A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2015

A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2015

This is one in a series of posts which I write about once a year. I do this primarily to give my readers some ideas they might use to get more out of their devices. I also think it’s interesting to go back and look at the previous ones, to see how much things have changed…and it’s always a lot.

I have to say, though, I’m surprised how much it is the same this time as last time. I did it last year pre-Fire Phone, and that does affect it. I’m doing it this year pre-Amazon Echo (I could have mine within a couple of weeks), so I wanted to get this done before that new device changes things.

I usually wake up between about 2:00 and 3:30 AM. That’s hours before I need to go to work, but I get a lot of things done (including writing) during that time.

I know what time it is because I have my

Kindle Fire HDX (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

set up next to the bed as a clock. I use the built-in clock app, set in nightstand mode. There is no problem at all in reading that in the dark, although it would be quite dim (it’s lit in red) in a normally lit room…there are other clock options for other situations. The battery will have gone down about 40% (or somewhat less) since I went to bed.

They changed the clock app since last year, and I have to say, I don’t like the change as well. Weirdly, the time moves around on the display…it’s not always in the same part of the screen. Also, the minutes are in small writing. When I’m looking at a nightstand clock, I want it to be as easy to read as possible (so I don’t have to wake up all the way to figure out what it says), and this does make that harder…tolerable, but harder.

It’s in the

Origami case (at AmazonSmile*)

from Amazon, in a configuration that makes it stand up. I did think that case was expensive (it’s $44.99 right now…$5 less than I paid for it in October of 2013..and $5 more than it was last year when I did one of these), but I have to say, it’s held up very well and I do use its features.

I pick it up facing me, so it won’t bother my Significant Other (it wouldn’t anyway, but I’m just being cautious) and head for the bathroom.

The two dogs we have now (Elf and Patty) don’t get up when I do that: they can be incredibly active for an hour or so at a time…but they also sleep better than most humans. 😉

I have a Cloud Collection with my morning apps. I’ll prop the Fire on the towel bar, and start with the

ABC7 News San Francisco (at AmazonSmile)

That’s the free app from my local station. I check that first in case there is anything that’s going to mess up traffic, but it is quite well designed. For one thing, I can flip articles from there into my

free Flipboard magazines

and e-mail articles easily to people if I want.

For another, they always have a text version of the story…I never have to launch a video to find out what is happening in the article. CNN (see below) doesn’t do that.

Oh, I should mention: before I start using the apps, I turn the wireless back on (I leave it off at night to save battery), increase the brightness from the lowest possible setting to about 25%, and turn off the orientation lock (I don’t like the clock flipping around while I’m carrying the Fire to the bathroom). I do all that by swiping down from the top.

After that, and while I’m doing some other morning tasks, it’s on to the

CNN Breaking US & World News (at AmazonSmile)

app. Again, I can flip and e-mail from there. I typically read the following sections:

  • Home
  • Featured
  • World
  • Entertainment
  • Tech
  • Health

I won’t finish all that before I head for the kitchen, dogs thumping on to the floor and “shaking it out” (I hear the dog tags jingle) to follow me. Well, we don’t go to the kitchen first: we all go outside for a bit. I start my morning exercise there. I do about 45 minutes, twice a day…as the baseline. I track that with the free

Review: MyFitnessPal

app. Over the course of more than a year, I’ve lost more than forty pounds. I’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, and eating wasn’t really the issue for me: it was doing regular exercise. This app has kept me on track with that, entering my food and my activity. I haven’t lost a lot more weight since last year, but I have gotten into better shape.

We come back in and I feed the dogs. I eat a small bag of almonds myself (Trader Joe’s sells these “handful” size bags), a slice of Veggie Go pepper jack cheese, and half a spinach bolani (yes, I’m  a creature of habit), then back to finish the exercise. I set the Fire up on the entertainment unit and keep reading while I work out. That’s not always convenient: I can only really change the pages between reps or sets (I’m doing my own brand of calisthenics, really…I walk with a cane, so I need to come up with things that will work and still burn the calories).

I’ll run out of CNN before I run out of exercise, usually, so it’s on to my morning

Flipboard (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

read. Again, this is a free app. I highly recommend it: you can customize what you see, and it very much fills the void of having a morning newspaper. I flip articles from into my magazines also.

Somewhere in here, I finish the exercise, and make and eat breakfast…still reading Flipboard usually.

I also have CNN on the TV…with the sound muted during some of this. There are exercises where I just can’t read my Fire…so at least I can read a news crawl. 😉

Update: since last year, we bought an inexpensive Element TV (that’s a brand I like…not super fancy, but it works). It has a really cool feature: you can set it so that when you mute it, closed captioning automatically comes on, then goes off again when you unmute. I suppose I could get bluetooth headphones and listen to the audio, but, I like reading. 😉 I also like at least two things happening at once, and the captioning, the crawl, and the video (as a combination) works for me.

In between exercise sets, I turn on my

Amazon Fire Phone (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

That’s not only my cellphone…it’s our house phone, too. Yep, we don’t have a landline…haven’t had one for years. I do turn it off at night, but my Significant Other has a phone on…in an emergency, someone could reach us.

I don’t like my Fire Phone as well as I liked my Galaxy S3 (which I gave up for this), but it does work and has some cool features. They have also improved it, and I think they’ll continue to do so.

After Flipboard, it’s on to the

WordPress (at AmazonSmile)

app. That’s where I’m going to approve your comments.

I honestly like to have seen the news myself first, before I get comments on it. That gives me a better perspective, and often makes it easy for me to make a valuable reply. I love it when a reader gives me a heads-up for something which I haven’t seen yet!

I’m not quite writing replies, yet, unless something urgent arises. If that happens, or if big enough news was revealed in the free apps, I’ll go to…a desktop. Yep, an actual desktop computer. While the built-in dictation app on the Fire works remarkably well (easily translating my spoken words into text), it’s faster for me to type on a full-sized keyboard.

New since last year?

The Washington Post (at AmazonSmile*)

I got that free for having a Kindle Fire tablet. I’m honestly not sure I’ll renew it when the time comes to pay for it. It has some interesting things, and I do look through it all every day, but I’m not sure I’d miss it. I can flip things from there, though, so that’s been nice (book reviews on the weekend, for example). It also has some clunkiness. The worst thing, and I know this is a small thing, is that the back button doesn’t work as I would expect it to work. When I have the table of contents open, I can tap and go to a story. The default view is two stories on the screen, which is too small for me, so I tap a single story to enlarge it. When I use the Fire’s back button, it doesn’t take me back to the table of contents…it makes it two stories again. If I remember to go to the table of contents instead of back, I’m fine, but that goes against the back button habit…and that habit is part of Amazon’s own operating system.

I also now go to the

IMDb Movies & TV (at AmazonSmile*)

They’ve improved the app, and I can flip stories from there into my Flipboard magazines.

Next is the Maxthon browser. I’m pretty sure I got that from Amazon originally, but it isn’t currently available for the KFHDX. It is my favorite browser, and the one I also usually use on the desktop (I’m using it right now). I believe you can get it at 1Mobile for the Fire. I like the privacy mode (Silk now has one, by the way), and I like how it syncs my favorites easily between devices. I also have Chrome, Dolphin, and Silk available to me on my Fire, but don’t use them much.

I hit some favorites in Maxthon:

  • I go Amazon and get the free app of the day (almost every time)
  • I check the Kindle Daily Deals
  • I check BoxOfficeMojo
  • I check my Flipboard magazines reader counts (I now have thousands of readers for them)

One more morning stop: the built-in e-mail app on my Fire, where I check my incoming e-mail. Again, I won’t tend to respond there, but it’s a great place to read the mail.

Now, let me point out: I’ve been reading the Fire for over an hour at this point…and it’s all been free items.

Then, it’s usually on to the desktop to write. I may have the Fire open alongside that, but usually not. At this point, it’s charging. It doesn’t take it very long to charge to 100%…I don’t think it’s an hour. I use the

Pwr+® 6.5 Ft AC Adapter 2.1A Rapid Charger (at AmazonSmile)

I like it a lot! I broke one (not the device’s fault…the Fire slipped off the arm of the couch and slid between the arm and the cushion: that, not unreasonably, bent the jack) and replaced it.

If I have more time to read before I leave, it may be sight-reading a book (some times borrowed from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, or now, from Kindle Unlimited). I may also read Fortean Times using the Zinio app, which you get from the Zinio site. I pay for that, and I may have paid for the book I’m reading (or I’m reading it because of Prime or Kindle Unlimited…that’s no additional cost, but there has been a cost). I also do read books I’ve gotten for free. Oh, and I also read

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY Magazine (at AmazonSmile)

I’m not averse to paying for content…it is nice that a lot of what I like is available for free to me. 🙂

Heading off to work (and my commute varies, since I go to different places…it can be an hour), it’s text-to-speech in the car, so more book time. 🙂

I have my Fire with me all the time at work. I can sometimes get by with that rather than with my laptop: I work in cramped spaces sometimes, and it’s a relief.

I use

OfficeSuite Professional 7 (at AmazonSmile)

sometimes (which I got as a Free App of the Day) to do viewing and light-editing of Microsoft Office files), and I use

ColorNote Notepad Notes (at AmazonSmile)

(yet another free app) to make quick notes, often using the dictation feature again (speech-to-text).

I have Evernote, but I’ve never gotten into it, for some reason.

Mainly, though, I’m reading at breaks and at lunch. 🙂 I am not normally connected to wireless, so I use my phone to approve comments and check things.

When I get home, I turn airplane mode back off, and it’s back to e-mail, checking the web, and reading.

It’s probably worth noting that I use the

Safeway (at AmazonSmile)

We do seem to save a lot of money with it (it’s free)…and it lets us know what savings it has on things we have bought before. That’s very convenient!

As a nightly thing, I switch to the

Kindle Paperwhite (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

for actually reading in bed before going to sleep. I’m usually asleep by 9:00…I get about four or six hours sleep a night. Just three years ago, I regularly got eight hours (9:00 PM to 5:00 AM), but I don’t know if it’s the lost weight or just getting older, but I don’t need that much any more. I wake up naturally…no alarm. I did talk to my doctor about the relatively short sleeping period…seems to have no ill effects at this point.

Something which has changed a lot since last year: the amount that I use our

Amazon Fire TV (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

and we have also gotten a

Fire TV Stick (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

In the bedroom, we’ve “cut the cable”…well, we hadn’t had a cable in there for years, really.

All of the content there is through the Amazon Fire TV.

During the morning routine or at night, I usually first go to

YouTube (at AmazonSmile*)

I want to see what is trending…I often enjoy that, and it keeps me pop culture current. 😉 I will sometimes search for something, but not that often.

We also now pay for

Hulu Plus (at AmazonSmile*)

I’ve never had such a steep learning curve with a TV-related product! It’s quite odd and different from most other things. I’m used to being able to catch up on a program whenever I want, either by watching it on demand from Comcast, or recorded on our Tivo. With Hulu, they only keep a handful of the most recent episodes of really popular shows, from what I can tell.

Dropping cable altogether and just using the Fire TV and the Fire TV Stick would be less convenient than Tivo with Comcast for that sort of thing, but could work.

Right now, I watch current shows (Gotham, The Walking Dead) on the Tivo, and go through older shows (The Time Tunnel, My Living Doll) on Hulu.

I also watch

Watchup (at AmazonSmile*)

which I find to be a pretty good news video app, including clips from well-known sources. It also can do some coverage of more offbeat things. I could probably improve its choices for me, but it only gives you three seconds to vote thumbs up or thumbs down on a video…if I’m getting dressed or brushing my teeth, that’s not enough time.

I don’t watch it every day, but I do watch

BBC News for Fire TV (at AmazonSmile*)

I do like that perspective, but I like the shorter more variable news segments better on Watchup for the times I’m watching.

Although, in writing this post, I just checked to see if BBC News is available for the Fire TV Stick (it wasn’t for the last of the Day in the Life posts), and it is! Hm…it’s possible with that I could drop CNN in the family room (if it will do the closed captioning…might not).

We are going to look at cutting the relatively small cable package we have now, but it might not save us much: it’s bundled with our internet, and we don’t have anything fancy. If we dropped it, I’d say the biggest loss would be Ellen…I watch every episode, usually while exercising. I can adjust, though. 😉 I’m not aware of a legal place to watch it on demand, which seems odd.

Although the

TED app (at Amazon Smile*)

and Netflix are both in my Recents, I haven’t watched them recently.

Interesting for me to note…Prime Video isn’t even in my recents. I was watching that quite a bit last year. I do still use Prime Video sometimes: I’ve downloaded Warehouse 13 episodes to watch at lunch at work (while I exercise, sometimes…yeah, I guess I’m exercising quite a bit).

Let’s see what else I use on the Fire:

Oh, I use

AccuWeather (at AmazonSmile)

every day…consider that part of the morning routine. I didn’t think of it at first, because I don’t invoke it: it’s in my notifications. I find it to be pretty accurate…and again, it’s free. I have it set in centigrade: I decided to convert to that a while back. I have trouble thinking of the temperatures in Fahrenheit now, so it’s nice that it has the option. Centigrade is just simpler: zero is literally freezing, ten is cold, twenty is fine for most people, thirty is hot. That’s rule of thumb, but works pretty well.

I tend to use the calendar on my phone, rather than on my KFHDX, but I will check an app which is no longer available. It shows my Google calendar: I could do that in the built-in calendar app, but this one had a nicer format.

I also suggest you use

Clean Master (at AmazonSmile*)

I use it more than once a week to clean up junk files on my Fire, and it seems to work very well. Guess how much it costs? 😉 Nothing…

I also use

Fandango Movies – Times & Tickets (at AmazonSmile)

on the weekend (not to purchase tickets, just to get times), and without thinking about it I use

Battery Doctor (at AmazonSmile)

The only reason I even notice it is it places a little tone when the Fire is 100% charged: nice to be able to hear it when I’m working on the desktop.

Finally, I use Prime Music from time to time…I’ve listened to playlists, and I have tried and enjoyed some of the new stations. That’s not super common, though…maybe when I’m writing. It’s text-to-speech in the car, and usually video when exercising.

As to the Fire Phone…

I check my e-mail and the comments on this blog quite often. I also have written blogposts on it (using the dictation feature), although that’s not as good as having a keyboard.

I don’t tend to do that on my Fire tablet when I’m out, because I’m not always connected to wi-fi.

Others I use on the Fire Phone:

  • the built-in calendar: shows my Google calendar appointments nicely
  • maps: they’ve made that work quite well, I’d say better than what I had on the Galaxy
  • texting…every day, with my Significant Other usually. It’s likely to be a quick text, dictated, when I’m leaving work (that varies)
  • photos: I love that photos I take on my phone or just available on our Fire TV and Fire TV Stick with no effort!
  • the phone…I’m hoping they’ll eventually let us use the Echo to make phone calls and send texts, perhaps through a Fire Phone (and maybe through other brands eventually)
  • IMDb news
  • Maxthon
  • MyFitnessPal
  • the built-in notes app
  • alarms
  • an app for my medical provider
  • Magic Bubbles (at AmazonSmile*)…that’s an augmented reality app. AR overlays something virtual on the real world…in this case, I can blow on a virtual bubble wand, and bubbles float across the room (apparently). I can pop them, if I want. It intrigues me that that is the only “game” I’m using much at all. In addition to managing a brick-and-mortar bookstore, I used to manage a gamestore…I would have though I played more 🙂


Now, some of you may look at all that and worry that I don’t get enough time “unplugged” (even when I read, I’m doing it on a screen…not technically plugged in, but I think that counts).

One thing I really like is we’ve been going to a great dog park near us, usually both weekend days. We drive about half an hour to get there, but it’s been ranked as one of the best dog parks in the world. I think it’s very natural feeling for our dogs to rove over two or three miles with us (we have to zig zag through the park, which is huge, to get that much…but not back and forth over the exact same path) with it being familiar territory. They are super happy there! We like the walk…even with the cane, I walk pretty well (my SO says I’m much faster with the cane than I was without it), and I enjoy that. We see birds, and I keep looking for a marine mammal…no luck yet, but I’ve heard it has happened there.

I’ll check in with this again next year…and we’ll see if the Echo has replaced any of my app use. Oh, for those of you who use audiobooks (I prefer TTS…I don’t like the actor/author interpreting the characters for me, unless I’ve already read the book), there is now an Audible streaming service:


Yes, you can listen to your Audible audiobooks in a browser!

I mention that here because that might mean that Audible books will come to the Echo, which I’d like to see…er, hear. 😉

If you have questions about this, or thoughts about your Kindle (and other Amazon devices) in your daily life, feel free to let me and my readers know by commenting on this post.

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* 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.

4 Responses to “A Day in the Life of a Kindleer 2015”

  1. Cassie B. Says:

    Thanks for all the great info!
    I have newest fire hdx 8.9. Can I sync audio books or music to my SanDisk mp3 player? Please tell me how. Thanks!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Cassie!

      Well, it depends on what you mean by “sync”. 🙂 Sync is short for “synchronize”, which has to do with making things run at the same chronological rate, but that’s not how people always use it.

      If you are asking if you can play the same audiobooks on your SanDisk that you can on your Fire, the answer may be yes. 🙂 I say “may be”, because it depends on if: you are getting them from Audible (which is owned by Amazon, so you may get to the books through the Kindle store); the file is in a compatible format; and you have a SanDisk that can do it. This help page at Audible will identify the devices and formats for you:


      If you are asking if you can have the system automatically keep the same files on your two devices (another way people use “sync”), meaning that if you downloaded one to your SanDisk it would automatically be downloaded to your Fire, the answer is no.

      If you are asking if you could start reading an audiobook on one device (say, the Fire), and then pick up reading it from the same spot on the SanDisk, I believe the answer is “no”.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  2. Greg Chamberlin Says:

    Bufo, which model of HDX do you have? The 7″ or the 8.9″

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Greg!

      I have the seven inch…I probably should have put that in the display text for the hyperlink, although it is the one you see if you click or tap on the link.

      I had a first generation 8.9″, but it was one of many stolen in a house break-in.

      I prefer the seven inch…it’s a more convenient size for me.

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