Samsung Galaxy S4 has stated that the phone will be available with 16, 32 or 64GB of storage, but at the time of writing, only the 16GB model was being offered by any networks. If you want the higher-capacity models, you’ll likely need to go directly to Samsung or wait to see which retailers offer it SIM-free.
It’s important to bear in mind though that Samsung bundles a massive amount of extra software with the phone that takes up a lot of space. Of the 16GB storage, only 8GB is actually useable. Samsung defended this by arguing that it needs the room for all its new features, but it still sparked something of an outrage on our Facebook page, with one commenter writing “This is a scam and mis-advertising.”
You can of course root the phone in order to wipe off all Samsung software, freeing up a huge portion of space, but this will void your warranty and potentially destroy your phone if you do it wrong. “For £550 you shouldn’t have to void your warranty and potentially brick your phone, simply to have the advertised amount of space,” another commenter stated.
There’s a microSD card slot under the backplate, so you can at least expand the storage to make room for all your photos and videos. Annoyingly, Samsung doesn’t let you install apps on an SD card, so gamers among you will want to keep a close eye on how many glossy games you install — Real Racing 3 demands almost 2GB of space alone.
Today I’m airing my dirty laundry. Pun intended. I have been asked over and over and over again what kind of diapers I use. It’s time to answer. This will be a two part response (or maybe more, who knows). I’m starting with disposable because – drum roll please – that’s what I use.
Yup: I. Use. Disposable. Diapers.
Why? Well it’s something I think about all of the time. The answer will probably be better explained in the cloth post. The short of it is that diaper delivery services use a tremendous amount of hot water, chlorine bleach, and (where I live) have to truck the things to and fro. All of these things have negative environmental impact. The chlorine stank so much on the diapers from the service I researched before my daughter was born that it sealed the deal for me. There was no way I was putting that much bleach residue next to her vulnerable itty bitty parts. I have friends who wash their delivery diapers two times before putting them on their son but this doesn’t seem very energy-friendly. And as I don’t have a washing machine in my apartment (ah, New York) it became pretty clear cloth isn’t for me. That said, I am very envious of friends with home machines who are able to wash their own (organic) cotton pre-folds with good soap and vinegar. More on that next post, Cloth Diapers You Can Trust.
I’ve had plenty of people say harsh things to me about using disposables and expect to hear more when posting this. I welcome whatever anyone has to say about the following. I’ve done enough research to know there isn’t one perfect answer when it comes to diapering. Every family has to make its own decision about which imperfect option works best for them.
First up, conventional disposable diapers. These (Huggies, Pampers etc.) haven’t ever been an option for me.
A widely quoted study (that we mention in the book) published in the Archives of Environmental Health and conducted by Anderson Laboratories in 1999 found mice exposed to VOC chemicals emitted by conventional disposables had asthma-like reactions. Baby lungs aren’t quite as small as mice lungs but this resonated – loudly – with me. Their manufacture involves chlorine.
And they all have chemical gel cores that activate to “lock-in” moisture when a baby pees. (This is what most diaper commercials boast about.) When I was first researching diapers a few years back (my daughter is now 2), I came across something on the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition’s site (they’ve since renamed and are HealthyChild.org) saying this absorbent chemical – sodium polyacrylate (SAP) - could cause respiratory and skin irritations in occupational settings (i.e. much higher dose than with diaper use).
I couldn’t help but wonder how safe that kind of chemical activity could possibly be in such close proximity to baby genitals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. No thank you!
The greener disposable choices (oxymoron alert!) are few and far between.
There’s no such thing as a biodegradable diaper when it comes to landfills. There isn’t enough air/water/light to make it happen. Both Seventh Generation and the flushable G Diapers contain absorbent gel so I crossed them off my list.
(I have used the 7th G ones on trips when I ran out of my brand-of-choice as they’re pretty widely available and to be honest, they’re awesome. They work very well and are quite flexible. I have interviewed various very honest people at 7th G over the years about other chemicals - mainly in cleaning products – so do tend to trust them. On their site they call the SAP gel “chemically inert” and claim independent scientific research has shown it is “non-toxic, not carcinogenic, and non-irritating to the skin.” Various other reports I’ve read claim SAP was taken out of tampons due to links to toxic shock syndrome, and still other studies claim SAP has nothing to do with TSS. Diapers, of course, are on the outside, not the inside, of bodies.)
As with most gray-area unnecessary chemicals, I prefer to avoid gel absorbent, which is found in Seventh Generation and Baby G brand diapers. So I wound up using – and still use – a brand called Tushies.
It’s a cotton-blend diaper made with chlorine-free wood pulp that contains no extra chemicals or gels. Their site says they’re “assembled in the U.S. with domestic materials and certified non-chlorine bleached wood pulp from Scandinavian, sustainable, renewable, family-owned forests.”
You can find them in some health-food stores or they can be delivered to your door in bulk via UPS. They’re more expensive than conventional disposables.
(I just went to their site and noticed two things I hadn’t before – that they now have a link up to our book and, at the bottom, it says Copyright 2008 The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. which means I guess they were purchased!)
Around the same time I found Tushies, I heard about Nature Babycare but had trouble locating the actual product to try. So I went with Tushies. I just went back to their site, too, and it looks like the product has changed since I was last on it. Natural Baby Care is now claiming to make:
“the first ECO-friendly high-performance diaper, based on new green technology, protected by a Swedish patent. It has an exclusive 100% chlorine-free absorbent material and the material against the baby’s skin is based on corn instead of plastic, like traditional diapers. 100% compostable, breathable and extremely kind for the baby. The packaging is 100% compostable and based on corn.”
This sounds very interesting, promising even. On their FAQ page that 100% claim drops down to about 60% – unclear which it is. There they also explain that the absorbent pulp is cellulose contained in nature, the tree pulp is FSC certified, and the corn used isn’t genetically modified. Worth looking into. Sweden’s environmental standards are certainly leaps and bounds ahead of ours.
They have a link to Target.com on their site but I couldn’t find them at Target. But they are available atNatureBoyandGirl.net and Drugstore.com. Check out the Drugstore.com reviews - one mom said they managed to compost them all. I don’t have a compost pile (ah, New York again) but these sound like an option to try out for people who do.
FYI – in a consumer diaper review at TheGreenGuide.com, some parents complain they’re too “plastic-y” – I guess they mean all of that corn material is slick.
Basically, unless you have the time and patience to help the child go diaperless from day one (get a copy of Ingrid Bauer’s Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene) there’s no way not to think about the environmental – and environmental health – impact of each diaper you change.
I can’t wait until my daughter is potty trained. We’ve been having her stuffed animals use her potty in front of her since she was about 1. She goes through phases of being interested in it and right now it’s more than ever. With the warmer weather on the horizon (it’s easier to train in less clothing) I think I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
I can’t wait until I’m not tossing these things into the garbage. I do create less waste than some in other areas of our life, but this diaper thing makes me feel terrible and guilty daily.
1: Acquire Advanced Couponing Techniques
You might think simple Sunday morning coupon-cutting sessions get you most of the good deals out there, but there are more aggressive ways to go about collecting coupons if you want to get extreme savings.
Don’t settle for one newspaper. Get weekend subscriptions to several (provided they carry quality ads and aren’t too expensive). You can also ask friends and coworkers to give you any ad inserts they aren’t planning to use. Local businesses might let you have any unsold Sunday papers they have leftover come Monday. Multiple copies mean multiple coupons.
Don’t forget online resources, either. Lots of Web sites have printable coupons, so surf those sites regularly. You can also look for promo codes to use during online transactions, and you can sign up for daily deal alerts from a variety of Internet sources.
2: Join in on the Jargon-fest
The next step is to get familiar with coupon lingo and policies. Are your coupons stackable? (Meaning you can use a manufacturer’s coupon in tandem with a store coupon.) Do stores in your area offer double coupon deals? (Meaning at certain times you can use a coupon and it’ll be worth twice its face value.)
Next, brush up on the acronyms. OYNO? MIR? BOGO? You need to learn terms like these in order to maximize savings. We’ll give you these three for free: On Your Next Order, Mail-in Rebate and Buy One Get One. But there are many more you may run across as you navigate the world of extreme couponing. Learn to talk the talk before you try to walk the walk.
You’ll also want to get a handle on pricing. A “sale” doesn’t always mean significant savings, so start keeping track of how much products typically sell for. There are also price-comparison Web sites which you can reference to tell whether you’re getting the best rate. With a little practice, you’ll get better at recognizing real savings.
3: Turn Couponing into a Cottage Industry
So now you have your incoming stream of coupons and you have a handle on how to interpret them. Next step? Get organized! An extreme coupon-cutter never lets sweet deals expire because his or her coupons are sitting in a heap on the kitchen counter. One expert recommends using baseball card holders or sheet protectors in a binder. It’s a flexible solution that can help you keep tabs on which products should be added to your shopping list, and you can take it with you each time you’re ready to hit the aisles in case an unexpected sale pops up.
You can organize your collection any number of ways, such as by expiration date or by product category. Both have pros and cons. Organizing by category, for example, will take more time upfront, but your coupons will be easier to find when you come across a deeply discounted product begging for a $1.00/1 or B2G1 (One Dollar Off or Buy 2 Get One) coupon to defray the cost down to a only a few cents.
4: Get Familiar with Navigating the Marketplace
You might want to dive into couponing headfirst, but easing in is probably the better route.
Start with a single store while you’re getting your feet wet; you can branch out later as you get used to bargain pricing and coupon policies. Find a couple of favorite cashiers to frequent who don’t mind the drill. Make sure to thank those cashiers and compliment them often. Warn people who get behind you in line that they may want to choose another aisle. Smile whenever a situation seems like it’s starting to sour.
The point is that it’s important to remember that while you’re learning an exciting and cost-saving new practice, other people are just trying to pick up a few things for dinner after a long day at work. Which reminds us of another tip: Avoid shopping during peak hours and trips to the store will tend to go a lot more smoothly.
5: Know Your Rights for Smoother Sailing
Shoppers who use coupons in an extreme fashion are going to come up against brick walls on an annoyingly regular basis. Maybe it’s a cashier who insists you can’t use a manufacturer’s coupon with one you got from the store, or a manager who is adamant that the coupons you printed online are unacceptable.
The trick to dealing with this sort of situation is to have the store’s coupon policy on-hand and ready to go. Some stores’ coupon policies are listed online, while others you have to ask for. Once you obtain hard copies, it’s a good idea to keep them in your binder. Then if there is disagreement over the details of a transaction, you can show whoever is checking you out the relevant portion of that particular policy.
And again, always remain respectful and polite. You might find cashiers and even managers who are simply unfamiliar with their store’s coupon policy, and by being friendly and helpful about it, you’re much more likely to achieve positive results.
The Kindle Fire HD is a cracking little tablet, but it’s very much Amazon’s way or the highway (the highway in this case being the Google Nexus 7) — you’re stuck with Amazon’s customised interface, Amazon’s choice of apps, and Amazon’s favourite services (like Lovefilm and the Amazon Cloud Player). If you want to install other apps and use Android as it was meant to be used, you’ll need to root your device.
If you’re new to rooting, it gives you advanced control over your tablet. While your Kindle Fire HD won’t seem much different after you’ve completed the process, you can then do all kinds of tweaks and customisations — remove the adverts, run the stock version of Android, install apps from Google Play, and so on.
It’s not all sweetness and light, though. You will void your warranty, so you need to be extra careful about what apps you install in future. Many users happily run rooted Android devices, and I worked through the following steps without any major issues, but as you’re turning off the official Amazon-approved main road, CNET can’t take responsibility for where you end up.
If you’re ready to supercharge your Kindle Fire HD and give it the life it’s always dreamed of, read on.
Before you start: this process has been tested on a Kindle Fire HD running the newest 7.2.3 firmware (check your version by visiting Device/ About in Settings). For help upgrading to this version, see the official Amazon page.
You’ll also need a decent level of battery left on your tablet (at least 60-70 per cent is recommended). Finally, make sure everything precious on your Kindle Fire HD is safely backed up, should the worst happen.
You’ll need a selection of rooting tools first of all, some available from official sources and some put together by Android enthusiasts. Make a new folder on your desktop to hold these files, called ‘rooting’ or similar.
Download the ADB Drivers (debugging tools) for the Kindle Fire HD and Bin4ry’s Root Tool listed on the first post from this thread on the Phandroid forums. Run the Kindle Fire ADB drivers.exe executable first, clicking through any warnings or security alerts you see. If the drivers fail to install correctly, try switching to the alternative driver download link from the forum post I just mentioned. Once this is done, extract the contents of Root_with_Restore_by_Bin4ry_v17.zip to the same folder.
Now a fiddly bit. Go to your Windows user account folder (eg C:\Users\Dave) and create a new folder called ‘.android.’ — Windows will remove the final dot, but you must include it to begin with. Save a plain text file into this folder called ‘adb_usb.ini’ containing just the line ‘0x1949’. This informs the rooting tool what device you’re working with. Once that’s done, your software is ready to go.
Next, turn your attention to your Kindle Fire HD and say goodbye to it in its unrooted state. Open the Settings screen (tap ‘More’ on the notification bar) then go into Device and ensure ‘Allow Installation of Applications’ is set to ‘On’. In the Security section tap the ‘On’ button next to ‘Enable ADB’ (you’ll receive another security alert, which you can dismiss). These two settings let the rooting tools do their stuff.
Now for the rooting proper. Connect the Kindle Fire HD to your computer using a USB cable and give it a few moments to be successfully detected. Open up a command prompt window (type: cmd in the Start screen on Windows 8, or click Start and type: cmd in Windows 7 or Vista, then press Enter).
Switch to the folder containing your root files (type: cd desktop\rooting, where ‘rooting’ is the name of the file you created earlier, then press Enter). Then type the following command: stuff\adb devices and hit Enter.
You should see that an Android device has been detected (under ‘List of devices attached’). If it isn’t, there’s likely to be a problem with your drivers — try uninstalling and reinstalling them, or visiting Device Manager in Control Panel and updating the Kindle drivers from there (right-click on the Kindle entry and choose ‘Update Driver Software’). Ideally you should see two entries for your Kindle in Device Manager. With the device detected successfully, type: RunMe and press Enter.
This batch file contains the instructions needed to root your Kindle Fire HD. Check the device is unlocked, then press ‘1’ (on your computer’s keyboard) and Enter. Keep an eye on the Kindle’s screen and choose ‘Restore’ when you get the option to.
The device will reboot and may run slowly during the rooting process, but keep your eye on the command prompt window for further instructions. Unlock your Kindle each time it reboots, and when you see the confirmation message on your computer, the tablet has been successfully rooted. Your customisations can begin!
The Kindle Fire HD is more difficult to root than many other Android devices, and the procedure doesn’t always run smoothly — the plethora of forum threads across the Web on the topic are testament to this.
If you’re experiencing problems I’d recommend this excellent thread on Phandroid, which I’m indebted to for helping with this guide. After the initial post you’ll find a list of issues and potential troubleshooting fixes.
In some cases it may be necessary to download the full Android SDK from Google; in other cases running a factory reset on your Kindle Fire HD before attempting the above steps may resolve your problem. I wouldn’t want to put you off, however — I managed the job in an hour with only a couple of minor hiccups. Keep an eye on CNET UK’s How To section for some ideas on how to make use of your newly unrooted Kindle.