Review: Instapaper for NOOK Color

I’ve been using Instapaper for years. It’s a service that lets you save online articles for later reading. Each is presented in a stripped-down, beautiful layout. It’s simple and convenient. It started as a browser-based service and most recently migrated to some Android devices, like the NOOK Color. I’ve been using it on the NOOK Color for about a week, and have identified good and bad about using the service on the device. Here’s my look at Instapaper on the NOOK Color [1. I could not figure out how to take screenshots on this thing for the life of me. Forgive the lousy photos.].

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How the Nook Simple Touch GlowLight glows

The NOOK Simple Touch with GlowLight is a tempting e-reader from Barnes & Noble. It’s incredibly lightweight, small and portable. Every time I visit B&N, I’m tempted to buy one. The backlight is a nice advantage over Amazon’s Kindle, which lacks such a feature. But how does it work? The good folks at iFixit found out when they took at NOOK Simple Touch apart.

There are eight evenly-spaced LED lights across the top of the NOOK’s screen, and that’s it. Nothing on the bottom or sides. So how is the whole display illuminated evenly? A light diffraction grating built into the glass display does the trick. iFixit explains:

“This diffraction grating bends and disperses the light throughout the screen. Barnes & Noble really did their homework on this one, because instead of a simple linear diffraction grating (think of a bunch of parallel slits), it appears that the diffraction grating varies throughout the glass to evenly disperse the light.”

There’s a great example of constraints fostering creativity. Well done, NOOK team.

Amazon teases direct sales of Potter ebooks [Update]

Amazon has teased direct sales of Harry Potter books on its Kindle ebook store. AllThingsD reports that Amazon has posted a teaser image (above) to its Kindle ebook store, featuring an owl and the line “Wizardry is on the Way” in a font similar to that on the cover of paper Harry Potter books [1. Note that I could not get the image to appear, despite refreshing the browser a few times. Ten points off for Gryffindor.].

Potter author J. K. Rowling made electronic versions of her books available for the first time in April, but required customers to purchase them through her own Pottermore website. Amazon’s tease suggests that’s about to change, though representatives were elusive with AllThingsD when reached for comment, saying, “We’ll have to ask you to stay tuned for an upcoming announcement.”

As of this writing, there are no similar hints on the Nook store or Apple’s iBookstore.

Update: Amazon has confirmed that the Harry Potter books are coming to the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library.