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Old 11-02-2012, 01:57 AM   #1
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Will Onyx Boox M92 get multitasking (opening of multiple books) anytime soon?

I know it is one the wishlist and was targeted as "planned, but not next release" ... now, there is a recent firmware release (1.8), so I wonder if we are close to a M92 that finally could replace my iRex DR1000.

The DR1000 is still the largest device you can (or, actually can't) get a hold of, with its 10.1 in display, but I guess a switch to the M92 would still be worth it (loosing pixels in one dimension only) to escape the braindead hardware design (my Android smartphone lasts 5 times as long as the eReader on a battery charge:-/) and, well ... the never-finished firmware of the iRex (kudos to mackx for the latest hack, still).

Now, I read that there are ex-iRex folks at Onyx. I really do not intend to buy a device based on promises. Again. So ... in essence, this is a question for Booxtor, as usual: Do you think (or can work some magic in that direction;-) that, say, in the next 6 months, the M92 will get the functionality to open several books/applications at the same time and switch between them? Or will it become obsolete before that feature is implemented?

What about fully open source firmware? OpenBOOX is not targeting the M92 ... and people are still too stupid to figure out that i.e. supporting adaption of openinkpot to an own device (and perhaps just plugging-in of the Adobe DRM crap) would give better software to users with less headache.

[deleted yammering on how the iRex had the functionality many years ago, but sadly sucks in other aspects, hardware and software; also how irritating it is that every eBook vendor wants to give Linux a bad name by cooking up its own idiosyncratic build with apparently not enough manpower to support it]

Sorry for the bitterness in this post, but I waited so long for a usable device to use as digital reading device and notepad (in an academic way), paid so much for a crappy design already, seen so many promises that were broken (remember the announced 12 in readers?) ... can someone (again, I suppose Booxtor might try) lead me to believe that the M92 will become to fulfill its promise to be actually a useful, better replacement for the iRex DR1000, just lacking a bit of screen real estate (bitter as that is already)?


PS: And no, I don't want no frikkin tablet with LCD screen. Come back when you got to offer a 12" Mirasol tab with stylus accurate to 0.1 mm, compensating pen angle and minimal parallax issues, not to forget the effective battery life of at least a week.

PPS: Which brings me to the Wacom question: Does the M92 actually incorporate pen angle for proper aiming without having the wrist bolted to the exact same pattern as when calibrating? The tech supports it, but already the DR1000 failed to use it properly.
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Old 11-02-2012, 02:40 AM   #2
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Maybe that Android port comes sooner than multitasking in current user interface. Who knows...

Booxstor showed photos and there is video Onyx concept of mobile phone with e-ink running android.

I am also looking forward to having at least some sort of multitasking.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sobukus View Post
PPS: Which brings me to the Wacom question: Does the M92 actually incorporate pen angle for proper aiming without having the wrist bolted to the exact same pattern as when calibrating? The tech supports it, but already the DR1000 failed to use it properly.
I've not been able to get a proper manual, but I AFAICT there is hardware tilt detection/correction but it is not exposed to (low level) software, because it is quite accurate: basically you can touch the same pixel under any tilt angle. This is probably done entirely in hardware and takes some obscure command to enable tilt reporting to the driver. Either that or the technology is different enough from Wacom's not to suffer tilt dependent problem, but I find this unlikely.
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Old 11-02-2012, 04:55 AM   #4
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If you want multitasking on a large E Ink device now, have a look at the PocketBook readers.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:10 AM   #5
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Multitasking for current OS is in our task list, but it may take some time - it is quite complex.
We have to change file manager, sys status library, browser and every reader app. Most likely it will be available in 1.9 or even 2.0 (approx 4-6 months).
Porting of Android will be finished sooner (appr. 2-3 months). So you can probably make experience with both kinds of multitasking solutions.

I wouldn't really recommend PocketBook for reading of academic stuff. First of all the old screen is just not good enough for this (because of low and not adjustable contrast). Secondly - the PDF Reader of PocketBook lacks on features for reading academic stuff (e.g. AFAIK there is no panning, no export of comments and highlightings ...)

Last edited by Booxtor; 11-02-2012 at 05:17 AM.
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:19 AM   #6
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Good news!

And USB Host (USB OTG) functionality? It would be cool to be able to attach a keyboard (or memory stick, BT). I hope in android, yes. And what about current enviroment?
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FDD View Post
hardware tilt detection/correction but it is not exposed to (low level) software, because it is quite accurate: basically you can touch the same pixel under any tilt angle.
When that's the case, I don't bother if it is exposed or not (though, it's still crippled tech ... graphic tablets with the same tech do support different angles explictly to emulate pencil/pen behaviour). For the ereader, I'd settle for accurate positioning.

And eh ... technology different enough from Wacom ... isn't the Onyx using Wacom tech?
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Old 11-02-2012, 05:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Booxtor View Post
Multitasking for current OS is in our task list, but it may take some time - it is quite complex.
We have to change file manager, sys status library, browser and every reader app. Most likely it will be available in 1.9 or even 2.0 (approx 4-6 months).
That's an answer at least, and one that does not smell of too much optimism, thanks. Though, I do wonder why it should be that complex. You just have to start multiple instances of readers ... the GUI to switch between them should be independent. But, well, I can only guess what the sys status library is supposed to handle. Basically I'd like a plain Linux with a simple window manager (there are lots for Linux ... even ones that have applications always in full screen), adapted to use the limited input the eInk devices offer. Combined with Suspend to RAM / flash (or really fast boot, like Pocketbook), all would be set. I have the feeling that those eReader GUIs are _too_ custom.

That brings me to the other part of your answer ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Booxtor View Post
Porting of Android will be finished sooner (appr. 2-3 months). So you can probably make experience with both kinds of multitasking solutions.
Android. That would cover my critique about always trying to reinvent everything. But, checking my new Android phone, I see that I wouldn't even get the kind of multitasking I want from it! I have the Adobe Reader on there and I seem to be unable to convince it to open two instances of itself, for having two documents open at the same time. I guess I'd need to install several different PDF readers to be able to have different PDFs open at the same time. Apps on Android are actually rather single-minded. Also, I didn't find a common shortcut to switch between open applications (only the settings->Apps dialog).

Is Onyx adding a custom GUI over Android to help the eBook use case? I admit that I don't know if Android on tablets is a bit more friendly for the people wanting to get work done.

Oh, and about the Pocketbooks: I really like the PB360 (though it seems to develop some hardware fault after years of abuse) and considered the PB912, but what is holding me back is the lacklustre computing power of the device. Specs for Onyx look a bit snappier; I'd like rendering to be a bit more responsive than on the old iRex.
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Old 11-04-2012, 07:35 AM   #9
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Multitasking

I would love to be able to split the screen, so I can do real academic reading on my M92. I would like to place the document on one side, the scribbling tool on the other. Thanks to the brilliant functionality of the zooming tool, it would thus be possible to read the document and take notes at the same time (without covering the pdf/epub/... itself with scribbles). This is something no device can do today, if I am not mistaken. Having such a feature would make the M92 perfect for acedemic reading.
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Old 11-04-2012, 03:10 PM   #10
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Yes, it is one of the reasons I would like multitasking...

It came to my mind, that your desire might be +-solved by a scribling app. "embeded" into pdf reader in similar way how dictionary is. One could show/hide the scribbling app within the document.

It would be also very cool to be able to save printscreen of doc to scribble app.
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Old 11-05-2012, 03:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mono View Post
Yes, it is one of the reasons I would like multitasking...

It came to my mind, that your desire might be +-solved by a scribling app. "embeded" into pdf reader in similar way how dictionary is. One could show/hide the scribbling app within the document.

It would be also very cool to be able to save printscreen of doc to scribble app.
I think it is a good idea. We will check if it is possible and how to implement it. Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2012, 05:45 AM   #12
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Boxtor,
maybe even better would be to embed another pdf reader and edit blank page pdf or even generaly any pdf.

I am not sure if bitmap can be written to scribling app and simply pdf would be much better IMO than scribling. Pdf format is much more portable and it would be possible to work with notes on PC or again in M92 reading it as the main document.

PS.
By print screen I didn't mean the whole screen, but user selectable part of screen. I guess PocketBook 9xx has this feature.
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Old 11-05-2012, 10:32 AM   #13
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elaborating´

Maybe to elaborate a bit further on that topic:

When I suggested that "split screen"-feature some month ago, I had a different approach. I wanted to be able to underline a specific part of the file (or select it via something akin to the two point zoom) and link the scribbles made with said underlined/selected part. Mono correctly pointed out that to this day, no software can do something like that.

For pdfs, however, I think it can be done. Here is how I would imagine such a feature:

- Underline/select a specific part of the page
- The screen splits, you can scribble
- Upon confirmation that you want to keep the scribbles, the scribbled parts are merged into the pdf (inserted at the end of the document). The underlining/selection in the original text now works as a text link to the scribbles appended at the end of the document.
- The split screen becomes an unsplit screen again

I am sure this would technically be possible. However, I see a severe drawback: Once you merge the scribbles into the pdfs, they can no longer be modified. Or am I mistaken?

If it were not for this drawback, I could not see a downside to such a feature. Of course, a mere split screen and the ability to scribble on a separate "sheet" of the M92 while reading would be a huge help already. But since you mentioned it, I wanted to elaborate a bit further on that topic an see what you think about it.

Considering how brilliantly Onyx handled usage of pdfs in the new Firmware, I think the simple task of appending scribbles is not out of their reach. I am definitely looking forward to any sort of multitasking.

Cheers!
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Old 11-05-2012, 01:15 PM   #14
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OK, I am not Onyx, but I think that if split screen for scrible (or better pdf) is possible then the functionality you ask for could be implemented in following way.

During the work there would be possibility to add/modify/delete "side notes, clippings and scribles" in embedded window. And the reference from which page you "jumped" there (to which part of text it refers to) would be recorded. And similarly like with normal scribles now, it would be possible on user's demand to create a new pdf with scribles, notes and in appendix also those "side notes" referenced by shortcut from place of creation and referencing to place of creation (It would be possible to jump from text to appendix note and also from appendix note to page it refers to).

I guess it could be done. I have no idea how much work it is and if embedded editing is possible with reasonable amount of effort.
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Old 11-05-2012, 02:28 PM   #15
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Regarding PDF ideas

Wow, you are going wild in your imagination there for the specific use-case of annotating a single PDF. But, well, AFAIR, the Pocketbooks (my small PB360 without stylus) implement a note taking feature that simply consists of pasting screenshots of marked stuff into a separate file (including link back to original location in book). I am not clearly remembering, but I don't think that I could actually enter some comments attached the snippet, but would strongly suppose the pen-enabled PBs do that.

Now, a referenced notebook relating to a document is a good idea, actually, I think a notebook referencing multiple documents makes even more sense. You are researching, right? Combining sources, cross-linking papers ... well, now we would approach actual authoring software for academic papers. I think it should stop at the "hyperlink notebook" state, though ... it would nicely replace an analog collection of snippets, earmarks/post-its on a pile of journals. It should not be extended into an Office suite (text editor and TeXLive in my case;-).

You might notice that I focus on separate note documents here. Well, adding pages to a PDF, while one is merging scribbles anyway, should be doable, but having it forth-and-back interlinked is tricky, IMHO. That would mean not just an overlay on existing content but actualy modification of the objects ... or, hm, when it's just an added marking that serves as the link hook, that might be fine. Whatever, I wanted to throw in that it would be beneficial to keep the note/extended annotation document separate and not necessarily intermingle it with one of your mass of reference papers.

This brings me back to the original topic of this thread: To efficiently work with multiple sources and your note document, you'd need multitasking (or a darn quick emulation of which) to easily switch between the notes and the referenced documents.

But, well, generally ... I see some enthusiasm about the current state of PDF support, so there might be hope that the M92 is indeed something for me once it can task multiply.


PS: Talking about multiple documents ... one can disable the Boox' database stuff and navigate documents by folder, right? Those indexers are evil ... putting the Bronstein math reference in HTML on the iRex gave it a good fit, with every formula being a bitmap file ...

Last edited by sobukus; 11-05-2012 at 02:31 PM.
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