Categories
Gadgets

Nook Color Running Ice Cream Sandwich!

I had been meaning to do this since we got it for him, but I put a ‘real’ version of Android on my son’s Nook Color last night.  After checking to see what was currently available for it, I decided to try Android 4.0 – ‘Ice Cream Sandwich’.  I followed the instructions at NookDevs for putting it onto a bootable SD card, and after some initial difficulty getting adb communication issues out of the way (which may have been MY fault), it’s working great.  And if we want to go back to the normal Nook interface, we can just turn it off, take out the SD card, and turn it on.

The ICS interface looks great, though a bit laggy to swipe.  I know some folks upped the screen sensitivity too, may need to look into that.  But I installed some of the go-to games and apps, such as Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, and the like, and they look and play great.  The tablet/ICS version of the GMail app is quite nice, too.  I’m honestly a little jealous.  Looks like a great option for a cheap tablet, especially if you don’t need another device with a camera.  Might just get a cheap Nook Tablet for myself to play around with.  Until then, I’m stealing T’s NC at night.

Categories
Gadgets

gROM on my LG Optimus S

I got tired of running out of room for apps on my phone, especially with some of the sweet games I wanted to play.  So I figured I’d go for a custom ROM finally, that gets rid of the pre-loaded Sprint junk and otherwise just works fine.  gROM fits that bill nicely, while adding some nice features (overclocking, Flash).  I won’t bore you with the details, only link you to this step by step guide on how to root and flash a new ROM.  It worked perfectly for me.

My impressions so far – I can definitely feel the slight speed increase from the overclock.  After restoring all of my apps, and adding back a few I had been forced to uninstall to save space, I still have 75mb of app space free.  That’s a far cry from bouncing between 15-20mb free and having to clear app cache all the time to get rid of the ‘you are running low on storage’ message.  I haven’t noted any issues with the various apps I’ve tried running since the switch (Plume, Gmail, Facebook, Draw Something, Fruit Ninja, G+, Nook, Llama, and others).  I haven’t tried anything that uses Flash, but really, I didn’t need that on this phone.

I last rooted my Hero, and this was even easier.  I highly recommend this to any Optimus S owner who is trying to make their phone feel useful for a few more months, while awaiting Sprint’s new LTE 4G phones.

Categories
Featured Gadgets Movies

Friday Finds – Kung Fu and Carmen Sandiego

Well, it was a busy week for me, though most of the creative juices were used at the Sabres site I run.  They had a rough week, what can I say?  Still, I got OGT out, and it’s one of my all time favorites, River City Ransom.  Check it out if you haven’t yet.  On to the links!

Martin Campbell (who helmed Casino Royale and The Green Lantern) is in early talks to direct The Fall Guy.  The Fall Guy, for those of you who don’t know, centered around Lee Majors as a stuntman who took bounty hunter jobs to try and make ends meet.  It’s pure 80’s cheese, right up there with the A-Team and Knight Rider.  It will be tough to cast the Colt Seavers role, though.  It can’t be somebody that actually looks like they could be down on their luck, but still tough enough to be a stuntman/bounty hunter.  Can Daniel Craig lose the accent?

Another of my favorite old shows might get the movie treatment – Kung Fu.  Bill Paxton may direct (he’s got some movies under his belt already).  It would be interesting to see how they go with it.  When I saw the show originally, I didn’t know about the whole ‘Bruce Lee came up with the idea and it was stolen from him basically’ thing, but Kwai Chang Caine became a favorite character of mine.  I even loved Kung Fu – The Legend Continues.  I’m curious to see if they keep the half Chinese/half American aspect, as I think that could still give an interesting slant to the story – a man who at the time would be rejected both in China and in the Americas for being different.

My friend Anneke as Carmen Sandiego.  May have to scroll down a bit.

Even our favorite, long running TV shows had bad seasons.  IO9 lists some of the worst in sci-fi and fantasy.  TNG Season 2:  Joe Piscopo.  Enough said.  Though as commenters pointed out, that season gave us The Measure of a Man and the first appearance of the Borg, so it’s not all bad.

Finally, Barnes and Noble is indeed firing back at the Kindle Fire, with a new Nook Tablet.  Engadget got a hold of some slides from a presentation that give some details, and it sounds solid.  Dual-core 1.2ghz, twice the RAM and on-board storage as the Fire, thought it is still more than the Fire at $249.  They will drop the original Nook Color to $199 (I think it should go lower, make Amazon sweat).

Categories
Life

Raising a Reader

Michael Forbes, whom I follow on Twitter for hockey stuff, linked an article in the New York Times, “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?” by Robert Lipsyte.  The issues brought up in the essay are boiled down to this passage:

If we’re to counter this tendency and encourage reading among boys who may collectively resist it, boys need to be approached individually with books about their fears, choices, possibilities and relationships — the kind of reading that will prick their dormant empathy, involve them with fictional characters and lead them into deeper engagement with their own lives. This is what turns boys into readers.

The differences in the boys around here were driven home to me today as I picked my son up after school from a friend’s house.  Part of their homework (3rd grade by the way) was to read for 20 minutes.  The friend would ONLY read for the requisite 20, even complaining – seriously! – about an extra second of time on the timer set for him.  My son would read every night until he fell asleep face first in a book if I let him.  After catching sight of that article tonight, I sat down to try and think if there was anything I did specifically to encourage his love of reading.  First, I think the biggest thing is this:

On his Web site, guysread.com, the teacher and author Jon Scieszka writes that boys “don’t feel comfortable exploring the emotions and feelings found in fiction. . . . Boys don’t have enough positive male role models for literacy. Because the majority of adults involved in kids’ reading are women, boys might not see reading as a masculine activity.”

This is something where being a GeekDad comes in handy.  I grew up reading, and the gateway to my love of reading was science fiction and comics.  From there it was an easy branch out to fantasy, and whatever other books my brother bought until I could afford my own.  The next part is having good teachers.  Last year his teacher had a ‘browsing box’ of books you could read in class and take home (outside of their scant library time).  He reads this series of Geronimo Stilton books she had in there (he’s a mouse that runs a newspaper and has adventures), but when he runs out of those, he picks up whatever I have here.  That could be a Narnia book, the Hobbit, Percy Jackson (the movie caught his eye) or my wife’s Harry Potter.

If your kid shows the interest, the next step is to be sure to feed them books regularly.  The library can help, church rummage sales, those discount bookstores that appear in the shopping centers after a big anchor store closes, and the discount shelf at your local B&N.  An e-reader can come in handy as well, as kids love technology nowadays, and I have a hard time prying my Nook away from Thomas.  I’m not saying this stuff will work for every kid, but hopefully this (and the link article and guysread.com site) give you some ideas on how to nudge your young one on the reading path.  If you have any other tips, share them here.