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Making the Fire HD 8 Work

The Android tablet market is not what it used to be anymore. There used to be a huge selection of tablets to choose from. But nowadays the selection is slim. When my trusty Asus' battery failed, there wasn't much choice.

Since I also was a bit short on cash1) I decided to explore the cheapest option available: Amazon's Fire series. I picked the Fire HD 8 which was 90 EUR in the recent Cyber Monday sale.

Now, Amazon's Fire tablets aren't running a proper Android OS but instead they use Amazon's derivate dubbed Fire OS. They offer their hardware cheaply because they want you to buy into their eco system. The Fire series is meant to consume Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video, Kindle Books and of course for shopping at Amazon.

This means their default launcher is like a big shopping catalog. Oh and it does not even has the Google Apps (web search defaults to Bing).

So in the default setup, the Fire HD 8's software is a bit shit.

Luckily there are a few things you can do about it. Unfortunately the boot loader is locked, so simply replacing the system is not an option currently2). Instead workarounds are needed.

Last updated: 2018/11/26 21:26 · Permalink · Comments

RetroPie

Over the last few months I worked on a little Raspberry Pi project. It took so long because I ordered stuff from China and it all took a while to arrive. And because of bad planning I did not order everything at once…

So what does it do? It's a mini game console similar to the NES Mini and SNES Mini only based on a Raspberry Pi and not limited to a small selection of builtin games.

What follows is a description of how I set it all up.

Last updated: 2018/11/05 23:03 · Permalink · Comments

DIY "3rd Hand" Soldering Helper

I'm currently working on a Raspberry Pi project and that needed some soldering. But holding the Raspberry, the wire, the soldering tin and the soldering iron isn't easy with just two hands. So it was time to get a “third hand”.

However I couldn't decide which one to get. The cheap ones are super flimsy and annoying and the expensive ones are… well, expensive.

So I looked around for inspiration on how to make my own and found this video. I liked the idea of using armature wire.

Kaddi's brother also wanted one, so I took the opportunity and built two.

3rdhand.jpg

Last updated: 2018/10/21 15:13 · Permalink · Comments

Back to the Future

Back in 2012 I got my first 3D printer and it was good, but in 2016 I wasn't really satisfied anymore.

What I wanted was a reliable, low-maintenance printer. Something were I could focus on designing the part I need and then “just print it”. So I asked Twitter what printer I should get and every reply I got said “get a Prusa MK3”. So that's what I did.

I ordered the Prusa i3 MK3 kit directly from Prusa and it arrived within a few days. It took Kaddi and me several evenings to assemble. I would guess about ten hours in total.

The overall assembly experience was fantastic. The kit ships with a printed guide and has an online manual that has additional helpful comments from users. The instructions are step by step with lots of pictures, a bit like a Lego manual. The kit even contains the needed tools and a whole bag of spare parts.

Of course the assembly wasn't without difficulties…

Last updated: 2018/10/14 15:35 · Permalink · Comments

Drink More Water

Lifehack: Drink water to avoid dehydration ;-)

I spend a lot of time at my computer. I'm also a lazy person. And even though I know I should get up and get another glass of water I often won't. Because ugh… that's work.

How could I solve this problem? I first looked into various water bottles, but somehow they were all either rather small (<2 liters) or a bit unwieldy. So i came up with a different solution:

There's a 5 liter water bottle in the shelf and the dispenser is rechargeable via USB. Problem solved.

Tags:
diy, water, hydration
Last updated: 2018/08/31 22:17 · Permalink · Comments

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