Kindle Fire Stuck at Boot Logo – Solved!

Brick1 copy

My Kindle Fire suddenly went into a loop during boot. It’s just showing the Kindle Fire logo (with animation) at start up and it just stays there. No home screen, no slide to unlock screen. My Kindle Fire unit was not rooted so I was not expecting anything like a boot loop. If anything messed up the firmware it should be the automatic update from Amazon. Kindle Fire Software Version 6.3 as of this writing.

Again my Kindle Fire was not rooted but I know the base system is Android 2.3 so I decided to do some tinkering about Android. I have some knowledge about Android due to past gadgets that I have rooted with the help of the guys from XDA. They have a dedicated section for Kindle Fire Android Development, good news (for my Kindle Fire)!

ADB

Android Debug Bridge is part of the Android SDK which is often used for manual rooting of Android devices. I have my Mac and Windows machine installed with ADB so I can switch from either system to connect to an Android device. In this case with my Kindle Fire, I was able to connect using ADB even it is stuck in the boot logo. That is a good sign.

Issuing a adb shell command gives a “$” prompts which indicates that I’m not rooted. I cannot do much if I’m not rooted so I tried the following methods to root my unit.

Methods I’ve Tried

Kindle Fire Utility

Kindle Fire Utility Screen

One of the popular Kindle tools in XDA is the Kindle Fire Utility. The tool is written using Windows batch file which means its a Windows only method. I’ve tried option 3 which is to “Install Permanent Root with Superuser”. No response from my Kindle Fire and the tool seems to be waiting for my Kindle Fire to respond as well. Hmmm, not working!

SuperOneClick

SuperOneClick Screen

I’ve tried SuperOneClick before to root my Nook Tablet. Since the SuperOneClick tool is a generic rooting tool, I thought I could try using it to root my Kindle Fire. I’ve clicked root, but again no response. SuperOneClick even went to “Not Responding”. Not working.

Kindle Unbrick Utility

I noticed the tools I’ve used cannot even go into the first step of rooting. Which means the loop happens even before the actual system is booted. I tried searching other tools and I found the Kindle Unbrick utility. I like the name, sounds very helpful in times of desperation.

Kindle Fire Unbrick Utility Screen

I’ve tried the “Stuck at Logo” option. No response again. Maybe I’m missing something, so I went digging further to the commands used by the tool. Found that it is using this command:

FilesandTools\adb shell idme bootmode 4000
FilesandTools\adb shell reboot

Since my Kindle Fire is having a boot loop, it just makes sense that I need to change a mode in the way it is booting. I need to change the boot method to go to fast boot.

Fastboot Mode

There is a post in XDA about Fastboot mode without rooting or cables which have the code needed to run to be able to fast boot to a Kindle Fire.

adb push fbmode /data/local/tmp
adb shell chmod 755 /data/local/tmp/fbmode
adb shell /data/local/tmp/fbmode
adb reboot

The problem is when I issue this command, I still get no response from my Kindle Fire. ADB is not responding as well. What to do now?

The Solution

Since there is a boot loop, I need to get ahead of the Kindle Fire boot step where I can issue the ADB commands before it goes into the loop. I restarted my Kindle Fire while it is connected to my machine through a USB. I left the ADB command prompt open and while the Kindle Fire is restarting I am issuing the adb push fbmode /data/local/tmp command. I got several errors that there was no device. On one of my attempts I was able to get a confirmation that the fbmode file was sent to the Kindle Fire (screen will show bytes transferred).

Lo and behold my Kindle Fire is now in the home screen! The key is to issue the adb push fbmode command before it gets into a boot loop.

This is technique is not documented to my knowledge until now. I’m blogging this technique as my contribution to the Android developers in XDA πŸ™‚ Hope this helps!

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Build Metro-style Applications – Where to Start?

Build Metro-style Applications – Where to start?

ComeAndGetIt

Microsoft created WinRT(Windows RunTime) API and this will be built-in to the Windows 8 system. Although Windows 8 can still run the Win32 applications we use now, I’d like to believe that majority of the applications will switch to Metro-style soon. If Windows 8 is released today I would use it and I would not want to go back to Win32 setting. There is a big difference on how things work and flow in Windows 8.

Here are some points on how to get your hands on developing Metro-style apps.

Tools you need:

You need Windows 8 Consumer Preview and the Visual Studio 11 Beta to work on developing Metro-style applications. My previous post on Windows 8 installation options can (I hope) help you with setting up your Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

If you think Windows 8 Consumer Preview is not worth your time, you can still take a look and develop Metro-style applications by downloading the Windows 8 SDK and the Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Express Beta. The VS express is free version of Visual Studio created by Microsoft.

The main website for information about developing Metro-style applications is in this website – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps

C# Roadmap

Building Metro-style applications does not require that the developer should use C#. In fact, Microsoft made the WinRT API to be compatible with HTML/CSS/Javascript and DirectX/C++. The diagram below was discussed during Build conference last year and I think it would best describe the WinRT compatibility with non-C# development languages.

WinRTApi
WinRT API

I know HTML/CSS/Javascript but I will go with the C# route this time since I almost always use the language on our projects. With using C#, you also need to know about XAML. If you know Silverlight and WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), the approach is very very similar. You already have the advantage on skills on how everything work on XAML and WPF so less learning curve.

File-New Project-Metro-style

Like other project types, you can create and run a Metro-style application in a few clicks in Visual Studio. File-New Project-Metro-style will show you Metro-style templates you can use with your application.

MetroStyle VS11 NewProject
Visual Studio 11 – Metro Style Templates

You can also check the sample applications (Download Sample Pack) which is available for download. I really like the sample applications since they show the basic features you need to know on developing Metro-style applications and then point you to the exact feature and xaml file involved in the example.

Metro style apps sample gallery
Sample apps gallery

Code52

The Code52 group created the My Finances WinRT Sample Application project and the WPF Metro-Style Scan Application project so developers can contribute and be involved with WinRT and Metro-style application developments. It is recommended to be involved with open-source developments to share and contribute in some way to an ongoing project. Code52 creates a new project every week so the project does not get very complicated for others to be involved and new ideas are fresh every week.

Code52 Projects List
Code52 Project

I believe Windows 8 applications are needed to be developed now and be ready once the Windows 8 is released this year. This is a great time and opportunity for developers to learn and be involved with Metro-style application development. Got it?

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Quick Look on Visual Studio 11 Beta

Less is more cup RS

Quick Look on Visual Studio 11 Beta

Aside from releasing a consumer preview of Windows 8, Microsoft also released Visual Studio 11 Beta version recently. As a .Net developer, I use Visual Studio more often than any other IDE so I am interested to know what is new. I do not think VS2010 is broken by any means but any enhancements are welcome.

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Install

Visual Studio 11 Installer

Quick Info on How To Get Visual Studio 11 Beta:

Installer for Visual Studio 11 Beta below:

Visual Studio 11 Beta Installer – https://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/11/en-us/downloads

System Requirements:

– Supported Operating Systems: Windows 8 Consumer Preview
– Supported Architectures: 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64)
– Hardware Requirements:
– 1.6 GHz or faster processor
– 1 GB of RAM (1.5 GB if running on a virtual machine)
– 5.0 GB of available hard disk space
– 5400 RPM hard drive
– DirectX 9-capable video card running at 1024 x 768 or higher display resolution

Visual Studio 11 Impressions

I will mention my top 3 favorite enhancements on this beta version but feel free to check the Visual Studio blog post made to introduce Visual Studio 11 Beta

Monochrome

The most obvious change for this version is the color and layout of the toolbars. My first reaction is this is very similar on how Xcode theme is. Xcode is the IDE for developing Objective-C projects. There is very limited use of color on the toolbars and the icons. This is a major change from the icons in Visual Studio which are usually presented like the toolbars you can find on other Microsoft products like Microsoft Office (Photographic icons). I like the monochrome theme and totally get why the Visual Studio team would say that this will make the developer more focused on the code. I do not see any value on adding another section of options presented in colored icons if I can just use the quick search to find them using their name (more on quick search next).

Visual Studio 11 Beta  IDE

Visual Studio 11 Beta Monochrome IDE

Visual Studio 11 Beta  Xcode IDE

For comparison, here is the Xcode IDE

Quick Search

On my Mac, my favorite tool and mostly used feature is the Spotlight (Apple button + spacebar). You can type in the name of the application or file you want to go to and there it is with a few keyboard strokes. On Visual Studio 11 Beta, they also added the same feature on searching for your build files and for searching commands and configuration options. No more coursing through each menu option from File to Help just to look for toggle for a specific option. This will really help improve efficiency and help save time for developers.

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Menu Explorer
Visual Studio 11 Quick Search Menu (Ctrl + πŸ˜‰

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Solution Explorer
Visual Studio Quick Search Solution (Ctrl + Q)

Image QuickView

Another really useful enhancement added is the image quick view on solution explorer. You might say this is a minor feature but its very useful when you are building your UI during coding or you need to debug and find what exact image you need to reference on your code. No need to double click, just hover and see the image. Neat!

Visual Studio 2011 Beta Solution Explorer Image Preview
Image Quickview right on Solution Explorer

There are other features in the Beta version of Visual Studio 11 and I’m sure there will be changes with the final release. The Visual Studio team is in the right path on adding these features. Happy coding!

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Metro-Style Apps

Yourwindows8apps

I’m sure you have heard of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview released by Microsoft a week ago. Many were able to successfully install and run it on their machines to check out the new features. Last week I’ve posted here options on where you can install Windows 8 Consumer Preview. So whats new with this release? I’ve noticed significant improvement on its performance and responsiveness of the UI. Microsoft is now moving from the usual 32-bit desktop user interface to Metro-style applications. As Microsoft relayed, Windows applications are now more focused on the content and less distraction from the system.

Tile View on Windows 8

Windows 8 Tiles with Apps 2 RS

The tiles can be arranged according to their category. You will notice that I can select the Games group tile automatically and place it anywhere I want in the tile. Also notice that the tiles title or image adjust automatically. Cool!

Lets go and check other applications.

Basic Apps

Mail

Windows 8 Email App RS

You can add email accounts from Exchange server, Google and of course Hotmail. Nice clean look on creating an email. Formatting options are available at the bottom. One Windows 8 tip, right click on any Tile or inside a Metro-style app to get the options appear.

Photos

Windows 8 Photo App RS

Images from your SkyDrive, Facebook and Flickr aside from the local image can be linked here. I’ve noticed that basic editing options for images are not available right now on this application. The application is mainly for viewing your photos only for now.

Weather

Windows 8 Weather App RS

The Weather application has a very nice graphical way of presenting the weather forecast. If you swipe (on my case scroll down using a mouse) to the right, more details about the weather will appear. You can pin the weather as a live tile with the specific location you choose or you can also snap the application to the screen side by side with another application. This is a common feature on Windows 8 for all Metro-style applications.

Social

Messaging

Windows 8 Messaging App RS

Messaging application is the IM application of Windows 8. You can link your Microsoft Live of Facebook profile for now. I wish you can link to other social websites in the future. You can really say that this application is in the preview version due to the lack of messaging options available.

People

Windows 8 People App RS

I was able to link my Facebook, Twitter and Google account on People app. The What’s New section is like a News feed in Facebook where you can see updates from all of your contacts in the same view. I’m not sure why you need to go to the messaging app if you can make your messages on this app. But since this is a preview version expect more changes on the final version.

Productivity

SkyDrive

Windows 8 Skydrive App RS

You can manage your files on your Skydrive using this application. Basic options of upload and download are already available now.

Market

I was surprised to see applications and games are now available in the Market. The way to get and purchase an app is the same with how you get an app from the App Store or the Android Market.

Kindle

Windows 8 Market  Kindle App RS

Games

Cut The Rope

Windows 8 Market  Cut The Rope Game App RS

Wordament

Windows 8 Market  Wordament Game App RS

Online purchase of Videos and Music is also available

Music

Windows 8 Music App RS

Video

Windows 8 Movie App RS

Obviously there will be more applications available once the final version of Windows 8 is released. I’m excited how those applications will look like and integrated to the Metro-style of Windows 8. As a developer, I’m excited to learn and build applications for Windows 8. Great times ahead!

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Windows 8 Consumer Preview Installation Options

windows 8 consumer preview beta fish

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Installation Options

I’m sure you have seen Windows 8 Consumer Preview installed to a virtual machine or an actual machine or slate(Tablet). I was able to install and try the Windows 8 Consumer preview myself and I was really surprised how smooth and responsive the system is. Kudos to the Windows team of Microsoft, this is far from the Windows 8 Developers Preview I’ve tried last year.

Curious enough? Install Windows 8 Consumer Preview with the options below and try it for yourself.

First, the Windows 8 Consumer Preview download sources:

(a) MSDN Subscriptionhttp://msdn.microsoft.com
I got my installer from MSDN download since we have volume license and the source server is different from public so downloading is faster πŸ˜‰

Msdn windows 8 consumer preview links

I’m not sure what “with Apps” means but yes this is the installer you want to download.

(b) Download from Microsoft.comhttp://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/download
This is where Microsoft published the public download location of Windows 8 Consumer preview. 1 million downloads for the first few hours of release according to Microsoft.

Add “iso” to get the ISO version of the installer – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-8/download/iso

Target environments: Where can it run?

Boot from VHD – I have not tried this before I came across the post of Scott Hanselman on Windows 8 Boot from VHD post. Boot from VHD is only available if you have Windows 7 Enterprise and up version of Windows 7. Also take note that you cannot boot from a VHD hosted in a BitLocker enabled partition. It will not work either if you Suspend the BitLocker. Only way is decrypt the drive or use a different hard drive or partition without BitLocker.

Another approach to boot Windows 8 from VHD is to use the Windows Automated Installation Kit for Windows 7. Eric Boyd has posted the detailed instructions on how to do this on his website – How To Install Windows 8 with Native Boot to VHD.

Both approaches will make use of BCDEDIT and DISKPART commands which is fun!

Parallels Desktop as Virtual Machine – I have version 7 of Parallels for Mac to run my virtual machines. Installation using Parallels is as smooth as if you install directly to a physical machine though I would still prefer to have the boot from VHD option since its using the actual hardware and only the hard drive is virtualized.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview desktop

All of my Windows VM machines works flawlessly with Parallels. I got more VMs installed as you can see πŸ™‚

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Parallels virtual machine list

Windows Virtual PC – Using a Windows Virtual PC is the common approach if you want to install a Windows virtual machine. But it seems Windows Virtual PC is NOT ready yet for Windows 8 (I’ve tried both 32-bit and 64-bit). I got a boot error from Windows 8 Consumer Preview 64-bit installation and an unhappy face for Windows 8 32-bit version.

Windows 8 Consumer Preview 64bit on VirtualPC

Error on 64 bit

Windows 8 Consumer Preview 32Bit on Virtual PC

Error on 32 bit

I was not expecting not to be able to run Windows 8 with Windows Virtual PC. I may need to install an updated version of virtual PC or allocate more memory perhaps? I will just use the boot from VHD approach or the Parallels for now, not a problem! πŸ™‚

I’m excited to see the final release of Windows 8 soon! Metro-style user interface is really nice and it goes well with other Microsoft systems particularly the Windows Phone 7. These early releases and previews will give developers more time to create applications that will adopt the new system and address the bugs.

Everyone can participate in reporting a bug in the Windows 8 forum – http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_8. Make your bug count!

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Kingston Wi-Drive Portable Media Storage

Wi Drive logo

Kingston Wi-Drive Portable Media Storage

I have a Kindle Fire and just recently found the 8GB capacity a challenge in storing media especially movie files. No option now for other higher capacity Kindle Fire model, maybe soon? Well, Kingston Wi-Drive is an option.

It seems Kingston also has the same problem so they created a solution to extend the storage capacity wirelessly of iPad, iPod, iPhone and now recently Kingston released the Kingston Wi-Drive app version for Amazon App store and Android.

Why do you need a Kingston Wi-Drive?

  • need more space
  • need mobile media server
  • need to share media storage up to 3 users

The Kingston Wi-Drive has compatible 802.11 g/n with WPA/WEP security. It supports most of document and media file formats –

  • Wireless Network Interface – Wi-Fi 802.11g/n with wireless security (WPA/WEP)
  • Supported File Formats: tiff Document: pdf, doc, docx, ppt, pptx, txt, rtf, xls
  • Supported File Formats: Audio: AAC, MP3, WAV Video: m4v, mov, Motion JPEG (M-JPEG), AVI Image: jpg, bmp
  • Compatible with Kindle Fire, iPad, iPhone 3G/3GS/4, iPod touch (3G is limited to iOS4.2.1+)

Kingson Wi-Drive Hands On

WiDrive UnBox1 wtmkRS

Kingston Wi-Drive box on hand

WiDrie UnBox3 wtmkRS

Kingston Wi-Drive size comparison to iPhone. Kingston Wi-Drive just a bit longer.

Get started

Connect the Kingston Wi-Drive to your PC/Mac using USB cable that came with the box. It will appear as another drive.

WiDrive Copy Files

Copy your files to the root folder.

Download the Kingston Wi-Drive App from Apple App Store, Amazon App Store or the Android Market depending on your device.

WiDrive App Icon

App store logos

 

A little demo with my Kindle Fire and iPhone

Home screen of the application will show the files you have copied to the Kingston Wi-Drive.WiDrive App Explore

You can see that I’m playing a video on my Kindle Fire and playing a song on my iPhone 4. Both media streaming from the Kingston Wi-Drive. Works smoothly!

WiDrive Media Playback

The Kingston Wi-Drive is really lightweight and can easily be carried in your pocket. I’m just concerned of the way it gets hot when in use. Just do not put it in your pocket for hours when in use.

Now a desktop application for Windows and Mac would be cool. That way you can easily back up your desktop files over wifi (mobile NAS) without the need for USB port or internet access for cloud storage.

I got it for 3,500 pesos for 16GB. There is also a 32GB for 5,000 pesos. Search in sulit.com.ph or other local online stores.

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