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Old 02-12-2012, 06:05 AM   #1
Kamu
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O'Reilly Books

Hi all,

I bought a Kobo Touch and have been reading the O'Reilly book 'The Tangled Web' by Michal Zalewski (which, funny enough, is about web standards etc).

It doesn't perform well at all.
* Preprocessing gets stuck at 9% (when you first load the book onto the device)
* Selecting the book from the main screen takes maybe a minute or more for the book to actually load.
* Margin/font size changes on the Kobo more or less freeze the device.
* Changing location in the book using the slider looks like it freezes the device as well, but if you leave it long enough it will change the page, I guess.
* Paging through chapters is quite slow and doesn't actually turn the page with out ANOTHER page turn tap. So it progresses two pages, and I have to turn back one. This happens with out fail on all chapters.

Is this because the Kobo firmware is rubbish? Checking out the files in a text editor shows they aren't THAT big, maybe 20kb each.
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:15 AM   #2
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Does behave the same on other books from other sources? It sounds like the file for that one is corrupted somehow. I might try to re-download it and see if it is any better.
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Old 02-12-2012, 02:41 PM   #3
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I am an O'Reilly author and have had the same problems with some O'Reilly EPUB books, including my own. My workaround was to download the MOBI version and convert it to EPUB with Calibre (you should have access to several different formats when you buy an O'R book). This seemed to work better. However, after an unrelated factory reset, I found that the original EPUB versions worked fine again. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 02-12-2012, 09:08 PM   #4
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I'm actually currently testing with "Programming the iPhone User Experience" which is an (old) Oreilly title, and it seems to be pretty quick in all cases.

When you change the font size or face, the eReader has to reload the chapter with the new font size/face so it can, among other things, give you a new chapter page count, etc.

If the chapters are somehow giving the device any trouble, it would make sense that performance would degrade in any scenario where the chapter is required to be loaded/reloaded. I would be very interested in finding out why this particular title is giving you problems. If you have some time, please email me at shasan at kobo dot com and we can dig in to your particular case.
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Old 02-13-2012, 06:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robko View Post
Does behave the same on other books from other sources? It sounds like the file for that one is corrupted somehow. I might try to re-download it and see if it is any better.
No. I have tested other books, and they perform fine. The Epub file seems fine as far as I can tell (I have extracted it with no errors).

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhe View Post
I am an O'Reilly author and have had the same problems with some O'Reilly EPUB books, including my own. My workaround was to download the MOBI version and convert it to EPUB with Calibre (you should have access to several different formats when you buy an O'R book). This seemed to work better. However, after an unrelated factory reset, I found that the original EPUB versions worked fine again. Your mileage may vary.
I will give that a shot. My assumption is the mobi version has a much lighter CSS file than the ePub version. I have already factory reset to see if that was the cause.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SameerH View Post
I'm actually currently testing with "Programming the iPhone User Experience" which is an (old) Oreilly title, and it seems to be pretty quick in all cases.

When you change the font size or face, the eReader has to reload the chapter with the new font size/face so it can, among other things, give you a new chapter page count, etc.

If the chapters are somehow giving the device any trouble, it would make sense that performance would degrade in any scenario where the chapter is required to be loaded/reloaded. I would be very interested in finding out why this particular title is giving you problems. If you have some time, please email me at shasan at kobo dot com and we can dig in to your particular case.
Will do Sameer, I'll email you shortly.

Thanks for replies, all.
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Old 02-18-2012, 02:15 AM   #6
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I just borrowed an O'Reilly Book from my library and encountered all of the same problems mentioned by the original poster, including the content processing freeze at 9%. I think it took something like 30 minutes to finish processing, but I'm really not sure, as I fell asleep! I assumed that illustrations and length (it's something like 880 pages) was the culprit. Page turns within a chapter are fine, but there is a noticeable lag when beginning a new chapter.

Anyway, the title is Access 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald if you'd like another book to analyze.
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Old 02-29-2012, 05:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tracings View Post
I just borrowed an O'Reilly Book from my library and encountered all of the same problems mentioned by the original poster, including the content processing freeze at 9%. I think it took something like 30 minutes to finish processing, but I'm really not sure, as I fell asleep! I assumed that illustrations and length (it's something like 880 pages) was the culprit. Page turns within a chapter are fine, but there is a noticeable lag when beginning a new chapter.

Anyway, the title is Access 2010: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald if you'd like another book to analyze.
Thanks for confirming, tracings.

I think it has to do with the Kobo's handling of CSS. I'm waiting to hear back from Sameer about their tests. I'm hoping they can fix it up.
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Old 03-03-2012, 08:53 AM   #8
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same problem for me with the oreilley book "c# in a nutshell". put the epub on the kobo and it hangs trying to process it. i used calibre to convert from epub to epub and it worked fine. The resulting .epub file was about 1/4 bigger though.

I will be sticking with oreilley from now on. This was only possible because of the lack of drm on the book.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:14 PM   #9
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Ditto for another O'Reilly book I purchased ( Secure Programming Cookbook for C/C++ isbn=9780596103897 ). In fact the symptoms were pretty much spot on compared with the OP. This book is just shy of 900 pages.

In my case I can confirm that it appears to be css related having tried a few tweaks like removing the fonts and references to them...

I finally opted to rename the core.css file within the epub package (it's just a zip file that I uncompress first) so that it wouldn't be used at all and response/load times are reduced from minutes to seconds; particularly with initial load, content navigation. Chapter changing and page turning is noticeably quicker too. There is some evidence of changes in formatting, as you might expect, but really wasn't too much different and still very readable.

Incidentally, removing the fonts reduced the epub file size from 3,431KB to 1,144KB which is a nice saving too.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhe View Post
My workaround was to download the MOBI version and convert it to EPUB with Calibre (you should have access to several different formats when you buy an O'R book).
It's also possible to convert the ePub to ePub. It's what I usually do when I bought a book from O'Reilly.

I think the CSS is too convoluted or something (doesn't really look better afterwards, if you ask me, though).
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Old 07-04-2012, 10:16 AM   #11
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Hmmm. Sameer never got back to me.

Is the Kobo Touch now dead in the water? Will we ever likely see another update?
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Old 07-05-2012, 08:47 AM   #12
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A new firmware embedded version of Kobo Touch will be released in Japan on the 19th.

KT for JP will feature a totally new reader software (ACCESS NetFront Ebook Reader) with EPUB3 support. How and whether this will have any impact on the maintenance of existing KTs for non JP markets remains to be seen but I don't think we can write-off KT just yet.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:54 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kumaryu View Post
A new firmware embedded version of Kobo Touch will be released in Japan on the 19th.

KT for JP will feature a totally new reader software (ACCESS NetFront Ebook Reader) with EPUB3 support. How and whether this will have any impact on the maintenance of existing KTs for non JP markets remains to be seen but I don't think we can write-off KT just yet.
Does this imply we will be going to version 2.0.x?
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Old 07-06-2012, 08:46 AM   #14
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It would certainly make sense to unify the code for KT in both JP and non-JP markets.

OTOH, ebook reader devices are merely a means to sell content. If releasing new unified firmware upgrades would stimulate the sales of content to existing KT customers, I would imagine they may consider it. If by releasing such a significant upgrade, Rakuten/Kobo can engineer an exceptional brand loyalty, it would certainly be attractive.

That said however, the introduction of a totally different reader software and the process required to upgrade existing firmware will result in additional support costs.

All this would need to be considered in the light of imminent release of Kindle for the JP market by Amazon. My own personal view is that in order for Rakuten/Kobo to retain market share against Amazon, they would need to leverage something like brand loyalty/image.

That said, w/o understanding Rakuten/Kobo's view on these matters, it would be difficult to predict whether v2.0 of KT firmware will be released.

Last edited by kumaryu; 07-06-2012 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 07-06-2012, 10:22 AM   #15
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Lets hope you're right kumaryu. The Kobo is reasonably solid, but issues like this make me unable to fully recommend a Kobo to people who ask.
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