Lee Seigel of the New York Observer likens Steve Jobs’ presentation of the iPad to Moses presenting the Ten Commandments to the Jews.  He says:

On Mount Sinai, Moses received the Ten Commandments written on twin “tablets,” then climbed back down into the desert wilderness and explained the new law to the Jewish people. Clutching his own “tablet,” Steve Jobs orchestrated his appearance before the world press last Wednesday along Mosaic lines, presenting his device as if it heralded the dawn of a new age. Not only that, but the hyperventilating media went on and on about Mr. Jobs’ talent for “shrouding” his announcements of new gadgets in secrecy. The Tablet. The Shroud. Who says that technology is any less mystifying than religion?

So now that Steve Jobs brought the iPad down the mount the world can begin turning again.  I’m a little concerned how the iPad will affect prices for eBooks.  Hopefully, all of Jobs back-room dealings with publishers doesn’t drive the prices up too much.  We’ll have to see.  I did see a recent article that suggested that Amazon will soon be raising their prices because of new deals with publishers that are asking to set their own prices (seems that the iBook store has given them more leverage, and they’re beginning to assert it).  Regardless of what happens, I’m not giving up my Nook just yet.

I wanted to follow up and talk about my month-long experience using the Nook.  So far, I love it!  I haven’t found anything that has shaken my confidence in the device.  Just so that people don’t think I’m some crazed Barnes and Noble shareholder or hardcore fanboy, I will admit that I had a couple of incidences of freezing.  I did hard restarts both times, and everything worked fine afterwards.  The freezes occurred when I was opening a new eBook.  While it was formatting, it seemed to freeze.  Of course, maybe I was just being impatient.

Regarding some earlier complaints that the OS was slow and buggy.  I’m not sure if the new version of the software fixed many of those issues or not; however, I’m pretty satisfied with the speed and response of the device.  It’s not setting any new speed records; however, in terms of what it needs to do, it seems just fine.  When books or documents are first opened, the Nook does need to format them to whatever parameters the reader sets, so that may take a few seconds to do.  But come on, how fast does it need to be?  The act of reading should be an enjoyable and relaxing activity.  The few seconds the Nook takes to format a book gives me an opportunity to sip my coffee.  Just because it’s an electronic device doesn’t mean the cold numbers of diagnostic tests should determine it’s worth.  The quality of the experience is more important when assessing a device like this.  Take NASCAR for example, the fastest car in qualifying isn’t always the best car in the race because of numerous factors–like handling, how the car reacts in traffic, etc.  Same here.  I’m not editing or ripping videos–speed isn’t that big of an issue…unless, of course, it’s freezing.

I also wanted to clarify something I mentioned in my earlier post.  I stated that although I was able to copy some PDF files to my Nook, they did not render properly when I opened them.  I am happy to say that I can retract that statement.  I reopened my PDF documents and changed the font to “extra small,” and guess what?  It rendered perfectly–exactly as it looks when printed.

I also promised to check the audio player, so I converted some of my OGG and WAV music files to Mp3s and transferred them to my Nook.  The files played without a hitch.  The nice thing is that you can play the files while you’re reading.  Although I wouldn’t suggest people do any hardcore reading while listening to music, it is nice to be able to play some background music while perusing the newspaper.

In terms of material available, so far, I’m happy.  I like that I can download a lot of free content.  Many of the classics are available as downloads through B&N’s bookstore.  I also bought a few books and am currently doing a 14-Day trial with the San Jose Mercury News.  I wanted to get a NY Times subscription, but decided that $10 a month is a little too pricey.  I can look at the Times online for free.  The SJMN subscription price on the other hand is quite reasonable at $5 a month.  I do like the paper because they are based in Silicon Valley, so have a lot to say about the tech industry.  The Bay Area is also much closer in terms of region to me, so many of the articles have a little more relevance too.  I will more than likely keep the subscription even after the trial period ends.

Lastly, and most importantly, synchronization and managing my book/music library has worked very well.  As I said before, Ubuntu and my Nook work fine together.  Since Ubuntu mounts the Nook and the installed SD card as mass storage devices, moving files is easy and painless–drag and drop to the file browser windows.  So far, I haven’t had any issues working with my Nook in Ubuntu–I wonder if Moses’ iPad can claim that.

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