 5-Way selector
At this point we are now going to press 311 to get access to the menu.  If like me you can’t get the text/numeric entry field to appear to get access to the numbers, then you must do the following exactly:
  • Press ALT+E
  • Press ALT+Q
  • Press ALT+Q

[The QWERTY Keyboard represents 1-9 on the top line]

A dialog box, see below, will appear telling you that you are about to ‘Switch Wireless Providers’ and that you may lose connection through the process. 

Kindle3
  • Click OK.
It will then scan for the available networks in your area.   
Now bear in mind if there is no 3G network in your area it won’t show one!   

This takes a minute or two, don’t panic and don’t turn the device off.
The ‘Automatically Switch’ option did not work for me – clearly, as this was what it was set to.

You will see a list of 3G and 2G (GPRS/EDGE) networks listed, Cell C, MTN and Vodacom are the ones I see.  The shot below was not exactly what I saw, but you will see something like this:

Kindle3


 Choose a 3G network that you want, I chose Vodacom 3G as I think they have the best coverage. Once selected, navigate down to ‘Close’ and then Press Menu and Select Restart.

Kindle3
 
The Restart will take about 2 minutes, when it comes back up you should be connected to a 3G network.  If not try the process again and select another.

Bear in mind that if you now go abroad, you will need to change this to Automatic again for it to roam.

Postscript 7th Feb 2011 Since posting this, I accepted that I wasnt going to get 3G at home or anywhere, I always got Edge however. Then my Kindle died on me !! So I called Amazon and they diligently sent me a new one free of charge - as long as I sent the dead one in return. The new one got a 3G link the day I turned it on. So my latest advice is if your kindle cannot get 3G anywhere chances are its faulty. Call amazon and ask them to replace it.

Postscript 5th Dec 2011 - Thanks for all the comments and feedback below - if I helped please let me know, if you have a question, please ask, but please either login or leave me email details, otherwise I cannot respond.  Hopefully I have solved many frustrating hours !!  

Postscript 9th January 2012 - If you are reading this in Australia - this should also work on your local 3G networks - some people who have left comments have confirmed this.


Thanks for reading my article - if you liked it or found it useful, please click the FaceBook Like or Tweet/ReTweet my post if you are on twitter, so that others may enjoy and benefit from it.  Thanks for your support.

65 comments:

  1. how do select the provider without leaving page 311 so you can close as per your instructions.

    Sparky

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  2. Grrrr, I thought you were my saviour but it isn't working. I get to the settings page but the 311 doesn't work and no page comes up. Did it exactly, 4 times. no deal. I have a Version 3.0.2 bought in N America - do you think that may have something to do with it? Most frustrating because we don't have wifi. Thanks. Sharron, Cape Town

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  3. home, menu, settings, while in settings enter the 311 code (alt e,alt q, alt q)
    works great, got me back on 3G in perth Aus, like you I had it for about 7 days before losing access to home page, weird though as I could still sync!!
    I have the wi-fi version latest 3.0.2.

    I blame crap vodaphone as the default provider!!

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  4. Got me back on in Japan! Thanks for this :)

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  5. I thought you were going to be the answer to my problems too, but it didn't work. I tried both the 3G settingsettings that came up, but neither worked. Funny, my very basic mobile phone works perfectly.

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    Replies
    1. Me, too. I've been using my Kindle DXG in Thailand for nearly 2 years, Since last year the country have started its 3G service. I tried 311 code to get the 3G wireless—now there're 3 providers offering 3G, but all failed to do that.

      Delete
  6. Since posting this, I accepted that I wasnt going to get 3G at home or anywhere, I always got Edge however. Then my Kindle died on me !! So I called Amazon and they diligently sent me a new one free of charge - as long as I sent the dead one in return. The new one got a 3G link the day I turned it on. So my latest advice is if your kindle cannot get 3G anywhere chances are its faulty. Call amazon and ask them to replace it.

    M

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  7. This did not work for me for the first three times I tried it. Finally worked on the fourth try. Thanks.

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  8. I can get to the list of providers...then scroll down to the one I want, but how to i make it keep the selection...because the next step is to go to close?? Once on the provider I want if I hit the '.' in the middle of the 5 way selector it just takes me out??

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    Replies
    1. Its doing exactly that with mine too...just goes back to menu, and when I try to do it all again, there is no "correct" sign next to the one I chose.

      Delete
  9. My 3G worked for about a week and then stopped. I'm trying the 311 using Alt, which works but when my Kindle is Scanning available networks it doesn't get anywhere. I waited 15 minutes.... Any suggestions? Thanks!

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  10. Marc, you're a saint! You have unknowingly saved my marriage. Like you, my husband is inseparable from his kindle, much to my dismay. So when he started having problems with the 3G connectivity, I thought "Great! Now he will spend more time and attention on me." WRONG! He just got so depressed and frustrated that I realized I had to find a solution fast! Rather have a happy husband than a grumpy one. Better yet, if you cannot beat them, join them so I bought myself an iPad instead (us girls don't like to have the same as the guy next door... ;-) ) thanks again for your advice; it worked 100%!
    Regards
    Nadia

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  11. Hello Nadia - glad I coudl help and save your marriage.

    To the rest of the ANON replies if you want help - yo might need to leave me an address or at least reply with an identity.

    Happy Kindling !!

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  12. Hi Mark,

    I read this blog with interest since my wife has a Kindle which is her pride and joy. The Kindle was a present at Christmas and has worked well since that time. Recently we lost the 3G connection I have downloaded version 3.1 software from Amazon and the connection issue still remains.

    I have entered the 311 menu as described and all we see is the system scanning for wireless service providers and we seem to be stuck on this page.
    Have you any suggestions? I have contacted Amazon and waiting their reply but if you have any direction this would be appreciated.

    Brgds
    Graham Sydney Australia

    PS: The problem started after we returned from an overseas trip, the Kindle was left at home and had a flat battery on our return.

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  13. Perfect, thanks!!!

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  14. I have a kindle 2 & 3g is suddenly not working. Did a restart & now it is not automatically turning itself off but have no bars & told 'unable to connect' I do not have the 311 menu. Help?

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  15. Great stuff - I'm back online! Thanks Marc!

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  16. Thanks, for my Kindle Dx the 311 worked after coming to the "Settings" page. Keep Alt pressed, then e,q,q. it did work for me

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  17. Mark, thank you for a great blog! I get to the list of available service providers but Once on the provider I want if I hit the '.' in the middle of the 5 way selector it just takes me out. How do I select the provider once I've scrolled to it? Thanx, Johann

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  18. Hi Johann,
    Hitting the 5 way selector should allow you to select the provider.
    If this method doesn't work I suggest you call amazon support and ask them consider replacing the device under warranty.
    Amazon is very accommodating in this regard.
    Marc

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    Replies
    1. Marc have you had any trouble with the 5 way selector not working? When I recently updated to the 3.4 the selector stopped working. Well I'm exaggerating, the up arrow scrolls down and the centre button works but that's all. Any suggestions?

      I've reset, cursed, nearly launched it across the room and called Amazon's support to no avail.

      Sarah

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  19. Just a heads up about my situation. I wasn't getting any cellular connections at all. Customer support asked me to type Alt R, Alt Q, Alt Q for a diag screen.

    The kindle wasnt even reporting the radio serial number which indicates it's broken. Amazon are sending me a replacement out.

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  20. Marc,
    Thank you so much for your advice! My Kindle is working great! Johann

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  21. Thanks, this really helped me a lot with my Kindle 3. I thought it was gone but with ATL + E , ALT + Q , ALT + Q I just switched to manual mode and rebooted.
    3G worked then but I thought I should just try and switch back to automatic. Did so then rebooted , now everything works perfectly, just as it should.

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  22. Marc,

    Thank you so much for your help...

    Daniel.

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  23. Marc,

    if you press 611 you can access to all GSM kindle information.
    IMSI, ICCID, IMEI, Cell ID, BAND, Network, etc..

    Daniel Vaca Rua.

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  24. Marc,

    Thank you for this. Was driving me insane.

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  25. Hi! My Kindle won't go past the searching screen...I left it for a few hours and it just kept searching...any ideas?

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  26. Very annoying. I also can't select any other network. I scroll down the list, press the 'select' button (the one in the middle of the cursor keys), and the Kindle jumps straight back to the settings page as if I had selected 'close'. Going back into 311 shows the kindle is still locked onto vodafones 2G network which has very poor to no coverage here. Kindle 2 works fine and lets me select any network.

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  27. Thank you so much have been trying to figure this out for days ;)

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  28. You, my friend, are a GENIUS!!!

    Just got a replacement K3, it was acting up and giving me (edge) and no 3G, although I'm sitting right here looking at the one I've got to send back in it's place, and it's solid 3G.

    Never knew about the 311 menu, so thanks a BAZILLION for the post!!!

    Curiously, when I got my selection screen, it was defaulted to "AT&T 2G", even though "AT&T 3G" was right above it, unchecked.

    Selected the appropriate selection and voila!! 3G!!

    Thanks again!

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  29. Hi
    am from Assam, India... and well i do get to the available wireless provider screen... & there i see numerous connections... but i dont know from which one to select from:
    the list shows:
    404,09,2(3g)
    404,09,0(2g)
    Vodafone IN(2g)
    IND Airtel(2g)
    Aircel (3g)
    IND Airtel(3g)
    cellone(2g)
    Aircel(2g)
    cellone(3g)

    i tried few of the connections but no connection seems to get connected!

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  30. All I did was restarting the device without the 311 (alt eqq), the 3G came back on again.

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  31. Hi

    marc, thank you for the advice I tried it and tried it. I bought my kindle on tuesday (from tesco - can't stay in to take deliveries from amazon) and spent all day Wed trying to work out what was wrong with the 3g - just didn't have any. Spoke to amazon - gave the rep countless nos and was told that I may get a call from the technicians next week!! Found your site and realised the significance of the 311, so tried all your advice - thank you! Read all the internet answers about wifi over-riding 3g so drove to area with good 3g and no wifi - still no luck, but networks showed on the 311 page, as you said. tried restoring factory settings....no good. In the end decided I bought this from tesco not amazon - contract therefore with tesco - and it does not work. Took it back. Tried another in store and hey presto we have connection!!.Everything working as it says on the box. I think what is happening is that there are some which whilst they are saying wifi and 3g have not been factory set correctly and the wifi is active but not the 3g. (like the cheaper ones). So... if you get one like mine and marc's instructions don't work....just take it back, and get one that does!! wouldn't you think the brainboxes at amazon might have worked it out and put it in their FAQ's. Anyway marc, your logic kept me sane!! thanks so much D (don't know how not to be anonymous)

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  32. I had my Kindle given to me last Christmas freeze up and die on me; Amazon sent me a replacement and it wouldn't connect to wireless or 3G, kept saying "cannnot connect at this time" even after the rep had me try several things, so they sent me another replacement, got that the next day and still had the same problem. Stayed on the phone with their tech support person for nearly an hour, she had me try toe alt + 311 and that didn't work; she called back over an hour later after they ran remote tests and still couldn't tell me what was wrong - she submitted a help ticket and said I should hear something next Friday! I'e asked for a refund. These refurbished Kindles that Amazon is using to replace originals have something wrong with them! I miss my Kindle but I have had such a time with this, I'm considering just getting a Nook.

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  33. Yep, my refurb Kindle 3 definitely has a problem with the 3G, it can see all the mobile networks when I use the 311 code but it will never connect to them. Sending it back to Amazon now

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  34. Hi Marc,

    My home modem has Wi-Fi, and I connected my laptop via this successfully.

    I would like to connect my Kindle this way as well, but I am not sure how to go about it. It picks up the hotspot, but won't connect. What could be the problem?

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  35. Hi Bess,
    Its probably becuase your WiFi network is using a different authentication method - try this link: http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200505540

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  36. Hi Marc Fletcher!
    Your method looks fine but just like others I am unable select the providers with 5-way navigator key and then close. If I press 5-way navigator key then it simply goes out. Please tell me how to select provider so that tick mark will appear in front of that provider.

    Sushil From India

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  37. Thanks so much, worked great for me!

    Abby in Paris, France

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  38. Thanks for taking the trouble to post this.

    Like others above though, when I hit select it jumps back to the settings screen.

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  39. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

    My 3 year old, or so, DX stopped connecting via 3G in Australia. Tried everything, deregister, re-regoster, restart etc. It had the 3G connection symbol, but could not get a connection.

    Error reporting can not connect at this time, try later or restart. I was bout trash the device, I have 3, but like to DX for reading in bed.

    Changing the carrier form auto to Telstra worked.

    You are my hero.

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  40. @Sushil - so sorry for my late reply. i would suggest if you haven't done so already contact Amazon and see if they will replace it.

    @Anonymous in Australia - thanks - really appreciate people's feedback it's very encouraging.

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  41. Thank you so much!!! you are awasome!
    my kindle is now working again!!!

    I love my kindle and it stopped connecting to internet about 1 month ago...
    now with your instructions it is working!!!

    THANKS YOU SO MUCH!!

    note: by the way I tried to write with my google account and it said I did not have the rights to comment jhomigaca17@gmail.com

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  42. Thank you! After a trip back to the US and using my family's WiFi to update the software, my Kindle 3 just wouldn't stop defaulting to WiFi. It would show a 3g connection until I tried to use it, at which point it would fade out and demand WiFi. Your instructions fixed it! Thank you so much.

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  43. Awesome. I just got a new Kindle Keyboard 3G in Perth Australia and straight out of the box it wouldnt connect to 3G. I was worried I had somehow received the WiFi only one, but the serial number indicated I had the 3G version. So I tried this, chose Telstra 3G et voila - it now connects to 3G. Yay! I live in an area where the Vodafone reception is very very patchy, so maybe that is why it did not find 3G straight away. Thanks, Kitty

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  44. Thanks so much for sharing the 311 page - my Kindle connected with Telstra 3G right away!

    I thought it was broken - you have saved the day!!

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  45. Mine never found anything. I have two Kindles. One has no problem with the 3G, but the other one can't find it at all.

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  46. Thank you so much!

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  47. I finally got a new Kindle. The customer service rep asked me to log on to 411, and the Kindle couldn't do that. She said "If it can't do 411, there must be something really wrong with it." I received the new Kindle in two days with all my books already loaded onto it!

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  48. Read over 3500 book with Kindle

    The Amazon Kindle is an e-book reader developed by Amazon.com subsidiary Lab126 which uses wireless connectivity to enable users to shop for, download, browse, and read e-books, newspapers, magazines, blogs, and other digital media.The Kindle hardware devices use an E Ink electronic paper display that shows up to 16 shades of gray, minimizes power use and simulates reading on paper.

    last night, I make compare and visit some website. I find many website that provide kindle information. I read and finally I find the better website that guide me to find the suit kindle. I like reading at this site. if you want to find more information about amazon kindle you can read at this website : kindle review

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  49. Thank You, 3G Still not working.. but Thanks for detailed instruction

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  50. I have had my Kindle 3G/Wi-fi for one year. It suddenly stopped working for edge/3G. I can get wifi if I drive to a McDonalds. I tried to use the 311 but it just kept scanning, scanning.... I'll try again later. I am crushed as I love my Kindle.

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  51. Anonymous, don't bother fussing with it. I tried for a week. Call Amazon Kindle's customer service. They will check a couple of things, then they will mail you a new Kindle, which only takes a day or two for you to get. Your books will be in the Archive file on the new Kindle. Then, you just mail them the broken one in the same box, postage already paid.

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  52. Just bought the latest Kindle model with WiFi and 3G. Worked in the UK. But 3G did not appear in the top right hand corner when travelling in India. Marc's 311 tip to manually switch provider worked in the sense that the 3G symbol appeared at the top and the bars were solid black. BUT WHENEVER I TRY TO ACCESS THE KINDLE SHOP OR WIKI OR GOOGLE, THERE IS NO CONNECTION. This does NOT make sense. How can I have 3 G and connectivity bars showing but no real access (in India?) HELP!!!!

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  53. i got kindle touch and i have strong 3g conection (four lines) unfortunately i can open only wikipedia. when i try to access all other web sites i get a message (wi fi required ) pls tell me how to use my 3g as the wi fi networks around me are locked !?

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  54. Howzit! This is a great post. Just curious, did any of you try to jailbreak (root) your kindle? Could this be the cause of the 3G going out?

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  55. I was having the same trouble with choosing the 3G network and my Kindle exiting to the settings screen. After I told my Kindle to "forget" the wi-fi network, it found the 3G connection again!

    Hope that helps someone.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Theresa - every bit helps when you are desperate for help - thanks for taking the time to share also.

      Delete
  56. Thank you so much for this post, i was having trouble with 3g connection for quite a few days for now (usually in places where I had good 3d connection before) and i got really worried, because every site suggested to have my kindle returned until i found this, and it worked like a charm! I don't have the problem since, thank you ever so much for sharing this!

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  57. I too thank-you for this post, it was very detailed and allowed me to do some basic troubleshooting on me own.

    I ended up calling Amazon support and they told me that somehow my 3G connectivity had been turned off. They turned it back on form me and my problem has been solved.

    Unfortunately I restored my device to factory defaults during troubleshooting and now need to recover from that.

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  58. Thanks for your post. I tried the solution but still couldn't connect. I ended up talking to Amazon and somehow my radio signal on my Amazon account had gotten "suspended" whatever that means. He reactivated it and I have a 3G connection again. So if your having this problem it might be worth a call to Amazon. They were very helpful and it took 2 minutes.

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  59. When I go to Menu, Settings, the search engine searches in my folders, Wikipedia etc. Does anyone know where I am supposed to search 311? I have a Kindle Touch 3G and Wifi.

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  60. this worked well for me thank you

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