Category Archives: Links

From Kindle Fire to Android Tablet in thirty minutes

Or: When is a Kindle not a Kindle?

Yesterday, I purchased a Kindle Fire from a chap selling it on Craigslist.

That is not remarkable. This is.

20130126_135006

That’s right, it is now an Android Tablet, thanks to a wonderful hack that I recently discovered. Some very bright people discovered that it is possible to Install Android 4.2.1 — known to aficionados as “Jelly Bean” — on the Kindle Fire.

This is totally legal – the Android operating system is Open Source, though I am sure that Amazon does not like it at all. You see, the Kindle Fire was sold at a loss to entice folks to buy all their stuff through Amazon. So Amazon installed put a customized version of Android on it, to make it difficult for you to go anywhere else.

This hack only applies to the Mark 1 model, released in September 2011, and sold until September 2012. It does not work on the Mark 2 version, which has a faster processor and more memory. The process took about an hour, but half of that was reading, downloading files and installing drivers

It’s a three-step process.

  • First you replace the Bootloader. This is a bootstrap program that starts the machine, similar to your PC’s BIOS.
  • The second stage is “flashing recovery”. the Recovery Partition – this is a special program that allows you to recover from problems without booting the full OS.
  • Finally you replace the operating system itself.

Sources:

Preparation:

  1. Download The new ROM and Google Apps (GAPPS) and copy them to Kindle Fire External Partition.
  2. Download Kindle Fire Utility (KFU)
  3. Unzip KFU, install KF drivers,
  4. Plug in your Kindle Fire (KF). It should show up as an external drive. Copy ROM and GAPPS that Drive
  5. Run KFU
  6. Install FireFireFire bootloader. KF will Reboot.
  7. Install Recovery partition (I used TWRP). KF will Reboot
  8. Backup Recovery/Reboot into TWRP
  9. Backup Old system (optional, but it gives you a way back if you ever want it)
  10. WIPE/Factory Reset
  11. “Install”. You have the option to “queue” installs. I added both – ROM first and GAPPS second, then “Flash”
  12. Reboot System. First-time bootup takes about five minutes, as it has a lot to think about. Subsequent reboots are much quicker.

First impressions are that this thing is fast, smooth and stable — a poor man’s Nexus 7. Of course the N7 more memory, has twice as much storage, two extra processor cores, slightly higher resolution, Bluetooth, camera etc, but this has most of the functionality at less than half the price, which makes it almost disposable.

Me likey!

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I’m Rich!

Just stumbled across this: The Real Gap Between The Rich and The Poor Is Not The Money.

Apparently the major difference between classes is not your bank balance, it is your attitude. This answers a lot of questions that i don’t recall ever asking. Reading it, I realizes that even though my income is strictly middle-class, my attitudes areĀ  almost all “rich”, which is kinda weird…

Dave Ramsey puts it well: “I’ve been broke, but I’ve never been poor: Broke is a temporary place. Poor is a lifestyle.”

It’s official – “google” is a verb!

Google Goes From Web to Webster’s – Los Angeles Times

AllofMP3.com is illegal – WE WISH…

AllofMP3.com: illegal says IFPI

For those of you who didn’t know, Allofmp3 is a music download site like iTunes… but that is where the similarity ends.

  • iTunes protects its products with DRM (Digital Rights Management) software that restricts what you can do with your music once you have downloaded it. AllofMP3 eschews DRM and offers a choice of formats, including MP3 and Ogg Vorbis.
  • Tunes provides one level of quality, while allofMP3 allows you to select the sound quality level to your taste, with higher quality attracting a higher cost.
  • Perhaps the biggest difference is that iTunes charges 99c per song, while AllofMP3 charges less than a third of that – two cents per megabyte of music downloaded.

They can do this because allofMP3 is based in Russia, where a loophole in the copyright law allows them to get away with paying much lower royalties than Apple, who sends on more than 70% of their proceeds to the music business, who, thanks to a little loophole of their own, pay the artists a pittance of about 4.5c per song.

Naturally this has gotten the US music business in a bit of a snit. Their industry group – the much-reviled RIAA – who has taken it to their international counterpart, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), who has declared allofMP3 “illegal” Whatever that means.

The IFPI alleges that that allofMP3 is operating illegally, allofMP3 contends that they are operating within Russian law.

Given that…

  1. It is legal to purchase music in Russia.
  2. Last time I looked there were no import restrictions preventing me from bringing music into this country from Russia or anywhere else.
  3. Previous attempts to take them down have failed.

…I am forced to the conclusion that allofMP3 is not, in fact, illegal. If they are operating within they law the IFPI cannot touch them.

That is not to say that they are obviously blameless – if they are not paying the royalties that they should be paying then they may be doing something illegal, which is a completely different kettle of bananas. The Execs at Enron may have been doing illegal stuff, but that did not make Enron an “illegal business”.

Russian companies are not inherently illegal just because American business cartels don’t like them, however much the RIAA may wish otherwise.

I love this site… not because they are cheap, but because they allow me to choose how I want my music and do not put restrictions on what I can do with my music afterwards.

Personally I consider iTunes to be too expensive – 99c/track is actually more expensive than a physical CD, quality is not as good and DRM makes it less versatile. In spite of this, the artists actually get less from downloads than from sales…

Having said that, I consider allofMP3 to be too cheap – I would consider 20c-50c per track to be reasonable. I would like to think that there are enough honest people out there who feel the same way to make it wildly profitable for the music business if they would lower their prices and eschew DRM.

The music business’ standard defence is their claim that “you cannot compete with free“, but allofMP3 has exposed the lie in that claim. They have proved that if you make it cheap and easy enough, people will buy. 20-50c/track would actually be cheap enough to make piracy uneconomical for all but the most impoverished (who weren’t going to buy anyway).

The alternative is to create an entire generation of young people who hate the music industry and keep their hands firmly in their pockets; at present, that is precisely the RIAA’s current business plan.

What is particularly galling to me is that American jobs are bring “offshored” at an alarming rate to save money… but when we, the people, offshore our music purchases for precisely the same reason, suddenly that’s bad, bad bad.

Because of the immense pressures and the huge amounts of money involved, I have no doubt that allofMP3 will eventually be shut down, but until then I will continue to use it until it can be proved to my satisfaction that it is illegal.

Newsflash: Sexy women distract men!

This just in from the “woo-hoo!” department

According to The University of Leuven (wherever that is), who expended considerable time, money and academic brainpower to reach a conclusion that salesmen, marketers and advertisers have known for literally hundreds of years.

My personal suspicion is that it was an excuse for a bunch of geeks to gawk at pretty women and get paid for it.

Nice work if you can get it!

How To Become A Hacker

How To Become A Hacker

Not the modern hysterical-media definition of the word (“Cyber-Burglar”), but the original, correct meaning – a “Guru” who has earned the respect of the programming community.

The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart

Snapper makes lawnmowers. They’re not cheap, but they are good.

Wal-Mart wanted cheap. So their CEO told Wal-Mart “Thanks, but no thanks”

2005’s 101 Dumbest Moments in Business

Words Fail me

Japanese Manhole Covers

This just in from the “ain’t-that-cool” department.
Manholes of Japan

Each one is a work of art.

Eat, Sleep, Work, Consume, Die

“Just because technology makes it possible for us to work 10 times faster than we used to doesn’t mean we should do it. The body may be able to withstand the strain — for a while — but the spirit isn’t meant to flail away uselessly on the commercial gerbil wheel”