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'[EE] eReader options - really PDF capable?'
2010\01\18@174111 by Ariel Rocholl

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2010 seems to be the year of eReaders being widespread and prices going
lower.

Most of them seems to be targetting novels and non-technical book reading,
but I think a 8" or larger screen could be good for datasheet and technical
book reading, assuming anyone tryed that on a device which works really well
with PDFs.

By default I wouldn't assume eReaders do a good job with complex PDF layout.
For instance I found proper reading of multicolumn, diagram rich technical
datasheets and books being not very well supported in many PC and PDA "fully
compatible" PDF readers, so I wouldn't be surprised if an eReader can't
really do it well.

Any experience on this, working with tech PDFs on eReaders already?

--
Ariel Rocholl
Madrid, Spain

2010\01\18@181520 by Brendan Gillatt

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Ariel Rocholl wrote:
{Quote hidden}

I can well imagine that they render well:- most of them run a Linux OS on
an ARM9 or Cortex core so there is plenty of good, open source rendering
software out there for them to utilise.

- --
Brendan Gillatt | GPG Key: 0xBF6A0D94
brendan {a} brendangillatt (dot) co (dot) uk
http://www.brendangillatt.co.uk
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2010\01\18@191813 by Lucas

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My pdf electronics magazine experience was with the Kindle (a family
member's Kindle).  It renders a full pdf page, but doesn't have zoom
functionality nor rotation so the text was very small, ie barely legible.
I'd assume that the Kindle DX would do a better job seeing that the display
is larger and higher res.

You'll need a display as big as the printed page equivalent in order to get
decent size text.  I doubt they'd go through the trouble to reflow the PDF
or offer zoom capabilities , unless that's the main target audience.  Even
still some pdf's would probably render very poorly in reflow.

I'm hoping that the other eBook readers offer landscape mode with page width
zoom for PDF's or have a large enough screen for a 1:1 render of a pdf page
(in the 8"x10" size), but still allowing landscape page width zoom for
larger formats.  I can live with that.

Lucas

{Original Message removed}

2010\01\18@203601 by John Gardner

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The latest Kindle claims landscape mode. I have'nt seen it.

I've had a Kindle 2 for a few weeks - A gift. I did'nt know
they do email, browsing, etc... Slow, but it does work.

The surprise (to me) is the display - It's quite good, bearing in
mind I predate color TV, much less color monitors...  :)

I'll investigate pdf capability, if any...

Jack




Jack

2010\01\18@212514 by Xiaofan Chen
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On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 6:40 AM, Ariel Rocholl <spam_OUTarochollTakeThisOuTspamgmail.com> wrote:
> 2010 seems to be the year of eReaders being widespread and prices going
> lower.
>
> Most of them seems to be targetting novels and non-technical book reading,
> but I think a 8" or larger screen could be good for datasheet and technical
> book reading, assuming anyone tryed that on a device which works really well
> with PDFs.

I just keep wondering why eBook readers are any better than the PDAs and
Smartphones (for small screen) or MID/Smartbook/Netbooks (for bigger screend)
in terms of reading eBooks.

As for the price, yes the eReaders will get cheaper. But I think it will go down
the road of PDAs (which are in general replaced by Smartphones) and be
combined to other multi-function device.

--
Xiaofan http://mcuee.blogspot.com

2010\01\18@234644 by Robert A LaBudde

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The current problems with eReaders are:

1. Graphics don't scale. This means frequently the detail is lost.

2. There is no color. This means graphs become less intelligible.

3. The text is entered typically by OCR, so some errors remain and
formatting is lost.

4. The price of eBooks is similar to that for paper books. This
doesn't reflect the reduced cost of publication and does represent
cream skimming.

5. When you buy a paper book, there is an aftermarket in used books.
Digital rights in eBooks preclude this, so you will pay full retail
for every book you get.

I'm waiting for LaTex-based eBooks with scalable graphics, and with
color. At that point the eReader may be useful for technical books
and documents. By that time the price of a book may also be more rational.

At 09:24 PM 1/18/2010, Xiaofan Chen wrote:
{Quote hidden}

>

2010\01\19@002447 by Lee Jones

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> The current problems with eReaders are:

Quite right.  One, that matters to me, was forgotten:

6. eReaders can update books you've purchased including revoking
  your ability to read the item -- all without your consent.
  This is a "feature" of Amazon's Kindle.  All goes back to
  the seller keeping _all_ IP rights to the eBook.

                                               Lee

2010\01\19@041703 by Peter

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Opening PDF files on a PDA or eBook reader or smart (insert sarcastic knowing
grin here) phone is not a good experience. I have tried to capitalize on the
features of my smartphone. Licensed PDF readers are available, and I tried them,
but opening the kind of PDF which is useful for electronic technicians and
engineers is not a good idea and can lead to device crashes.

I have evaluated several devices and programs, the latter on Blackberry (quite
capable graphics and cpu, >64MB ram and >2GB media card). My conclusion is that
such small platforms have serious computing speed and data size limitations
which make the use of compressed PDF files nearly unbearable. One can wait 2
minutes to open a typical 500kB datasheet and another minute or so to zoom,
unzoom and flip pages.

The only way to use a highly detailed document, such as a map or large
schematic, has been to store it as a large image on the media card, and then use
the device's built-in media image viewer's zoom and scroll capabilities. This
still takes quite some time to work but it is usable. I used png gif and jpeg
images for reference. Again, uncompressed formats seem to make a big difference,
the weak cpu's and small memories cannot cope with compressed files in real
time. On the other hand, media cards are cheap, and one can load a lot of images
and schematics on a 1GB media card, which is very cheap currently.

Taking high resolution screen shots or printing a pdf file to an image format
using ghostscript tools and saving the resulting image stack to the device
works. I have planned to write a j2me application which can help with browsing
those image stacks, basically a specialized image viewer. So far, the device's
built-in image viewer has been doing a reasonable job in visualizing (zooming
panning etc), huge maps on the device's small screen. I do not know when I will
get around to write that application, though.

 Peter


2010\01\19@093726 by William Couture

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On Mon, Jan 18, 2010 at 5:40 PM, Ariel Rocholl <arochollspamKILLspamgmail.com> wrote:
> 2010 seems to be the year of eReaders being widespread and prices going
> lower.
>
> Most of them seems to be targetting novels and non-technical book reading,
> but I think a 8" or larger screen could be good for datasheet and technical
> book reading, assuming anyone tryed that on a device which works really well
> with PDFs.
>
> By default I wouldn't assume eReaders do a good job with complex PDF layout.
> For instance I found proper reading of multicolumn, diagram rich technical
> datasheets and books being not very well supported in many PC and PDA "fully
> compatible" PDF readers, so I wouldn't be surprised if an eReader can't
> really do it well.
>
> Any experience on this, working with tech PDFs on eReaders already?

No experience, but I though people might be interested in this:
http://www.pmptoday.com/2010/01/15/boeye-oem-kindle-dx-89-cheaper/

Bill

--
Psst...  Hey, you... Buddy...  Want a kitten?  straycatblues.petfinder.org

2010\01\19@101130 by Ariel Rocholl

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2010/1/19 Lucas <.....lucasKILLspamspam.....rosstech.ca>

> My pdf electronics magazine experience was with the Kindle (a family
> member's Kindle).  It renders a full pdf page, but doesn't have zoom
> functionality nor rotation so the text was very small, ie barely legible.
> I'd assume that the Kindle DX would do a better job seeing that the display
> is larger and higher res.
>

Thanks for sharing the experience. It is more or less what I expected Kindle
being able to do with PDF. I also assume the new Kindle would be better but
I read in some instructions it needs to convert PDF to some native Kindle
format first. Not good. Conversion takes time and resources, and there is
always something lost in translation.


>
> You'll need a display as big as the printed page equivalent in order to get
> decent size text.  I doubt they'd go through the trouble to reflow the PDF
> or offer zoom capabilities , unless that's the main target audience.  Even
> still some pdf's would probably render very poorly in reflow.
>

Exactly.

That is exactly my point, I don't see eReaders targetting complex PDF
support as the killer app. It is more like they support online shops first
for DRM publications (they probably make money with that as opposed than
with the hardware itself), then they usually add some other stuff like MP3
and long battery life, and much much later you can see they support "other
formats" and PDF is listed there of course.

I somehow had expectations on FoxIt company doing a better job on PDF than
the rest, as PDF business is their one and only business. Furthermore, their
Windows and PDA readers are really good and fast. They actually advertise
their eReader as including latest FoxIt reader, so they are clearly
motivated to do a good job on PDF. Still to be demonstrated though, their
online videos don't show any complex PDF. And certainly their current 6"
screen is not good enough, I personally need 8" if not 10" to read a
datasheet confortably.

Perhaps they will release a larger device later, so far they offer this as
only option: http://www.foxitsoftware.com/ebook/over_specification.html

--
Ariel Rocholl
Madrid, Spain

2010\01\20@002928 by Michael Rigby-Jones

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: EraseMEpiclist-bouncesspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu [piclist-bouncesspamspam_OUTmit.edu] On
Behalf
> Of Xiaofan Chen
> Sent: 19 January 2010 02:25
> To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
> Subject: Re: [EE] eReader options - really PDF capable?
>
> On Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 6:40 AM, Ariel Rocholl <@spam@arochollKILLspamspamgmail.com>
wrote:
> > 2010 seems to be the year of eReaders being widespread and prices
going
> > lower.
> >
> > Most of them seems to be targetting novels and non-technical book
> reading,
> > but I think a 8" or larger screen could be good for datasheet and
> technical
> > book reading, assuming anyone tryed that on a device which works
really
> well
> > with PDFs.
>
> I just keep wondering why eBook readers are any better than the PDAs
and
> Smartphones (for small screen) or MID/Smartbook/Netbooks (for bigger
> screend)
> in terms of reading eBooks.

Screen quality; the electronic paper display is far more like real paper
than an LCD.  You can read them for extended periods without the
eyestrain that LCD displays tend to give

Power consumption; Netbooks/laptops and PDAs typicaly don't have great
battery life.  Since the displays on ebook readers consume zero power
when the display is static and they have no backlight the battery life
is amazing.  My wife charged hers on Christmas day and has used it
everyday for a couple of hour since on the same charge (with wireless
disabled).  It apparently will last 7 days with wireless enabled.

Weight and size; Netbooks and laptops are simply the wrong shape to be
able to hold like a book and far too heavy.  PDAs are just too small.

One thing that irks me with the Kindle at least is that most ebooks are
barely any cheaper than real ones.  Modern books will be in an
electronic format prior to printing anyway, so at most it would need to
be converted to the appropriate ebook format and made available on the
server used for distribution.  No paper, printing, transport or waste
(i.e. unsold books) costs which should (IMO) give a sizeable cost
saving.

Mike

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2010\01\20@012318 by Xiaofan Chen

face picon face
On Wed, Jan 20, 2010 at 1:28 PM, Michael Rigby-Jones
<KILLspamMichael.Rigby-JonesKILLspamspamoclaro.com> wrote:

> Screen quality; the electronic paper display is far more like real paper
> than an LCD.  You can read them for extended periods without the
> eyestrain that LCD displays tend to give

In a way, this is important for book lovers. I do not read for extended
periods though. ;-) I think not many people will need to read books
for extended period of time, other than students/teachers.

However I think later LCDs can be improved to meet that
requirement. Or the screen on the eBook can be made cheaper
enough that multi-fucntion device can use that screen.

> Power consumption; Netbooks/laptops and PDAs typicaly don't have great
> battery life.  Since the displays on ebook readers consume zero power
> when the display is static and they have no backlight the battery life
> is amazing.  My wife charged hers on Christmas day and has used it
> everyday for a couple of hour since on the same charge (with wireless
> disabled).  It apparently will last 7 days with wireless enabled.

PDAs actually have good battery life, not like the Smart Phones,
since they do not have the phone part. But I agree the eBook
readers probably have better batter life.

> Weight and size; Netbooks and laptops are simply the wrong shape to be
> able to hold like a book and far too heavy.  PDAs are just too small.

I have no problems reading eBooks on PDAs. I've seen many other
people reading eBooks on their smart phones. Anyway, some
of them even watch TVs/Movies on the phones, why not eBook?

> One thing that irks me with the Kindle at least is that most ebooks are
> barely any cheaper than real ones.  Modern books will be in an
> electronic format prior to printing anyway, so at most it would need to
> be converted to the appropriate ebook format and made available on the
> server used for distribution.  No paper, printing, transport or waste
> (i.e. unsold books) costs which should (IMO) give a sizeable cost
> saving.
>

This is because Amazon still sells paper based books. If Apple
(or Google, or others) is selling ebooks in its application store,
probably it would be cheaper. On the hand, this is saying that
the market is still small.

Overall I still think eBook reader will be a niche market and
will probably go down the road of PDAs with only a few years
of good time.


--
Xiaofan http://mcuee.blogspot.com

2010\01\20@110710 by William \Chops\ Westfield

face picon face

On Jan 19, 2010, at 10:22 PM, Xiaofan Chen wrote:

> I think not many people will need to read books
> for extended period of time, other than students/teachers.

If you're a "recreational reader", it won't be uncommon for you to  
read a book for a couple hours continuously.  The really good books  
tend to  go all at one sitting, even if that takes 6+ hours...

I have to admit that the ability to put a bunch of datasheets  and  
technical material on an eBook would make them a lot more compelling.  
But PDF seems to still be an evolving standard (continually requiring  
larger and slower renderers), and I don't trust any hardware without  
an easily-upgradeable pdf reader to keep up with the latest published  
datasheets.  I have one of those Nokia "internet tablet" PDA-like  
things, and while it has an acceptable pdf reader for some documents,  
other documents are not even recognized, and the tablet is "already"  
far enough behind the technology curve that it looks like the pdf  
reader is no longer being updated...

Sigh.

BillW


'[EE] eReader options - really PDF capable?'
2010\08\13@125746 by Ariel Rocholl
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An update on this topic: I've been using the Kindle DX for about a month and
could actually recommend it for technical material such as datasheet,
reference books, etc. Summary below:

Positive things:

  - 9.7" screen allows for single page read of a two column datasheet. To
  get a zoomed in view of a specific small diagram or table, auto-rotation
  works well to switch to landspace or you can even zoom in
  - Contrast is really nice, better than other eBooks like Sony I've seen
  so far.
  - PDFs are formatted correctly in all documents I've loaded so far.
  - PDF gray tones are sometimes difficult to read, specially if they are
  on a diagram with narrow lines. Zoom in helps, but an option "all B/W" would
  help.
  - Search in PDFs work well.
  - Overall good quality device, light and fast response for what this eInk
  technology is.

Room for improvement:

  - Dealing with dozens of documents is a nightmare. Basically KindleDX
  presents you a flat view of all documents you have. There is no tree
  structure available. There is a "collection" idea poorly implemented which
  can help a bit, but doesn't work from PC connection and allows only 1 level
  to organize documents. If you are like me, you want a 5+ deep level tree
  structure to organize books. The Kindle has 5GB to "store up to 3500
  documents" so go figure how to handle that with the current offering.
  - Even though PDFs works well, the translation from PDF to native Kindle
  doesn't work for multi-column, diagram rich documents. Don't expect any way
  to read your PDFs other than PDF format.
  - PDF table of contents doesn't work to go where you want, use either
  "search" or "go to page #". This is one reason to convert to native Kindle
  format which supports all this, but as said before don't try that.


  - PDF document name is all what you will have to identify the document.
  There are PDF fields like "document title" which are not populated. So
  either you rename your PDFs or you have to deal with cryptic names vendor
  gives to AN and DS.
  - There is no way to delete files from Kindle, you need to connect to PC
  and delete from there.
  - If you take the time to create a collection from the Kindle, and add
  some documents there (painful and slow process) you shouldn't rename or move
  those files ever, or they will be out of the collection without notice.
  - KindleDX gives you 3G connection for free forever. But at least in
  Europe you are allowed to go to Wikipedia and a couple of other places only.
  Google and other webs are not available here (yet?).


It has been a long way since those thick datasheet "books" we used to have
years ago - now being able to read them electronically on a slim device like
this. But there are work to do for this device to show up all its juice.

PS: I'm not linked to Amazon or any other eBook producer in any way.

-- Ariel Rochol

2010\08\13@134943 by John Gardner

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The latest Kindle upgrade (2.5.2?) has improved PDF viewing
considerably. If you're considering a Kindle & have'nt seen the
improved pdf reader it's probably worth a look.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_kswup_nav_highlights?nodeId=200324680&#version

I've got a vanilla Kindle 2 - DX pdf rendition is doubtless much
better nicer, because of the larger screen.

I agree with whoever expressed misgivings about wireless
connectivity - I won't buy anything with wireless capability,
for that reason. (My K was a gift).

It gets taken along on trips away from home; otherwise is little
used. The battery runs down in about ten days, whether used or
not.

Would not surprise me to learn it calls home regularly, though
wireless is kept turned off.

I see they've got a new, much cheaper "Graphite" 6" Kindle.
It's a linux box - Lots of potential...

Jac

2010\08\14@151524 by arocholl

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Yes, this is the software version which comes with Kindle DX. Apparently
previous Kindle wasn't any good for PDF display, which I never tested, but
DX has reasonably good performance for PDF.

About wireless you probably mean GPRS/3G connectivity (As opposed to WiFi
which they don't have). In any case, you can easily switch 3G connectivity
off easily from the main menu, it doesn't really eat any battery when off.

-----Mensaje original-----
De: RemoveMEpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu [spamBeGonepiclist-bouncesspamBeGonespammit.edu] En nombre de
John Gardner
Enviado el: viernes, 13 de agosto de 2010 19:50
Para: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
Asunto: Re: [EE] eReader options - really PDF capable?

The latest Kindle upgrade (2.5.2?) has improved PDF viewing considerably. If
you're considering a Kindle & have'nt seen the improved pdf reader it's
probably worth a look.

www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=hp_kswup_nav_highlig
hts?nodeId=200324680&#version

I've got a vanilla Kindle 2 - DX pdf rendition is doubtless much better
nicer, because of the larger screen.

I agree with whoever expressed misgivings about wireless connectivity - I
won't buy anything with wireless capability, for that reason. (My K was a
gift).

It gets taken along on trips away from home; otherwise is little used. The
battery runs down in about ten days, whether used or not.

Would not surprise me to learn it calls home regularly, though wireless is
kept turned off.

I see they've got a new, much cheaper "Graphite" 6" Kindle.
It's a linux box - Lots of potential...

Jac

2010\08\14@155046 by John Gardner

picon face
> you can easily switch 3G connectivity
off easily from the main menu, it doesn't really eat any battery when off.

So one might assume. I have'nt tested the assumption; simply noting that
the battery runs down regularly, whether used or not. A device fault is
certainly possible.

I have yet to bring myself to buy an e-book. They are quite expensive,
especially considering that you are leasing, not buying, the content,
for a period yet to be determined by Amazon.

The double-speak by Amazon on the matter is not reassuring, nor their
regular disavowals of yesterday's Customer Service pronouncements on
related issues, such as...

http://www.geardiary.com/2009/06/21/kindlegate-confusion-abounds-regarding-kindle-download-policy/

Note that this is over a year ago. I'm not aware of later
clarification by Amazon;
till then my book money goes elsewhere.

best regards, Jac

2010\08\14@161719 by arocholl

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That may be true for books you get online from Amazon. PDFs you download
manually on the device are not subject to that.

-----Mensaje original-----

I have yet to bring myself to buy an e-book. They are quite expensive,
especially considering that you are leasing, not buying, the content, for a
period yet to be determined by Amazon.

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