Kindle Touch – Unable To Start Application

Had an issue with my Kindle Touch today where anytime I tried to activate certain applications (like, for instance, the Special Offers app), I’d receive an error message that said “Unable to Start Application”. Since there was an awesome deal to get an award-winning book from a selection of books for $1, I spent some Google-juice figuring out how to fix it.

Keith and his beloved Kindle Touch
Oh, Kindle....why are you tasking me?

Turns out, there’s a way to reboot the Kindle Touch beyond holding the power button down till it blinks (which evidently is a fake reboot).

To hard reboot the Kindle Touch:

Press the Menu button. Press Settings. After the Settings menu appears, press the Menu button again. Then press Restart.

If your Kindle is particularly depressed and you can’t get to the Menu, try holding down the power button to fake reboot, then try again. You could also try resetting to factory default — although it always pains me greatly to have to do that to a device.

Hopefully, this is just a firmware problem that will be fixed in the next go-round.


Thoughts on Microsoft Kinect

My house has become a very sweaty place.

No, my air conditioning is fine, I just picked up a Microsoft Kinect, their new motion control device for the Xbox 360.


The first thing I did after I set it up was play the TRON: Legacy trailer…with my voice.

“Xbox…Play Trailer!”

BAM! High-def Tron goodness.

That was a “future soon” moment for me. I hate voice control. I don’t really like babbling commands at my phone. I can’t imagine dictating something I’m writing.  I make great use of Dial-A-Human. Yet, talking to the entertainment center in my living room felt very natural. After a week or so of playing with the Kinect voice control, I’m wishing it could do more things, especially since using your arms and hands to control the menus with gestures is still a bit fidgety.

Rumor has it Microsoft wants to bring this kind of gesture and voice control to computers. I’m hopeful about this because I hate touch screens. After five minutes of fiddling with my phone at lunch, my screen is as smudged as a Macy’s window during the holidays. Pizza grease and touch controls just don’t work well together. Kinect makes me want to wave my device in the air, like a Harry Potter wand, to control it. “Wingardium dial-my-mom-um!”)

Games is where Kinect really shines. Kinect Adventures, the game that comes with it, easily equals the fun of Wii Sports. You jump around, wave your arms, have fun, and get winded and yes, extremely sweaty. The fact that Kinect Adventures takes pictures of you being a silly ass that you can then post to the Internet is a bonus.

The virtual puppet rewards are really fun, too.

Shark Award from Microsoft Kinect Adventures


Since my wife uses the Wii to work out, I also picked up Your Shape: Fitness Evolved. Being able to follow along with a workout without having to hold a WiiMote, nunchuck, and some crazy fitness rubber band is a big bonus. Kinect gives you the ability to actually work out while holding weights.

It comes with an excellent  variety of workouts and some fun fitness games, though their confusing menu system makes it a bit difficult to find different things. While I like working out with it, I’m finding it’s kicking my butt and I can’t really create the custom wimp-ass workout I want to. How about I tell you how many lunges I want to do, Fitness Evolved?

Definitely some nice innovation here from the Microsoft folks. Looking forward to checking out some of the other games, as well as seeing what other neat hacks people come up with for the device., The Facebook User Manual

I can’t help it, I’m a fan of privacy. Yes, I like the red carpet and the public eye. Papparazi swarming around. But I like to have the option of scratching those places that no one else needs to see me scratch, once in a while.

If you’re on Facebook, you might want to take a look at I discovered it today, and read a great article about privacy and security. I was only vaguely aware of the Friends group thing, and actually didn’t think the features were quite as good as they are.

Legal Reading of Facebook New Terms of Service

Someone at work posted a link to a legal reading of the new Facebook Terms of Service that I thought others might be interested in. Yes, it sucks as much as you think it does.

Update: Feb 16, 2009 @ 19:20

Here’s a post by Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook on the TOS change. Makes me feel a little better about it, though I hope they do continue to make changes.

Facebook, More Like Thiefbook

Facebook has a new Terms of Service agreement that gives them full rights to any content you post there forever. Seems like a total rip to me. Be interesting to see how this shakes out as I can’t believe they’ll find a way to defend this stance for very long.

Currently, my blog is re-published via the Notes feature in Facebook to my Facebook account. Wonder if that means they own it? Hard to believe that would hold up in court….

Facebook Privacy and Security

So I just joined Facebook to keep in touch with several people I know. I had resisted for a long time because I wasn’t sure I really needed another social networking site, and also because I was concerned about privacy and security. Now that I’ve joined up, I wanted to understand the issues and what I should be doing to protect myself online.

There’s a great article on Facebook security on the Sophos web site. Sophos is an anti-virus software maker.

If you’re on Facebook, take a read so you will know how to protect your personal information online. A lot of the initial settings on Facebook are kind of weak to start with, and there are some things that can weaken the security further. For instance, if you have locked down your profile, but you respond to a message from someone, they can briefly see your profile.

WoW Insider Gets the Scoop on the Blizzard Authenticator

WoW Insider has a good article that may go some way to allaying any fears about the security of the Blizzard Authenticator. This device basically allows two-factor authentication for your World of Warcraft account.

For those who don’t know, two-factor authentication means you have to provide two items to prove who you are to, for instance, the Internet site you are trying to log in to. In the case of an authenticator like this one, you provide both your password, chosen by you, and the random code provided by the authenticator, to log in. Since each code generated by the authenticator is unique each time it it used, someone who wanted to sneak into your account would have to actually have the authenticator in their possession AND know your password.

Authenticators like this are a really good idea, when used properly by the companies that implement them. I hope to see a lot more banks and credit card companies offering this kind of authentication in the future.

I know people who have had their accounts hacked, so I think getting one of these is really a great idea.

XBox 360 and Netflix

Well, I’ve been awaiting this announcement for a while, about Netflix on-demand movies being available via the XBox 360. Thing is, you have to be an XBox Live Gold subscriber to do it.

What a rip-off! I have to pay Microsoft money to watch movies from Netflix on their console? You would think they’d want to sell consoles by offering this, instead of trying to squeeze more money out of console owners. They already nickel and dime people for almost everything you can download from Live, including silly things like skins (which change the way your basic interface looks) and gamer pics (which you can use as your avatar on XBox Live). This is just another stupid grab for money.

If I actually played games on XBox Live, it might be different, but the only game I really play regularly on the XBox is “Rock Band”. Looks like I’ll have to start thinking about setting up that living room beige box PC again.