Is it time to put Kindle Fire HD 7" (2nd Generation) out to pasture?

Only a couple of days ago I received an update for the BBC iPlayer, what I can only call "the final nail in the coffin" for my Kindle Fire HD 7" (2nd Generation). This was the last update to say that Android KitKat was not longer supported.
I have already noticed the ever disappearing apps from the store such as Malwarebyte for example.

It does appear that even if you wanted to carry on using a much liked gadget you are eventually bullied into giving it up. I have had it over 5 years but it is still running okay and the battery is still pretty good.
I had considered retiring it due to the lack of apps now available compared to my mobile phone and the fact that it doesn't integrate with Google Play services but it has a bigger screen and still does media very well
including the Kindle books. I guess for now I will use it mainly for books until I find a newer gadget.

R.I.P.  Kindle Fire HD 7" (2nd Generation) - 21st August 2017

No Marshmallow for Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

I was saddened to see that Sony is not intending to update the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact to Marshmallow. The reason is not clear but it could be due to the model being over the two years which google quotes to updating Android. I am disappointed because the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact is a brilliant phone and I did expect that the Z flagship phones would all be covered for this update.

10,000 is the number of cups the UK gets through in just two minutes

After seeing Hugh’s War On Waste continues on the coffee cup you get from places like Costa which like so many people I assumed they could be all or at least part recycled but NO!  This is due to the lining, there is only one place in the UK which can deal with these but the big three (Costa, Starbucks & Caffe Nero) do not use them despite originally implying on their website that their cups were recyclable. I am disappointed with Costa as this is a UK company. Until things change I will think twice about having a takeaway cup and will opt for bringing one which can be filled. Here is an article on the BBC website about this: 10,000 is the number of cups the UK gets through in just two minutes.

It appears the US are/were having a similar problem though the article talks a lot about the UK and dates back to 2014 - This paper cup can be recycled -- unlike the 50 billion that end up in landfills (The image above was taken from this website).

Those Miracle Battery Repair Apps - Scam or Real?

Decided tonight to have a quick look at one of those 'Battery Repair' apps on Android because I could not understand how it could possible to repair the chemical make up of a battery. This is what I found and yes I am very sceptical.

I choose Battery Life Repair which was near the top of the list and had good reviews.

It was installed on a Sony Xperia Z1 Compact which is about 1 year and 1 month old (394 days) running Android Lollipop.

Using the scan it found about six not-so-good bits which it 'said it fixed' when I requested it to do so. The re-scan confirmed it was all okay now. Then I went into Settings/Apps and noticed that despite exiting (and confirming I wanted to exit when asked) it was still running in memory! Next I Cleared Data/Cache then Force Stop and Uninstalled. Using CCleaner to remove the junk and empty folder to try and make the next stage appear as a new installation.  Re-installed 'Battery Life Repair' and ran the scan which now found problems in different areas from before. I did not let it 'scan the whole battery' as I stopped it after it found three so far as this confirmed to me that this was not doing what it said.

I would say this is a Scam but by definition a Scam is to make money fraudulently but these products clearly do not do so what is going on apart from the pop-up ads. Scanned for Viruses and Malware but found nothing....

I believe this is nothing more than a battery statistics re-calibrator (removes batterystats.bin system file so the OS can start again) and power management software, hence the positive reviews about improved battery performance. You cannot repair a battery with software otherwise this would have made the news and appear on loads of web sites as a miracle app. From Google search I have not been able to find a single reputable web sites which recommend any of these kind of apps.

If you want improvements then just search for 'better battery life on Andriod' for real practical advice.

Some Android Apps are Unbelievably Big!

Are developers getting code lazy or just trying to cram in far too many features into apps these days. I originally thought about this around three years ago when I decided that an app designed to clean and free up memory on my Kindle Fire HD should not be an elephant (in size) in itself! It might not sound much but Clean Master which is now 11.5Mb.

Recently after seeing Strava reviewed a great app for running and cycling, as I am thinking of trying to get fit but was shock to discover it is 23Mb for my Sony Xperia Z1 Compact. Another example is Evernote which I had been using before they started adding features I did not want  is now 20.82Mb on the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact and 23.3Mb for the Kindle Fire HD.  Even Facebook is reported to be around 42.43Mb.

Now individually this may not sound like much but in total this will take a big chuck out of your RAM and storage particularly when you realise the true amount which is really used. For example, Google Calendar app declares to be 23.68Mb (on Sony Xperia Z1 Compact) but under Apps (under Settings) is reports to use 35.84Mb on device (excluding data) which is quite a difference. This is not the only app which uses more than you expect. Android applications have historically been limited to a maximum size of 50MB but according to CNET developers can attach another 4Gb. Perhaps we will need Terra Bytes of storage soon with longer lasting batteries just to keep up.


Android Lollipop has arrived for Sony Xperia Z1 Compact

Though Lollipop 5.0 is here I am going to wait about a week just to see if anyone out there is having issues with the update from KitKat to Lollipop on the Sony Xperia Z1 Compact.

Best to let someone else break their phone first. I always prefer not to rush and upgrade as soon as one arrives, I would rather wait a little and see how things settle down.

The only issue I have seen with other devices (not Sony) is that some are having battery issues and some WiFi.

UPDATE (23rd December 2015)

I thought it was about time I left an update. I did upgrade about a month later and have been very happy with Lollipop. There is now talk of Marshmallow coming soon to newer Sony Xperia model.

The 0.0% three musketeers

Bavaria have three more 0.0% flavours available to enjoy in the UK.

Premier Original - A delicious malt (lager) with all the taste without the hangover of a alcohol version. Definitely my favourite.

Wheat Beer (WIT) - A cloudy and slightly sweeter beer both full of flavour and very refreshing.

Fruity Rose - Another delicious malt with a fruity twist of raspberries, cherries and bilberries. Different and works surprisingly well.

You can purchase the Premier Original bottles from Sainsbury's or Waitrose and cans from Tesco or Morrisons. The Wheat Beer I have only found in Waitrose and Fruity Rose so far only from Tescos.

The Taste Without The Hangover

It all started when I had some medication which recommended you should not drink alcohol and as I wanted to make sure it worked I decided not to drink at all. Since then I found I did not miss the alcohol and decided to stop completely. I run my own businesses so there are advantages in being able to leave a party, pub or restaurant and get straight in a car and drive. I really don't miss it at all now and feel a lot better for it.

I started on juice and lemonade then my wife found Kopparberg in both Pear and Mix Fruit Alcohol Free. We then found that Sainsburys do a set of de-alcoholised (0.05%) wines from Germany. I found the rose too sweet and tasted more like a fruit drink. However the white is nice but the red is even better which I tend to mix with some lemonade. Another nice red (Cabernet Sauvignon) comes from Eisberg and is available from many supermarkets. The red wines do contain tannin so your tongue will stain red (as with normal red wine) and you can feel a bit rough if you drink too much neat though this might be psychological or just the tannin.

The main problem with the white wines and ciders are they tended to be a little to a lot sweeter. The Kopparberg particularly which makes it hard to drink more than two of these.

Since finding in Norway that restaurants there sell non-alcoholic beers is normal and supermarkets sell a range of these drinks I have found that the UK is getting there. May be I just wasn't looking properly. I was surprised at how many beers were available from various supermarkets. My favorite is Bavaria 0.0% (larger) which is mainly sold in bottles but I have found Morrisons sell both bottle and can versions. Being a keen biker I attend many biker rallies and do a lot of camping and all campsites do not allow 'glass' so this is brilliant but the only company I have found which do this. Bavaria do a Bavaria 0.0% (Wit) which is nice too.

I have also discovered that many pubs and clubs sell Becks Blue which is a nice beer.

Now before someone asks "what's the point of alcohol free, it just isn't beer", there are many reasons why someone will not or cannot drink alcohol. With these products you can feel like you are part of a BBQ, party or social event and still be able to drive your friends home.

One thing to note is that a beer or wine can be classified as Alcohol Free if it contains 0.05% or less and De-alcoholised contains 0.5% or less.. So if you want no alcohol then make sure you read the label. Another benefit is the number of calories, for example Bavaria 0.0% (larger) contains 25 kcals (per 100ml)..

A useful source of information is The Alcohol Free Shop which has an extensive collection of wines, beers, stouts and Gluten free but check the prices.

I will edit or make a new post for any future findings. I am sure I will find more and will review them.

The Original Amazon Fire HD

This was a Christmas present from 2012 from my wife. I have had if nearly a year so this is what I think of it so far. First some back ground, I have a laptop and a smart phone so this was really a quick device to check email, Facebook, Twitter and surf the web.

Over the months I removed checking email and calendar as I can do this on my phone but the kindle for me has become a tv watching and games device.

I do use it with Evernote.

Overall a good device. The only downside is most of the apps appear not to be specifically written for the Kindle but just happen to work. The other issue is your account is with Amazon and not google even if you setup a google email account. This means any app which says it can sync to google can't because if will not find an account.

The display and sound is brilliant so using it with BBC iPlayer, CatchUp.tv and games are a must.

With the Amazon Kindle Fire HDx coming soon the price of the Kindle Fire HD is coming down.

How to have DAB Radio in your Car

This was the best present from Christmas 2011. It is the Pure Move 2500 Personal DAB Radio (in black) which I can connect in my car via a 3.5mm stereo cable which I bought separately (providing your car has one). I use a long cable about 1.5m as this is the arial which would normally be done by the earphones. Though reception is not perfect for a car, I have found that it is very good on the journeys I have made even if I have to hook the cable over the drivers mirror to improve reception. If there is poor reception it doesn't last long, from a few to less than 5 seconds.

The battery is amazing. I charge it anything from every two to four weeks. As it is portable you can remove from the car and slip into your pocket or bag and a lock switch to prevent it switching on (or off).