NOOK Simple Touch (NST) Rooting For Practiscore (TouchNooter)

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Overview

These instructions are for NOOKs with firmware version 1.1.0, using the TouchNooter rooting process. Ideally, you should upgrade the NOOK to 1.2.1 (or whatever is most current), and use the instructions here).

The need to root your NOOK Simple Touch (NST) is because Barnes & Noble locked down the NST so third-party applications cannot be installed. Although it is an Android-based device, while it remains un-rooted, you cannot install Practiscore (or anything else). An un-rooted NST is only useful for reading eBooks.

I have shamelessly stolen sections of text from the NookDevs site. Their content has a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license, and since this is a non-commercial application, and I'm attributing the text to them, there is not a problem with this.

The overall process will be this:

  • Deregister NST
  • Register the NST with a throw-away account
  • Root the device
  • Install Practiscore
  • Install a file manager application (optional)

Personal vs Club NSTs

(more detailed text to be added soon)

Short form, if you're rooting a personal NST that is already registered with B&N, there is no need to de-register then re-register the device with the throw-away account. Skip to the Verify Firmware Version section.

If you've purchased a used NST and intend to use it as a personal device, do make sure it's de-registered first, but instead of using the throw-away account, use an existing B&N account, or create a new one.

The primary reason for using the throw-away account is to avoid having personal information on the NST that may be accidentally exposed, particularly if you're added a credit card to your B&N account for purchasing e-books.

Deregister The NST

VERY IMPORTANT! If you purchased a used NST, you will probably need to deregister it prior to doing anything else with it, including resetting it to factory defaults. If you do not, you will not be able to register under the throw-away account mentioned later.

After powering the NST on, if the first screen that appears is NOT the welcome screen, you need to deregister the device. To do this, you'll need to have a wireless network that has internet connectivity available.

  • Press the 'n' key at the bottom center of the NST.
  • Touch 'settings'
  • Touch 'Wireless'
  • Touch the entry for your wireless network
  • If your network is secured with WEP or WPA2, enter the WEP key or passphrase, then touch 'Connect'
  • After the wireless network connection has been established, touch the back-arrow button in the upper left
  • Touch 'Device Info'
  • Touch 'Erase & Deregister Device'
  • Touch 'Erase & Deregister Device' again
  • Touch 'Reset NOOK'
  • After it erases (this takes a minute or so), the NST will reboot.

Now proceed to the next step to register the NST with the throw-away account.

A problem I ran into with one particular device was the previous owner did not deregister it. Either I skipped the 'Erase & Deregister Device' step, or something got hosed. I had to call 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665) and escalate the issue, explaining that I purchased these from eBay for a reading program. The tier 1 tech support said they couldn't do that without knowing the information for the previous owner. The tier 2 support said no problem, and immediately after hanging up with them, I was able to register the device.

Register Your NST

After resetting the NST to factory defaults (if necessary), you'll need to register the device with Barnes & Noble. We use a "throw-away" account for this. Alan Adamson, who rooted the first NST we got, donated this account.

For this step, you'll need a wireless network available that has internet connectivity.

  • Turn on the NST by pressing the power button on the back of the device until the screen says "Read Forever / Your NOOK is starting up..."
  • When the welcome screen appears, touch 'Next'
  • Touch 'Agree' to the 174 pages of legal BS
  • Touch the button that is correct for your time zone, and then touch 'Next'
  • Touch the entry for your wireless network
  • If your network is secured with WEP or WPA2, enter the WEP key or passphrase, then touch 'Connect'
  • Touch 'Continue with Setup'
  • At this point, you should be presented with the option to sign in.
  • Enter 'adamson_alan@hotmail.com' In the Email Address box (touch '123' then 'ALT' to get to the underscore key)
  • Touch the 'Show Password' box to see the password as you enter it
  • Enter 'saratoga' in the Password box
  • Touch the 'Sign In' button
  • After a few moments, a box with 'Registration Successful' should appear. Touch 'OK'
  • On the 'Add a Credit Card' page, touch 'skip'
  • A box will appear with two options; select 'Don't add a credit card'

Verify Firmware Version

Now we need to check what version of firmware the NST has installed.

  • Press the 'n' button to go to the main desktop
  • Touch 'Settings'
  • Touch 'Device Info'
  • Touch 'About Your NOOK'

At this point, you have a couple choices. If the NOOK has 1.2.1 or higher, you MUST use the NookManager rooting process (preferred).

If the NOOK has a version below 1.2.1, you'll most likely want to upgrade it first, using the instructions on this B&N page.

However, if the software version is 1.1.x, and you don't want to upgrade, you can use the TouchNooter rooting process. To use the TouchNooter rooting process, follow [[NOOK Simple Touch (NST) Rooting For Practiscore|these instructions] on this alternate page.

If your device has 1.0.0, you'll have to upgrade the NOOK. You can probably find a 1.1.0 upgrade package somewhere on the net, but it's really best to take it to the latest version, and use the NookManager rooting process. To upgrade, follow the instructions on this B&N page.

Build The Root SD Card

To build the SD card you will need the following items:

  • 2GB or larger SD card
  • SD card to USB adapter (such as this one)
  • NST rooting image for SD card (located here)
  • Image Writer for Windows program (located here (home page) or here (backup))

To build the image, follow these steps:

  • Download and unzip Image Writer for Windows to a folder on your desktop named 'IWW' or somesuch
  • Download the NST rooting image and unzip to your desktop
  • Insert SD card into adapter
  • Insert SD card adapter into USB connector
  • Open the WIW folder and run 'Win32DiskImager.exe'
  • Click the folder icon, navigate to the desktop and select 'NST_Rooting_Image.img'
  • Select the drive letter the SD card appeared as
  • Click 'Write'
  • Go get a cup of coffee, this will take a while (15-20 minutes)

After the writing process completes, you will have an SD card suitable for rooting a NOOK Simple Touch, along with the AndExplorer file manager and version 1.0.12 of Practiscore already on the card.

For the more technically inclined that care to know this, the image is the 'Normal + Xorzone's mods + adb Wifi' build (gory details here). This means you can use the WiFi ADB tools to do geeky things to the NST. If you don't know what this means, don't worry, it doesn't affect you.

Rooting The NST

Now we're ready to begin the actual rooting process, using the SD card we made above. The locaiton of the SD card slot may not be very obvious. It's located under a small plastic flap on the upper right edge of the NST. Use your fingernail to pop it open. The card is inserted with the gold contacts of the card facing UP. Push the card in with your thumbnail until it clicks into place. When inserted properly, the edge of the card will be flush with the lower edge of the case. To eject the card, push it in with your thumbnail, and it will click and pop part way out.

Many people are unaware that the NST has 4 buttons on the front facia. These appears as two raised ridges on either side of the display. In normal operation, the upper button on either side will scroll the display up, and the lower buttons will scroll the display down. These are much easier to use in Practiscore than "flicking" the screen to scroll (which can sometimes result in an inadvertent selection being made).

This looks like a lot of steps, at first glance. It's really not, they're just very detailed step by step instructions.

Installing The Root Kit

  • Turn the NST off (press and hold the power button on the back, then touch the 'Power Off' button)
  • Install the SD card in the NST
  • Turn the NST on
  • After a few moments, an 'n' with a gear that looks like it's wearing a top-hat will appear.
  • When the menu appears, use the lower right scroll button to go to 'install zip from sdcard'
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • The top selection in the menu is 'choose zip from sdcard'
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • Use the lower right scroll button to go to the file name with 'PART-1' in its name
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • Use the lower right scroll button to go to 'Yes - Install <filename>'
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • When this process completes, a bunch of instructions will appear (ignore them)
  • Press the upper left scroll button to return to the previous menu
  • Remove the SD card
  • Press the 'n' button to select 'reboot system now'

Configuring The Buttons

Now wait for the NST to reboot. At this point, we'll go through a series of steps to finish the rooting process and configure the NST. These next steps are necessary so the 'n' button doesn't open the B&N eBook application.

  • When the NST has rebooted, slide your finger left to right along the bottom to wake the NST
  • Touch the Android character to begin
  • Touch the 'Skip' button
  • On the next page, touch 'Skip' again
  • Un-check both checkboxes, re-check them, then touch 'Next'
  • Touch the empty checkbox under the 'Home' text (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • Touch 'ADW.Launcher'
  • Touch 'OK'
  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger right to left to select the second page of applications
  • Touch 'NookTouchTools'
  • Touch 'Allow'
  • Touch 'B&N buttons'
  • Touch the checkbox for "'n' button goes to home directly" (VERY IMPORTANT!)
  • Touch the checkbox for "Show extra action buttons in recent dialog"
  • Touch the "'Reading Now' button action
  • Touch 'Force Orientation Switch'
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

Enabling Non-Market Apps

This step allows non-market applications to be installed.

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger right to left to select the second page of applications
  • Touch 'NookColor Tools'
  • Touch the checkbox to un-check 'Allow Non-Market Apps'
  • Touch the checkbox to check 'Allow Non-Market Apps' (it has to be disabled then re-enabled to work correctly)
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

Enabling The Market App

If you are not concerned about trying to get the Google Market application to work, or use the web browser on the internet, these next steps can be skipped. For the purposes of using Practiscore, they are not necessary. We've had mixed success with actually getting the Market application and the browser to work on the web. The steps can be confusing, and if the results aren't exactly as described, you'll be lost in never-never land trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. To that end, I would recommend skipping the following steps, and jump to the Completing The Rooting Process section.

If you want to try and get the Market and browser working, these are the steps.

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Touch 'YouTube'
  • Touch the button to accept the terms
  • Touch the 'Accept' button
  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'My Channel'
  • Touch 'Add account'
  • Enter 'cgcuspsa@gmail.com' in the Username box (touch inside box to bring up keyboard)
  • Enter '12abt876' in the Password box
  • Touch 'Sign In'
  • Touch 'Allow'
  • Touch 'Allow' again

If this fails, typically indicated by getting 400 or 401 errors, I have no idea. Sometimes this occurs, and usually going through the whole rooting process again usually fixes it. As mentioned above, unless you plan to use the NST as a general purpose tablet, you don't need the YouTube, GMail and Market applications. It's really much easier if you don't do this.

If this is successful, continue on to the next step of syncing with GMail. The next step may seem odd, but what we want is for GMail to crash. When this occurs, we'll be returned to the desktop.

  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop
  • Touch the application button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger left to right to select the first page of applications
  • Touch 'GMail'
  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'Refresh'
  • Wait about 5 seconds, and if you haven't been returned to the desktop, repeat the last two steps until the desktop appears (this may take several tries)

Once we've successfully crashed GMail, we need for the Market application to fail.

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Touch 'Market'
  • It should crash back to the desktop

At this point, you can proceed to the next step. If you have troubles... Read through the comments on the original XDA Developers forum NST rooting thread.

Completing The Rooting Process

In this section, we'll complete the rooting process.

  • Turn the NST off (press and hold the power button on the back, then touch the 'Power Off' button)
  • Install the SD card in the NST
  • Turn the NST on
  • After a few moments, an 'n' with a gear that looks like it's wearing a top-hat will appear.
  • When the menu appears, use the lower right scroll button to go to 'install zip from sdcard'
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • The top selection in the menu is 'choose zip from sdcard'
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • Use the lower right scroll button to go to the file name with 'PART-2' in its name
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • Use the lower right scroll button to go to 'Yes - Install <filename>'
  • Press the 'n' button to select this option
  • When this process completes, a bunch of instructions will appear (ignore them)
  • Press the upper left scroll button to return to the previous menu
  • Remove the SD card
  • Press the 'n' button to select 'reboot system now'

In the event the NST doesn't reboot, turn the power off by holding the power button on the back for about 10 seconds, release it for 3 seconds, the press again for 3 seconds. For some reason, it occasionally will decide not to reboot.

Install File Browser

It is occasionally useful to have a file browser available. The problem with entering the file name in the browser is it has to be spelled exactly as it appears on the SD card, including the case of the characters being correct. If you've forgotten the name, or don't want to type that much, having a file browser is convenient.

I prefer the free version of AndExplorer, in part because it just works well, and in part because the file can be downloaded directly from Lyesoft's website, bypassing the Market application.

  • When the NST has rebooted, slide your finger left to right along the bottom to wake the NST
  • Insert the SD card
  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Select 'Browser'
  • Touch inside the address bar
  • Type 'file:///sdcard/AndExplorer.apk' (Case sensitive!) If you receive an error about about non-market apps being disabled for security, open 'NookColor Tools', and toggle the 'Allow Non-Market Apps' off and back on again.
  • Touch 'Install'
  • Touch 'Done'

Install Practiscore

If you've installed AndExplorer, you can take the short route. If you did not, and choose to do it from the browser, skip the first group of instructions

Using AndExplorer

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Touch 'AndExplorer'. It will show the contents of the SD card by default
  • Touch 'Close' to dismiss the tip of the day
  • Touch 'sdcard'
  • Touch 'Practiscore.apk'
  • Touch 'Install'
  • Touch 'Done'
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

Using The Browser

  • When the NST has rebooted, slide your finger left to right along the bottom to wake the NST
  • Insert the SD card
  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Select 'Browser'
  • Touch inside the address bar
  • Type 'file:///sdcard/Practiscore.apk' (Case sensitive!) If you receive an error about about non-market apps being disabled for security, open 'NookColor Tools', and toggle the 'Allow Non-Market Apps' off and back on again.
  • Touch 'Install'
  • Touch 'Done'

Tweaks & Tuning

The following tweaks make the Nook a little more user-proof, along with making it cleaner looking.

Remove Favorites & Web Icon

This removes the favorites icon (star) and web browser icon from the left and right side of the applications button (icon that looks like 4 squares at the bottom center of the screen)

  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'More'
  • Touch 'ADWSettings'
  • Touch 'UI Settings'
  • Touch 'Main Dock Style'
  • Touch '1 Icon'
  • Press the 'n' button to go back to the desktop

Change Theme

The default theme is pretty horrid, and especially difficult to read the applications labels. Change the theme to 'Minimalist Black' (a bit of a misnomer) for a much better looking desktop and applications page.

  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'More'
  • Touch 'ADWSettings'
  • Touch 'Themes Preferences'
  • Touch 'Select your theme'
  • Touch 'Minimalist_Black'
  • Touch 'Apply theme!'

Change Screen Saver

The default screen saver on the NST are woodcut-type prints of famous authors. The images are seriously creepy! The Nature screen savers are much more pleasant to look at.

  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'Settings'
  • Touch 'Screen'
  • Touch 'Screensaver'
  • Touch 'nature'
  • Press the 'n' button to go back to the desktop

Delete Un-used Desktops

By default, the rooted NST will have 5 desktops. For some reason, the developers spread icons across all of them. I prefer to have a single desktop, just to make it less likely that a shooter will change to a desktop where there's no Practiscore icon. While, in principal, deleting the extra 4 desktops is easy, because of a presentation bug in the desktop editor, it can appear to not be working.

The easiest method is to delete all the desktops, then add the AndExplorer, Practiscore and Settings icon afterwards.

  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'Edit'
  • Touch the 'X' under the dark square (dark square may disappear and the 'X' will move to the center of the screen. That's OK)
  • Repeat touching the 'X' until an error appears that the last desktop cannot be deleted
  • Touch the back button (left loopy arrow to the left of the menu key)

If a Google search bar is left on the desktop after everything else is deleted, do this to delete it:

  • Press and hold the Google search bar icon until a pop-up menu appears
  • Touch the garbage can icon to remove the icon from the desktop

Now add the AndExplorer, Practiscore and Settings icons to the desktop using the procedures below.

Disable 'Swipe' Actions & Home Preview

By default, the root NST will use 'swipe down' (sliding finger down the screen) to show & hide the notifications window, and 'swipe up' to show & hide the status bar. It's best to disable these so an accidental swipe while cleaning the screen or attempting to scroll doesn't cause the unexpected to happen. While we're here, we'll also set the 'Home' ('n') button not to bring up the 'preview' screen.

  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'More'
  • Touch 'ADWSettings'
  • Touch 'General Behavior'
  • Touch 'Home button binding'
  • Touch 'None'
  • Touch 'Swipe down actions'
  • Touch 'None'
  • Touch 'Swipe up actions'
  • Touch 'None'
  • Press the 'n' button to go back to the desktop

Minimize 'Button Savior' Activation

'Button Savior' is the small almost invisible little arrow located in the right edge of the screen, halfway down (link). We'll make it more difficult for it to be accidentally activated.

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Touch 'Button Savior'
  • Touch 'Auto Hide'
  • Touch '5 Sec'
  • Press the lower of the two vertical raised lines on either side of the screen
  • Touch the checkbox to check 'Long Click Trigger'
  • Press the 'n' button to go back to the desktop

Add Practiscore To Desktop

Since this is the whole reason we're rooting the NST, it would probably be good if Practiscore were easy to get to...

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger right to left to select the second page of applications
  • Touch and hold the Practiscore icon until the desktop appears (about 2 seconds)
  • Drag the Practiscore icon to where you want it (we put it at the bottom, second position from the left)
  • Release the icon

Add AndExplorer To Desktop

I find it convenient to have AndExplorer on the desktop for doing updates and such. If you're concerned about users bringing up the file manager, then leave it off. It's purely optional.

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger left to right to select the first page of applications
  • Touch and hold the AndExplorer icon until the desktop appears (about 2 seconds)
  • Drag the AndExplorer icon to where you want it (we put it at the bottom, first position from the left)
  • Release the icon

Add Settings To Desktop

Since our NSTs are used on multiple networks, I like to make it easy to get to the settings screen. If I could create a shortcut directly to the wireless settings, I would. Unfortunately, that just doesn't seem to be possible. This tweak is also purely optional.

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger right to left to select the second page of applications
  • Touch and hold the Settings icon until the desktop appears (about 2 seconds)
  • Drag the Settings icon to where you want it (we put it at the bottom, second position from the left)
  • Release the icon

Lock The Desktop

This locks the desktop so that users cannot inadvertently add, remove, or rearrange icons on the desktop.

  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'More'
  • Touch 'Lock Desktop'

Remember that if you do want to change the desktop, you'll need to unlock it first.

  • Touch the menu button (top of screen, button with circle with three bars inside)
  • Touch 'More'
  • Touch 'Unlock Desktop'

Create Bookmark To Practiscore

This step is completely optional. If you've not installed AndExplorer, rather than typing 'file:///sdcard/Practiscore.apk' every time in the browser, we can create a bookmark. I prefer to delete all the unused bookmarks since they're just clutter.

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger left to right to select the first page of applications
  • Touch the browser icon
  • Touch the extra options button (at the top right, looks like 5 horizontal bars and a downwards pointing arrow key)
  • Touch 'Bookmarks'
  • Touch 'List view' (down in the lower right)
  • Starting with the second item in the list, press and hold until a menu appears
  • Touch 'Delete bookmark'
  • Touch 'OK'
  • Repeat until all 10 or so bookmarks are deleted

Now we'll add the bookmark to install Practiscore

  • Touch 'Add bookmark...'
  • Touch inside the 'Name' box so the keyboard appears
  • Touch the backspace key, then enter 'Update Practiscore From SD Card'
  • Touch inside the 'Location' box
  • Touch the backspace key, then enter 'file:///sdcard/Practiscore.apk'
  • Touch 'OK'
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

To update Practiscore from the SD card:

  • Touch the applications button (looks like 4 squares just above the 'n' button)
  • Swipe your finger left to right to select the first page of applications
  • Touch the browser icon
  • Touch the extra options button (at the top right, looks like 5 horizontal bars and a downwards pointing arrow key)
  • Touch 'Bookmarks'
  • Touch 'Update Practiscore From SD Card'
  • Touch 'Install'
  • Touch 'OK'
  • Touch 'Done'
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

Set Practiscore Device Name

  • Touch the Practiscore icon on the home screen
  • Touch 'Sync'
  • Touch 'Sync With Other Devices'
  • Touch in the 'Change Device Name' box
  • Back-space over the 'Android Device' text
  • Enter your preferred device name (we use names like RBGC #1, CGC #5, etc, and apply a label to the front of the NOOK)
  • Touch 'Update'
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

Load Custom Screen Saver

A custom screen saver can be created to personalize your club's NOOKs. Any 600x800 16-grey level .PNG file can be displayed when the NOOK goes to sleep. For a gallery of examples, see here.

  • Connect NST to PC via USB port
  • Double-click on 'My Computer'
  • Double-click on 'NOOK (x:)'
  • Double-click on 'screensavers'
  • Right-click and select 'New Folder'
  • Enter named as 'practiscore'
  • Double-click on 'practiscore'
  • Copy the .PNG file to this directory
  • Eject and disconnect NOOK
  • Slide your finger left to right along the bottom to wake the NST
  • Touch 'Settings'
  • Touch 'Screen'
  • Touch 'Screensaver'
  • Touch 'practiscore'
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

Set Screen Timeout To 1 Hour

Setting the time out to 1 hour prevents the NST from falling off the network after the usual 5 minutes of inactivity. NOOKs are very power efficient, so being on for an hour vs 5 minutes will have no significant impact on the battery life, and actually makes staying connected to the WiFi network more reliable.

  • Touch 'Settings'
  • Touch 'Screen'
  • Touch 'Screen timeout'
  • Touch '1 hour'
  • Press the 'n' button to return to the desktop

Tips For Using The NST

Getting Back On The Network

Sometimes an NST will fall off the network. There's no need to return to the settings page. By touch in in the status bar (dark bar at the top of the screen), just to the left of the battery icon, you can bring up the network connect/disconnect dialog. Even if the little WiFi symbol isn't present (indicating that it is on the network, and you shouldn't need to do anything), it will still respond to touching that spot.

Touch to the left of the battery icon, and the dialog box should appear. If the checkbox is checked, un-check the checkbox, and after a couple seconds the text to the left of the checkbox should say 'Turn on Wi-Fi'. Check the checkbox, and after a few seconds, the NST should reconnect to the network. If it doesn't, you'll have to see if it's actually still "hearing" the network. But as a rule, if you do this, it will come back up on the network.

When you're re-connected to the network, touch the 'X' in the upper right corner to close the dialog and return to Practiscoring.

Sometimes as a scorer is standing there while a shooter is running the course, I'll sneak up and do this procedure. In environments where there's range-wide WiFi, it's usually not necessary. When I have to roam around with my phone as a WiFi hotspot, the NSTs will drop off since they can't hear my phone more than a 100 feet away or so.

Scroller Buttons

The two vertical raised lines on either side of the screen are scroll-up and scroll-down buttons. Rather than "flicking" the screen to scroll through the shooters list, use the scroll buttons. These are much faster, and won't cause a fumbled flick to select the wrong shooter or add a score to a target. The majority of people I've shown this to had no idea those were even buttons.

Keep Your Screens Clean

If the NST has any single physical design fault, it's that there is a small channel under the bezel around the screen. The infrared touch system is located under this bezel. Because of the design, debris can get lodged in the channel, which disrupts the touch detection. We use a stiff bristled small paint brush to knock the dirt and crud out of the channel.

In addition to that, we also use some off-the-shelf LCD screen cleaners to periodically wipe the screens down, and to clean the infrared channel. A plastic can of screen cleaners is $6 or so at the local office supply store. They're probably even cheaper at a Sam's Club, Costco, or whatever your local warehouse store is.

Obviously, the debris problem is going to be more pervasive in desert areas than, say, Washington State. Cleaning the screen also prevents micro-grit from scratching up the surface of the screen. We clean ours every couple matches unless there's obviously been a lot of airborne dirt. Sometimes, we even clean our guns, too :)

NSTs And The Sun

Occasionally the NSTs seem to react to touches oddly. Generally this is a result of debris on the screen, but we've found the best results are to shadow the NST with your body, if you can. The reason for this is that the touch system on the NST uses infrared, and sunlight has a high infrared content. We think this may occasionally confuse the touch detection logic.

When we first started using NSTs and were learning about them, we though they were overheating. Some tests were run, and this turned out not to be the case. We then though maybe sunlight was the culprit, and while it may be a factor, the majority of the problem is debris on the screen.

Keep Your NSTs Cool

The NOOKs aren't prone to overheating, but like any electronics, they don't like to be baked. The black case doesn't help keep them cool, so when leaving them in a bay, avoid leaving the NST in direct sunlight. Toss it in the range box, put a piece of paper over it, just something to keep direct sunlight off.

Battery Charging

As a rule, the NSTs have phenomenal battery life. We've run through all-day matches (like Georgia State 2012), and still had 70%+ battery life. Nonetheless, the NSTs get thrown on the chargers the night before a match.

HOWEVER, don't leave them plugged in all the time. Even the best battery charging systems aren't perfect, and heat is the ultimate enemy of battery life. This is what kills cordless tool batteries (DeWalt *wants* to sell you batteries, at $80 a pop). Plug them up the night before, they'll be fully charged in the morning, and you'll get a full weekends use out of them with no problems.

One thing we discovered about the NST chargers: The chargers that come with the NSTs will DISCHARGE the battery if you have the charger plugged into the NST, but not into the wall. I have a power strip with 6 charges on it, and I thought "Ah, they're charged, I'll just turn the power strip off". It turns out there's a sneak-path back through an un-powered charger that will discharge the battery. Luckily, I had time to charge them all again before the match, so I didn't show up with dead NOOKs.

Reset The NST To Factory Defaults

This is only necessary if you purchased a used NOOK from eBay or somewhere, and have trouble registering it. It's possible the NST has already been rooted, so it should be reset to factory defaults. If it's new, or a factory reconditioned unit, you shouldn't need to do this.

Be sure to Deregister The NST first! You don't want to have to end up speaking to 'Joe' @ 1-800-THE-BOOK in New Delhi to get a manual deregistration done.

(The following is from http://nookdevs.com/Nook_Simple_Touch_restore_to_stock)

Method #1

Use this if you haven't rooted your nook.
  • Press Settings on the touch pad, then Device, then "Unregister your Nook"
  • Below that press "reset to factory settings" & Confirm
  • It should reboot and be restored to the latest firmware you had installed.

Method #2

Use this to go back to the firmware the nook was shipped with (use this if rooted)
This will actually restore it to the same exact way you got it from the store. It's the equivalent of restoring your computer with your installations disks.
  • Turn off your nook completely.
    • If you are at the "home" screen then hold power button for 3 seconds and choose "Power off" when prompted.
    • If you are in the screen-saver mode then hold power button for 10 seconds until screen will freeze or go blank, or text "Your nook is switched off" will appear.
  • With it off, hold the power button until the screen flickers black for a moment THEN CONTINUE to hold it for another 15 seconds. You won't see anything happen at this point - but the animated arrows will stop typically.
  • Repeat the above step 6 times in a row. YES, Six is the magic number that tells the nook to do a restore. At the six time screen will get half white- half black and it's a good sign!
  • Now press the Power Button once to turn on the nook.
  • The touch screen will go black with a description of what it's doing (restoring). This may take several minutes - do NOT stop it.

Method #3

Note that this absolutely destroys your shelves, notes, and other information, and you will be asked to register your Nook with BN again.
  • Turn the N2E off completely
  • Turn it on again by pressing and holding down the power button
  • As soon as the screen flashes, release the power button, then begin holding down the bottom page turn keys on the left and right of the device. (There is a several second window of time to allow you to get the keys pressed)
  • After a few seconds a message should appear asking if you want to do a factory reset.
  • Press the 'n' button in response to the first question
  • Press the 'n' button in response to the second question
  • The N2E should begin the recovery process
To update to the latest software version, press the "My Library" button. While in the "My B&N Library" area tap "Check for new B&N content". It will get the new firmware and start updating the latest software. Again, this will take a while like above steps.