Friday, February 12, 2016

Blog On Fire

Blog On Fire

Although my blog is mainly about adventuring and traveling around Oregon (and the world) it is also about equipment and experiences. One of the important pieces of equipment that I use is my laptop. I mean, how can I write a blog for you if I don't have a good input device?

Usually, this means that I get a nice cup of coffee and sit in the morning sun in my living room and I type on my nice Apple notebook. When I am done, I upload it to Blogger and add pictures and such. But, in April, My partner and I are heading out to the Galapagos Islands, and due to the nature of stuff, I don't want to bring my expensive laptop to Ecuador and risk all of my personal data.

So what to do?

Well, I have this very nice Amazon Fire 7. I use it for reading books and the Washington Post and for watching videos on the plan or on the stair machine at the gym. It costs like $70 (hey, On sale today for $50) and it certainly has all of the compute power I need to type in some text (the blog upload would have to wait until I get home anyway, I think).

So, I download a text editor app. Hmmm. Free. Seems to work OK. But I really need a keyboard. I can't do a blog with the tiny hunt and peck touch screen interface.

Looking around on the web I find a lot of articles that imply that the micro-USB port on the FIRE 7 isn't good for anything except charging the machine. I am suspicious. I order a cable from Amazon and Lo and behold, I can now attach any standard USB keyboard or a USB key (for file backup).

I look some more and find this nice little compact case and keyboard that plugs right into a 7 inch tablet using a micro usb cable. It says it isn't compatible with Amazon Fire. But.... it is USB. How can it NOT be compatible?
It costs $12. So I order it.
It comes in the mail in like 13 minutes. It is very cute. I plug it into my Fire. It works JUST FINE. Don't listen to the Nae sayers.

Well, don't listen to the ones with small hands.
If you have big hands like me (not huge hands. Just bigger than a child's) the keyboard is a bit challenging to type on. (Editor's note: Now it belongs to my partner and editor, lucky her!)
I need a better solution.

So I go searching for fold up keyboard. It's hard to find one. I figure I could get a fold up micro USB keyboard for like $10. But I can't find one.

There are these roll up rubber ones. But that would be hard to use on my lap.
The other alternative is this fold up Bluetooth model. It should work (my big bluetooth keyboad worked) but it costs $40. Sigh. I order one. It comes in 18 minutes. But I have to charge it overnight.
And here I am using it. It is still a little smaller than a normal keyboard and if you hit the keys too hard it tries to fold up in your lap. Oh, and the backspace key is a little small and hard to hit. (The backspace key should be the largest key on the keyboard), but all in all, it works just fine.

$100 laptop

See? I am testing it. OK, yes, I did go back and fix all of the typos a week later when I was editing on my nice laptop.
So sue me.

Oh, and I posted the original (pre-edit) version straight to blogger from the Fire using a free blogger App. Now that is cool. If I have wifi in the Galapagos, I won't need a USB key to save stuff on. I will try pictures from there sometime later.

The more I use the Amazon Fire, the more I am amazed at it's (largely unadvertised) functionality. It is really a full function little computer. Just no keyboard. Or Mouse.

But, I plugged a standard little USB key wireless mouse into the little micro USB converter cable I got from Amazon and bingo.... it worked.

So Mouse and Keyboard at the same time.

I'm not sure what would happen if I tried to connect up 2 bluetooth devices at the same time or tried a USB hub on the micro USB. Those will come in the next update.

Right now we have: Keyboard (bluetooth or USB), Mouse (USB), Flash Drive (USB). Text Editor (free) Blogger App (Free).

Still need: A way to get pictures from my camera onto the fire. I tried a little USB to SSD adaptor that I have, but that didn't work. It also didn't work on my MAC, so I think it is just broken.
I think I want to see if I can add a powered hub so I can charge and work at the same time.

I got a different and working USB to SSD card adaptor. It hooks up to the Fire. The folder browsing AP I downloaded can read the card, show me the pictures, and copy the pictures I want over to the FIRE.

I am now going to try and put a picture from the SSD card directly to this blog through the Fire.

Drum roll Please....
OK. Where is the insert picture button on this APP?
So, I could import the pictures, but they all went to the beginning of the blog. I didn't like that so much so I deleted them.

This is not a Fire problem, per se. Just need a better blogger ap. Will look around. I guess I could go through the webpage (which is what I am doing right now on my MAC).

Stay tuned for more updates....


  1. Wow, that text edit screen looks like a DOS text editor. How far apps have come... ;D

  2. That is just because the screen background is black. It was actually a pretty full feature text only editor.
    Did I mention it was free?
    There are probably other editors that are better, but for going to blogger, I just need text because you need to add all of the pictures and such online in blogger. (at least, I think you do).

  3. Oh, and happy Valentines Day and thanks for ready my blog !!