Category Archives: tinyFragments

Why I can no longer recommend the Kindle Fire

As a Kindle Fire owner, I have been extremely pleased with the device.  Heck, I’m writing this on it, and it’s a very pleasant experience. However, in light of recent developments, I can’t recommend the thing anymore. The reason is simple: it seems that after Amazon releases a new version, they end of life the old one. And that means no more software upgrades. There’s a growing school of apologists out there who are claiming that one doesn’t expect a car to get new features, why would you expect the Fire to? Simple. Because it’s a tablet. And that’s how tablets, and computing devices in general, work. I recently picked up an Asus Transformer tablet for my fiancee, and before I did, I made sure that even though it shipped with Android 3.0, it had an OTA upgrade to 4.0 waiting for it when she unboxed it. The Fire is still a great device, and it still does what it did when I got it, but knowing that it could do much more, and won’t simply because Amazon wants to drive sales of their new devices doesn’t make me a happy customer. So if you’re in the market for a 7″ Android tablet, do yourself a favor and get something for the same price that has an upgrade path. Say, maybe something from Google?

Update: I think I would be remiss at this point if I didn’t add that the Fire is still a great device. It does Amazon video and the Kindle lending library, which no other tablets do (to my knowledge). I still like it a lot and won’t be replacing it anytime soon, but there are better tablets out there.

Enable two-finger touchpad scrolling in Linux

So I finally found a thread about touchpad scrolling which lead me to explore the output of the `synclient -l` command on my Gutsy notebook, and lo and behold, the answer I’ve been looking for:

VertEdgeScroll = 1
HorizEdgeScroll = 1
VertTwoFingerScroll = 0
HorizTwoFingerScroll = 0

It turns out that two-fingered scrolling (like on the new Macs) is really easy to enable. Here’s how.

Make a backup of your config file. Don’t blame me if you don’t do this and hose up your system.

sudo cp /etc/X11/xorg.conf /etc/X11/xorg.conf.backup

Use the editor of your choice to add the following lines to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf file:

Section "InputDevice"
Identifier "Synaptics Touchpad"
Driver "synaptics"
Option "SendCoreEvents" "true"
Option "Device" "/dev/psaux"
Option "Protocol" "auto-dev"
add these lines >>>>
Option "HorizEdgeScroll" "0"
Option "VertEdgeScroll" "0"
Option "VertTwoFingerScroll" "1"
Option "HorizTwoFingerScroll" "1"

Restart X, and that should do it. However, if you're like me, and have enough trouble as it is with touchpads, you may want to disable the horizontal scroll, as you end up flipping back and forth between web pages without a clue what's going on.

Songbird alpha downloads available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux

Songbird is to music players as Firefox is to web browsers for a very simple reason: they’re built on the same code base. Because of that, it addresses one of my main complaints with iTunes, which was the web browser. The one in Songbird doesn’t suck. While Songbird isn’t quite ready to replace your iTunes installation just yet, it will be soon, because of one thing. Extensions. All the extensions you could dream of, and a bunch that you can’t. Go download the alpha and check it out.

read more | digg story

Windows Vista Beta 2: My first look

Well, I’ve downloaded and installed Vista Beta 2, and I’ve had a chance to play around with it a little. Admittadly, I have only spent about 15 minutes with the OS, but it was long enough to leave one distinct impression, which was:

It has taken Microsoft the last four years to develop this?

Don’t get me wrong. The eye candy is nice, and the installer is great. I mean really, really, totally awesome, compared to what we had to work with in the past. But overall, it feels like Windows XP on steroids. And not even good steriods, either. Just kinda run-of-the mill stuff. I know this is still a beta, and we should expect improvement, but I’m not holding my breath. The sidebar (or deskbar, or whatever the hell they’re calling it) is totally useless. The default desklets are an analog clock, a slideshow of stock photos (featuring open fields, babbling brooks, and blooming flowers, which are all things I associate software with), and the one useful item of the bunch, an RSS reader. Which really only opens IE.

It’s a competent operating system. I’m sure that it will perpetuate Microsoft’s dominance of the desktop market. But as far as I can tell, there is absolutly zero reason for any user to upgrade from XP.