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Old 02-09-2012, 04:19 PM   #1
Cruzverde
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Thumbs up PB 912 hands on

Here I am, new (and happy so far) owner of a PB 912. Parcel delivered in the afternoon, and I played with the toy since.

This is my first ebook reader, and I had made my mind for a 912 as I intend to use it mainly to read PDF (papers and books in my fields : philosophy, metaphysics and logic (which can be very technical), christian theology). So, the legibility of large pages of huge files was a must-have feature.

And I must say I am not disappointed so far. The quality of the screen is beyond what I could imagine (again : I have nothing to compare with but my actual paper books). I updated to the latest firmware version (which is 2.1.2) in the so-called 'fast and experimental' release, which indeed made the device much more responsive, I'm really impressed.

PDFs display nicely, books are so much comfier to read on that device (than on a laptop screen), and even articles I had previously scanned and OCR'd myself are readable.

I deleted all the built-in books, and I had no problem with that.

Music plays well and sound quality is decent : that's the kind of 'unnecessary add-on', but that one is happy to find.

Then, some (minor) disappointments, which actually may be questions :
1/ I use Calibre to manage the books. But I don't understand the label system. I added my own labels in Calibre (ontology, epistemology...) but they do not show up in the device when accessing the library by Genre. I don't get it : only the labels 'Roman' (novel in French) and 'Nouvelles' (short stories in French) show up... How can I get my own labels (used in Calibre) to be used to sort the files on the PB ? I must be missing something with those systems, maybe they don't match ?
2/ No cover preview for pdf files. That's annoying, since I like to spot at once the book I want to read thanks to its cover. Like in an actual shelf of my own library. But covers of epub files I also loaded (french classics I never took time to re-read since high-school) are OK.
3/ Japanese fonts problem. I grabbed some japanese books (PDF files generated from material on aozora.gr.jp) They displayed nicely, but then won't open since I upgraded the firmware to 2.1.2. When trying to open one with AdobeViewer, I get a timer, a flash, and then nothing ; and when I try with pdfviewer, it opens but it's blank (there are no characters, only blank pages. But the file does open, as I see an original picture on page 2, right at its place.) Anybody has a clue ? Should I add fonts or something ? I tried that (I put common Hiragino font files in system/fonts/Adobe, but it did nothing to the matter.)

I'll be happy to read from you guys on those matters. And feel free to ask for precisions...
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Old 02-11-2012, 09:29 PM   #2
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Hi Cruzverde,

Not sure if I can add much, but I note that you've had no responses in a couple of days, which is a bit poor.

I picked up my PB912 about two weeks ago - also loving it, though I've had a PB360 for a year, and bought my other half a PB360+ a month ago - so I'm a bit biased.

I use Calibre *a little bit* .. but haven't tried the tagging system. I may try to have a go with this later, but my gut feel is that it's unlikely the PB library and the Calibre tagging system are hugely integrated (tho' I may be way out of whack with that thought).

Aside ... logic *and* christian theology?

Cover thumbnails for PDF's - were you led to believe this would work? If so - from docs, screen shots, or something else? I've never really looked for them - on the portrait layout (standard theme) I find the '4 most recent' to be really limiting, though I see you get about a dozen when you go landscape. I've adopted a cleanlook (from memory) theme on the PB360, which gives you a lot more space dedicated to recently-read-books. On the PB912 I'm just using the 'favourite' feature a bit more heavily to access books I'm currently reading. Mind, I'm generally reading, at most, about a half dozen books concurrently on the 912.

With the Japanese fonts - again, I can't really offer much insight there, but just to clarify - are you saying that it worked fine before you went to the 2.1.2 firmware? If so, drop a note to the PB guys. Alternatively, flip back to an earlier firmware rev to prove it out.
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Old 02-12-2012, 03:44 AM   #3
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@jedd

Thanks for your reply.

For the tagging system, yes apparently PB 912's tags won't match Calibre's labels. I agree on the too short list of recently read books. Following your advice, I gave a try to he 'favorite' menu, which indeed is very nice, I think I'll start 'favoring' books.

The asian fonts matter. In the meantime, I managed to get some books in ePub format : after adding japanese fonts in /system/fonts (and renaming them to ttc), I am able to read my books, but in «horizontal» mode (usually, japanese books are to be read «vertically», which was the case with the pdf files I was trying to read). So it's not the best, but it works. I may also have found the issue with the original pdf files : text there is encoded in SHIFT-JIS (and not in the more common UTF-8), so I guess the PB firmware cannot deal with that at the moment.

I noticed something strange though, with reading epub files. Sometimes I get a nice layout with antialiased fonts. And some other times, often after a PC synchronization, the epub files open differently, the layout is much simpler, font aspect is ugly... but I get to be able to chose the font used (via the parameters menu), which was not possible in the previous mode (the 'parameters' icon was not in the menu, then). And then, sometimes, it switches back to the first mode. I do not understand why. Chosing «open with AdobeReader / FBviewer» does not affect this behavior. I suspect the PB is «locking» itself in using one of the two applications, and switches from onte to the other on syncing, which gives those two alternated layouts. But I can't confirm. I'll try to make snapshots and start a new thread if it happens again.

The thumbnails : yes, that's a pity, and I think I wanted to believe it would work for ODDFs as well ! But since the upgrade to 2.1.2, the file browser layout can be set in «list» mode, with a nice access to sorting modes by author/series..., and much more readable info on the file fitting on one line (% of reading, favored or not, size, format) so I'll deal with that.

For the fields of interest : I came to logic through metaphyics. Logic is not my main concern, but I was once a mathematician, so keep studying it as a hobby. But it can be useful, as it teaches you to check that you don't make mistakes in your reasoning. And it can also help, when it comes to matters of contingence and necessity (with modal logic), which occur frequently in speaking of God. I actually do believe that natural theology (or «philosophical theology», or «an account of God without using any revelation like the Bible, but only your brain») can do much for theology. But I acknowledge that this opinion is not mainstream... Especially in the Catholic Church, and especially here in France. Well, I'm going off-topic !

I'll go back to reading on my PB 912. I must say I'm loving it, it's really a revolution in my accessing printed matters. I was afraid I would lose some features such as «search a word» or «access the TOC» which I used frequently on the computer, but it does work swiftly on the PB 912. I'm literally delighted.
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Old 02-14-2012, 02:40 PM   #4
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What is the quality of the PDF text when displayed? I have seen users complaining on forums that text of PDFs is somewhat pale, and in principle PDFs are with less contrast, compared with epubs (for example) which is considered a problem of the firmware. Do you find PDFs less legible than other types of documents?
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Old 02-14-2012, 03:02 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by slex View Post
What is the quality of the PDF text when displayed? I have seen users complaining on forums that text of PDFs is somewhat pale, and in principle PDFs are with less contrast, compared with epubs (for example) which is considered a problem of the firmware. Do you find PDFs less legible than other types of documents?
Compared to epub: definitely yes in most cases ...
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:33 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slex View Post
What is the quality of the PDF text when displayed? I have seen users complaining on forums that text of PDFs is somewhat pale, and in principle PDFs are with less contrast, compared with epubs (for example) which is considered a problem of the firmware. Do you find PDFs less legible than other types of documents?
Yes, it's slightly better on epubs. But I would not say it's a striking difference with pdfs. Some of them, for no understandable reason, display very nicely with a high contrast. And I have not encountered any «definitely non legible on PB» pdf file so far.
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Old 02-15-2012, 05:31 AM   #7
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Yes, it's slightly better on epubs. But I would not say it's a striking difference with pdfs. Some of them, for no understandable reason, display very nicely with a high contrast. And I have not encountered any «definitely non legible on PB» pdf file so far.
I have plenty, barely legible, sometimes you have to use absurd zoom/fonts to see anything at all - mostly scanned pdfs.
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:32 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Beryll Snyder View Post
I have plenty, barely legible, sometimes you have to use absurd zoom/fonts to see anything at all - mostly scanned pdfs.
Oh, you're right. I read mostly scholar articles or books in pdf. For the 1 or 2 files I scanned and OCR'ed to PDf, I must reckon that legibility was not good, compared to the usual books/articles files : I had to use zoom/pan too often, it's not practical, I do agree. I think I'll quit reading them on my PB, but for a matter of zoom/pan, not for a matter of contrast.

Last edited by Cruzverde; 02-15-2012 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 02-16-2012, 05:01 AM   #9
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Thank you for the answers. I am interested in non-scanned PDFs and when I ask about legibility I refer in this case to contrast (whether the fonts are bold enough). Provided that pdfs are properly cropped, font size should not be a problem on such a big screen for most files.
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:07 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by slex View Post
Thank you for the answers. I am interested in non-scanned PDFs and when I ask about legibility I refer in this case to contrast (whether the fonts are bold enough). Provided that pdfs are properly cropped, font size should not be a problem on such a big screen for most files.
It depends on what font is used in the document. For example, math/science documents generated from LaTeX are not easy for me to read in portrait mode, and I find I have to go to landscape mode to comfortably read them.

The problem with scanned PDFs seems to be that the viewer apps use a fast but crappy image stretching algorithm to produce the output. I'm sure a better (but slower) algorithm could be used, but that's the choice that was made.
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Old 02-17-2012, 03:47 PM   #11
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It depends on what font is used in the document. For example, math/science documents generated from LaTeX are not easy for me to read in portrait mode, and I find I have to go to landscape mode to comfortably read them.
same here - for my own latex generated pdf files, I find Palatino reads better.
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Old 02-17-2012, 04:10 PM   #12
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same here - for my own latex generated pdf files, I find Palatino reads better.
Thanks, that's an interesting suggestion. A quick look through Lamport's book doesn't show me how to change the fonts, though. Is it done via some usepackage{} statement?

Edit: wikibooks shows the following:

Code:
\renewcommand*\rmdefault{ppl}\normalfont\upshape
is that what you use?

Last edited by rkomar; 02-17-2012 at 04:13 PM.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:04 AM   #13
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actually I simply load the mathpazo package, which chages both the math and the roman fonts to Palatino - the code to use in the preamble is
Quote:
\usepackage{mathpazo}
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Old 02-18-2012, 01:27 PM   #14
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actually I simply load the mathpazo package, which chages both the math and the roman fonts to Palatino ...
Awesome! The line I quoted above was messing up latex2html, so I couldn't create an epub with it. There is no such problem with the usepackage{} command. Thanks, the difference in readability is huge on my E-Ink devices.
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Old 02-18-2012, 05:07 PM   #15
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Awesome! The line I quoted above was messing up latex2html, so I couldn't create an epub with it. There is no such problem with the usepackage{} command. Thanks, the difference in readability is huge on my E-Ink devices.
glad it worked! but, so you make epub out of your latex files? How do you cope with formulas?
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