The Kindle 2
Like the original Kindle, the Kindle 2 has several hidden features. One of these is the 411 information page. To display it, go to the main screen, choose Settings from the menu to go to the settings page, and then type 411. The 411 page then appears. I would include a screenshot, but the page is filled with things like the Kindle's serial number and other information that should not be made public.
Another thing the Kindle 2 has that the original Kindle had is a debug mode. To get to the mode, bring up the search box and enter ;debugOn, and press the Enter key. Then, bring up the search box again, and enter `help to show the various debug commands that are available. There's no documentation for what the listed commands do. And, if you break your Kindle messing around with them, Amazon probably will consider you to have broken your warranty.
That said, one hacker found that the `usbQa and `usbNetwork commands enabled him to tether his Kindle 2 to his computer. It's not the kind of tethering where the computer was getting its Internet access from the Kindle 2 (like what you might do with mobile phone tethering). Instead, the Kindle 2 was able to connect to the Internet using the network connection of the computer. This is not terribly useful, but it's there if you want to experiment.
The Kindle 2 runs Linux, and a lot of the software it uses is licensed under the GPL or the BSD license. Some of the more interesting pieces of software include syslog-ng, u-boot, monit, lrzsz, iptables, gstreamer, BusyBox, dosfstools, e2fsprogs, ALSA, mtd-tools, bzip2, libpcap, ncurses, ppp and strace. The presence of BusyBox in particular suggests that a command-line environment of some kind should be available—if BusyBox had the right features enabled when Amazon compiled it, which it didn't. One hacker discovered that statically compiled Linux ARM binaries work just fine on the Kindle 2, and he was able to replace the onboard BusyBox with one he had compiled for the Android platform, which had Telnet enabled. This let him Telnet into his Kindle when it was connected to his local network via the USB tethering trick.
The Kindle 2 is less hackable than the original Kindle (there's no external serial port, for example), but determined individuals have been able to poke and prod at the hardware.
On the software side, there's a cat-and-mouse game currently being played out that looks a lot like what went on a few years back with Apple and its iTunes/iPod DRM. People are posting scripts that help you use encrypted Mobipocket files purchased from other on-line sources, to which Amazon responds by serving DMCA takedown notices. The scripts then surface on different sites hours later. Amazon then changes its DRM, which breaks the scripts. Updated versions of the scripts surface the next day. And, the cycle keeps going.
There is one neat project all of this hacking has enabled that I'd like to mention in closing: Savory. This is software that runs on the Kindle that will convert .pdf and .epub files into Kindle-compatible .mobi files automatically. It also updates the built-in Web browser to accept .pdf and .epub as valid, supported media types. Battery life is impacted with this package installed, but not by much, and the ability to navigate to, download and automatically convert .pdf and .epub documents without having to make a trip to my desktop computer makes it worth it.
So, is the Kindle 2 worth it? Maybe. If you have an original Kindle, it's a tossup. There are a lot of nice improvements, but if the original Kindle is working for you, there really is no compelling reason to make this a must-have upgrade. If, on the other hand, you don't have a Kindle, the reasons and justifications for getting the original Kindle still apply: get one if you love to read and don't like (or can't) carry around all the books you want to read. The Kindle 2 is the best of the current crop of ebook readers, and if you've been wanting to get an electronic reader, you could do a lot worse than the Kindle 2.
Practical Task Scheduling Deployment
July 20, 2016 12:00 pm CDT
One of the best things about the UNIX environment (aside from being stable and efficient) is the vast array of software tools available to help you do your job. Traditionally, a UNIX tool does only one thing, but does that one thing very well. For example, grep is very easy to use and can search vast amounts of data quickly. The find tool can find a particular file or files based on all kinds of criteria. It's pretty easy to string these tools together to build even more powerful tools, such as a tool that finds all of the .log files in the /home directory and searches each one for a particular entry. This erector-set mentality allows UNIX system administrators to seem to always have the right tool for the job.
Cron traditionally has been considered another such a tool for job scheduling, but is it enough? This webinar considers that very question. The first part builds on a previous Geek Guide, Beyond Cron, and briefly describes how to know when it might be time to consider upgrading your job scheduling infrastructure. The second part presents an actual planning and implementation framework.
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With all the industry talk about the benefits of Linux on Power and all the performance advantages offered by its open architecture, you may be considering a move in that direction. If you are thinking about analytics, big data and cloud computing, you would be right to evaluate Power. The idea of using commodity x86 hardware and replacing it every three years is an outdated cost model. It doesn’t consider the total cost of ownership, and it doesn’t consider the advantage of real processing power, high-availability and multithreading like a demon.
This ebook takes a look at some of the practical applications of the Linux on Power platform and ways you might bring all the performance power of this open architecture to bear for your organization. There are no smoke and mirrors here—just hard, cold, empirical evidence provided by independent sources. I also consider some innovative ways Linux on Power will be used in the future.Get the Guide