The TR Podcast 101: Scott really hates the Kindle Fire

The Tech Report Podcast Date: December 4, 2011

Time: 1:36:55

Hosted by Jordan Drake

Co-Hosts: Scott Wasson, Geoff Gasior, Cyril Kowaliski

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Show notes

We’re officially a three-digit podcast—and happy to be back to vocal tech reporting after a nice Thanksgiving break. We kick off this episode with listener mail and quickly move onto a Christmas list discussion, which is severely lacking in Christmas cheer. Then, Geoff and Cyril explain why we’re excited about Asus’ Eee Pad Transformer Prime, right before Scott gives a scathing review of the Amazon Kindle Fire. Seriously, he hates this thing.

Moving into the gaming world, we’re excited about Infinity Blade II but not amused by the many hoops required to play Batman: Arkham City on the PC. Despite the frustrating gameplay detours, Scott thinks Arkham City is one of the best games of the year and explains why.

In keeping with our new frame-time benchmarking methodology, Cyril discusses some of his findings after running some mid-range GPUs throughout The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. To wrap things up, Scott gives us a quick overview of the GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448, and Geoff talks about his two latest storage reviews.

Send in listener mail, and we’ll answer on the podcast. – jdrake@techreport.com

Follow us on Twitter – ScottJordanGeoffCyrilThe Tech Report

Listener mail/tweets:

Improved chipset? (0:00:45) – from JMC:


“Any hint of improved 2011 chipset options? I really, really wanted the SSD caching of the harddrives. (usb3 would be nice also) Wanted 8 cores but will settle for 6. SB-E”

Tech discussion:

    Panel discussion: What’s on your Christmas list? – (0:03:55)

    Eee Pad Transformer Prime to be available December 19 – (0:13:54) – Read more

    Scott reviews the Kindle Fire – (0:20:13)

    Infinity Blade II is out! (0:35:06)

    TR web comic: Snakes and ladders – (0:40:38) – Read more

    Scott reviews Arkham City – (0:47:24)

    Today’s mid-range GPUs in Skyrim – (0:53:03) – Read moreScreenshot: OblivionScreenshot: Skyrim

    GeForce GTX 560 Ti 448 splits the difference – (1:06:46) – Read more

    OCZ’s Octane 512GB solid-state drive – (1:11:09) – Read more

    Seagate’s Momentus XT 750GB hybrid hard drive – (1:21:13) – Read more

That’s all, folks! We’ll see you on the next episode.

Comments closed
    • halbhh2
    • 8 years ago

    About the beautiful Lydia problem (the tag-along characters get killed in epic battles), the solution is actually a big plus:

    These games are all easy, really. So, do something harder and more rewarding: sacrifice your character (or plan) if needed to save the tag-along character, like a person would.

    That would make for more interesting gameplay, in the bigger picture.

    A heroic sacrifice is a memorable thing.

    Just a thought.

    • wiak
    • 8 years ago

    gift cards are money with realy short expiration dates
    i love this “bank transfer me your gift”

      • Bauxite
      • 8 years ago

      Hard to pay bills with gift cards.

      Nothing beats money, delivered in person if you want the maximum sentiment.

    • spigzone
    • 8 years ago

    Your Kindle Fire review reminds me of a FPS focused reviewer reviewing an RPG on a gaming site slamming the game and giving it a low score for reasons RPG players could care less about. Just like hardware that gets hard core techies all critical and nit-picky might be all but meaningless to mom or Aunt Mildred.

    I think I’d go with Leo LaPorte’s take on the FIre who evaluates it for what it is and considering the demographic it’s targeting and within those parameters he considers it provides a smooth, easily grasped and quite enjoyable experience for accessing Amazon content and reading, listening to, gaming with and watching it.

    It’s not a device intended for hard core techies and shouldn’t be revewed as such.

    And your statement it’s going to drive people to the iPad is RIDICULOUS. It’s not. The average NON-techie will think the Fire is great and will like it even more with software updates. If anything, relatives, friends and neighbors will try out the Fire and decide hey, maybe they DON’T really need that expensve iPad thing-a-ma-jig after all, and at $200 it DEFINITELY will do for the kids and it is SO much more portable, it FITS in a purse or pocket. Perfect for long car trips.

    These things COUNT for the average person. They count a lot.

    KInda reminds me of the gaming site comments on the Kinect before it came out. The fanboys just could not GRASP my prediction it would sell like hotcakes because MOTHERS were going to absolutely LOVE it … nothing to clutter up the floor, nothing to step on, nothing to break and have to replace, no more whining kids going ‘Moooooooom, I can’t find the conTROLLer’ … and it made the little dears get off the sofa and MOVE.

    The demonstrated degree to which most people are extrapolation challenged is astounding … and in this political/economic day and age, pretty damned scary.

    • odizzido
    • 8 years ago

    christmas gifts suck. Your family has the right idea jordan.

    • glynor
    • 8 years ago

    Scott, are you going to do a write-up of your experience with the Fire? I’d love to read what you have to say in more detail.

    I tried out a friend’s pre-ordered Fire for an hour or so one afternoon, and I experienced essentially the same things you mention. What amazed me the most was how poor the actual reading experience was on it, which you didn’t mention in the podcast.

    I didn’t spend long with it, but I have to agree with [url=http://www.marco.org/2011/11/17/kindle-fire-review<]Marco Arment[/url<] on first glance: It isn't even a very good Kindle.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah I also would like a full write up. Sounds like other reviewers aren’t really “reviewing” the device like Scott is.

      • _Sigma
      • 8 years ago

      Myself as well.

      • dashbarron
      • 8 years ago

      I would too.

    • redwood36
    • 8 years ago

    Since the news seems to be slow at the moment– MOAR SKYRIM TALK.
    I like how Scott was really getting a kick out of just wandering about, thats what its all about. Eventually it’d be nice to hear some talk about the great mods that come out, like quadrupling the textures etc.
    And lets hear more about the christmas list, yeah ok [i<]you[/i<] guys have everything, but not all of us don't Im considering laying down a k for the dell utrasharp series, but i dont know if my card can handle it (gtx 285). Also, why did (Cyril?) get the asus over the dell IPS? out of curiosity, the ms delay?

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t understand that girl’s anatomy. Is that a tongue hanging out of her mouth?

    • spuppy
    • 8 years ago

    Regarding the Kindle Fire, can’t you just install a different Launcher (the UI) and browser (I like Dolphin HD)? These two changes should fix everything not hardware related that you didn’t like about it. And this isn’t ‘hacking’ it either….

    • ludi
    • 8 years ago

    So…given all of Damage’s comments, can we have the next podcast be a YouTube Special Edition where “Kindle Fire” is taken to be the use & operation instructions?

    • Aussienerd
    • 8 years ago

    Jordan, your explanation on the editing that you do to the podcast explains why it is still a cut above the rest.

      • ChangWang
      • 8 years ago

      Totally agree. I especially appreciate the time he takes to seperate out everyones voice. That alone is a huge cut above say, The Verge, where everyone sounds like they are fight to have “say so”. Makes my brain hurt afterward.

      • ssidbroadcast
      • 8 years ago

      Yeah you can really tell the show’s been cropped and scrubbed to a fine, smooth sheen. In terms of audio quality, it’s on par with any professional radio-podcast like NPR Planet Money. I expect nothing less.

      • redwood36
      • 8 years ago

      Also who is in such a rush, as they said, its not a breaking news format. its editorial/discussion. its nice to have it monday morning. Personally i wouldnt listen on the weekend anyway, podcasts are for work haha.

      • jdrake
      • 8 years ago

      Thanks guys!

      • glynor
      • 8 years ago

      I was a little slow in commenting on this, but I [i<]certainly[/i<] agree. I've said it before, but Jordan, you really do a fantastic job on these. I absolutely appreciate the obvious time and effort you put in, and yes, Monday is fine for the morning commute. Also, as someone who does their own podcast for work, I'd really love to see your proposed write up on the site going over the whole process. Dan Benjamin from 5by5 has a nice page where he goes over (and keeps updated) a list of all the equipment he uses, which is nice, but a procedural explanation from someone who does as nice a job as you do would be fantastic and useful. I think it could be a popular article for the site too. There isn't much out there as high quality as what you do. Most of the tutorials are "here's how you set it up all junky and export it as quickly as is possible".

        • jdrake
        • 8 years ago

        A: Post a link to your podcast – I want to hear it!
        B: I’m definitely going to try and get a “making of” article online soon – thanks for the inspiration

          • glynor
          • 8 years ago

          Sorry. I was a bit slow in reading your reply.

          Sure.

          [url<]http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-jackson-laboratory/id426122472[/url<] -or- [url<]http://jaxmice.jax.org/events/podcast.html[/url<] Now, please don't be too critical about the audio quality. I have VERY limited control over how these are recorded. The people doing to the interview record these themselves with some crappy Skype recording plugin (and headset) and then deliver the recordings to me to deal with (in an audio-only .mov file... seriously). Oh, and they always want 5-6 hour turnaround. The levels on the source files I get are always WAY out of whack. I do the best I can... You should hear the source files! I'm constantly trying to get them to use better recording software (or to let me record it with Audio Hijack Pro), but it is one of those "if it isn't broken and it is free" things... That's part of why I want to hear what you have in your workflow. I'm hoping that I can implement some changes in my system to improve the audio quality, while not forcing a dramatic change in their recording workflow. PS. Just to prove that I do, at least sort-of, know what I'm doing... Here's a page that has a bunch more of my work: [url<]http://www.jax.org/video/index.php[/url<]

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    I think the Kindle Fire will get hacked and it’ll be desirable. Cyanogenmod 9 (ICS) will save the Fire and probably take care of most of what Scott hates. The same may be true of the Nook Tablet, I suppose, which has 2x the RAM and 2x the storage space. Think it’s worth an extra $50? After hearing Scott talk about the Kindle I”m thinking maybe I’m looking at the wrong device. I still don’t want a 10″ device.

    • Meadows
    • 8 years ago

    The girl’s face reminds me of the “I fcuking love colouring!!!1” meme.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    Skyrim looks good not great. Better than oblivion but oblivion was the ugliest next gen game ever when it came out. Some great level design but horrid monster designs and character designs.

    • Metalianman
    • 8 years ago

    Guys, since you got talking about games, I was wondering, what are your thoughts about Deus Ex: Human Revolution

      • Cyril
      • 8 years ago

      [url<]https://techreport.com/articles.x/21585[/url<]

    • Philldoe
    • 8 years ago

    Blackberry Playbook. Not a lot of apps but it beats any tablet when it comes to the internet and ease of use.

      • ImSpartacus
      • 8 years ago

      It really [i<]is[/i<] underrated. If you're a Blackberry user, you basically get free 3G on a capable tablet that securely syncs email & calendar with your phone. But if you [i<]aren't[/i<] a Blackberry user, it's worthless.

        • Philldoe
        • 8 years ago

        Yes and no. With a rooted android you can tether via hotspot(for free) but you won’t get memo, task, calender and BBM.

        The pre OS7 BB’s aren’t really that great but if you have a new BB, add a PlayBook and you will never be happier.

        … Unless you require a huge app selection. I don’t game on phones so not an issue for me. 99% of the apps you se are useless to me for various reasons. Pandora, iheart radio, and google voice is all I ever use. Blackberry has is all.

        EDIT: All of the other stuff I use is built right in to th BB OS so I don’t bother mentioning them

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 8 years ago

      my coworker is a blackberry fan and has one. He paid $500 for it, which was a ripoff; but the tablet itself is very nice and the UI is very easy to use.

        • Philldoe
        • 8 years ago

        RIM is pushing out great deals atm. a 16gb Playbook will run you $200 at most retailers. I’m buying a new one this week to replace my stolen one 🙁

      • solo_clipper
      • 8 years ago

      I am one of the two people that bought the $199 Playbook. Been using it for about a week now and I love it. If Damage tried one he might like it better than his ifad……/ducks heading into dangerous territory…

    • DrDillyBar
    • 8 years ago

    This may be a dumb question, but when did tablets suddenly make a real PC a secondary point?

      • TakinYourPoints
      • 8 years ago

      When a lot of the common functionality of a PC (email, web, social networking, light apps, video) was made very easily portable and usable with long battery life.

      It hasn’t made the PC secondary, I think that is a bit extreme, but it has made it less of an obligation since you aren’t tethered to your desktop. It’s also more convenient than laptops because of their ergonomics and battery life. I used to use my laptop on my coffee tablet sometimes, no more with a tablet.

        • Bensam123
        • 8 years ago

        Here I thought laptops did all of that and more…

        ‘Ergonomics’ huh… Here is one rectangle, here is another with slightly rounded edges.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 8 years ago

      The tablet is a fast-evolving area. The PC isn’t changing much as of late.

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 8 years ago

    Scott did you try any alternate browsers like say the default Android browser to see if Silk just sucks or if the Fire is just too underpowered?

      • dragosmp
      • 8 years ago

      My 2 cents: Fire can’t be underpowered as (on a smaller screen) browsing and page turning is passable on CM7 & single core A8 CPU. Most of Fire’s issues are OS-related and as derFunkenstein said they’ll probably be solved with CM9. For tweaking the Nook Tablet could still be the better choice.

        • lilbuddhaman
        • 8 years ago

        or be solved in a late dec/jan patch

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