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Old 01-08-2008, 03:56 PM   #16
kovidgoyal
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Umm that would almost certainly be with a tagged PDF (i.e. a PDF with reflow information already included) I seriously doubt they'd be able to do dynamic reflow for an untagged PDF on the readers CPU. That means that most of the existing PDF files are still likely to be unusable.

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I'm at CES and just came from the Sony booth. I was talking with their expert and he showed me a prototype. The small size is how the PDF looks in it's natural state (A4 or whatever squished onto the screen). He hit the magnifier and BAM! It's pretty awesome. Right now it strips out images, and he said they had some weird bugs to iron out and he said it is a bit slower then they want (though I didn't notice this problem), but it's coming. I can tell they are really behind it and Digital Editions because one of my other big points was making books, and he said he's really in touch with the developing community and recommends authoring in PDF at the specifications they give because the reflow will be coming out. He seemed really supportive and impressed with the stuff that is out now though. Great stuff coming if you own a Reader. I'm not sure why this didn't get more attention on the site, unless there was a previous announcement I missed.
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:16 PM   #17
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My understanding is that they're working with non-tagged PDFs. I could be wrong, but I believe that's the case.

It's certainly possible to do this with non-tagged PDFs, Adobe had an app to do it for the Palm OS some years back (good luck getting them to admit to it now, though).
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:17 PM   #18
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How will they reliably detect line endings? And if they can do that why the hell haven't they released a decent PDF->TXT/HTML tool?
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:20 PM   #19
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Dunno, and I can only guess it's because Adobe doesn't want to do so for some reason.

I do know that the Palm reflow app worked -- I used it myself, and still have the Palm-side part of it on my Treo. I can't find the file to install the MSWord part of it that did the crunching (I've looked a few times), and it probably wouldn't work with current revs of Word anyway.
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Old 01-08-2008, 07:15 PM   #20
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More Details on Reflow

Okay, I have a few more details on this new PDF reflow thing from a friend who attended the CES today and was able to secure some specific answers for me.

The reflow is definitely not dependent on the PDF being tagged.

The way it works is to pull all the text out of the file, and reflow that, while moving any pictures to the end of the file -- they're still displayed, just after all the text. I still don't know how they find the ends of lines reliably (they're not handing out code at the booth, apparently ), but evidently they are doing just that.

It does not OCR or otherwise extract/parse text out of images, so it won't reflow scans of text, but rather treats them as pictures.

The way it works now, the S setting on the size/zoom button is normal PDF display like we're used to, and either the M or L (exactly which I'm not totally clear on) goes into the reflowed mode.


This suggests a couple of things to me: one, they still have a level left on the size/zoom button that they could use for cropping, if they chose; two, the reflowing operation may be occurring on the 505 itself, which could be a bar to the 500 being upgraded with this.

Someone mentioned earlier that the Sony Booth folks had commented that they weren't entirely happy with the speed of the reflow operation, and I'd think that the 500 would be at a disadvantage there due to its lower memory and slower(?) processor. I have it from my friend that they're still saying they'll try to put it on the 500, but they still aren't sure it'll work -- you can salt that to your individual tastes.


NOTE: All of this applies to where they are now with the function, they're clearly still working on the it, so the whole mess could change in the meantime.
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Old 01-08-2008, 07:22 PM   #21
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That's nice. Do you know if the reflowing detects paragraph vs. line endings?

i.e. does it distinguish the case when a line break is supposed to be a line break and when it is just a wrap.

Also how does it handle page headers and footers?

I don't mean to badger you, I'm just curious
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Old 01-08-2008, 07:36 PM   #22
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Heh, I don't feel badgered, Kovid! Certainly not by you. All you do around here? No, not badgered at all.

I didn't think to try for a specific answer on the paragraphs, but he didn't say anything about the text formatting being funny (nor has anyone else), so I'll go out on a limb and guess that it probably handles paragraphs just fine. Based on what I saw in my own experiences with the old Palm app I mentioned, I'd say that this is a reasonable guess, as that handled paragraphs fine.

It occurs to me that things like the number of line breaks and indentions, are probably reliable "tells" on this when you're talking about PDFs -- I mean the PDF is pretty likely to be properly formatted to begin with, right?

I don't know about headers and footers (don't know if their sample files even had them or not ), but those ought to be simple enough to detect and deal with -- they could strip them out at the very least, I should think.

Sorry that I'm more in the realm of speculation on these points.
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Old 01-08-2008, 07:50 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
My understanding is that they're working with non-tagged PDFs. I could be wrong, but I believe that's the case.

It's certainly possible to do this with non-tagged PDFs, Adobe had an app to do it for the Palm OS some years back (good luck getting them to admit to it now, though).
They can also tag a file after the fact. That is what the ActiveSync conduit does.

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Old 01-09-2008, 09:22 AM   #24
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Well I for one, shall be eagerly anticipating this firmware upgrade
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Old 01-11-2008, 01:37 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
The way it works is to pull all the text out of the file, and reflow that, while moving any pictures to the end of the file -- they're still displayed, just after all the text.
ARGH!!!

I want to read math books in PDFs, that have LOTS of images of equations. I need to zoom in and scroll around in a PDF like I do in an image.

I won't bother to flame the guy who thinks he should be able to DRM-away reflow...I've already created a voodoo doll of him, and filled it with pins.

Andy
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:54 AM   #26
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ARGH!!!

I want to read math books in PDFs, that have LOTS of images of equations. I need to zoom in and scroll around in a PDF like I do in an image.
Lots of us are right there with you, I'm afraid. I was hoping for much more from Sony. I'm finally coming around to the clear fact that I need to buy an iLiad, a tablet PC, or just give up the idea of reading technical PDFs on the fly.
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Old 01-11-2008, 11:18 AM   #27
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I am a scientist and love my Sony Reader... for reading books. Not sure you need to get "lost in the reading experience" if reading technical pdf's. E-ink is just not suited for zooming and panning. I would think that a tablet PC or laptop or PC might be the best device for reading technical pdf. Keyboard and software to take notes, storage to archive your files...
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Old 01-14-2008, 01:48 PM   #28
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This makes me pretty excited. Although I could export my *huge* library of PDF's and export them to RTF and then let Kovid's excellent libprs500 do the rest for me.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:12 PM   #29
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This makes me pretty excited. Although I could export my *huge* library of PDF's and export them to RTF and then let Kovid's excellent libprs500 do the rest for me.
If something is mostly text, already in something like .lit or the like... I have been converting it into ePub. I only leave it in PDF myself if it is mostly images or has obscenely complex layout.

If it is closer to something like the Myst trilogy, text with images every so often, ePub just works better for me... and libprs500 does the conversion to LRF.
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Old 01-14-2008, 06:14 PM   #30
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ARGH!!!

I want to read math books in PDFs, that have LOTS of images of equations. I need to zoom in and scroll around in a PDF like I do in an image.

I won't bother to flame the guy who thinks he should be able to DRM-away reflow...I've already created a voodoo doll of him, and filled it with pins.

Andy
None of the 6" eink readers out there will do what you want with your PDF.
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