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Old 02-24-2010, 01:34 AM   #1
mdb1
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Question Xournal on the DR-800 - will it work?

Anybody know if the DR-1000 port will work as is, or is further tweaking needed for the DR-800?

It didn't even occur to me that you wouldn't be able to write on the screen (notes or annotations) before I sent my money to Best Buy in the wee hours of the morning on Sunday (admittedly a poor decision). By the time I figured out that this functionality wasn't included and called customer service (less than 2 hours later), my order had been "processed" and couldn't be canceled.

So my shiny new $400 toy arrived today, and here it sits, a perfect little internet-connected tablet that can't browse the web, pull down RSS feeds, check e-mail, or allow me to record anything more useful than a bookmark in an eBook. I'm looking for a reason to justify keeping it - really I am - but if I can't write on this thing in the next 29 days, it's getting dropped off at the nearest Best Buy and sent back to IREX to ripen.

I mean seriously - a Wacom Penabled device with no support for inking? None at all? It boggles the mind.

Thank God it's Linux.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:09 AM   #2
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There will probably be some work required. Mostly because the UI is /slightly/ different when it comes to menu behavior and a couple other things.

No reason it can't be done though... I've put together a little code that will respond to the tablet which seems to work pretty well, but it'd need a lot of work to turn into anything like Xournal.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:11 AM   #3
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If anyone wants the sources of my latest patches to xournal, please let me know. (Although I am making some changes now, like remembering the last read page and I am not sure if that will work on the R3.0 firmware...).
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:22 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mdb1 View Post
So my shiny new $400 toy arrived today, and here it sits, a perfect little internet-connected tablet that can't browse the web, pull down RSS feeds, check e-mail, or allow me to record anything more useful than a bookmark in an eBook.
If you wanted an internet tablet, then you got the wrong device. The DR800 is an eBook reader, it's not meant to be an internet tablet.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:10 PM   #5
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I know, I know...



Shaggy: With all due respect, I know this. My point wasn't that the DR800 is a poor internet tablet (even my phone is a better internet tablet than any eReader could ever hope to be); my point was that it's a shame that all the hardware components needed for a exceptional eReader experience are built right into the DR800, but deliberate business and software design decisions have disallowed uses that the presence of these components might generally suggest.

As a purpose-built reading device, the DR800 has many good qualities; I'm simply unwilling to give up the affordances of something as basic as paper without getting something else in return. The ability to jot down a quick note in the margin of a book is something that every other current-generation eReader (AFAIK) attempts to replicate with text or pen-based annotation. The DR800 doesn't just fail to implement this standard (or at least common) reading/eReader function, if fails to do so while simultaneously including hardware (a Wacom digitizer) that in any other device (from $60 graphics tablets to $2500 Tablet PCs) would be utilized for more than just tapping on icons.

As for network connectivity, my point is similar. The DR800SG connects directly to the Internet - no need to plug into a computer or traverse a wireless LAN. Yet the only thing you can access with this Internet connection is the B&N mobile site and some overpriced newspapers - you can't even e-mail your own files to your device. And you know what? That's fine. Like I said, I have better ways of getting online, and unlike the lack of annotation, limited 3G connectivity is far from unprecedented in the eBook market. I understand the reasons, but it still feels like watching someone buy a Ferrari just to drive back and forth between the garage and the end of the driveway. Somebody somewhere might find such limited use justifiable, but the design of the vehicle itself just screams for it to be taken out on the road.

In any case, the saving grace of IREX is that most of the software powering its devices is freely modifiable, and its products are therefore not meant to be constrained by their original programming or design. IREX programmers post to these very forums, pointing us to opportunities to go beyond the apparent limits. Just because IREX sells a device in a state that doesn't allow a user to browse the file structure of its built-in microSD card doesn't mean that we should ignore the fact that enabling such functionality is both possible and desirable. Indeed, it is this sort of extensibility that helps justify the premium prices of the DR800 and other IREX devices.

Having owned a recent-model Sony Reader with a touch screen, I'm very familiar with the tradeoffs of the eReader concept. I bought the DR800 because it *could* be the ideal reading device for me - I saw the Wacom pen and beautifully presented 8" display and just assumed it already was. I was disappointed to realize that it is presently *less* capable in its role as a reading device than any eReader that supports annotation (i.e. every other eReader?), and it offers no additional functionality to make such a limitation (however temporary) palatable. It may be true that I made a poorly considered or poorly timed purchasing decision, but I'm sure that I bought the right hardware for what I'd like to do. Seems like a waste to see it so woefully underutilized.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:37 PM   #6
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Mackx: not sure how much time I'll have in the next couple of weeks, but given my epic rant above, clearly I can't say that I don't have any time or energy to burn. If you PM me w/ contact info, perhaps I can try fumbling though some code to grant my own wish. If anybody who knows what they're doing wants to help, too, let me know.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:20 AM   #7
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I also got a request via PM for the source code, I will post sources here, coming weekend. For these personal projects I am ignoring version control , so the the code is already at version 9 (V8 was last published binary), although I might have created a zip at the time of releasing V8...
Specially the change to V9 added some systems calls that might not be compatible between firmware R3.0(800) and R1.7(1000). (I store last read page in metadata.db in V9). The scribble library for DR800 seems to be unchanged, but I am not sure if the display controler allows the quick/partial updates that are used for a quick feedback. I will check the code for parts that will be hard to port.
Has anyone tried the latest xournal-patch release on the DR800 simulator? (Note the quick/partial updates do not function on the simulator, so response to annotations will probably be slow.) If you want to start before I post the latest code, the message thread also contains the source code for V5, which is rather old, but contains the annotation part.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:24 AM   #8
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The fast draw is still there... the test code for erscribble still works on 3.0 just fine and I've got an app that is mostly broken, but uses the fast draw quite well. metadata.db seems to be similar as well. Depends on how you are using it.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:26 AM   #9
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That's good to hear. Do you have time to run the V8 on the DR800 emulator? You seem to have a working emulator environment. I am very curious now.
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Old 02-25-2010, 08:24 AM   #10
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That's good to hear. Do you have time to run the V8 on the DR800 emulator? You seem to have a working emulator environment. I am very curious now.
Setting up the emulator does not take that long, the problem is finding the time to use it
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Old 02-25-2010, 11:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mdb1 View Post
As a purpose-built reading device, the DR800 has many good qualities; I'm simply unwilling to give up the affordances of something as basic as paper without getting something else in return. The ability to jot down a quick note in the margin of a book is something that every other current-generation eReader (AFAIK) attempts to replicate with text or pen-based annotation. The DR800 doesn't just fail to implement this standard (or at least common) reading/eReader function, if fails to do so while simultaneously including hardware (a Wacom digitizer) that in any other device (from $60 graphics tablets to $2500 Tablet PCs) would be utilized for more than just tapping on icons.
They've said that annotation support is being added. We'll see if/when that happens.

Quote:
As for network connectivity, my point is similar. The DR800SG connects directly to the Internet - no need to plug into a computer or traverse a wireless LAN. Yet the only thing you can access with this Internet connection is the B&N mobile site and some overpriced newspapers - you can't even e-mail your own files to your device.
The issue here is that you're not paying for the 3G connectivity. Because of that, Verizon is going to be pretty restrictive of what you're really going to be allowed to do with it. With the iLiads, you had a wifi connection (which you paid for yourself) so could do anything you wanted with it. With the 3G, the only way Verizon is getting paid for your bandwidth usage is by taking a cut from the retailers that they allow you to connect to.

I'm hopeful that somebody will figure out a way of getting 3rd party apps to use the connectivity, but I don't think Verizon will be very happy about it if they do.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:12 PM   #12
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With the 3G, the only way Verizon is getting paid for your bandwidth usage is by taking a cut from the retailers that they allow you to connect to.

I'm hopeful that somebody will figure out a way of getting 3rd party apps to use the connectivity, but I don't think Verizon will be very happy about it if they do.
Technically speaking this should not be particularly difficult. The flack that we would get from doing it though would likely be worrisome. Anyone who already has a Verizon device with paid 3G support would probably be better to spoof their own device. As I'm with AT&T, I would want to know how much they charge before using it...getting saddled with a big bill after a weekend of tinkering with network code is not my idea of fun.

This is one of my main sticking points with purchasing the DR800SG - I have bought books from every (ePub) source imaginable, not just B&N, and hate side-loading with a cord. I would much rather download them from calibre-server.
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Old 02-25-2010, 02:43 PM   #13
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Technically speaking this should not be particularly difficult. The flack that we would get from doing it though would likely be worrisome. Anyone who already has a Verizon device with paid 3G support would probably be better to spoof their own device. As I'm with AT&T, I would want to know how much they charge before using it...getting saddled with a big bill after a weekend of tinkering with network code is not my idea of fun.
I don't think there's any way Verizon could bill you directly, you have no account with them or even anything that ties that particular DR800 to you. What they might do is cut your access off though.

Assuming that this is even possible to do, which it may not be.

Last edited by Shaggy; 02-25-2010 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:30 PM   #14
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Assuming that this is even possible to do, which it may not be.
It's completely possible. Every wireless device has a unique identifying number/hash/whatever. In a GSM device, this comes from the SIM. With CDMA, it comes from some on-board chip instead.

If they couldn't shut off access for a specific device/SIM, they wouldn't be able to shut off subscribers who didn't pay their bills, or block other carriers from using their towers willy-nilly without an agreement beforehand. The question is: what are the terms between iRex and Verizon, and does it include the ability of Verizon or iRex to decide if a device is using too much bandwidth and not generating enough revenue or is iRex planning on just eating all those costs...

The real problem I see with side-loading with wireless is that the iRex does zero sorting of content. Everything just gets thrown into a "Downloads" folder. Not very useful (IMO) unless you like the flat list views. Although to be fair, none of the ereader manufacturers has really done much to solve this, except maybe Onyx (not sure).
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:41 PM   #15
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The question is: what are the terms between iRex and Verizon, and does it include the ability of Verizon or iRex to decide if a device is using too much bandwidth and not generating enough revenue or is iRex planning on just eating all those costs...
Perhaps it would be better to look at the paperwork within the box to see if the agreement between the buyer and IREX says anything that would give them grounds to terminate your connection. Even if Verizon cuts you off, IREX may have to send you a new device to get you back online since they didn't specify this issue in their agreement with the consumer.
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