Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Tablets are taking over

Seems like almost everybody has an iPad today, or a large-ish smartphone.  You see people on the bus reading Kindles and Nooks and even iPod Touches, rather than carry around actual books or magazines or newspapers.

I have read books on my Touch, but the screen is a bit small.  (Still, once I get into my story, it doesn't matter much, I am lost in my enjoyment of the tale.)

Which reminds me: don't get *so* lost you fail to notice your surroundings.  Don't get run over, or mugged, or fired, because you were reading when you should have been paying attention.

But anyway, I recently purchased a NOOK COLOR, and found it quite satisfactory (with a few key limits).  I found that I didn't like being redirected to gutted websites with poor navigation queues.  I didn't like the assumption that my tablet was either (a) always connected to the internet or (b) could perform other phone-only functions.  I couldn't even run the MICHAELS app that I downloaded, so I removed it from the device.  And there was no microphone, no camera.

But the portability was superb -- it weighs less than a pound, and it slid nicely into my purse, being a bit smaller than my paper calendar.  (Yes, a paper calendar is still essential, I don't care what anyone says.)  The page size is just about the same as a standard mass-market paperback book.

The image quality was excellent, and I immediately set up slide shows for vacation pictures, quilts, etc.  I could, with a bit of tweaking, create sequential playlists for my audiobooks and other sound files.  (If you want details,  post a comment, and if there's enough interest, I'll post the process.)  It was easy to listen to classical music AND read a book at the same time.  Several ebook programs are available free -- Kobo and Nook and Kindle all come to mind -- and my library offered loans of Kindle ebooks by free download.

I bought an illustrated ebook from C and T Publishing -- COUNTRYSIDE SOFTIES ( -- and read it on the Nook, in full color.  Wow!  I can imagine a time when my whole quilt book library can come with me on vacation, without adding an ounce to my suitcase!

I did find it hard to use Google Maps on the Nook; when I got lost in San Jose after folowing someone's bad directions to a local business, I had to actually fire up my MacBook Pro to get myself and a friend back to the freeway.

And of course, my only way to reach the internet was via wifi, so that meant either being in a place where wifi was available -- a library for instance -- or using the Mobile Hotspot function of my smartphone.

Then disaster struck.  One morning, while loading new photos to show a friend my recent quilt projects, the Nook behaved oddly, then stopped working.  It wouldn't take a charge.  An internet search didn't offer any suggestions.  Finally, I went online with my MacBook Pro, and ordered a Lenovo Ideapad A1.

After a week, the Lenovo did the same thing -- wouldn't boot, wouldn't charge.

But the remedy was simple, and now both the Nook and the Ideapad are working.

The reset process is this:
Make sure the tablet is NOT plugged in to any power source.
Simultaneously press the POWER button (the on-off switch) AND either the VOLUME UP or the VOLUME DOWN button, and hold them for a few seconds.
Charge the device normally if necessary.

So, anybody want a Nook Color at a good price?  I don't really need two tablets.