Category Archives: Android

The $50 Kindle Fire

I got one of the new $50 Kindle Fire tablets.

First, a pet peeve. I dislike it when reviewers say it costs “only” $50. Fifty dollars is a lot of money!

However, it is a lot less than the $400 to buy a new iPad Mini. The new Kindle Fire is only an average tablet, but for $50, it is an amazing tablet. By way of comparison, the original iPad Mini from 2012 had roughly the same specifications as the new Kindle Fire, and that cost $329.

Because of that, I’m comfortable using the $50 Kindle Fire in public the way I wouldn’t with, say, an iPad. If your $399 iPad is stolen or broken, it’s a catastrophe. If your $50 Kindle Fire is stolen or broken, it’s bad, but not $399 bad.

Anyway, it’s a good little tablet, and provides good value for the money. Especially for $50! (It also seems to have excellent battery life.)

-JM

Ubuntu 12.04: Mount A Kindle Device

Permissions

If you have an older Kindle model, you might have noticed that it doesn’t mount automatically in Ubuntu. The reason for this is quite simple. Ubuntu uses the Mass Storage Device Class (MSC) protocol to communicate with USB storage devices, like the Kindle. Certain models of Kindle, however, uses the old Microsoft Media Transfer Protocol to communicate with your computer. Why the Kindle uses the MTP instead of MSC, I have no idea. Fortunately, the situation is quite easily rectified in Ubuntu.

Simply go to a Terminal window and type this command:

sudo apt-get install mtpfs

(If you don’t know how to find a Terminal window, click on the “Dash”, the Ubuntu icon on the upper-right hand corner of your screen, and search for Terminal.) Enter your password to authenticate, and apt will download and install the mtpfs package for you, which will let your Ubuntu system communicate with MTP devices, including your Kindle.  After the installation is complete, you can connect your Kindle to your Ubuntu system via USB, and it will mount properly.

-JM

ADDITIONAL READING:

The Ubuntu Beginner’s Guide

The Ubuntu Desktop Beginner’s Guide

The Linux Command Line Beginner’s Guide

How To Sideload Smashwords Books (And Other Books) Onto Your Kindle Device

“Sideloading” a book onto your Kindle sounds complicated, but it’s really not. It simply means manually copying the file onto your Kindle via its USB cable rather than over the wireless from Amazon’s servers. It’s like copying a file to a USB thumb drive, or copying an image off a digital camera. There are several advantages to this knowledge – you can download public-domain books off Project Gutenberg and load them onto your Kindle, or if a writer sends you a complimentary copy of a book, you can load it onto your device. It is also common for modern writers to give away free or discounted books through Smashwords via coupon codes, so sideloading will allow you to take advantage of these offers.

In this post, we’ll show you how to download a book off Smashwords and then copy it to your Kindle device. These directions should work for both Kindle black & white ereaders and Kindle Fire tablet devices.

First, visit http://www.smashwords.com, log in with your Smashwords account (you can register for one here if you don’t have one), and then go to the book’s page:

NookSide1

Once you have purchased the book (or used a coupon code to get it for free), scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’ll see all the different formats in which the ebook is available. For a Kindle, you’ll want MOBI, so click on the download link for the MOBI file:

KindleSide2

Once the file has downloaded, connect your Kindle device to your computer via the USB cable. If you’ve never done this before, it might take a few moments for your computer to recognize that the Kindle is connected – this is normal. Once it’s connected, if you go to My Computer (or Computer on Windows 8.x) you will see the Kindle show up like another hard drive or a flash drive:

KindleSide3

Double-click on the Kindle icon, and it will expand to show Internal Storage:

KindleSide4

Then double-click on the folder marked “kindle”:

KindleSide5

(Note that eInk Kindles are simpler than Kindle Fire tablets – the eInk Kindles just have a folder labeled Documents.)

You will want to put the file you downloaded from Smashwords into that “kindle” folder. (On an eInk Kindle, it should go into the “documents” folder.) When you downloaded it, the MOBI file most likely downloaded to your computer’s Downloads folder. Drag and drop the file to the kindle folder we pointed out above.

Once the file has finished copying, disconnect your Kindle from your computer. The MOBI file you copied should now be in your library on your Kindle device.

-JM

How To Sideload Smashwords Books (And Other Books) Onto Your Nook Device

“Sideloading” a book onto your Nook sounds complicated, but it’s really not. It simply means manually copying the file onto your Nook via its USB cable rather than over the wireless from Barnes & Noble’s servers. It’s like copying a file to a USB thumb drive, or copying an image off a digital camera. There are several advantages to this knowledge – you can download public-domain books off Project Gutenberg and load them onto your Nook, or if a writer sends you a complimentary copy of a book, you can load it onto your device. It is also common for modern writers to give away free or discounted books through Smashwords via coupon codes, so sideloading will allow you to take advantage of these offers.

In this post, we’ll show you how to download a book off Smashwords and then copy it to your Nook device. These directions should work for both Nook black & white ereaders and tablet devices.

First, visit http://www.smashwords.com, log in with your Smashwords account (you can register for one here if you don’t have one), and then go to the book’s page:

NookSide1

Once you have purchased the book (or used a coupon code to get it for free), scroll down to the bottom of the page. You’ll see all the different formats in which the ebook is available. For a Nook, you’ll want EPUB, so click on the download link for the EPUB file:

NookSide2

Once the file has downloaded, connect your Nook device to your computer via the USB cable. If you’ve never done this before, it might take a few moments for your computer to recognize that the Nook is connected – this is normal. Once it’s connected, if you go to My Computer (or Computer on Windows 8.x) you will see the Nook show up like another hard drive or a flash drive:

NookSide3

Double-click on the Nook icon, and it will expand to show Internal Storage:

NookSide4

Then open the My Files folder:

NookSide5

Inside of it you will see another folder labeled Books:

NookSide6

You will want to put the file you downloaded from Smashwords into that Books folder. When you downloaded it, the EPUB file most likely downloaded to your Downloads folder. Drag and drop the file to the Books folder we pointed out above:

NookSide7

Once the file has finished copying, disconnect your Nook from your computer. The EPUB file you copied should now be in your library on your Nook device.

-JM