Archive for the ‘Kindle Fire’ Category

Round up #227: dynamic pricing, workaround for connection issue

December 12, 2013

Round up #227: dynamic pricing, workaround for connection issue

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

A partial workaround for the connection instability on the Kindle Fire HDX

Big props to ✿ Jingle-bella ✿, another Kindle Forum Pro who came through with an idea that’s really helping with the problems I’ve been having with my Kindle Fire HDX (at Amazon…benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*). Since the recent update, it hasn’t been staying connected to wi-fi networks…I have had to toggle the Airplane Mode on and off frequently to connect to things. That’s been in more than one browser (I use Maxthon), and in apps without a visible browser (like Fandango).

✿ Jingle-bella ✿ intelligently suggested limiting the variables by turning Airplane Mode off, and then turning wi-fi on.

What that does is turn off the rest of the wireless connections…my intuition here is that the LBS (Location Based Services) might perhaps have been interfering. It’s even possible that when I’ve lost connection, it’s been when LBS has been trying to check-in.

I don’t have a 4G model, by the way.

I tried it this morning:

Swipe down from the top – Wireless – Airplane Mode on – tap Wi-Fi (just below Airplane Mode) and turn Wi-Fi on

I would guess I was on for at least an hour without having to toggle! I did toggle the wi-fi once so far today, although the Fire had been sitting idle for a while when I did that.

Thanks again to ✿ Jingle-bella ✿ for the suggestion!

I’m hoping we get a more robust solution with an update for the Kindle Fires which has been announced in “the coming weeks”.

For those of you having freezing issues, I’d be curious to hear if that helps you as well.

Save $50 on an HDX (up to 3 of them…possible savings of $150) with an Rewards Visa

Here’s a great deal!

You need to have that special credit card, and it says this will go “while supplies last”. As we saw with the Keurig special yesterday, that might not be much time! =:o

It’s been a bit bizarre to see people’s vitriol over not getting that deal…even reportedly to the extent of writing a bunch of 1-star reviews on the product.

I tried to get one, watched the countdown clock, and still didn’t.

I look at it like buying a lottery ticket…the odds are very against you, but it’s fun if you win! ;) They announced ahead of time that there were 5,000 of these. Let’s say, oh, a million people tried to get one…your odds would be one in 200 (half a percent).

I’m happy for the people who got one! I’ll probably try again for others.

I’m sure people didn’t think about the fact that leaving 1-star reviews might actually reduce the number of people who buy one (many people just look at the average)…are they really willing to increase the chances that people will lose their jobs, because they didn’t get an opportunity to save some money? I’m sure most folks don’t go through that thought process, but that’s a possible result of 1-starring a product.

However, there is one big difference between this and the lottery…you have to pay for a lottery ticket. ;) You don’t have to pay anything for trying this, although you do have to have Special Offers on your Fire.

I recommend that you sign up for the text alerts, if you want to do this. You can do that at

Limited Time Special Offers only on Kindle Fire
Limited Time Special Offers only on Kindle Fire at AmazonSmile

P-books aren’t perfect, either

Whenever something is introduced, there is a tendency to point out all of its flaws, and ignore the flaws of the current technology or system.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing.

I was an actor, and one tradition is that we got a night on the set before the show opens. We walk around and point out all the potential dangers, typically in a joking way.

That might just seem silly, but it’s actually very important.

You see, the person in charge of the sets is there listening (not saying anything, by the way).

They can then assess those comments, and very often, they end up fixing something that could have been a real risk.

In the case of e-books compared to p-books (paperbooks), some people pointed out possible eye issues on the former (although those aren’t as likely on a non-backlit screen…you read an older style Kindle the same way you read a paperbook).

We also have had a lot of people say that they like the “smell” of a p-book, or the feel of it. My Significant Other had a great response once. Somebody said (somewhat snidely) on seeing my SO with a Kindle (several years ago), “I like the feel of a book in my hand.” My SO said, “I like the feel of a hundred in mine.” ;)

Well, many people have actual physical issues with p-books. Allergies are a common one (I think it has to do with dust mites, in some cases, as I recall).

Here is a

Daily News article

about a student who had to stop going to university because of an allergy to dusty books (and other allergen issues).

I do love old books, but for people who have complained about the effects they have on them, here is some evidence to show others…

HarperCollins CEO says that publishing is healthy

In this

Variety article by Ted Johnson

HarperCollins CEO (gee, wasn’t that a song by by Jeannie C. Riley ((at AmazonSmile))? ;) ), Brian Murray, has some very interesting and positive things to say about the publishing industry.

Drawing a parallel between how digital music affected the studios and how e-books affect publishing isn’t entirely wise, as Murray notes. One of the things I’ve said about that before is the consumption of the two are very different. Most people will listen to a song multiple times, and read a book once, for example (not that there aren’t many re-readers out there).

I think this might stand out to a lot of people:

“The company, a unit of the newly spun off News Corp., is testing what he called “dynamic pricing,” where prices of ebooks can be changed “daily” to increase revenues and royalties for authors, as opposed to the print side, where prices are set on the book itself.”

That’s another thing I’ve noted in the past. When I managed a brick-and-mortar bookstore (which was admittedly some time ago), we had to have “sticker guns” to put new prices on books…and it was labor intensive. If you could vary prices easily, you could take advantage of current events (like a hot pop culture movie) to raise or lower to maximize your revenue.

What does that mean for you as a Kindleer?

I’ve got two pieces of advice.

First, to quote (from memory) Whitley Strieber, “Learn to live at a high level of uncertainty.” ;) In other words, if you can not know for sure what the price will be from one minute to the next, you have to figure out how to accept that.

Here’s the key to that: buy a book at a price that you think is fair.

Then, if it goes up or down later, you already know you got a fair price, right? Sure, I know people get jealous when other people get a lower price, but if you know you made a well-reasoned purchase in the first place, you can be satisfied with yours and happy about theirs. Easy, right? ;)

Second, take advantage of price notification services. Those are no doubt going to have to become more sophisticated…right now, they probably aren’t price checking quickly enough to notify you in time of “dynamic pricing” changes.

I recommend


the most valuable resource on the web for Kindle users.

You can give them the information on books you want to track, and they’ll send you a free e-mail (the whole service is free), when it drops an amount you specify.

They have a lot of other good resources, but that one in particular may help as prices start to roller coaster more…wheeeee! ;)

Falling behind the Norwegians…

“Magnus, you are the Head Librarian here at the National Library of Norway…which books should we digitize?”

“All of them!”

That’s right…according to this

The Verge article by Adrianne Jeffries

the National Library of Norway is working on digitizing all of the books in its collection, and making them available online to anyone with a Norwegian IP (Internet Protocol) address…for free!

They are making deals with publishers to make that happen.

Yes, it will take a while…they are thinking decades (but improvements in technology could shorten that).

Probably not going to happen in the USA, although there are more things becoming available.

I’m still looking for a magical book machine to come on the market: put a p-book in there, and it automatically digitizes the book with no action required from you and no damage to the book.

No luck so far. :)

I have digitized public domain books, and it’s a lot of work. This one caught my eye:

The reviews are generally good. It seems to have some smart features: apparently, it can tell when a new page is in place, detecting perhaps the motion of moving the page. That would make it a lot easier than having to get the book in place, and then pushing a button…I know that doesn’t sound like much effort (“Get over it, George Jetson”), but the issue is that you are sometimes carefully holding the book so it becomes a bit of a juggling act to push that button and keep the book from moving at all (which would mess up the scan).

At $268.90 at time of writing, it isn’t outrageously priced…

What do you think? Is traditional publishing in good shape? Are you surprised at how many ways there have been to get discounts on Kindle hardware this holiday season? Are you able to feel happy for other people when they get a deal you don’t?  Do you have any negative physical reactions to p-books? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Round up #226: E-book settlement, B&N investigation

December 11, 2013

Round up #226: E-book settlement, B&N investigation

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Kindle Fire update in “the coming weeks”

In this

press release

Amazon announces an update coming to the Kindle Fires “… just in time for the holidays”. Of course, they don’t say which holidays. ;)

The PR focuses on some important and interesting changes to Kindle FreeTime, which helps guardians set limits on the use of the tablet. One interesting one is the ability to require a certain amount of “educational” use before you can use it for “entertainment”.

As a trainer, I can tell you that you really can’t have much education without entertainment, but that’s another discussion. ;) I’ve asked people to remember back when they were in elementary school: very few of them recall sitting in the classroom…most of them first remember playing with their friends. Kudos to their teachers if their now adult students do think of that first!

While this is great in and of itself (and they promise more improvements after that for FreeTime), I’m also excited because it’s quite possible (knock virtual wood) that the upgrade will contain bug fixes. As I’ve mentioned (and others have also said they have this issue), my wi-fi won’t stay connected since the last upgrade (Amazon is aware of the problem). I have to toggle Airplane Mode on and off many times a day…virtual fingers crossed that this upgrade might address that as well.

ITYS*: raptors will attack PrimeAircraft

When I wrote about Amazon’s PrimeAir reveal (delivery by small “octocopters”), I said:

“Certainly, dogs would pose a risk, as might bird strikes (perhaps even intentional ones, in the case of a raptor), but I’m not convinced it would be inherently more risky.”

I was pleased to see that this

Slate article by Nicholas Lund

not only agrees with me on the bird risk, but has video to prove it!

Also on the “drone” front (I don’t consider artificially intelligent craft to be “drones”, but I know many people define them as simply craft without humans on board…whether they have remote pilots or not), I saw this news today, and later saw a comment from one of my readers about it:

CNN article by Ann Cabrera

A town called Deer Trail in Colorado is going to vote (it was postponed) on a law allowing residents to shoot down drones.

Quite simply, I’m horrified. :( Even though this is aimed (so to speak) at government drones, there is no question that it would result in commercial drones being shot down as well (and kids’ toys, for that matter). I’m thinking that there would be a lot of mistaken identity (possibly even resulting in bird deaths), even though the bounty (really!) is higher on a complete drone with government markings.

Sure, shoot down the drone delivering a shut-in’s medicine, or the book a poor child saved up for six months to buy. Sure, those are “slippery slope” examples…even just the destruction itself makes me unhappy. This is specifically designed to destroy other people’s property…I think that puts it in a different category than a lot of other questions people might see as related.

On a lighter note…

Amazon Rockets parody on YouTube

My favorite clock is a Kindle

This seems a bit bizarre, but they gave us a new (free) clock app with the last Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers upgrade. Yes, it appears to have caused the wi-fi glitch I mention above, but there were a lot of good things about it. This app is one of them.

I’ve mentioned before that I have some color vision deficiency, and my understanding is that connected to that, I have superior night vision. Any light in a room (or the room next door, or down the hall…) can bother me at night.

We also got a used bedroom set. It’s nice, but it was hard to conveniently plug in a clock, just because of the design.

Well, the clock app on the Fire solves both of those problems. It has a “Nightstand” mode, which has the time (and a postmodern clock design…that one takes some getting used to, but I don’t typically use analog clocks anyway) in red. With the brightness turned down all the way, it’s been the most pleasant clock. I was also a bit worried about running it not plugged in, but it consistently takes about 50% of the charge over night (it hasn’t taken more than fifty). Again, I have the brightness turned down all the way (a big battery charge life saver), and the wi-fi off.

If I wake up in the middle of the night (we have a new dog…yes, in bed with us, so it happens), I can see the time without it seeming too bright.

Oh, while I’m talking about apps for the Fire, let me also mention

This is a goofy free app, but might be great for a little holiday fun. You can use video backgrounds, characters, and objects they supply…or you can add your  own pictures. Then, you animate them in a very simple way and do a voiceover. I found it to be easy to use…for example, the character will automatically flip to face the other direction, depending on how you move. They have licensed images from Pacific Rim. You can share your videos publicly, but that’s up to you.

State e-book settlements approved…pay-outs coming in 2014

According to this

Publishers Weekly article by Andrew Albanese

my favorite Federal judge (what…you have one, right? ;) ), Denise Cote, has approved the pay-out plan for the settlements between the States Attorneys General and Macmillan and Penguin (which completes the group).

That was on December 6th, and then there is a thirty day period, and then a bit of time after that…I’d say those of us getting pay-outs will see them…oh, by early February. Amazon told us before that they will show up as credits, and I expect the Smilin’ A (I’ve recently started calling Amazon that…I like it. ;) Feel free to let me know if you like it or not) to be one of the fastest at doing this.

Well, at least B&N hasn’t been in legal troub—uh, oh

Barnes & Noble has been in a bad news factory lately, with a particularly poor quarterly financial report…and I’m afraid to see what this quarter is going to be for them.

They didn’t need anything else to spook investors, but they got it.

According to this

Wall Street Journal article by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg

and other sources, Barnes & Noble is under investigation by the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) for questionable accounting practices.

A really healthy company could probably handle that better than one that is walking on such thin financial ice already…share prices are down.

Keep the text by blocking the tip

Just a little tip for you: when you want to listen to text-to-speech in the car, lock your device so it doesn’t auto-rotate. When a Fire autorotates, text-to-speech stops playing. I simply lock my rotation (swiping down from the top, or using the Settings gear, depending on your model) before starting TTS. That way, it doesn’t stop when I set it on the seat for the drive.

What do you think? Is shooting down a drone a legitimate thing to do? Is the the straw that breaks B&N’s back? Do you care about the refund you might get from the settlement? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

* I Told You So ;)

** I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) NOte: you can select as the non-profit you support, if you want.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

1 day Kindle deal: 20% off (includes Mindle, HDX7)

December 9, 2013

1 day Kindle deal: 20% off (includes Mindle, HDX7)

How about a Kindle for $55.20?

It’s been amazing this year, how many discounts Amazon has given on Kindle hardware!

That hasn’t been typical in the past…discounting the frontlist (new and bestselling) Kindles, repeatedly, during the holiday season.

Clearly, success is not being measured on the profit from the devices themselves, but the profit that comes from their use (which is what Jeff Bezos has said). There may be no profit on the devices, even at full price.

It’s important to note that the profit doesn’t just come from buying content for the devices, but from get you firmly settled into Amazon…and hopefully, getting you to be a Prime member. That’s where you are most valuable: Prime members buy a lot more, and they buy physical goods (“diapers and windshield wipers”, as I like to say)…where there can be a better margin. If it gets you to buy third party good through Amazon, even better for the Smilin’ A. ;)

Today, they have 20% off three models (and it may be more than one “flavor” of those models…with or without Special Offers, for example):

That brings the Mindle price down to $55.20! For some reason, they are rounding up in the banner ad…they say it’s $56, but it shows as $55.20.

It also means you can get a Kindle Fire for $136, and the one I got for myself, the Kindle Fire HDX, for $184 (a $45 savings!).

This is a one-day sale (and it may not be available in your country…check the price before you click the Buy button), and I’d normally tell you that this is probably the lowest price that we’ll get for the rest of the season…but they have been surprising on pricing strategies this year. ;)

Should you spend the extra $50 to add that X to the HD on the Kindle Fire? That’s up to you and your use cases, but there are some reasons I’d recommend it, if you can afford it. The biggest one for me is Mayday, the live, onscreen tech help. Also, the HDX has a camera…and a way (using a Miracast enabled TV, or a Miracast adapter, like the one I use) to watch what is on your tablet on your TV. That last one will becoming increasing important in the next couple of years, although you might have an alternative way to “mirror” to your TV.

As to the Mindle, it’s a great price for

A Kindle for the guest room


Update: what about content?

The Big Deal
at AmazonSmile

is back, with more than 500 Kindle books up to 80% off through December 22nd. I’d expect another big sweeping deal on the 25th, by the way, but we’ll see.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Amazon’s Cyber Monday sale on some new gen Fires: $50 off!

December 2, 2013

Amazon’s Cyber Monday sale on some new gen Fires: $50 off!

Well, if you waited to see if there would be a sale, now’s the time for a hearty, “I told you so!”

With $50 off, you can get the price on this tablet goes to $119!

Alternatively,  you can get the one I chose for myself:

also for $50 off…making it $179!

This is a Cyber Monday deal…the prices should go back up after that.

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :)  

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

Kindle Fire 8.9″ HD 4G 32GB from QVC for $249.95

November 29, 2013

Kindle Fire 8.9″ HD 4G 32GB from QVC for $279.95

Thanks to regular reader and commenter Lady Galaxy for the heads-up on this!

QVC (Quality, Value, Convenience) has last year’s Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ with 4G and 32GB of memory for $249.95.

I don’t know where QVC gets their retail value listings…this one says $959.99, and I can’t see any configuration that would get you there.

However, this is still a great deal! If it has Special Offers on it, I would expect this model to sell for $399…so this is about $150 off.

This one does not have the latest generation of the operating system, so for one thing, no Mayday button (the free on screen tech help). However, it does have an HDMI out jack, which a lot of people want. With a cable (which you would buy separately), that lets you connect your Fire to your TV (if it has an HDMI in…most modern TVs do).

I had one like this that was stolen in a home break-in. I was using it as my primary tablet for quite a while, and using it to run TV in one room. I do llike my HDX better (it’s lighter, for one thing…it also speech-to-text dictation so you can talk and it types…that’s a great feature on a tablet), but this is a good device and a good price on it.

Thanks again to Lady Galaxy for the heads-up!

Update: bonus deal!


Kindle Daily Deal
Kindle Daily Deal at AmazonSmile…support a non-profit of your choice by shopping

is any of 25 movie-related titles for $1.99 each. There are some great titles here, and they definitely might make good gifts! The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe…The Pianist…Running with Scissors: there are many kinds of movies, and many kinds of books here.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

A Miracast adapter that works with the Kindle Fire HDX

November 8, 2013

A Miracast adapter that works with the Kindle Fire HDX

I’m happy to report that I have now tested the

NETGEAR Push2TV Wireless Display HDMI Adapter – Miracast and WiDi (PTV3000)

with my

 Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers

This is a device to allow the “mirroring” of the KFHDX screen on to a TV where the latter has an HDMI in port.

In other words, I can see everything which is on my Kindle Fire on my TV.

This is done wirelessly, unlike the previous Kindle Fire HD (not the current generation Kindle Fire HD, which has neither wireless TV connection nor an HDMI out cable port…to my knowledge, it can not be displayed on a TV).

I had tried another Miracast adapter (the iPush), and the sound and the video were terribly out of sync (the video might lag a couple of minutes behind the audio on a movie).

The Netgear is recommended by Amazon:

About Wireless Display Methods for Kindle Fire

It does cost about $60 (the iPush was more like $30), and I did need to buy another cable with a standard HDMI on each end. I bought the

AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable (6.5 Feet/2.0 Meters) – Supports Ethernet, 3D, and Audio Return [Newest Standard]

for $5.79.

It works well…not perfectly, but acceptably well.

Prime video (streaming and downloaded) looked and sounded fine.

I streamed from another site, and there was maybe half a second of lag on the sound…tolerable.

Sometimes, there was a bit of breakup in the image, but I also found that acceptable.

I tried to test it out a bit, so I went across the room (a good, oh, four meters or so), and it worked just fine.

It didn’t seem to really need line of sight.

Important update: it definitely isn’t line of sight…it’s more like a wi-fi network. I have a place in the family room where I have a charger for the Fire. I can have it plugged in in that room, pair it with the Netgear, start a stream running, and watch that stream in the bedroom (down the hall and in a different room entirely). No problem.

It did work in the Origami case, but when I closed the case (putting the Fire to sleep), it would stop broadcasting. That made sense, of course, but I did want to test it.

I tried a video and an app. It was nice to be able to control everything from the other side of the room…that part was better than having an HDMI cable directly from the old Kindle Fire HD.

The device itself is quite small…much smaller than I thought from the picture on the product page. It is perhaps as long as your palm and half as wide. That’s pretty unobtrusive.

My TV does not have a USB port, so it does need to be plugged into a wall outlet, as well as cabled to the TV’s HDMI. You can likely hide all that pretty much behind the shelf or the TV. The device does have a blue “ready light” on it, but I’m not finding it too bright at this point (I have a problem with that with some ready lights, probably due to my superior night vision, which may in turn come from some color vision deficiency I have).

Set up was easy: plug it in, tell the KFHDX to Mirror (Swipe down from the top on the homescreen, go to Settings, then Display & Sounds). Within about six seconds, the two of them found each other (the name of the Netgear appeared on the Fire). Tapping it caused it to connect, again in under ten seconds, and that was it). Pretty similar to pairing a Bluetooth phone (without having to enter a code).

Turning off the TV meant pairing it again the next time, but again, that’s an easy process.

I haven’t used it enough to determine battery drain yet.

The one thing that has failed for me so far is updating the device*. Amazon recommends that you have the latest update, and so does Netgear. I was able to get to the Netgear site and download the update on to my Kindle…but it downloaded as an .exe file, and I don’t seem to be able to launch it (should be an APK for an Android device, right?). I may play around with that part a bit more, but it does work well enough now.

So, I now have TV in that room again! I haven’t had it since eight of our Kindles were stolen when our house was burglarized recently.

Bottom line: it isn’t perfect, but if you are willing to pay $65 (approximately, counting the cable) to mirror your KFHDX to your HDMI equipped TV, I think  you’ll find it worth it.

It’s possible Amazon will still release a TV device, but it is interesting to me that they are recommending this one if that’s the case. I was thinking they might release two (an inexpensive “dongle” and a full-featured, Roku like device). I’m now thinking it may be more likely that they’ll only do the latter.

* Update: I have successfully updated it, and am satisfied with it now. I’m only seeing a tiny lag, and I haven’t seen audio and video out of sync unless it was also out of sync on the device.

Thanks to my reader, Americanchild, for posting how they updated it, and to my reader, Jacopo, for reminding me that I hadn’t come back to update this post with how I did it (although I had written about it other places).

Here’s the key concept. The Netgear is going to create its own wi-fi (not Miracast) network, and you can only get to the necessary website to do the update on that network (not on your regular household network). The sequence below is important, for that reason.

1. I downloaded the latest software update from I did it directly from my Fire, first, but you can do it from your PC and then transfer it.

2. Press and hold the Push2TV button on the side for several seconds (I think it started flashing).

3. Next, connect your Fire to the Push2TV wi-fi network. This is different from mirroring: you are going to connect in the same way you connect to your regular network

4. Use a browser (Silk, or something else if you have it) to go to

5. Follow the instructions there. It takes several minutes to do the update, and at the end of it, your Fire should return to your home network.

Hope that does it for you. If you have questions, you can let me know.


Bonus story: Fire at the Internet Archive

I’ve written about the Internet Archive before, and I was sorry to hear about the recent fire there. As they report in this


some physical items waiting to be digitized (and then made available free to you and me) were lost, but it sounds like it was mostly equipment which was damaged.

They are asking for donations for repairs: you can choose your own amount.

I plan to donate something myself…up to you, but I thought some of you might also want to help.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them

“Thank you, FAA” 15% off Kindle, Kindle Fire today only

November 4, 2013

“Thank  you, FAA” 15% off Kindle, Kindle Fire today only


Not only cute, but a significant cash savings.

On the front page of Amazon, they have a nice cartoon of a Kindle Paperwhite 2, and a couple of Kindle Fires (although these are not the Kindles listed in the same splash with a discount…the illustration doesn’t match the actual discounted models), sitting on a plane.

Today only, to celebrate the FAA’s recent ruling allowing the use of PEDs (Personal Electronic Devices) basically throughout the flight, Amazon is offering a 15% discount with a special code (ThnksFAA…note that there is no “a” in the first part).

The splash has:

Those are great deals!

Remember, this is today only, you must enter the code (so don’t use 1-click), and I would guess this only applies in the USA.

I would not sit on this waiting for a better discount before the end of the year, at least on the Fires (which are new models).


This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them

Round up #216: Miracast dongle, new NOOK

October 31, 2013

Round up #216: Miracast dongle, new NOOK

The ILMK Round ups are short pieces which may or may not be expanded later. 

There’s a new NOOK in town

You know when, sometimes, you see a commercial on TV for an upcoming episode, and you say to yourself, “That show’s still on?”

That’s sort of how I felt when I saw the news on the new NOOK model being introduced. :)

Oh, I know intellectually that NOOKs are still out there, that they have their fans, and that they are one of the big competitors for Amazon…certainly, on non-backlit EBRs (E-Book Readers).

It’s just…they’ve been a bit off my radar.

The new nook (I wish they’d make up their minds on capitalization) GlowLight is $119.

Anything really stand out?

Well, they’ve reportedly eliminated full screen flashing when you “turn pages”…that’s nice.

Here’s the

User’s Guide pdf

It does have 4GB of storage: that’s a lot, nowadays.

They also

compare it to the Paperwhite

It does have some advantages: if you don’t want an ad-supported EBR, it’s cheaper (if you don’t mind the ads, and many people like the Special Offers, it’s the same). It’s about an ounce lighter, and does hold a lot more books.

I have to say, though, I didn’t see a page with tech specs (specifications)…they don’t make it easy to see what file formats it will use, for example.

They also push that you can get “personalized recommendations”…that’s highlighted in the

press release

They say (in part):

“The enhanced shopping experience features a new “Now on NOOK” section right on the home screen, giving readers instant access to a curated list of content suggestions from Barnes & Noble booksellers. The new Shop also delivers an array of exclusive personalized lists “Picked Just For You,” which combine the expert knowledge of Barnes & Noble booksellers with rich book data to deliver unparalleled recommendations.

The new NOOK GlowLight also brings NOOK Channels™ to the shop experience, offering customers more ways to browse the more than 3 million titles from the world’s largest digital bookstore to expand their passions for the authors and subjects they love…”

Those are good things, and I know a very techie person who really liked a NOOK. It will be interesting to see how this does this holiday season. I think the zeitgeist may have changed from it being “normal and safe” to get something from Barnes & Noble to being “normal and safe” to get something from Amazon…and that getting something from B&N may be a risk, due to their possibly uncertain future.

Pop quiz: what is available from B&N in terms of NOOK hardware?

  • NOOK HD+ tablet starting at $149
  • NOOK HD tablet starting at $129
  • NOOK GlowLight at $119
  • Simple Touch at $79

I try a Miracast dongle for my Kindle Fire HDX

I’ve been trying to wait to see if Amazon introduces a TV solution (I think they will…within two weeks, is my guess), but when

Eight of our Kindles were stolen

this week, that meant we had no TV in one room (we only have two TVs…well, three, if you count an old one that literally serves as a stand for a newer one…yeah, we can be classy like that). ;) You see, I had been using my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB (well, the LTE model, but I never used the LTE) with the Live Media Player app.

Well, that last generation model had an HDMI out, which means I could run it through that TV with a cable.

My newer Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers doesn’t have an HDMI out: it’s designed to use wireless Miracast, which the TV doesn’t have.

I bought the MOCREO Airplay Miracast HDMI TV Dongle

for $32.19.

Does it work?

Sort of…

First, it has quite a short power cord on it, designed to plug into a USB port on the TV…which this TV (it’s a few years old, but is HD) doesn’t have. So, it took a bit of stringing things together to get power to it (it needs to be plugged into power to work, but a powered USB might run it).

Second, there were no instructions. It worked pretty easily, though: plug it into the HDMI port on the TV, and that was about it.

I had the TV set to receive HDMI in already. I just had to tell the Kindle Fire HDX to find it:

Settings – Display & Sounds – Display Mirroring

Really, it was easier than Bluetooth pairing.


The sound and the video were out of sync…way out of sync. The sound on the TV was running at the same speed as on the Fire (I only heard it through the TV, the same way it would work if you had something plugged into the headphone jack).

When I watched a Prime video, the video was a couple of minutes behind!

It seemed like the more data intense it was, the more the lag. Angry Birds Star Wars was more like thirty seconds behind. The e-mail app? Less than ten.

I Maydayed it, and the rep could see that my wi-fi was somewhat erratic, and suggested that might be it.

That means I’ll try more testing. Maybe try it closer to the router, and I do have a different router I can try. I might also try it at work. If it works with a better signal, I could try a wi-fi extender (but I don’t think those are cheap…if anybody can recommend one, I’d appreciate it).

If that’s the only issue, then this is a good solution. If it’s not, it’s not. ;)

NPR: “Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores Play The Print Card Against Amazon”

In this

NPR article by Lynn Neary

the basic assertion is that Larry Kirshbaum recently left as the head of

Amazon Publishing

because many brick-and-mortar stores refused to carry books published by Amazon, making that an unsuccessful venture.

As I wrote about a year ago, that drives me crazy! I speak as a former brick-and-mortar bookstore manager…you’re just shooting yourself in the foot doing that. I would love to see brick-and-mortar bookstores stick around, and I think some will…but not with that kind of move.

Get comps when you review on Amazon

In another good

NPR article

Lisa Chow writes about top Amazon reviewers getting lots of stuff for free.

I really didn’t know that!

I mean, you aren’t even really supposed to write about e-books if you were given them as compensation for writing a review. That’s not quite what is happening here, but I sure would like to know if a review is written by someone who was given that $500 item!

As a blogger, I’m required to reveal when I got a comp (free) copy of something if I review it (that doesn’t usually happen, by the way).

Does put an interesting spin on things…probably really motivates some people to write reviews that will get good responses. I guess that could be a good thing…

What do you think? Is the NOOK as relevant as it was a year ago? Do you mind that some Amazon reviewers get free things to review? Are brick-and-mortars hurting Amazon by not carrying its paperbooks? Feel free to let me and my readers know what you think by commenting on this post.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Amazon “Active Cloud”: something new?

October 20, 2013

Amazon “Active Cloud”: something new?

Well, this was interesting!

I’m documenting the menus on my  Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers, since I’m working on a guide I hope to publish pretty soon.

I was quite deep into them:

Settings – Applications – Amazon Applications – Photos

and it told me I had used zero GB of 45 GB, and was giving me an option of having Automatic Upload of photos to my Cloud Drive.

I knew I didn’t have a 45 GB subscription, so I followed the link…and found this one:

“Active Cloud Drive Promos

AT&T Kindle Data Plan 20GB Storage Promotion
Promotion expires on: November 30, 2013
AT&T Kindle Data Plan 20GB Storage Promotion
Promotion expires on: November 26, 2013″

Adding in my free 5 GB, that gets me to 45 GB.

My Kindle Fire HDX is wi-fi only, so there isn’t currently a data plan.

I did a Google search…didn’t find anything that seemed to fit for “Amazon” and “Active Cloud”.

This does not suggest to me that Amazon is going to charge wi-fi users for a data plan…that doesn’t fit the wi-fi system at all.

They certainly might charge for additional Cloud Storage, and give you some way to pop things up there easily…that’s what this looks like to me.

We know there is supposed to be a big update to the KFHDXs in mid-November…I’m guessing this gets announced then.

Back to the deep dive into the KFHDX…I wonder what else I’ll find? :)

Update: I’m glad I put that question mark in the headline! ;) A couple of people have suggested that this might be space I have because of the data plan I bought through AT&T for my Kindle Fire HD 8.9″ 4G LTE Wireless 32GB last year.  The timing matches up if it is a one-year deal, since I ordered that one on November 27, 2012. While I don’t remember there being anything called “Active Cloud”, maybe that isn’t a feature name, but a description…that was suggested by reader dsmallc. Amazon isn’t great at naming things, in my opinion, so maybe it isn’t a real name. :)

If any of my other readers see this 40GB, I’d appreciate hearing it. Some of my readers with HDXs are not seeing it, from what they say, so it would be nice to isolate the variables.

Thanks to regular reader and commenter liz for helping to improve this post!

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.

Kindle Fire HDX first impressions

October 19, 2013

Kindle Fire HDX first impressions

It’s here!

First, the packaging was like no Kindle before it. I knew that it had arrived (I get text alerts from Amazon), and that my Significant Other would be home before me. I had texted my SO to bring in the boxes, but there was no box…just an envelope. Inside, the  Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers and the Amazon Kindle Fire HDX Standing Polyurethane Origami Case (will only fit Kindle Fire HDX 7″), Purple were in clear plastic envelopes.

Update: added picture


Inside that, the KFHDX itself was in something like an old videocasette slip cover box: slide off a sleeve, then open the cardboard box (after easily removing a label).

There was a one page instruction card to get it started, which was easy (the power button operation was smooth, light to the touch, unlike previous Kindle Fires). It booted up in a couple of seconds.

Wow! Even locked, the image is much clearer and brighter than on my  Kindle Fire HD 8.9″, Dolby Audio, Dual-Band Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers. Really nice! It displays the date and time (which isn’t correct yet) and the battery status (both with an icon and a percentage) while still locked! That’s very handy.

Unlocking it (with a swipe, just like previous Kindle Fires, my first choice was to pick a language. I had the choices of

  • Deutsch
  • English (United Kingdom)
  • English (United States)
  • Espanol
  • Francais
  • Italiano
  • Japanese (I think)
  • Portugues
  • Simplified Chinese (I think)

I tapped one to check it, then clicked a Continue button (hm…that could have more easily been automatic, but no big deal).

It then showed detected wi-fi networks. I entered my password, and I was ready to go.

It asked me to confirm my account, showing me my name. I did (by hitting Continue). It then said “Loading. Please wait…” I’d say that took something like a minute to load.

Oh-oh! First problem!

It said something that it was registered, but I got an error message:

“Unknown Error. Unfortunately w encountered an error while trying to update your Kindle software. If you encounter problems in using your Kindle please contact Kinde Customer Service at”;

Well, it had asked me to plug the Kindle in to power, and I hadn’t done that yet. I plugged it in (it was a bit hard to figure out how to get the charger into the Kindle itself…it goes in at an angle, not straight in…oh, and it comes with a nice small USB and wall charger, the kind where the USB plugs into a separate unit to go into the wall. That wall part has collapsible prongs, which makes it easier for traveling).

I clicked OK to the unknown error, and it started loading again.  After thirty seconds or so, the screen went black. It’s possible I touched the power button to something, but I think it had just cone to sleep. It woke up pretty quickly on a touch.

The next thing it wanted me to do was to connect it to Social Networks (if I chose to do that)…Facebook or Twitter.

Wow, this screen is sharp! It’s like a glossy magazine.

Hm…it doesn’t seem to be responding to my tapping.  I’m trying to tap Twitter, I’m trying to tap Next…nothing.

Oh, I see…I think I was supposed to tap Next at the top…that wasn’t intuitive.

It took me to a Facebook login: I canceled that. Then, I could tap Twitter, and that worked.

Now, it is taking me through the tutorial.

Okay, three screens, and it is up and running.

The Favorites appear on the screen: I don’t have to swipe up to see them.

The Carousel looks similar.

It seems to have my appropriate content.

The top line is the name of the Kindle, the time (now correct…it pulled it from the wi-fi network), my wi-fi signal (which seems very strong) and a battery indicator.

Then, I have in one row:

  • Search
  • Shop
  • Games
  • Apps
  • Books
  • Music
  • Videos
  • Newsstand
  • Audiobooks
  • Web
  • Photos
  • Docs
  • Offers

Search lets me search Libraries, Stores, Web. One slightly weird thing: I couldn’t see the “back arrow” while the keyboard was displayed. I had to hit a “hide keyboard” icon to get the back arrow. The libraries search included my Cloud, not just what was on the device.

The Shop looks different from the Kindle Fire HD…it changes images a lot, and the menu is translucent (you can see the images behind the menu. This is fancy looking, if a bit frenetic.

The Games also looks nicer.

Let’s just get this out of the way: the appearance is much smoother, much cooler than the Kindle Fire HD first generation.

The menu under Games  has

  • Games
  • Profile
  • Friends
  • Then a section for shopping, including GameCircle Games, Top Paid, Top Free, Top rated
  • Then Settings and Help

I changed a sort order: bang! This thing is fast!

I downloaded Angry Birds Star Wars Pemium HD…took under twenty seconds. It loaded very quickly as well.

The sound was at about a mid-level initially. It can get loud (I’ve seen other people concerned about the sound…doesn’t seem like a problem for me on this game).  The sound seems rich to me.

The display seems fast as well during the game. I can’t see someone comparing this to anything else and immediately thinking it was insufficient.

Interesting…I can’t seem to find the home button to get out of the game.

Yep…I seem to be trapped in the game, which is merrily playing. :)

Oh, I found something! I had to swipe from a right edge…although there was nothing at all to indicate that which I saw.


Back to home.

Ah! I see. When I am in landscape mode (wider than tall), it shows me to swipe from the edge to open the navigation panel). I don’t think it showed me that after the game launched, though.

I downloaded a book (Hollowland (The Hollows, #1)) to check that out…maybe eight seconds for a novel.

That’s a bit odd…it gives me the option to play the “professional narration” (audiobook). I tried it, and it told me that “Professional narration is not available on this page”. That makes sense: I was on the cover. However, why offer it to me, then?

I have to say, I didn’t buy the audiobook for this book, so I’m not sure why I get it…oh, there’s a banner that is giving me an option to “Add professional narration”.

I think that has to mean that the sample (it identifies it as such now) must download with the book…that has to take up some memory!

For the book itself, on the top line, I get a

  • A menu button
  • View
  • X-Ray
  • Notes
  • Share
  • Bookmarks

The menu includes navigation and a way to get back to the “Books Library”. It shows me the cover and the name of the book and author. It has a tale of contents, and I can jump by chapter.

Ooh, scrolling down, that’s cool! I got an “About the  author”, and “Connect with Me Online” among other things.

The View lets me change the font size, but also choose color schemes (including white on black, which is important to some people).  I have border choices, and line spacing, and font choices.

Under More Settings, I can turn on Text-to-Speech (TTS), and turn on Popular Highlights (they defaulted to Off…yay!). For magazines, I can turn off “Page Curl”, which is available in “most titles”.

I turned on TTS, and it had the familiar voice of September Day.

This is enough for now…more later. :)

Just to sum up: it looks and sounds great! It wasn’t entirely intuitive, but pretty easy to use.

If you have any specific questions, let me know by commenting on this post. I’ll come back and expand this one, so that people without Fires don’t get a series of posts on it.

Speaking of which…bonus deal! M-Edge is having their first ever Warehouse Sale. There are some good deals there on Kindle covers.

Update: we have TTS in multiple languages! That’s important to many people, and we’ve never had it before.

Update; it did update itself…

Update: Using Mayday…I had a legitimate reason to use Mayday, the onscreen tech service. I tried to download National Geographic, and it got stuck in queue. So, I did Mayday…and it was just as promised! I had my tech rep onscreen shortly, and we could chat easily (I can the rep, the rep can’t see me). We fixed it (although I helped a bit) by clearing the cache and stopping the Appstore app. I also asked how to do a screenshot. The rep clearly consulted something, and confirmed that it was the same as on the Kindle Fire HD: power button and low volume button at the same time. We got to joke around a bit, and the rep said it was fun. :) The rep also demonstrated drawing on the screen. This is a “killer app” for the Kindle Fire (HDX and new HD…the ones with the Mojito operating system) for sure!

Update: Set up my e-mail…no problem.

Update: for other people with Kindle Fire HDXs: does your charger enter at a significant angle? Mine is a little bit hard to put in (not too hard), so I just want to make sure that this angle seems normal…I’d say it is on the order of thirty degrees or so, but I’m guessing on that.

Update: Please continue to ask me questions! :) I’ll update this post some more, but I’ve decided to write a quick guide to it, since there is so much that is new. I’m hoping to publish it within the next week…it’s just too much material to do here. What I will do is at least make some copies available for free here. There are a couple of ways to do that, and I’ll have to think about my choice.

Update: I can say now, you don’t have to compromise to get a great price! There is nothing here that feels like a compromise to me, in terms of a tablet. The speed has been great, the image is great, I like the sound. I suppose you could argue app availability, but given Amazon’s vast arrays of content, I don’t think that’s really a problem.

Update: the Kindle Fire HDX works perfectly…when not in its Origami cover. I have Maydayed this, and tested in and out. They are going to send me another Origami cover, so we can get an indication of whether it a case of individual variance in the covers, or something more systemic to the design. I like the device very much, so I’m happy that the random sleeping appears not to be the device, but the cover. It would happen while I had the KFHDX7 in a stand, by the way…it wasn’t a case of moving it around and accidentally affecting the power button. Let me say again how much I love Mayday! There has never been a better way to get Customer Service!

Update: I downloaded a Prime video. I have to say, it took a long time: at least half an hour for one episode (at the middle quality) of Sherlock. A Study in Pink is 88 minutes, and took up 1.65 GB of memory: that’s a lot! Not more than I might expect, but much more than anything of my other content on the device…for example, 68 songs are taking up 4.94 MB. That makes the episode (admittedly a long one)…close to 350 times as big as all those 68 songs.

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,251 other followers

%d bloggers like this: