A Mind @ Play

random thoughts to oil the mind

Just had a maddening time trying to work out why a Kindle 4, which was to replace a Kindle 3, refused to connect to the family wireless. After trying all of the obvious – resetting devices, checking passwords – it was off to scour the web for a solution. All kinds of suggestions cropped up, relating to passwords or SSIDs with special characters, or wireless networks using channel 13, but none of them applied to our situation. Finally I hit upon a post which hinted that the Kindle 4, unlike its predecessor, doesn’t support WPA2 with AES encryption. Switching the router over to accept WPA/TKIP and WPA2/AES together didn’t make a difference, but the device finally logged in when I turned AES connections off altogether!

Just to paraphrase the post, Kindle 4s won’t connect to a wireless network if it:

  • uses WPA-Enterprise or WPA2-Enterprise
  • is an ad-hoc network
  • has data encryption set to AES only
  • is set to 802.11n only

Further settings that might cause problems include if the network:

  • has data encryption set to TKIP+AES (even though TKIP is available, it might not connect)
  • is set to broadcast on channels 12, 13 or 14, or it is set to automatically choose a channel and lands on one of these (USA only uses channels 1-11)
  • has a pre-shared key containing special characters

Quite why Amazon release an upgraded device with downgraded hardware is beyond me. WPA2 is hardly a recent development, and is pretty much a requirement to be fully compliant. I’m only surprised that there weren’t more users having problems and complaining. Worse is that it isn’t detailed anywhere, nor do Amazon employees themselves seem to have much clue about what their device does and does not support, judging by the number of flumoxed users on the forums. Just one more reason I’ll be sticking with paper.

In recent years the media enjoyed regaling us with the search for the Higgs boson, but I’m sure many people wondered what was so special about Mr Higg’s boson that we should all be so interested in him finding it again, let alone curious about how he lost it in the first place. Postulate a new thesis or make a new discovery and you’re liable to have your name enter the vernacular. Found a company associated with a new invention, and the name may even become standard for the innovation. Yet at what point does it all stop being yours? We all learn about Newton’s laws of gravitation in the classroom, whilst some go on to read up on Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Archimedes’ buoyancy principle, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion – it all seems so predictable, until it comes unstuck with the Heisenberg uncertainty principle. Not the laws of physics, the laws of English.

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Argh, you’re kidding me. Did the Realtek HD Audio Drivers 6.0.1.7245 really just copy everything it found in the folder with the setup file over to the Program Files directory? Not the files in the executable .zip file, not the files in a list, no, everything it could get its grubby digital hands on. So a quick driver update ended up copying 40 GB of crud between two hard drives. Reminder to self: clean out the TEMP folder more often!