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Old 07-19-2008, 03:29 PM   #61
DMcCunney
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Originally Posted by Utahcowboy View Post
Yes I have thought this through, and yes my device does read plain text, and to my knowledge, there are not many ebooks that don't read plain text. And I would even go further by saying that if someone bought an ebook that did not support plain text then that person wasted their money considering that plain text is such a universal and widely used format.
It's a little more complicated than that, especially if you have an iPhone.

Yes, just about everything supports plain text. But there's plain text and plain text.

For instance, a plain text file is supposed to contain only 7 bit ASCII characters, and have each line terminated by an end-of-line character. Now we start having fun. Under Unix, the EOL character is the Line Feed -- ASCII 11. Under Mac OS, the EOL character is the Carriage Return -- ASCII 13. Under MD-DOS/Windows, it's both. The EOL marker is a CRLF combination.

Now take that text file and put it on your mobile device. Which line ending convention does it use, and what does your device do with it?

My device is a Palm OS PDA. The default standard plain text file is the Palm "doc" file. It's a plain text file that has been put into Palm Database format (because only Palm Database files can be in memory on a Palm OS device), and compressed to save space in memory (because the format was deigned back when a Palm OS device might have two whole megabytes of memory, and expansion card support didn't exist).

My text files come from DOS/Windows, as do PG's, and use CRLF as the EOL character. Making doc files of them is trivial, but I found out when doing it that they look awful on the PDA, because the available doc viewers all treat the CR part of CRLF as a "hard return". Text doesn't reflow as expected, and becomes annoying to read. I have to explicitly save the text files using Unix line endings in an editor that knows how to do that before converting to a doc file to get a file I can read without annoyance.

And plain text files mean you lose formatting, text attributes, fonts, images, and hyperlinks. That may be acceptable for some PD text, but probably not for all.

And last but not least, how do you get the text file onto your device? If you have an iPod, the current answer seems to be "download from the iTunes store".

Personally, my preferred method is to download the HTML version form PG if there is one, and convert it for the Plucker offline HTML viewer for Palm OS. Plucker gives me formatting, text attributes, images, hyperlinks, and (under OS5) custom fonts. Conversion takes 30 seconds to a minute using utilities I have installed. I then drop them in the appropriate location on my expansion card where Plucker will see them, and off I go.
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Dennis
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Old 07-19-2008, 03:44 PM   #62
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
The same objection applies. What value do you place on your time?

You have an iPhone. You are aware of public domain texts you would like to read, that you can get in an iPod version for 99 cents.

You may be aware of Project Gutenberg. You might even have the notion that resources exist like MR where you can get the stuff free. But what will be involved, and how long will it take you to track down the information?

If you just want to read a particular book, it's a lot faster and simpler to just pay 99 cents and download the book from the iTunes store. And depending upon what else you may have to do with your time, it will be neither lazy nor stupid to exercise that option.

We pay people all the time to do things we technically could do ourselves but would prefer to spend the time required doing other things. This is simply one more instance.______
Dennis
Very true. It's all a cost-benefit analysis. If you are the sort of person who actually enjoys doing conversion and formatting, then it's not only not stupid of you to spend the time doing it (because it is seldom stupid to do something you enjoy), and I think we'd all agree it's not lazy, and if you can benefit others (either gratis or for a very low fee), then more power to you.

However, it is just a teeny bit lazy to start with the results of a lot of volunteer work over at PG. So .. why not be really NOT lazy and type the whole book in yourself?? Oh, but then you'd have to purchase (or borrow) a hard copy of the book ... and then you might as well read that. And ... I suppose if you were going to read (and type in) all of those hard copy books, you wouldn't have time to read them in an ebook format ... so then it would be rather stupid to have purchased an ebook reader.

So ... let's say that Warren Buffet decided to purchase that Kindle he's been talking about getting. He can take 8 seconds to purchase "Pride and Prejudice" for about $4.00 .... or he can spend a half an hour figuring out how to do a conversion from a book at PG .... or he can start from scratch and spend several hours typing it in from a hard copy. How much would we guess Mr. Buffet makes an hour?? If he decides to plunk down the $4.00 so he can read the book .... I'm supposed to think that it makes him lazy or stupid??

No .... I just can't wrap my brain around the enormity of how wrong that supposition is. Maybe it's the paint fumes ....
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Old 07-21-2008, 04:21 PM   #63
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Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
The real issue is the book. Did they improve the book itself by fixing Gutenberg items, curley quotes?, emdash?, italics?, typos?

Dale
There are straight up and down quotes - so I imagine there are NOT any curley ones. There are two dashes in a row -- so I suspect NO emdashes.

Haven't read the book on the iPhone yet (someday, but not right now) so I can't say to the other questions. But I doubt they have read each book and found/corrected typos.
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Old 07-21-2008, 06:07 PM   #64
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Originally Posted by badgoodDeb View Post
There are straight up and down quotes - so I imagine there are NOT any curley ones. There are two dashes in a row -- so I suspect NO emdashes.

Haven't read the book on the iPhone yet (someday, but not right now) so I can't say to the other questions. But I doubt they have read each book and found/corrected typos.
so, no value add except reformatting for the device. too bad.

Dale
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Old 07-21-2008, 07:35 PM   #65
semboyan
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LOL. Come on man, That is only opinion from someone. Every people have their own interest and opinion.
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