News - Part 14

Carcassonne: My New Favorite Game App

This is a cross-posting of a piece I originally wrote for Kindle Fire on Kindle Nation Daily. It is reprinted here in full with that site’s permission. I am a HUGE fan of games of all sorts, including board games, so it came as a real shock to me that I’d never heard of Carcassonne (4/5 stars, currently priced at $4.99) before I came across it in the form of a Kindle Fire game app—it’s also available for other Android devices in the Google Play store, and for Apple devices in the iTunes App Store. Carcassonne is a turn-based strategy game about empire-building, and even though it was only invented in 2000, it’s become a hugely popular board game in Europe. When you hear “empire building” you may be thinking of Risk, but this game doesn’t involve careful management of invading armies and weaponry. Instead, players take turns laying down tiles with pictures of different…

Rechargeable Battery Problems: Overcharging, Leaving It Plugged In

Does it seem like your thingie isn’t holding its charge as long as it used to, or like a full charge doesn’t give you as many hours of use as it used to? Does it seem like your last thingie died a lot sooner than you expected? It’s recently come to my attention that many folks don’t know two crucial things about charging their devices with rechargeable batteries, and that’s where the trouble begins. DON’T OVERCHARGE Rechargeable batteries lose a little bit of their holding capacity every time they’re overcharged. By “overcharged”, I mean when they’re plugged into an outlet for charging beyond the time it takes to fully recharge the battery. **UPDATE 1/23/14** To anyone who’s thinking it’s not possible to damage a rechargeable Lithium Ion battery by leaving it plugged in too long, see this DMM post, where I discuss the difference between what’s technically correct about Li-ion batteries…

Bargain Hunters: It’s An Ideal Time To Get A Free Amazon Prime Trial

5/16/13 UPDATE: Note that the 30 Day Free Prime Trial offer may no longer be in effect; it was valid as of the writing of this post, and comes back from time to time, but I can’t guarantee it’s still in effect as you read this. I am a bargain hunter par excellence, I know a great deal when I see one. I also know that time-consuming, hassle-filled “bargains” aren’t really bargains at all, and neither are low prices on crummy products or services. Having said all that, I can tell you that taking advantage of free trial periods for premium services is one of the major tools in my bargain hunter’s utility belt. Free Trials: These Days, It’s Easy To Cancel Before The Expiration Date You may be leery of “free” trials, because as we all know the sellers’ goal is to hook you in and hope you forget…

Kindle Fire / Android Tips & Tricks: Where’s My App? Revisited, Where’s My Music? And Where’s My Audiobook?

In my last Kindle Fire Tips & Tricks post I included information on how to force a newly-purchased app to show up on your Fire when you don’t want to wait for it. I’ll just reprint that tip here, then go on to elaborate a bit more on how to force other types of content to show up. Note that some of these same methods will work on ANY Android device, so if your thingie is something other than a Kindle Fire, it still may be worth giving these tips a try. Where’s My App? If you are in the habit of downloading a new app and then immediately wanting to try it out, you’ve discovered that purchased apps don’t immediately, automatically show up on your Fire’s carousel. And you may have resigned yourself to waiting a few hours, or until the next day, for that app to show up….

What Is Twitter Good For, Anyway?

Take it from the Digital Media Mom, Twitter is not the colossal waste of time you’ve been led to believe it is. True, many celebrities and teenagers have used it only for purposes of wasting their own and others’ time, but that’s not Twitter’s fault. Hard though it may be for you to believe, Twitter can be an amazingly powerful tool and resource you may soon find yourself using on a daily basis. Twitter Basics Twitter is one example of “social media”, which is really just a jargon-y way of saying “tool that facilitates communication between individuals and groups”. Blogs, online discussion groups, message boards and newsletters (whether online or the old fashioned, real-world type), group emails and even phone trees could all be classified as social media, depending on how they’re being used.

Can I Share Content From My Thingie?

This is a question I get pretty often, in many variations. “Can I share the movies on my iPad with my daughter, on her iPad?” “Can my wife use an app I bought for my Galaxy Tab on her Android smart phone?” “Can my roommate listen to the audiobook I got for my Kindle Fire on her own Kindle Fire after I’m done with it?”  The answer to the question of whether or not you can share content from your thingie with someone else’s thingie is twofold: It depends on the thingies, and the content. I can’t possibly address every portable device (the thingies) or every existing piece of content. So I’m going to deal in types of thingies and types of content.

Surviving A Kindle Fire Factory Reset – With Most Of Your Stuff Intact

If you’re here to answer the question of what happens to all your content when you get a new Fire, or when your Fire is lost or stolen, see my post Managing Your Kindle Content: Cloud vs. Device, Deleting and Storing Content. Relax: you will not have to re-purchase all your stuff. See the post for full details. What follows is a reprint of a post I originally wrote for Kindle Fire on Kindle Nation Daily, plus a few subsequent updates I’ve made, where indicated. It is reprinted here in its entirety with that site’s permission. When your Fire starts acting hinky, as mine did a couple months back, sometimes there’s nothing for it but to do a “factory reset”. This post is about how to tell when it’s necessary, how to do it, and how to preserve as much of your Fire’s content as possible in the process.

Kindle Email – Did You Know Your Kindle Has Its Own Email Address?

Your Kindle Can Read More Than Just Kindle Books Kindle books aren’t the only e-publications you can read on your Kindle or Fire. It can handle pdfs, text files and .mobi files without any extra steps, and Amazon will convert many other popular file formats (like .doc, the standard format for Microsoft Word documents) into Kindle format for you for FREE, too. You can get ebooks from sources other than Amazon, in formats other than .azw (Amazon’s proprietary file format for Kindle books), and email them as attachments from your personal email account to your Kindle device. You can do the same with personal documents like files from work or school, as well. Amazon doesn’t exactly keep this information secret, but it seems like most Kindle and Fire owners have no idea how to send anything other than Kindle books they’ve bought from Amazon to their Kindle devices. No worries,…

Printing From Kindle Fire, Printing From Android

Today’s post is brought to you by Weekly Shirts, where you can get the coolest custom-designed, limited edition shirts around. Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support. 3/27/14 UPDATE: please see this more recent post on the same topic, which includes links to more printer apps that have been released since the time this post was originally written. Like most people who own one, I LOVE my Kindle Fire. But one area where Android tablet computers and smartphones fall short of their bigger, beefier PC, Mac and laptop counterparts is in printing. Android smartphones and tablets like the Fire aren’t designed to be connected to other devices with cables, like regular computers are. You can connect your Android device to a computer with a USB cable for file transfers, but unless your device has printer driver software installed (a program that…

Watch With The D-Media Mom: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

In which I presume to add my own commentary track to a noteworthy film. I have probably watched Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band twenty or more times by now, and I expect I’ll watch it at least twenty more times before I shuffle off this mortal coil. I saw it the first time in a theater, at about the age of 12, so many of the observations I’m about to share are from my 12 year old self, back then. Hopefully, more than a few of you can relate. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is one of those movies that was pretty universally panned when it was first released, and entire generations of movie watchers have been hating on it ever since. But I LOVE this film, and I think that by the end of this commentary, many readers will at least find a lot to marvel at—if not exactly “appreciate”—in it. In particular, pay close attention…