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Old 09-04-2011, 07:08 PM   #1
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Just another guy looking for experienced help

The more I read about ereaders, the more confused I become. I do have a few thoughts about what I would like to find, but I feel it isn't available yet, so why not ask y'all and let you tell me what options there might be.

I do like to read, or I did, but as I get older I am just about to the "large print" stage of my life. I have all but given up on paperbacks.

I thought an e-ink reader might be a solution. I know for sure that a tablet (LCD) is out of the question. LCD hurts my eyes, all LCD hurts my eyes. At home, at work and everywhere where I use an LCD, they hurt my eyes. It would have to be an e-ink reader. I have tried a kindle 2 and found that it worked for me by enlarging the font. It didn't hurt my eyes.

I don't want a kindle because of the fact that I do not believe in their tactics. I want a reader where I can choose who I buy from and where I go to get books, be it the library, gutenburg or an online retail seller. I will not be satisfied just buying from only one place, nor will I be forced to do that, by the etailer.

I would imagine that I would have to find an e-ink reader that can be rooted to use android. I do not like the B&N color reader. I want black & white. I do not want to "Touch" my screen, I want to "Touch" buttons and leave the screen alone. I do not want to surf, or phone home, or email someone, or read the sad daily news. I just want to read books. I have a computer for the rest of the stuff and I am old enough that I don't want to me "mobile". I just want to read books of my choosing, when & where I want to read them.

I'm sure that is asking too much, but have at it and let me know what options I have. Most of the "cheap e-ink readers" I see can't be rooted to use Andriod Market or I would just buy one. Money is at a premium, especially with a fixed income, so I cannot go for some expensive toy. I really would love to have a new Kindle 3, but I do not think it can be altered to use Android (which I understand is the only way to use all the apps currently offered by B&N, Amazon and others). I want to be able to use apps to download and read from most on the online places available and I do not want to mess with removing DRM. I hate DRM, but I understand the need for it due to "publisher paranoia". I just don't like big brother much...

Any thoughts on my options at this point?
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Old 09-04-2011, 07:21 PM   #2
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I don't want a kindle because of the fact that I do not believe in their tactics. I want a reader where I can choose who I buy from and where I go to get books, be it the library, gutenburg or an online retail seller. I will not be satisfied just buying from only one place, nor will I be forced to do that, by the etailer.
I think you misunderstand something about the Kindle. You can get books from Gutenberg, Baen, Smashwords, etc, and library book borrowing is coming soon.

All ebooks available are available from either Amazon or one of the ePubs. All the ePub sellers have the same books, not separate sets of books, and you can get the same books from Amazon.

They don't limit you any more than Sony, or Barnes & Noble, etc.

Amazon customer service is excellent, and they allow you to return books, which no other ebook seller does.

Now, if you really want Android, that's fine, just wanted to make sure you understand the real situation with ebooks.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:21 PM   #3
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I think you misunderstand something about the Kindle. You can get books from Gutenberg, Baen, Smashwords, etc, and library book borrowing is coming soon.

All ebooks available are available from either Amazon or one of the ePubs. All the ePub sellers have the same books, not separate sets of books, and you can get the same books from Amazon.

They don't limit you any more than Sony, or Barnes & Noble, etc.

Amazon customer service is excellent, and they allow you to return books, which no other ebook seller does.

Now, if you really want Android, that's fine, just wanted to make sure you understand the real situation with ebooks.
Thank you Susan, so you are saying that Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the exact same books at the same prices? I guess I don't understand, since I find ebooks at Amazon that B&N do not offer and visa versa, so that is why I want to get books from both of them, or even some of the other etailers.

If they all have the same books, that is great news for me, since the searches I have done so far, show that they all offer some different books and some the same.

I did not know I could go to free book sites and get them on kindle. I thought kindle was only for amazon. How would one get the books on kindle? Manual download and some type of file format changing? I can't just go to the sites and use them as is can I? Also kindle does not allow for an SD card?, so where would I store the books? Internal memory is way too small for that??

Also can't Amazon pull books off your private kindle bookshelf whenever they wish? I understand they have done it before. If I buy a book, it's mine and if I buy a download I expect it to be mine as well, or I don't want to pay for it. If they can just take them back when they wish, then it's more like renting and that's way too expensive.

Sorry if I am blunt, but I don't know any other way and sorry if I don't know the whole story, just what I read here & there on the net. I remember reading a big to do about Amazon stripping people's kindle books and not reimbursing them for the books they lost. Was that real or a hoax?
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:55 PM   #4
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To answer a couple of your questions:

1) The book selection, availability, and pricing will depend on the publisher as well as the store. Some publishers don't make their books available in all the stores. Some stores have exclusive lines (like Amazon's Encore or the Barnes & Noble Classics editions).

If a book is published by the Big 6 publishers (Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins), etc. then in the US and some other places their books are subject to what's called "Agency" pricing, which means that the publisher sets an absolute price for their books that the store/customer cannot discount in any way. So books from those publishers' imprints will always be the same price regardless of the store you buy them in.

Other publishers are more flexible about their pricing, and stores can offer discounts at their discretion. Kobo occasionally offers savings coupons which can be applied to those e-books, and Amazon sometimes has seasonal sales where they discount a selection of titles for a limited time.

2) The Kindle can take any non-DRM Mobipocket file format book without any special conversion. Many places, both free and paid, offer books in the DRM-free Mobi format. All you do is plug it into your computer via the USB cable and transfer it onto the reader.

You can also easily convert non-DRM books in just about any other file format using the free software Calibre, which has its own subforum right here on MR.

Unfortunately, for DRM books, Amazon does kind of lock you in to using their AZW or Topaz formats if you wish to read those titles on their reader without hassle, and does not even allow you to use the old-style DRM Mobipocket books which are still available in several places, even though Amazon bought and own the Mobipocket format.

3) There is at current no SD card capability for any but the really old Kindle 1 model. But the current K3 does hold 4GB worth of stuff.

4) In theory, Amazon could pull your books. But this basically happened only on two occasions and the kerfuffle was such that they did end up offering additional monetary compensation to affected customers for the books they pulled (one was a copy of Orwell's 1984 which had the regional selling rights set to the wrong country, the other was an illegal edition of the Harry Potter books which at the time J.K. Rowling was not allowing e-book versions of).

Everyone's pretty sure they won't do it again, because of the sheer bad publicity they got and nowadays their procedure for dealing with books that readers aren't supposed to have seems to be to offer a refund and/or leave the customers' copies of the books in situ while yanking them from the store catalogue. And as susan_cassidy mentioned above, they do have a generous e-book return/refund policy which the other stores tend to be rather recalcitrant about.

In any case, I would still advise downloading and keeping a local copy of each book file (and taking the time to learn to remove the DRM for backup purposes) no matter which reader/stores you decide to go with, because any store can shut down, taking your books with it regardless (Borders, HarperCollins' direct sales program, etc.).

It's too bad the Nook is unsuitable for you, because that would give you one of the widest choices available in terms of store variety, as the Nook supports 2 types of common DRM format (and I think it expands to 4 if you root the Nook and add in the Amazon Kindle for Android app and the eReader app).

Hope this helps, and welcome to MobileRead!

Last edited by ATDrake; 09-04-2011 at 09:07 PM. Reason: Remove incorrect assumption about the Android-ability of e-ink screen refresh speed.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:25 PM   #5
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Please, no offence, but there are many basics that you're missing.

First, there are ebook formats that are (more or less) proprietary and are not interchangeable between ebook readers.

Second, there are ebooks that are encoded so you can't simply copy it and give it to friends. This is called DRM (stands for @%#%^& in many peoples opinion).

Third, there are many companies that will sell an ebook title in multiple formats that may, or may not have the DRM restrictions on them.


Amazon isn't going to sell epub books and Sony isn't going to sell Kindle ebooks. But there are hundreds of other options as to where you can buy a book that will work on either one of those ereaders.

One of the companies that I buy a lot of books from is Baen books. When I buy one of their ebooks I can download it in any or all formats.

Ebooks that don't have DRM can very easily be converted to a great many other formats using Calibre.


The debacle with Amazon was a public relations nightmare that I don't think will ever happen again. Faced with a similar incident I think they (Amazon) would rather stop selling the book and pay a fine than remove the ebook from someone’s Kindle again.


The best bet for you (or anyone needing to read large type) is for you to go to stores that have ereaders for you to try out. Then lurk about MobileRead for a while until you learn of the best places to get ebooks. What I, and many others, have found is that we can find more ebooks for less money than we ever could before.


In a nut shell, get an ereader that suites you and don't worry about the rest.
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:43 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by ATDrake View Post
To answer a couple of your questions:

1) The book selection, availability, and pricing will depend on the publisher as well as the store. Some publishers don't make their books available in all the stores. Some stores have exclusive lines (like Amazon's Encore or the Barnes & Noble Classics editions).

If a book is published by the Big 6 publishers (Random House, Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins), etc. then in the US and some other places their books are subject to what's called "Agency" pricing, which means that the publisher sets an absolute price for their books that the store/customer cannot discount in any way. So books from those publishers' imprints will always be the same price regardless of the store you buy them in.

Other publishers are more flexible about their pricing, and stores can offer discounts at their discretion. Kobo occasionally offers savings coupons which can be applied to those e-books, and Amazon sometimes has seasonal sales where they discount a selection of titles for a limited time.

2) The Kindle can take any non-DRM Mobipocket file format book without any special conversion. Many places, both free and paid, offer books in the DRM-free Mobi format. All you do is plug it into your computer via the USB cable and transfer it onto the reader.

You can also easily convert non-DRM books in just about any other file format using the free software Calibre, which has its own subforum right here on MR.

Unfortunately, for DRM books, Amazon does kind of lock you in to using their AZW or Topaz formats if you wish to read those titles on their reader without hassle, and does not even allow you to use the old-style DRM Mobipocket books which are still available in several places, even though Amazon bought and own the Mobipocket format.

3) There is at current no SD card capability for any but the really old Kindle 1 model. But the current K3 does hold 4GB worth of stuff.

4) In theory, Amazon could pull your books. But this basically happened only on two occasions and the kerfuffle was such that they did end up offering additional monetary compensation to affected customers for the books they pulled (one was a copy of Orwell's 1984 which had the regional selling rights set to the wrong country, the other was an illegal edition of the Harry Potter books which at the time J.K. Rowling was not allowing e-book versions of).

Everyone's pretty sure they won't do it again, because of the sheer bad publicity they got and nowadays their procedure for dealing with books that readers aren't supposed to have seems to be to offer a refund and/or leave the customers' copies of the books in situ while yanking them from the store catalogue. And as susan_cassidy mentioned above, they do have a generous e-book return/refund policy which the other stores tend to be rather recalcitrant about.

In any case, I would still advise downloading and keeping a local copy of each book file (and taking the time to learn to remove the DRM for backup purposes) no matter which reader/stores you decide to go with, because any store can shut down, taking your books with it regardless (Borders, HarperCollins' direct sales program, etc.).

It's too bad the Nook is unsuitable for you, because that would give you one of the widest choices available in terms of store variety, as the Nook supports 2 types of common DRM format (and I think it expands to 4 if you root the Nook and add in the Amazon Kindle for Android app and the eReader app).

Hope this helps, and welcome to MobileRead!
Thank you for taking the time to explain so much. DRM is a real issue for me and while I would not have much of a problem (ethically) stripping it. I just don't want to take the time and hassle to learn how to or to actually do it. I guess there's much more I need to think about.

If I go with one of the "etailer dedicated units" - Amazon or B&N, then all paid downloads are assigned to only the serial number of the unit? What happens if you sell it and want to buy a new one or it dies and you can't get a replacement right away?

The Nook (color) is out of my price range ($100 give or take a little) and besides, didn't they just pull all of them from the shelves when they realized everyone was rooting them and turning them into a full tablet? Won't they be coming up with a "fix" like a new "mandatory upgrade" to kill off any modified nooks? I mean they got to be really raw about all the hacking going on. I would think they will learn just like Amazon. The nook is also is not an e-ink reader?, but it is an LCD/LED backlit and I can't use LCD/LED backlit due to the headaches from eye strain.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:02 PM   #7
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If I go with one of the "etailer dedicated units" - Amazon or B&N, then all paid downloads are assigned to only the serial number of the unit? What happens if you sell it and want to buy a new one or it dies and you can't get a replacement right away?
The books are assigned to your customer account, not to a particular device (although Amazon's DRM is device-specific, but you can always go back into your account to download a new version of the DRM-ed file for any new/replacement reader you get).

You can also download a copy to the various "for PC/iPhone" etc. apps for each store, per publisher limits. Most publishers selling at Amazon allow you up to 6 different devices (reader/software/phone) onto which you can put one of their individual titles. Adobe Digital Editions DRM which many readers such as Kobo and Sony use are supposed to allow 6 computers and 6 devices total across the board for any ADE-DRM files, though I've heard it can be difficult to get the Adobe support people to reset your device limit allowance if say, you have to reinstall your OS on your computer. With B&N there's basically no limit, as the DRM is based on your credit card number and name, so they're pretty confident you won't be passing your purchases around.

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The nook is also is not an e-ink reader?, but it is an LCD/LED backlit and I can't use LCD/LED backlit due to the headaches from eye strain.
As it turns out, the Nook Simple Touch is in fact an e-ink reader that can be rooted to become an Android tablet. Still no buttons, but hopefully more in tune with your budget so that you might be willing to consider it if nothing else turns up that seems better suited to your needs.

This guy who's just joined the forum seems to have a nice couple of links regarding the ease/difficulty of rooting, so you might want to look at his thread here regarding his personal experience.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:24 PM   #8
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The books are assigned to your customer account, not to a particular device (although Amazon's DRM is device-specific, but you can always go back into your account to download a new version of the DRM-ed file for any new/replacement reader you get).

You can also download a copy to the various "for PC/iPhone" etc. apps for each store, per publisher limits. Most publishers selling at Amazon allow you up to 6 different devices (reader/software/phone) onto which you can put one of their individual titles. Adobe Digital Editions DRM which many readers such as Kobo and Sony use are supposed to allow 6 computers and 6 devices total across the board for any ADE-DRM files, though I've heard it can be difficult to get the Adobe support people to reset your device limit allowance if say, you have to reinstall your OS on your computer. With B&N there's basically no limit, as the DRM is based on your credit card number and name, so they're pretty confident you won't be passing your purchases around.



As it turns out, the Nook Simple Touch is in fact an e-ink reader that can be rooted to become an Android tablet. Still no buttons, but hopefully more in tune with your budget so that you might be willing to consider it if nothing else turns up that seems better suited to your needs.

This guy who's just joined the forum seems to have a nice couple of links regarding the ease/difficulty of rooting, so you might want to look at his thread here regarding his personal experience.
I will have to look at the simple touch more. Several of the reviews I have read of it say there is a lockup problem with it and several more say even when replaced, the new ones do the same. Locking up over and over again. Also the screen seemed smaller to me than the Kindle 3. I don't know why. I have gone to several of the "retail stores and checked out readers. The one I liked the best was (of course) the Kindle 3 just because of the (seemingly larger) screen size and overall style. I did not like any of the B&N nooks. I like the idea of the larger screen of the Kindle DX, but of course it is way out of my price range and it seemed to be slow to page turn compared to the Kindle 3. I haven't tried any 3rd party e-ink readers, so I don't know what they are like.

I guess I just want something that isn't there. Maybe in a few years the technology will catch up, maybe not (or maybe I will catch up to the technology and accept touch). I just want to have one reader that can access all types of ebook formats. Of course it would be great if everyone would standardize, but I bet that would have to be done by a government intervention, to make it happen in my lifetime.

Thanks to all of you for giving so many responses to me. I have been in forums where you never get an answer to "newbie" questions and it's nice to see people pitching in with their ideas and feelings about this.
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Old 09-04-2011, 10:28 PM   #9
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Thank you Susan, so you are saying that Amazon and Barnes & Noble have the exact same books at the same prices? I guess I don't understand, since I find ebooks at Amazon that B&N do not offer and visa versa, so that is why I want to get books from both of them, or even some of the other etailers.

If they all have the same books, that is great news for me, since the searches I have done so far, show that they all offer some different books and some the same.

The major publishers all sell from all the bookstores, including Amazon. Some self-published books might be available on one retail site, but not another, but not mainstream books.

Occasionally, a book will come out in one format (e.g. ePub) a few days or weeks before it comes out in the other (e.g. Amazon) format, but that is fairly uncommon, in my experience.

Some books from Baen are only available from them, or are available from Baen (webscription.net) at a lower price than they charge from Amazon, etc. They are the publisher, so that is their choice. Personally, I buy lots from Baen, because I like science fiction, and their books are DRM-free.

Edited to add: I believe Amazon made some exclusive deals on a few books, though.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:33 AM   #10
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I will have to look at the simple touch more. Several of the reviews I have read of it say there is a lockup problem with it and several more say even when replaced, the new ones do the same. Locking up over and over again. Also the screen seemed smaller to me than the Kindle 3. I don't know why. I have gone to several of the "retail stores and checked out readers. The one I liked the best was (of course) the Kindle 3 just because of the (seemingly larger) screen size and overall style. I did not like any of the B&N nooks. I like the idea of the larger screen of the Kindle DX, but of course it is way out of my price range and it seemed to be slow to page turn compared to the Kindle 3. I haven't tried any 3rd party e-ink readers, so I don't know what they are like.
I haven't had any issues with my nook Simple Touch locking up, and I don't personally know anyone who has. I believe there might have been an issue with some early review units and some edge cases, but it isn't something I've seen as a major issue.

The screen on the kindle and nook are also exactly the same.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:51 AM   #11
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You might want to look at the Pocketbook 602.

I'm on the "buying an e-reader" hunt myself, but I had some of the same requirements as you, in that I didn't want a device that tried to lock me into one store, or wouldn't support the most common e-books format in an attempt to keep me on their device.

Pocketbook seems to be really well-liked. They support a ton of different formats, and the 602 has physical buttons (no keyboard, like the Kindle - it uses a button pad, so it's smaller).

Only reason I'm not getting it is because I really want a touch screen.
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Old 09-05-2011, 09:19 AM   #12
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I would recommend going to www.inkmesh.com to see what titles are available where. Inkmesh searches across bookstores, so you can see both price and location. The price part doesn't matter as much these days with agency pricing.

If you can wait, there are some new readers coming out in the next few months. The Sony T-1 was just announced. It comes with WiFi and a price of $149, much lower price than previous versions. There are also rumors of a Kindle 4 coming. I suspect that the Kindle seems to have a larger screen because the keyboard makes the whole reader seem larger. All of the 6" readers have 6" screens. The Pearl screens, such as the Kindle and Sony have, really are a lot better than the older epaper screens.

If you're opposed to readers that try to lock you into a book store, you might not like the Nook. Its software sends non-B&N books off to their own smaller partition and doesn't manage them as well as the B&N books. Rooting a Nook removes those limitations, but it sounds like you don't want the hassle of doing that sort of thing. Personally, I really like the Sony software and how it manages my books. Kobos and PocketBooks both have lots of fans here.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:15 AM   #13
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I would recommend going to www.inkmesh.com to see what titles are available where. Inkmesh searches across bookstores, so you can see both price and location. The price part doesn't matter as much these days with agency pricing.

If you can wait, there are some new readers coming out in the next few months. The Sony T-1 was just announced. It comes with WiFi and a price of $149, much lower price than previous versions. There are also rumors of a Kindle 4 coming. I suspect that the Kindle seems to have a larger screen because the keyboard makes the whole reader seem larger. All of the 6" readers have 6" screens. The Pearl screens, such as the Kindle and Sony have, really are a lot better than the older epaper screens.

If you're opposed to readers that try to lock you into a book store, you might not like the Nook. Its software sends non-B&N books off to their own smaller partition and doesn't manage them as well as the B&N books. Rooting a Nook removes those limitations, but it sounds like you don't want the hassle of doing that sort of thing. Personally, I really like the Sony software and how it manages my books. Kobos and PocketBooks both have lots of fans here.
Yes, 6" screens are 6" screens and anyone using the e-ink (new style screens) is using the same screen since only 1 manufacturer is making the Pearl. I imagine though, that all of them will end up being touch screens in the future. I'm old school and just can't get used to touching a screen. It looks so foolish (to me only) watching people pushing and rubbing on a screen like they were trying to clean spots off it.

As far as rooting, I don't have an issue with that. It's easier than it used to be, since people are putting out sd cards with the rooting already on them (package style). It's easy enough for me and I wouldn't mind it. In fact I would like to do that, but not with a touch screen. If there's a non touch 6" pearl out there that can be rooted for Android market, then I would be interested. I see several of the cheaper ones, but I don't know which are Pearl and which are LCD simulated paper screens. Then I don't see very many that could be rooted, but again I'm only seeing what I can find off the net with google search.

If I decide to buy, it will not be touch screen, so that just about leaves me with the Kindle. As many have said before Amazon customer service is a big plus when looking at these readers. It's just about the only reader out there that is good, dependable And has good customer service backing it. I do not like their proprietary design, (actually I border on hate for that stuff, just like AT&T), but they do have the best package overall.

Oh well, same old, same old. Torn between the status quo flock of sheep (Kindle) and the foolish youthful rebellion of a (cheap chinese reader with an andriod hack). It's always this way isn't it. (I'm just joking)

Last edited by OldCrank; 09-05-2011 at 12:16 PM.
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Old 09-05-2011, 11:53 AM   #14
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If there's a non touch 6" pearl out there that can be rooted for Android market, then I would be interested. I see several of the cheaper ones, but I don't know which are Pearl and which are LCD simulated paper screens. Then I don't see very many that could be rooted, but again I'm only seeing what I can find off the net with google search.
Have you taken a look at the reader matrix in the wiki? Vizplex is the generation before pearl.
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:10 PM   #15
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Have you taken a look at the reader matrix in the wiki? Vizplex is the generation before pearl.
Thanks, I found it just after I posted. I appreciate the link.
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