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Old 04-08-2012, 04:09 PM   #1
Innit
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Highlighting, pdf reading and so on for a student on the Onyx Boox m90

Hey
For almost two year now, I've been a student of political sciences. So, I have to read a lot of journal articles, more and more each semester. I don't mind sitting on my sofa or lying in bed and reading some, but this doesn't work with a laptop (sore eyes and too big) and I think it's a total waste to print all that paper (it results in a big mess which is hard to store). So, an E-reader seemed like an awesome solution. A pretty extensive internetsearch(and some testing with e-readers from friends and family) was quite disappointing.. journal articles are mostly in pdf, and most e-reader don't (decently) support pdf. It requires a lot of converting (which also means that tables and so on get lost in translation) and is thus not practical. Since studying is more than reading alone, I need to be able to highlight and make notes. Little options remained, but the onyx boox m90 and m92. The m90 is cheaper, so this would be my first choice (especially since it's already way too expensive for me).
That's the story so far. I do however have a few questions that I really hope you guys can answer.
1) As far as I know, you have two types of pdf. In one, the text is actually readable as text and the other is basicly a picture of text. I know that you can annotate and highlight in the first type, but can you also highlight in the second type? Does this need converting to text? (the onyx boox can do this by itself, right?) and if so: do I lose my layout and thus my tables? Anyone any thoughts on how this works?
2) Does the highlighting work well in general? And is it saved properly(exportable?)? And how about the annotation?
3) Is the difference between the m90 and the m92 really big? Should I consider buying the m92? (while answering this, do realize that the m90 is actually already way over budget for me.)
Sorry for the long post, but I could really use your help! Thanks.
Oh and btw, I'm new here.. So I'm sorry if I'm asking stuff that's already been asked, I did have a good look around, but didn't see it.

Last edited by Innit; 04-08-2012 at 04:18 PM.
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Old 04-08-2012, 07:12 PM   #2
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Well, I do not know M90, but users seem to be unsatisfied with M90. Some hardware problems and for long time no firmware? I am not sure... Anyway M92 is a new model, faster, more memory and the firmware develops. I would recomend M92 (or PocketBook 903/912) over M90.

I do not use highliting or annotating. I just underline text with a pen and write or draw to text. Exactly as I would do on paper. You can join original pdf with your scribles, export it to a new pdf and work with that on notebook or PC.

Highlighting (or annotations ?) are exportable to plain text file. There is some problem with some types of pdfs (spaces between words disapear). But it is sort of beta firmware, so it'll be hopefully sooner or later fixed.

To your question about scanned pdf. M92 will not make OCR for you. You have to do it on PC using some program. I do not have the experience with it. Anyway, you may draw scribles to scanned documents....

If you can wait for a few weeks/months, wait for a final release of 1.7 firmware. Many things that interest you might change to good (Maybe it will be possible to attach an external USB or BT keyboard). And maybe M92 features from 1.7 will find its way also to M90.
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Old 04-09-2012, 05:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Innit View Post
Hey
1) As far as I know, you have two types of pdf. In one, the text is actually readable as text and the other is basicly a picture of text. I know that you can annotate and highlight in the first type, but can you also highlight in the second type? Does this need converting to text? (the onyx boox can do this by itself, right?) and if so: do I lose my layout and thus my tables? Anyone any thoughts on how this works?
No, you can't highlight text on scanned (non-OCRed) pdfs. But still you can use scribbling (ie drawing shapes and handwriting things on top of pdfs) to mark the bits of text. After you are finished it is possible to merge pdf with your scribbles and read/store it on the PC. On Windows, there's a problem with printing the annotated pdfs, though.

And no, Boox does not have an OCR function. You need to OCR your paper before uploading it to Boox with OCR software, if you want highlighting. (it would indeed be nice if Boox had such an option, ie if the firmware integrated software like tesseract)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Innit View Post
2) Does the highlighting work well in general? And is it saved properly(exportable?)? And how about the annotation?
In fact, annotations and highlighting are the same function. To annotate, you need to highlight text first, and then a window appears where you can write your annotations with a stylus (using a virtual keyboard or handwriting).

And yes, it works fine, except for one ugly bug which occurs on some PDFs where highlighted text is saved without spaces. It is unclear though if this is related to Boox or PDFs. Annotations work just fine, they are saved as a separate text file along your comments, and can be transferred to PC and edited there. Reports are, they can also be merged with original pdf, but I didn't try that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Innit View Post
3) Is the difference between the m90 and the m92 really big? Should I consider buying the m92? (while answering this, do realize that the m90 is actually already way over budget for me.)
From what I know m90 had many issues and is not developed any further. I
strongly recommend m92.
Cost-wise, my experience as a month-and-a-half owner of Boox is very positive. It improved my research workflow significantly and i would definitely buy it again. About learning purposes I'm not sure, but I can imagine that you can use highlighting/annotations as a tool to select important information and only review your highlights for your exams etc
Also eye strain factor is relevant. I'm able to read more on Boox than on a laptop/tablet.

Still, mind you, m92 has its problems, mostly software related, and Onyx is not doing good fixing them. The firmware is mostly functional but buggy and still rather basic. So it may appeal to your specific purposes or not. (If you are looking for a tablet rather than a pdf reader, m92 will definitely disappoint you).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Innit View Post
Sorry for the long post, but I could really use your help! Thanks.
Oh and btw, I'm new here.. So I'm sorry if I'm asking stuff that's already been asked, I did have a good look around, but didn't see it.
Yeah, there is no FAQ (perhaps one needs to be created?). But this forum is full of user testimonials, just browse a little.
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janek View Post
No, you can't highlight text on scanned (non-OCRed) pdfs. But still you can use scribbling (ie drawing shapes and handwriting things on top of pdfs) to mark the bits of text. After you are finished it is possible to merge pdf with your scribbles and read/store it on the PC. On Windows, there's a problem with printing the annotated pdfs, though.
No serious problem, though... both windows (PDFXChangeViewer) and Linux (xournal) have ready available software to print (or flatten) annotated (merged) documents.

The annotated documents can be viewed with virtually any pdf viewer/editor.

I just found out that PDFXChangeViewer even lets you _edit_ highlit/annotated comments. (If anyone knows a software in Linux that does this, I'd be very much interested - please let me know, or - even better - put a link into the Tips'n'Tricks or Software Wiki page )


Quote:
Originally Posted by janek View Post
And no, Boox does not have an OCR function. You need to OCR your paper before uploading it to Boox with OCR software, if you want highlighting. (it would indeed be nice if Boox had such an option, ie if the firmware integrated software like tesseract)
I'm personally quizzy as to whether one wants to do OCR on an embedded ARM device with 256MB RAM... but ok... :P



Quote:
Originally Posted by janek View Post
And yes, it works fine, except for one ugly bug which occurs on some PDFs where highlighted text is saved without spaces. It is unclear though if this is related to Boox or PDFs. Annotations work just fine, they are saved as a separate text file along your comments, and can be transferred to PC and edited there. Reports are, they can also be merged with original pdf, but I didn't try that.
They can be (see my comment above) with FW1.7RC26/03/12.
The space-omission bug is really annoying, but Booxtor claims that even other products have it, which likely makes it an Adobe SDK bug, indeed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by janek View Post
From what I know m90 had many issues and is not developed any further. I
strongly recommend m92.
Cost-wise, my experience as a month-and-a-half owner of Boox is very positive. It improved my research workflow significantly and i would definitely buy it again. About learning purposes I'm not sure, but I can imagine that you can use highlighting/annotations as a tool to select important information and only review your highlights for your exams etc
Also eye strain factor is relevant. I'm able to read more on Boox than on a laptop/tablet.
...
So it may appeal to your specific purposes or not. (If you are looking for a tablet rather than a pdf reader, m92 will definitely disappoint you)
I fully agree.
The reason to buy the M92 is the display. It's not flashy, no app-store, and I wouldn't dare try watching movies on it *g*.

At the moment, Onyx seems to focus on extending functionality.
The existing part is indeed buggy to a certain extend, but functional and usable (All problems I encountered seem deterministic and can be easily worked around).


Quote:
Originally Posted by janek View Post
Yeah, there is no FAQ (perhaps one needs to be created?). But this forum is full of user testimonials, just browse a little.
Go ahead - the Wiki's there (and by no means mine alone )

Cheers!
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Old 04-09-2012, 03:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
just found out that PDFXChangeViewer even lets you _edit_ highlit/annotated comments. (If anyone knows a software in Linux that does this, I'd be very much interested - please let me know, or - even better - put a link into the Tips'n'Tricks or Software Wiki page )
PDFXChangeViewer works without problems under Linux with Wine.
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Old 04-10-2012, 05:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kodomo View Post
I'm personally quizzy as to whether one wants to do OCR on an embedded ARM device with 256MB RAM... but ok... :P
Of course I don't mean a full-fledged OCR system, ARM is indeed too slow for that. But for the purpose mentioned by Innit it would be useful. Imagine you have a scanned pdf and you want to highlight a fragment of text and save it, just as you do with regular pdfs. With OCR option as I see it, you could select a rectangular fragment of the scanned page image, and OCR just it, not the whole page. This is very useful particularly for bibliography retrieval.

I used exactly such scenario on a slow Intel Atom netbook, with a silly little bash script (Tesseract's output piped to Google Scholar to retrieve a Bibtex reference), and it worked flawlessly. So it should work on Boox too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kodomo View Post
Go ahead - the Wiki's there (and by no means mine alone )
Cheers!
I'll consider that.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:41 AM   #7
Innit
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Well first of all thank you so much for your reactions! They were very usefull to me and basicly answered all my remaining questions. Just one more questions: how about graphs and their readability?
Sadly I do agree with you guys that the m92 is way better than the m90, this does however proves to be a problem for me.. since I really don't have 380 euros lying aroudn somewhere. I have been comparing the m92 to the pocketbook 903.. these are about the same price and than I preffered the m92 (due to annotating qualities mainly). But now a friend of mine pointed the pocketbook 912 out to me and showed me how it's basicly the same, except for the 3g. (or am I wrong?)
I'm able to buy the pocketbook 912 for 250 euros.. Which is, of course, way less.
Can you help me compare the 912 to the m92? For what I've heard the differences aren't enormous, do you believe that for my purposes (reading, annotating and highlighting pdfs and possibly docs) the m92 is better? as in, 120 euros better?
If you could, please help me out here!
and again, thanks for all the help so far.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:45 AM   #8
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Oh and btw, it is just for acadamic reading and stuyding.. So it doesn't have to be tablet a-like. I don't want/need it to be flashy. I just want the basics: e-ink, reading, annotating, highilighting in many possible formats. The text to speech and mp3 player are welcome extras, but not necessary at all. I just want the basics, but the basics have to work well.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:57 AM   #9
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The technical difference is mainly: M92 has a better cpu and a better display. You won't find many users that have the possibility to compare both side by side. But you sometimes hear rumors that M92 reacts faster and has a better contrast. There is one comparison of M92 with 903 somewhere on the internet and that's a pretty good reference, because 912 nearly equals 903 in all relevant respects. M92's firmware is expected to solve all major issues with the next official firmware update though...

Pocketbook has good support and solid material quality. But in the latter, onyx is at least as good and support is at least pretty decent due to Booxtor's participation.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:28 AM   #10
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Okay, I did indeed find a lot of comparison between the 903 and the 92, (for instance on youtube by jbaach), but I still wasn't a hundred per cent sure that the 903 and 912 were the same. I must say that I do slightly prefer the m92, but since I'm a student and am quite poor, money is a big issue. So while I would buy the m92 if money would be irrelevant, I am now considering whether the difference is worth 120 euros..
This is very hard.
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Old 04-11-2012, 08:36 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Innit View Post
Well first of all thank you so much for your reactions! They were very usefull to me and basicly answered all my remaining questions. Just one more questions: how about graphs and their readability?
Sadly I do agree with you guys that the m92 is way better than the m90, this does however proves to be a problem for me.. since I really don't have 380 euros lying aroudn somewhere. I have been comparing the m92 to the pocketbook 903.. these are about the same price and than I preffered the m92 (due to annotating qualities mainly). But now a friend of mine pointed the pocketbook 912 out to me and showed me how it's basicly the same, except for the 3g. (or am I wrong?)
I'm able to buy the pocketbook 912 for 250 euros.. Which is, of course, way less.
Can you help me compare the 912 to the m92? For what I've heard the differences aren't enormous, do you believe that for my purposes (reading, annotating and highlighting pdfs and possibly docs) the m92 is better? as in, 120 euros better?
If you could, please help me out here!
and again, thanks for all the help so far.
I would say: if you can help it, wait a couple of months, new products will come up.
So far both products have some serious design flaws: one too slow, the other has too many bugs of all kinds - without any (rational)hope for the better.
If you have the patience of a philosopher and the illusions of a dreamer you will be a happy customer ...
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Old 04-11-2012, 01:28 PM   #12
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@Init
If you have time to wait, wait for final 1.7 release of firmware of M92. Then you can judge, if it does all you need. And if it is stable.

To my opinion even current 1.7 RC is satisfactory stable, the bugs that are in firmware do not influence my work and I take them as marginal. (But they may be important and very unpleasant for other users or other types of utilisation...)

After that you may decide, whether 120 E extra is worth it or not. It is say 40 beers, so you may make good to your livers.
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