I wanted to play with old PCs and that’s why I tried ESA’s ISS Tracker on a HP Mini and Dell Latitude X1. But if I’m being honest, the job of a dedicated display is better suited to devices like tablets. They are designed for information consumption and are not hampered by the overhead of input devices like keyboards. I was not willing to dedicate my iPad to this task: it is too useful for other things. But I do have a pile of older devices that haven’t lived up to their promise.
Top of this pile (meaning most recent) is an Amazon Kindle Fire HD 7 tablet 9th generation (*) purchased during holiday sale for a significant discount. If there isn’t a sale today, wait a few weeks and another will be along shortly. I ended up paying roughly 20% of what I paid for my iPad, and I had been curious how it would perform. The verdict was that it had too many annoyances to be useful and I ended up not leaving it collecting dust. At 20% of the price with 0% of utility, it was not a win.
But maybe I could dedicate its screen for a live ISS tracker? I brought up Silk web browser and launched the ESA site. Switching to full screen mode unveiled a problem: Kindle never removes its device navigation buttons from the bottom of the screen. The triangle/circle/square obscures part of ISS tracker’s display.
I wondered if this behavior applied to native Kindle apps as it did full screen web pages, so I searched through the Amazon Kindle app store for an ISS tracker and found ISSLive (*) for experimentation. The answer: yes, the navigation bar is overlaid on top of native applications just as it did on web pages.
But that was only visually annoying and not an outright deal breaker. That would be Kindle’s sleep behavior. There is no option to keep the screen display active. The user can choose from one of several time duration for the tablet to wait before it turns off the display and goes to sleep, but there is no “Never go to sleep” option.
The Kindle Fire HD 7 will not be suitable as a dedicated ISS tracker screen, so I’m moving on to the next device in the unused pile for investigation: a HP Stream 7.
(*) Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.