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Old 09-20-2007, 03:18 PM   #16
NatCh
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Old 09-20-2007, 03:20 PM   #17
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Hehe. No really, I knew. Funny how the Internets work, sometimes.
Whew, I'm glad of that, WilliamG.
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Old 09-20-2007, 04:08 PM   #18
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Someone should tell Bookeen that Mobipocket is JAVA based - of course I wasn't expecting that someone do an EXACT port of Iliad's version, just *some* port of Mobipocket functionality. And as others have pointed out, there's no reason one *needs* a mouse or TS-screen, just make the jogwheel/compass function in its place. After all, it 'could' be read as 'move cursor right/left/up/down'... Something to think about.

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Sadly, neither would be straightforward.

FBReader is "icon" driven and needs a mouse or a touch sensitive screen to drive it. You'd need to completely re-design the user interface for a machine like the Reader which doesn't have a touch screen.

The iLiad Mobipocket Reader would be even harder, because it's Java-based, and the Reader doesn't have a JVM.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings .
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:48 PM   #19
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At the risk of sounding like the bearer of doom, I make this thread.

Bear in mind, first, that I love my Reader, and my wife loves hers.

That said, with the even greater rumblings of a near-release Amazon reader, and the complete lack of a user-base for the current PRS-500, does anyone think the reader (Sony's) is going away?
We are yet unsure of the Kindle's functionality. It's possible that the Kindle may only be able to download and read books purchased via Amazon's website. That would limit it's functionality in a lot of people's eyes (mine included). There are a lot of Sony Reader users. Tiger Direct sells out, Sony sells out.. etc. Plus a lot did sell via the credit card offer (get me my card now). My mother-in-law will have one once I manage to get one via the credit card offer. So yes, the reader exists in the real world.

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I truly feel like my wife and I are the only people in the world who own a Reader. I've never, ever, ever met anyone else (and I travel a lot by plane) who owns one.
It could be that where you live and the places you go, you just don't see anyone else with one. I too am one that doesn't see others reading on a Sony Reader. But then again, I don't see iLiads, Cybooks (any model), jinke (any modle), or any other dedicated reading devices. Going by your logic, all dedicated readers are on the way out. Just because I don't see others on public transport reading one is no indication. I see a lot of people reading the free papers handed out at the train stations. Maybe they prefer to read them and their readers are sitting in their bags.

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The Reader software is pretty crappy. We have all these buttons and Sony refuse to support the darn thing! Hello Sony! I'd like my 1 through 0 buttons to do more than select my book and send me various percentages of the way through my books! How about *gasp* being able to press 264 to get to page 264!?
I don't think the reader's software is crappy. The hacks do make it better, but as it was, it worked fine to read my books.

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Add to this the absolutely atrocious Connect store that Sony seem almost adamant on not doing anything about. Combines these thing, and it feels like the Reader is just dying a really, really slow death.
Have you recently been to the Connect Store? I think it's come a long way since it started. It actually has features that it was sorely lacking. And now I am seeing new releases that even some of the other ebook shops don't have. And the prices are LOWER then MobiPocket's.

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Then again, there's this rumored PRS-505, so who really knows?
If I was planning on buying a new reader at full price, I would wait for the 505 and get one of those.

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I just feel it. I feel the Reader disappearing into oblivion, despite liking the darn thing so much.
Given your logic here, ALL READERS are "disappearing into oblivion". So why would Jinke come out with the V3, Cybook with the Gen3, iLiad with V2.0 and Sony with the PRS505, Amazon with the Kindle? Makes no sence to support dedicated ebook readers when they are all not going to be around for very long. And I don't think Borders would partner up with Sony if they thought it was all going away. Obviously sales have been strong enough that Borders now wants to get into the ebook side and not just the hardware side. Amazon feels it's strong enough since they purchased MobiPocket and have the Kindle coming out. And the others are along for the ride since they see ebooks as a good thing too. I'm sorry you feel reading ebooks is going to go away just because you don't see anyone else doing it.
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:51 PM   #20
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Living just outside of Washington, DC you meet all sorts of people. Several of those that I have met had their own Sony Readers. One gentleman I work with has his own Reader.

I have also seen iLiads and even a FlyBook. If anything ebooks are getting bigger.
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Old 09-21-2007, 03:38 AM   #21
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Someone should tell Bookeen that Mobipocket is JAVA based - of course I wasn't expecting that someone do an EXACT port of Iliad's version, just *some* port of Mobipocket functionality.
I didn't say that all MobiPocket implementations are Java-based, just that the iLiad one is. It is, I believe, the only one that is. That makes it (in theory) the most portable version, but only to platforms which have a JVM. Unfortunately the Reader doesn't have a JVM.
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Old 09-21-2007, 05:56 PM   #22
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I don't know. I know 4 people that have them, and they love the things. I only have about 650 books on mine. Better PDF support is the only thing I really need. I was disappointed when the firmware 'upgrade' restricted my access to the files on the box. I'd like better MAC/LINUX support, but I usually just load files as .rtf to the SD card, and go from there.

Has anyone had a problem where an RTF file looks good on the host machine (in this case, a Powerbook G4), but refuses to load onto the SD card? Seems to be without rhyme nor reason, but is annoying.
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Old 09-22-2007, 11:24 AM   #23
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Just thought I'd interject a brief analogy with this device and another device that didn't initially jump mainstream... the Palm Pilot.

When this device first came out, not many people used it and the user-base was quite low. I saw it for what it could do and embraced it quite readily. Now, 13 years later there are a ton of devices that, initially, mimicked the device and eventually evolved into their own. While I cannot draw correlations with the original Palm Pilot developer, Palm Computing (a division of US Robotics), and mega-bucks $ony, it did start as a good idea that eventually evolved into many of the devices you see today; i.e., mobile phones PDA's, stand-alone PDA's, and their ilk.

The way I see it is that Sony sparked the fire by jumping back in with an eReader and supporting it somewhat through its infancy. They could have ignored it and settled things by moving on after their aborted Librie fiasco, but someone very smart in their enterprise saw the potential of such a device and look at things now, there are quite a few clones popping up and many happy users.

I know it's not right to make a statement to the effect that Sony pioneered the eReader movement, they didn't, but they have given it quite a push that will see it to it's inevitable fruition.

I'll tell you what though, if I worked for Adobe I'd pitch a device that supported their format and tailor it just right; just imagine what kind of device they could have and the potential for revenue it could generate. Amazon is smart, they saw the eBook revolution coming and jumped on a wave as soon as they saw it (let's just hope they don't get tossed too hard for their crappy prototype! Yikes, were they the lowest bidders?)

Bottom Line: Don't give up hope. For me, this device has become so much more extensible with the tools I've found and used since joining this forum. It will never die until superseded by a greater tool/device.
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Old 09-22-2007, 12:37 PM   #24
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I'll tell you what though, if I worked for Adobe I'd pitch a device that supported their format and tailor it just right; just imagine what kind of device they could have and the potential for revenue it could generate. Amazon is smart, they saw the eBook revolution coming and jumped on a wave as soon as they saw it (let's just hope they don't get tossed too hard for their crappy prototype! Yikes, were they the lowest bidders?)
Great post. I'm not sure I agree with this part, though. Different industries take different kinds of expertise. Those abilities either take a long time to develop internally or they cost a lot to buy. Hardware companies need skills in product develop, manufacturing management, customer service, supply-chain management. Those are things that software companies don't have.

Software companies have their own special skill set, too. Their customer service is different, supply-chain is often electronic, which adds its own customer service burden. Project management and product development are very different those needed for hardware.

Then you've got service-oriented companies like Amazon, with a whole new set of skills. Amazon is good at moving boxes and managing suppliers. They've developed tons of expertise in Web development, usability, and data management.

I think that the last thing Adobe should do is try to get into the hardware business, unless they just go buy an existing manufacturer. Personally, I think Amazon is making a mistake trying to put out its own hardware. They can influence the supply of source material, they have a format/DRM infrastructure that's multi-device, and they have a gazillion customer eyeballs. They should stick with what they do best and try to get as many device makers as possible to play along.

Adobe should do the same thing. They should put their efforts into proselytizing for the format and selling tools that support it. That's what they're good at. It's how they took the market back from Quark. Quark went to sleep and Adobe went into fifth gear.

If an all-in-one attempt, like the one Amazon appears to be going for, fails, everyone sees e-books as a failed industry and a bad investment. If an e-book device maker fails, or an e-bookseller fails, or a format fails, the failure is isolated and the industry moves on.

Sony could make a run at the all-in-one solution because they're a little bit different. They already have expertise in hardware, software, and media. Yes, they have a reputation for format-locking and problematic customer service, but that reputation doesn't extend very far beyond the gadget community. Even the CD rootkit fiasco didn't go very far in the mainstream media.
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Old 09-22-2007, 02:36 PM   #25
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Good points and insight. Perhaps, then, they could conceivably form a joint venture with a company and develop a software component for the device so that it could produce more acceptable results. The only reason I mention Adobe so much is all of the PDF-format documents that are already available and how it has pretty much become the industry standard.

I guess Panasonic/Matsushita has already taken this approach with their WordsGear device. The component that is used to convert PDF's over to a WordsGear-compatible PDF was created by another company as well, Xelo (a company based in Japan).
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Old 09-22-2007, 03:26 PM   #26
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And there's no reason a JVM can't be installed on the reader (other than that the reader's CPU is probably to slow to handle a GUI written in an interpreted language)
Well, first you have a have a JVM for the architecture. Java is intended to be "Write once, run anywhere", with the compiled code being the same regardless of the hardware it runs on, and the JVM is expected to handle the hardware differences. So JVMs mist be carefully built and optimized for the platforms they run on.

But Java isn't exactly an interpreted language. Java compiles to a tokenized binary form called bytecode that is executed by the JVM, and Java compilers have steadily increased in sophistication, as have the JVMs. There are existing cases where Java apps under a JVM have outperformed equivalent applications written in C++.

My former cellphone was a Blackberry 7100t, which was Java based. My current PDA has a version of IBM's JVM for micro devices on it and successfully runs stuff like Opera Mini. Neither is a speed demon. (the PDA has a 200mhz ARM CPU. I don't recall the BB specs.)
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Old 09-22-2007, 05:40 PM   #27
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Hey I have nothing against Java, indeed most of my coding is done in Python, another interpreted language that is also "compiled" to bytecode before execution. But I do enough high performance computing to know that there is a significant hit both in terms of memory usage and speed to using an "interpreted" language. Whether that hit is significant enough to affect apps running on the PRS500, I don't know.
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:08 PM   #28
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Actuallly, a lot of UI code on Reader is pre-compiled ECMAScript (aka Javascript). You decide if the speed is good enough
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:12 PM   #29
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Hey I have nothing against Java, indeed most of my coding is done in Python, another interpreted language that is also "compiled" to bytecode before execution. But I do enough high performance computing to know that there is a significant hit both in terms of memory usage and speed to using an "interpreted" language. Whether that hit is significant enough to affect apps running on the PRS500, I don't know.
The point was simply that you had to have a JVM, that Java code could run quickly, and that Java wasn't an interpreted language in the sense of, say, BASIC.

There are cases where you really do need to resort to something like C++, or even hand crafted assembler for inner loops of computation intensive routines, but hardware is powerful enough these days to make Java a good solution for many tasks.

I don't know enough abut the specs on the Sny Reader to say how well a JVM might do on it. I recall fun back in the old Palm days, when people were trying to get a working JVM onto devices that had 8 to 16 MB of RAM, and ran at 16 or 33 mhz. SuperWaba is about the best of that lot, and they faced real challenges in slimming a JVM down to fit.
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Old 09-22-2007, 06:25 PM   #30
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Just thought I'd interject a brief analogy with this device and another device that didn't initially jump mainstream... the Palm Pilot.

When this device first came out, not many people used it and the user-base was quite low. I saw it for what it could do and embraced it quite readily. Now, 13 years later there are a ton of devices that, initially, mimicked the device and eventually evolved into their own. While I cannot draw correlations with the original Palm Pilot developer, Palm Computing (a division of US Robotics), and mega-bucks $ony, it did start as a good idea that eventually evolved into many of the devices you see today; i.e., mobile phones PDA's, stand-alone PDA's, and their ilk.

The way I see it is that Sony sparked the fire by jumping back in with an eReader and supporting it somewhat through its infancy. They could have ignored it and settled things by moving on after their aborted Librie fiasco, but someone very smart in their enterprise saw the potential of such a device and look at things now, there are quite a few clones popping up and many happy users.

I know it's not right to make a statement to the effect that Sony pioneered the eReader movement, they didn't, but they have given it quite a push that will see it to it's inevitable fruition.
We can hope. I think the critical issue will be timing.

After Palm pioneered the PDA market, and Handspring split off to do a budget PalmOS device line, Sony hopped in with the Clie, and produced a number of innovative devices with a large and devoted fan base. They got out of the PDA market because while the Clies made money, they didn't make enough money. Sony senior management looked at the return on their investment and concluded they could get a better return investing the money elsewhere.

I don't know what Sony's numbers look like on the Reader, and I assume they expect to take losses till the market opens up and the device becomes successful. The question is how long they are prepared to wait, and what they consider "success".

It's a two edged sword. On one hand, Sony is big and very well heeled, and can afford to make an investment to do this. On the other, they are big enough that revenues and profits that might make a smaller company quite happy will be insufficient to justify their continued involvement.

And Sony has had enough problems in recent years (and still is, with the Playstation 3) that management has become more hard nosed about expecting revenues and profits from operations, and is quicker to exit underperforming investments.
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