I bought a Barnes & Noble Nook Color tablet (for $190 plus tax from a temporary online promotion, down from the usual $250). And then I downloaded a very simple, perfectly legal software fix from the Internet that turned it into a fully functioning tablet running on Google's Android platform. The fix, known as a "rooting," unlocks Barnes & Noble's proprietary overlay. The instructions came via Ars Technica, a reputable site devoted to technology, and were pretty easy to follow.I have been considering getting an iPad 2, but this looks a bit more appealing. Here are the drawbacks:I wasn't really expecting it to work. I tried it as an experiment. But the results were remarkable.
Of course, it's hardly the same as an iPad or a Xoom or a Galaxy. It doesn't have any cameras. It has a slower processor. It's not for power users. The video support is pretty limited. A few Android programs still won't run on it. And dedicated gamers will doubtless find it frustrating.You get what you pay for in the end. Some people have run into problems and downloading the program voids the warranty, but for those looking for a tablet on the cheap, this looks like the way to go. You would think Barnes & Nobles would take advantage of this great marketing opportunity, but that would require a change from a failing business model (see Borders). Maybe if Borders employees were unionized and contributed to Democrats, they would have been bailed out.
For less scandalous news, check out Japan. According to CNN:
The powerful earthquake that unleashed a devastating tsunami Friday appears to have moved the main island of Japan by 8 feet (2.4 meters) and shifted the Earth on its axis.Thankfully keynesians never let a disaster go to waste:
Prime Minister Naoto Kan, battling what he called Japan’s worst crisis since the end of World War II, plans a post-earthquake rebuilding package, a step that may worsen the challenge of curbing the world’s biggest public debt.And of course massive spending can't be done without a good dose of liquidity from the Bank of Japan:
Policy makers will need to compile a spending bill “over the medium to long-term” to cope with the aftermath of the 8.9- magnitude earthquake and the tsunami it triggered, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano told NHK Television. For now, officials will use about 200 billion yen ($2.4 billion) left over from the budget for the fiscal year ending March 31, he said.
The Bank of Japan may today inject more short-term cash into the banking system after the nation’s most powerful earthquake on record, while keeping its asset- purchase plans unchanged as officials gauge the longer-term effect on the world’s third-largest economy.
Governor Masaaki Shirakawa told reporters late yesterday he’s ready to unleash “massive” liquidity starting this morning in Tokyo, as the BOJ seeks to assure financial stability.
Economists said officials will likely decide to keep longer-term credit programs at a total of 35 trillion yen ($428 billion) when they meet today at 1 p.m. in Tokyo. The bank’s main interest rate has already been cut to almost zero as policy makers last year sought to end the nation’s deflation.For the sake of the people of Japan, I hope the government and Bank of Japan's war against the earthquake goes better than the war with deflation the country has been fighting for the past twenty years. If two decades are any indication, I highly doubt it.
It's unfortunate such a tragedy can bring these results:
I will end with another example of the overwhelming incompetence of the S.E.C., Zerohedge reports:
The WSJ reports: "In recent months, Securities and Exchange Commission officials have grown increasingly doubtful they can prove that Lehman violated U.S. laws by using an accounting maneuver to move as much as $50 billion in assets off its balance sheet, which made it appear that the securities firm had reduced its debt levels....After zeroing in last summer on the battered real-estate portfolio and an accounting move known as Repo 105, SEC officials have grown more worried they could lose a court battle if they bring civil charges that allege Lehman investors were duped by company executives. The key stumbling block: The accounting move, while controversial, isn't necessarily illegal." Oh no, illegal it is. The problem is that should the SEC actually pursue it and win, that act would open up the floodgates for hundreds of lawsuits against everyone from Bank of America and Citi, which have also disclosed they used comparable tactics to misrepresent the true status of their books, to shady accounts like Ernst & Young, all the way to FASB at the very top of the corruption pyramid.