Finding Android Apps For Your Kindle Outside The Amazon App Store


Image via Flickr creative commons from sidduz

So you’ve bought a Kindle. Well you’re not alone as it is estimated that Amazon sold around 1.7 million Kindle Fire devices in the first quarter of the year – although the company refuses to release official figures. One of the main reasons why people choose to invest in a tablet is to download and make use of the latest apps, from movie software to games. Once you’ve got your hands on one of these gadgets you’re going to want to find a Snugg Kindle Fire cover to keep it safe and then plenty of apps to keep you occupied.

The Amazon App Store 

A court case fought between Apple and Amazon that came to a close in July means Amazon is now able to legally use the term appstore, something that Apple was keen to prevent until it pulled out of the case. The appstore has thousands of apps available – both free and paid for – that can be downloaded by Kindle Fire users very easily from their device. There is no denying that there are some great apps in the store, from the likes of hit games titles such as Angry Birds Star Wars Premium HD and Hill Climb Racing through to video-on-demand apps from LoveFilm and Netflix. But it is not the only game in town…

Third-party apps

While the Amazon appstore is the only official way to find apps for the Kindle, there are other third-party providers out there. But why go anywhere else? Well the main reason is that you will find a wider range of apps available elsewhere. How come? The main reason is that commercial interests make it undesirable for Amazon to offer its customers access to these apps as a matter of course. For example, as journalists at Business Insider found out, it is quite possible to download the Nook e-reader app onto the Kindle Fire, something that Amazon would of course never make available through its own store. So when it comes down to it, while the Amazon appstore has plenty of top quality content for the Kindle inside, if you want a free choice of what available apps you want then you’ll have to go third-party.

The technical bit

Ok, so it’s not actually that technical, but you will need to be careful to make sure that before trying to download apps from third-party sites that you ensure that you change the settings on your Kindle Fire – otherwise it simply won’t work. Go into Settings, More and then Device and ensure that the section entitled “Allow installation of applications from unknown sources” is switched to on. You’ll then get a warning to tell you that this course of action might not be safe. If you’re satisfied then you’re ready to get some new apps!

Where to find third-party app sites 

GetJar is said to be one of the best third-party Android app stores out there at the moment and the firm claims to have in excess of 100 million people using its services. Download the app onto your Kindle Fire and soon you’ll have access to a huge range of new apps.

Tips for keeping your data centre cool


Image via Flickr creative commons from IntelFreePress

During the summer months, just as clients and employees will get hot under the collar – so will your data centre. Keeping it cool will require a range of data centre solutions – but for any business, maintaining a low temperature can be expensive.

The first step, unfortunately, can often be the most expensive. Optimising your computer room air conditioning units can increase efficiency. At the same time, you should begin an investigation into the integrity of the facility. Look where you are storing it – leaky windows and doors can compromise efficiency. The same applies for ventilation or ceiling tiles that have been removed without being replaced.

If you are in an area where there is a problem with humidity, make sure you have a vapour barrier. Many devices will have been built with one installed so it is important to make sure this is working properly.

Keeping temperatures down can be as simple as maintaining your units regularly. Just like a car, air conditioning units can become unreliable if neglected. Depending on where it is and depending on the season, filters can become clogged with dust over time. If these are not regularly cleared they can become one of the main causes of overheating. The very minimum maintenance schedule should be around twice a year, anything less than that will give you serious problems.

As well as the external factors that increase the temperature of your data centre, the amount of work it is doing can be pivotal in its survival and efficiency. All of the energy it produces will be converted to heat – other than noise, it is the data centre’s only waste product. For almost every bit of energy it spends on processing, you will need to spend on cooling.

If the floor of the room you store your data centre is raised, make sure the grates and similar perforated tiles are as near as possible to the hottest racks. But make sure these are not too close to your air conditioning. If you need to, don’t be afraid to rearrange your units, it will help with air circulation.

Measure the temperature of your racks, where the air is drawn in. If the bottom area of these is coolest, try to rearrange your servers to the coolest areas of the room. At the same time, make sure you use blanking panels to block off the unused, clear room in front of the towers. This process with help with the whole room’s air circulation.

The room shouldn’t be in use by people too often, a human body can add around 100 watts of energy to a room. When it is not in use, make sure the lights are turned off at all times, this can save up to two per cent of electrical heat.

If things get too hot, make sure you have a backup plan to shut down all the non-essential parts of the data centre. This contingency plan will save important data and systems when things get too hot.

How To Determine The Optimum Location For Your Wireless Router


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Once you have waded through the strange world of gigahertz, 802.11n and 802.11g and finally got your new wireless router home from – you can waste the world’s greatest router by putting it in the wrong place. Regardless of how powerful, there are a lot of things that can hamper its effectivity. Generally these things will be near impossible to consider when perusing wireless routers at BT Shop.

If your PC or laptop falls out of range, then obviously the connection will fail but factors such as obstructions and interference can play a part.

First off, you need to make sure you don’t settle on a router location prematurely. Experiment with a few different places – trial and error may not be particularly scientific, but without shelling out on some super high tech equipment it is the simplest way.

Most often, the best place is a central location – but if the router is only going to be used by one computer, locating it near the place it is going to be used most is bet. If you intend to play music or stream video via your television, then it is recommended you place your router accordingly.

The people at Microsoft say: “If your wireless router, modem router, or access point is against an outside wall of your home, the signal will be weak on the other side of your home.”

Similarly, if the router has to be on the ground floor and your PC or laptop is on the second floor, place the router high on a shelf in the room it is located.

Physical barriers as unavoidable as plastered internal walls can be a hassle to signals. If you are in the situation where locations are limited, try a wireless repeater. Place it halfway between your wireless router, modem router, or access point and your computer, and you can get an instant boost to your signal strength.

But you needn’t worry if you can’t move your wireless router, because there are many other ways to improve your connection. First off, remove the router from the floor and away from metal objects – these can interfere with your router’s signal.

Other electrical items around the house can also prove a headache. The most common wireless technology operates at a frequency of 2.4 GHz. Many cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, garage door openers, and other wireless electronics also use this frequency. To avoid this try to keep your device out of the way of these household items. If you can’t do this, consider changing your wireless channel until you find one that suits.

In certain circumstances, replacing the antenna can also have its benefits. It is most often the case that the aerial the device comes with is designed to be omnidirectional – sending out a signal in all directions. If this is the case, placing the router near an external wall will waste a lot of its potential. Most routers will not allow you to increase power output, but you can focus that power by sending it all in the direction you need.

For wireless networks with multiple clients, you will need to find a compromise position. Devices too far away from the base station will only be able to manage ten to 50 per cent of the bandwidth of clients nearby. You might need to sacrifice the network performance of one client for the good of the others.