Gadget Freaking
Bill Quick

I received an unexpected Christmas gift.  A family member had taken a look at my Amazon Wish List, and a couple of days after Christmas a brand new Kindle Fire HDX 7″ tablet showed up on my doorstep.

I’ve been playing with the little beast for a while now, and I have to say I’m impressed.  It’s light – a bit over ten ounces, sports all-day battery life, great sound, (even on the native speakers, but especially through headphones), and is actually faster than my Asus T100.

First off, it’s not a production machine.  The screen is too small, the apps too limited – nothing I use for writing is available – and the on-screen keyboard is impractical for anything much more complicated than short emails or texts.  However, as a consumption device, it is excellent.

The screen is very bright, and with 1920X1200 resolution, it pushes 323 pixels in glorious color.  I watched the Tom Cruise movie, Jack Reacher, last night (BTW, much better than I expected), and experienced no arm fatigue from holding the thing in front of my face for more than two hours.

It is naturally designed to read Kindle e-books, and does a great job of it.

The Amazon App Store is reasonably well-stocked, but misses a few of my go-to apps.  No problem.  I sideloaded Google Chrome, Dropbox, and Roboform with no problems, and all work fine.  Everything else I need I was able to find in the Amazon App Store – Facebook, Twitter, Tumblir, Skype, Dramafever (to handle my K-Drama soap opera addiction), Hulu, Netflix, and, of course, all the Amazon content apps – Music, Video, Kindle Book Reader, etc.  The native Calendar app automagically synced with my Google Calendar when I started it up, and the email app worked fine with my accounts.

Maybe it’s a sign of my geezerhood – I grew up and lived much of my life in what is, by today’s standards, a pre-technological civilization, but I find myself continually amazed by gadgets like this.  This one, in a ten ounce form factor, combines the world’s biggest shopping mall with an on-demand television, movie theater, concert hall, stereo, bank, library, newspapers, and the entire Internet – and at a price in 1993 dollars of $119.   Of course, you couldn’t buy something like that back then at any price, and even if you could, the infrastructure that supports it today didn’t exist.

This one gets tossed in my bike bag as a matter of course.  I highly recommend it.

Want one for yourself? Here you go:

Kindle Fire HDX 7″, HDX Display, Wi-Fi, 16 GB – Includes Special Offers

Posted in Technology permalink
Bill Quick

About Bill Quick

I am a small-l libertarian. My primary concern is to increase individual liberty as much as possible in the face of statist efforts to restrict it from both the right and the left. If I had to sum up my beliefs as concisely as possible, I would say, "Stay out of my wallet and my bedroom," "your liberty stops at my nose," and "don't tread on me." I will believe that things are taking a turn for the better in America when married gays are able to, and do, maintain large arsenals of automatic weapons, and tax collectors are, and do, not.


Gadget Freaking — 2 Comments

  1. Maybe it’s a sign of my geezerhood … but I find myself continually amazed by gadgets like this.

    Maybe, but I think it’s more that most people don’t have the first clue what goes into these, anything from transistor fabrication to cooperative agreements on protocols. All they see is that each year a better generation of gadgets comes out, more feature-laden but no more mysterious than last year’s. They’d have been just as amazed or just as blase in 1950.

    To be properly awe-struck at the world, you need to understand enough of what’s going on that you can marvel at how it works, or how well it works, or where the flaws are, or that it works at all. Whether it’s the series of systems that lets you talk with friends in the PRC or the amount of your DNA that’s dedicated to fighting off invaders, there are marvels upon marvels for those with the wit to open their eyes.

    • And observing as we unravel and understand more and more of these wonders is an amazing experience.

      The heart of Ayn Rand’s Objectivist philosophy is that the human mind perceives the real world and rationally draws conclusions from the observations.

      That’s what is happening, but most folks don’t have a clue. They think it’s some sort of magic.