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Old 03-05-2004, 03:18 PM   #1
St0rmD
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Palm Reader feature wishlist

I just sent the following email to info@peanutpress.com, where the people who develop Palm Reader work. I did this because I'd really like to be able to buy more books on PalmDigitalMedia.com, but I hate reading in Palm Reader and prefer using iSilo for more things (but then I feel guilty about pirating books, even when I already own them in paperback or hardcover, because I'm worried about the DMCA). Anyway, you may or may not consider contacting them if you also would like to see this kind of thing included in Palm Reader, which I think would make it a killer product (it already has a killer amount of excellent content available for it).

If you have any other musings on this subject, post them here too.

anyway, this is what I sent:

Quote:
To the Peanut Press/Palm Reader team:

I am a user of Palm Reader Pro, and an avid reader who also participates in the Writing on Your Palm discussion group on yahoo (based on Jeff Kirvin's column at www.writingonyourpalm.com). I also use iSilo for reading ebooks as well. In fact, I use iSilo predominantly, and only break out Palm Reader for a small handful of ebooks which I've purchased on Palm Digital Media that I was not able to aquire in other formats. In a recent discussion about DRM and book-reading software I mentioned that I had occasionally been tempted to crack the DRM on PDM books in order to re-encode them for iSilo, because of a short list of outstanding features iSilo has that Palm Reader lacks, and someone suggested I email this address with my list of feature requests, in hopes that they might be considered for a future version. The consensus was that adding these features would be a good idea, and could help improve the market for Palm Reader. I have heard similar musings on other forums for discussing ebooks and ebook software (notably the forums at www.mobileread.com), so I know I'm not the only reader who thinks this way. I also know that implementing these features is a good way to get me, personally, to buy a hell of a lot more books on PDM.com. In fact, it would probably become my primary book-store.

Here are my ideas.

In the 'General Preferences...' dialog, the following options should be added:

* Allow Tap and Drag scrolling. Enabling this would cause the page to scroll when the stylus was dragged across it vertically. Scroll rate would match the stylus motion exactly. This would override the default behavior of Tap and Drag text highlighting, although that behavior could be toggled on/off for quick, one-time use via an interface button which could be enabled/disabled in the Toolbar preferences.

* Hide Toolbar. This would hide the toolbar, allowing the very bottom part of the screen to be used for additional text, for those of us who like to read in full-screen mode (I note that the toolbar hides itself in auto-scroll mode, but I cannot figure a way to hide it when not auto-scrolling. Personally, I don't like to use auto-scroll, but I would like to make the toolbar go away when I'm not using it). When hidden, the toolbar can be called out at any time by tapping the bottom right corner of the screen. Perhaps a nonobtrusive little widget could be displayed there to remind users of the hidden toolbar.

* Page up/down behavior. This should be a drop-down menu with options for "Full" (every page-up/page-down moves completely to the next page, with no text from the previous page being displayed), "All but one line" (one line of text from the previous page is displayed on the new page), "All but two lines" (two lines of text from the previous page are displayed on the new page), "Half" (half the lines of the previous page are displayed on the new page). The current interface only allows a full page-transition each time the up or down button is pressed, or each time the page-tapping feature is used. Some readers (like me) may prefer to still see a line or two of text from the page we were just reading in order to get more seemless sentence continuity. This allows me to page down as I'm reading the last line or two of my current page, and they will still be displayed at the top of the new page. Additionally, some readers may enjoy savoring passages of certain books and want to read sentences several times within the context of a paragraph, and therefore wish to preserve even more text of the previous page for that reason.

In the Options menu, add a 'Button Preferences...' dialog. When tapped, the user should be presented with a dialog that has a list of all standard buttons (button 1-4, jog/nav push, aux/back, up, down, left, right) with an action drop-down menu for each one. Alternatively, an interface like iSilo's where there is a drop-down for selecting which button is to be mapped, and an action drop-down for dictating the action the button should be mapped. This dialog should allow any standard palmos (or ppc) button to be mapped to any action in the palm reader interface. Go wild here. Everything from toggle auto-scroll, to enter full-screen mode, to table of contents, to create bookmark, jump to mark, back, forward, smaller font, larger font, and whatever else you can think of should be mappable to buttons at the user's option. The defaults should be sane, of course, up and down should go to page-up/page-down, left and right to forward and back, and all other buttons to OS default actions, but the user should be able to define other actions here if they want to.

The final request would be for Palm Reader to act like other apps and allow the menu bar to be called out by tapping the top-left corner of the screen. Many, if not most Palm apps do this, and a lot of users like to be able to call the menu bar out in this way. It's very annoying to be in an app where that doesn't work, and it's inconvenient to tap the menu button at the bottom of the screen, and then move the stylus to the top of the screen to choose menu options.

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope to see these features in a future version. I think that adding these would be a great benefit to PalmReader users, and if some or all of these features were included in PR Pro, I'm sure it would be a great incentive for more people to upgrade, as well as a great bone to throw to those of us who already have. Also, like I said earlier, if these features were present in PR, I would ditch iSilo and use PR exclusively, which would almost certainly result in me purchasing more ebooks from PDM. I'm sure there are other readers out there like me who feel the same way.

Sincerely,
John Sweeney
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Old 03-05-2004, 03:51 PM   #2
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Got an answer back:

Quote:
John,

Thank you for your educated and thoughtful suggestions. First I would
like to point out that we have added the toolbar functionality that you
have mentioned in the latest version. There is an option to hide the
toolbar in the toolbar preferences.

As for your other comments, we are continually working on making Palm
Reader a better ebook reader for our customers and it's very helpful
when people like you write in. I will forward you suggestions onto our
development team and hopefully we will see these features in a future
release.

Have a great weekend!

Thanks,
Josh
Palm Digital Media Technical Support
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Old 03-07-2004, 02:05 PM   #3
Alexander Turcic
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Cool, didn't expect a big company like this to reply so fast (or to reply at all). Great customer service!
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Old 03-07-2004, 05:59 PM   #4
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Yeah, I'm impressed!

Craig.
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