I just got an email from B&N regarding my nook, that there was a firmware update available for my device. I couldn’t help but download this update immediately and see what it was all about. The download clocks in at 110MB and takes just a few moments to copy to the Nook drive on the device once you plug it in. I was waiting in vain for the display to go to sleep so I hit the sleep button on my nook and it dutifully went to sleep. I pressed it again and the nook software update boot loader appeared. The nook took about three minutes to load the firmware update and once it was complete it went back to sleep using the default “authors” screensaver.
I woke up my device and started to poke around the edges looking for what was updated. Of course I glanced at what B&N1 was pushing:
Breakthrough E Ink® display – best just-like paper reading, even in bright sun
25% faster than any other eReader ” Best-Text™ Technology for sharper, ultra-crisp fonts
Longer battery life -read for over 2 months on a single charge*
Ongoing enhancements and other performance improvements
As I was playing around with the device it struck me just how fast everything was responding to my touch. In previous firmware iterations I would have to tap several times for the interface to respond to my touch. Now it is much more crisp and fast. Another thing that has markedly improved is the speed with which pages are painted on the eInk display.
From the points above, some of them are new features, some aren’t. #1 is just what the device has already, so the firmware didn’t deliver anything for that. #2 is very subjective, I wasn’t expecting the update to the nook firmware so I didn’t spend any time eyeballing the fonts. On my nook the only font I use is Helvetica Neue, after falling in love with it from my exposure to people who were mad about typography here at work. The speed of the text, which is the other part of #2 was patently obvious. The speedup is very noticeable and very welcome. Point #3 is generally true, my nook simple touch has a kick ass battery life, perhaps the update will lengthen the battery performance but I haven’t been using it long enough to judge that point yet. And of course, there is #4, which apparently hides a whole host of interesting mystery items. I have to imagine that somewhere there is a technical document that details all of these updates that were glossed over in point #4. Perhaps if someone from B&N reads this, they could comment. That would be nice.
In the end I think that B&N should apply this patch to all the nook simple touch devices they have on display in their stores and they have done a really great job addressing things that at first you didn’t think you had a problem with, but once addressed you find you really appreciate. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a review unit of the new nook tablet and then I can write up a review of that. It should be a lot of fun, as I can compare it to the iPad and the original nook color tablet. I’m looking forward to it!
I just got my VP’s new iPhone from FedEx. Unboxed it, set it up with the departmental iTunes account, the whole song and dance. Then I called Verizon Government Support hotline to port his number.
“Yes Sir, the phone does all of that automatically. You don’t need to talk to us unless you really want to.”
Ohhhh-kay. That’s a surprising and delightful change.
So I am sitting here, letting the phone charge and I decide to migrate a whole bunch of Apps over to the phone – a couple of minutes later, all set! Ohhhh-kay. Again with the delight.
Then the port hits, I set up his voicemail password and suddenly one voicemail comes in. Then a flurry of SMS messages arrive including one “Welcome to Verizon!” Ohhh-kay. Again with the delight.
Then on a complete lark I think “I better set up his Webmail Plus account” and so again, on a lark, I set it up with Microsoft Exchange knowing full well that Zimbra can apparently masquerade as an Exchange server. I enter all the needful bits of information and press “Continue”. Blammo, just like that his email, his calendar, and his addressbook are all set up. The three things that he’s been struggling over with his Blackberry are all set up. Just like that. Ohhhhhh-kay. At this point I’m grinning from ear to ear.
So, from zero to primetime in about 5 minutes! People want to know if I’m happy. My happy has been set to 11. I may not recover. Seriously.
It took an hour, $20 worth of materials and $148.00 later I no longer have a hole in my wall. I have to say that I’m very happy with ServiceMagic.com and Mr. Handyman. I left a glowing review on ServiceMagic.com. You can notice the color difference in the repaired spot, but other than that, you can’t tell at all there was any damage. I gave them five out of five stars and that’s a very rare thing from me. I only wish they could have processed a credit card transaction, but I had enough in my rainy-day fund to cover the expense with cash. This sucker would have taken me days to complete and I would have screwed it up if I was all on my own. Considering what was done, I made out like Flint.
I have a regularly scheduled task at work that I have to complete every Friday. I missed the last one because I was sick, but I catch up on the next Monday, which is today. The task is that I have to copy an 11.6GB backup of my production SQL database to a local storage area to keep the data in case I need it in the future. I mounted the database server using SMB and I sat in front of a terminal window and faced not so much of a problem as an urge to find a convenient way to copy the data, then pass that copied data to a compressor, and then copy it to a storage area, and while that is all going on in the terminal window I want terminal to make a sound so I know it’s done.
I’m familiar with bash shell programming to know that I can link multiple commands together on one line, as a procedure, that’s not a problem. But how do I make the terminal beep? I looked in vain for commands like “beep” and “alert” with no luck. Then I shook my head and remembered the ‘say’ command. So with one line:
cp /Volumes/DB/database.bkp /temp; say ‘Copied’;bzip2 /temp/database.bkp;say ‘Compressed’;mv /temp/database.bkp.bz2 /Storage;say ‘Stored’
I just enter that and press the return key and my Mac starts to churn through the data and at each checkpoint I get Alex (my preferred Mac Voice) telling me when my machine is done with each step.
Then I go on to other tasks while this is chewing along in the background. bzip2 gnaws for a fair while on 11GB worth of data and takes it down to about 1GB. That I can make a procedure with vocal feedback like this, it makes me just one ounce happier. It’s these little wins, these convenient little solutions waiting to be taken advantage of throughout the Mac OS that makes me such a rabid and passionate Macintosh fanboy. People ask why I push Apple and Mac so hard, it’s because the products are polished, elegant, and incredibly pleasant to use! When I compare it to what I used to use, it makes me very sad about my past, but really happy that I discovered Macintosh when I did. I only regret all of that horrible past where nothing worked properly because of Microsoft.