Digging My Kindle Fire 6

I haven’t blogged since returning from my Seattle trip. The reason is I unpacked and starting playing with my new Kindle Fire 6. Earlier this year I raved about the Chromebook. However, as much as I loved and still love my Chromebook, it fails on two points.

  1. Reading e-books on the Chromebook via the Kindle Cloud Reader gets tiresome real fast. You need to hold your elbow bent over the arrow keys to turn pages. After 20-30 minutes of this you need to take a break to stretch out your arm and get the blood flowing again.
  2. The second thing is the Chromebook can’t do Skype. It is not supported. Google Hangouts is fine unless the person you are trying to video chat doesn’t have it installed. Also I’ve noticed there are times when Skype works better.

Now that I have the Kindle Fire 6, I am blasting through books again. And I got Skype installed. Therefore less blogging.

The Kindle Fire also has a browser, so now I have been taking it with me into the kitchen to read recipes while I cook. It is much easier to move a Kindle Fire around than a laptop. And for $100 there is less financial risk should I drop it or spill anything on it. I might get a protective case for it, but I haven’t decided yet.

I also installed Netflix on the Kindle Fire. Before I was using the smaller Pod Touch for my portable video player. The larger screen of the Kindle Fire is better.


When the Check Engine Light Comes On Part 2

This is a follow-up post to When the Check Engine Light Comes On. If you haven’t read that post, the short version is I learned how to read the engine codes thrown when the Check Engine light comes on in my car. Your mechanic will gladly charge you $85 to hook you up to “the computer” to see why your Check Engine light is on, but I wanted access to that data faster and I wanted to save some money.

Bluetooth OBD2 adapter and an Android App

I purchased the Soliport ELM 327 Bluetooth OBDII OBD2 Diagnostic Scanner on Amazon for $5 (now $11) plus shipping and I downloaded the free version of Torque for the Android. Once you have your phone connected, you can then get the $5 paid version which has more features.



Look under your steering wheel and you will see where the scanner plugs into. It looks like a printer port. Here is a photo of mine. VW was nice enough to use fuchsia so it stood out.


Plug in the scanner there. 


The OBD2 scanner is now plugged in.

The Amazon review by Mark from Oswego provides perfect directions on connecting the Torque app to your OBD2 adapter. Once you are connected, start your car and Torque. When the Check Engine comes on, go to Actions -> Show Logged Faults. You will see the error code being thrown by the engine along with a link to a web page explaining what the problem is.

Don’t you just love technology?

Now when the Check Engine light comes on, I can pull over to the side of the road and read the code. No need to schedule an appointment at the mechanic just to learn what the code is. I can learn the severity in real-time. I may end up at the mechanic, but I’ll have more information when I schedule that appointment. And if the code is related to prior work, it might be covered under a service guarantee.

My car has a spare tire, a jack, a first aid kit and now I have an OBD2 reader. The Torque app does a lot more that show fault codes. It collects A LOT of data points. I’ll save that discussion for another post.

Maybe I’m Wrong About Exercise Injury Risk

Anyone that has read this site in the past few years knows that when it comes to exercise I seek out movements that are kind to the joints and respect how the muscles move. My general position is that much of what passes for exercise today exposes the exerciser to too much injury risk. There is both the risk of getting injured during or immediately after the exercise or years later from cummulative wear and tear on the joints. Treat your joints kind when you’re young and your older self will be grateful.

But maybe we shouldn’t be as concerned about the second class of injuries? The reason is I consider myself a Healthy Optimist. Technology to the rescue. The trajectory of health care progress is impressive and will continue to get better every year. Look at the strides made in artificial limbs in the last decade. I could easily see in 10 or 20 years that replacement parts will be superior to our human parts. Going into a Jiffy Lube like facility for new parts might be common. Throw in lots of sensors and a datalink to a cloud server and we’ll become more and more indestructible.

Bionic man

Photo by JD Hancock

Twenty years from now all those ripped CrossFit athletes will be laughing at me as they strut around with their new bionic shoulders. Kippling pull-ups away! The average barbell back squatter will be lifting 500+ pounds well into their 60s with the spinal replacement. No disc compression with the new Super Spine 3000. And the runners will be able to go endless miles as their robotic joints absorb the energy from every step and redirect it to the muscles.

As the runner heads down a trail, their new parts will communicate to a cloud server which knows their location. The server will send optimized settings for that trail. The squatter’s Super Spine 3000 would of course be able to detect load and adjust for optimal safety throughout the repetition. Even if form suffers, the Super Spine 3000 is always calculating where optimal safety is and makes the appropriate adjustments.

This future world of bionic parts may not come or it may come too late for many. So I’ll still play it safe. But if you find walking and slow HIT too boring, go knock yourself out with extreme exercises. The engineers are working hard on solutions to ensure your later years aren’t spent in pain with restricted movement. YOLO!