Prepare for Fire! Getting ready for Amazon’s tablet
The official release date is November 15.
It was announced on September 28.
That’s forty-eight days of torment. ;)
I always feel better if I’m able to do something.
In the case of the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s entertablet (entertainment tablet…I made that up recently), there are some practical things you can do that can actually enhance your experience.
Find your ‘Fi
The Kindle Fire uses wi-fi to connect to the internet. Once you download something like a book or movie on to the Fire, you don’t need to be connected to use it. However, I think you are going to want to connect pretty often. You’ll have that free month of Amazon Prime, for one thing, which means streaming movies and TV. You need to be connected for that. The Fire comes with an innovative web-browser…but you aren’t browsing the web without a connection.
Wi-fi is a short range broadcast of internet connectivity. It’s typically one building or so, or at least that’s the intent.
So, the first big thing I’d say is you should figure out your possible wi-fi connections now.
If you have a wi-fi router in your house, you probably need to know the password. I have mine handy…when guests come over for a while, I’ll let them sign on. When I get new devices, I need to know it.
I recommend you store all of your passwords somewhere secure…with a family member, in a safe deposit box, something.
If you don’t know your password, it may be printed on the bottom of your router somewhere. Generally, most people are that worried that someone is going to have broken into their house…and then log on to their internet network*. :) The odds are that there are other more important concerns. Using a password is mostly to protect your network from people outside your house.
There are some other ways to try to find your password, and in the worst case scenario, you can reset it (which would mean nothing in your house which is connecting it wirelessly will know the right password any more).
I’d see if you can find that password before your Fire arrives.
If you don’t have a router, you might want to consider getting one. I’m not a wi-fi expert, so I’m going to leave it to you readers to suggest ones in comments. You can get them from Amazon, and they go from about thirty dollars and up.
Amazon’s wi-fi routers search
So, that’s at home.
What do you do when you are out and about?
I mentioned that wi-fi is usually only one building. Some businesses offer you free wi-fi to get you to go there. Makes sense…if you go into a Starbucks or a McDonalds because they have wi-fi, you will probably buy something. I feel guilty if I don’t, in a situation like that. Heck, if I’ve had to go in somewhere to use the bathroom, I’ve been known to give a place a dollar if I don’t buy anything.
I’ve used and recommended this website:
I’m not connected to it except as a user. That one lets you put in an address, a zipcode, that sort of thing, and it will list free wi-fi spots in that area.
On the other hand, if you have a SmartPhone, you can download this free app from Amazon:
I downloaded that one for this post, and it works fine.
In fact, I like it very much.
It lets me scan for wi-fi (which is likely to show me my neighbors’ networks, if they are powerful enough…I’m seeing one besides mine right now, which has a password). On public wi-fi spots, it is showing me some about which I didn’t know…and it lets me choose to see free ones, ones for which I would pay, or both. I can look on a map, or a list. I can also put in an address and it will tell me what is nearby, so I can plan ahead.
Oh, and you can download the database for offline use! I’ll probably do that for my Fire, which can easily handle the 55MB. That way, it can tell me about wi-fi locations even when I’m not connected via wi-fi…directly from the Fire.
Did I mention it was free? ;)
You can also get it for iPhones here:
You can also carry wi-fi around with you. Your phone may be able to provide a wi-fi hotspot for your Fire…check with your provider for your phone (AT&T, Sprint). There may be a monthly charge for it…but it might be worth it to you.
There are also things like the
Novatel Wireless MiFi 2372 Unlocked 3G Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot GSM
You plug it into a network cable, it is a portable wi-fi spot. Note: I haven’t used one of these, just mentioning it as an alternative. I do not know if it will work with the Fire. You hardware/networking folks out there, please let us know if you think it will.
See, I’m more of a software person than a hardware person. How many software people does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, we don’t do that, it’s a hardware problem. ;) Actually, I used to add “How many object-oriented programmers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? None, a well-designed lightbulb would recognize the “burn out” event and fire the change method.” If you are laughing at that, I’m with you…but I wouldn’t tell it at your next party. :)
One other fun thing: you can also get clothing that detects wi-fi hot spots.
Wi-Fi Detector Shirt by ThinkGeek
Get Something to Amazon Video on Your TV
This is different from wi-fi, and I took something the Huffington Post said as true…so I want to clear this up. The HuffPo said that the Fire was going to have “mirroring”, which would let you “throw” a video from your Fire to your internet-connected TV. I even told people that…I think I had conflated the press conference with what the HuffPo said on the same day.
My understanding now (thanks to R. Clark in the Amazon Kindle community) is that it won’t do that. It will, though, sync your video on your Fire to your Amazon viewer on your TV.
It’s just like Whispersync for your Kindle…you can’t throw an e-book from one Kindle to another, but you can pick up where you left off on one device on another.
We use a Roku, although ours is older than the one to which I am linking.
It’s a great little device…elegant, simple to use, powerful enough. It has its own wi-fi connect…you connect it to your TV, give your wi-fi network password, and that’s about it…ready to go. I watch Netflix on my TV a lot, through my Roku. I can watch Amazon video through my Roku (yes, even those free Prime streaming videos…if I have Prime). I use Pandora on it…if you don’t know that, it’s free internet radio, and a fascinating concept with the way it works. You can get more free channels, and pay channels like Hulu+ or Major League Baseball.
By the way, if you already have one, I also use this app on my SmartPhone:
Roku Remote for Android
It’s $1.49 right now, but it was well worth it. I like it better than the remote that came with my Roku…and this way, my Significant Other and I both have one. I think it’s fun to talk to my phone to have it find a show for me. :) I’d say it is also as quick as the original remote.
There are a lot of other devices you can get to put Amazon on your TV…and if your TV is internet-connected, you may not need another device.
Buy Stuff Now
Many of you already have Amazon accounts, and have Kindles or Kindle apps registered to them. If you don’t, you can get a
Free Kindle Reading Apps
Why start getting stuff now?
There are three Amazon strategies that combine to make this more than worthwhile:
- Give things away and at special prices for a limited time
- Allow multiple device licenses (so the book/movie/game/app can be used on more than one device)
- Let people store things for free
Let’s take MP3s as an example.
Special MP3 Deals
There are 100 MP3 albums that are $5 and below for October. Right now, there are 3,134 free songs.
Amazon will store all of those for you free in the cloud. That’s right…MP3s you get from Amazon do not count against your cloud storage.
Why not get all the freebies? Okay, I know it would take effort to get them, and it might be confusing to see all those song to which you’ll never listen. However, you might as well get all the freebies you think you want.
You can download them to your Fire, or play them on the Fire through the Cloud Player (I presume).
Same thing goes for e-books…Amazon stores all of the ones you get from the Kindle store with no limit and no charge.
Definitely, check the
Kindle Daily Deal
I tell you about many, many free books in this blog…you can also look at the free books yourself using
You can even sign up there to get a free e-mail with the new free books. By the way, I could have linked to the search myself, but I want to support eReaderIQ, which I think is a great resource.
You can get a free Android app/game (one for which you would normally pay) each day at
I believe you do need to have the Amazon Appstore installed on an Android device to be able to get them there (I do…my SmartPhone).
“Android users who already have the Amazon Appstore for Android installed on an Android device can get these apps now to see them on their Kindle Fire after connecting to Wi-Fi.“
I think I could get those free apps now, and they would show up on my Android SmartPhone…but I don’t need to download them. I think I can wait until I get my Fire, and then download them to there. Not 100% sure, but I think that’s the way it works.
While were at it, here is the
Video Deal Shop
They don’t do a lot of free things…you’ll get that with the streaming with Prime. However, there are deals on purchases. Be careful to separate purchasing from renting. Purchasing is yours and will work on your Fire…it won’t matter when you want to watch. Renting is for a limited time. You typically have to start watching it within in 30 days, and then have a day or two (it will tell you) to watch it. While the video store says you can’t rent on mobile devices, the Fire specifically says you can rent. I might hold off on renting until we get closer.
Put Things on Your Wish List
Okay, admit it…you probably bought the Fire for yourself. ;) Maybe, on the other hand, you are lucky enough to have had someone else pre-order it for you.
Your family and friends are probably going to want to be part of that fun.
Start putting things on your Wish List now. You can put e-books, Android apps, movies, music, and many other things. I know not everybody likes doing Wish Lists, so that’s up to you, of course. If your family or social circle does them, though, it’s easier to do this as you go along. I have to say, a lot of the video is more to purchase than I want to do…but my family would love to get them for me. I’ll love watching them on my Fire. :)
So, there are a few things you can do while you are waiting for that smiley box to show up. ;)
Please feel free to comment on anything here, and to make your own suggestions, recommendations…or to ask questions.
* I use to work in telemarketing…I wasn’t a salesperson, I was a “verifier”…I called back the next day to make sure somebody actually wanted the product and understood the conditions. That made me the good guy. One time, I called the house, and the person who answered the phone was the the sheriff. They asked me what time the order was placed, and had me put the salesperson on the phone. It happened to be one of our very reliable salespeople, so I knew that person had spoken with someone. It turned out that the homeowner was out of of the country…and the house was burglarized. While the burglar was robbing the house, they answered the phone, spoke to our salesperson…and placed an order! The salesperson had to describe the voice. I don’t know, if I was ever robbing a house (and I wouldn’t be), I don’t think I’d answer the phone…let alone stay on it for a few minutes chatting.
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog.