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Old 02-11-2011, 07:31 AM   #1
clangkamp
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Prospects for Academic/Scientific PDF reading in the coming year

Hi Everyone

I am looking to buy a large screen *device* to read Scientific papers which I have in PDF format. The question has been posed several times, but always with a one-off answer. My brother has an Ipad, my mum a Kindle3 (6''). I have tried both, but both don't fully do it in the medium run. At the moment I am reading on a 24'' screen, which sort of works, but not for long. The problem will stick as I just started a doctorate, and hence will be reading scientific stuff for the next 2+y

The Ipad is the integrated device, useful etc., but it is closed up, and the backlit part makes it difficult to read and concentrate for hours.

I love the kindle ink surface, but apart from reading you cannot do anything with it. And reading PDF scientific only works with a 90 ° Rotation, and then you only see a third of the page on the 6''. In particular I am missing fast scrolling, proper annotation, searching. The user interface is a desaster. Nevertheless it is perfect for actual reading- not straining the eye at all.

I don't want to buy my way through all the various items and incremental improvements (e.g. upgrading from a Kindle6'' to a Kindle DX), but would like to see whether there is likely to be a 'definitive device' coming online in the next 6-9 months (i.e. a Kindle4DX with better file management or even touchscreen, an Ipad with an ink surface, a netbook with a not-so eyestraining screen). Also one that is likely to last for the next 3 or 4 years without constant regrets.

So - what is the entourage edge thing like ?
What are the others current 9.7+ inch screens available ?
What is the likelihood of a device that is tailored to the academic community coming online ? I think the question might be rephrased as to whether there is the likelihood of a device with the potential to become a standard for the scientific community.
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Old 02-11-2011, 08:22 AM   #2
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I am thinking exactly about the same type of device and its use. As far as I can see, there will be some good devices with the backlit displays.

Regarding eink however, I do not see anything coming yet, mainly because of the lack of functionality. The only chance is something like Mirasol's fast color eink - if it becomes reality (big IF here) and the corresponding eink reader(s) would use one of the mainstream OS, then we have an answer. I guess we will know in 6-9 months (but we might learn then there is not going to be any non-backlit device for these purposes ever...).
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Old 02-11-2011, 10:51 AM   #3
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Pocketbook 902 or whatever the large version is called.

But personally I prefer the iPad with Stanza. I have all my publications to read classified in there and I do not have problems with it working only with iTunes (for adding pdfs) as I have two cables for syncing one at work and one at home (using the one for my ipod).

And... eye strain with the ipad?... If you're reading scientific pdfs you should be used to read on the screen >_> The only valid reason for ditching the feminine-hygiene-product-named thing is because it's a huge, INMENSE source of temptation and distraction that you have to ignore... *goes back to Angry Birds* =P
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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Eye Strain with Ipad

"And... eye strain with the ipad?... If you're reading scientific pdfs you should be used to read on the screen "
I am in principle used to read on the screen, indeed I have two 24'' monitors, and that sort of works quite well. It is just that I find actual paper a lot more relaxing, and am now looking for something like that.
Chances are I will inherit the ipad if my - slightly more gadgety brother - decides the Ipad II is worth his attention. On the other hand - I would love to have as said a plain reading device for the papers where I do not need to switch on the PC, which I can read in a cafe, on a train etc.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:45 AM   #5
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For now, you can have a look at the Sony PRS-950, the Adam ink with Pixel Qi technology, the Kindle DXG and the Pocketbook 902 / 903. The Adam ink is new, so I can't tell you much about it, although it looks promising. The 950 seems like it has the functionality that you need (scrolling, annotation, search), but you'd have to view your PDFs in landscape mode. The Kindle DXG has a fantastic looking large screen, but is lacking in PDF functions (no annotation, no hyperlinks, dictionary, etc.) The Pocketbook devices, like the DX, have a 9.7 inch screen, but don't have a Pearl screen, but rather a vizplex e-ink screen, with slightly lower contrast than the DX.

As for any upcoming devices - I can't help you there, I wish I could. I'm a PHD student as well (I'm just finishing off my dissertation, though), and I would love a device for reading scientific papers; this was (part of) the reason I bought my 6-inch Sony reader, only 2 years ago; I do read PDFs on it, but it isn't always the most pleasant experience. I'd love to get a device just for my PDFs, but nothing on the market seems to fit my needs; I'll likely end up getting the Kindle DXG, and pray that Sony comes out with a 9.7 inch reader next year. It's gotten to the point where I figure I'm better off making do with what's on the market now, as I've been waiting for something to fit my needs for several years, and nothing has come up yet. The closest fit would have been the discontinued Irex DR1000; if I ever come across a used one selling for a decent price, I would love to pick to up.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:00 AM   #6
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I have been looking at the Entourage Edge for myself, and find it quite intriguing. You might want to browse their forum (http://www.entourageedge.com/forums/forum.php) to read how other academics use their Edges.

My concerns about buying an EE or the smaller Pocket Edge are: the e-ink side isn't pearl e-ink; the product might be due for an update (to include 3G?); the dictionary is on the LCD side and not available directly through e-ink (I could be wrong about this); and the e-ink side does not rotate into landscape view (although there are work-arounds for pdf viewing in landscape).

Also, I can't make up my mind whether I want the small portable Pocket Edge or the usefully large original Edge! But you wouldn't have that problem.
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Old 02-13-2011, 03:35 AM   #7
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I'm waiting on this vaporware.
http://www.noteslate.com/
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Old 02-13-2011, 05:10 AM   #8
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I'm waiting on this vaporware.
http://www.noteslate.com/
I'd forgotten about that one! It does seem a little too good to be true.
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:17 AM   #9
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I'm waiting on this vaporware.
http://www.noteslate.com/
Of course you ARE aware that that is NOT an ereader, are you not? That thing is just for taking notes and finito...
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Old 02-14-2011, 07:23 AM   #10
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Of course you ARE aware that that is NOT an ereader, are you not? That thing is just for taking notes and finito...
It will (apparently) be able to read PDFs, and it has a really large (13 inches, if I remember correctly) screen.
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Old 02-14-2011, 04:51 PM   #11
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It will (apparently) be able to read PDFs, and it has a really large (13 inches, if I remember correctly) screen.
Quote:
NoteSlate is operated by own NS Firmware ver.0.7, which is just for basic drawings. There is also option for mp3 playback from headphones. In the future we will have option for NS Firmware 1.5 free upgrade of simple *.pdf text viewer / reader under Adobe license and we are preparing OCR recognition for written text. Part of NS Firmware will be published as open source for general usage.
Interesting... but why mp3 playback!? I would drop that. It just makes it more (unnecessarily) expensive. And I'm pretty sure I won't use it as I don't use the mp3 functionality on my PRS-505 or even on my ipad.

Last edited by darknessangel; 02-14-2011 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 02-14-2011, 10:58 PM   #12
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I am finishing my dis and I like my Pocketbook 602 for text pdfs. I have to imagine that the PB 903 would be really great.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:35 PM   #13
clangkamp
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Noteslate

I have looked at the Noteslate and it looks just like the one thing I want.

Large screen, cheap, no additional nonsense.
It will however remain to be seen whether the PDF reading is actually clear and how the file management works (i.e. what happens if you put 100 PDFs on it.)

Given that around that time the Ipad 2 and the HP tablet will be out and maybe some specs are available for the Kindle 4 DX, it should be a time when one can choose and the competition is fully released.

But I have to say it looks appealing.
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Old 02-15-2011, 06:37 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by clangkamp View Post
I have looked at the Noteslate and it looks just like the one thing I want.

Large screen, cheap, no additional nonsense.
It will however remain to be seen whether the PDF reading is actually clear and how the file management works (i.e. what happens if you put 100 PDFs on it.)

Given that around that time the Ipad 2 and the HP tablet will be out and maybe some specs are available for the Kindle 4 DX, it should be a time when one can choose and the competition is fully released.

But I have to say it looks appealing.
It's probably not exactly what I want, but close enough that I might hold out on getting a DX.
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Old 02-18-2011, 05:46 AM   #15
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Why in the world would anyone insist on being able to take notes on a reading device? This is the wrong direction, and plays directly into the hands of the marketeers who are only interested in producing fancier and fancier devices that promise everything and deliver -- by definition almost -- insufficiently, so that the prices are maintained or increased with every new "improvement." NO! For crissakes all you need is paper and pencil to take notes! You don't need to take notes and underline, etc. on a reading device anymore than you need to underline or write in the margins of paper books (and shame on you if you do that -- or why not engage for paper books with amazingly expandable margins and so on...). Here is what I want and I think all of us would be perfectly satisfied with if we get off the "upgrade" carousel:

1. A CHEAP e-ink reader that will display all sorts of texts as well as paper. NOT in color! (How books for adults are in color?)
2. Paper and pencil.

Go ahead and scream. Then we will know where you are coming from!
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