Category Archives: technology

Opinions are like a**holes

What is it about technology that makes people so passionate? How many times have you seen PlayStation and Xbox fanboys at each others throats? XBL is l33t. PS3 doesn’t charge for online game play. Back and forth it goes. That same fervor exists for Mac and PC users. Windows has a ton of viruses. Mac is overpriced. Back and forth that goes. Which leads me to the next great fanboy war, iPhone versus Android.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence – or walled garden, if you want to be like that. I think both platforms have their virtues. I love the widgets and customization that Android provides. I love the beauty and simplicity that iPhone provides. They have different things working for and against them. Yet, people are so convinced of their platform of choice’s superiority that they have absolutely no shame in their attempts to shame other people who don’t share their opinion.

I’m a member of a Facebook group that discussed books, the nook ereader, etc. We go off-topic so it’s not uncommon for technology to come up from time to time. God help the person who mentions owning an Apple product. People come out of the woodwork to bash the product and the owner of the product by proxy. Let me provide an example.

Someone posted a comment yesterday about how she has an iPhone 4S and loves it but she has to vent. She mentions that for the past couple of days it has really been acting up and she’s frustrated. We’ve established that she has a product that she loves that she’s having issues with. Someone pops into the thread to comment:

may be thats why there stock is dropping. junk

Seriously? Would this person feel right commenting on a complete stranger’s relationship status when it changed to “it’s complicated”? This is openly announced as a vent. She is having issues with something she loves. She wants two things. First, she wants to get it off her chest so she doesn’t feel alone. Second, she wants to find out if anyone knows how to resolve the issues she’s having.

Another voice enters the conversation, once the issue has been resolved, with a light hearted:

Sounds like instead of an Apple you got a lemon.

This comment doesn’t irk me as much because this individual is very friendly, jokes with everyone and the issue is already resolved. I may have found it out of place if the problem still existed, since it would still be source of frustration, but the issue is resolved and it’s easier to laugh at the situation now that it’s no longer an issue.

I don’t know. It just bothered me that someone would dare to call someone else’s decision “junk”. I caught all kinds of hell, particularly from that last commenter, when I switched from my OG Droid to the iPhone. I started to get articles posted on my Facebook wall about how horrible Apple was as a company. How they used child labor. Or how they forced 24-hour shifts. Or just any negative press that could be dug up. It bordered on bullying.

Now that isn’t saying I think that person is a bully. I know better. That person is a kind soul who only did it as a good natured jab. He knows I can take the ribbing. I know if it legitimately bothered me that I could ask him to stop and he would. Truth is it doesn’t bother me. I’ve got my big boy pants on and the only opinion that will sway my decision making is my own. I don’t mind swimming against popular opinion from time to time. I don’t mind “joining the dark side”. They have cookies. Internet joke – sorry.

In any event, I just had to vent myself before I popped into that thread and let my own opinion be known. I feel better now. Thanks for being there for me. I’m going to go make a call on my iPhone and browse Flipboard on my iPad.

And if you don’t like that?

iDon’t Care.

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(Image courtesy of Norebbo)

How to Root your NOOK Tablet

This tutorial is for 16GB NOOK Tablets. It is confirmed to work on B&N software revisions 1.4.0, 1.4.1 and 1.4.2. This tutorial will not work on the 8GB version of the NOOK Tablet.
The screenshots that accompany this tutorial were taking with the 4.5 version of albertwertz’s utility. Follow the text and you’ll be fine. You can use the screenshots as a guide. The pictures may look a tad different, but don’t let that concern you.

Last modified: Mar 2nd, 2012. This tutorial is meant to be as simple to follow as possible. That said, rooting a device is not no-brainer stuff. It is especially not for the unwilling to read and research. I will present this all as simply as I know how but I am not responsible for anything that happens as a result of not following directions or even following them perfectly. The same things apply that did in rooting the NOOK color. I’ve not heard of anyone bricking their device, there are plenty of tutorials on how to restore your NOOK Tablet back to its stock state. So proceed with confidence if you are willing to tread the XDA forums in search of answers. I’ll will certainly help with any issues I’ve encountered, or little lessons learned, but in-depth help will probably require help from the geniuses at XDA.

So now that you have been giving the worst case scenario, let’s go about making that NOOK Tablet more useful.

Prerequisites:

– microSD card (probably any one will do, the process creates a 70mb partition)
– microSD card reader
– 16GB NOOK Tablet (*that you’ve already registered to your NOOK.com account)

* Registered isn’t required, but is recommended. You’ll need to perform extra steps if it isn’t registered. I don’t cover that in my tutorial, but I understand the directions that contain that information can be found in video form here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQfOswBrXIg

Step 1: Download a File

Download SD_ROOT_NTV16gbV4_6.zip from mediafire.com (MD5: bfd2c4167f4811e6d986a9ca04d48b54).

Credit: albertwertz Source: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1439630

Note: Albert asked that folks not host his file so it is only available via mediafire.com.

If you are more visual, here is a link to a YouTube video by Albert that covers this content in detail: http://youtu.be/UCET91ElYmc

Step 2: Extract that file

Since the SD_ROOT_NTV16gbV4_6.zip is a .ZIP file you can use whatever you want to extract it. Windows has built in ZIP handling. I use an app called 7-ZIP. WinRAR is another popular compression utility. Basically extract the file however you want. I’d probably just start by double clicking on the file and whatever app opens is probably fine for you.

I created a new folder called NTRoot to extract them to. You can do whatever you please. My folder looks like this after I extracted the files.

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Step 3: Image your microSD card

Put a microSD card into your PC. All data on this card will be destroyed. So back it up. You won’t need to keep the card in the NOOK Tablet, so you can copy stuff back when you’re done with it.

Launch the Win32DiskImager.exe from wherever you extracted the file to in Step 2.

Click the Blue Folder image icon.

A new dialog box will pop up titled Select a disk image. Click the NT16gbV4_6 image file.img.

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Click Save.

The Win32 Disk Imager should now look similar to this.

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The Device dropdown option should be pointing to the microSD card that you intend to use for this rooting process. It’s different on everyone’s computer, so you’ll have to determine the proper drive on your own. The easiest way, I suppose is to open My Computer on your desktop and see what drive shows up when you plug the microSD card in. On my PC, it’s the H: drive.

Click Write.

Step 4: Root your NOOK Tablet

Turn your NOOK Tablet on.

Put in the ROOT microSD card you created in Step 3 into the NOOK Tablet.

Turn the Tablet off.

When it’s completely off, hold the power button and the N button at the same time. Keep holding it.

This is the N button:

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You should see the usual NOOK boot screen with the grey N in the middle of the screen. Keep holding the power and N button. When that grey N flashes off the screen you can let go. The NOOK Tablet should be off again because you were holding the power button.

Turn the NOOK Tablet on.

After a moment you should see a white screen with a cardboard box on it. When it finishes you’ll see a screen that says CWM-based Recovery.

If you don’t see that white screen with a cardboard box, turn off your NOOK Tablet. Hold the Power button and the N button to turn the NOOK Tablet on. Don’t let go. Keep holding it. You want to hold both buttons until the NOOK Tablet shuts itself off again. Instead of turning it on by hand, this time plug one end of your NOOK USB cable into your PC and then the other end into your NOOK Tablet. This will turn the device on and you should see that white screen with a cardboard box on it.

If you still don’t see that white screen with a cardboard box, try powering the NOOK Tablet down. Then plug your USB charging cable into your computer. Plug the other end into your NOOK Tablet. This will trigger a power up. You should now see that white screen and the cardboard box.

When you see the screen that says CWM-based Recovery, you’ll use the Volume Up and Volume Down arrows on the right side of your NOOK Tablet to navigate the menu.

You’ll want to go down to the install zip from sdcard option by pressing Volume Down once. Press the N button to select that option.

The next menu is titled Apply update from .zip file on SD card. You’ll chose the top option of choose zip from sdcard. You’ll select this option by pressing the N button again.

The next menu is titled Choose a zip to apply. You’ll navigate down to the Root_Zip_NTV4_6.zip. Hit the N button again to select it.

The next menu is titled Confirm install?. You’ll need to press Volume Down several times to get down to the Yes Install Root_Zip_NTV4_6.zip. Confirm that you’d like to do the installation by pressing the N button again.

You’ll see a few things running along the screen and before too long you’ll see the message Install from sdcard complete.

Press the Power button on the NOOK Tablet. It should return you to a previous menu. The first option should be – reboot system now. Hit the N button to select that option and when that screen goes black, take the microSD card out. Or at least eject it so the NOOK Tablet doesn’t boot back into CWM Recovery.

Step 5: Configure your rooted tablet

When the NOOK Tablet boots for the first time you are going to see a white prompt box says Complete action using that gives you two options. Your options are ADW.Launcher or Home. Check the little box that says “Use by default” and select ADW.Launcher.

Your ADW Launcher will now launch. Now press your NOOK Tablet’s N button twice. This will generate another white screen message that says Complete action using. Check the little box that says “Use by default” and select the top option, which is Home Catcher, even if there is no text next to it. The icon looks like this:

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Now what happens is if you press the N button once, your B&N menu pops up.

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If you press the N button twice, your ADW Launcher appears.

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Next bit of business is an annoying error at the top of your ADW Launcher that says Problem loading widget. Just press that message and hold it until a red bar appears at the top of the screen with a trashcan. Drag the widget up to there and let it go over the trashcan. Annoying error message gone.

Step 6: Make it yours

You now have access to the Android Market via the Market shortcut in the AppDrawer (the middle on-screen button, between kindle and web). You can sideload the Amazon AppStore to get free paid apps every day. You can install the kindle app to read your kindle library on your NOOK Tablet. Netflix and Hulu Plus are already installed because they are on the NOOK Side. So go crazy. Have fun.

Step 7 (optional): Restore the space on your microSD card

You can keep the card you used for this process for restore purposes, or you can simply reformat it within the NOOK Tablet software. If you prefer formatting from your PC, The HP Format Tool is available [ here ].

Step 8 (optional): Block B&N Over The Air Updates (OTA)

This process will stop B&N from pushing a new update to your NOOK Tablet which would likely break your root. This will lock you into whatever version you currently have. That’s a good thing for folks who like what they’ve got and want to wait and see what B&N offers before just blindly accepting an update that may serve of no use to them. Instead of writing another tutorial, there is a guy who I think is doing great videos. He has a tutorial for this process. It can be found [ here ]. If you decide not to block OTA’s then B&N could automatically update your NOOK Tablet at any time and your root will be broken. You’ll still have access to your ereader and probably most of your apps but some may give you errors or not work at all. So blocking OTA’s is highly recommended.

More Resources

The card I linked to was created by Albert Wertz who stood on the shoulders of giants and came up with this nice packaging for us. He also create a YouTube library of fantastic videos that show much of this content and more. One of my favorite videos of his is the demo of this card where he walks through most of this process and more. So check him out on YouTube or XDA and feel free to send him a donation. He’s done a fantastic job of putting this content together into a single package.

YouTube Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSfeJwMxsRs

Tutorials inspiration: http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1439630

If this helped you, or if I’ve helped you in the past, I’d like to ask you to consider making a donation. If you’re not interested, no biggie. Forget I mentioned it. =)

What to expect: NOOKcolor dual boot

I get a LOT of the same questions regarding the NOOKcolor after a dual boot. What does it offer? What’s the big deal? Does it look like the regular NOOKcolor? How about you send me one for free and I’ll send you some cookies? I plan on addressing as many questions as I can think of while giving you a little idea of what to expect from your dual booting NOOKcolor.

When I turn it on am I going to know what to do? Honestly, I don’t know. It SHOULD be pretty easy to use but it’s not a Fisher Price toy either so there may be a little intuition required. If you bought a dual boot card from me you’ll get a timed optional boot menu. If you press nothing, you’ll go into the Android OS. And when you do you’ll see something very similar to this.

screenshot-1314246630988

How do I navigate? Does it automatically find my Wi-Fi? I discuss navigation in a blog post I wrote for folks who bought the microSD card I put together. I might as well make it available here too. It contains some helpful information like how navigate and how to setup your Wi-Fi. You can find that post [ here ].

So I have an Android Tablet. What do I do with it now? If you press the menu button, the one between the phone icon and the globe icon, you’ll get your app tray. That tray has all of your installed apps on it. It looks like this.

screenshot-1314302824462

That little Market icon is going to be your gateway to transforming your NOOKcolor into a full fledged Android tablet. You can install Netflix. Pandora. Kindle & Kobo apps. Aldiko is a great eReader app for your sideloaded content. How about Dropbox to get your sideloaded content over to your NOOKcolor? Maybe you’d like a free version of Angry Birds to play.

My point is the reasons to dual boot your NOOKcolor are endless. The best part is that warranty is still intact because your NOOKcolor’s internal memory is still in tact. If you remove the microSD card it’s like nothing ever happened to your NOOKcolor. You can take the card out, have it serviced, pop it back into the new NOOKcolor and you have your tablet back.

What did you put on yours? My personal NOOKcolor is packed with stuff for me and the kids. We have over 20 age appropriate games for them. I have Nook, Kindle, Kobo and Google Books installed. We have about 20 Dr. Seuss books. I also have Netflix installed. I installed the NHL GameCenter Live app and get to watch streaming hockey on it –albeit, in a very small little window. This thing is an entertainment power house now. And I love it. The NOOKcolor is great on its own, as an eReader. But it’s fantastic dual booted because we actually get the tablet experience that B&N likes to promote a little too loosely. It’s like calling a golf cart a driving experience, sure it’s technically a driving experience but it’s not souped up Detroit Muscle.

In Closing These pictures don’t really do it all justice because it’s not much to look at on its own. It’s really when you get to customizing it to you that you start to get all excited about it. It’s when you have YOUR apps installed that you realize, “there are a bunch of ways I can use this that I couldn’t before”. I can’t imagine anyone popping that card in, booting it up and being underwhelmed. But isn’t it nice to know that if you are in the minority that you can easily undo it by removing a card?

How to dual boot your NOOKcolor

This tutorial is no longer being updated. I’ve closed the comments section. I sold my NOOKcolor and no longer keep up on development. If you are interested in a fully functional, inexpensive Android tablet you may want to consider the Google Nexus 7. If you require additional help, please check out the NOOKcolor XDA forums here.
Since this tutorial was written Google renamed their app store. Instances of “Google Market” or “Android Market” now refer to “Play Store”. If that isn’t confusing enough, when you drag the “Play Store” icon to the desktop to create a shortcut the text on the icon changes to “Market”. So just know that these terms are interchangeable.

There are a lot of different options out there for how to add functionality to your NOOKcolor. I’ve already covered rooting [here]. I decided to look at another avenue. I decided to look at dual booting from your microSD card. The greatest benefit that this process provides is that there is absolutely no risk to your NOOK. It works or it doesn’t but your stock NOOK software and the eMMC memory it resides on is left untouched. That means if you have an issue, you just turn off your NOOKcolor, remove the microSD card and stroll on into Barnes & Noble and they are none the wiser. Your warranty is intact.

Before we begin I’m going to recommend a piece of hardware and I’d like you to strongly consider going with exactly what I recommend. There are a lot of people smarter than me behind this recommendation, and it has to do with the speed of a particular part of the microSD card. Usually speed can be determined by looking at the class of the microSD card. You can find cards out there all the way up to class 10. But I would like you to avoid that particular mindset and buy a slower class card by a particular manufacturer.

Hardware recommended: SanDisk Class 4 microSD card. 8GB [here] or 16GB [here] or 32GB [here]

That being said, if you have a microSD card laying around (that’s at least 1GB) and want to try it. Do it. The results may be fine. They may at least make you realize you love the end result and want to upgrade your card or it may make you realize that Stock or Rooted Stock is the way for you. There are no wrong answers. It’s all personal preference.

For the sake of information sharing, I just happened to have a SanDisk 8GB Class 4 MicroSD card available.

Let’s get started.

– – – – –

Step 1: Download Size-Agnostic SD Card Image

Download verygreen’s Size-agnostic SD card image [here].

You should now have a file named generic-sdcard-v1.3.img.gz.

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– – – – –

Step 2: Extract Size-Agnostic SD Card Image

You can open the .gz file in any supported compression software. I use 7-zip. It’s free and it gets the job done. If you need a copy of 7-zip, you can download it [here].

I double clicked on generic-sdcard-v1.3.img.gz to open it in 7-Zip.

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Click Extract

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I chose to extract it to a folder I’d create on my desktop called NOOK but you can save it wherever you want.

Click OK

You should now have a file named generic-sdcard.img.

– – – – –

Step 3: Download Win32 Disk Imager

Download Win32 Disk Imager from [here].

You should now have a file named win32diskimager-RELEASE-0.2-r23-win32.zip.

– – – – –

Step 4: Extract Win32 Disk Imager

I double clicked on win32diskimager-RELEASE-0.2-r23-win32.zip to open it in 7-Zip.

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Click Extract

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I extracted it to my NOOK folder in a subdirectory called w32imager but you can save it wherever you want.

Click OK

You should now have a folder with 7 files in it wherever you chose to extract it.

– – – – –

Step 5: Launch Win 32 Disk Imager & Write Size-Agnostic image to the microSD card

Some folks have issues with this step. More often than not the problem seems to be with the app and not the person using it. 90% of the issues seem to be resolved by going to an earlier version of Win 32 Disk Imager. If you find you are having problems with this step, give and older version of Win 32 Disk Imager a try. There are links on their website.

Go to wherever you extracted Win 32 Disk Imager in Step 4 and double-click on Win32DiskImager.exe.

Note: If you’re running Windows 7 UAC may popup and ask if you if you want to allow the program to make changes to the computer. In this instance, it’s okay to press Yes. You must press Yes or you’ll be unable to continue.

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In Win 32 Disk Imager, click the Blue Folder.

Select generic-sdcard.img.

Click Save.

Make sure the device listed in the device drop down is your microSD card’s drive letter. When I plug my microSD card into my PC it becomes drive G. So you can see [G] in the device dropdown above. Your drive letter may vary. Please be sure you chose the right drive letter. I would hate for you to erase some priceless family memories because you wiped out your cameras SD card instead of your NOOK’s microSD card.

When you’re sure you’ve got the right device letter selected, Click Write.

You may see the following message:

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Click Yes.

You’ll see the writing process begin.

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When writing completes press Exit.

– – – – –

Step 6: Check your work

Double click on My Computer. (Or browse to your microSD card any which way you know how)

Your microSD card should now be named boot and have 4 files on it: MLO, uboot.bin, uImage and uRamdisk.

Note: In the past I’ve been asked if it’s important that the icons look alike, no it is not. My .bin file is a traffic cone because of another piece of software I have installed. Don’t let the fact that our icons look different worry you.

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If you don’t have those files stop now. Do not continue. Repeat Step 5.

– – – – –

Step 7: Safely Remove the microSD card and then put it back in again

In Windows 7, you can do what I’ve detailed below. Highlight your microSD card named boot by clicking once on it. Then click Eject along your tool bar. Alternatively you can also right click on the microSD card drive and choose Eject. If you absolutely cannot find a way to eject the media from your computer you can also just restart your computer. You’ll achieve the same effect.

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After you’ve ejected it and pulled it out of your computer. Count to 5 and put the microSD card back into your computer. I don’t know why. It’s in the directions I followed writing this, so I’m passing it along.

Side note: Some folks have noticed that the microSD card is now showing as only 115 MB. That’s alright. It’s temporary. When you install CM7 in step 9, the size will be restored to you. The install process will recreate the partitions CM7 needs.

– – – – –

Step 8: Download the latest CM7 Nightly Stable Release

Originally, when I wrote this tutorial, the latest CM7 nightly had functionality that was far superior the the latest stable release. This has changed and the latest Stable is highly functional and most importantly stable. And stable is what most folks who would want a tutorial like this would be interested in.

Download the latest CM7 Stable Release from [here]. As of this edit, the latest stable release is 7.1.0 (update-cm-7.1.0-encore-signed.zip).

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When the download is complete move it to the root of your microSD card. If you are using a newer nightly your file name will vary a little bit but should look pretty close to the following image. However, note that the cm_encore_full-157.zip will be released with the CM7 Stable Release file you downloaded most recently. If you were doing this today, the cm_encore_full-157.zip would be replaced by update-cm-7.1.0-encore-signed.zip.

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Now safely eject the microSD card. Check Step 7 again if you’ve forgotten how to do that.

– – – – –

Step 9: Install CM7

Despite the fact that we’re now going to be putting this microSD card into your NOOKcolor, you should know that nothing at all is being done to your NOOKcolor itself. All of the stuff you see come up on the screen next is happening to the microSD card itself. I could get technical but that’s not why you’re here. If you want technical, head on over to XDA. They are awesome there and the stuff they do is mind blowing.

Your NOOKcolor should be completely off before we begin.

Put the microSD card into your NOOKcolor.

Turn it on. You’ll see a loading screen and then you’ll see a lot of mumbo-jumbo. Yes, that’s a technical term. It’ll look similar to this:

IMG_5122

When this process is done the NOOKcolor will shutdown.

Congratulations CM7 is now installed on your microSD card.

– – – – –

Step 10: Boot CM7 and setup Wi-Fi

Hold the power button until your NOOKcolor begins to boot.

You’ll see a little green CyanogenMod icon.

IMG_5143

Wait a moment longer and you’ll see the cyan android on his skateboard.

IMG_5136

When the loading completes you’ll be at the CM7 desktop. palmtop? I don’t know. Whatever it’s called, you’re there. =)

You’ll need to setup Wi-Fi before we begin the next step.

Press Menu
help1

Press Settings
Press Wireless & networks
Press Wi-Fi settings

If your home wireless access point is broadcasting its name you’ll see it displayed under Wi-Fi networks.

screenshot-1313300474098

Press the name of your wireless network or manually “Add Wi-Fi network”. If you’re on a secured network, you’ll need to provide your network’s password.

Once you provide the password you’ll notice a status will pop up under Wi-Fi. It’ll show connecting, Obtaining IP address and finally “Connected to (your network’s name)”.

screenshot-1313300551954

Now that you’re connected you can shut down your NOOK. Hold the power button on the side. A menu will popup. Choose Power off. When prompted to power off choose OK.

Take the microSD card out of the NOOKcolor in preparation for the next couple of steps.

– – – – –

Step 11: Download Play Market & Google Apps

Download Google Apps from [here].

You need to scroll all the way down to the bottom. There is a subsection called Google Apps. You need the Google Apps for CM7. As of this writing the most current version was: 20110828.

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You should now have a file that has a similar name to gapps-gb-20110828-signed.zip.

– – – – –

Step 12: Prepare the microSD card to install Google Apps

Take your microSD card and put it back into your computer.

Your computer should recognize it as the same letter as before. It’ll still have the boot name. If you open the drive you’ll notice that the update-cm-7.1.0-encore-signed.zip is gone. It has been installed and deleted. This is perfectly fine. Now we have the available space to move Google Apps there for installation.

Take the Google Apps ZIP you downloaded in the last step and place it in the root of the microSD card. It’ll look like this.

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Now safely eject the microSD card. Check Step 7 again if you’ve forgotten how to do that.

– – – – –

Step 13: Install Google Apps

Your NOOKcolor should be off right now. If it’s not, shut it down before we continue.

Put the microSD card back into your NOOKcolor.

Hold down the N button on your NOOKcolor and hold the power button until it starts to boot. Once you see the NOOK’s screen come on continue holding the N button but let go of the power button. This will bring up your alternate boot menu. It’ll look like this.

IMG_5139

You will need to change the Boot Mode at the very least. Here are the desired settings.

IMG_5138

You change these by moving the cyan bar over the option you want to change by pressing, Volume + and Volume –, and then pressing the N button on your NOOKcolor. They also call this button the Home button.

Once the settings are the same as above you can select that third option of Boot Now. Press Home to confirm.

You’re going to see more mumbo-jumbo. It’ll look like this:

IMG_5142

When it finishes the install, the NOOKcolor will shutdown.

– – – – –

Step 14: Configure Google Apps & Device Setup

When you boot up, you’ll be greeted by a familiar site IF you’ve ever owned an Android phone. It’s the setup process.

You’ll be welcomed to your NOOKcolor. Press the Android to begin.

screenshot-1313301808154

Next you’ll be asked to create a Google account or login to an existing. You’ll have to chose the option that is right for you but I already have one, so I chose Sign In. I’d strongly discourage you from choosing Skip.

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After choosing to sign in, I am asked for my credentials. I logged in with my Gmail account.

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After my credentials are accepted another message box pops up that offers to install some Google apps en masse. It’s up to you if you chose OK or Cancel. I chose OK.

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If you pressed OK you’ll see the following menu. Many of them don’t install as they should. Facebook is one of them. You can click to enlarge this image.

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If you check an application that doesn’t work you’ll see this:

screenshot-1313301967863

If you checked an application that does work you may or may not see a Android Market (now Play Store) screen. You’ll want to click the FREE button. And then I think you have to press it again to approve.

screenshot-1313301947187

When you get through installing all the applications you chose from that menu, you’ll be in the home stretch. It’s time to finish up the initial setup.

You’ll be prompted to Use Google location. Read the description and make whatever decision feels comfortable to you. I left both boxes checked.

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Backup and restore is another decision that’s up to you. I appreciate this feature. I kept both boxes checked.

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Now you just get a notice that your Google Account is linked. Click Finish Setup.

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Finally, you’ll be prompted for your time information. I just had to choose Eastern Daylight Time and the rest was correct.

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– – – – –

Step 15: Poke around. Pat yourself on the back. Consider making a donation.

That’s it. You’ve done it. You’ve taken your NOOKcolor and added CM7 to it via the microSD card. You can open the Market(now “Play Store”) and install the free version of Angry Birds or perhaps the Kindle app. Maybe the NOOK app for when you don’t want to switch over to your eReader partition to read. You could install Facebook or Google+, Goodreads or Cut The Rope. It’s really up to you now to really make it yours.

Speaking of making it yours. There are a couple more things to note. You’ll notice there is a phone icon on your default menu. That’s because CM7, like Android, was originally written for phones. Any icon on your desktop can be removed by pressing and holding your finger to the icon. At the top of the screen you’ll see a garbage bin. This doesn’t uninstall the app. It just deletes its shortcut. It’s still in your app drawer. You can also add apps to your desktop the same way. Just press and hold the icon until the app drawer disappears and then put it on your desktop wherever you want.

Oh, guess I should point out how you navigate around CM7.

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1. This button brings up the App Drawer. This shows all the applications that are installed on your NOOKcolor.
2. This is the menu button. It’ll bring up different settings in different applications. It’s like right-clicking your mouse.
3. This is the back button. It goes back to the last screen or page you were on.
4. This is the search button. If you’re like me, you’ll probably never use it. It searches. Imagine that. =)
5. This is the quick notification bar button. If you press it, it will pop up the notification bar. You’ll find out what that does as you use your tablet.
6. These are just indicators to show you which screen you’re on. By default your NOOKcolor has 5 desktops. You can use those screens to organize your apps, etc. Press this to go to the next screen, or press the icon on the same icon on the other side to go back to a previous screen. Alternatively you can just flick the screen left or right with your finger to scroll through the different screens.

So I guess that’s it. You made it this far. You have a CM7 powered NOOKcolor. Well done.

If this helped you, or if I’ve helped you in the past, I’d like to ask you to consider making a donation. If you’re not interested, no biggie. Forget I mentioned it. =)

Credits:

verygreen for the Size-agnostic SD card image and instructions – [here]
The entire CyanogenMod team – [here]

What’ll my NOOKcolor look like post-root?

When I started debating whether or not I wanted to root my NOOKcolor the thing that bothered me the most was that I didn’t know what to expect when I turned it on. Was it going to be that familiar friend I’d grown fond of or would we be complete strangers again? I finally bit the bullet, rooted it and discovered that my friend was pretty much the same person but improved. It was like my NOOKcolor went on The Biggest Loser.

So the purpose of this post is just to show you what you can expect if you root your NOOKcolor. I rooted using the same process I detail in my blog post [here].

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What you see here is what I see when I boot up my NOOKcolor. The process installs a new launcher called Zeam Launcher. A launcher is basically just an app that launches apps. Great name for it, right? I guess they could have been a bit more specific and called it App Launcher but that’s probably trademarked or something.

It should look pretty familiar though. You still have your launcher bar you’re familiar with. This particular example has an icon you may not have seen before. That green shield is just an application called Lookout. It’s a pretty popular security app on Android phones.

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That’s not important though, what IS important is the other keys that will show up there courtesy of another included application called SoftKeys. The whole point of rooting is to add back some of the Android functionality lost to the Stock Barnes & Noble experience. However, Android typically runs on phones. And phones have more buttons. In the case of Android phones there are guaranteed to be four buttons. Home, Back, Menu and Search. On your NOOKcolor, Home is reached by pressing your NOOK’s n button. Below are Back (on the left) and Menu (on the right). Search isn’t really necessary.

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And that takes care of navigation. You can now navigate the rooted NOOKcolor. So let’s get to what is different and what’s the same.

When I press the little white arrow I still get my familiar Barnes & Noble launcher. I can still access my library, the B&N shop, Web and Settings.
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I can still browse my library. Megan’s Way was just purchased (if you can call a freebie purchased) yesterday, so obviously my purchases are still syncing up.
I can still launch my NOOK apps that I may have purchased from the overpriced NOOK Apps store. Is that the NOOK friends app I see?
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Are you wondering if that wonderful frustrating application still “works” like it did before? It does. It works at least as well as it did before. Which isn’t saying much unfortunately.

So what’s the big deal? It looks pretty much the same as it did before. Well, the big deal is this:

Android Market! This is the first page that popped up in the market  and look… 1..2..3..4..5..6..7..8 FREE apps on the first page alone. That alone has to almost tie the NOOK Apps market. =)
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Speaking of the Android Market and the NOOK Apps market.. whatever you download in the Android Market isn’t going to show up in your NOOK Apps launcher. That’s where Zeam comes into play. There is a button on your Zeam Launcher that will bring up ALL of your apps.

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And it’ll look like this. There are a couple of apps I want you to notice on that list. And you can click the image to make it larger.

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The first of these apps is the Amazon Appstore. They have a free paid app every day. By that I mean they make one paid app available for free every day. Now it’s true they bone the developer and give them nothing claiming it’s advertising but you win. You can decide if your conscience is alright with it.

The second application I wanted to draw your attention to is the Kindle app. Now you can buy your books from whomever you’d like. Got a book from Amazon? Google Books? How about Kobo? Read it on your NOOKcolor. The irony would probably kill them but it’s convenient, right?

The last application you need to familiarize yourself with is NookColor Tools. The default NOOK Settings tab is devoid of a lot of settings because they have a very specific use in mind. NookColor Tools restores some of menus and settings you were missing before. When you launch the app you’ll see this very lonely screen
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But that All Settings button is going to be very useful going forward. Here’s what you see when you click it. Manage Applications alone is going to help you remove apps. Running services will help you kill some of those apps that you don’t need running, etc. You aren’t going to need to be in them daily or weekly but chances are these tools will help you at some point along the way.

If you’re the sentimental type there is one more application you’ll want to look at on that list of apps and that’s Nook Home. Watch what happens when you launch that:

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How about that? Your old familiar B&N launcher is still there to greet you.

So there you have it. A little rundown of what you can expect to find when you root your NOOKcolor.

If this helped you, or if I’ve helped you in the past, I’d like to ask you to consider making a donation. If you’re not interested, no biggie. Forget I mentioned it. =)