I do find it interesting watching the calls for Europe to get in the game, but then applying the same metrics to the European market? Something is not quite right there? Why would you want a copy of GAFFA’s, therefore recreating the cycle again?
I remembered the blog I wrote over 5 years ago!
In a few things I’d like to see on my Kindle
I’ve gotten into this lovely routine where I have Calibre automatically turns my subscriptions into ebooks for me and then I connect my Kindle to the USB to automatically sync the items. Then I sit in a nice coffee/tea shop reading my google reader unread subscriptions, readitlater, instapaper, etc. With the experimental webkit browser any links I want to check out, I can check them out using the cafe’s public wifi. The only issue is I really want some way of bookmarking with delicious or even readitlater the important stuff that I read.
This is a while ago and of course I switched from instapaper to wallabag. Then installing the actual app on the android tablet completely changes everything. Of course if Google reader still existed I’d install that, but I’m using Greader pro, which does similar with the standard android intent menu. Also added Diigo to replace delicious bookmarks.
I don’t know if you can add bookmarklets to the experimental webkit browser but that would be ideal.
My other alternative is some kind of note taking app on the kindle its self. I know you can add annotations to books but it seems getting them off isn’t as straight forward as it should be. Although I love just being able to read stuff on the kindle screen, I wouldn’t mind some blogging app. The keyboard is not bad and being able to draft up a blog entry would be great, specially when you google reader on the device its self. I’m also wondering if I can make use of Conduit again to do some transferring of notes, like I had planned for my Sony Ereader.
I have simplenote installed on the tablet, but also google tasks. The keyboard isnt bad so typing a blog post might not be ideal but I can start drafting one. Once again as I’m using the actual android app and they all have their own syncing mechanism when theres connectivity.
So in ideally I’d like to see a full blogging app, a browser with bookmarklets and Ideally a evernote client.
I can draft a blog with simplenote, save bookmarks and links via diigo and store notes in google tasks & simplenote.
Of course now I’d like Bluetooth for access to a physical keyboard and maybe speakers/headphones and some tweaks to the software, especially around the previous/next buttons. Ideally USB C over Micro USB and although I have seen one OS update already; I’m still interested to see what happens if they upgrade to Android 5+. Material design seems very incompatible with the current generation of eink/epaper screens unfortunately.
I recently bought a Energy Pro HD 6 inch tablet from Amazon (oh the irony) to kind of replace my Kindle Paperwhite 2.
I wrote about my thoughts previously in passing
I just discovered Wallabag to replace Instapaper. Before I was using readitlater which became Pocket. I switched to Instapaper because of the deliver a mobi ebook to kindle every morning feature (heck I pay for this feature). But since i’m considering a epaper display android tablet which means it could read anything including PDF, RSS, ePub and Mobi. Plus I wouldn’t lose my kindle books because the Amazon app will run on it too. Having a smarter epaper device will squeeze out instapaper and likely mean I will read even more than I currently do (well worth the investment). I still far prefer to read longer stuff on a epaper display.
but its time to dig more into it. Especially because there are quite a few people interested in a critical review
@cubicgarden oh my. Can I get a link, please? Or is it top secret, tester only hardware?
— Ben Gwalchmai (@BenGwalchmai) November 4, 2016
I heard about eink/epaper tablets running Android a while ago but hadn’t really done any more research. Then I saw a friend at work with one he just bought. I had a little play and pretty much decided I was getting one.
The tablet is multitouch (which is weird on a eink display), runs about the same rez as my kindle paperwhite. Its almost the exact size including the thinness. Unboxing was nice and you tell they had spent a little time thinking about that experience. Its also eink not epaper which most people won’t care about but eink is a registered product, and usually more expensive that epaper (which the Pebble watch for example uses).
Its battery life so far seems pretty good. I turned off notifications, turned on wifi and no shutdown mode which you can enable if you want stupid battery life. So as I write this, I have charged it once when unboxed and its on 71% battery and thats over 2 days ago. There is a standby mode it switches to after a while, once again this can be set and changed in the settings. The one thing which is a pain is you can’t set a actual lock, which is something to consider as you hook up your google account. I disabled my gmail and other things.
Putting in the google account details was a bit of a pain due to my very long password and 2 factor auth. I was tempted to put keepass on it but the keyboard is the default google jelly bean one and theres no auto suggest stuff. You don’t want to type a lot of stuff on this tablet, especially with the screen refreshing. Its good for short notes, but not writing a essay. If it had Bluetooth, you could connect a bluetooth keyboard but it doesnt.
That is the big advantage of the ereader/tablet. Unlike others, there is a massive store of apps which can be put on the device (including a lock screen I assume). Currently I have Wallabag, Instapaper, Greader, Tasks, Wikipedia, Simplenote, Google drive, Amazon Kindle and a couple more thing installed. It comes with a file manager, a epub/mobi/pdf book reader and few other things like a comic book reader.
I always wanted Kindle apps to take notes, etc but Amazon kept tight control over that SDK. Because of this the ecosystem of apps was super limited, making it almost useless. There are some apps which just don’t work on the ereader, mainly because they are built for Android 5.x (lollipop) upwards. The reader comes with a special launcher which is simple and mainly monotone, I can see it working for Android 4.4 (kitkat) but not Android 5, 6, 7 due to material designs user interface requirements. Not sure how security will work on this device, as Google isn’t doing patches for such old operating systems but thats another reason to keep it simple.
Another thing the ereader has is MicroSD storage. I threw all my ebooks on to a 1gig micro SD card and it indexed them all no problem. Sure I could put much higher storage in the device but 1gig holds a lot of ebooks, even PDFs. It also has the default Android mass storage file transfer and MTP mode when plugging in a MicroUSB cable for charging and storage. The backlight seems to be almost exactly the same as the Kindle paperwhite 2 with the same level of light but it seems brighter.
In the first few days of using this device, I’m amazed how useful it is and why I didn’t ditch my kindle earlier. Just the ability to read epubs on a eink screen makes it winner in my book. Actually reading books on it is simple and not much different that reading on the kindle. I did find the Amazon app painful to read with but its just the app chrome which isn’t setup to deal with eink displays. Greader and instapaper are almost perfect with the ability to use the volume buttons to control the page. The side keys on the device are really just volume keys, but the device has no sound at all. Having audio would be a massive plus agreed…
@cubicgarden Shame it doesn’t have headphone socket so you could seamlessly audible your kindle books.
— Brian Kellett (@Reynolds) November 5, 2016
I expect I’ll write another review in the coming months but right now I’m a big fan and can’t wait to drop this in jacket pocket instead of the kindle. Will have to think about who might want my 2nd hand kindle for xmas…?
Theres a much more detailed review of the Ereader vs the Kindle if thats what you are after right now. But expect a follow up…
Looking at my little home server, I noticed a Spideroak warning telling me I am up to maximum on online storage. I assume the reason for this is the 1391 pictures I took over the course of the 2 weeks in Tokyo.
Rather than just pay for the next band up, I thought I’d give Amazon Glacier a chance. because frankly I don’t need to view the pictures all the time. I uploaded the best ones to my Japan photoset on Flickr already.
Can I say one thing!
Amazon Glacier is certainly not ready for the general public!
Yes I’m using Ubuntu and yes I was seeking to do it with a GUI but boy oh boy… Amazon webservices is very very developer focused.
In the end after about 4 hours, I finally settled on using Simple Amazon Glacier Uploader, which uses Java 1.6+. It was that or try and use Wine to emulate a Windows app called FastGlacier. Don’t get me wrong there are many clients but not many for Mac and even less for Linux.
The thing which I think most people will miss is the fact you need to setup a user just for the uploading. Once you do that you need to setup a bucket and then give that user permissions to control that bucket. This is done in the policy control, without this you will get lots of errors which don’t make a lot of sense.
I’m still waiting to verify my test upload worked but I believe its correct now. If so, then the next few days would be the time I could really do with Hyperoptic fibre broadband. My picture count is currently at 91.9 gigs over 68794 files…
Dropbox as furniture design company” – @iledigital (Jon Rogers)
When Jon first said this to me, I had to think for a second. Then I got it.
Amazon, ibooks, etc all have their own proprietary ways of holding your ebook. But imagine if you used many different sources to gather books and organise them. Some digital and some physical (like I do) These are sync’ed using Dropbox or other syncing systems and instead of being displayed as files, appear like dropbox’s photos stream. A far more useful way to display books you have and heck why not make it sharable while your at it?
Next leap… Instead of it being just a digital thing, how about as a physical manifestation? Dropbox could sync the physical and digital together, like a wispersync for binding digital and physical items. Maybe it slots a bookmark into position or folds over the top edge of a page?
But one thing you don’t want is some ugly as sin apple skeuomorphism bookshelf in your living room. It would need to fit with the rest of the furniture and surrounds. Making Dropbox a furniture design company. Not such a massive leap in imagination I would say…
You might have heard Amazon are serious about their drone based delivery system for certain items, I assume for their prime customers.
In the letter (pdf), Amazon’s head of public policy, Paul Misener, says that “in the past five months we have made advancements towards the development of highly automated aerial vehicles” for its new service, which it calls Amazon Prime Air. Misener says the five-pound limit covers 86% of products sold on Amazon.
Meanwhile, the FAA’s British counterpart told the Guardian that it could foresee a time when, once drones have proven their airworthiness and ability to avoid obstacles safely, they would be allowed to operate autonomously
I wrote about Amazon Prime Air, which myself and many others thought was a publicity stunt (although to be fair Adewale was right on the money). I also wrote about pigeon post, which something which I thought was flipping crazy but might actually work.
Nathan Rae is the man with the vision and I recently saw him and asked him what he made of Amazon Prime Air? He said it was good news but what makes Pigeon post really special is the protocol. That protocol is physical package protocol (PPP?)
Thats where the magic is…
There is a lot to be said about Aral Balkan‘s talk from The Next Web conference (I gather his RSA talk had less technical problems). However I heard and saw it live at Thinking Digital 2014 a few days ago. Like when I heard him talk at Thinking Digital 2013, there was so much I wanted to say in return.
I agree on some level that its about the user experience, I disagree open source and free software is a lie, waste of time and not really free (Aral cleared up the fact he was talking about cost not freedom)
Picking the low hanging fruit is certainly entertaining but is unfair, for example Mozilla’s dependence on Google is eye watering but there was no mention of Ubuntu, with their own phone, tablet, TV and computer operating system. I mean Ubuntu totally redesigned their operating environments to work consistently across all of them.
During Thinking Digital most of the people I spoke to after Aral’s talk were unaware of most of the problems. I was frankly a little shocked and annoyed this was news to many smart people. But thinking about it some more, Aral’s calls to action afterwards were missing, so most people just felt like it was hopeless. (Maybe a little scaremongering?) Just what you want to ponder over at lunch time…?
I don’t blame Aral (although it always sounds like I have beef with him always), he highlighted the problem but if he included a few
thoughtful practical actions (), it could be less gloomy and less fearful…
- Read the EULA (End User License Agreement) even skimming it will help you understand whats going on. (although I totally understand how verbose and how hard they are to understand.
- Take some responsibility for your own actions
- Take an interest and set your limits for issues like net neutrality, copyright, security, privacy, etc.
- Support the Open Rights Group (and others fighting for your online rights)
- Evaluate the services you use on cost in time, cost in privacy and cost in ownership. Everyone has a figure/percentage, if you don’t… get one!
As mentioned in my post from the quantified self 2014, everyday its becoming even more difficult to trust any of the stack/cloud providers. Not only is the EULA changing more times that is reasonable but there’s some seriously messed up (law breaking) things happening.
Google, Facebook and Amazon have shown us again this week why the combination of a quasi-monopoly, vested interests and an inscrutable algorithm can be a dangerous thing for internet users, since it allows them to influence what we see, know and buy.
Don’t even get me started on Facebooks new messenger app which listens and Apple’s EULA which Norway agrees is over convoluted. The 5 stacks just can’t help themselves but comb through our data and when that runs out they want even more. Its certainly the main business model of the early 21st centenary but it doesn’t have to be that way. Very interesting when put in the context of Mariana Mazzucato’s fast paced talk from Thinking Digital 2014.
Even quasi-monopolies can be toppled or made to operate within the realms of public good and moral acceptable. We just need to be smart and work together. This is partly why I’m going to make my way down to Brighton for Indie Tech summit.
Although I’m writing about Aral’s talk again, he’s wasn’t the best of the conference. Sure I’ll go into plenty of detail in the next post.
– Jo from Indiephone has wrote a follow up piece about this post clearing up some of my points.
It was something Steve said a while ago, which got me thinking… It was something like reliable devices are more important than you think.
In the last month I’ve upgraded my work Laptop to the Lenovo (better not let me down guys) Thinkpad X230. Up from the X220. Then I upgraded my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+ to a Google Nexus 7 (2012 edition) and finally yesterday I rooted my HTC One X and put Cyanogenmod 10.2 (stable) on it. I was thinking about upgrading to the Nexus 5, and that may still happen once my contract runs out and the non-removable and poor battery on the HTC one X drives me up and over the wall.
The only thing I haven’t upgraded or done anything with (as such) is my kindle which I found is completely br0ken now. I did look in the shops and consider buying a Koob from WHsmiths and then the Nook ereader in John Lewis but I decided, unless they supported a wireless delivery system like the Kindle, then its going to be more of a pain than it really should be. So more research is needed, as it might be only the Amazon Kindles support some wireless delivery of your own document (yes I’m too spoiled to plug in the ereader everytime I want to read something new). Right now I mainly use the ereader for instapaper and a couple of work documents here and there. If I’m going to get another Kindle, its going to have no keyboard and has to be one of those paperwhite ones. (i’m sure ebay is full of ones people will be getting rid of, because they didn’t get the Kindle Fire)
So why upgrade?
The Lenovo Thinkpad X220 I had was screwed, not only screwed but it had been in for repair a total of 3 times (see the videos on youtube). It was past its guarantee date and frankly it was totally fcuk’ed for no reason of my own.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+ I had rooted and put Cynaogenmod 10.1 on it (Android 4.2). Massive upgrade from Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) But there was another problem. Bluetooth didn’t work which was a real pain but the biggest problem was ever since I upgraded it to Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich), it had suffered from the Sleep of Death (root or no root). Which means you can turn off the screen and the whole thing goes to sleep. Not only does it go to sleep but it drains all the power left and won’t actually draw any power from the mains. Aka, if you get it wrong, you can wake it up after a night of sleeping and it will be totally dead. Then you got to kickstart it into taking some power, so you can finally power it back on. This is a nightmare, specially in the middle of a conference. I tried and tried to fix it but in the end it was time to give it up.
Originally I wanted to get the 2013 edition with the 322ppi screen. But frankly for £99, I can live without the back camera and high rez screen. You should see the 720p screen of the Nexus vs the 1024×600 screen of the Galaxy Tab 7+. Ok its the same resolution as my OneX but looks just as amazing. The camera resolution isn’t a problem because the resolution on my HTC One X is great and what I usually use for taking pictures.
Finally the HTC One X. I adore my HTC One X but there are many things which drive me nuts about it. Main one being the non-replaceable battery, but there is little I can do about that. Its a quad core phone, when everyone else was installing dual cores. However the phone was seriously crippled by HTC’s bloatware. Even with a new launcher it felt sucky. Ideally I wanted to buy the Nexus 5 but to be honest, I thought I should root and install a new Rom. To be fair to HTC, they honored the open bootloader option and it worked without fuss.
So there you go, the Thinkpad X220 is back at work expecting another repair from Lenovo. The Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+ is expected to end up on my wall as a replacement to my photoframe project. The Kindle in the bin? The OneX somewhere on ebay in the future depending on how well the Cynaogenmod 10.2 change goes.
Going forward, I’ll be avoiding buying a Android phone/tablet which isn’t a pure google experience. On the Kindle front, who knows. Thanks to Simon for helping me out during the installation (I used these instructions but had to convert them to Unix, due to running Ubuntu) of the OneX.
Forgot to blog about Amazon prime air earlier this week. Amazon plans to deliver some goods via drones/octocopters.
Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, is testing unmanned drones to deliver goods to customers, Chief Executive Jeff Bezos says.
The drones, called Octocopters, could deliver packages weighing up to 2.3kg to customers within 30 minutes of them placing the order, he said.
Pushover makes it easy to send real-time notifications to your Android and iOS devices.
I love the fact its simple and works with ifttt. Heck I can imagine some scenarios with ifttt and taskrabbit. But I’m left wondering the advantages of a private push service over using something like xmpp/jabber?
Yes its going to be somewhat cheaper than using SMS, more extensible than twitter direct message and less hassle than xmpp? But running yet another service on your phone? Isn’t this what Amazon SNS was about?
I love the idea of Amazon Glacier…
Amazon Glacier is an extremely low-cost storage service that provides secure and durable storage for data archiving and backup. In order to keep costs low, Amazon Glacier is optimized for data that is infrequently accessed and for which retrieval times of several hours are suitable. With Amazon Glacier, customers can reliably store large or small amounts of data for as little as $0.01 per gigabyte per month, a significant savings compared to on-premises solutions.
This is how I use SpiderOak right now. All backups stored there in deep storage just in-case… It will also be a great place to store photos, videos and old projects… Oh and it seems to work for UK users too.
Great work Amazon… I’m going to see if Spideroak offer anything like this before switching. As I could easily use Dropbox for daily stuff and Amazon Glacier for everything else.
I know theres tons of blogs and views beating up Android for its different device capabilities and how un-developer friendly it is (sure I blogged about this before?) but I’m calling ball on it all. Ok I’m not a developer but frankly opportunistic developers/people are seeing the beyond this whole fragmentation debate and thinking theres lots we can do here.
Being a free and open kind of guy, I draw lines between Apple/Microsoft’s app stores and Cathedral, Android/The Web and the Bazaar/Market. Yes I went there… Eric S Raymond on your ass (not literally of course)
Amazon just recently celebrated their first birthday of their own app store, which you can install alongside Google’s
market I mean play store (I can’t be the only one who thinks this sounds like a Durex thing?). There were reports that the Amazon store was actually making the developers using it more revenue than Google’s play store. This can be seen as a good and a bad thing, but for me the choice is a good thing. Google set out give people the choice in a over protected market and they have achieved some great things, including opening the door for other companies to make a tidy business.
A long time ago I gave a thumbs up to Boxee for doing something similar. This is old hat for GNU/Linux for example which has had the ability to add repositories from anywhere you trust (or don’t trust, even!). For example I’m a fan of OMGUbuntu and Webupd8, both which run their own repositories or if you prefer app stores as such.
I haven’t even began to play with some of the repos in XBMC yet, but I remember seeing quite a few for Boxee which were all aimed at providing p0rn and nothing else. And to be fair its a business model which I could imagine would work very well. Certainly something Google and Amazon may not want in their own stores, but theres certainly enough demand to warrant its own ecosystem (like it or not). The same is very true of the darknet stores such as the jailbroken Cydia store.
First impressions of the Amazon Kindle Fire?
Fantastic! Its roughly a 7inch Kindle/Tablet with some decent power and enough storage for general consumption… And its only 199 dollars!
That means even if they shift the dollars price over directly into pounds its still a very reasonable price. Funny enough its about the same price as the HP touchpad when it was on sale.
Theres still quite a lot which is unknown such as side loading apps, which version of Android and ultimately how hackable the device will be but Amazon have totally blown the Nook Color out of the water ($249). In fact a lot of the tablets will struggle against the Kindle Fire, even the Ipad. The Kindle fire is just so cheap that it will be come a thing people will just have. Amazon have gone for the mass which frankly isn’t a bad idea at all.
Not having the Android Market isn’t a massive deal because frankly its just a matter of getting the developers to submit the same application to the Amazon store instead. Amazon have really taken the ideals of free and open to the maximum, now if only I was in the States! Maybe I can buy one off the back of the amazon account confusion…?
The other Kindles all look good and finally its good to see Amazon releasing a Touch screen version for all those who can’t live without touching the screen. But for now I’m sticking with my Kindle as I’ve not really seen enough to make me switch, plus I like the keyboard anyway.
It seems the answer is no but I’m more interested why not?
Then yesterday while at lunch with a couple of colleagues in BBC R&D, Robert was asking me questions about my Kindle because he was considering buying one for his girlfriend and I was running through the advantages and disadvantages. Somewhere in the conversation, Andy mentioned my question about a large scale eink display (the advantage of being public again). I explained why I think it would be good and somewhere along the conversation one of us 3 suggested (think it was Andy) taking a Kindle apart and stitching them together.
I had quick thought, you could make an array of kindles and then control them to display what you want. My next thought was if you could tile post to the Kindles/eink display.
And that was it! An array of eink displays fed the right part of the whole document.
The advantage of a Amazon Kindle over a standard eink display is the wifi radio and email address, which means you can send each one a document remotely via something like rasterbator and if you can control them, you can remotely make them display a document as a screensaver. Later in the lab while eating cake (we seem to eat cake quite a bit on Fridays) I thought maybe this could be done via Arduino using the USB shield. Practically you would only need to root each Kindle using this method. Then by uploading a slightly different image to each one, you could create a tiled display or as I’m calling it a digital array.
Ultimately you want some software running on a Kindle which you upload the document/image to, it interrogatives its neighbours to work out how big the array its in is and only displays the part which makes sense. Because the Kindle is running gnu/linux, it would be possible but to be fair I’m not even going there, but if someone else wants to be my guest.
I’ll be hacking around with this concept in the near future, and welcome any thoughts or ideas on this idea.
Currently I’m just double checking if there is a large format eink display and trying to work out what is the best eink display to start with? The Wifi Kindle makes sense because its cheap enough, software hackable and easily hardware hackable. Although the Kindle DX does also look pretty good. I’m hoping for the Kindle Fire sale to start pretty soon, maybe.
My manager Adrian at work set me the challenge of putting our whereabouts system on the array or even the MCUK status updates. Right now, I’m going to just get two going then build on that… Hopefully there will be more details as and when it happens…
Additionally, e-paper modules can be used to form large screen displays by combining up to eight modules, which incorporate the company’s original multi-tiling controller. The A3 e-paper module is composed of especially narrow frames, with two sides measuring just 1mm, which enables the creation of large screens that feature effective multi-tiling
Also I noticed on the eink site… This recent picture…
2.4 meters certainly counts as a large eink display… So the question is how do we get our hands one and how much do they cost?
I might need to do some tweaking and yes it doesn’t look the best but remember it is a hack test and we can clean up the schedule next time for sure.
The first thing you will notice is the schedule actually costs money to download. £0.70 in the UK. The reason for this was down to Amazon. They charge a minimum fee of £0.99 to store and share the book over Amazon’s Whispernet. Although I think this is a bit of a rip off, specially because thinking digital already have a PDF version which they host on there own site, its not bad if this experiment does actually work. And heck, conference organizers could use it to make a little extra too I guess.
The Tweet URLs now seem to resolve to the book ok, which is a promising sign that my conclusions are actually correct.
So next step is to tell Herb Kim about the ebook and add notes next week at Thinking Digital. Hopefully I can pursued a couple of people to add notes too, so we can test the collaborative feature out. If you want to be part of that test, give me a shout… It should work on any device which runs the Kindle software.