Things That Are Nice: Day 19

It still startles me when people give me birthday and Christmas presents. It particularly startles me when someone sends something off my Amazon Wish List. I have things on it mostly out of social pressure. It's not that I don't like stuff; it's just that I don't see the point in sitting and meditating on how much I want something I can't shell out for just then, so the things on there are things that would be nice to have, but I'm not particularly hoping to get them.

One of them happened to be on a large attention-getting sale when I put it on there. The first I found out about it was when they teleported a box to my porch in what I estimate was less than a day after the order was put in. Amazon scares me sometimes.

In any case, it's a 5th Gen Kindle Fire, which is essentially an Android tablet with a pair of flimsy Groucho glasses on by way of disguise. I had it less than twenty-four hours before I scaled the fence of Amazon's little walled garden and sideloaded the Google Play Store onto it. You don't even have to root it. The developer tools are hilariously poorly-hidden; if you've ever accidentally discovered a game by poking at the Google daily doodle, then you have successfully completed the prereqs for finding them. The most annoying part of the process is plugging it into the PC and waiting while Windows flops around doing that thing it does whenever you introduce it to a new widget. "Oh noes! A device! What do I DO? I'll have to look through EVERY DRIVER EVER WRITTEN to find one that works!" The rest of the process takes like ten minutes.

Once the Google Play Store is on there, you can use it like any other Android tablet. It runs Lollipop (5.1), and even the little ones are quad-core, so once you can access things like the YouTube app and VLC for Android, it works just fine. It's just barely bright enough to run a DS emulator, and the sound is kind of sketchy; that was mostly an experiment, as I still have a working DS Lite, and anything less complicated (SNES, NES, Genesis, Game Gear, GB/GBC/GBA, SCUMM VM) works beautifully. I find 7" is a nice size for playing Game Boy Advance games.

It also does, you know, Kindle things. Books and audiobooks and so forth. (It does have Bluetooth, and pairs with my earbuds.) Silk is okay, if basic; I am a Google whore, and still like Chrome better. The keyboard is actually not terrible, although one of the first things I did when I jailbroke it was install Swype, which can spell in English, French, and German at the same time. You can set the aggressiveness level of the predictive text/autocorrect on the native Kindle keyboard, which is nice.

I had a Kindle Fire listed instead of a similarly-priced generic Android tablet because Amazon manufactures gizmos I cannot break. I have been doing terrible things to a 3G Kindle Keyboard for nigh on five years now and I have not managed to destroy it. There are some fine cracks in the corners of the case and the storage is filling up, but the 3GKK will still load up books, Wikipedia, reddit mobile, and TV Tropes from basically anywhere on the planet, so as far as I'm concerned, it's perfectly fine. Amazon ranks up there with Western Digital, SanDisk, and Memorex for low-cost indestructible widgets.

I have now made my blog post for the day, so I'm going to go play with my new toy.