As I said in my previous post on application compatibility in Windows MultiPoint Server 2011 (WMS), most applications run without any special configuration or changes. They see WMS as just another Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows 7 computer. Or, if they’re fairly smart applications, as a Remote Desktop Session Host (aka, Terminal Server). But every once in a while, some aspect of a particular application doesn’t play well with WMS. Sometimes, as in the previous post, it’s really that it doesn’t play well with any terminal server because it doesn’t understand about multiple users. But other times, it’s strictly a WMS problem, and that usually makes me want to look at what is going on with networking and the application.
Why networking? Because WMS uses a bunch of “loop back adapters”(LBAs) to do some of the magic it does. And when an application sees that many network cards on a computer, sometimes it gets confused about which one to use. One such application is Amazon’s Kindle for PC (K4PC). On a normal Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 computer, it starts up fairly quickly and loads your current library, and if you’re currently reading a book, it opens to the latest page read on any device you might happen to be reading it on. Cool. But that means it needs to “phone home” to find out if you’ve read past the current point it knows about locally, and while it’s at it, it checks for a new version. Apparently, this phone home can get confused about which adapter to use and ends up taking what seems like forever to load. (It’s actually only about 30-40 seconds, but that’s a long time when you’re waiting for it.)
So, what to do about it? Two changes can make all the difference, and both are disabling automatic proxy checking. First, in K4PC, open Options from the Tools menu, and select Network in the left pane, as shown here:
Select No Proxy, or set the specific proxy settings that your network requires. Either is better than Auto-Detect. Next, change the settings on Internet Explorer to disable autodetect. (Depending on your IE version, this will be in the LAN Configuration settings, as shown below: )
Again, disable Automatically Detect Settings.
Restart your WMS server to make sure there are no open IE windows and you should see a noticeable improvement in the speed of K4PC. And consider this a likely culprit for any application that has a very slow start in WMS.
As many of you know, I've been a huge fan of the Kindle for a while now, and it's my primary reading medium these days. One of the complaints about the Kindle has been that you can't download and use Public Library books to your Kindle. Which really hasn't been true, but hasn't stopped the whingers from claiming it. All it really takes is a bit of help from Apprentice Alf, and this has been a non-issue for a while, and with the Calibre plug-in, it's really easy – no scripting required. Needless to say, I've been reading eBooks from my provincial library system without any problems, but it does require several steps more than the absolute minimum. Well, with the announcement today, this whole question just became a non-issue. Kindle will be working with Overdrive (the folks who handle the DRM and lending process for the vast majority of Public Libraries) to provide Kindle-compatible versions of eBooks for Library download. Better yet, these will preserve your last read location, bookmarks, and annotations across all Kindle platforms, and if you later buy the book, they'll be there as well. Now that IS a feature we appreciate.