Monday, July 9, 2012

Hands On with the Kingston Wi-Drive

As I've said before, the Kingston Wi-Drive is a great way to add 16 or 32 gb of storage to your Kindle Fire. But I didn't own one myself until recently because I wasn't running out of space on my Fire. Now I am. Due to total immersion in a series of novels that I've been reading on my Kindle Touch, I've neglected my magazine subscriptions. Paper magazines have been piling up at home and digital mags have been filling up the Fire's memory.

Because the Wi-Drive user manual is not completely clear on the procedure used to connect the Wi-Drive to the Fire, I'll attempt to clarify.

Using the Wi-Drive usually consists of two steps- transferring files from your computer to the Wi-Drive, and connecting the Wi-Drive to the Fire via Wi-Fi. Of course, you can also move files from the Fire directly to the Wi-Drive, and vice-versa.

You can connect the Wi-Drive directly to a computer with the included mini-USB to USB cable, in which case the Wi-Drive shows up as a disk drive on the computer. Then you can transfer files back and forth via drag and drop with your usual file manager. Note that Wi-Fi is disabled while the Wi-Drive is connected to a computer so you can't use it with the Fire at the same time.

To connect the Wi-Drive to the Fire, first install the free Wi-Drive app (found in the Andoid Store on Amazon on your Fire. The turn on the Wi-Drive and wait until the blue Wi-Fi light is flashing (this can take a few minutes. Then turn on the Fire and tap the top right status bar to bring up the menu bar. Then 
tap Wi-Fi and tap Wi-Drive to connect to the drive. By default, the Wi-Drive has no password- but you should change this.

Now start the Wi-Drive app on the Fire. After a short time the Wi-Drive will be shown as well as local storage on the Fire. Tap on the Wi-Drive line to open the Wi-Drive. Tap on folders to open them, then tap on a file to open or play the file using the appropriate app on the Fire. Note that there doesn't appear to be a way to create new folders on the Wi-Drive from the Fire- you'll have to do that while the drive is connected to your computer. But by long-pressing a folder you can delete or copy it. Long-pressing a file name lets you delete or copy the file, as well as send the file via email. If you have the Dropbox app installed you can also send the file to your Dropbox folder, which gives you another way to transfer files between the Wi-Drive and your computer.

As mentioned above, by default the connection to the Wi-Drive is not password protected. You should use WPA-PSK security and a password to secure the connection. To do this, open the Wi-Drive folder on the Fire, tap the menu icon at the bottom of the screen, and choose "Settings". Then choose Wi-Drive Settings, select the encryption method (WPA is preferred), and enter your password. Tap "Done" when finished. You will need to restart the Wi-Drive and reconnect via Wi-Fi from the Fire, this time entering your new password.

You'll probably notice that when you connect your Fire to the Wi-Drive it loses its connection to the local Wi-Fi network. Fortunately your can use the Wi-Drive app to "bridge" the Fire to the local network. To do this, tap the Wi-Drive line to make sure you're in the Wi-Drive file system, then tap the menu icon at the bottom of the screen. Next, tap "Settings", select "Network Settings",  choose the desired Wi-Fi network, and connect. If the Wi-Fi connections is encrypted, you'll be asked for the password. In either case, the Wi-Drive will reset. When it restarts, your Fire should be connected to both the Wi-Drive and the internet via your local Wi-Fi network.

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