Unitasking: An Argument for My nook

I use a Barnes & Noble nook as my primary reading “device” (in quotes because it’s almost completely replaced physical books as well), and have been since the beginning of this year. I’ve found it to be very easy on the eyes with its E Ink screen, sufficient in terms of features and capabilities (although lacking in some basic e-reader functionality), and an overall joy to use. I highly recommend it, over other E Ink-based devices given the nook’s great support of so many different ebook formats.

What I’ve noticed most about it, though, is how much I enjoy its mainly unitasking nature. B&N have added some silly features (to try to compete with Apple’s iPad?), such as a Web browser and games, but they’re just hard enough to get to and just intrusive enough on the overall experience that I don’t find myself drawn to them as I am on my other gadgets. In short, I use my nook exclusively for reading simply because it doesn’t tempt me with other functionality, and that provides me with a respite from my usual multitasking nature.

Read this story on a guy who multitasks using a variety of gadgets, likely to the detriment of his overall productivity and quality of life. The nook helps me avoid becoming quite this bad:

When one of the most important e-mail messages of his life landed in his in-box a few years ago, Kord Campbell overlooked it.

Not just for a day or two, but 12 days. He finally saw it while sifting through old messages: a big company wanted to buy his Internet start-up.

“I stood up from my desk and said, ‘Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,’ ” Mr. Campbell said. “It’s kind of hard to miss an e-mail like that, but I did.”

The message had slipped by him amid an electronic flood: two computer screens alive with e-mail, instant messages, online chats, a Web browser and the computer code he was writing.

While he managed to salvage the $1.3 million deal after apologizing to his suitor, Mr. Campbell continues to struggle with the effects of the deluge of data. Even after he unplugs, he craves the stimulation he gets from his electronic gadgets. He forgets things like dinner plans, and he has trouble focusing on his family.

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