Twoool things about the Kindle Fire HD
I’ve used it at home (including over a weekend) and at work, and although I haven’t gone through it systematically yet, I’m finding some cool things. I thought I’d take this post and share a couple of them with you:
Ivona text-to-speech (TTS)
As regular readers know, I’m a big fan of text-to-speech (TTS). I’ve been listening to it, typically for hours a week, since the Kindle 2.
With the Kindle Fire 1st Generation, there wasn’t TTS that worked with Kindle store books (although I did use it with free books in text format from Project Gutenberg).
Well, the KFHD has the
TTS app, and I believe the specific voice is Salli.
I was impressed!
Sallie is considerably better than Tom (one of the voices on the RSKs…Reflective Screen Kindles).
Salli was smoother and more natural sounding. If you listened to TTS a few years ago and rejected it, I’d give it another try. It’s not perfect…a “parking COM-plex” was pronounced as a “parking com-PLEX”. It used the pronunciation for something that was complicated.
That’s a minor thing.
There were some pretty complicated (or should I say, “com-PLEX”) words, and they were handled well. The only problem I had was that there was also quite a bit of French…I’m not sure if I would have known how to pronounce if I had sight-read it (my linguist kid says I use a stage French accent…sure, I learned it from Maurice Chevalier and Pepe Le Pew). Those were just proper nouns, for the most part, and didn’t impede it.
Something that disconcerted me at first, but that I like now, is that, when you turn your KFHD from portrait to landscape, the TTS stops. That could be a convenient way to cut off something when someone walks into the room…maybe something you’d rather not share.
With the previous TTS, some people with print disabilities wanted faster speeds…well, you have them now. You can go up to 4 times speed, which is too fast for me for convenient listening.
I can also see the impact of the improved battery charge life…TTS is a gobbler, and the KFHD handles it better than the KF1.
Overall, an improved feature I’ll use frequently.
To start TTS:
Tap towards the top middle of the screen, then tap Aa.
Turn TTS on.
You’ll get a play button, and you can start playing. To stop it playing, just tilt the device…if you started in landscape (wider than it is tall), go to portrait (taller than it is wide), and vice versa.
Yes, it’s a front-facing camera (it is looking at you when you are looking at the screen), so it’s designed more for video calls for taking pictures of other people. You can certainly do that, though…you just have to get used to looking the opposite direction of the thing that you are photographing. It’s like brushing your hair in the mirror.
There doesn’t seem to be a built-in way to use the camera, which is a bit odd, but easily remedied.
You can use this free app from the Amazon Appstore:
When you open it up, there is a handy little instruction about where to click…it’s on a picture in your bottom left corner of the screen. You can then choose
(although you can also choose Gallery or Facebook if you just want to edit).
There’s a slider on the screen which is the zoom, and a blue button which is the shutter.
There is also something that looks like three sliders, like on an equalizer for sound. Tap that, and you can adjust the exposure, the mode, and all that stuff.
Once you take the picture, you can discard it with an X, or save it and work on it with a checkmark.
If you use the checkmark, you get edits and filters…there are more things, but they are locked in the free edition.
If you want to save it, there is what now seems to be a common symbol for saving…what looks like a 3.5″ floppy diskette. I wonder how many people have no idea what that is? You can then just save it (only low quality in the free edition), tweet it or send it to Facebook.
I haven’t found an easy place to find it from the app: it says it is in the “camera roll”, but I don’t know where that is. I’ve asked them, and I’ll let you know what I hear back.
I find them using the free
app, which I highly recommend. They are in the DCIM folder.
ES File Explorer can also access the camera…and very well!
Launch ES File Explorer, and tap AppMgr at the top of the screen.
Tap Category, and choose System Apps.
Then, tap Camera, and choose Open (rather than Detail).
Now, you can use all three functions of the camera app…still pictures, video, and panorama.
From there, you can use it with apps, including with the built in e-mail app.
That panorama thing is fun…you slowly turn the KFHD, and you get a big sweeping panorama…something they were touting on the iPhone 5.
I’ve also used
It does what it says. You can record audio, video, or take a picture, and easily e-mail it.
It’s an ad-supported app (free, but ads appear in it), and I’ll need to use it a bit more to do a real report.
One of my favorite apps works on the KFHD:
It makes the world look like different things…my favorite is a pencil sketch. If you do take a picture with that, it shows up in the Photos tab…and you can also e-mail from there.
I also did buy (for $2.99) the
You need to have a Roku to use this, and you need to install a free channel.
Once you’ve done that, though, you can “throw” pictures wirelessly from your KFHD to your TV!
It’s a bit slow establishing the connection, but from there, it was pretty easy. You can also send videos, but I think only your personal videos…I still need to test that one.
One last thing about images, and this was found by Tink-erbell ♛, one of the Kindle Forum Pros.
You can take a screenshot!
Hold down the lower volume button (the one nearest the middle of the device) and the power button at the same time for about a second, and it will take a picture of whatever is on the screen (I’ve heard it does not work with video).
The picture then shows up in Photos.
Well, there you go! Two cool things (with some “sub-things”) about the KFHD.
I know some of this was a bit sketchy…if you have any questions, feel free to ask. Found anything else cool? My readers and I would appreciate you commenting on this post.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.