Kindle Fire–UK Unboxing and Setup

Having received my Kindle Fire this morning I took a few pics of the packaging and began the setup process.  Early days but everything has been very smooth so far.

The Packaging






WP_000083After connecting to my PC using the USB cable I proceeded to go through the setup screens which all went smoothly. 

I was prompted for a firmware update which I accepted – this took around 10 minutes to download and a couple more minutes to install and verify (all of which completed without any intervention required)


Initial Use

1. I connected the device via USB to my laptop and copied across a couple of PDF books that I had on my Laptop Hard Drive.  These then appeared in the browser on the Kindle Fire Home Screen and also within the ‘books’ menu.  SUCCESS!

2. I connected to the store and proceeded to purchase the Kindle Daily deal (“Punishment” by Anne Holt – 99c).  I was prompted to enter my login details for Amazon again – which I did.  For delivery I chose the option to ‘register a new Kindle’.  this involved choosing a name for the device and entering it’s serial number (which I got from the tools menu).  I then hit continue and was prompted for payment details as per normal.

I waited a few minutes then check the home screen for the book …. nothing has appeared as I write this approx. 1 hour later (my Amazon account says that the item is ‘pending’)

UPDATE: I found I could download the book to my PC and transfer it to the Fire via USB without any issues.

UPDATE 2 My Magazine subscription (99c for PC Magazine) got delivered after an hour or two so it looks like it is working but perhaps a little tardy …

3. While I was waiting I clicked on the Facebook icon on the home screen and entered my Facebook details.  This took me to what appeared to be the standard Facebook web site – very serviceable, but a little disappointing (?) 

4. Next up I clicked on another Home screen icon called ‘Pulse’.  This promised to ‘bring all my favorite websites together’.  This appears to be a very nice little RSS aggregator with a sweet  and responsive UI. SUCCESS!


The Fire has its own bookshelf of apps and mine shows 15 with pre-installed shortcuts (Including the Amazon, Pulse and Facebook apps that I have already touched on).  I clicked on the following to investigate a little further:

Weather Channel

WP_000084The app is free and downloaded in a matter of seconds.  On launch I was prompted for a location and was able to type in “Gloucester UK”.  All the functionality presented appeared to work fine in the UK UK 




Quick Office

WP_000085I was quickly able to register with a number of online providers including  DropBox and Google Docs.  I have an ‘old’ Google docs account and was able to open a simple spreadsheet from 2006 without any issues.





WP_000086WP_000087Again, a very quick install.  After accepting the licensing agreements screen I was presented with a number of comics for purchase.  I chose one of the ‘free’ comics to test out the functionality: ‘The Walking dead’  Issue 1.  After a painless registration process (why were my details not pre-populated?).  I proceeded with the download which took a matter of seconds.  The app provides it’s own reader which made flipping through the pages of the comic an enjoyable experience.

Video Streaming


There appears to be a wealth of video content available and while I didn’t try and download any full length films the trailers certainly looked good and definitely very watchable on this form factor. I can see this device being used as a multi-media version of the existing ink based readers (which was I guess the thinking behind this device all along)


I was a little surprised how well the Fire operated from within the UK and this perhaps bodes well for an early release on these shores? 

It is impossible to do justice to this device in such a short review but while still only having had a couple of hours use the device looks like a knockout and sets the bar very high for devices at this price point.

Worth mentioning that while there will be those working feverishly on unlocking this device, I am not sure I would personally want to run full blow Android – it’s so nice to use such a simple and functional interface and get access to 90% of what I want so easily – well done Amazon!

(Secondary conclusion – better get some work done)

UPDATE:  Although I could view all apps in the Amazon app store (which appears to be large and not unlike the standard Android store) I wasn’t able to download anything from there using my UK Amazon linked credit card. “The Amazon App Store is not yet available in your region”

Sony Bloggie 3D vs LG Optimus 3D vs HTC EVO 3D

Anyone that knows me appreciates that I am an all round geek, and have had an interest in 3d cameras, devices and paraphernalia for more time than I care to mention.  So I was especially excited to get my hands on these devices, albeit only for a short period of time.  It will come as no surprise that my interest in these devices was in their potential as a 24/7 ‘back pocket’ device for taking 3D video and photographs.

So I don’t intend doing a particularly scientific test, nor reproducing technical specs (which are available elsewhere) but I thought it might be useful to compare some real world video and images taken at the same location, at the same time, using each devices’ default HD settings (with apologies for the rather overcast weather).

Video Quality

Sony Bloggie 3D

NB The Bloggie is the only camera to support full 1080p 3D video.

For 3d viewing options watch in YouTube.


For 3d viewing options watch in YouTube.

LG Optimus 3D

For 3d viewing options watch in YouTube.


Having has some chance to play with all 3 devices here is my general conclusion.

If all you want is a tidy and petite 3D Video and stills camera to carry about for everyday use then the Bloggie, with it’s superior 1080p resolution and dedicated/simplistic functionality wins out.

If you need a combined 3d camera and phone my personal preference is the LG Optimus 3D though in all honesty there is little to choose between the two devices (In fact I would be tempted to go for whichever gave me the best price on the day)

(This post is a work in progress)

Duke Nukem at Gadget Show Live

Spent the day promoting ‘Gadget Watch’ at the Trade day of ‘The Gadget Show Live’.






Essentially I went round all the stands showing my App to anyone who feigned any interest – focussing on Gadget Blogging / News Sites and Gadget Magazines.  Came away with some contacts for follow ups ..

You can download ‘Gadget Watch’ from here

Enter the Duke Nukem Forever competition to win early access to Duke Nukem here

Where to buy Gadgets at MIX 11

imageSo you are in Vegas for Mix, you have checked out the Gadget Watch App on your phone and maybe want to bring back a Gadget or two for your friends at home?  Where should you go?  Well you are in luck as the biggest gadget store in Los Vegas* is just down the road from the Mandalay Bay hotel itself.  It’s a short taxi ride so may  ask the question at your breakfast table to see if anyone wants to share the ride with you.   Don’t like gadgets?   WTF?

Gadget Watch

Like gadgets? Get the latest gadget news delivered in a pleasing and interactive Metro based UI.  T3, Engadget, PC Pro, Web News, Gadget Blogs and Twitter are all scoured to give you the most comprehensive listings of gadgets on the planet!







Latest features (version 1.4) include the ability to tweet / facebook / email articles to your followers and ‘achievement unlocks’ (which are really just a cunning way of the App saying ‘did you know I could do this’).  Version 1.5 brings video support.

Hey, ‘Gadget Watch’ is a work in progress, please feedback any thoughts you have or issues you encounter using the feedback option within the App itself.  I’ll try and incorporate your ideas in the next free update of the app.

Laura Foy reviews Gadget Watch on Channel 9

4 days after airing and the viewer stats look pretty impressive with almost 36,000 views.  This highlights the main difficulty that an ‘Indie dev’ usually has when marketing your apps – gaining some ‘reach’!  (Thanks Laura)


Update: Spent the day at day 1 of the Gadget Show Live showing ‘Gadget Watch’ to anyone who would spare me a couple of minutes. Got a great reaction (and some ideas for version 1.7!)

Update 2: Latest version for Mango includes live tiles and home screen status updates for new gadget news!

Top Gadgets XMAS 2007

Cribbed from – a list of top gadget wants for XMAS 2007:

  • HD-capable flat screen TVs were number one with a bullet among all population subgroups with 35% of mentions. Interestingly, most of those HD sets will not deliver true HD to their owners, as only 2% also intend to get a HD box from their cable or satellite company (ranked at #20 on the list).
  • Apple’s iPhone was ranked #15 overall. The hottest Apple-branded product was a laptop, ranked #11 overall and #9 among women.
  • While no individual Apple product ranked higher than #11 on the wish lists, when combined, Apple-branded technology products make it to the top 5 overall with one-in-six considering purchase, suggesting strong potential holiday season for the company.
  • Men and women had six items in common in the top 10—the rest were unique by gender. Sony PS3 and Xbox 360 were on the top 10 list of men but did not make it to the top 10 list of women. On the other hand, TiVo/DVR and Apple laptops were in the top 10 for women but did not show up on men’s wish lists for the holidays.
  • Laptops were preferred over desktop PCs 2-to-1 among those 18-34. Nintendo Wii, Sony PS3 and Xbox 360 were all on 18-34 lists—Nintendo Wii was the highest ranked console, ranked #8 overall, edging out Sony PS3 which came in at #9. Xbox was ranked #12.
  • Digital cameras are popular across all age groups—ranked #2 or #3 in all age or gender groups.
  • GPS navigation for cars is mainstreaming—it was ranked #5 item among men and #7 among women.