Dear Santa, I would like the Kindle..I mean the Nook

October 27, 2009

There is approximately 59 days until Santa will be climbing down your chimney and if you are an avid reader requesting the Kindle as a gift, you might want to rethink your wish. On, Tuesday October 20th, Barnes & Noble introduced their equivalent of the Kindle: the Nook. Set to be released in November, the Nook is available for pre-order as of  last Tuesday evening.

Thus far, the Nook has proven to be a bit sassier then the Kindle. One of the major selling points of the Nook is that it can lend e-books to other Nook users or anyone who has the electronic book software. In the feature called ‘Lendme’, books can be shared free for up to two weeks. The books can be lended to users of iPhones, iPod touches, blackberries, Motorola smartphones, Macs or PCS. The lending is not just limited to books but any electronic print such as newspapers and magazines. Nook users can obtain these electronic print sources through the online book store that has been set up by Barnes & Noble. Also, when Nook users go to any Barnes & Noble Store, they have free internet connection, built in Wi-Fi, and can read any book in the store for free. Outside of the book stores, the Nook has internet access thanks to AT&T and runs on Google Android OS.

The Nook has a 3.5 inch color touch screen that has a keyboard that is used to help browse books and when reading the keyboard disappears. The text of the books is black and white. When reading the electronic material, users can use the bookmark features, highlight important quotes or use the dictionary. There is 2GB of internal storage and up to 16GB SB card storage can be added. Unlike the Kindle, the Nook weighs one ounce more. (The Kindle weighs 10.2 ounces whereas the Nook weighs 11.2 ounces.) The Nook also does not have the same battery life as the Kindle. (The Kindle’s battery life is 14 days and the Nook’s is 10 days.) Protective covers can  be purchased for the Nook. The covers come in different colors and styles allowing users to add personality to their Nook.

For the first 10,000 buyers of the Nook, they will receive a free copy of Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point. Gladwell even made an appearance at the launch event that was held Tuesday evening in Manhattan. Details of the Nook was first reported by the Wall Street Journal after a source from the publication got to see an advertisement that is going to run in the New York Times this Sunday( 10/25).

While the Kindle may weigh more and not last as long as the Kindle, a huge selling point is that the Nook can share information. Torn as to which one you want Santa to bring you? Check out the Nook’s blog or the Kindle’s blog  for more information.


Rhode Island Beer Report: Newport Storm and Narragansett Creating Buzz

July 1, 2009

Beer is an economic bulwark even with Rhode Island’s increasing unemployment and a legislature’s hostile approach to out-of-state business (ask Amazon). Damn fine beer is associated with the Ocean State,  for value conscious and beer bourgeois alike.

As a moderate locavore, I try to support locally owned and operated companies when possible. As a frequent beer drinker, I like the options of having an affordable, easy drinking brew for light binging and a more complex, robust beer selection to compliment meals. Fortunately, Rhode Island offers both.

Narragansett Beer – “Hey Neighbor, Have a ‘Gansett”


With a rich history dating back to 1890, Narragansett became the largest selling beer in New England with one of the most modern brewing facilities in the country supporting over 850 employees. An unfortunate series of financial and logistical miscues led to the closing of the Cranston, RI factory in 1983. Fortunately, lifelong RI resident Mark Hellendrung bought back the brand in October of 2005 and ‘Gansett is poured from taps in over 750 New England bars.

Despite re-invigorating of the brand, Hellendrung has bigger goals for Narragansett beer, most notably returning the brewery to New England (ideally Rhode Island). With a savvy social media campaign including a blog, twitter feed, Facebook Fan Page and petition, as well as a nostalgic ad campaign, Narragansett is challenging folks in the northeast to drink 1.7 million cases of beer (roughly 1 case per beer drinking New Englander) by the end of the year in order to justify the need for a new brewery.

While beer snobs may turn a sober shoulder to the affordably priced lager, there’s no doubt that bringing the Narragansett brewery back to Rhode Island is the right thing to do. Simultaneously a homecoming and a boon to the state’s economy, (if you’re a beer consumer) please sign the petition, buy a case or ask your local beer vendor to start selling the beer. I bought an 18-pack last weekend and got a sweet free ‘Gansett necktie complimentary, for no cost.

Coastal Extreme Brewing Co. (Newport Storm) – Dedicated to the Craft


A company history of Coastal Extreme Breweing can be found on the website. On a personal note, as a 21 year-old I used to live across the street from the brewery. There was no beer sold, but every Friday evening, a select few dozen were admitted for tours which included, four, and subsequently two bottle caps exchangeable for free beer. The self-made owners have continued their hospitality with daily samplings and weekly/private tours. Newport Storm seasonal drafts drive hardcore loyalty but the flagship Hurricane Amber and a grassroots, events-laden effort led by the founders jockeyed “Storm” into the drinking scene across New England. 

Not surprisingly, the brewery is wrangling with the RI legislature over its right to sell six-packs, cases and spirits to patrons visiting the brewery. The website claims, “Rhode Island is the only such state in New England that prohibits this practice at its breweries and distilleries.” A travesty? Consider protesting or mildy objecting to House bill  6169 and the identical Senate bill 943, you can learn more and send vociferous emails here.

Furthermore, I’ve heard the Coastal Extreme beer factory may be expanding to a new facility, positive news but the Oliphant Ln. home will be missed. 

Drinking beer is not a solution for most, but manufacturing beverages for inevitable consumption is sound economics, especially in the Ocean State.  Just ask Autocrat and Del’s.

Posted by: Nick Brown