Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More tips on using the Kindle Fire HD 7" tablet: Global Favorites, Now exclude webpages from Carousel. FixIt teardown of KFHD7, Cloud player streams in UK, Germany, France today, kFireHd rooted

That's the Carousel at the left, with the "Most Recent" item accessed showing first -  whether it's a book, a webpage, an app, music, a game, or some other category.

Before I begin, please note that a LIGHTER tap or press is still usually more effective with the Kindle Fire HD, just as as it was with the earlier model.

  When I forget this (because the Kindle Fire HD is more flexible and is generally more responsive to a harder touch than the first KFire was), sometimes I'll get no response from touching a Carousel icon.
  Then I realize I'm pressing too hard for the touch settings of this tablet (which someone has said blocks something) and I'll change to a very light tap or press (barely even touching the glass sometimes) and that works immediately.

With the first Kindle Fire, an Amazon Kindle forum thread focused on trying that lighter touch and it worked better for almost everyone.   The lighter tap is not as needed now, but it'll help.
  Also, the keyboard on the new KFire HD is the most typo-free one I've experienced in small-form devices -- the calibration seems very precise and responsive.

Amazon's purchasing suggestions and the Favorites feature that overrides that
  I've been using the new 7" Kindle Fire HD in Landscape mode for almost everything  -- for video and more readable webpages especially.  I had not seen, in more than a day of using it, the "Other customers bought" suggestions which show up, in portrait or vertical mode, at the bottom of the Home page where the book shelves used to be, a decision which hasn't met with the happiest noises in the forums.
 In Landscape mode, though, they don't appear.

  In portrait modes, they appear in what is also the important display area for what Amazon calls "Favorites."

  Some had worried that 'Favorites' were gone, in favor of marketing.  But they're not.

  Once you've made your Favorites by adding each from the Carousel into that area (and you can move each of these around within the Favorites area as was possible with the older Kindle Fire "shelves"), you can then click the large star icon that is accessible on almost any page, unless the bottom or sidebar menu is not showing.

 Tapping on the star icon brings up the items you designated as Favorites, which do display in a way similar to the old shelf-look but with no 'wood.'

Show the hidden basic Menu, which shows the star icon
  If no basic Menu line of options is showing on a page, you can lightly tap the "||" (or horizontal version of those double-lines) seen at the right edge or bottom of the tablet.   That brings up the basic Menu, which is often hidden in order to show full-screen material. (I really like the programmers' choice there, with less loss of screen 'real estate' for the focus of actual interest, but newcomers will tend to wonder what to do next.)

The usual large star used to bring up global tablet-favorites will be at upper or bottom right.  Someone in the forums mentioned that he "favorited" Wikipedia, and while reading a book (or using another tablet activity), he can tap the center area of the book page, say, to bring up the many options, and then tap the Star to see the  Favorites-display  without interrupting his activity otherwise, and from that he calls up Wikipedia.

(When reading a book, that's not the optimal way though.  If interested in a word or phrase on a book page, you can long-press it and get options to search the book, Wikipedia, or the Web for more info on it.)

  These are Favorites you specify or save for *global* use, in that you can save a webpage not just as a browser bookmark but as an overall 'Favorite' for the tablet, period, and do the same for any app or book, etc.

  You can access that Favorite item from just about anyplace, even while in the video or app areas -- whether it's to check a book or webpage for something or to check a personal doc or the weather.  It's browser-independent, and serves as a sort-of task switcher.

For those who haven't used a Kindle Fire before:
  You might find yourself at a screen that you're finished but with no idea of how to close it or go to something you actually want to see next.
  If the menu isn't showing, tap the small double-line ( || ) to bring the menu up.  Then tap the Home icon.
  Since Home is the starting place or where you can get your bearings :-),
the Home icon will be the first item on the horizontal lower status line or at the bottom of the vertical sidebar.

  While reading a book, pressing Home in the book's reader menu will close the book and record or save the last-page you read and any notes and highlights that aren't saved yet for sync'g with a myriad other devices and with the backup-servers.  I think this is one reason for a small delay when ending a session.

  (If you approve Amazon's ongoing backup of your annotations, they're placed on your personal Amazon annotations web page with each book and are copyable and printable.)

MAKING a Favorite
When on a page or app that you want to globally add to Favorites for the tablet and not just for a webpage, you can exit the page by tapping the Menu and pressing Home.

At that point, the Carousel at the top will have the "Most Recent" activity at the far left -- the first one in the Carousel.  That helps identify where you were, for one thing, if you want to make a global Favorite.

  To move it into Favorites, you lightly long-press it and choose to "Add to Favorites."

  Other options shown on the long press are to "Remove from Carousel" or "Remove from Device"  (With any removal of an item from the tablet, a copy would remain in your Amazon server backup area if you got it from them, in case you want to read or use it again someday. Removing items not being used frees up storage space.

Option to NOT display webpages as "most recent page" in Carousel
Because so many have objected to their last activity being displayed to anyone who might be in the vicinity of your tablet when you're using it, there is now an option to not display webpages as the 'most recent' page but that's an Amazon Silk browser setting, found under the Web browser menu, and titled "Silk Settings, where you see the setting under "Saved Data."

  The setting is "Display most recent page in Carousel" and can be checked or not.  That's in answer to people who didn't like that others around them could easily see which webpages they'd been on last and asked Amazon for a way to exclude it from the Carousel listing.

  There've been times I didn't want the last webpage prominently included (mainly because it can be ugly looking, often much bigger than other Carousel items).  On the other hand, I like being able to add certain really useful webpages as global Favorites that I can call from anywhere, and the Carousel is where it's done, so I keep it as shown.

Trending feature
Another batch of info pages shown under the Carousel when the area is not filled with Favorites, is "Trending" -- what I've seen there are news pages that are not the usual headliners and are sometimes actually interesting (to me). So far, I've not seen a promotion there.

  But again, I'm almost always in Landscape (unless reading a book) and don't see, then, the marketing for "Other customers bought..."  Amazon was upfront at the press conference about making the money not so much from the sale of a tablet  but when the owner uses it and of course that wouldn't be from just passive video watching, reading, or playing games. Amazon would want to draw attention to what you can buy.  So, it's a tradeoff and those who want to avoid marketing at all costs can get a Google Nexus, although for the same price, the Nexus has only 8 GB of storage space, one mono speaker, and no HDMI out to HDTV.

FixIt's Teardown to examine the unit for repairability and component quality
Fix-it just released a "Teardown" of both the Kindle Fire HD and the upgraded version of the first Kindle Fire, showing what's inside and commenting on what they find, explaining some of the workings, and they're impressed with the innards of the KFHD 7 and its relatively high repairability (a '7' to iPad3's '2', others have pointed out).

PC Magazine summarizes the findings in straight-text format.

Amazon's Cloud Player goes live in UK today

This finally allows Kindle Fire owners in the UK, France, and Germany to store and play music over the web or via dedicated apps.  Details by CNET-UK's Harry Theobald for the UK.

The Kindle Fire HD has been rooted already
This won't be of much interest to the vast majority of readers but it's news, so here it is, with the caveat that anyone trying it and unsuccessful at it could easily brick their Kindle Fires.
  Except for the pure challenge, I don't know why people wouldn't just pay $50 more to get the 16 GB Google Nexus if they just want a pure Android tablet with GPS and an overall faster processor (but with limited audio playback w/o add-ons and no HDMI-out) to an HDTV.

Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers.  Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
    Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.

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