Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Gear: Defeating Technology Again

A few weeks ago, I made a point of "defeating technology" by putting a ton of documents and a couple of new books on my Kindle Fire. In so doing, I've hoped to mitigate some of the limitations caused by its inability to access the University network. On Sunday, I went to Starbucks to update my computer's virus software (also a victim of the University's proxy requirement), and did a little bit more work on defeating technology.

The two stragglers the last time around were Small Wars: Their Principles and Practice (1906) by C.E. Callwell (HTML/PDF) and NAVMC 2890/FMFRP 12-15 Small Wars Manual (link, link). These were slightly too big to E-mail to the E-mail address provided by Amazon for sending documents to a Kindle (such a cool feature!), so while I was at Starbucks I found links to both and downloaded them. There doesn't appear to be any way to move the PDF files from the "downloads" section within the Kindle web browser, into the "Docs" section, but the important thing is having them available in the first place. I also downloaded the most recent National Security Strategy, National Defense Strategy, and National Military Strategy in preparation for the mid-term (I totally spaced the Quadrennial Defense Review, but I'll be back there soon enough). For SND, I downloaded the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review, and read the executive summary section on Sunday night and Monday morning prior to seminar.

The other thing I figured out how to do was download video content that I'd already purchased on Amazon to my Kindle. Since tablets are optimized for wifi use, they tend to default toward streaming content from the cloud. (I'm not a big fan of cloud computing and/or content storage for security reasons, for content control reasons, and because I think it's more about DRM than improving the user experience. Then again, I'm a longtime student of ancient history, and I've read Nineteen_Eighty-Four, so I'm probably more paranoid than most about preserving independent copies of media.) Anyway, without frequent wifi capability, streaming from the cloud doesn't exactly meet my needs, so I was thrilled to mess around and discover that I could download the content I'd purchased directly to my Kindle. On Sunday, I downloaded all six episodes of Secret Girlfriend, a hilarious and tragically short-lived Comedy Central show that my buddy Caleb introduced me to back in 2010 or so. I imagine I may have some occasion to watch it while I'm sitting on a train or an airplane or something.

Adapt and overcome. Fight smart, then fight hard. It's a great piece of kit, and I'm glad the folks who designed it saw fit to program enough functionality into it to allow a guy like me to overcome an otherwise serious limitation.

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