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.

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