Win 7, Nook, and other tech follow ups

Windows 7: My wife will get it for the HP laptop she bought when we returned from China, since that qualifies for a free upgrade. Don't think I will myself. My original-Vista-blighted ThinkPad T60 is having so many other problems that I am keeping it alive purely for organ-farm purposes, serving as an extra hard disk on the home network. My three Macs (early 2008-vintage Air and Mini, new MacBook Pro) are all running WinXP in the Windows half of their brains, under VMware Fusion. Since installing Win7 on an XP machine involves backing up and removing all data, installing the OS from scratch, and then reinstalling all programs (the real stopper -- where are those install CDs?), making the switch does not seem worth it. Net result of three years of terrible experience with early Vista+ Lenovo-era ThinkPad: putting me onto a path that may keep me from ever seeing what's good with Win7. That's not quite true. Some day I'll get around to creating a Win7 "virtual machine" under Fusion and give it a try.

The advance reviews are all positive, eg this from Wired. (It must be said: Vista was supposed to be good too.) Most interesting Win7 review I've seen is this one from Philip Elmer-DeWitt.


Nook and Kindle: Via Chinese manufacturing- world contacts, I have known this was coming for a while. Looks nice (left), and even if it looked bad it would be a huge plus for the industry, the reading public, and the publishing world to have competition for Amazon and its Kindle. I say that as a member of a two-Kindle household who has spent a lot on e-books. I'll see if I can rationalize a "need" for the Nook at some point.

All e-readers apparently need to have somewhat weird names that include a "K."  I suggest "Kewpie" for whichever one comes next. Or maybe "Amok." Keokuk? (Which has a charming little airport where I have landed.)

On the social-benefit potential of e-readers in general, David Rothman, who has been on this case since long before the Kindle was invented, has a new argument here.

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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.

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