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Old 12-07-2012, 01:14 PM   #1
Julius Caesar
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Is X-Ray just a gimmick?

Since X-Ray is just a compilation of articles from Wikipedia, wouldn't it be just the same if we search for related keywords from Wikipedia? It would be more work but the result is the same.

Yes, there is a graphical interface that shows where the keywords show up in the book but I don't know how useful it is.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:23 PM   #2
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I find it very useful. Usefulness varies considerably from one book to another, however, since the information is essentially crowdsourced. If you are jumping back into a book after some time away, it is great for refreshing impressions of this or that character.

Note it also compiles information from Shelfari, not just Wikipedia. It is not just the content that is useful, but the navigational capabilities it adds to the book (you can click on the graph to jump to other entries and then to another location in the book). It is not the same as a professionally indexed book but indexes aren't really supported in ebooks very well yet, and typically they're only available for non fiction books.

I have not tried Xray for textbooks, but seems like that would be useful as well.

They should add the graph navigator thing to the notes and marks list as well because as it is you may have many pages to swipe through to get to the one you want to look at.

Last edited by tomsem; 12-07-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 12-07-2012, 01:23 PM   #3
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Since X-Ray is just a compilation of articles from Wikipedia, wouldn't it be just the same if we search for related keywords from Wikipedia? It would be more work but the result is the same.

Yes, there is a graphical interface that shows where the keywords show up in the book but I don't know how useful it is.
In the help files I've seen some nice examples, which actually (for the enthusiast) might be helpful.
But for the books I've tried myself, results had been far from that level of depth. To me, it's not useful at all. Maybe for books with lots of characters and locations. But for the books I'm reading myself (non fiction about body language and such), the infos are rather limited if any at all.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:48 PM   #4
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It's really a mixed bag.
For a handful of books, it has helped me big times. I recently read Pride and Prejudice with X-Ray and it did help keep the characters straight, even though I was busy at work and picking up the book only every 3-4 days.
But it is either off or very basic for most books.
I have a version of Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations with X-Ray and it's pretty much pointless.

While I would not call it a 'gimmick', I think Amazon's advertising is misleading. Sure, they make it clear it is not available on ALL books. But they don't make it clear that it is not available on 90% of the books. And, while you can see if a particular book has X-Ray enabled or not, you cannot figure out whether it is useful or not - the quality really varies from book to book.

Last edited by vxf; 12-07-2012 at 08:51 PM.
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Old 12-07-2012, 11:58 PM   #5
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If it were in more books, I'd say definitely not.

As it is now? Not quite, but when it first came out, it really toed the line.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:47 AM   #6
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I guess y can just choose the old search to find out more about characters.
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Old 12-08-2012, 01:39 PM   #7
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But they don't make it clear that it is not available on 90% of the books. And, while you can see if a particular book has X-Ray enabled or not, you cannot figure out whether it is useful or not - the quality really varies from book to book.
I buy alot of books and none of them have had the feature yet. But i love the idea of x-ray for fiction, so i could refresh my memory for minor characters, etc it sounds easier than using search.
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Old 12-08-2012, 02:05 PM   #8
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It would be great for histories and biographies too, but as others have mentioned only a small percentage of books have it enabled. And how effective it is depends on the publisher. A few books have a lot of info via X-Ray but most I've seen have very little.
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Old 12-09-2012, 06:28 AM   #9
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I admit I have never really used search, but this this X-Ray thing has initiated me to its use. Though I just used character search - I am sure there is more use to it, as an alternative to x-ray?

Though my search for Sony PR1 also has wikipedia and google search....
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:54 AM   #10
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X-Ray has the advantage that it works offline. If for some reason you can't or don't want to connect to wifi / 3g you can still use all of x-ray features. The only thing that obviously won't work is the links to full articles unless you turn on wifi or 3g.
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:42 AM   #11
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It's helpful in books with lots of characters. I've read some series that I wish had X-Ray enabled for reference to characters in past books of the series.
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:30 PM   #12
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Come to think about it, X-Ray would be extremely helpful in a series of books like J. R. R. Tokiens The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I've got all of these in ePub from the Sony bookstore (I think that is where I bought them a few years ago). I sure wish they were from Amazon with X-Ray enabled as I'm sure I'll read them all again some day. I remember stumbling all over the character and place names as they are so different from modern American English, and because they were so different it was difficult to remember them.

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Old 12-09-2012, 12:42 PM   #13
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My all-in-one LOTR edition has the X-Ray feature enabled. I haven't done a re-read since before I got my first Kindle Keyboard!
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:06 AM   #14
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My all-in-one LOTR edition has the X-Ray feature enabled. I haven't done a re-read since before I got my first Kindle Keyboard!
Does it give something that a simple character or place search would not give?

Is X-Ray just a gimmick?

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Old 12-10-2012, 05:31 AM   #15
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There's a brief description of a character, and it's much faster than a search and easier to navigate IMO than the back and forth of a search. There's a sentence highlight and an indication of the chapter and page (or location if there's no page numbers). Search will give you the same results, just takes a hair longer to get there.
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