Amazon Kindle e-readers are showing a blank screen – Good e-Reader

Amazon Kindle e-readers are showing a blank screen – Good e-Reader:

Amazon Kindle e-readers are suffering from a major bug. Customers are receiving new Kindles with a blank screen out of the box and the e-reader cannot be used, existing e-readers are also suffering from the same issue. The problem stems from the new Kindle UI that the company implemented last year, that makes the Kindle e-reader look similar to the apps for Android and iOS. Kindle users have petitioned Amazon and the company says they are working on a fix.

There is no rhyme or reason why this glitch is happening. Some users are just using their Kindle normally and all of a sudden they have a blank screen. Some new users go through the setup process and are reading an ebook and all of a sudden the entire e-reader becomes unresponsive. Reboots and wiping the device seems to have no effect. Users on Reddit speculate that some of the backend services provided by Amazon that power the Kindle experience are having problems.

I stopped trusting Amazon on updates years ago. Here’s my solution; YMMV:

  1. Get to a version of the Kindle Firmware which makes you happy, or at least doesn’t fill you with rage
  2. Turn on airplane mode
  3. Delete your wifi information from the device
  4. Go to Amazon and delete your saved WiFi information
  5. Download your books to a PC or Mac and transfer them to your reader
  6. Use a tool like Calibre to help you manage your device
  7. Search out legal non-DRM options for when Amazon eventually blocks downloads for USV¥B transfer 

My advice for other ebook vendors is basically the same.

※ Amazon is no longer allowing downloading Kindle Unlimited titles via USB

In such a scenario, maybe it would be a good idea to keep a backup of all your Kindle titles on your PC or a compatible storage medium while Amazon is still hanging on with the AZW format. Once everything is transitioned to the KFX format, it could become impossible to break the DRM.

I agree, and this is another example of hostile behavior toward the consumer. I have older Kindles that can’t (or I won’t) connect to WiFi but work fine for reading. If the books that I buy, not borrow, are locked out then why would I buy any more of them from these guys?

Tech sucks

Status

Pluralistic: What the fediverse (does/n’t) solve (23 Dec 2022)🙁permalink)

No matter how benevolent a dictatorship is, it’s still a dictatorship, and subject to the dictator’s whims. We must demand that the owners and leaders of tech platforms be fair and good – but we must also be prepared for them to fail at this, sometimes catastrophically.

That is, even if you trust Tim Cook to decide what apps you are and aren’t allowed to install – including whether you are allowed to install apps that block Apple’s own extensive, nonconsensual, continuous commercial surveillance of its customers – you should also be prepared for Cook to get hit by a bus and replaced by some alt-right dingleberry.

In case you think Cory sides with Elon Musk, a wealthy, selfish, often cruel, weirdo who has marketed himself as a man who is so smart that he can say or do whatever he wants, he doesn’t.

But, it takes Cory a long time to get to the fediverse:

The Fediverse’s foundation is a standard called ActivityPub, which was designed by weirdos who wanted to make a durably open, interoperable substrate that could support nearly any application. This was something that large corporations were both uninterested in building and which they arrogantly dismissed as a pipe dream. This means that Activitypub is actually as good as its architects could make it, free from boobytraps laid by scheming monopolists.

BTW, the use of terms like “weirdo” is, I think, meant in the best way – people outside of the accepted normal or willing to look outside of same.

Cory continues:

The perils of running your own Mastodon server have also become a hot topic of debate. To hear the critics warn of it, anyone who runs a server that’s open to the public is painting a huge target on their back and will shortly be buried under civil litigation and angry phone-calls from the FBI.

This is: Just. Not. True. The US actually has pretty good laws limiting intermediary liability (that is, the responsibility you bear for what your users do). You know all that stuff about how CDA230 is “a giveaway to Big Tech?” That’s only true if the internet consists solely of Big Tech companies. However, if you decide to spend $5/month hosting a Mastodon instance for you and your community, that same law protects you.

Indeed, while running a server that’s open to the public does involve some risk, most of that risk can be contained by engaging in a relatively small, relatively easy set of legal compliance practices, which EFF’s Corynne McSherry lays out in this very easy-to-grasp explainer:

www.eff.org/deeplinks/2022/12/user-gene…

Finally, there’s the ongoing debate over whether Mastodon can (and should) replace Twitter. This week on the Canadaland Short Cuts podcast, Jesse Brown neatly summarized (and supported, alas) the incorrect idea that using Mastodon was no different from using Gab or Parler or Post.

www.canadaland.com/podcast/843-god-save…

This is very, very wrong. The thing is, even if you like and trust the people who run Gab or Parler or Post, you face exactly the same risk you face with Twitter or Facebook: that the leadership will change, or have a change of heart, and begin to enshittify your community there. When they do, your only remedy will be the one that Valente describes, to scatter to the winds and try and reform your community somewhere else.

But that’s not true of the Fediverse. On Mastodon, you can export all your followers, and all the people who follow you, with two clicks. Then you can create an account on another server and again, with just two clicks, you can import those follows and followers and be back up and running, your community intact, without being under the thumb of the server manager who decided to sell your community down the river (you can also export the posts you made).

codingitwrong.com/2022/10/10/migrating-…

For me, and I kind of thank Elon Musk, a wealthy, selfish, often cruel, weirdo who has marketed himself as a man who is so smart that he can say or do whatever he wants, for this realization, is:

They’re not that smart. By “they” I mean Space Karen and Thiel and Jobs and the Oracle guy and Gates and whomever. They and those like them did something, maybe, that made a difference. Some, like Space Karen, marketed themselves instead. They all ended up where they are because they convinced people that what they were selling was the best.

Remember: the audio player and smart phone existed before Jobs moved Apple there; Space Karen bought into and then took over Tesla and SpaceX, and so on.

Length ≠ Depth

I’ve never liked Twitter threads.

If one wants to write a longer piece, there are better ways than to make readers either navigate around interstitial comments or use a 3rd party service — old school web posts immediately leap to mind.

Also, reading longer pieces on Twitter was never good. They were in a narrow space meant for 140 characters. The expansion to 280 characters felt wedged in when read in Twitter’s tools.

If EMu is genuine in taking Twitter to 4000 characters, then welcome to a web product you likely abandoned. I will not join you.

※ Two Weeks Later and Twitter Is Still Up

Two Weeks Later and Twitter Is Still Up:

In the immediate aftermath of Twitter’s mass layoffs and subsequent resignations, there were widespread reports that the staffing situation and collective brain drain were so dire that the site would collapse. Two weeks later — with World Cup soccer drama fueling record usage — such concerns seem to have been overblown.

At what point would a Twitter failure make Gruber’s statement overblown? 2 weeks + 3 days? 4 weeks? Could it be Twitter’s infrastructure had been well run and resilient recently enough that it could handle a predicted spike in traffic?

Let’s remember the value of Twitter isn’t Twitter; it’s the thousands of people who ran it and the millions who shared their content on the platform. Stand or fall, Twitter is less than it was. And for a lot of people, there’s not a good replacement.

The World Cup is only half over. Let’s check back in another two weeks.

But while fears of technical collapse seem to have been overblown, Twitter’s advertising collapse is seemingly continuing unabated.

The advertising revenue, that’s what we should all care about. Never mind the gross mismanagement by Elon Musk, a selfish, often cruel, child of wealth weirdo who has marketed himself as a man who is so smart that he can do whatever he wants. And he wants to put chips in human brains.

※ This Hidden Facebook Tool Lets Users Remove Their Email or Phone Number Shared by Others

This Hidden Facebook Tool Lets Users Remove Their Email or Phone Number Shared by Others:

Facebook appears to have silently rolled out a tool that allows users to remove their contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, uploaded by others.

The existence of the tool, which is buried inside a Help Center page about “Friending,” was first reported by Business Insider last week. It’s offered as a way for “Non-users” to “exercise their rights under applicable laws.”

In case you missed this on the first go round, this is a REALLY useful option that should always have existed and should be easier to find. I’ve never liked how others could share your information without your approval.

※ “Claim your account”

“Claim your account”:

“Post dot news”, the Andreessen-funded probable cryptocurrency grift masquerading as a social network that I

busted on yesterday

(and that considers dunking on billionaires to be hate speech) is creating fake “placeholder” accounts to try and get their users to bully news organizations into signing up.

This is the kind of shit that Yelp regularly does.

Hey, remember in 2020 when Yelp decided to non-consensually funnel more business to their partner Gofundme by creating a “fundraiser” for your business whether you wanted one or not?

SF Bar Owner to Yelp: “Fuck All of These People Entirely”.

Hey, remember my 2012 long-form art project entitled, “I would like my business to not be listed on Yelp”? Part 1, Part 2.

Good times, good times.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

※ Axios Login: Tech layoffs’ toll

Let’s be clear – layoffs is a euphemism for the mass firing of people. The difference is that when one is “laid off” it’s not necessarily because anyone “let go” did anything wrong or damaging in their job. That’s being fired for cause, and that’s not often an “innocent until proven guilty” situation, but that’s another post for another day.

Note that layoffs impact middle management down. Upper management and up do not suffer such indignities.

Layoffs don’t only impact the person formerly employed. It ripples out to their family, their community, their social circle, and so on. That some organizations treat it flippantly casual is beyond reprehensible.

I have some works on surviving layoffs: Preparing for the Pink (Slip) based on my experience and research, though it is a bit long in the tooth. And Cate over at Accidentally In Code has some great stuff, too, about taking hold of your career.

Axios Login: Tech layoffs’ toll:

1 big thing: What to expect when your tech firm is downsizing

As Silicon Valley and the broader tech industry face a season of layoffs, workers are unprepared for the ordeal and management has little experience with the wrenching process, Axios’ Scott Rosenberg reports.

Driving the news: Meta is expected to announce large-scale job cuts as soon as Wednesday, the first ever in its history. That comes on the heels of major layoffs at Twitter and many other flagship tech firms.

Why it matters: At most companies, layoffs are a business decision for top execs but a deeply personal experience for everyone else.

The big picture: The industry’s phenomenal 20-year run of largely unimpeded growth means that most of its workforce doesn’t have much idea of what to expect from widespread layoffs. Here’s a brief guide.

1. For those laid off, the pain is personal.

  • Even in the best cases, where a company has carefully selected who gets the axe and applied sensitivity to the process, people who are let go can feel a sense of failure — even though, typically, the actual failure belonged to the company and its management.

Having been laid off myself once, I know that in my case it was entirely due to mismanagement, a lack of leadership, and weak governance.

  • The worst cases — as with Twitter’s reportedly 50% cuts last week, made by a new ownership team with little preparation or apparent care — create a broader kind of sorrow among a workforce as well.

I’ll not waste more electrons on EMu’s clusterfuck, at least for the moment.

2. While no one should shed tears for the managers, they’re having a hard time too.

  • Middle managers often find themselves having to select winners and losers from groups of people they handpicked to join their teams not that long ago.
  • Then, they have to face the people who are left and help them through what can be extended bouts of anger, depression and survivor’s guilt.
  • Workers and managers both face bigger workloads under post-layoff do-more-with-less mandates.

When I was a manager I never had to do large scale layoffs. I’m thankful of that but also I did a lot to make sure I did not find myself in that position. It didn’t help me retain my job, disappointingly.

Also, if I had to fire a large part of my team I would have not done well. While I received “leadership” training, very little of that was about the nuts and bolts of how managing people works and none of it covered firing people.

3. For companies, layoffs leave slow-healing psychic wounds.

  • Tech companies often aim to inspire workers with mission statements and caring rhetoric. But once a firm has gone through a round of layoffs, it becomes effectively impossible to persuade employees that anything matters beyond the bottom line.

Never trust in a founder/CEO/evangelist, especially if they’re charismatic &| inconsistent.

  • After big rounds of layoffs, tech leaders can’t just move on as if nothing happened. They also have to try to rekindle workers’ belief that the organization can do big things.

See above.

Between the lines: Layoffs that are tied to the shutdown of a specific product line or division can be written off as strategic in nature. Broader layoffs are a sign that a company grew too fast, took too many risky bets, or just never hit overly ambitious goals.

  • Many tech companies overhired during the pandemic and now face tougher times.
  • The people responsible for such choices are rarely the people who lose their jobs — though sometimes, as in Twitter’s case, layoffs are made by a new management with a belt-tightening agenda.

All of the above cop-outs – rapid growth, risky bets, ambitious goals – are tell-take signs of a lack of basic business fundamentals, starting with a business plan and governance. Sadly, there’s no Sarbaines-Oxley legislation for a lack of planning and competence.

Not to say that these tech companies don’t have good people in key roles, but if Operations and Finance and Marketing aren’t all aligned and operating with enlightened self-interest (a rare commodity, to be sure) in the absence of business fundamentals, this is the shit that happens, IMHO.

To be sure, many tech workers have been generously paid and are relatively well-off compared with other industries. But losing your job is still losing your job.

Amen.

Scott’s thought bubble: I’m a veteran of a dotcom era startup that went public and then laid off half its staff more than two decades ago, and I still get flashbacks.

  • You never forget these experiences, and this year’s cuts could reshape how a generation in tech thinks about their careers.

I was laid off from my management role almost 10 years ago and I’m still reluctant to go back into a similar role. And I still plan my finances with the possibility I’ll be laid-off again.

Yes, but: When laid-off developers filled the coffeeshops of San Francisco and other tech hubs after the bust in 2000-2001, they used their newfound don’t-give-a-damn state to hatch passion-project ideas.

  • Some of them took off and sparked the next boom. That could happen again.

We’ve seen this before and we will see it again. If I were a tech-reliant business I’d be taking advantage of the talent suddenly on the market – but not to grow things too fast.

Scripting with sudo on Mac – BrettTerpstra.com

I was fiddling about with a script I need to run from time to time but need escalated privileges to run. Editing /etc/sudoers isn’t an option, so I took to the Reddit. I found this:

Scripting with sudo on Mac – BrettTerpstra.com:

The gist is this: when you need to script a tool that requires administrator privileges, you want to make the process as automated as possible without creating glaring security problems (like including a password in plain text). …

Fortunately, macOS has tools built in to make this work. We’ll use a combination of macOS’s Keychain Access and the security command to make running superuser tasks both convenient and secure.

Yay! I already use Keychain for managing my SSH and GPG keys, so this definitely falls in with that.

Here’s the pertinent article bits, but read the whole thing for screenshots and how this is used in Brett’s excellent Batch app.

The first step is to create a Keychain entry for the password you want to use. In our case, this will be your system password.
Open Keychain Access in /Applications/Utilities. Unlock your login keychain if needed, then click the “Create new” button in the toolbar. Give the item a unique name, any account name you want, and then enter the password and click “Add.” …

Now this password entry can be accessed using the command line tool security, which we can use in a script. If the keychain is unlocked, the password will be retrieved without interaction. If it’s locked, you’ll get a dialog asking for your keychain password when the script runs.
In our script, we’ll call security and give it the name assigned to the keychain item (-l), and the account name (-a). The -w flag tells it to return only the password (otherwise there’s a lot of data it spits out). …

To incorporate this into a shell script, we’ll just use tr to trim the newline off it and save it to a variable, and then pipe it to sudo. Using sudo -S tells sudo to read the password from STDIN (the result of the pipe). …

The first time security is used from a script, you’ll get a prompt to allow access. Be sure to click “Always Allow” to avoid getting the same prompt every time.