For three+ years I've been content with my Hanlin V3 but as it has become more and more unreliable and its flaws more annoying, a week ago I bit the bullet and replaced it with a Nook Simple Touch (for a measly $90). This post is about reducing the porky Nook to its useful Nookleus, so to speak.

The Nook is a Barnes&Noble device and they'd very much like to insist that you can't use it without registering with them, or with material not bought from them, or manage your reading material without their involvement. Fortunately none of these builtin biases are overly hard to get rid of.

  • First, the registration thing: when the initial dialog comes up, simply hold the top right button and slide a finger left to right at the top of the screen. The newly appearing "Factory" button leads to the factory menu, and there's a button to "Skip OOBE" (Out of Box Experience, what a stupid name). Click that, done. Note, however, that people have reported increased battery drain because apparently the B&N stuff tries to phone home over and over again. Rooting and removing most B&N components seems to have fixed this issue on mine.

  • Sideloading content via USB mass storage works fine out of the box, but the "Library" application is not capable of moving, renaming or deleting anything on the Nook. The actual reader application is very good IMHO, and the fact that it only accepts EPUB and PDF (plus a few image formats) is not that much of an issue (Calibre works fine for converting to EPUB).

  • The Nook is an Android device, and rooting it and replacing annoying components with better software is very straightforward. The procedure shown on the nookdevs site takes no more than 5 minutes and worked fine, but installed a lot of new bloat (e.g. Youtube, Gmail, Market) and a general purpose launcher that's not ideal for an e-ink device.

    My simple solution: follow up on the rooting with adb, remove all the cruft and finally install ReLaunch, a simple and sufficient filemanager and launcher for the nook. I don't want anything to do with B&N, so all their tight integration was to go and I won't miss it; and with ReLaunch I can now copy/move/rename/delete files on the Nook without having to connect it to a PC.

  • The last minor change was to make the web browser dump downloaded files in a more useful location: by default it plonks everyting into /data/media/My Files/My Downloads, which is a tad inconvenient to reach from ReLaunch. Solution: make a symlink from /data/media/My Files to /media/My Files.

Here is the list of what's left in /system/app (=system applications) after my cleanup job:


And /data/app contains just those two:

[ published on Thu 18.10.2012 11:45 | filed in interests | ]
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© Alexander Zangerl