Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pandigital Novel

I must say I didn't have the highest hopes for the Pandigital Novel eReader at $149, but I at least expected it to function for reading.

The out of the box experience was fine. Everything worked and the device's battery was charged to 97%. It detected my wireless and authenticated effortlessly, no issues with connecting with my Windows 7 laptop, upgrading to the latest firmware or copying epub and pdf files to the file system, which showed up like another drive.

The browser was lackluster and the device settings were limited, but all I really wanted was a device that I could use for reading. It displayed my files correctly and the night-time reading mode was pleasant, since it shows the text in negative (great for reading in bed with the lights out). And this is where I was mostly disappointed...

My problems were the accelerometer, which kept changing from portrait to landscape when at a mild angle or slight turning motion and the less than sensitive touch-screen. I was slowly adjusting to the auto-rotation "feature" by moving the device as little as possible, but the touch screen is what killed it for me. Turning pages can only be accomplished via the touch screen, which took two to five "swipes" each time; which of course takes you out of the material you're reading and involves far more movement than a light-sleeping spouse would prefer.

Two things on the settings screen would have kept this device in my home: a checkbox to turn off the auto-rotation and the ability to remap the analog rocker switch (the only switch aside from the power) to page turning instead of adjusting the volume (which was available via the touch screen).

I returned the device to Best Buy yesterday and will be likely be purchasing a NOOKcolor in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Outlook Links Don't Work

One of my customers recently had an issue with broken links in all his Outlook e-mail. Any link that was present in the body or subject would not work, only giving the cryptic message: "This operation has been cancelled due to restrictions in effect on this computer."

Turned out to be an issue with an faulty uninstall of Chrome, which left some bits behind in the registry. Bad, bad uninstaller! Go stand in the corner!

Anyway, after numerous searches and a number of unsuccessful fix attempts, Slipstick had the answer. Windows was trying to use the browser that was no longer installed, but was still referenced in the registry.

  1. Start, click Run..., type Regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.

  2. Browse to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\.html

  3. Right-click the value for the .html key and select Modify...

  4. Change the value from "ChromeHTML" to "htmlfile" (or from FireFoxHTML to htmlfile)

  5. Repeat these steps for .htm and .shtml keys if they exist. You may also want to check the .xhtml and .xhtm keys.

Note: As always, the Registry can be a dangerous place, so do a backup/export before making changes.

This didn't even require a reboot and yet another happy customer was made. Judging by the amount of possible issues causing this message, this is only one needle in a field of haystacks.