Playing with Fire

Playing with Fire
Date:27 February 2012 Author: Alan Duggan Tags:, ,

If you’re a gadget nut like me, and ordered Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet as soon as it was announced (yes, even though they stated specifically that it was not being sold outside the United States), I’d be interested to know whether how many of you went for it, and whether you’re happy with your decision.

I certainly am: I love the build quality, sharp screen, seamless connectivity and other features, taking great pride in showing it off to friends and colleagues. Negatives? There are a few, some more serious than others. For starters, there is no slot for a microSD card, so you can’t expand the memory beyond the Fire’s very modest 8 GB, of which about 6 GB is available for user content.

Of course, the idea is that most of the stuff you want to access would be stored in the Cloud – which is great if you’re living in the US, and less impressive if you’re not. You don’t get a camera or microphone, either, so video Skyping is out of the question – a great pity, from my perspective. For the rest, it’s a great little tablet, not least because it sells for just $199 in the US. Compare this price with other 7-inch devices and be amazed. Although I also use an iPad, the Fire is a lot easier to handle when I’m curled up in bed and reading an ebook – which brings me to the main purpose of this blog: explaining how to sideload ebooks from your desktop.

Amazon don’t want you to do this, of course, and I couldn’t care less. My advice is to download a free eReader app called Aldiko. Next, connect your Fire to your desktop via USB (don’t forget to swipe to the “On” position); you should see a menu with a “Digital Editions” folder at fourth position from the top. Simply drag and drop your selected ePub books into this folder. When you’re ready to read, tap the Aldiko app, and off you go. A nice feature: you can adjust the screen intensity by sliding your finger up or down one side while the page is open.

Note: If you can’t access Android Market, first download Getjar via the Web. Although it doesn’t offer a huge number of apps, I’ve found quite a few useful ones that I use on a daily basis.

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