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View Poll Results: For an E-Paper Tablet I could type on with an external keyboard, I would pay:
$500 2 4.26%
$300 12 25.53%
$200 13 27.66%
$150 20 42.55%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-29-2011, 09:21 PM   #16
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If you can make an eink device that is comfortable to type on from many positions, folds to the size of a kindle3 and does not flicker when typing characters, that would be really nice and I would buy one.
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Old 11-29-2011, 09:30 PM   #17
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I already paid $300 (in Canada) for a Pocketbook 302 that PROMISED this feature - over a year later, they still haven't come through.
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:34 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by beachwanderer View Post
2) Have you seen what the Bookeen Cybook Odyssey can do (or the tec behind it seems to be capable of)? Have a look over here and on Nates Blog.
Being an ignoramus, I had no idea about the Odyssey. Just checked out the videos, and it's pretty damn impressive. Animations? On an eInk? Nice.

Why the hell can't B&N and Amazon do this?
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:47 AM   #19
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I think this project is a little too late. The first Mirasol and color e-ink devices are coming out now. Then this would be obsolete in a year, at most. Besides, 6" just wouldn't be big enough. Size wise the 8" DR800 was still the best, most versatile.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:05 AM   #20
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Hi,

Thanks, everyone, for your many replies and suggestions! My responses are in order below. In post #11, shark_scott raised the consideration of a larger screen size. I responded to it at length and expanded further in the next post about Specifications, and wonder what you think.

I made some changes to the original post to reflect all your suggestions and comments. I kept the feature list compatible with Strategy #1: Hack Hardware. "Noted" in the following responses means your suggestion is in the new Specifications list. The list is in following post. These specs are more for if we resurrect the Crystalfontz device or make a new one from scratch (Strategies #2 and 3).

Responses:

2. @beachwanderer
1) You are right, the device’s configuration was not clear. By touch-typable, I did not mean it would have its own built-in keyboard, just that it can work with an external keyboard
2) I have not seen what the Cybook Odyssey can do yet. I will check it out. Thanks for the links.

3. @teh603
(1,2,3) OS-on-removable-flash, multi-bootable ROM BIOS/EFI, bootable USB port: all these ideas make sense to me. Noted. Thank you for such details!
(4) I only planned on supporting USB external keyboards (including folding ones) out of the box. My reasons are in my "plea"; see link at end of my original post). Presumably someone could make what you suggested for bluetooth users.

4. @kamizase
I stopped waiting for Pocketbook, a company I view as unreliable, a year ago. PB was actually the addressee of my "plea"; see link at end of my original post.

5. @Belfaborac
Thanks for your big vote and your ideas. Your seconding of a bootable USB port and especially OS-on-removable-flash; and your suggestion of an accessible and widely available battery all make sense to me. Noted.

6. @murraypaul
Thank you for helping me sharpen my argument (see Ergonomic Rationale in original post).

7. @Sil_liS
Please see my reply to kamizase, #4 above

8. @mbovenka
Your seconding of Belfaborac’s battery suggestions, #5 above, noted. Thank you for your specific battery suggestions.

9. @Hellmark
I love the idea of hacking existing devices. Once rooted, can the Sony or Nook host, or be made to host, a USB external keyboard?

That's interesting about using it as a terminal through the serial port. I would like the device to be useful to IT professionals like you, so I'm noting the idea. Thank you.

10. @Namekuseijin
I agree. It is the worst idea ever--for achieving future market dominance and making a killing. But not for serving the present needs of the few and making a living. Which is my goal.

11. @shark_scott
I sympathize with the strange situation of scholars with respect to textbooks and e-paper devices. A 9.7” device with reference manager compatibility and full PDF functionality for academia makes perfect sense to me. Noted.

I have leaned toward a smaller device for the first generation round. But if we build the device from scratch (vs hacking an existing device), then I think 9.7” is worth consideration as a first device. It could also become the primary monitor for desktops and laptops.

Myself, I like the 7” size of the sadly discontinued Sony Daily. It had XGA (1024x768) resolution, which is the standard size for the web and just wide enough to display full-width PDFs in landscape. 6” is good for the reflowable text of e-books--and not much else.

What do others have to say about the screen size?

13. @The Terminator
No, your vote was correct. $150 is a possible retail price.

14. @thebestjeter
Your second of shark_scott's idea noted. Please see my response to him, #11 above.

15. @JSWolf
It's true. But please see my response to Hellmark, #9 above.

16. @Giggleton
Very cool. However, I was not clear about the configuration. Please see my response to beachwanderer, #2 above.

17. @guyanonymous
Yeah, I remember. I felt luck to not be materially involved. Please see my response to kamizase, #4 above.

19. @HansTWN
Please see my response to Namekuseijin, #10 above, and my edits of the Ergonomics section. I agree with you about 6". Please see what I wrote in post #21 below in the specs.

Sincerely,
Andrew

Last edited by andrewed; 11-30-2011 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 11-30-2011, 07:09 AM   #21
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Specifications

(This is in case we design device from scratch rather than hack it.)

SPECIFICATIONS

OS on removable microSD flash card
ROM BIOS/EFI/UEFI with
Bootable USB
Battery
- Removable
- Widely available for easy replacement
- Nokia BL-4C or BL-5C phone battery
- AA
Serial port for use as terminal

SIZE QUESTION
9.7” (for academics and extra monitor)
- Usual hardware deficiencies in existing models
- Special software requirements:
- Reference manager (Zotero and/or Mendeley)
- Good PDF functionality (unlike Kindle DX)
7" instead of 6”(like Sony Daily)
- 1024x768 (XGA) resolution @ 160 dpi
- standard resolution for web
- displays full-width of PDFs in landscape mode
- 6”
- fine for reflowable text of e-books, but not essential for that purpose
- too small to display web or PDFs
- too big to fit in your pocket
- so what is advantage of 6"?
5” future pocket/wallet size
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Old 11-30-2011, 03:38 PM   #22
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LCD screen
1. Refreshes (turns on and off) 60-90x/second, whereas the eye naturally moves 1.33x/second. LCD appears to constantly quake and flicker because it does.
This is incorrect. LCD screens do not "turn on an off" when they refresh. Old LCD displays could be prone to flickering, because they used a flourescent backlight, but modern LCD displays use LEDs for lighting, and these don't flicker - their light output is constant.
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Old 11-30-2011, 05:05 PM   #23
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Perhaps I'm a bit dense, but I don't get what you want to actually *do* with this device. Presumably more than reading documents, since existing e-ink devices do that just fine. Are you hoping to use it for production of text documents? Is this for writing the next great american novel, or just for doing the shopping list? What are the use cases?
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Old 11-30-2011, 10:14 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
This is incorrect. LCD screens do not "turn on an off" when they refresh. Old LCD displays could be prone to flickering, because they used a flourescent backlight, but modern LCD displays use LEDs for lighting, and these don't flicker - their light output is constant.
Hi,

I really, really wish that what I said were incorrect.

While LED light is constant [EDIT: not true. See post #44] and has improved the viewability of computer screens, backlighting is separate from the display itself and the actions of its pixels.

Regrettably, LCD pixels do turn on and off that often. The refresh rate (60-90Hz) refers to the display, not the backlight. It is what makes LCD capable of both showing quickly moving images and irritating to the eye.

[EDIT: I was incorrect about all this. See post #44]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baldrake View Post
What are the use cases?
I appreciate that it is difficult to understand, because it is so simple, so basic a need: just to read and write in response, in real time. Notes, essays, letters (which is how I think about email), and comments. You name it, I don't want to do it on LCD anymore.

Andrew

Last edited by andrewed; 01-06-2012 at 11:20 PM. Reason: added response to Baldrake, correction to response to HarryT
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Old 12-01-2011, 01:38 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by andrewed View Post
Hi,

I really, really wish that what I said were incorrect.

While LED light is constant and has improved the viewability of computer screens, backlighting is separate from the display itself and the actions of its pixels.

Regrettably, LCD pixels do turn on and off that often. The refresh rate (60-90Hz) refers to the display, not the backlight. It is what makes LCD capable of both showing quickly moving images and irritating to the eye.
When an LCD screen is showing a static image, such as a page of text, the pixels do not turn off and on when the display refreshes. Yes, of course the image can change 60 times a second (or whatever the refresh rate is), but individual pixels will not change unless instructed to do so by the display controller. The pixels certainly do not turn off and on every time the display refreshes.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:40 AM   #26
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I would suggest a Bluetooth connection for a keyboard. An e-reader has to be fairly small to be practical. You can get small external keyboards that use BT to communicate with a host. Don't know if the processing power is there, but with voice recognition it would be an awesome device.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:49 AM   #27
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I would suggest a Bluetooth connection for a keyboard. An e-reader has to be fairly small to be practical. You can get small external keyboards that use BT to communicate with a host. Don't know if the processing power is there, but with voice recognition it would be an awesome device.
I believe that (at least some) Pocketbook devices have Bluetooth support.
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Old 12-01-2011, 09:27 AM   #28
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They seem to be out of stock.
Doesn't say what kind of BT stack is being used either.
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Old 12-01-2011, 11:28 AM   #29
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For the people who are going "oh, this is going to be obsolete", well, it is for more of a niche market. If you're just typing, you really don't need color. If you're using it for remote terminal access, or SSH, you don't need color. There are lots of things that do not require color or fast animation. If those were requirements, we wouldn't have so many eInk devices.
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Old 12-01-2011, 03:24 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewed View Post
I appreciate that it is difficult to understand, because it is so simple, so basic a need: just to read and write in response, in real time. Notes, essays, letters (which is how I think about email), and comments. You name it, I don't want to do it on LCD anymore.
Ok, but I still don't really get it. Anything but the most basic text entry is awful using e-ink. Even typing in a search query on my Kindle 3 leads to quite a bit of flickering. Imagine inserting text into the middle of an email so that half the email has to scroll down as you type. Maybe when we have flicker-free e-ink replacements this will be awesome, but for now, not so sure...
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