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Old 01-03-2010, 02:43 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by dmaul1114 View Post
Those are Tablet PCs. I don't want a tablet PC. I want something about the size of a legal pad (will have to be a heaver of course) with no keyboard etc. bulking it down.

And I want it to read and mark up academic PDFs as the primary function. Currently I print them out, mark them up and file them away, only to pull them out when needing to cite them in an article I'm writing or a class lecture etc.

With a tablet I could do that electronically. Possibly a large screen e-ink device with stylus--like the forthcoming Que--could work. But the displays would have to speed up as I have a need to flip through documents quickly to find tables,figures etc. And the other limit is such devices seem to run $500-1000 which is a bit high for something I'd just use a handful of hours a month.

So a future multi-media tablet that could do that, and replace my PDA, surf the net, display video etc--without being as big and bulky as a full fledged Tablet PC--would be more worth dropping that kind of money.

So why I haven't used one is such a device doesn't exist and is probably a ways off from having one that's functional and under $1,000.
The device you're talking about is a DR 1000s and is currently priced at 859USD. I use it quite a bit to read PDF's and take notes on them. I wouldn't call it a speed reading device, but for my uses, it doesn't need to be.
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:12 PM   #137
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It brings up an interesting question: Has this changed anyone's reading habits?

There are certainly any number of "classic" works I've always meant to read, but money to buy them and time to read them have generally been in too short a supply. With ebook reading devices and good quality electronic copies of public domain texts widely available, the second problem largely goes away, and the first problem is lessened. With a reading device that goes with me anywhere, I can open a classic and read whenever I have a few spare minutes, like in transit on a subway. (I can do that with a pbook, too, but there are limits to what I can/want to carry when out.)

I'm certainly reading a lot more stuff I wouldn't have before ebooks, though the "classics" tend to be non-fiction - history, philosophy, essays and the like. I haven't quite summoned up the energy and desire to read War and Peace (and have no idea how good the PD translations are.)

What has been the experience of others?
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A few years ago I read everything by Arthur Conan Doyle and most of Edgar Rice Burroughs on a Palm Pilot, mostly because they were free and I was doing a lot of commuter flying at the time. It nicely filled those one or two hour waits at the terminal for a half hour flight.

That, incidentally was my entry into world of e-reading. I've never looked back!
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:14 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by dmaul1114 View Post
Those are Tablet PCs. I don't want a tablet PC. I want something about the size of a legal pad (will have to be a heaver of course) with no keyboard etc. bulking it down.

And I want it to read and mark up academic PDFs as the primary function. Currently I print them out, mark them up and file them away, only to pull them out when needing to cite them in an article I'm writing or a class lecture etc.
How would you do this? What form would the markups take? What software would you use?

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With a tablet I could do that electronically. Possibly a large screen e-ink device with stylus--like the forthcoming Que--could work. But the displays would have to speed up as I have a need to flip through documents quickly to find tables,figures etc. And the other limit is such devices seem to run $500-1000 which is a bit high for something I'd just use a handful of hours a month.

So a future multi-media tablet that could do that, and replace my PDA, surf the net, display video etc--without being as big and bulky as a full fledged Tablet PC--would be more worth dropping that kind of money.

So why I haven't used one is such a device doesn't exist and is probably a ways off from having one that's functional and under $1,000.
I'd say it's quite a ways off. Your application is one use case, but how many other people really want to do that? Offhand, not enough to justify the investment needed to produce something that can do it.

Tablets remind me a bit of the UMPCs that were getting buzz a couple of years ago. The were outgrowths of the Microsoft Origami project, and pushed by MS and Intel.

Both had a similar problem: where would growth come from? Just about everything that can run Windows and Office, does. Vista wasn't out at the time. MS was trying to figure out where to get significant revenue and profit growth, and keep their stock price in the stratosphere. Intel had similar concerns, with AMD encroaching on their market share.

What to do? A whole new platform that would use Intel chips and run Windows - the UMPC.

Unfortunately, this was driven by corporate need for revenues and growth, not customer requirements, and the one thing MS and Intel never could provide was a compelling use case. Just what would the user do with a UMPC that they couldn't do with a desktop, laptop, or notebook (and these days, netbook)? Nothing, really, which is why they never became more than a niche market item.

I feel the same about tablets. What will you do with a tablet that you can't do with other things? I can see plenty of specialized uses for a device with a reasonably large touch screen for things where you can just tap or swipe, like checkbox forms, but too many applications still require data entry, which means a keyboard of some sort or dealing with handwriting recognition.

It's possible I'm missing the obvious, and if Apple does release a tablet, I'll be fascinated to see what they claim the uses will be.

(Thinking about it, I can see one: the YouTubelet, anyone? )
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:27 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by wodin View Post
A few years ago I read everything by Arthur Conan Doyle and most of Edgar Rice Burroughs on a Palm Pilot, mostly because they were free and I was doing a lot of commuter flying at the time. It nicely filled those one or two hour waits at the terminal for a half hour flight.
I have a friend who did that, because he worked for a big multi-national and lived on airplanes. Loading up some books on his PDA was a lot lighter and more convenient than packing 6 to 8 in his luggage.

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That, incidentally was my entry into world of e-reading. I've never looked back!
I started when my then employer decided all the IT folks should have PDAs, and a Handspring Visor Plus arrived in interoffice mail. It wasn't clear what I was supposed to do with it, so I went looking for things that could assist me in my job as a sysadmin.

One think I found was Plucker, an open source offline HTML reader for Palm OS. A lot of the documentation for things I dealt with was available in HTML format, and could be easily converted for Plucker on the PDA, so I could carry a documentation library in my pocket in a searchable form.

I didn't think I'd appreciate fiction in that format, but a few experiments showed me that I could, so things like conversions of the entire Baen Free Library wound up on my device. I no longer use a Handspring, but I still use a Palm OS PDA, and there are close to 4,000 Plucker files on it, as well as about 400 Mobipocket books and an assortment of other things in eReader, PDF, Word, RTF, and text format.

I'm gradually reading some classic stuff I'd been meaning to get to, like Macauley's essays, historical works by Schiller, as well as Burroughs, Conan Doyle and the like, and Project Gutenberg gets a daily visit to look for other things to convert.

I still buy and read paper books, however. eBooks are an additional format, and not a replacement here. Many of the art, photography, and design volumes in my library just would not work as ebooks.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:00 PM   #140
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There seems to be a lot of people saying they want a tablet...but I haven't seen a single post from anybody who owns one...

Tablet PCs have been around for years, and not many people use them. The reasons they are not popular are obvious - there are really no usage cases I can think of that a tablet covers that a laptop/netbook/PC/PDA/phone can't do equally well or better. A tablet is only slightly smaller/lighter than a laptop but with the same ratio of sizeower.

I find e-ink much better for reading. Touch screen computing is a terrible experience as soon as you need to type something. It's painful watching someone type on an iPhone. It's like watching someone struggling in slow motion. A tablet is too large to carry around casually (e.g. on the train), and if you're at home (or anywhere portability isn't an issue) surely a laptop or even a netbook would be more useful.

Why not just get one of those laptops with a swiveling lid that converts it to a tablet but also can be used as a laptop? Best of both worlds, and it wouldn't be much larger or heavier than a dedicated tablet.

That demo of Liquavista looks promising from a reading standpoint.

I think a future device might be able to include both screen types in two layers. E-ink for low power usage and reading text comfortably and in well-lit conditions, and an LCD (or OLED) for animations, colour illustrations, video, etc. That would be a multi-purpose device that I would leave a dedicated reader for.
I have an Advent 7" Mobile AutoPC, and while the form factor is about right, it is woefully under powered to be useful.

I attend a LOT of meetings in the course of a normal work week, and have many steno pads full of hand written notes. Needless to say, organizing those notes is nearly impossible. It is not practical, convenient nor socially acceptable to be typing on a netbook during a meeting. It is, however, acceptable and required to jot notes.

I tried using the Advent for that purpose, and it was just too slow. Waiting for the words to catch up with the stylus, and having page turns take tens of second just didn't work. It wasn't a total loss though, it showed me what I need. I just have to wait for technology to catch up.

I need a tablet that is adequately powered, wirelessly (WiFi or Bluetooth) connected, email capable, has some sort of pen based note taking ability, 7" or 5" form factor, adequate battery life for a work day, storage for hundreds of pages of notes, price point about where an netbook is, and oh by the way; if I could browse a little, read and occasional ebook, and watch a movie or two, that would be nice too.

I have been looking with interest at the Archos 5 32 GB Android. It looks like it has nearly everything I need, but I have not yet found a pen based note taking app for it. The Archos 9 runs Win7, and would work admirably with OneNote installed, but it's a little spendy, and somewhat too large/heavy.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:23 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by PhishStyx View Post
The device you're talking about is a DR 1000s and is currently priced at 859USD. I use it quite a bit to read PDF's and take notes on them. I wouldn't call it a speed reading device, but for my uses, it doesn't need to be.
I covered that in my post. Too expensive for what it can do since being e-ink it's limited to reading and marking up stuff. I wouldn't pay more than $300 or so for something like that as I just don't need/want it bad enough as printouts suffice fine.

Get up to that $800-1000 range and it needs to be a much more functional device as you can buy a damn good laptop or PC for that, so I can't justify dropping that kind of cash to read and markup a handful of pdfs a month.

If it's a multi-media table that I can also use for browsing the web on the couch, watching HD video, playing games, replace my PDA/calendar etc., then I'd think more about it for $800-1000.

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How would you do this? What form would the markups take? What software would you use?
Just needs a touch screen and a stylus whatever software to allow writing directly on the documents just like you would a paper printout. I don't see it as complicated the iRex does it already, and even easier with an LCD touch screen that doesn't have lag issues etc.

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I'd say it's quite a ways off. Your application is one use case, but how many other people really want to do that? Offhand, not enough to justify the investment needed to produce something that can do it.
Definitely a ways off. But I think there's a lot of interest/use for such devices in academia, in business (to switch to a paperless office). Lots of professions could use something that was basically digital paper--replace notepads in meetings, replace printing out scholarly articles to read and highlight, paperless medial offices etc.

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I feel the same about tablets. What will you do with a tablet that you can't do with other things? I can see plenty of specialized uses for a device with a reasonably large touch screen for things where you can just tap or swipe, like checkbox forms, but too many applications still require still require data entry, which means a keyboard of some sort or dealing with handwriting recognition.
Again, just to replace paper. E-ink readers, PCs, Laptops etc. are useless to me for reading and marking up academic articles and books. I highlight the shit out of the, jot tons of notes in the margins as my time is very pressed and I don't want to have to re-read an article the next time I'm writing something or looking up something for a lecture etc.

You just can't do that stuff on a laptop, PC, current tablet laptops etc. in a manner that feels very similar to reading and marking up documents on paper. Some people can read on a PC and use the Acrobat annotation features etc. I just have never been able to read documents on a PC screen

E-ink is great for just straight reading with no flipping through looking for stuff or making things up. But it's too slow and laggy to have good stylus markup, loses resolution with a touch screen, page turns to slow to flip through to look for a particular passage I highlighted or a table of findings etc.

I do agree with you that such tablets that I describe may have somewhat limited appeal and be a niche just for academics and other professionals with such need. But as I said, as long as one comes out that suits my needs, I couldn't care less if it sales 1000 units or 10 million units.

But I do think a full fledged multimedia tablet could catch on more for light web browsing, video watching, game playing etc. Kind of replace netbooks which I find pretty useless since they lack the power for most streaming video, games and other stuff I spend a lot of time online. It will be interesting to see what comes of the rumored Apple tablet. If anyone can make it take off it would be them and their marketing tour de force.

But time will tell on that. I'd just like a nice solution, at a reasonable price that can allow me to read and mark up my academic PDFs exactly the same way I do printouts now. Until that happens, the trees can suffer as I'll keep printing them out.

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Old 01-03-2010, 04:26 PM   #142
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My new phone (got a Droid for Christmas) does most of those UMPC tasks, and my DR 1000s handles all of the tasks that dmaul is interested in. I feel just about right in my gadgetry at this point. I'm comfortable with it.

I know that's just my personal experience, which isn't very useful for anyone else.
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:43 PM   #143
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...and my DR 1000s handles all of the tasks that dmaul is interested in. .....
Except for a few things.

1. E-ink is too slow to allow me to flip through PDFs quickly and find tables, sections I marked up before etc. Like I can paper. LCD is much better on that front.

2. E-ink limits it to that one purpose, I'd rather have a multimedia LCD (or some future color screen technology) or....

3. It would have to be a lot less that $859. I'd consider something like the DR1000 or the forthcoming Plastic Logic Que. But only for $300 or so tops as that's about as high as I'd pay for something to use solely for my academic reading--which is just a few hours a month. Paper will suffice until prices come way down, or there's some nice multimedia tablets out that do a great job on that and can also be my main "browse the web on the couch" machine etc.
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Old 01-03-2010, 05:39 PM   #144
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Except for a few things.

1. E-ink is too slow to allow me to flip through PDFs quickly and find tables, sections I marked up before etc. Like I can paper. LCD is much better on that front.
I find it to be slightly slower than a paper book when I'm flipping through page after page, but if I can use a ToC or index to find the key page I want, then it usually seems a bit faster. Also, if I have something important pre-marked for later attention, then I have probably bookmarked it, which is even faster.

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2. E-ink limits it to that one purpose, I'd rather have a multimedia LCD (or some future color screen technology) or....
And that's fine. It's a personal opinion that I don't share. As I mentioned a couple posts ago, my Droid fulfills that function as much as I need (although it is a little small for any extended online text reading). I spend far too much of my time watching tv or internet now and often feel like I'm shirking my responsibilities to do so. I need to be able to get away from the pull of message boards and You Tube and such to write.

If I wanted to go the route you're suggesting, I would actually prefer to have an "Apple iSlate" style device with a built-in cell phone & Bluetooth so that I can link an earpiece to it. But I don't see that anywhere on the horizon.


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3. It would have to be a lot less that $859. I'd consider something like the DR1000 or the forthcoming Plastic Logic Que. But only for $300 or so tops as that's about as high as I'd pay for something to use solely for my academic reading--which is just a few hours a month. Paper will suffice until prices come way down, or there's some nice multimedia tablets out that do a great job on that and can also be my main "browse the web on the couch" machine etc.
I heard about the Plastic Logic device well over a year ago, months before I bought my DR, and I'm still hearing about it's just about to come out any day now. And that's fine, but you notice that with the KDX that cut rate price came with cut rate abilities.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:02 PM   #145
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IMO, the only reason we have only one reader with e-ink is because the Sony reader will not access web pages directly. Me and my wife do most of our reading on the computers, because it is news and commentary we most consume. When we can do our Internet reading on an e-ink screen, our computers will be used primarily as computing devices, not web browsers.

We prefer e-ink screens because they can be read outside. We like to sit outside, so she would rather read paper; books and magazines, and I would rather do audiobooks. With an e-ink device that employs wifi, we could spend more time outside.

E-ink is far superior to LCD as far as readability goes. When the refresh rate for E-ink improves, people will use it primarily for most of their reading.
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Old 01-03-2010, 11:45 PM   #146
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I heard about the Plastic Logic device well over a year ago, months before I bought my DR, and I'm still hearing about it's just about to come out any day now. And that's fine, but you notice that with the KDX that cut rate price came with cut rate abilities.
Yeah details will be announced on Jan 7th, release date soon I guess.

True about price/features. But that will change with time as e-ink screen costs come down (or some new screen tech is invented), and I'm patient as I'm not dying to move away from printouts. They work fine for me, and cost me nothing since paper and ink is on the University's dime.

I'll make the switch to e-versions when there's an ideal device for my needs and budget, and not a moment sooner.
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:29 AM   #147
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I'll make the switch to e-versions when there's an ideal device for my needs and budget, and not a moment sooner.
Ok, I never said you should. I do think the DR would meet your needs, if not to your extreme idealised standards. If I waited until I was absolutely certain that a purchase would meet every need in absolute perfection and with absolute precision, I don't think I would ever buy anything.

But you are welcome to wait until that day comes.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:54 PM   #148
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I agree with the "you can't wait forever" aspect. I do own a Kindle 1, bought a DVD player in 1998. A Blu Ray player in 2008 (waited for the format war to end) etc. So I do early adopt.

On this front it's just a case of something I don't need/want that bad. Paper printouts work fine for me and don't cost me a dime so I have little incentive to pay big bucks to early adopt something like the DR that isn't ideal for my needs, just to read and mark up a handful of PDFs a month.

If I was reading and marking up a hundred articles a month or something I'd be more pressed to adopt something. But now it's probably 1-5 on average a month since I've read most everything in my niche now and avoid branching out in my research too much a it's good to stay focused and I don't want to have to become an expert on a new area as I hate reading academic stuff.

It may well be the case that I never buy any tablet device, as they may never fit my needs or budget, and I may stick with printouts and paper books for my academic work. Time will tell. I'm just no in a hurry.

I'm not being confrontational at all, just explaining why I'm not interest in dropping $800+ on technology that I don't really need or want that much.

I'm more interested in a tablet that's not Windows based for couch web browsing, torrenting, etc. without much risk of viruses as I only have a work laptop so I stay away from random web browsing after having problems with trojans and malware.

So if nothing comes along that fits what I'm looking for in a multi-media tablet device, I may say the hell with the tablet and just shell out for a Macbook for those purposes and stick with paper for my academic reading.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:11 PM   #149
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Ok, I never said you should. I do think the DR would meet your needs, if not to your extreme idealised standards. If I waited until I was absolutely certain that a purchase would meet every need in absolute perfection and with absolute precision, I don't think I would ever buy anything.

But you are welcome to wait until that day comes.
I've got many of the same hopes/demands as dmaul1114, and the iRex is just not fast enough or usable enough for me yet. I know that fast enough and usable enough are coming within the next year or two for my personal demands, and if I'm somehow let down, I still have plenty of paper and pens/pencils of excellent quality, along with my computer and prs-505 for a three-piece temporary solution.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:11 PM   #150
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IMO, the only reason we have only one reader with e-ink is because the Sony reader will not access web pages directly. Me and my wife do most of our reading on the computers, because it is news and commentary we most consume. When we can do our Internet reading on an e-ink screen, our computers will be used primarily as computing devices, not web browsers.
Have you given thought to using Calibre's subscription to sync your reading material to your eReader? I know it isn't as easy, but could work for the non-time critical material.
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