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Tip of the day: Amazon App Store from outside the U.S.

October 27th, 2012 by

Only yesterday i discovered that even though i live in Germany, where i cannot content from amazon.com, i can still buy Android apps (legitimately) from amazon.com by using their App Store application. Why would one want to do that when the Google Play store has such a rich selection of apps? Because Amazon has some which Play does not, for example the Aralon RPG.

Instructions for installing the Amazon App Store app are here: English or German


  • The Amazon App Store is (from what i understand) only available in the US, UK, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany.
  • The Amazon App Store app is dog slow, especially on my tablet (it’s a bit faster on my phone, with half the number of CPUs).
  • Its structure makes it difficult to browse through the long list of apps. It’s much easier to browse them on a desktop machine and then search (by name) for the ones you want via the Android app.
  • The download mechanism does not tie in cleanly with the Android OS. Insofar as i can tell, the Amazon app must stay open while an app is downloading or else the download can get interrupted. When i downloaded Aralon it got interrupted about 80% of the way in and i had to start all over. It’s kind of like using old DOS programs for downloads: while its downloading, just stare at the screen and wait for it to finish. It also does not create shortcuts on the home screen after installation.
  • Many of the apps in this store are only available for various Kindle devices. Oh, well.
  • App prices sometimes differ between this store and Google Play – be sure to check both before buying!


Have fun!

—– stephan beal

Tip of the day: multiple droid devices and Google Latitude

June 22nd, 2012 by

Since a few weeks Google Latitude, which my ex and i use quite a bit to coordinate our shared dog-sitting responsibilities, has been acting a bit flaky, often showing me at home when i have not been at home, and unable to locate my ex at all (even though she’s logged in via her phone). At first i figured it was a Google-side glitch and would be resolved soon. A few days later i began to suspect that my mobile network carrier (which my ex had switched to at about the same time the problems started) had started blocking (or had otherwise broken) network-based geolocation. As the old song says, though, “it’s my own damned fault.”

A couple nights ago both my phone and tablet beeped simultaneously as a mail arrived, and then it hit me: my new tablet was also logged in, i had explicitly configured it to stay online even when in sleep mode, and… the problems with Latitude had started at about the time i got the tablet. Hmmm….

After reconfiguring the tablet to disable wifi when sleeping, Latitude can once again find me (i.e. my phone) as long as the tablet is not online (which it “shouldn’t be” unless i’m at home using it!).

The moral of the story is: don’t lie to Latitude and it won’t lie to you.

Happy Hacking!

—– stephan beal