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Old 08-10-2011, 06:29 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by kacir View Post
I fancy myself to be a power user. Yet, I too only use a small subset of Calibre features. But, and it is very important But, I use different subset of features than you or other users. This is what makes in such a great program. This is exactly reason I like for example Vim text editor. If you need some obscure, super-specialized feature it is there, waiting to be discovered.
I tried to imagine other ways to use calibre than the way I do, and came up with a bunch of different potential scenarios and uses and I probably only barely scratched the surface in my imagination. Sometimes reading other posts here I 'boggle' at how people use calibre. Vim - that brings back not-so-fond memories of vi, but it looks good, thanks for the tip.

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EPUB is my primary format, but I don't think of it as a "master" source. Specifically, I don't agree with this advice from the OP: "Pick one format, ePub or mobi, standardize on it…." Space is cheap and when I want to read something, I don't always want to convert to EPUB format first. I may just open the best format I have and read that. If it's good, then I'll probably convert (often in the middle of reading it). I certainly don't want to wait until all my books are converted to perfect EPUBs before starting to read them.
I don't agree with that 100% either, so I excluded things that don't convert well. I delete most original incoming formats because I get confused when a record contains multiple formats as to which is the best, so for me it's KISSiest to keep only one - if it converted well. It sounds like your standards for an "okay" end-product (after conversion and/or clean-up) are probably a lot higher than mine, because I've found that most formats including even most relatively-recent pdfs convert well enough to be only "mildly annoying to me" (or better) after cleanup of hdrs/ftrs/page# - mildly annoying being my lowest standard for inclusion in nearly all cases. And for me, I'm speaking of 98% fiction. Technical things and complex graphics excluded. I often wait awhile before cleanup so I can batch things with similar cleanup problems together. Speaking only for me, it's KISSiest when I convert, evaluate, clean it up then delete original format (or postpone cleaning while keeping original meantime), and tag first before reading. So far. I'm sure the way I do things will gradually change.

Different strokes. Different users. Different uses. Different purposes. Different standards of what's ok or not. Different workflows. Different methods. If it works comfortably well for someone, it's all good. If it doesn't work comfortably well, try doing it a different way. I've been trying doing things different ways for months. I don't consider the ways I'm doing things now as good or final - I think of it all as incrementally testing and improving the ways that I do things. And it's great to get feedback.

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Old 08-10-2011, 11:05 PM   #17
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Different strokes. Different users. Different uses. Different purposes. Different standards of what's ok or not. Different workflows. Different methods.
That's also its biggest flaw. It tries to do so many things in so many formats that you have to spend months figuring it all out, and from the world's worst excuse for a help file. (Hitting Control-F does nothing to search those long help pages.) Who has the time, or the inclination, to sit on their rump behind a computer all day? Most of us have businesses and/or jobs and families, people to see, and things to do. Don't tell me, "Well, if you use this script in this document in this folder, and then change this parameter in this window in this function, and change this; that; and the other in your source file, while making sure that you use only this or that font in the body, headings and blah, blah, blah.

Pick one or two input formats that must conform to ONE set of standards and be done with it already! A jack of all trades is master of none.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:02 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Ransom View Post
That's also its biggest flaw. It tries to do so many things in so many formats that you have to spend months figuring it all out, and from the world's worst excuse for a help file. (Hitting Control-F does nothing to search those long help pages.)
If you are talking about Calibre, in Windows, hitting the universal help key F1 opens the online user manual. Calibre also comes with a reasonably decent User manual inserted in your new library.

I concur with you though that most folks would be served best sticking to a primary format. However Calibre's incremental levels of increasing complexity and flexibility is a major strength. Calibre allows most users the ability to easily convert from and to most major ebook formats, manage their libraries and communicate directly with their ereaders is incredible. Add to that the increased complexity that allows advanced users to customize and manipulate things to their hearts content and you end up with a great open source creation.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:09 AM   #19
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@Ransom. Are you addressing developers or users, or both?

I've been watching tennis a lot lately. There's this relatively new idea in tennis in the US for kids under 10. Smaller courts, smaller rackets, bigger balls, simpler rules - the idea being to make tennis fun for kids rather than overwhelming in its bigness and difficulty.

So the other day I was thinking of starting thread called "calibre for kids" half facetiously and half seriously, but I couldn't figure out how to get started and didn't want to get involved in any subsequent politics. Apparently it had been a political thing for awhile in the US Tennis Association.

So seriously, and not meaning to be derogatory in any way, I'm curious. Are you asking the developers to provide a kids version of calibre?
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:23 AM   #20
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If you are talking about Calibre, in Windows, hitting the universal help key F1 opens the online user manual.
That's not at all what I mean. Lets say you go to the help manual and place a term in the search box. It gives you maybe five pages where the term resides. Then you click on one of those pages, and instead of taking you directly to the place on the page where that term is, it merely takes you to the top of the page. And they're often very long pages. That wouldn't be such a problem if you could just hit Control F to use IE's "search this page" funtion, but it doesn't work with those help pages because of the frames structure. So it's a problem getting to any useful info.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:26 AM   #21
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So seriously, and not meaning to be derogatory in any way, I'm curious. Are you asking the developers to provide a kids version of calibre?
Can you take me to the place in my posting where I mentioned children? So seriously, and not meaning to be derogatory in any way, I'm curious.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:30 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by dwanthny View Post
Calibre allows most users the ability to easily convert from and to most major ebook formats, manage their libraries and communicate directly with their ereaders is incredible. Add to that the increased complexity that allows advanced users to customize and manipulate things to their hearts content and you end up with a great open source creation.
And for me, it's also an enjoyable hobby.
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Old 08-11-2011, 12:35 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ransom View Post
Can you take me to the place in my posting where I mentioned children? So seriously, and not meaning to be derogatory in any way, I'm curious.
(Ruefully) I guess you took that in a derogatory sense despite my advice not to? Sorry. I was trying to make a valid point, I think.

Edit: but the delivery was bad. I apologize.

Edit2: I thought about deleting or revising my mistake in alluding to you as a toddler rather than more advanced, but now since posts have progressed and I don't want to ruin thread continuity, I'll let it stand and take my lumps like a man. Here (unboggling juts chin forward, pointing at it) - hit me a good one.

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Old 08-11-2011, 12:39 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Ransom View Post
That's not at all what I mean. Lets say you go to the help manual and place a term in the search box. It gives you maybe five pages where the term resides.
I agree with this assessment of the search feature, but I never have problems searching a online user manual html page via ctrl-F. I use Firefox though not IE.

Update: You might find it easier navigating the online user manual as a ePub. The user manual is available for download in the epub format partway down the first page.

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Old 08-11-2011, 02:08 AM   #25
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The epub version is easier in many ways but doesn't give you a list of choices to pick from in a search. Instead you just have to go through the entire help file term after term.

I used to use Firefox, but now it seems like every other new version is bug city. Whereas IE 9 seems very stable and has less security issues (for the moment).

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Old 08-11-2011, 02:11 AM   #26
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How about a version aimed at normal adults who have three businesses to run and a multitude of people to take care of and who already have some 50 programs sitting on their box? Really? I have to learn CSS to make this program function correctly? I actually have to stick to specific heading sizes or it will turn all my footnotes into chapter headings in the TOC!? I can input 15 (or whatever) different document types except Word's .doc format—the most common office document in the world? I can't have a window in which to view the file after it's been converted but before it's been output so I can make simple changes to it where I see the changes being made? I actually have to open it in XML to correct it in yet another editor and then zip the darn thing and bring it back into Calibre a second time?

The reason word processors and html WYSIWYG editors are so successful is because they require none of that. They do one thing and do it right. I know going in to use Notepad first to strip out the formatting before bringing it into the programs. Not exactly something that takes a month to learn.

Flash takes months to learn, but I expected it to. You're talking about learning various techniques for making sound and visuals move around the stage the way you want them to. The last thing I have to worry about is making all kinds of adjustments to input and output formats though. It takes care of all that for me so I can concentrate on getting my work done.

I don't have to worry about doing anything special to most video file types when I bring them into Vegas, Vdub, Premiere, After Effects, or any of the other dozen or so video apps I have. They'll automatically make all the adjustments for pixel type, color space depth and temperature etc. If I want to make a movie, there's about a thousand times more stuff to know than with Calibre. But when I just want to convert one video format to another, the input format will be automatically detected (and correctly) and I need only specify the output format, fps, audio type and bitrate/resolution, and amount of compression if not lossless, and I'm done. I don't have to remind the program to make up for this that or the other in the input file's structure, and there's a heck of a lot more parameters that go into video and audio files than simple little text documents. The mathematics involved the compression algorithms alone for any given format could fill 50 pages. Yet the programs do it without a hitch mostly. They may take a while, but conversions are the easiest thing you'll ever ask an NLE suite to do. Same with DAW setups. Leaving me time to actually get my work done editing film and audio.

It took a ridiculous amount of time to learn to make Calibre do something that should be simple. A document conversion shouldn't demand so much time from anyone. Yes, a child should be able to do it. You're not asking it to do that much. Simply take what I've got on the screen in my word processor or HTML editor and make it look that way in an e-reader. That should be the program's problem—not mine. I can make it do what I want it to do, but it shouldn't have taken me a month to learn to do it. The learning process if over. That's all I've got to say about it.

Au Revoir.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:29 AM   #27
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No one is forcing you to use calibre. If you don't like, dont use it. And kindly have the basic decency to not mouth off at people who are trying to help you, no matter how useless, stupid, and ill designed that help may seem to be to you.
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Old 08-11-2011, 02:43 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by kovidgoyal View Post
No one is forcing you to use calibre. If you don't like, dont use it. And kindly have the basic decency to not mouth off at people who are trying to help you, no matter how useless, stupid, and ill designed that help may seem to be to you.
My response was going to be longer and more detailed, but I think you've covered it all in 50 words.
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Old 08-11-2011, 03:22 AM   #29
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Why not ask Marković to give you some tips kiddo. He got Sigil right. You could learn a thing or two if you'd stop with the arrogance long enough to learn something.

By the way, I'll be going right through Albuquerque on my way to film out at Chaco Canyon on the 20th. Shoot me your address and I'll give you a chance to see me in person to mouth off your concerns. I can't seem to find it in the Albuquerque white pages. Or do you live in your mommy's basement?
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Old 08-11-2011, 05:39 AM   #30
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@Ransom, is it safe to come back yet? I was hoping you'd hit me with feedback on my calibre work habits and any bad assumptions I might have made about how calibre works. I didn't expect a rant about perceived calibre shortcomings and personal aspersions about anyone, except perhaps me. Personally, I think you missed the whole point. There is other book management software, I even reviewed one and compared features with calibre in the calibre forum back in January or so when I was an even fresher noobie. I looked at several apps before realizing they might be able to do one or two things well and had simple GUIs, which I liked as a generally-spoiled Mac user, but they couldn't do a lot of things well, and that though calibre had learning curves that at first looked daunting (and some still look daunting to me), it would allow me - with some learning involved first - to accomplish a lot of things. I use it as my personal learning tutor/tutorial/teacher to learn about how eBooks work. If I wanted simple I'd use something else and not learn as much.

Edit: If any particular complexity is somehow bothersome, why do you continue to do it?

Edit2: I agree with Kovid's first post in this thread, that calibre is designed to be used by noobies and also by advanced users. Nobody says you have to use any feature.

Last edited by unboggling; 08-11-2011 at 06:07 AM.
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