Nook HD+ from Barnes & Noble

Nook HD+ from Barnes & Noble

I love my Nook HD+.  I have been having so much fun with it since I got it for Christmas, actually the week before Christmas.  Yeah we don’t conform to the traditions of opening your presents on Christmas day, or even on birthdays.  We open presents the day we get them.  Screw tradition lol.

My Nook HD+ has a 9” screen, so it’s bigger than the Nook HD in the sense that it has 2 more inches, but I’m telling you that because there are certain apps that work with 7 inches, but don’t work with 9 inches.  Like The Sims FreePlay and Viggle for example.  The Sims FreePlay is downloadable, you just can’t play it because you get this warning when you try.

The Sims FreePlay

I am not sure if The Sims FreePlay will even work with a Nook HD 7” tablet.  I know it works with the Kindle Fire because I’ve seen people taking pictures and video of it on that device.  I’m pretty sure it was the 7”, so if it runs on the Kindle Fire 7”, then it probably runs on the Nook HD 7”.  If so or not, please let me know.

Viggle on the other hand doesn’t even show up in the Google Play Store, so they don’t even give you the option.  I know it works on 7” tablets because I installed it on my partner’s tablet to see if I could do trivia when trivia wasn’t giving me any points with my phone.  It installed and looked great too, but the trivia was not working on his tablet any better than it was on my phone.  Although, just because it installed on his tablet doesn’t mean I know if it will install on a Nook HD 7” tablet.

Facebook isn’t great on the Nook HD+ when you use the app.  Using the browser is so much better because you get the full website that you get on the computer, but the only problem I have is when I use another tab to visit another website, or even if I use an app, like if I go check my email, when I come back to the Facebook tab, it goes straight to the mobile version.  If I wanted to use Facebook mobile, I would just use the Facebook app.

The Twitter app that comes with the Nook HD+ from the Nook store isn’t updated, so it’s better to let Google Play update it.  It’s easy to use and if you have multiple twitter accounts, you can switch back and forth very easily.  It’s actually better on the Nook HD+ than it is on my phone.  When I am using @xanapus on my phone, then try to switch over to another twitter name, for some odd reason it switches me back to @xanapus.  It doesn’t do that on my Nook HD+.

I didn’t like the Google+ app on my phone and I rarely ever use it on my computer, but it is great on the Nook HD+.  That’s one of the social media websites that I wanted to start using more often.  It has a much better look than Facebook does in my opinion.  Google+ doesn’t force you to look at ads or suggested posts.

One annoying thing that I noticed is that when I am in my library, I scroll down to My Files and see there are 564 files.  How the heck am I supposed to weed through all of those files to get to the ebooks I have downloaded?  Well, I discovered that if you click the words My Files, it brings up a new window which shows folders.  They are in the Download folder.  I have 6 ebooks that I downloaded from the EverQuest Next website that are fiction based books based on EverQuest the game, but they are all in PDF format.  Ebooks that I’ve downloaded in ePub format will show up with my Nook books, but the PDF files don’t.  I did download an app called File Manager HD which allowed me to create a new folder in my download folder so I could keep the EQN ebooks in there to keep that folder more organized.

PicsArt Photo Studio is a good app that I use on my phone to add stickers and frames and text to my pictures, but it’s such a small screen that sometimes it’s difficult to see what I’m doing.  My Nook HD+ doesn’t have a camera, but I can use Google Drive to retrieve my files.  What I really like most is that I can write on the screen with this.  I can do that on my phone, but it’s too small.

Happy New Year 2014

Okay, so my handwriting isn’t the best, it’s even worse on paper lol.

ChromecastSome useful apps that come with the Nook HD+ include Netflix and Hulu+ and if you have a Google Chromecast, you can watch them on your TV.  You don’t even need to have the Google Chromecast app installed to use it.  I know this because I bought it for my partner and I couldn’t get it to connect to his tablet.  I connected it with my CR-48 aka Chromebook, then was able to connect it to his tablet.  I don’t have the app installed on my Nook HD+ or my phone, but the icon is visible on YouTube, Netflix and Hulu+.  I guess any Android or Apple device that is connected to my network will have that ability.

Of course, other good uses for the Nook HD+ is actually reading a book lol.  You aren’t limited to Nook books either, you can read your Kindle books plus your Google Play books.  In fact, if there is a service that sells ebooks, you can read the books you bought from them, including pdf files and ebooks.  Some writers only publish their ebook with Amazon KDP Select because they get more advertising, and if they chose KDP Select, they can only publish with Amazon for 3 months.  That’s why it’s good to use the Kindle on my Nook, because some ebooks aren’t available on the Nook.

One of the features that I do like is the Nook app “Your Highlights and Notes.”  If you do a lot of highlighting and like to add notes, this is a good thing.  It had all the highlights from the Nook for PC when I got it, but it didn’t show any text.  When I add new highlights, it shows the page number and the first couple of sentences that I highlighted, and if I left a note, it shows my note.  That makes it so much easier to find every highlight and every note on every ebook you own whether it’s downloaded or in the cloud.  Highlighting and leaving notes on my Nook WiFi was so difficult and as soon as I started reading another ebook, all of the highlights and notes disappeared, which was very frustrating.

There is also a Nook app called “Your Lookups” that shows you every word you ever had to find the definition for.  That does come in handy if you ever want to find that specific word again.  The list of words you looked up are on the left, and the word, the book you found it in, the page and the date and time you looked it up are on the right along with the definition of the word.  WOW!  Now you have a record of the date and time you learned a new word.

Anyway, these are some of my thoughts on the Nook HD+.  I like it a lot and I will get a ton of use out of it.  I still have my Nook WiFi and I don’t think I will use it as often for reading ebooks, but if the occasion ever arises when I go outside to read, I will be able to use it.

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Google Chromebox

I guess I am so far out of the loop with Google tech because I had no idea this even existed until tonight.

A friend of mine told me she didn’t have a computer tonight, she uses the internet right from her cell phone.  I told her that I was surprised, that I thought every household in America had a computer by now.  I was about to tell her that they are so cheap now that you can get a Google Chrome laptop for $299, but wanted to back it up with a link, so I Googled “Chromebook” and found the Chromebook page which also had a link to the Chromebox.  My mind was blown away.

Ok so here are the specs.

  • Intel® Core™ processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Built-in dual-band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • Gigabit ethernet
  • 6 USB 2.0 ports
  • 2x DisplayPort++ Output (compatible with HDMI, DVI, VGA)
  • DVI-I single link output (compatible with VGA)
  • Bluetooth 3.0™ compatible
  • Kensington™ key lock compatible

The specs don’t say that it also has a 16GB hard drive which doesn’t seem like a lot, but this is an internet based computer only, you can’t install anything on it*.  You turn it on and you are automatically connected to the internet.  Actually, it takes 7 seconds to boot up into the internet.  I mean, it’s like you turn it on and BAM instant websites.  So the only reason you even need a hard drive is for downloading pictures of your friends and family and/or music.  I mean, that’s all I download with my Chromebook *wink*.

The best part about this baby is that if you have an HDTV, just plug it into your television with the HDMI cable.  You can have it sit right next to or on top of your cable box and/or video game consoles, and then have the keyboard and mouse on your living room table, or wherever it is that your HDTV lives.  You could also buy an external monitor and put it on your desk if that is what you wish I suppose, although I think it would be cool to have it hooked up to the TV instead.

Why get this instead of a regular computer?  Well, some people ONLY go onto websites to look at their email or Facebook or Twitter.  Why buy an expensive gaming machine just to check your email and to get into political rants with your Aunt Beverly?  You can do everything with the Chromebox that you can do with a regular desktop.  For example, you can write a book, yes you heard me, you can write a book using Google Documents.  You can, like I said earlier read your email, you can go on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you can even play games.  Yes, the Chrome Web Store has games like Angry Birds, Bejeweled, Crash Bandicoot among many others.  You can check the news and the weather, you can even watch Netflix movies or even watch your favorite TV shows on Hulu.

Now aren’t you glad you follow my blog posts?

I love Google Chrome not just because it’s (IMO) the fastest browser available, but also because they were gracious enough to include me in their Chromebook pilot test “CR-48” which I love and have been using ever since they sent it to me in mid-December 2010.  I went several months last year without my desktop and I wouldn’t have had a computer had it not been for Google for sending it to me.  I had to do everything on the Chromebook from writing the first half of my book, to email and twitter and Facebook, I even watched the first 3 seasons of Sliders on Hulu with it.  So yeah, thanks Google for that.

Note: *When I say you can’t install anything on it, I mean like Microsoft Word or Lord of the Rings Online.  They have an app store where you can download and install apps and extensions.

New CR-48 Discovery – VGA-Out

I’m not quite sure when they fixed the VGA-Out but my CR-48 is now able to hook up to my television.  This is very cool because I’ve been wanting to get it hooked up for a long time so I can watch Hulu on my TV.

There is one little issue though.  When I plug the VGA cable into the chromebook, the screen stretches.  It basically goes from a widescreen, I’m not quite sure what the exact resolution is, to 1024×768 which is a 4:3 screen.  So if you have a widescreen 16:9 HDTV like I do, you will have to set it to 4:3.

When you watch a video on Hulu on your TV with the CR-48 or I assume any chromebook, you will notice that when you click the full screen button, which sits next to the volume button, your screen won’t look the same as it does when you watch it on your netbook.  Instead, it will cut off the right side of the video and you will see a small video on your screens.  Not exactly the effect I was hoping for.  To fix this you can click the pop out button on the right side of the video instead of the full screen.  You will see a small 320×240 box pop out on the bottom right of your screen.  Just resize it so it covers the entire screen.  It’s not the ideal situation but I’ll take what I can get until they fix the issue, if they ever do.

You can watch YouTube videos with better results.  Just go to YouTube, browse the videos until you find the one you want to watch and go into full screen.  Your video will be normal, however since you are still in 4:3 mode on your HDTV it will be as if you are watching a program that is in letterbox mode.  No problem if the YouTube video isn’t in widescreen format.

Those are the only 2 websites that I have checked so I’m not quite sure how it will be for every website, or every HDTV for that matter.  I highly doubt that a 4:3 TV would even have a PC-In so if you don’t have an HDTV then this most likely won’t apply to you.  But I’m not positive.  If you have a 4:3 flat screen then it might have a PC-In.  If that is the case then no problem.

The reason I want to watch web videos on my TV is for the simple fact that sometimes a video that I am watching doesn’t have a high enough volume for me to hear it and the best way to get around that is to use the tv’s speakers.  Also, I get to see it bigger when it’s on my tv rather than my little 12″ netbook screen.  I’m sure anyone can appreciate that.

I don’t know why it took me this long to check to make sure that it worked but I’m glad I finally did.  Now if Netflix would just get their service working on the Google Chrome OS, I will be set.

Acer and Samsung Chrome Netbooks Announced


I saw the news this morning on Twitter from Editor for PC Magazine Lance Ulanoff:

Google: ACER introing netbook-sized ChromeBook #$349. Samsung’s ChromeBook: $429 for Wi-Fi Avail June 15. #io2011

I was way off on the price.  I figured that since the Google Chrome OS is a browser-based only computer that they would sell a Google Chrome OS Netbook for $150-$200.  I never thought they would sell as high as they are.

Chrome OS Site also reports the specs for the Samsung netbook along with other pictures of the netbook from different angles.  The Samsung Chrome OS netbook will sell in WiFi only for $429 and 3G for $499.

I have been using my CR-48 Google Chrome OS netbook since mid December when they first started shipping and I love it.  I still use my desktop computer but only for things that I can’t use my CR-48 for like photo editing with Gimp, balancing my checkbook via Microsoft Money and playing Lord of the Rings Online.  My CR-48 has basically become my default computer for everything else, as it was supposed to be for the pilot program.

I cannot say that I agree with those prices because you can get a netbook for the same price with Windows installed and be able to install software that you want on it to do everything my desktop computer can do.  The Google Chrome OS is internet only.  You can get the internet on a Windows netbook so why pay that much money?

It’s a great operating system, I just don’t think it’s that great that you would pay $500 for it.  I think that they will go down in price eventually so I would wait until they are a more reasonable price.

My Chrome Apps and Extensions

I am really enjoying Google Chrome these days. This is my Google Chrome front page. As you can see I have a few apps and unseen a few extensions.

The apps that you can see are pretty cool. The top ones are what came automatically in the browser and the rest I added. If I can’t use programs on my desktop then I gotta find a way to use them on the browser only laptop.

Typically when you are given things in a new product, the first thing you do is get rid of the junk you don’t want. Well, I did get rid of something. There was an icon for a Poppit game from Pogo but when you click it, it loads the Pogo website with the Pogo logo but the game never loads. So screw it, it’s gone lol.

Entanglement is a really cool game and I like to play it so I kept it. I’m not very good but I’m just a beginner. You gotta start somewhere right?

The Gmail and Google Talk ones I can do without but I’m not going to get rid of them if I may need them one day. Instead of using those, I downloaded the app LiveGO . It allows me access to MSN, Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL/AIM all in one web page. For Facebook MSN, Gmail, Yahoo and AOL, it allows me to get access to my inbox and IM. It doesn’t have MySpace or Skype and I really wish they would get Skype on there so I can use the webcam. The IM’s have the webcam button but it says Coming Soon when you mouse over it. Hopefully they will get that up and running soon. For now I can use Google Talk to video chat, although I haven’t had the opportunity yet as I still don’t have any Gmail friends in all the years I’ve had Gmail.

TweetDeck is great. I’ve used that for Twitter on my Desktop so I now use it on the laptop in browser format instead of the installed version my desktop has. I actually like the browser version because the program takes forever to load and the browser loads instantly.

Autodesk Homestyler is such a cool one. You get a measuring tape and measure the rooms in your house and add rooms in the program according to the measurements. Ok I don’t needthis but it’s neat. I can add furniture to each room so I can make decorating decisions. I’m not a decorator but Darrin is so he can use that.

Google Books I added because I’m a book-worm. Although I have a Nook so I don’t need that but I was using it to look up books. I may get rid of it if I need the space though.

Todo.ly is a to do list lol. Yeah I know, lame. I may get rid of it if I don’t use it that often.

Picnik is for photo editing, although they want you to pay for premium features, I just wanted it so I could use it for the webcam. Since I can’t have Gimp on this laptop I needed something but if I really need to make a graphic I’ll just make it on my desktop.

Spider One Suit FREE … It’s Spider Solitaire lol. I can’t imagine a world where there is no solitaire on a computer.

SoopBook is for writing your own book. You can write it in there and invite people to read it and correct your mistakes. Although I don’t know if I want anyone messing with my autobiography but it’s a good way to write it since I am using this as my primary computer.  It also gives me a backup so if my computer crashes then I don’t have to worry about a backup copy.

I haven’t been writing my book at all lately anyway because I’ve been too busy. When I am ready to write again I have SoopBook and/or my desktop to write with. Although I could use SoopBook when we aren’t home and I have the laptop with me so there’s a good reason to keep it for a while.

Do I really need to explain YouTube, Hulu, Google Maps and Scratchpad? I’m sure you know what those are.

I have a few extensions which are on the very top of my browser, to the right of the address bar. I’m using GlueAOLGmail and Yahoo email notifyer so if I’m not in LiveGO then I can see if I have email or not. Then I have Aviary for taking screenshots for blogging (example above).Amplify extension which I use occasionally for blogging and finally After the Deadline which is a great spell/grammar checker, not just for blogging but anywhere you type on the internet.

I am still adding extensions and apps so this is not all I am playing with. There will be more but for now, this is what I’m up to. Playing with and learning how to live with a browser only based laptop, it’s actually not as difficult as it sounds. I’m sure anyone can cut their ties to programs if they really had to. I guess this is an if you were stuck on an island, what program would you bring with you” type of question. Well, in my case I’d have to say the Google Chrome browser would be the only program I need since I can find a way to add all of my programs as web apps.

Ok that’s it for now. I’m tired and my eyes are too blurry from staring at this 12.1 inch laptop screen for the last 16-18 hours lol.

Google Chrome Laptop

Google announced this week on Tuesday that they are going to give 60k laptops away to groups and people so that they can test out the new Google Chrome OS. People aren’t testing the laptop, they are testing the operating system itself. These laptops have a 12.1 inch widescreen monitor, built-in webcam and mic on the top of the screen, 8-hour battery, WiFi and 3G with Verizon where they give you 100mb of data for $9.99 each month for 2 years.

The test itself is only supposed to last for 6 months which makes me wonder if they will be asking for the laptops to be returned but the statement that they are giving you 2 years at $10 a month for 3G tells me that perhaps these laptops aren’t going to be taken away after 6 months. But I can’t tell for sure. I mean, what are they gonna do with 60k used laptops? They can’t sell them and they’re not going to take the time and money to refurbish them are they?

In case you are wondering why I am blogging about this all of a sudden, well, I have one. I signed up to be a beta tester last year but I don’t know if that’s why I got so lucky. I got an email from Google on Wednesday inviting me to apply to get one. Friday morning I went to the grocery store for an energy drink and found it on my doorstep when I came home.

At first I didn’t know what it was because I didn’t order anything. It didn’t even occur to me that I got approved for a laptop. As I’m opening the box I see this diagram of a helmet that an evil scientist mouse would build for world domination. Or at least cat domination. As I opened the box I see the battery pack then the laptop itself.

My first thought was “WOW I was approved? NO FREAKIN’ WAY!”

I took a picture of the keyboard, screen, top and bottom. It looks navy blue in the image for some odd reason when in reality it’s more of a charcoal color. Click it to see it full size which is 1280×768.

By the way, this is not a product review, it’s more of a bragging post :p lol. This is not what is going to be for sale in 6 months when the beta testing will be finished and as I said I am not testing the laptop but the operating system.

One of the rules about being in this program is that I use this as my primary machine. I’m not sure if blogging about it is allowed but since I’ve seen other blogs talking about it and a few YouTube videos (as I write this 1,130 videos) showing it off and people talking about it, I figure it might be ok.  Since this is going to be my primary computer for the next 6 months I figure I might as well talk about it.

I have used Google Chrome as my default browser for over a year now so it’s not a difficult adjustment for me. Although this new keyboard and touchpad are adding to the challenge. I am getting used to it tough.

I have not actually timed it but when you first turn the computer on by either opening the lid or pushing the power button, it gives you this cool Chrome logo then within seconds you are in your login screen.  When I see my image with my Gmail account name, I type in my password and I’m in.  Instant desktop, no waiting.  When I close the lid while it’s turned on then come back to it later, it loads instantly back to where I left off.

My desktop is a Chrome browser like you would see when you first open your browser but it’s always there.  Instead of having the most used websites on that window, it has icons like you would have on your desktop.  There is a new Google Web Store where you can search for extensions, apps and themes.  When you find the one you want, just click install and viola it’s installed.  No muss no fuss.

If it’s an app then you will have a new icon on your “desktop” but if it’s an extension then you will have a new icon on the top of your browser next to the wrench and bug report link.

Since it’s a website based computer, it’s really fast.  I’m telling you, it is so fast that it puts my desktop computer to so much shame.  Like when I watch a YouTube video it’s very smooth.  It plays the video from start to finish without any interruption like my desktop does.  I’ve gotten to the point where I hate watching videos on my computer because of how they keep pausing and I’ve recently reformatted it too so this new laptop is very welcome on my desk.

I haven’t tried the webcam yet but as soon as one of my friends and/or family members logs into Skype then I can try it.  Oh, since Skype is obviously not a web-based app, I had to find a web-based IMing website that allows you to Skype.  I found imo.im in the web store and I’ve been using it for all of my IMing.

I have been able to use the webcam with taking pictures with Picnik so I can tell that the webcam built into the top of the screen isn’t very good quality.  Then again like I said, I am not testing the laptop but more the OS so it doesn’t have to be great quality, although it is much better quality than my current webcam but I digress.

I have had a few crashes but it turns out to be my fault because I’m not used to the touchpad.  It doesn’t have any buttons, it’s just a touchpad.  You can press on it and the whole thing clicks on the bottom but you can also lightly tap on it which is how you click.  The problem I have with it is that it’s so freaking huge that when I type, my hand is constantly moving the cursor and clicking things.  I have to learn to lift my right hand while I type to avoid that.

It’s an awesome computer and I will be very happy with it just as long as they don’t take it away from me lol.  I don’t know how much it is going to cost when they start selling it in the summer of 2011 but it is worth every dime considering it is the easiest computer for anyone to use.  You don’t have to know anything about computers, all you need to know is what website you want to look at.

There is still some time if you want to get in on this.  All you have to do is go to this website http://www.google.com/chromeos/ and apply for the pilot program.  The deadline is 11:59:59 on 12/21/2010.  Good luck.

Google Queues

I don’t know if I am just very late to the game but thanks to reading the PC Mag on my new Nook, I am a little bit more educated than I was before I got it.

I read an article in the PC Mag about a new (or is it new?) thing from Google called Gpanion which is very handy. It’ basically has these app icons (like apple iPhone apps) that open a website for certain google websites. Like your email, calendar, youtube, maps… etc.

One of those things in there is called GQueue. What that is, is if you have a ton of things that you need to get done you type them out with a date that it needs to be completed by and as you get that item done you check it and that item disappears forever. Be careful you don’t prematurely uncheckulate it because it is a disappointment when you have to reenter the monster back in.

I am not ashamed to show mine here. It’s not showing up in my screen so I’ll see what happens when I publish this post. But it should show you a list of the books I have in my queue. I have not bought all of them whether I said so or not but that list is only 1/4 filled. I decided I would finish it later since I have to get to bed.

Which reminds me, tootles. Goodnight. See ya’ll in the morn when I try to finish it.