Monday, May 21, 2012

How To Go From Aquaman To Batman.

Alright, remember me saying that with relative ease you can unlock a multitude of features in your Nook Color? Well, whether you believed me or not - here is just how simple it can be.

First, your gonna need a few things; namely a microSD card that is Class 4 or better and preferably around 8 GB or so. Why do I say a specific class of card or size? Well, the short answer is that a standard Nook Color uses 8 GB of internal flash memory and as for the class of the card - well, let's just leave it at that's the best compatible class of card for read/write speeds. Now, for my own purposes I picked up a SanDisk 16 GB at my local Wal-Mart for just under $20.00, and it has proven to be a great investment. Oh, and for the record, statistically SanDisk has proven to be one of the most reliable brands for this sort of project.

So, we have our media, now all we need is something to put on it and a method to do so. Easy enough to take care of, all you need to do is get your hands on a microSD card reader(I was fortunate enough to have one built in to my netbook). As for the former, you will need to obtain a copy of WinImage, if memory serves it was freeware and simple to use. You will also need a generic disk image and the CM7 Rom file. You can choose any Rom file you want from the list but I'd recommend you go with the most recent release candidate(Look for ones with RC), they tend to be more stable versions.

With me so far? We have a microSD card, a reader, WinImage, a compressed disc image file and one compressed CM7 Rom file. For the disc image file, it will initially be about 9 MB or so, but you'll want to decompress it to a folder where it should end up being somewhere in the neighborhood of 130 MB. Once you have that bit done you get to fire up your WinImage and click on options, then "Restore Virtual Hard Disk Image On Physical Drive." Make sure when you do that you select the "All Files" option to ensure you can see everything. For the record, might take a few minutes to burn the image to your card, but we're not talking anything intensive.

Now, once it says it's complete you can copy your CM7 Rom file over. You don't have to uncompress it or anything, just copy it over. Then you just safely eject your card and insert it into your powered off Nook Color. Once you power it on you should notice a difference as Tux the penguin sets in a corner of the screen and command line text scrolls by to notify you of what all is going on as everything is unpacked and made ready for you. When it finishes it will power the Nook Color back down so don't panic.

At this stage, if you want to install any of the Google Apps you can simply by adding the Google Apps Package (Scroll to the bottom of the page and it'll be under CyanogenMod 7) to your card and then placing it right back into your Nook. This time when you boot up you should be greeted with some typical set up stuff like setting up your Wifi etc. Do it. Once you have run through your set up stuff just hit your power button and hold it a few seconds. A menu should pop up with the option to "Reboot & Recovery," click it and this time it should unpack your Google apps and then you can go through your account sync stuff.

The whole process doesn't take long, and leaves your internal install intact. In fact when you boot up you can always choose to load your stock configuration if you want.

So, for review; you take a microSD, plug it into a reader, burn a image to it, copy over a rom file and then place it into your Nook Color and let it power up. About as easy a task as Batman putting on his utility belt, huh?

I must point out though, as awesome as this is I have noticed a few small things I should mention so your prepared. This is not complete nor is it perfect, there are still some issues that might irritate you. They have only been minor inconveniences to me but your mileage may vary.

1. Statusbar crashes; Occasionally the statusbar will crash and vanish. When this happens it doesn't cripple you, you can still navigate and manage just fine but it does remove some of the ease and convenience. Holding the power button will give the option to pull up the menu if you need and a quick press of the 'N' Nook button can always return you to your home screen. However, if the bar does flee from you one quick fix you can try is to tilt/rotate your Nook, sometimes the screen change will reload your prodigal statusbar. If not you can always do a quick reboot.

2. Wireless-less; Another issue is that of your wireless simply turning off. I have noticed myself how it can just flick off at times and often it could be as simple as a power regulation issue. For the most part two simple clicks of your power switch will flash your screen off and back on to find your wifi return within seconds. Typically your device will shut off the wifi when it goes to sleep to conserve power and then reactivate it upon waking.

3. YouTube; Can't load videos you say? Think you made a horrible mistake? Not so, just make sure you have Adobe Flash installed and try to remember to turn of HQ - it's a little red logo on some videos. As long as you have HQ turned off most videos play just fine.

Even with these little issues I still find my Nook Color to be a remarkable and versatile device with far more value than it gets credit for. Give it a try, it is so simple to do as you can see, and maybe you will find you agree.