View Full Version : Functionality


bookish
06-17-2007, 12:53 PM
I have about 4gb of reference material that I use in my job in IT. I have amassed it over the last dozen years and it is in the formats of PDF, HTML, and .doc for the most part. I have a mouseover menu system written in Javascript that I use to organize and access it. I can convert the doc files to PDF or RTF so they would not necessarily pose a problem.

But in addition to needing a reader to be able to display all of the formats I have listed I also need it to be able to support Javascript. So my primary concern/questions will be, When a device is reported to support HTML, will that also mean it will also support Javascript? And further, will it come with some sort of a browser?

I am new to the eReader concept but I have had more than a dozen Handhelds, PDAs and most recently UPCs over the years in my quest for the perfect documentation repository/viewer. There is a lot about the eReaders that would lend themselves toward meeting my particular requirements, but from what little I've read I think limitations in PDF and HTML functionalites, especially the latter might be the biggest hurdles to overcome. Can someone speak to the HTML/Javascript/Browser question?

Thanks so much.

HarryT
06-17-2007, 02:46 PM
So my primary concern/questions will be, When a device is reported to support HTML, will that also mean it will also support Javascript? And further, will it come with some sort of a browser?


You need to read the spec of the device to find out for sure, but generally if a bookreader "supports" HTML that's just "dumb" support for displaying it, generally with internal hyperlinks within the document "active", but that's it. Certainly no Javascript!

Sounds as though you need a full-blown web-browser - perhaps a Tablet PC might suit your needs better than a dedicated eBook reader?

JSWolf
06-17-2007, 03:02 PM
Actually, there is some sort of HTML and java (not sure on javascript) compatibility in the iLiad. I suggest asking more in the iRex forum as well as reading in there to see if the iLiad would be the device you might find fits your needs,

bookish
06-17-2007, 04:21 PM
You need to read the spec of the device to find out for sure, but generally if a bookreader "supports" HTML that's just "dumb" support for displaying it, generally with internal hyperlinks within the document "active", but that's it. Certainly no Javascript!

Sounds as though you need a full-blown web-browser - perhaps a Tablet PC might suit your needs better than a dedicated eBook reader?

Thanks but as you stated reading the specs does not always provide clear answers to specific questions surrounding functionality.

I actually have a Sony UX280P uPC, but it's not light (or exactly pocketable), and it doesn't have instant on capability. Oh, and its battery life is atrociously short. Aside from those drawbacks it does provide the functionality that I need. But I'm looking for the best of all worlds I guess. I will be looking closely at the new HTC Advantage 7501 and more specifically whether or not Windows Mobile 6's Pocket apps (eg Excel and Word) have finally gone beyond their archaic "two-levels only" directory capability. I doubt they have, and that's why I'm also looking into eReaders. As for the Advantage with Mobile 5 it has (for me) the perfect screen size of 5 inches, has instant on capability and it is very light and modestly pocketable.

I've alway been at a loss to understand why large companies do not listen more to the users of their own and similar devices and try to meet the needs and wants of users that are so freely expressed on sites such as this. I have never seen a wish list that contained anything that wasn't to be found on one device or another, but the search is still on for the perfect PDA, UMPC, eReader, etc that meets all desires. There has never been a hardware manufacture that has partnered with a software company to hit a grand slam in this regard. So we keep looking, and buying. Then again, I s'pose the latter could be the answer to why the perfect device has never been made.

bookish
06-17-2007, 04:24 PM
Actually, there is some sort of HTML and java (not sure on javascript) compatibility in the iLiad. I suggest asking more in the iRex forum as well as reading in there to see if the iLiad would be the device you might find fits your needs,

Thanks, but unlike most who seem drawn to the Iliad, I want a smaller screen size so as to make the device more pocketable.

HarryT
06-18-2007, 03:35 AM
I've alway been at a loss to understand why large companies do not listen more to the users of their own and similar devices and try to meet the needs and wants of users that are so freely expressed on sites such as this.

Large companies spent enormous amounts of money on user feedback before launching devices, and certainly do tailor them to the needs of the user. I suspect the problem is that users of forums such as this do not represent the "typical" user.

One much-discussed example: why do you suppose it is that the Sony Reader, like Windows Mobile, does not present the user with a full "hierarchical" view of the filing system when loading or saving files? Does anyone really believe that Sony or Microsoft are incapable of programming a hierarchical file system? Of course that's not the reason! Their market research has told that the hierarchical file system is confusing to the "man in the street", who finds a "flat" file list a lot easier to understand, so we get a flat file list. People then come on forums like this and say "why can't we have a hierarchical file system?", but we are not the "typical" user as far as Sony or Microsoft are concerned.

bookish
06-18-2007, 12:16 PM
Large companies spent enormous amounts of money on user feedback before launching devices, and certainly do tailor them to the needs of the user. I suspect the problem is that users of forums such as this do not represent the "typical" user.

One much-discussed example: why do you suppose it is that the Sony Reader, like Windows Mobile, does not present the user with a full "hierarchical" view of the filing system when loading or saving files? Does anyone really believe that Sony or Microsoft are incapable of programming a hierarchical file system? Of course that's not the reason! Their market research has told that the hierarchical file system is confusing to the "man in the street", who finds a "flat" file list a lot easier to understand, so we get a flat file list. People then come on forums like this and say "why can't we have a hierarchical file system?", but we are not the "typical" user as far as Sony or Microsoft are concerned.

I would hazard a guess and say they are underestimating their user base. And that they are dumbing down their devices to the point where they are less usable than they could or should be. I'm very glad that I started this topic because it is now clear to me that in addition to Sony's failure to support html, their use of a non-hierarchical filesystem will prevent me from buying one of their current readers.

Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student. I think that when the majority of kids get beyond this early age they do understand the concept of files and folders (if not the term hierachical), and the value of using the latter to conveniently and efficiently store and access the former. At least mine do. It does not make sense to me for Windows Mobile or any other OS to provide the capability of supporting gigabytes of space, yet not provide the ability to efficiently store things in that space. It would be akin to going to the hardware store to buy a specific nut or bolt and having to sift through one giant bin in order to find it among thousands of others that were of different sizes.

Does anyone know if the existing Cybook also fails to provide the ability store and access documents in a hierchical manner? Or the upcoming model for that matter?

Thank you Harry for pointing out this very important aspect of the Sony to me!

NatCh
06-18-2007, 12:45 PM
Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student.Heh, perhaps they got that idea from watching current popular game shows (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Are_you_smarter_than_a_fifth_grader). :laugh4:

HarryT
06-18-2007, 01:14 PM
I would hazard a guess and say they are underestimating their user base. And that they are dumbing down their devices to the point where they are less usable than they could or should be. I'm very glad that I started this topic because it is now clear to me that in addition to Sony's failure to support html, their use of a non-hierarchical filesystem will prevent me from buying one of their current readers.

To clarify: The Reader supports a hierarchical file system - it uses a standard FAT file system. What it does - exactly like Windows Mobile devices - is to provide you with a "flat" view of the contents of the "folder tree" when you come to open a file. You can put files on the machine - at least using a memory card - using whatever folder structure you wish.

Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student. I think that when the majority of kids get beyond this early age they do understand the concept of files and folders (if not the term hierachical), and the value of using the latter to conveniently and efficiently store and access the former.

I must respectfully disagree. Some years ago I gave my parents (now both in their mid 70s) an old PC for things like Word Processing. Despite my explaining the use of folders, they store everything in "My Documents". Many people do this - non-computer people find folders "scary" and lose stuff.

It would probably harm Sony's reputation greatly if people kept phoning support and saying "I can't find the book I've downloaded" because they'd put it in a folder and lost it, and that is what people do with folders - I speak from experience!

Does anyone know if the existing Cybook also fails to provide the ability store and access documents in a hierchical manner? Or the upcoming model for that matter?

The existing CyBook, as a Windows CE machine, behaves like all Windows CE machines and shows you a flat file list. Don't know what the new one will do, but it wouldn't amaze me if it did the same.


Thank you Harry for pointing out this very important aspect of the Sony to me!

You're very welcome!

NatCh
06-18-2007, 01:20 PM
It would be nice if they buried a "Use Hierarchical File Display" somewhere in the settings, that way, only those who actually wanted it would ever dig deep enough to even know it was there, and it wouldn't bother anyone else. :shrug:

JSWolf
06-18-2007, 01:24 PM
The problem is, it seems no ebook reader with eink is perfect. They all have their flaws. And I still see this happening with the new readers too. They don't ask the people what they want.

NatCh
06-18-2007, 02:02 PM
The problem is, it seems no ebook reader with eink is perfect. They all have their flaws.Too true. I'd say that the Reader is about 95% of my own needs, which is why I'm so happy with it: so few things come anywhere nearly that close. :shrug:

HarryT
06-18-2007, 02:06 PM
It would be nice if they buried a "Use Hierarchical File Display" somewhere in the settings, that way, only those who actually wanted it would ever dig deep enough to even know it was there, and it wouldn't bother anyone else. :shrug:

Agreed, but then people would start wanting a file manager too, to move stuff around...

NatCh
06-18-2007, 02:07 PM
Heh, we already want that, HarryT. :grin2:

sborsody
06-18-2007, 09:42 PM
Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student.

I get the sense that you've never been in any sort of tech support position. You might retract that statement if you were. :grin2:

HarryT,
Does the reader really use a FAT file system? I'd be quite surprised if this were the case as the OS is embedded Linux and FAT is an MS filesystem. I noticed on the Sony website that one could download the source code too.

bookish
06-19-2007, 12:43 AM
I get the sense that you've never been in any sort of tech support position. You might retract that statement if you were. :grin2:


Actually I have, for the last 15 years or so in one capacity or another. I've heard and handled my share of dumb questions, and even been guilty of asking a number of them myself. I guess perhaps I'm making the mistake here of thinking that they should build their product to meet my requirements instead of what the youngest and oldest users would be able to easily understand or be likely to use. I should know better since when I was a teacher I was taught to teach my students to the lowest level of collective understanding in order not to leave anyone behind. Nonetheless I can dream, and perhaps waste a bit of everyone's time, including my own by wishing for the perfect device. Failing that though it would be nice to find one or two that come closer than what I've so far found. On the flip side my quest to find one provides me with the opportunity to purchase new gadgets on a regular basis. ;)

sborsody
06-19-2007, 02:21 AM
I guess perhaps I'm making the mistake here of thinking that they should build their product to meet my requirements

Don't we all? :2thumbsup

No ebook reader left behind!

HarryT
06-19-2007, 04:06 AM
HarryT,
Does the reader really use a FAT file system? I'd be quite surprised if this were the case as the OS is embedded Linux and FAT is an MS filesystem. I noticed on the Sony website that one could download the source code too.

It certainly uses FAT on SD memory cards. I don't know what it uses for its internal memory.

igorsk
06-19-2007, 05:28 AM
Internal memory uses cramfs for read-only partitions and jffs2 for writable ones.

HarryT
06-19-2007, 06:56 AM
Thanks, igorsk!

Adam B.
06-19-2007, 11:52 AM
Over the years, I've found it better to assume people are stupid and be surprised when they prove you wrong, than it is to assume people are smart and be continuously disappointed.

JSWolf
06-19-2007, 12:29 PM
I can tell you that my Father is very technologically impaird. Mom is pretty good though once she's shown how to do something. But there again, mom has to be shown. But she can pick it up though.

NatCh
06-19-2007, 01:09 PM
I've been trying to teach my mother to "read the map" rather than just memorizing (i.e. writing down) specific routes on her computer for years, she's actually gotten to where she can do that fairly well -- oddly enough (really oddly), getting her off a Macputer and onto a PC seems to have been the turning point. :shrug:

Adam B.
06-19-2007, 01:24 PM
I've been trying to teach my mother to "read the map" rather than just memorizing (i.e. writing down) specific routes on her computer for years, she's actually gotten to where she can do that fairly well -- oddly enough (really oddly), getting her off a Macputer and onto a PC seems to have been the turning point. :shrug:

Excellent way of putting it. There are too many users (an overwhelming majority) that only know how to do things when they are tought a specific way to do them. I don't understand why they can't think logically, read what's on the screen, and figure it out how to do things on their own...

NatCh
06-19-2007, 01:32 PM
I came up with that description in my efforts to explain to my mother why she shouldn't just "learn the routes" -- there's nothing wrong with learning the routes, but if that's all you can do, you can't ever go anywhere that someone else hasn't led you to by the hand.

Once I explained it in terms of maps and routes, Mother was much more open to learning how to read the map too, and that was the real turning point. It finally made sense to her as to why I was trying to teach her this other stuff.

The thing about an OS, and particularly about Microsoft products is that there is a reasonably consistent logic to them as to how to do stuff. It's not the most intuitive logic, but once a body tumbles to it, they can suddenly figure out how to do lots of things by following it.

Then, of course, MacroHard has to go and change all that logic with Office 2007. Grrr. Perhaps we were all just getting too savvy for them, so they decided to change the map. :tired: