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Old 08-31-2012, 12:48 AM   #1
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[Android App] Calibre Companion - My Thoughts

The pluses of this app are many and if you haven't yet purchased this inexpensive android app, go do it now. It is well worth the token fee.

Here is what you can do with this app today, but at the rate the changes keep coming tomorrow may bring other features.
  • Sync books to your device via your local wireless network as if it was connected via a USB cable
  • Group books by Author, Series, Title, Tags, Publisher, User Categories and custom categories.
  • Within these groups you can further sort by Title, Author, Series, or Date.
  • You can view all the metadata for any book in a nice book jacket format.
  • You can delete any book in CC from your device.
  • You can select to read any book in CC (reader app required).
  • You can configure CC to accept any book format.
  • You can configure CC to place any format in a unique location on your device.
  • You can Xfer to your device any book format you have in calibre.

After using CC for 2 and a half weeks some things now irritate me.

The fact that every time I group books the titles, authors, series or other are grouped by a truncated alphabet and not a full flingable list. When I look at the group by authors I can rarely see all of the authors for any letter without drilling further down. I would very much prefer the ability to have all of my authors in a flingable list.

Striking duplication of thought. I setup a custom category and was again frustrated that my custom list was again grouped by letter, causing the list to not be easily viewed without drilling down into the menu structure. It would be so much better if I could quickly view all tags, authors, titles, series or custom categories in a flingable list. I can never remember all the authors that begin with a certain letter and find myself wondering which authors I can't see in the top level. An example of an app that does this well is Moon+ Reader.

The other item that causes me difficulty is accessibility. Specifically I would like to have the ability to increase or scale font and icon size to match my older eyes.

Steve, Charles and Annie Great Job so far, Keep it up.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 08-31-2012 at 05:42 PM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 04:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwanthny View Post
After using CC for 2 and a half weeks some things now irritate me.

The fact that every time I group books the titles, authors, series or other are grouped by a truncated alphabet and not a full flingable list. When I look at the group by authors I can rarely see all of the authors for any letter without drilling further down. I would very much prefer the ability to have all of my authors in a flingable list.

I setup a custom category and was again frustrated that my custom list was again grouped by letter, causing the list to not be easily viewed without drilling down into the menu structure. It would be so much better if I could quickly view all tags, authors, titles, series or custom categories in a flingable list. I can never remember all the authors that begin with a certain letter and find myself wondering which authors I can't see in the top level. An example of an app that does this well is Moon+ Reader.
It sounds like these are both the same thing -- the ability to skip the first letter view and instead view all the items in the category. For example, selecting group-by-authors would show a flingable list of all authors. Selecting tags would show all tags. Etc.

Do I understand correctly?

If I am understanding, then is there a count of items where you would want the first-letter view to reappear? This would be similar to calibre's tag browser, where the grouping happens only when the number of items exceeds the amount entered in the parameters.
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by chaley View Post
It sounds like these are both the same thing -- the ability to skip the first letter view and instead view all the items in the category. For example, selecting group-by-authors would show a flingable list of all authors. Selecting tags would show all tags. Etc.

Do I understand correctly?
You understand correctly I was just rambling.

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Originally Posted by chaley View Post
If I am understanding, then is there a count of items where you would want the first-letter view to reappear? This would be similar to calibre's tag browser, where the grouping happens only when the number of items exceeds the amount entered in the parameters.
Good point, I wasn't thinking of massive libraries on the device.

My custom category example was a substitute for the All by Authors since that presents the books within an author in a jumble (by title is ugly) instead of keeping their series ordered within each author. That list I wanted the option to fling.

I guess I'm just used to the main calibre list that allows me this view. Your right there needs to be either a limit or and option, possibly per group. Maybe have what you have now as the default with a toggle to change to an optional flingable view.

I'm importing all my 768 books to Moon+ to see how awkward a long list might be.

I tried to get the Sony tweaks to work with the All by author but those tweaks don't seem to work for the smart device plugin.

Update: I tried 768 books in Moon+ and the flingable list is extremely usable.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 08-31-2012 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 08-31-2012, 05:36 PM   #4
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And to add to @dwanthny's points;

It's fast. It's at least as fast to transfer books as a USB connection with a drive letter.

It works well with large libraries, i. e. 1000+ books.

It gets better every day:-)
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Old 09-01-2012, 04:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwanthny View Post
I guess I'm just used to the main calibre list that allows me this view. Your right there needs to be either a limit or and option, possibly per group. Maybe have what you have now as the default with a toggle to change to an optional flingable view.
An option would have better performance than a limit because we could avoid asking for the count of items. It is also less complex to explain. It isn't clear to me whether these considerations outweigh the utility of a limit.
Quote:
I tried to get the Sony tweaks to work with the All by author but those tweaks don't seem to work for the smart device plugin.
If you are using "aba", then author/title sort is hard coded in (and has been since the beginning). You might want to use the special category "abs" (all by something) that uses some other column to sort. When using abs, the "name" is either the lookup key for a column or an entry in the sony sort tweaks.

We will add the ability to skip the "A B C" page, but there are some other things we must do first to make it usable. For example, getting the 3 first books for a category takes some time. Doing it in advance, which we do now, would make flinging stutter. We must do something like what we do with cover thumbnails, adding them in the background as needed. Another thing we must do (that we want to do regardless) is remember the position in the parent list so the back button returns you to more-or-less where you were when you tapped an item.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 09-01-2012 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 09-01-2012, 07:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chaley View Post
An option would have better performance than a limit because we could avoid asking for the count of items. It is also less complex to explain.
An option sounds great and if they don't find it to their liking they can toggle back to the original view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chaley View Post
If you are using "aba", then author/title sort is hard coded in (and has been since the beginning). You might want to use the special category "abs" (all by something) that uses some other column to sort. When using abs, the "name" is either the lookup key for a column or an entry in the sony sort tweaks.
Thanks! abs works great. I didn't see this option mentioned anywhere in calibre's docs or the device plugin area. Now that I set it up I see the need for the position memory in the next quote.

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Another thing we must do (that we want to do regardless) is remember the position in the parent list so the back button returns you to more-or-less where you were when you tapped an item.
This would definitely be a plus in my book.

Y'all have done a great job. After this I'll be down to wanting only cosmetic changes. The ability to change application font size and maybe the background color.

Good luck.

Last edited by DoctorOhh; 09-01-2012 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 09-17-2012, 12:03 PM   #7
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Am I missing something? this has to be one of the most pointless apps ever. YOU HAVE TO BE ON THE PC TO SEND BOOKS! I was expecting to be able to to connect remotely to calibre from my S3 then download books. In the dictionary under irony there's a screenshot of this app
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:20 PM   #8
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Am I missing something? this has to be one of the most pointless apps ever. YOU HAVE TO BE ON THE PC TO SEND BOOKS! I was expecting to be able to to connect remotely to calibre from my S3 then download books. In the dictionary under irony there's a screenshot of this app
Yes, you are missing something. As is said in the app's description, "Calibre Companion supports connecting to calibre over WiFi and be detected by calibre as a device". Doing so permits you to manage the books on your device just as you would manage them on a kindle, a sony, or other reading device. This is what the vast majority of calibre users want. I am sorry that it isn't what you want.

We are going to add a web client, probably this month. The reason: there are times when a user wishes to get one or two books onto the device and isn't in a position to interact directly with calibre (via keyboard and mouse) to do it, but still wants calibre's metadata and wants calibre to know (eventually on connect) that the book is there. This is indeed a useful feature to have. However, this feature will be good for small operations. It will not update the metadata for all the books on the device. It will not auto-transfer news. It will not trigger your reading lists. It will not show you what is in your calibre library and not on your device. It will not permit bulk operations. Etc Etc. That is what the device interface does, and why it exists.

If you purchased the app and are as discontented as you seem to be, use the email button in the help screen to contact my son. Send him your google play transaction details and he will give you a refund.

Last edited by chaley; 09-17-2012 at 01:23 PM.
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Old 09-18-2012, 06:14 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Liam Nolan View Post
Am I missing something? this has to be one of the most pointless apps ever. YOU HAVE TO BE ON THE PC TO SEND BOOKS! I was expecting to be able to to connect remotely to calibre from my S3 then download books. In the dictionary under irony there's a screenshot of this app
calibre2opds will create a remotely browse-able Calibre library, so maybe look at that instead. Works really well.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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Am I missing something? this has to be one of the most pointless apps ever. YOU HAVE TO BE ON THE PC TO SEND BOOKS!
Quote:
Originally Posted by chaley
Doing so permits you to manage the books on your device just as you would manage them on a kindle, a sony, or other reading device. This is what the vast majority of calibre users want.
Adding to this, the other major motivation for using Calibre Companion is that calibre can't communicate very well with modern phones anymore. Android phones changed from appearing just as an external drive (like a USB stick) to using "Media Transfer Protocol", and this broke all of calibre's device interactions. Fixing this was something that a lot of people wanted, and why we built Calibre Companion.

While it's true that Friday's release of calibre started adding MTP support, it's still in beta, and it will not have as many features as Calibre Companion even when finished.

Anyway, I saw you were able to cancel your order within the automatic 15 minute refund period, so you've already got your money back.
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