Wednesday, 26 January 2011


"....and secondly it has the words DON'T PANIC inscribed in large friendly letters on its cover."

So far I been enjoying the Kindle for book reading but one of the things I dislike, is the screensavers that appear when the reader is in sleep mode.

In fact a couple are a bit scary; especially the one's of Emily Dickinson and Harriet Beecher Stowe (if you have a Kindle you know what I mean).

Amazon don't actual have a way of putting your own pictures on the Kindle but it is possible to achieve this with a bit of jiggery pokery.

The jiggery pokery is to jailbreak the Kindle to allow you to place your own pictures on there.

After doing this the only picture that could go on the screensaver was:-

If anyone is interested in changing the screensavers on their Kindle the instructions are at How-To Geek and it goes without saying that you do this at your own risk.

Update: Amazon have updated the firmware to the Kindle to 3.1 and because of this the Jailbreak and Screen Hacks don't work on the new firmware.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Thoughts on the Outdoors Show

If you like messing about on the water or ride a bicycle then the Outdoors/Boat/Bike show is for you, if it's the walking side of the outdoors you are after then the show is a let down again.

This is the Outdoors Show that was held in Birmingham at the NEC and was sponsored by The Ordnance Survey but not anymore, there is no sponsor and now it's in London.

Over the last few years the show has been losing its Mojo and this year it seems to have lost it completely.

As the show was only around the corner from me, I had to go even if it was going to be awful. A few of the big brand names were there but with pretty small stands compared to previous years, Garman and Memory map are there but only showing off there GPSr's with maps built in.

Cicerone looked to have a much smaller stand but still seems to have most of their range of books on show.

Again there looks to be an increase in discover... [insert name of country here] stands and strangely food stalls, showing great British food.

Bushcraft and survive skills magazine has a stand with demo's on how to light a fire and how to cook with a dutch oven, subjects that seem to have been covered 100s of times.

Two big high street chains are there in the forms of Blacks and Decathlon to cater for your average walker, and with Craghoppers and a couple of stalls selling discounted apparel.

Names that were missing Alpkit, Terra Nova, Inov8; in fact names that most of the lightweight backpacking community look to for equipment.

In fact there is a general lack of walking equipment on show; no major tents, only a few from the Blacks/Decathlon ranges, hardly any sleeping bags, mats, cooking equipment.

In previous years there has been a theatre were you get a free ticket to see the likes of Brian Blessed, Kate Humble plus a few other celebs give a talk; this year there is an extra charge (between £35-20) to see the likes of Ray Mears, Simon King ,and Ben Fogle, the less said about this the better.

Personally I think THAT this Outdoors show has had its day but there is a 'new' Outdoor Leisure Show in Birmingham next month, which will have the likes of Alpkit, Terra Nova, Vango and quite a few that wasn't at the Outdoors Show.

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Monday, 3 January 2011

Kindle Reader

I recently bought an Amazon Kindle 3G and I'm planning to write a few posts on my experiences using it.

First off the Kindle is an ebook reader, that's it, it doesn't do anything else. Saying that though you can access the internet with it, you can play mp3's on it and in some cases it can read a book to you via the text-to-speech function; more on these in a later post.

The Kindle's physical size is roughly the height and width of a paperback book and 8.5mm thick, the display is black & white only and uses an E-ink screen; this screen looks sharpe and it's like reading a normal book page and it weights 270 gms.

The screen reminds me of the children's toy Etch-a-sketch. Each time the page is 'turned' the screen has to refresh and this means that it flashes, on some of the videoes I watched before buying the kindle I was a bit distrubed by this but once I started using it, I can say that I don't notice it anymore.

The screen is not backlit so this does mean that you need to have some kind of lightsource to read by, but it also means that eye strain is kept to a minimum unlike lcd screens.

The Kindle can store roughly 3,500 ebooks on it which by any standard is a lot of books!

I will cover books, blogs and newspapers in another post.

The Kindle is advertised as having up to a month of battery life (when the wifi is switched off) so far I have only done one charge and still have half the battery life showing.

So far the kindle has renewed my interest in reading books again and with is new interest I have set myself a challenge.

The challenge is to read 100 books (either Physcial books (p-books) or e-books) in 2011. I have set up a page on the blog that will appear in the menu bar (above) to show what books are read and how I getting on.