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Old 06-17-2007, 11:53 AM   #1
bookish
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Functionality

I have about 4gb of reference material that I use in my job in IT. I have amassed it over the last dozen years and it is in the formats of PDF, HTML, and .doc for the most part. I have a mouseover menu system written in Javascript that I use to organize and access it. I can convert the doc files to PDF or RTF so they would not necessarily pose a problem.

But in addition to needing a reader to be able to display all of the formats I have listed I also need it to be able to support Javascript. So my primary concern/questions will be, When a device is reported to support HTML, will that also mean it will also support Javascript? And further, will it come with some sort of a browser?

I am new to the eReader concept but I have had more than a dozen Handhelds, PDAs and most recently UPCs over the years in my quest for the perfect documentation repository/viewer. There is a lot about the eReaders that would lend themselves toward meeting my particular requirements, but from what little I've read I think limitations in PDF and HTML functionalites, especially the latter might be the biggest hurdles to overcome. Can someone speak to the HTML/Javascript/Browser question?

Thanks so much.
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Old 06-17-2007, 01:46 PM   #2
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So my primary concern/questions will be, When a device is reported to support HTML, will that also mean it will also support Javascript? And further, will it come with some sort of a browser?
You need to read the spec of the device to find out for sure, but generally if a bookreader "supports" HTML that's just "dumb" support for displaying it, generally with internal hyperlinks within the document "active", but that's it. Certainly no Javascript!

Sounds as though you need a full-blown web-browser - perhaps a Tablet PC might suit your needs better than a dedicated eBook reader?
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Old 06-17-2007, 02:02 PM   #3
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Actually, there is some sort of HTML and java (not sure on javascript) compatibility in the iLiad. I suggest asking more in the iRex forum as well as reading in there to see if the iLiad would be the device you might find fits your needs,
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Old 06-17-2007, 03:21 PM   #4
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You need to read the spec of the device to find out for sure, but generally if a bookreader "supports" HTML that's just "dumb" support for displaying it, generally with internal hyperlinks within the document "active", but that's it. Certainly no Javascript!

Sounds as though you need a full-blown web-browser - perhaps a Tablet PC might suit your needs better than a dedicated eBook reader?
Thanks but as you stated reading the specs does not always provide clear answers to specific questions surrounding functionality.

I actually have a Sony UX280P uPC, but it's not light (or exactly pocketable), and it doesn't have instant on capability. Oh, and its battery life is atrociously short. Aside from those drawbacks it does provide the functionality that I need. But I'm looking for the best of all worlds I guess. I will be looking closely at the new HTC Advantage 7501 and more specifically whether or not Windows Mobile 6's Pocket apps (eg Excel and Word) have finally gone beyond their archaic "two-levels only" directory capability. I doubt they have, and that's why I'm also looking into eReaders. As for the Advantage with Mobile 5 it has (for me) the perfect screen size of 5 inches, has instant on capability and it is very light and modestly pocketable.

I've alway been at a loss to understand why large companies do not listen more to the users of their own and similar devices and try to meet the needs and wants of users that are so freely expressed on sites such as this. I have never seen a wish list that contained anything that wasn't to be found on one device or another, but the search is still on for the perfect PDA, UMPC, eReader, etc that meets all desires. There has never been a hardware manufacture that has partnered with a software company to hit a grand slam in this regard. So we keep looking, and buying. Then again, I s'pose the latter could be the answer to why the perfect device has never been made.

Last edited by bookish; 06-17-2007 at 03:37 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-17-2007, 03:24 PM   #5
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Actually, there is some sort of HTML and java (not sure on javascript) compatibility in the iLiad. I suggest asking more in the iRex forum as well as reading in there to see if the iLiad would be the device you might find fits your needs,
Thanks, but unlike most who seem drawn to the Iliad, I want a smaller screen size so as to make the device more pocketable.
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Old 06-18-2007, 02:35 AM   #6
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I've alway been at a loss to understand why large companies do not listen more to the users of their own and similar devices and try to meet the needs and wants of users that are so freely expressed on sites such as this.
Large companies spent enormous amounts of money on user feedback before launching devices, and certainly do tailor them to the needs of the user. I suspect the problem is that users of forums such as this do not represent the "typical" user.

One much-discussed example: why do you suppose it is that the Sony Reader, like Windows Mobile, does not present the user with a full "hierarchical" view of the filing system when loading or saving files? Does anyone really believe that Sony or Microsoft are incapable of programming a hierarchical file system? Of course that's not the reason! Their market research has told that the hierarchical file system is confusing to the "man in the street", who finds a "flat" file list a lot easier to understand, so we get a flat file list. People then come on forums like this and say "why can't we have a hierarchical file system?", but we are not the "typical" user as far as Sony or Microsoft are concerned.
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:16 AM   #7
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Large companies spent enormous amounts of money on user feedback before launching devices, and certainly do tailor them to the needs of the user. I suspect the problem is that users of forums such as this do not represent the "typical" user.

One much-discussed example: why do you suppose it is that the Sony Reader, like Windows Mobile, does not present the user with a full "hierarchical" view of the filing system when loading or saving files? Does anyone really believe that Sony or Microsoft are incapable of programming a hierarchical file system? Of course that's not the reason! Their market research has told that the hierarchical file system is confusing to the "man in the street", who finds a "flat" file list a lot easier to understand, so we get a flat file list. People then come on forums like this and say "why can't we have a hierarchical file system?", but we are not the "typical" user as far as Sony or Microsoft are concerned.
I would hazard a guess and say they are underestimating their user base. And that they are dumbing down their devices to the point where they are less usable than they could or should be. I'm very glad that I started this topic because it is now clear to me that in addition to Sony's failure to support html, their use of a non-hierarchical filesystem will prevent me from buying one of their current readers.

Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student. I think that when the majority of kids get beyond this early age they do understand the concept of files and folders (if not the term hierachical), and the value of using the latter to conveniently and efficiently store and access the former. At least mine do. It does not make sense to me for Windows Mobile or any other OS to provide the capability of supporting gigabytes of space, yet not provide the ability to efficiently store things in that space. It would be akin to going to the hardware store to buy a specific nut or bolt and having to sift through one giant bin in order to find it among thousands of others that were of different sizes.

Does anyone know if the existing Cybook also fails to provide the ability store and access documents in a hierchical manner? Or the upcoming model for that matter?

Thank you Harry for pointing out this very important aspect of the Sony to me!

Last edited by bookish; 06-18-2007 at 11:24 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 06-18-2007, 11:45 AM   #8
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Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student.
Heh, perhaps they got that idea from watching current popular game shows.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:14 PM   #9
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I would hazard a guess and say they are underestimating their user base. And that they are dumbing down their devices to the point where they are less usable than they could or should be. I'm very glad that I started this topic because it is now clear to me that in addition to Sony's failure to support html, their use of a non-hierarchical filesystem will prevent me from buying one of their current readers.
To clarify: The Reader supports a hierarchical file system - it uses a standard FAT file system. What it does - exactly like Windows Mobile devices - is to provide you with a "flat" view of the contents of the "folder tree" when you come to open a file. You can put files on the machine - at least using a memory card - using whatever folder structure you wish.

Quote:
Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student. I think that when the majority of kids get beyond this early age they do understand the concept of files and folders (if not the term hierachical), and the value of using the latter to conveniently and efficiently store and access the former.
I must respectfully disagree. Some years ago I gave my parents (now both in their mid 70s) an old PC for things like Word Processing. Despite my explaining the use of folders, they store everything in "My Documents". Many people do this - non-computer people find folders "scary" and lose stuff.

It would probably harm Sony's reputation greatly if people kept phoning support and saying "I can't find the book I've downloaded" because they'd put it in a folder and lost it, and that is what people do with folders - I speak from experience!

Quote:
Does anyone know if the existing Cybook also fails to provide the ability store and access documents in a hierchical manner? Or the upcoming model for that matter?
The existing CyBook, as a Windows CE machine, behaves like all Windows CE machines and shows you a flat file list. Don't know what the new one will do, but it wouldn't amaze me if it did the same.


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Thank you Harry for pointing out this very important aspect of the Sony to me!
You're very welcome!
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:20 PM   #10
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It would be nice if they buried a "Use Hierarchical File Display" somewhere in the settings, that way, only those who actually wanted it would ever dig deep enough to even know it was there, and it wouldn't bother anyone else.
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Old 06-18-2007, 12:24 PM   #11
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The problem is, it seems no ebook reader with eink is perfect. They all have their flaws. And I still see this happening with the new readers too. They don't ask the people what they want.
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Old 06-18-2007, 01:02 PM   #12
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The problem is, it seems no ebook reader with eink is perfect. They all have their flaws.
Too true. I'd say that the Reader is about 95% of my own needs, which is why I'm so happy with it: so few things come anywhere nearly that close.
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Old 06-18-2007, 01:06 PM   #13
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It would be nice if they buried a "Use Hierarchical File Display" somewhere in the settings, that way, only those who actually wanted it would ever dig deep enough to even know it was there, and it wouldn't bother anyone else.
Agreed, but then people would start wanting a file manager too, to move stuff around...
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Old 06-18-2007, 01:07 PM   #14
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Heh, we already want that, HarryT.
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Old 06-18-2007, 08:42 PM   #15
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Perhaps Sony and MS are mistaking the man in the street with a 4th grade student.
I get the sense that you've never been in any sort of tech support position. You might retract that statement if you were.

HarryT,
Does the reader really use a FAT file system? I'd be quite surprised if this were the case as the OS is embedded Linux and FAT is an MS filesystem. I noticed on the Sony website that one could download the source code too.
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