Opening up Kindle for PC in a maximised window on Windows 10

It has been a while since I scribbled anything on here but I now have a few things to relating, starting with this one. Amazon now promotes a different app for use when reading its eBooks on PC’s and, with a certain reluctance, I have taken to using this because its page synchronisation is not as good as it should be.

Another irritation is that it does not open in a maximised window and it scarcely remembers your size settings from session to session. Finding solutions to this sizing issue is no easy task so I happened on one of my own that I previously used with Windows (or File) Explorer folder shortcuts.

The first step is to find the actual location of the Start Menu shortcut. Trying C:\Users\[User Name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Amazon\Amazon Kindle should do that.

Next, right click on the Kindle icon and choose Properties from the context menu that appears. In the dialogue box that causes to appear on the screen, look for the “Run:” setting. By default, this appears as “Normal Window” but you can change this to “Maximised”, which is what I did before clicking on Apply before doing the same for the OK button to dismiss the dialogue box.

If you have pinned the shortcut to the taskbar or elsewhere, you may need to unpin it and pin it again to carry over the change. After that, I found that the Kindle app opened up in a maximised window as I wanted.

With that done, I could get along better with the app and it does put a search box in a more obvious place that it was in the old one. You also can set up Collections so your books are organised so there is something new for a user. Other than that, it largely works as before though you may to hit the F5 key every now and again to synchronise reading progress across multiple devices.

A collection of legal BitTorrent sites

It was an article in a magazine that revealed these legal BitTorrent download sites to me so I thought that I’d keep them on file for future reference while also sharing them with others who might need them. As far as I am aware, they are all legal in that no copyrighted material is on there. If that changes, I am happy to know and make amendments as needed.

My own interest in torrents arise from their being a convenient way to download installation disk images for Linux distributions and at least one of the entries is devoted to just that. However, the distribution also lends itself to movies along with music and books so that is reflected below too. With regard to downloading actual multimedia content, there is so much illegal downloading that a list like this is needed and has blackened the reputation of BitTorrent too because it only ever was conceived as a means for distributing large files in a peer-to-peer manner without the use of a single server. Of course, any use can be found for a technology and it never has to be legal or morally acceptable either.

Archive.org

BitTorrent Bundle

Bt.etree.org

Fanatics4Classics

FrostClick

Gameupdates.org

Legit Torrents

Linux Tracker

Public Domain Torrents

The Vuze Blog

Deauthorising Adobe Digital Editions software

My being partial to the occasional eBook has meant my encountering Adobe’s Digital Editions. While I wonder why the functionality cannot be be included in the already quite bulky Adobe Reader, it does exist and some publishers used it to ensure that their books are not as easily pirated. In my case, it is a certain publisher of walking guidebooks that uses it and I must admit to being a sometime fan of their wares. At first, I was left wondering how they thought that Digital Editions was the delivery means that would ensure that they do not lose out from sharing of copies of eBooks but a recent episode has me seeing what they see.

One of the nice things that it allows is the sharing of eBooks between different computers using your Adobe account. Due to my own disorganisation, I admit to having more than one though I am not entirely sure why I ended up doing that. The result was that I ended entering the wrong credentials intro the Digital Editions instance on my Toshiba laptop and I needed to get rid of them in order to enter the correct ones. It is when you try doing things like this that you come to realise how basic and slimmed down this software is. After a Google search, I encountered the very keyboard shortcut about which even the help didn’t seem to want to tell me: Control+Shift+D. That did the required deauthorisation for me to be able to read eBooks bought and downloaded onto another computer. Maybe Digital Editions does its job to lessen the chances after all. Of course, I cannot see the system being perfect or unbreakable but a lot of our security is there to deter the opportunists rather than the more determined.

Exploring AJAX

When I first started it, my online photo gallery started out simply as a set of interlinked HTML pages. Over time, I discovered frames (yes, them!) and started to make use of JavaScript to make the slideshows slicker. In those days, I was working off free webspace provided by my ISP and client-side scripting was the only tool that I had for enhancing functionality. Having tired of the vagaries of client-side scripting -- the browser wars were in full swing and incompatibilities reigned supreme, I went with paid hosting in order to get access to tools like Perl and PHP for server-side processing; their flexibility compared to JavaScript was a breath of fresh air to me and I am still a fan of the server-side approach.

The journey that I have just described is one that I now know was followed by a lot of website builders around the same time. Nevertheless, I have still held onto JavaScript for some things, particularly for updating the DOM as part of making the pages more responsive to user interaction. In the last few years, a hybrid approach has been gaining currency: AJAX. This offers the ability to modify parts of a page without needing to reload the whole thing and that has generated a considerable amount of interest among web application developers.

The world of AJAX is evidently a complex one though the underlying principle can be explained in simple terms. The essential idea is that you use JavaScript to call a server-side script, PHP is as good an example as any, that returns either text or XML that can be used to update part of a web page in situ without the need to reload it as per the traditional way of working. It has opened up so many possibilities from the interface design point of view that AJAX became a hot topic that still receives much attention today. One bugbear is efficiency because I have seem an AJAX application lock up a PC with a little help from IE6. There will always remain times where server-side processing is the best route and that needs to balanced against the client-side and vice versa.

Like its forbear DHTML, AJAX is really a development approach using a number of different technologies in combination. The DHTML elements such as (X)HTML, CSS, DOM and JavaScript are very much part of the AJAX world but server-side elements such as HTTP, PHP, MySQL and XML are also very much part of the fabric of the landscape. In fact, while AJAX can use plain text as the transfer format, XML is the one implied by the AJAX acronym and XSLT is used to transform XML in HTML. However, AJAX is not limited to the aforementioned technologies; for instance, I cannot see why Perl cannot play a role in place of PHP and ASP can be used for the same things.

Even in these standards-compliant days, browser support for AJAX remains diverse, to say the least, and it is akin to having MSIE in one corner and the rest in the other. Mind you, Microsoft did introduce the tools in the first place but they used ActiveX and Mozilla created a new object type rather than continue this method of operation. Given that ActiveX is a Windows-only technology, I can see why Mozilla did what they did and it is a sensible decision. In fact, IE7 appears to have picked up the Mozilla way of doing things.

Even with the apparent convergence, there will continue to be a need for the AJAX JavaScript libraries that are currently out there. Incidentally, Adobe has included one called Spry with Dreamweaver CS3. Nevertheless, I still like to find out how things work at the basic level and feel somewhat obstructed when I cannot do this. I remember perusing Wrox’s Professional AJAX and found the constant references to the associated function library rather grating; the writing style didn’t help either.

My taking a more granular approach has got me reading SAMS Teach Yourself AJAX in 10 Minutes as a means for getting my foot in the door. As with their Teach Yourself … in 24 Hours series, the title is a little misleading since there are 22 lessons of 10 minutes in duration (the 24 Hours moniker refers to there being 24 lessons, each of one hour in length). Anything composed of 10 minute lessons, even 22 of them, is never going to be comprehensive but, as a means for getting started, I have to say that the approach seems effective on the basis of this volume. It has certainly whet my appetite for giving AJAX a go and it’ll be interesting to see how things progress from here.