Monday, December 7, 2009

Another Decade Nearly Gone ... Whatever the Hell Its Name Is.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, animals both domesticated and wild, the decade is coming to a close, and I still have no idea what to call it. I will miss the 80's, 90's and the ... Ones and Zeroes? The 0's? And while I'm brooding over this decade, what about the next decade? Is it the Mostly Teens? The 11's? It's like the whole he and she business; a very confusing mess that will never have a solid support system.

I demoed the nook over at my local Barnes & Nobles today and was fairly pleased with it. There was no, Oh my God! I need to pre-order one now, and then complain endlessly when it doesn't arrive on the promised date ... more like a, that's cool, can't wait for the next version.

Most of the issues I had with the device could be fixed with some minor firmware updates. Coming from an iPod Touch world, which has a really intuitive touchscreen, I was less than impressed with the nook's touchscreen, or what I like to call in more technical terms: the touch-flick thingy. The nook's touch-flick thingy reminded me of browsing the apps store on an iPod Touch with a bad Wi-Fi connection ... you know, that bit of lag you get while the images are waiting to load? Well, that's the nook's whole browsing interface in a nutshell.

I also found features like search, dictionary and highlight a bit awkward and jerky. The main problem with all of them is that they were slow and cumbersome. For example, I could easily pick up a dictionary and find a word faster than it took me to look up a word in nook.

But overall it's about the reading experience right? And in that area I was mostly impressed. The screen is pleasing to the eyes. After a few pages I could see myself even forgetting I'm reading on an electric device. Unfortunately, some of the books I previewed were formatted poorly, the spacing and paragraphs looked choppy, and some of the letters were hacked off at the corners. This, I was told, was a problem with the publisher not properly converting the book for an e-reader, but it was annoying. It would be like buying a movie and seeing green screen instead of the intended special effect, and the sales guy saying, well, you know, not all movies are formatted properly for your television, but whatever.

So my verdict is I'll wait until they make a few more firmware updates before considering a nook. It also gives me some time to see how Amazon and Sony respond.

Later Fiends,


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