Renaming your Kindle devices without conflict.

I have an Android phone loaded with apps I use often, including Box, Dropbox and Kindle. From time to time I check the Google Play Store for any updates to these apps, and installing them is always tricky due to the limited free space on my phone. As a workaround I temporarily remove the Kindle app as its data takes up the most storage space. Before I do this, I deregister the device from the app’s main menu to avoid duplicate Android devices from appearing on the “Manage Your Devices” page I access after logging on my account at Amazon’s site. When all the updates are installed, I then re-install the Kindle app and re-download my books.

A few days ago I noticed that my phone kept showing up as “Michael’s 2nd Android Device” on the “Manage Your Devices” page, which was odd considering I had only one such device. I tried renaming it to “Michael’s Android Device” but Amazon responded by saying that the name was already in use. This made no sense whatsoever.

I did a quick search and arrived at this discussion forum in which other Kindle users were reporting the same problem. I scrolled down the page and came across a post from one user who found the solution.

There’s a separate page at Amazon for configuring the Instant Video Settings and it’s here where the list of registered devices are stored. Sure enough, I saw “Michael’s Android Device” and “Michael’s 2nd Android Device” listed there and was able to deregister them. Finally, I was able to easily rename my Kindle app to the desired name.

The book that blew up my Kindle.

There is a very dangerous book floating around on the Web entitled This Book Will Blow Up Your Kindle. Unfortunately for me I was curious enough to download and read it but I didn’t get past the first chapter. In fact, the book only has one chapter. When I first started reading it my Kindle suddenly got very hot and swelled up like a balloon before it exploded. Now I need a new Kindle, no thanks to the idiot author who wrote this book. Do NOT download This Book Will Blow Up Your Kindle unless you too want your Kindle very hot and swelled up like a balloon.

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Are the Kindle’s days numbered?

I still have an older model of the beloved Kindle reader, the kind with the black and white screen and no backlighting. I can still download and read books on it and browse the web, so it still works reasonably well. The only thing I can’t do is hook it up to Facebook. Each time I try linking my Facebook account, I always get the “Web browser is unable to establish a secure connection with this web site.” A search on the web for a fix to this problem yielded no results and I checked Amazon for any Kindle updates that could possibly fix this issue, but apparently Amazon is no longer concerned with keeping its older Kindles up to date. I fear that these older models may be reaching the end of their support cycle. Too bad. As tempted as I am to switch to one of the newer Kindle models, I do not see myself parting with the classic model I already have. I still enjoy it too much to even think of getting rid of it.

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The universe doesn’t give a flying WHAT?

Last night I was browsing the Kindle store for books on the universe to satisfy my hunger for astronomy when I spotted a book titled The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying Fuck About You. Talk about an eye-catching title.

When I opened the book’s link for more information I noticed that the book was free and very short, so I decided to download and read it. 20 minutes after recovering from what amounted to a virtual punch in the stomach, I now carry the book’s overall message: No more waiting for greatness to happen, it’s up to me to be great. The universe is too busy to care, so I have to take matters into my own hands. The time is now.

This is some serious motivational shit.

The most expensive book on Amazon.

Every so often I browse through the Kindle Store just to see what’s on offer there. Occasionally I’ll find a title interesting enough to warrant a purchase while other times I often wonder what the author was even thinking. Tonight I definitely witnessed an instance in the latter category.

Just for kicks I decided to see what would turn up when I did a search for “most expensive book”, and to my surprise, there was an actual book in the results list entitled “The Amazon’s Most Expensive Book”. Yes, this is an actual book on sale at Amazon and you can search for it yourself in the Kindle Store if you don’t believe me.

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The book is only 19 pages long and carries a hefty price tag of $200. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Who’d actually pay that much for such a small book?

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I downloaded a free sample containing the first chapter which basically says this book is only for rich people and warns you not to buy it if you do not have enough money in your bank account. From reading some of the scathing reviews from other customers, it sounds like this the general message of the remaining 9 chapters in the book.

Unreal. It’s way cheaper to spend $3 on a book filled with lorem ipsum.

When I was very young.

When I was a kid, two of the first books I ever read were When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six, both of them by A. A. Milne. Decades later, I still remember a few poems from those books and some of the fine drawings that grace its pages.

Recently I purchased both of those titles for my Kindle for the purpose of re-discovering these childhood gems all over again. As I write this, I am not yet finished reading When We Were Very Young but I can already tell you that this is a very enchanting reading experience, even in its electronic form. It’s great to see those drawings again and to discover for myself the magical poetry that has made these books so timeless.

There is a third book in the series entitled The House on Pooh Corner that introduced the world to Winnie the Pooh, and I think I had that book as well since I remember the drawings of Pooh and his friends that looked nothing like the Disney versions that we all know so well. I just purchased that book so I can re-visit these classic characters all over again in the very near future.

Other books I remember reading when I was very young were Little Bear, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, the Berenstain Bears along with books by Richard Scarry, P.D. Eastman, Maurice Sendak, Mercer Mayer and especially Dr. Seuss, who had the greatest impact on my childhood. His books were a welcome departure from the usual themes covered by children’s books and introduced me to imaginative characters and creatures I’d never seen before in other books. His books inspired me to expand my imagination to levels I never thought possible. I still feel that inspiration even today.

Towards the end of my visit to my sister’s house for Thanksgiving yesterday, my 5-year old nephew, still learning to read, sat on my lap while reading one of his books out loud. When he finished reading one book, he would walk up to the bookshelf to put the book away and pull out another one to read from the comfort of my lap. Sure enough, many of the books he read were the same ones I read when I was his age, the classics by the Berenstains, P.D. Eastman, and yes, Dr. Seuss. How cool that these books continue to span the decades to inspire and entertain new generations of readers.

Dewey Readmore Books.

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Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World is a wonderful tribute to a single cat who made a difference in countless lives across the nation and around the world. His story is lovingly told by a retired librarian who found him as an abandoned kitten in the library’s book drop and raised him to become Dewey Readmore Books, the world’s most famous library cat. People traveled from all over the globe to visit the library just to see Dewey, yet he was just an ordinary cat who offered his companionship to patrons in exchange for some attention and a warm lap to lie on. It’s inspiring to think such simple acts can touch the lives of so many people.

I admit I had never even heard of Dewey until I spotted the book available for checkout at my library’s web site. As I read this book, it felt like Dewey touched my life, too. I cried when I read how affectionate and trusting he was even as a tiny kitten. I was touched by his loving nature as he roamed the library to greet the patrons and keep them company.  I was laughing at the descriptions of his silly antics and cried once more during the sad narrative of Dewey being put to sleep.

Reading this book gave me a deeper appreciation for all that cats and dogs do for us. Too often we take them for granted, other times they’re just obstacles to gently push aside with our feet. But they’re there for us, devoting their short lives to us and being there for us to help us conquer whatever life throws at us. How sad we forget that.

Great book. Prepare to have your heart strings strummed.

Those wicked plants.

If you thought gardening was boring, you need to check out Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities, a Who’s Who of some of the nastiest plants to ever grow in soil. There are surprises aplenty on every page as you learn about plants around the world that cause pain, addiction, illness, discomfort and death. Tobacco and marijuana may be a few of the more well-known botanical beasts described within, but there are hundreds of other plants just as deadly, many of them much worse. The graphic descriptions of these plants’ evil deeds is enough to make your skin crawl.

Be warned, though. There’s a good chance that some of these plants could very well be lurking in your backyard or even inside your house. This is some seriously interesting stuff.

Frozen in time.

Earlier this month I tweeted “What if school textbooks were written as thriller novels? The students would be up all night turning pages and actually read every word.” There’s a book I just finished reading on my Kindle that does read like a thriller and is based on a true story from World War II. It may not be an actual school textbook but it does make huge strides to make boring history lessons things of the past.

Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of World War II is a thrilling true story of survival in the unforgiving realm of the Arctic region of Greenland. Nine men were stranded there when their plane crashed and were forced to wage nonstop combat against the elements while awaiting their daring rescue.

A second story unfolds during the progression of the book, a narration on a recent expedition to Greenland to find and recover this same plane from deep underneath the ice, in fact the expedition took place just last year. The author himself was part of the expedition team and documented the efforts to locate the buried plane.

This story is told extremely well and unfolds so dramatically that I had a very hard time putting the book down. The pages kept flying as I eagerly awaited to see what happened next during the long ordeal faced by the stranded crew. It also left me with a deeper appreciation for the sacrifices made by the Coast Guard to rescue those nine men, as well as the sacrifices they continue to make today.