Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Rooting a Nook

I am the happy owner of a Nook Simple Touch. I love how compact and portable it is. The battery lasts for weeks, and reading on the E-Ink screen is a joy. It is a wonderful product.

This post is about a way to make it just a bit better. The Nook operating system is Android 2.1, but it is completely locked down into the pre-installed apps. By rooting the device, you can open it up for customization.

There are several benefits to rooting the Nook:

  1. You can install other apps using NTGAppsAttack. Lifehacker.com has a post which lists several useful apps.  
  2. You can install a reader app that lets you view many different eBook formats. 
  3. You can rotate the screen orientation. 
  4. You can reassign what the different buttons do. 
  5. You can make many other tweaks to customize the interface. 
The instructions I followed are posted on the Babbling Engineer blog
The method uses NookManager, a tool which makes it very easy. 

Following their instructions worked perfectly. I have very little to add about the process. I am very happy with my rooted Nook, and would recommend others to try it!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Plant Velcro

I want to spread the word about a wonderful product. It was discovered while wandering through the local Lowe's or Home Depot. I don't remember which, but they both carry it. 

It is Velcro! For plants!!

Velcro brand Plant Ties, to be precise. 

If you have ever tried to tie plants to a trellis or cage, you know that there are many inexpensive and semi-frustrating options. These include wire, twine, and the like. 

The Velcro version offers three key benefits: 
  • It is flat and wide like a piece of tape. This makes it much gentler on the plants and less likely to cut into the stems than wire or twine. 
  • It is fast. Very fast. There are no knots to tie, or wire to twist. Just cut and wrap. 
  • It is reusable. It can be easily removed without cutting. 

To gain these benefits, there is a minor downside. It does cost a bit more than the alternatives at just under $4.00 for a 45 foot roll. 

A word of caution:  beware buying this online. Some places are charging close to $20 for the same thing. 

Here you can see it in use. In the first picture, is it supporting a tomato plant. The second shows it supporting a branch on a plumeria.