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Old 09-29-2012, 05:14 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by NiLuJe View Post
And here's a slightly less broken MU patch, that attempts to kill the extra StartOffsets in the mobi8 part when splitting (and tries to avoid the guide entries without title in mobi8 in a slightly less stupid way than my previous attempt)...
I haven't used a version control system in ages and have no idea how to apply a patch to multiple source files. There seems to be a gazillion of Windows based tools to create patches but not a single one that can be used to apply patches to several files in a folder that doesn't require setting up a repository first.
Can you please attach the actual patched files or provide an additional python file that will invoke the python patcher module?

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Originally Posted by Hitch View Post
We've been experimenting with this here, as well. It's our opinion that it's a K3 rendering engine issue. When we dl your test file, the "go to" on my Fire works.
Thanks for your tests. So it seems that the Kindle 3 and the Kindle 4 have problems with this issue, but more recent models don't, which would suggest that there's something different about their firmwares that makes them behave exactly like KP.
The odd thing is that for once Calibre is more KF8 compliant than Kindlegen, because the guide items in the azw3 file that I generated with it, worked fine even on my K3. But as you know from your own professional experience, Amazon often rejects .mobi files generated by Calibre.

Since you're the one with first hand experience with KDP, here is a question that you're uniquely qualified to answer:
Will KDP a accept .mobi files that contain only KF8 or Mobi7 content without the source code that KindleGen embeds in the file?
I.e. is it possible to simply upload a KF8-only file with the azw or azw3 extension or does KDP always expect a .mobi file (unless users upload the actual .html or .epub source files)?

Also would you agree that a non-functioning Go to Beginning guide item is a minor inconvenience that the OP shouldn't be worried about since it will only affect two older Kindle generations and most people probably won't even notice that it doesn't work.

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What I don't know is exactly what I do in each case to take what is in the folder and put it on the device. I do not see a .mobi file to copy to it. The answer must be obvious, but not to me.
Actually, it isn't that obvious at to us mere mortals. There are several different versions of mobiunpack. The latest incarnation, comes with a python wrapper GUI (.pyw) that allows you to split a combo file into 2 binary files. (You'll need to check the Split Combinations Mobi Files option to generate .mobi and .azw3 files.)
NiLuJe has updated these files, but the patch that he generated from his updated files can only be applied by people who know their way around revision control systems. Hopefully, he'll attach his patched files, too.

Last edited by Doitsu; 09-29-2012 at 06:46 AM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 06:38 AM   #47
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Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
Thanks for your tests. So it seems that the Kindle 3 and the Kindle 4 have problems with this issue, but more recent models don't, which would suggest that there's something different about their firmwares that makes them behave exactly like KP.
The odd thing is that for once Calibre is more KF8 compliant than Kindlegen, because the guide items in the azw3 file that I generated with it, worked fine even on my K3. But as you know from your own professional experience, Amazon often rejects .mobi files generated by Calibre.
Yes, it is odd. And, yes, Amazon, I'm told by people who would know, has rejected Calibre files, but I don't know if they are rejecting the "new" AZW/AZW3 files that Kovid's (so to speak) putting out. The rejected files that have been sent to me by dejected DIY'ers all had K8 formatting attempts. I know that (damn, can't think of his name, the guy that created XYWRiter, oh, Simon, I think) makes his books with Calibre and seems pretty happy with it, according to a recent post of his. It seems that the basic mobis have worked fine, to this point, via Calibre, only the K8-attempts were failing, to my own knowledge. I've seen exceedingly few reliable coherent reports on failed Calibre files, so you mayn't be asking the right person, after all. ;-)

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Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
Since you're the one with first hand experience with KDP, here is a question that you're uniquely qualified to answer:
Will KDP a accept .mobi files that contain only KF8 or Mobi7 content without the source code that KindleGen embeds in the file?
I.e. is it possible to simply upload a KF8-only file with the azw or azw3 extension or does KDP always expect a .mobi file (unless users upload the actual .html or .epub source files)?
Again, probably the wrong person to ask as I don't have enough experience with Calibre to even know what all the icons do/mean. Well, wait, I know that you can still upload a PRC file at the KDP, although I'm not 100% sure if you can upload it "raw" with the prc file extension, or if you can do so by the simple expedient of renaming the extension ".mobi," which I factually know will work. Thus, your basic zipped prc file works, that has not been through Kindlegen, but in fact ran through the old MBPC. I would surmise that it might be possible to upload an azw or azw3 file and have it accepted, BUT, I think you'd have to change the extension. I have no idea what the hell that would do to the file, as I really don't play with Calibre. Heavens know, it's easy enough to find out; one could simply try it at your test Amazon account (if you don't have one, I can try a test or two for you, if you'd like), and only publish it to draft state. Not sure that that rambling helped, but, yes, you can publish a file that has already been zipped, and has an OPF, and has NOT been through Kindlegen. That much, we do know. ETA: And, of course, you can publish an ePUB, also a zipped file with an OPF that hasn't yet been through KG, right?

Quote:
Also would you agree that a non-functioning Go to Beginning guide item is a minor inconvenience that the OP shouldn't be worried about since it will only affect two older Kindle generations and most people probably won't even notice that it doesn't work.
YES.

I know that the OP wants it to be perfect, but I genuinely think that 99% of the (K3/K4) population will never notice. The default for Kindle is simply the first page. Who would even give it a thought, if it went to the title page, or the half-title page, or the copyright page? I certainly wouldn't. As a pro, I might "tsk-tsk," if it didn't open on the Prologue or the epigraph or the first page of Chapter 1, but, hell, that's from a pro. Fully half of my clients want the "start" location at the first page after the cover (if not the cover), not at Chapter 1, anyway, in order to inflict all their frontmatter on the reader. (I usually talk them out of it, but...) I mean, if it were actually named "Start Reading," that would be a different thing, but "go to beginning?" Meh. Could mean almost anything, and people simply flip pages to get to Ch. 1.

I am not getting ulcers over it. It's a K3 glitch which I'll dutifully report to Amazon, along with my other reports about font weirdnesses and other fun factoids, and I won't give it another second's thought. It will be fixed when it's fixed, probably about the same time iBooks allows centering of elements without adding another layer of coding for no reason. I don't think it's water off a duck's back, but I do think it's close to it.

Personally, I find the K3/Touch disappearing fonts a REAL issue that IS giving me ulcers
Spoiler:
(in short: for reasons unknown, some embedded fonts will have variants that simply disappear--the text becomes invisible!--when "publisher's font" is selected, ONLY on the K3 or Touch. Now, that worries me.)
Compared to that, this eeensy little "start" location thing is just...well, eeensy. Font-testing is now my life.

My $.02, FWIW,
Hitch

Last edited by Hitch; 09-29-2012 at 06:40 AM. Reason: Added thought about ePUB.
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Old 09-29-2012, 08:01 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doitsu View Post
Actually, it isn't that obvious at to us mere mortals. There are several different versions of mobiunpack. The latest incarnation, comes with a python wrapper GUI (.pyw) that allows you to split a combo file into 2 binary files. (You'll need to check the Split Combinations Mobi Files option to generate .mobi and .azw3 files.)
The calibre plugin version of MobiUnpack also has the ability to split the hybrid kindlegen-produced file into its two constituent parts, as well. Says so right in the main features list. When you highlight an ebook that has a joint mobi/KF8 file format, there will be a menu-item to split the file.

Quote:
NiLuJe has updated these files, but the patch that he generated from his updated files can only be applied by people who know their way around revision control systems. Hopefully, he'll attach his patched files, too.
There's no real "maintainer" of the MobiUnpack code, but I tend to run all patches/new versions/proposed changes past pdurrant and/or KevinH. pdurrant, has been involved with the code-base for a long time (and as a moderator, can update the original post with the new version) and KevinH did a lot of the KF8 stuff. I take care of maintaining the calibre plugin, but it just uses the original MobiUnpack "core" as is.
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Old 09-29-2012, 10:07 AM   #49
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Hi everyone, interesting thread.

I'm working on a patch that will fix the problem for kindlegen generated files that you're not going to be submitting to KDP.

I've also tested some older versions of kindlegen. This problem of getting two EXTH entries for start of text in the KF8 section of the ebook goes back to the first kindlegen that produced such file: kindlegen 2.0.

So it's a long-standing problem, and while I haven't done a round-trip test myself, I'm willing to believe that Amazon are fixing the problem for books published through KDP.

Note that this doesn't seem to be a bug in the Kindle 3 firmware. It's just that the new Kindle 3.4 firmware is the first that could read the KF8 section, and so is now demonstrating a problem that's been there all along.

Hopefully I'll have a python script and AppleScript wrapper ready for testing something this weekend.
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Old 09-29-2012, 01:46 PM   #50
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I didn't want to hijack the usual reviewing process (and unleash potentially buggy code to the world), but if it's okay with everyone, I can of course provide a 'ready to use' version for testing purposes .

@pdurrant: I'm still leaning on the 'FW 3.4 bug!' side of things, because the Touch handles those files perfectly fine, and honors the correct StartOffset . It's not the only thing the KF8 backend/frontend on 3.4 handles differently than other FW...

@Hitch: Do you happen to have a small testcase for the disappearing fonts thing? It seems eerily familiar, and reminds me of a number of issues with the Kindle's complete mishandling of some custom fonts we encountered with the different Fonts Hacks (leading to the same 'blank' font issue), until one took a hammer to the nail and switched to a custom FreeType library...

Last edited by NiLuJe; 09-29-2012 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:20 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiLuJe View Post
I didn't want to hijack the usual reviewing process (and unleash potentially buggy code to the world), but if it's okay with everyone, I can of course provide a 'ready to use' version for testing purposes .
Please do upload your 'fixed' version, either in this thread or the Mobiunpack thread. I'll review it and update the first post of the MobiUnpack thread accordingly.
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Old 09-29-2012, 02:42 PM   #52
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Thank you for explaining how to split the .mobi - I now remember seeing that option...

Interesting that it is still unclear if the bug is in Kindlegen or in the firmware.

If the bug is in Kindlegen but the Touch and Fire know about it and fix it, like the Previewer does, but Kindle 3.4 doesn't, then if they fixed the bug all the devices that don't work would start working and the ones that work would stop working?

I can't agree that this error is insignificant. I expect perfection, even if it takes several software releases to get there.
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Old 09-29-2012, 03:05 PM   #53
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@pdurrant: Here we go!

EDIT: Removed deprecated attachments, merged in v055 .

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Old 09-29-2012, 03:43 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NiLuJe View Post
@Hitch: Do you happen to have a small testcase for the disappearing fonts thing? It seems eerily familiar, and reminds me of a number of issues with the Kindle's complete mishandling of some custom fonts we encountered with the different Fonts Hacks (leading to the same 'blank' font issue), until one took a hammer to the nail and switched to a custom FreeType library...
I don't, not right this second. I could come up with a file by asking the person who worked on the book to make a test file of it. The font was Avenir and the disappearing part was Avenir Oblique, FWIW. I mean, Avenir. Not some wonk font from Fonts-R-Us, or wherever. Very frustrating. We're actually now building a "safe fonts list," because we've had so many problems with various fonts that people are mad to have embedded in their books.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tugger
I can't agree that this error is insignificant. I expect perfection, even if it takes several software releases to get there.
Ah, well. You may be the sort of person who feels that way about everything; or you may just be shiny and new. Wait until you screw around with iBooks. Now, THAT is fun. I gave up expecting absolute perfection about 1500 books ago. I still want it; I still strive for it--but I know that when you cannot control the final, final, truly final output (the product that the reader sees, and how they see it), that any feeling I ever have of a book's "perfection" is probably an illusion or delusion on my part. The retailers and the software makers change their software/firmware/hardware so fast and so often you can't keep up, and the changes that they make never make it easier on us. And inevitably, as each changes, each grows further away from the ePUB standards, not closer. Of course, Amazon doesn't have an international MOBI standard, so they can pretty much do what they want (although the K8 follows a boatload of the ePUB formatting we use--but not all).

And readers? On myriad devices, I know factually that most don't even know HOW to choose "publisher fonts" or "publisher view," which means that they don't SEE what we have created--ever--in the first damn place.

And don't forget the various reading apps...Bluefire and its brethren. Oh, and, seen ADE 2.0 yet? Tried any outline-style lists? Ha!

Not to sound jaded or anything. We all want our books to be beautiful. But in the commercial biz, we don't control what we get to layout/convert, and we don't control the 60+ devices out there...it's not like print, where you can control every single aspect. It simply isn't. To me, the "go to beginning" thing in K3/4 is just..so minor I can't even spare a braincell for it. Many far larger issues haunting devices, at least in my opinion and experience. {shrug}. For whatever that's worth.

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Old 09-29-2012, 04:02 PM   #55
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@pdurrant: Here we go!
Your patched mobiunpack files worked like a charm with my simple test .mobi and a "real" .epub compiled with KindleGen.

Merci beaucoup !
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Old 09-29-2012, 04:49 PM   #56
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I can't install it. I uninstalled, closed Calibre, then ran it again and tried to install.

It says:
Quote:
calibre, version 0.8.69
ERROR: Unhandled exception: <b>InvalidPlugin</b>:The plugin in u'D:/DVD - General/Book software/Calibre and De-DRM tools/Mobi_Unpack_v054b.zip' is invalid. It does not contain a top-level __init__.py file

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "site-packages\calibre\gui2\preferences\plugins.py", line 306, in add_plugin
File "site-packages\calibre\customize\ui.py", line 339, in add_plugin
File "site-packages\calibre\customize\ui.py", line 54, in load_plugin
File "site-packages\calibre\customize\zipplugin.py", line 160, in load
File "site-packages\calibre\customize\zipplugin.py", line 255, in _locate_code
InvalidPlugin: The plugin in u'D:/DVD - General/Book software/Calibre and De-DRM tools/Mobi_Unpack_v054b.zip' is invalid. It does not contain a top-level __init__.py file
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:03 PM   #57
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I can't install it. I uninstalled, closed Calibre, then ran it again and tried to install.

It says:
The mobiunpack uploaded here is not the plugin, but the stand-alone python code.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:05 PM   #58
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First go at a quickfix

Here's a python script that should take out the extra 116 EXTH value in the KF8 section. I'll be interested the hear whether it works for people.

And for those on Mac OS X, here's an AppleScript wrapper (inlcudes the pythons script, just drag&drop)

[EDIT: Files removed, as they are no longer required with KindleGen 2.7, as KindleGen 2.7 doesn't made this error.]

Last edited by pdurrant; 10-27-2012 at 07:46 AM.
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Old 09-29-2012, 05:44 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by pdurrant View Post
First go at a quickfix

Here's a python script that should take out the extra 116 EXTH value in the KF8 section. I'll be interested the hear whether it works for people.
I tested the script with my simple test file and a commercial epub compiled with KP and both worked fine on my K3 FW3.4.
(I.e. both books opened at the location marked by the Text guide item when I opened them for the first time on my K3 and the Go to Beginning menu worked, too.)

@Tugger: To apply the patch you simply call the Python script with the name of the combo .mobil file as the input parameter. (It'll automatically create a new .mobi file with extension _fixed.mobi.)
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:33 AM   #60
DiapDealer
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Posts: 9,537
Karma: 44002482
Join Date: Jan 2010
Device: Nexus 7, Kindle Fire HD
It definitely works on the kindlegen output I've tried it with (and the "fixed" files work as expected on a KK with firmware 3.4).
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