Reset to Factory Defaults won’t work on my Kindle

kindle factory reset screenMy Kindle goes with me everywhere. I spend a lot of time at work (and at home) in front of a computer, so the e-ink screen on the Kindle gives my eyes a rest when I want to read a book. However I have had to factory reset my Kindle twice in the last few months. My wifi Kindle lost it’s wifi connection- it wouldn’t see any wifi networks and didn’t show a MAC address in the settings. This meant I could read the books on it but I couldn’t add any other books or read a book on multiple devices and sync my progress.

The first time this happened I was able to do a reset to factory defaults:

Menu->Settings->Menu->Reset to factory defaults

This resolved the issue. However it happened again and this second time, I couldn’t resolve the issue by selecting “Reset to Factory Defaults” because while it would allow me to navigate to the option, and confirm that I wanted to proceed, nothing happened.

A lot of googling later, I found a passing comment on a forum thread that revealed how to solve this most irritating problem.

To solve the issue of how to reset a Kindle when the Reset to Factory Defaults doesn’t work, all you have to do is once again delve into the settings and check the box that says “device password” (it’s on page 2). Set the password to whatever you want, then put the device to sleep. On wake up enter “resetmykindle” as your password (or “111222777” on a Paperwhite from what I’ve read but I haven’t tried this myself). This will start a reset. When I did this, my wifi was working again and I was able to set up and sync the device with no issues!

If this has been helpful for you, you might like to consider adding some kindle books to your now functioning kindle via my affiliate link to the kindle store

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Breaking news? Broken news

If there is one thing this election cycle has shown us other than how broken our political system is, it is how broken our news coverage system is. This is perhaps something we have imported from America- under any previous President, any one of the thousands of lies that Trump has told would have been an international scandal, but today we rush breathlessly from yesterday’s lies to today’s whoppers without pausing for a moment. As a strategy it appears to work by simply drowning the press in lies to the point where they can’t cope with correcting them. The volume of untruth has also had an effect on the population- they’ve realised the world keeps turning and precious little changes when their President makes up stuff, so they don’t pay attention. The issue comes when Trump tells lies about important things rather than making up figures for who attended his inauguration or whatever. The ability to discern which lies matter and which don’t is difficult because it means each lie has to be taken on it’s merit and judged, and who (aside from Daniel Dale) is going to do that?

Alongside this impairment in the stature of truth, we have an increasing focus on the rapidity of breaking a story, which in the context of the amount of untruth circulating makes the whole thing more complex.

This has been highlighted by a number of issues this week, ranging from Peston and Kuenssberg reporting a Tory spad had been punched when he hadn’t, to C4 circulating a video of Boris which they claimed contained some racism (it didn’t). In both these instances, it is likely that the initial “scoop” was seen by far more people than the correction was- in circumstances like this the damage is done and the repair will only ever be token.

Political TV presenters “breaking” false news on Twitter is simply an extension of the deterioration that 24 hour news brought us. Breaking the news first is now the only important issue; verifying the source, getting confirmation from other parties, fact checking, none of these are “important” now because the cycle begins anew after 5 minutes hand-wringing from a mistake caused by haste.

If these political TV presenters are tweeting in the capacity of their job (which they must be doing if they’re on the trail etc), they should be held up to the same standards as they would if what they were repeating/reporting/speculating on was broadcast on the TV. The phrase “fast moving story” does far more carrying now then it ever used to and covers a multitude of sins.

It’s worse than that though: those accused of propagating “fake news”, like the Telegraph’s Allison Pearson, no longer have to provide a reasoned rebuttal or explanation, they simply have to cast enough doubt on the veracity of the original story that a false equivalence of warring versions of truth is the lingering narrative.

Again, TV news is specifically to blame for this, in the most part it is the BBC and their misguided quest for “balance” that is to blame.

This supposed “balance”, giving two sides of a story is often a false equivalence. If the claim X is investigated, the same level of scrutiny should be given to the claims about Y. But for the BBC the simple fact of having two parties disagree with each other apparently more often than not fulfils their remit of “balance”. The BBC would say that they are presenting the facts for the viewer to make a judgement on but the viewer is often not best suited to making that judgement call in the same way that a trained journalist is. Holding our politicians accountable isn’t partisan, it is essential to a functioning democracy.

As David Allen Green wrote today,

The ultimate problem is that many voters want to be lied to. These voters may pretend otherwise, claiming that they want “honest politicians”. In reality, such voters just want politicians to say what the voters want to hear.

If that sounds crazy, the post mortem to any bad choice on the behalf of voters almost always carries a blame game to assuage the guilt of those who were gulled. This time round, it’s going to be all Corbyn’s fault. Yes, it’s inconvenient that the Tories have lied but a hard Marxist government would have destroyed the country. What? Brexit has destroyed the country? No that’s the right choice, because Boris said so, it’s those of you not believing in Brexit enough that have caused the problem. If that abrogation of responsibility sounds implausible, consider for a moment the abrogation of responsibility from our politicians to tell the truth, no matter how hard it may be to accept or our media to challenge what they know is a false narrative. If we’re exposed to such abrogations on a daily basis, it’s a small step to collaborating ourselves isn’t it?

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Silicon Valley, Ambassadors, and the speculative fiction of Peter F Hamilton

Denmark, we are told, has sent an ambassador to Silicon Valley. Ignoring the fact that in a data first world, the idea of physically embedding an individual in a place famed for it’s technology, seems an anachronism (the parties must be staggering good though), this has some rather scary precedent in terms of science fiction.

I’m currently re-reading Peter F Hamilton’s Night’s Dawn trilogy, a set of doorstop plus sized space operas that were written in the late 90’s. Hamilton has the rare skill of being able to write face paced stories as well as being pretty on the nail with some of his predictions of where things will go.

By the time he wrote the Night’s Dawn trilogy, Hamilton had already written the Mindstar books, set in a Britain recovering from the damages suffered during ten years of “Marxist-Maoist” dictatorship under the People’s Socialist Party and also the ravages of global warming and collapsing financial markets. I hate so sound pessimistic but that sounds an awful lot like a very possible potential future right now as the Tory party seeks to make itself completely unelectable for at least a generation and a couple of backbench Marxists lead the opposition. Rutland, where a chunk of the books are set, is full of floating villages, with houses on pontoons, and is probably pretty close to where we’re heading now. Impressively prescient for 1993 eh?

Which brings us on to the Danish and the attempts of a smaller country to somehow influence the tech giants of Silicon Valley. In context, Silicon Valley is in California, which has the 5th largest economy in the world (4th if you exclude America, which it’s a part of). California’s GDP is around $3 trillion, against Demarks $351 billion. They’re not even close.

In the Night’s Dawn trilogy, which is set significantly further along the human timeline than the Mindstar books, Hamilton’s human race in peril story has numerous factions and organisations (which is why the final volume, at 470,000 words, is probably the second longest single binding book I’ve read after Tad William’s To Green Angel Tower which weighs in at a ludicrous 564,000 words), spanning Adamists, Edenists, Navies, secret police and special forces and the mysterious B7, a secret police like organisation that looks after Earth’s best interests.

In the final volume we find out that B7 is a consortium of incredibly wealthy individuals whose “financial institutions own a healthy percentage of the human race”. B7 have guided human decision making since the late 21st century, helping to found Earth’s centralised government, embedded themself and their legal aides into every strata of administration and governance on the planet.

Basically, in the mid to late 90’s, Hamilton had decided where Silicon Valley was going, and although the names of Larry Page and Sergi Brin (Google, founded 1998), Elon Musk and Peter Theil (Paypal, founded 1998) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon, founded 1994) wouldn’t have been known to many back then, now is an entirely different story. Throw in Zuckerberg and you’ve got a full set. Two of these Silicon Valley men now operate space exploration companies in SpaceX and Blue Origin, and all of the companies they set up are global entities that governments are finding it increasingly difficult to regulate, let alone rein in.

I still have a soft spot for Hamilton’s work, even if the amount of sex and nymphomania in his earlier books has aged rather badly, the works still stand up to scrutiny and in my opinion, the speculative part of his fiction, the world’s he creates, the motivations behind them, have always been sorely underestimated.

After all, the new Ambassador to Silicon Valley has this to say on his role:

“What has the biggest impact on daily society? A country in southern Europe, or in Southeast Asia, or Latin America, or would it be the big technology platforms? Our values, our institutions, democracy, human rights, in my view, are being challenged right now because of the emergence of new technologies.These companies have moved from being companies with commercial interests to actually becoming de facto foreign policy actors.”

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For the Ultra Rich, money is the least of their worries

It was interesting to read this article in the FT about how the Ultra Rich in America (the top 0.1%) are happy to pay a bit more tax. It makes them almost human. Until you realise the amount of work a lot of the Ultras have put into thinking about the future. So much of that thinking is bloody scary and right out of the pages of a pulp dystopian sci-fi novel.

Hyperbole, I hear you shout. I wish it were. A few of the more terrifying things that the super rich are considering include:

Some of these seem funny at first glance. But they’re not when you really begin to think about it. As a handful of billionaires said to Douglas Rushkoff:

“How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time.

Now if that doesn’t scare you, I don’t what does.

Some of it is down to these ultra rich having everything they could possibly want, and more than they could ever spend, so it means little or nothing to them if they spunk obscene amounts up the wall on a worse case scenario. But some of it is equally these dudes thinking about what it going to happen and how they can protect themselves. From the John Cusack starring 2012, through to the bunker that The Kingsmen have to take out, there is plenty in popular culture that points to what these blokes are actually doing.

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Where have all the racing games gone?

A while back I got a Logitech G29 wheel and pedal set up for my PS4. I added a Wheel Stand Pro, and the good times commenced.

But there was a problem, and there still is. In the couple of years since I got my G29, the number of games that use it has shot up by a staggering 3- the new Gran Turismo, the new F1 game and the latest version of Farming Simulator(?!)

There are a grand total of 14 compatible games, which span 8 series:

  • Gran Turismo,
  • Assetto Corsa,
  • Farming Sim,
  • F1,
  • WRC,
  • Dirt,
  • Project Cars &
  • DriveClub

Sure, there are some games out there that don’t support the G29, most notably the Need for Speed franchise, Trackmania Turbo, Flatout 4, and Rocket League- the latter I can understand, the rest, less so- but there aren’t an enormous number of racing games, simulation or arcade based, out there full stop.

A quick look on Metacritic shows the PS4 has a grand total of 65 racing games. Once you remove futuristic stuff like Wipeout, bikes, motorbikes, boats, quadbikes and table top racing games you have a little over 30 games, three of which are the Crew and it’s expansion packs. Limiting games to one entry per franchise, you get 20 games at most (including Carmageddon and a few other sub 40% on Metacritic stinkers).

Things are no better on Xbox either, just a different set of system exclusives.

It’s all a bit depressing.

For comparison, the Playstation 1 exceeded 320 racing games in total,Xbox had over 100, Xbox 360 had twice that, PS2 had almost 400 and PS3 had 160.

Yes, there were plenty of shovelware titles in there back in the day (Dukes of Hazard?) and genuine classics were probably only a relatively small percentage but when you have a lot of games to start with, that percentage doesn’t have to be huge to give a large number of games. There are plenty of great games that don’t seem to have a proper equivalent today either:

  • Destruction Derby (closest is probably Danger Zone but that’s more like the crash junctions from Burnout to be honest)
  • Ridge Racer
  • Sega Rally
  • Daytona
  • Split/Second
  • Motostorm
  • Crazy Taxi
  • Burnout (well, Paradise is about to be remastered but it didn’t have the crash junctions- boo!)
  • Rally Championship II (the best rally game ever!)

Maybe racing games are going the same way as beat ’em ups, maybe we’re heading into a future where 90%+ of all the games we get will be annual sports franchise updates or first person shooters, but I hope not!

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Mucking about

I’ve been mucking about with a few bits of tech project recently but nothing too substantial. We’ve had new carpet in our bedroom and ditched the chest of drawers that hid a multitude of sins. Or to be more precise, it hid two holes in the wall, one for the satellite cable and the other for a ethernet cable that runs down the side of the house to the router, giving us a hard wired connection in our bedroom. The need for this in itself has diminished since we got our Orbi router set up but since I have an Xbox One X in our bedroom, I decided to keep it.

Rather than trunk two cables across the wall and make the wife all upset at the mess, I got my dirty great big drill bit out and put a hole though the house as close to the bottom corner of the room as I could. I had to snick the end of the ethernet cable and satellite cable to get both through the same hole but since I’ve got a pair of crimpers and some RJ45 terminators, it wasn’t much of an issue. Filling, smoothing and sanding the existing (now redundant) holes took a little while but I’m fairly please with the result now.

Since the Xbox One X, Fire TV, and the four port switch all sat on the chest of drawers, I purchased a wall mounting bracket for the Xbox One X, and put a tiny shelf up behind the telly to hold the rest of the gubbins. The end result now looks like this and I’m fairly pleased:

I do need to scrape the paint off the plug socket though.

And before:

When we moved in about 12 years ago I installed our own satellite dish and cabled in our bedroom (it was easier than taking another feed of the TV aerial). Rather than splash out on one of those devices to test the satellite signal strength, I cabled it up to the Freesat box in our bedroom, called my wife on my mobile and moved the dish around until we got a strong signal. However over the last year or so the signal strength had gradually degraded to the point where we just couldn’t watch anything. I checked the dish itself and found it was still tightly anchored, suggesting to me that it was an issue with either the cable or the LNB. I bought a new 4 port LNB for a tenner on Amazon, and installed that as well as re-terminating the cables over the weekend. Fortunately I had some slack in the cables! Now that’s all working too.

My final piece of tech twiddling involved following a rather handy tutorial for using Google search for Amazon Alexa/Echo. I like the music integration on the Echos but the search is a bit naff compared to what you get on Google Home, so this was good, if rather involved, fun to set up.

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