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Old 02-11-2007, 11:20 AM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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MobileRead Newsletter, Act Two

As many of you know we are working on a weekly newsletter for you to read on your favorite e-book reader. It's pretty much work in progress and I invite you to take a first look and share your opinion. You can download it from here:

Notice that I've uploaded various PDF versions for the Sony Reader. The first was created with htmldoc, the second with Adobe Distiller, and the third with Ghostscript. None of the three offers an optimal solution (yet):

htmldoc produces what I call "inefficient" PDF files, which can severely slow down page turns on slow devices (such as the Sony Reader). You can try this for yourself when you flip pages, especially as you're approaching the end of the document.

Adobe Distiller produces the by far best PDF files, highly optimized for speed. It may have to do with the "optimized for fast Web viewing" switch (only?) available in Distiller, which cleans up the internal structure of a PDF file to allow for faster page-by-page viewing. Alas, Adobe Distiller is not suitable as we need an automated console solution based on Linux.

Ghostscript produces "better" PDF files than htmldoc, but for some unknown reason, internal hyperlinks would not work with the PDF viewer of the Sony Reader. You can try this phenomenon also by opening the PDF file in the Sony Connect desktop software and clicking on one of the internal links in the document's table of contents.

The Adobe Distiller and Ghostscript PDF files were produced via Postscript through html2ps.

At this point, I am pretty much fed up with PDF. For the same reason, I decided that we will also offer the newsletter in HTML format that you can use with your own conversion tools to convert the newsletter into any other format. For instance, I found it to work pretty well with iSiloX.

Lastly, iRex iLiad users will be able to receive the final weekly newsletter through iRex iDS.

Happy reading!
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:55 AM   #2
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Looks like a winner.

Suggestion: move the stats to the end of the document. There are not as important as the new topics.
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Old 02-11-2007, 01:20 PM   #3
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Would it be possible to add "Back" links to the Iliad version so that we can easily get back to the TOC? I know Irex are considering this functionality, but who knows how long it will be before we see it.

EDIT: Oops forgot to say that otherwise it all looks great. Sorry
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Old 02-11-2007, 03:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
Lastly, iRex iLiad users will be able to receive the final weekly newsletter through iRex iDS.
How is this enabled...?
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:13 AM   #5
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@Pitchfork: Did you try clicking on a topic's title? It should bring you back to the TOC.

@jaed: iRex kindly offered this service to us - I don't know the details yet but it seems that they will fetch our newsletter from a specified place and then make it available through iDS.
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:48 AM   #6
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how about a .STK version? there must be 2 or 3 of us here
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Old 02-12-2007, 05:49 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic
@jaed: iRex kindly offered this service to us - I don't know the details yet but it seems that they will fetch our newsletter from a specified place and then make it available through iDS.
Ok... I was just wondering how Irex were going to deal with it... Will it be a self-service automated request or manual. Just wondering how Irex's backend is organised...

You know that one of the feateres of 2.9 is somekind of self-service iDS function that allows documents to be transferred from a host computer...?

From flipping through this last night:

* Smiley's are a bit small...
* Any chance of the Avatar icons being used...?
* The items on the first page should be linked. I was trying to click on these and took a while to figure out they weren't hyperlinked

But this is looking *very* good...!
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:19 AM   #8
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@micro: does the html version work for you? Do you have tools to convert it to the .stk format?

@jaed: we could add avatars and/or even article images... mind though that the PDF could become quite large. You are right, I just saw it too that the smilies are quite small - I think it's related to htmldoc, and I think I can change some settings to change the scale. Will see. I am not totally happy with htmldoc and I wish I could come up with a better solution. Like I said above, Adobe Distiller does the best output - but it's not available for Linux console. LaTeX --> PDF would be another solution, but I don't know enough LaTeX and I don't have enough time right now learn more. -- Absolutely great idea to link the articles in the stats pages. Will do that for sure!
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:27 AM   #9
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Btw, quite a lot of Sunrise and iSilo users have been downloading the HTML version. This is good, and I am positive we'll keep HTML for everyone who cannot or doesn't want to use PDF for their readers.
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Old 02-12-2007, 11:38 AM   #10
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I should add:

This newsletter, when it's in its final form, will be updated weekly, and is to be published on every Sunday. In addition, if there is enough demand, we could also add a daily newspaper (covering only new topics of the last 24 hrs) to be published at 12am every day.
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:21 AM   #11
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Excellent Alexander. MR gets better all the time. I like the idea of the weekly format. I uploaded the HTML version to the filamentbooks.com content server for use on my EB1150. Looks great and the links work fine. Thanks a bunch.
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Old 02-13-2007, 05:47 AM   #12
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Looks Great - I look forward to actually having a real use for iDS on the Iliad :-)
I agree that stats should be moved to the end of the newsletter, otherwise- excellent!
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Old 02-13-2007, 06:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pdam
Looks Great - I look forward to actually having a real use for iDS on the Iliad :-)
I agree that stats should be moved to the end of the newsletter, otherwise- excellent!
Thanks Can you actually comment on the layout of the PDF? I don't have an iLiad to try if font-size and margins are optimal.
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Old 03-30-2007, 05:00 AM   #14
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Sorry - this passed me by. Rather late comments ....
The left and right margins could do with being narrower, currently, particularly on the left side, the text is uncomfortably close to the screen edge. Top and bottom are fine. Titles, fonts, spacing etc are all really usable, very easy on the eye.

Some of the formatting is visible (e.g [font=Arial][size=2] )

Navigation is great, but not intuitive - it is not obvious that clicking on the title of an article takes you back to the index. Also for long articles it isn't easy to get back to the index (perhaps a header or footer link to the menu?)

To echo previous comments - Stats would be better at the end rather than the beginning.

hope this is useful feedback.
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