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Old 12-31-2010, 08:10 AM   #1
electragician
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Kobo WiFi Impressions

I'm sure the forum is full of these type posts, but I thought I'd introduce myself and put one out there.

I have been reading electronically for many, many years. I've lurked in these forums for a long time, and been a member since around '06. I think my first ereading device worth a damn was a Palm M105. Dated link for street cred

Anyway, most recently I'd been reading on a WinMo smartphone, but decided that I really wanted an e-ink device for myself, after I bought my girlfriend a Kindle3 for Christmas. The Kindle is a fine device, but I didn't really want two of the same thing, when I could expand the possibilities by getting something that used ADE and opened up other online book stores.

The Kobo seemed a good choice. I don't really care much about WiFi, but it might come in handy. I love the tactile quilted "feel" of the device (odd, I know). ADE books are a snap, and I specifically wanted to try out Google's new bookstore project, especially since I have one of the freebie CR-48 ChromeOS powered laptops.

I went to the local Borders and did a "hands on", ran through everything they had and didn't care for any of the e-ink devices, except for the Kobo. I went with the WiFi since I figured I should probably get the latest and greatest in the particular brand I was going with, even though the 1st gen seemed just as good and was cheaper.

The very first thing I did was go home and buy a Google Bookstore book. Argh.... the beta hardware and OS on the CR-48 wouldn't allow file management on the Kobo and, of course, there's no ADE software for the CR-48 anyway. I could read the book just fine in the browser though, which was nice.

The bad:

I was able to install ADE on my Windows PC and pull the file to the Kobo. It worked great, but the margins were far too large. I get to reading on these forums and find that seems to be a fairly common thing, and probably dependent on the software that was used to create the epub (I think?). Anyway, it was irritating. Seriously.

So I try and do the right thing and buy a book electronically, something I've done many times on my other devices, normally using Mobipocket. This is a book I already own, BTW (G.R.R Martins "A Game of Thrones") but I bought it as a test, and it failed.

How do I fix this problem? Edit the file, according to these forums... except the file is DRM protected. So to read the book and use more than 70% of my screen, I guess I have to stoop to downloading an illicit copy of a book that I just bought legally, or figuring out how to break the DRM, so I can read it using my entire screen. Really? Really?

If anyone from Kobo reads this: Please fix this. It's just rediculous not to have margin control on a device that (obviously) needs it. It's easier (though of course not ethical) for me to just steal the damned book from a torrent site so I can modify it for my needs than to *buy* it. I mean it's almost 2011 guys, get off your asses and fix this... seriously. It should be priority # 1 in your "todo" list. Truth be known it should have been done before you ever released your product on the market.

In my playing around, I also finally installed the Borders (ie... Kobo) desktop software and was told that my reader needed to be updated. I did so, and then decided to do a factory reset, since I know you get a better experience with many things after a firmware upgrade when you do this. I did it, reinstalled my books with both Calibre and ADE and WTH???? ARRRRRRGH....

I had read that there was no Goto page function on the Kobo, but it just didn't click. You guys built an electronic reading device of the same price point as an Amazon Kindle 3 and it won't let you do the equivalent of "flipping to the middle of the book." OH MY GOD. I just don't know what else to say about that. My 10 year old Palm Pilot running Mobipocket could do it, but you can't pull it off?

The Good

It really is a beautiful device in it's simplicity, and even with my nerd-rage over the two flaws listed, I'm happy enough with it. I love the feel of the back... nice touch.

It's got a beautiful display, pages turn plenty fast for me, the button placement makes sense and I can read on it

I like the fact that it opens up avenues not available on the Kindle, and doesn't tie me to just one bookstore.

Calibre supports it, which is just freakin' awesome.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:08 AM   #2
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I just don't understand the gripe if you're going to consciously use tools that are specifically designed to control what you can and can't do. Bottom line is, if you're using Windows, OSX, Adobe's wares (ADE and the rest of the DRM gang), and others, you're really not in control of anything. By using these tools, you're at the mercy of what these vendors *allow* you to do. If you can't do something, why complain? If you want real empowerment, you first have to first free yourself of the digital handcuffs that you've bound yourself with. Get rid of your Windows OS, your Apple OSX, your Adobe ADE for starters. Stop buying DRM-enabled products. Install a free software operating system like GNU/Linux or a bsd (GNU/Linux is best due to the copyleft nature of the GPL). Install only free software applications (Calibre is great) and spend your money on DRM-free books formatted as epub.

Last edited by windowsrefund; 12-31-2010 at 11:09 AM. Reason: epub ref
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:57 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windowsrefund View Post
I just don't understand the gripe if you're going to consciously use tools that are specifically designed to control what you can and can't do. Bottom line is, if you're using Windows, OSX, Adobe's wares (ADE and the rest of the DRM gang), and others, you're really not in control of anything. By using these tools, you're at the mercy of what these vendors *allow* you to do. If you can't do something, why complain? If you want real empowerment, you first have to first free yourself of the digital handcuffs that you've bound yourself with. Get rid of your Windows OS, your Apple OSX, your Adobe ADE for starters. Stop buying DRM-enabled products. Install a free software operating system like GNU/Linux or a bsd (GNU/Linux is best due to the copyleft nature of the GPL). Install only free software applications (Calibre is great) and spend your money on DRM-free books formatted as epub.

I've read enough of your posts on here to know you're a "free software" zealot and just looking for soapbox to spread your religion. Cool and all, but you can shove it in this particular instance. It really does get irritating after a while, and this is coming from someone that has been using Linux dual-boot for the past decade.

If you can't understand how a person has the right to gripe about paying for a product / service and not have that service work properly, you're a fool, and I mean that in the very nicest way.

I get it... DRM is bad. I agree, wholeheartedly. That said, if a product is marketed to work properly with DRM'd ebooks, it should work with them. I have non-drm'd epubs that also exhibit the same issue. Should I, as the customer, *have* to edit a file just to get a book to display properly?

In short, please pick a valid reason to get on your soapbox. My purchase of a DRM'd ebook, as part of a test to see if something worked properly, doesn't negate the fact that the Kobo reader should have adjustable margins.

Do you own a car? If you do, and if it's made in the past 20 years, I can guarantee you that the ECU in it is running proprietary code. If the throttle stuck on your car tomorrow, due to a software error, and caused you to get in an accident, would I be justified in saying "You really don't have any reason to complain?"
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Old 12-31-2010, 01:07 PM   #4
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and yet, you're the one whining about not being able to use your device freely...

oh and I love the tired defacto car analogy that has nothing to do with anything. It never fails with you guys. You give your money to companies who develop technology for the sole purpose of locking in their "market share" and then you start shooting the messenger any time someone comes along with some practical advice on how to empower yourself.

Anyway, enjoy your DRM and your freedom-restricting wares. Good luck with that and happy new year.
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:01 PM   #5
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I'm well aware of how your ilk hate arguments that make sense. I've actually been on your side, before I decided not to be some sort of proselytizing tool that kept preaching in threads where it made no real sense to do so :P

Now go drink your Koolaid and read the books from only relatively unknown authors that are legally available in a DRM free format.

The rest of us that are actually attempting to compensate authors that we like to read for their work would like Kobo to allow margin control and "go to page" functionality.

I daresay we'd like this functionality in both our DRM protected ebooks and our DRM free ebooks.


Happy New Year
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Old 12-31-2010, 06:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electragician View Post
I was able to install ADE on my Windows PC and pull the file to the Kobo. It worked great, but the margins were far too large. I get to reading on these forums and find that seems to be a fairly common thing, and probably dependent on the software that was used to create the epub (I think?). Anyway, it was irritating. Seriously.

Calibre supports it, which is just freakin' awesome.

100% with ya electragician. I was on the recent beta team and griped repeatedly about it myself. The fix would be so trivial (regardless of what the resident trolls say). Only thing I can figure is the publishers don't like kobo messing with their EPUBs so the issues are contractual.

The only effective workaround for now is to strip DRM (EPUB DRM is trivially easy to break) and use Calibre to reformat the book. This definitely should not be something an eReader user has to deal with, but that's where we are.
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:39 PM   #7
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Uhh, ignoring some of the argumentative inanity above I will say this:

electragician, I have also run in to the badly formatted ePubs thing. The World Without Us (purchased on Borders.com) and Doubt: A History both have GIGANTIC margins. Initially, I am annoyed. After some reflection I'm just trying to not care. We will see. After also having ADE related difficulties with God's Problem by Bart Ehrman I was about one small skip and a mouse click away from thrusting my carcass in the direction of Amazon.com and simply purchasing the printed material.

Also, I read my first eBook on a Palm M105! It feels like such a long time ago.

(Upcoming Weasel Words) Many people (End Weasel Words), say that eBooks are still in their infancy. They are wrong. eBooks are decades old. They are just having a hard time reaching puberty. Call it stunted growth. It just seems like no one in the book world really cared all that much. When they found out profit can be had like so much pirate booty I imagine many a board room across the skin of our planet resembled:

CEO: "So, what's this errr, "E" book thing?
CIO: "Books in digital format."
CEO: "We could be the first?"
CIO: "Not really, they've been around since... well, since computers have been around really."
CEO: "Hmm. I notice we are making a little profit on these. Wait. Wait. Wait!"
CIO: "..."
CEO: "Holy crap! We're making profit on these? Like, honest to god money?! AND we can dictate quite literally how people breathe when they are anywhere near our licensed products? OH OH OH, we can license books?! We don't have to print out an entire volume and sell that to someone and turn a blind eye while they blink in any fashion they desire while looking at it and turning however many pages at a time they want including "flipping"? And that incidental look at our book by Grandma over the shoulder of junior: we might be able to punish that legally?
CIO: "Well, we should try to be fai..."
CEO: "Get me the latest issue of Good Housekeeping and point me to the nearest restroom!"

Or something like that.

Last edited by Anthem; 12-31-2010 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 12-31-2010, 10:03 PM   #8
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I think the day is coming when book publishers are definitely going to die off. They are, for the most part, unnecessary. The internet and digital distribution completely nullify their existence, and I think what we're seeing is an industry in it's death throes, with the DRM lock-in being one last desperate attempt for them to keep a stranglehold on the market, even if only for a while longer.

The shakeout has been taking place in the brick and mortar bookstores for a while now, and the publishers will be next. Just today I read that Border's Books was missing payments to publishers and trying to conserve cash while refinancing debt.

That's fancy talk for "Don't look for Borders to still be around in 2012, unless serious changes are made." They already can't pay their bills. http://dailyherald.com/article/20101...ess/101239938/

Isn't Border's part owner of Kobo? Who the hell knows what's going to happen with that.
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Old 01-01-2011, 12:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3d0g View Post
The only effective workaround for now is to strip DRM (EPUB DRM is trivially easy to break) and use Calibre to reformat the book. This definitely should not be something an eReader user has to deal with, but that's where we are.
Right but we're only *here* because of people like you who are supporting the DRM industry with your money in the first place. Are you seriously advocating the practice of breaking/stripping DRM?!? Maybe you're new here but there's a little thing called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. So when you break DRM, you're actually breaking the law and giving Big Content another statistic to use as they lobby for more and more political backing to support their agenda.

Here's a better idea; don't buy the !@$! in the first place. Stop using dumbed down terminology like "DRM protected" when you should be using "DRM restricted" or at the very least, "DRM controlled". Stop *accepting* the way you think things *are* and actually do something about it to bring you closer to where you want to be without forcing yourself to commit illegal acts.
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Old 01-01-2011, 01:53 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windowsrefund View Post
I just don't understand the gripe if you're going to consciously use tools that are specifically designed to control what you can and can't do. Bottom line is, if you're using Windows, OSX, Adobe's wares (ADE and the rest of the DRM gang), and others, you're really not in control of anything. By using these tools, you're at the mercy of what these vendors *allow* you to do..
He-he! I knew it would take a second or two to light the fire!
Aside I don't care if someone uses operating system of choice and books
of particular origin, it is not wrong to have computer and reader free of
stuff like that. Personally, I do. And I have surprise every time I encounter
"silo". The whole situation reminds me of change in computer screen ra-
tio. From native 4:3 it went to 16:10. Finally, someone found it not good
enough and now you could get only 16:9. Man! Whenever I use node with
such a screen, I feel just irritation. I do understand why people try to get
rid of book control files. Paperbooks are more natural than this. And I
cannot get the point of waiting to read library book in e format. Since it
does not exist as an object, why tease people to wait to read?
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Old 01-01-2011, 10:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windowsrefund View Post
Right but we're only *here* because of people like you who are supporting the DRM industry with your money in the first place. Are you seriously advocating the practice of breaking/stripping DRM?!? Maybe you're new here but there's a little thing called the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. So when you break DRM, you're actually breaking the law and giving Big Content another statistic to use as they lobby for more and more political backing to support their agenda.

Here's a better idea; don't buy the !@$! in the first place. Stop using dumbed down terminology like "DRM protected" when you should be using "DRM restricted" or at the very least, "DRM controlled". Stop *accepting* the way you think things *are* and actually do something about it to bring you closer to where you want to be without forcing yourself to commit illegal acts.
Sorry troll. Ain't gonna feed ya.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:49 PM   #12
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Just as a follow up:

I have actually been working the issue with large margins on purchased books from Google Books, from both ends. I'm sure I'm covering the exact same ground as others, but none-the-less I wanted to make sure I had given out as much information as possible about this.

Here's an email I received today from Google Books support. They just basically washed their hands of the entire thing, and threw it in the Kobo folk's lap

The actual form I filled out for request had limited choices, so I filed it under "bad scan quality" but explained that it was a margin issue. The lady seems to have grasped the issue, but apparently there's nothing they can (or will) do on their end.


Quote:
Google Books to me
show details 5:32 AM (11 hours ago)

Hello,

Thanks for your message. I checked our records and found that "A Game of
Thrones" has an epub file available for download. This file type should
allow margins to be adjustable to the users preferences. You can see this
yourself if you open the book in our web reader and click on the "Aa"
reading settings menu.

Since you are unable to change the margins of this book on your Kobo
Wireless Ereader, I am unable to help you further. I advise you to contact
the Kobo Helpdesk at help@kobobooks.com .

Thank you for your understanding.

Sincerely,

Amanda
The Google Books Team

-----
Have an idea for Google eBooks? View and vote on our most commonly
suggested features at http://goo.gl/DZDVH.
Spot a problem? View our list of known issues and tell us if you are
experiencing one of these at http://goo.gl/Caz8x.



Original Message Follows:
------------------------
From: electragician@gmail.com
Subject: Reporting a book with bad scan quality
Date: Sat, 01 Jan 2011 03:51:48 +0000

>
>
> 180533_q: An error in the display of book pages
> 180537_q: Bad page quality (blurry images, obscured text, etc...)
> AutoDetectedBrowser: Google Chrome 9
> AutoDetectedOS: Windows 7
> IssueType: bad_scan
> Language: en
> app_version:
> bookURL_optional:
>
http://books.google.com/ebooks?id=bt...store_bookcard
> book_author_hidden:
> book_title: A Game of Thrones
> error_description: Margins are too large and cannot be adjusted on Kobo

> Wireless Ereader
> image_vs_flowing:
> issue_source:
> page_number_optional: All
> published_is:
> reading_position:
> volume_id:
>

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Old 01-03-2011, 06:26 PM   #13
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I have complained to Borders about this very issue - poor formatting of purchased ebooks as opposed to really good formatting in free EPUBs. They were sympathetic but are at the mercy of the book publishers. I think just complain, complain, complain and threaten to not buy their books. Eventually some bright spark in their Sales dept. will use this as an excuse for their poor sales figures and the publishers will be told to smarten up.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:40 PM   #14
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Have you tried adjusting margins from Calibre? Rt. click on the book title, chose tweak, explode ePUB, and then fiddle with the settings within the CSS. Close it out and rebuild. I know we should not have to do this, but it is what works for me.
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Old 01-03-2011, 08:07 PM   #15
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Taming, I have done that for some epubs, but this is a purchased, DRM protected file.

Don't get me wrong, I *can* fix it... I'm just trying to give the Kobo folks a friendly reminder that they need to focus on adding this functionality to their reading device.

I appreciate the input though, all the same.
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