Comes in a box that's the size and weight of the boxes hardcover books come in, making it nice and stealthy (This doesn't look like $300 worth of stuff! No sir!) when sitting in front of the door all day. Inside it is really well packed. In bubble wrap, and a sort of suspended platform internally for shock absorbtion. Inside that is a thick plastic box holding the actual Nook.
Once it starts up, you get the registration screen. To move between fields you use the up/down arrows to the right of the keyboard. The keyboard is OK, but a bit sensitive, and the virtual keys are just a bit too small for me to use easily. So it's easy to make typos until you get used to it. Especially since the keyboard responds much faster than the screen. So take your time here. One thing: As you are typing in your password the letters show up "in the clear", presumably so that you can see them as you're typing, before they get replaced by dots.
Reading on the Nook. The screen is very sharp. Not as grey and, well, muddy, as the reviews had led me to expect. Certainly Good Enough. The flicker as you change pages is a bit odd, and it would be nice if they changed faster, but it seems readable.
Out of focus, because I wasn't using the flash. See that little, tiny, picture of a book cover on the LCD? There's a sort of "cover view" type of selection method where you swipe your finger along the pictures of the covers of all your books, and then select the one you want. It would work if the images were, oh, twice the height and width. As it is they're just too small to differentiate between them. Fortunately you can select via a menu where the titles are displayed in the e-ink area.
So it does read epubs, downloads books from b&n automatically, and has a nice readable screen. Not too heavy, about the weight of a regular hardcover. Having page forward/back buttons on both sides of the screen is a good idea. It makes the Nook ambidextrous.
I can probably get used to the flicker as it turns pages. The LCD touchscreen is a good idea, especially for text input, but might need some tweaking. The cover flow view doesn't really work. Cool idea, but not workable on that screen.
Still to do, while I'm on vacation in Utah next week:
Buy the Washington Post using the Nook, and see how readable it is. Does it come with the comics? Or not? How navigable is a newspaper on a device like this? Does it auto-deliver every morning?
Buy The Atlantic and see how readable that is.
How hard is it to turn the wireless connection off and on? How non-obvious is it? How difficult is it to read this thing on an airplane? Update [2009-12-18 12:50:31 by wiredog]:
Something needs to be done about nomenclature. Turning it off to turn it on is not exactly intuitive... I'm talking about the cell phone radio here. You turn airplane mode "on" to turn the radio "off". Easy to find (Settings->Airplane Mode->Off|On) , but first seeing it and thinking "It's already off? But why am I connected?" Perhaps this is normal in the smart phone world, or perhaps 11:30 PM is a bit late for me to be puzzling this out, but "off" should turn things off, not on.
Issue 2: User interface.
I can copy entire directory trees to "my documents" and the device sees them. But it doesn't display them, just their contents. It flattens out the tree. And then displays in alphabetical order. So if I have 20 books titled "The$x1 ...The$x20" the show up in alphabetical order, by title, not in their enclosing folders. There needs to be a way to group by subject/genre and author, and then alpha, the way sensible libraries have done it for a century or more. Having 100+ books, many titled "The SomethingOrOther" will be problematic.
Update [2009-12-19 16:43:27 by wiredog]:
Newspapers: Read the Post on the Nook this morning. Wouldn't want to do it every day yet.
Navigation is more difficult than it should be. As I page through the paper it shows 3 or 4 articles/page. After I read an article it should go back to the page. It doesn't. Just to the next article. I have to go back to the first page, then page forward to get to the page I was at. May need to bookmark a page before I start reading an article from it? Will try that later.
No comics or editorial cartoons. Editorials, op-eds, and opinion columns aren't marked to distinguish them from stories. No special sections like Real Estate, Food, etc. Some other content missing. No Style Invitational, for example. Some pictures are there, some aren't.
The Nook has the potential to be a good newspaper reader. Needs work though.
Update [2009-12-24 2:50:20 by wiredog]:
Update 3: Version 1.1.1 of the software downloaded, installed. Has good, and bad.
Sitting in Dulles, waiting for the plane to board, notice a little box in the lower right of the reader screen "Downloading." After a couple meinute a message interrupts my reading of the WaPo to tell me that the new OS has downloaded and the Nook will now reboot and install, which it does, without asking me if I want it to. This is arguably the Right Thing for the majority of non-techie users, but I would like to have finished what I was reading first... After it rebooted the lcd lit up with messages about partitions, and applying delta files and such like. Yes, this thing is Linux under the hood.
The good: The Newspaper navigation problems I mentioned above? Solved. It's now a darn good newspaper reader. Also, the lcd touchscreen is a bit more responsive. You can use it to change pages, but the buttons are faster. More good: The pages turn much faster. As fast as if I were turning them by hand in a Real Book.
The bad: Un-drm'd pdb files (from gutenberg, O'Reilly, and other places) no longer work. It asks for the authentication tokens for them which, since they are drm free, don't work. Supposedly B&N is aware of the issue and may have a fix/workaround tomorrow. If they don't I may have to convert them to epub.
The odd: The 'view my documents' menu entry, that allows access to the 'my documents' folder disappeared. Deleting the various dot files and directories that Snow Leopard scattered about it fixed that.
The first book I read all the way through on the Nook was, of course "In The Beginning Was The Command Line" by Neal Stephenson. Read it on the airplane. A couple of issues here. One, the Nook doesn't do footnotes. Two, it had issues with some italicized text. If it ended with a vertical character the character was chopped off on the right. Artifact of the way the screen is addressed I suppose. Occasionally the bottom line of text on the page would have a few pixels chopped off the bottom. Formatting issue probably.
Battery life: Don't believe that two week thing. Charged it fully last night. I only turn on the cell phone to download stuff. Only read one newspaper and one book, and it's already down to 50% charge. OTOH, that is 4 hours of reading, plus downloading the newspaper and software update.
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