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Old 08-12-2012, 09:51 AM   #1
Peakcrew
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New Kobo Touch - initial experience

I received my new Kobo Touch yesterday, and thought that it might be useful to some people if I related my first experiences with it.

I bought the item unused from an excellent seller on ebay, who very kindly made sure that I received it quickly, since I am going on holiday next week. When I opened the box, this is what I found inside (see PICT4158.JPG below):

- Kobo Touch in white with silver back
- usb cable (which I was pleasantly surprised to find has the same connector as my phone, so one less cable to carry around with me!)
- A very simple "Get Started" sheet
- The usual certification documents for the wifi, etc.

Switching it on showed a nice, clean homepage (PICT4159.JPG below), so I went into "Settings" (PICT4160.JPG), and then "Device Information" (PICT4161.JPG) to find that it was factory pre-loaded with firmware 1.9.12, suggesting that the reader was manufactured in late 2011/early 2012, a surmise backed up by the date pre-set to 28 Feb 2012 (PICT4162.JPG).

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Last edited by Peakcrew; 08-12-2012 at 10:00 AM.
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Old 08-12-2012, 10:02 AM   #2
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[Continued]

After setting the time (PICT4163.JPG), I had to decide what to do about setting up an account (PICT4164.JPG). I had read a great deal on http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=184373 that the latest firmware (2.0.0) is ... well, shall we say, 'buggy', and from that I'd decided that it might be as well to avoid setting up an account, from which I would end up with the latest firmware without any choice (a really poor system, Kobo - give people the choice). I had prepared for this by reading http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho....php?p=1828566, which gives instructions for creating an account without needing Kobo, Desktop, downloading a program called SQLite Expert (http://www.sqliteexpert.com/download.html) to do it, and downloading various firmware versions by following the links on http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=185660. However, I decided to see if there would be any problems from following the recommended upgrade route on a brand new reader, since I have a theory that that many of the problems are associated with the database being occupied (i.e. having books already on).

So, I connected the reader to my laptop (by the way, I don't like where the socket is - it will be a nuisance if I want to read whilst it is charging), and, reassuringly, saw the screen change to what I expected (PICT4165.JPG, phone in picture for no real reason!).

To be on the safe side, once it was connected, I went into the KT from Windows Explorer, and found the main setup folder for the reader and copied it to a folder on my machine (PICT4166-7.JPG) just in case I wanted to go back. I know that this is what a factory reset should do, but it doesn't hurt to do backups anyway!

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Last edited by Peakcrew; 08-12-2012 at 12:27 PM. Reason: Corrections
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Old 08-12-2012, 11:33 AM   #3
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[Continued]

I went to http://www.kobobooks.com/desktop/ and dowloaded the installer, and then installed it. As you can see from PICT4168.JPG, the update for the reader is downloaded during this process. Installing the reader update simply requires unplugging the reader from the computer (so you probably need quite a lot of charge in the battery to complete the process reliably) (PICT4169-70.JPG).

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Old 08-12-2012, 11:39 AM   #4
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[Continued]

The homepage of 2.0.0 is not as tidy as 1.9.12 (PICT4171.JPG), but it is intuitive enough. I noticed that the wifi was on as default (PICT4172.JPG), so I decided to see how easily it connects to my network. Pressing the "Connect" button does a search for all networks in range (PICT4173.JPG), and connection was as simple as selecting my network and entering the password* (you can enter it in clear text, but I'm sure you understand why I have shown it with blobs!) (PICT4174.JPG).

I have put a couple of books on the KT, and so far have experienced no problems, but I'll do a further posting later.

* Well, it was simple as far as setting the KT up - I forgot that I had set up an access list on my router, so I had to go into the router and add the KT before it could connect! If anyone else needs to do this, you find the MAC address for the KT on the "Settings" page.
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Last edited by Peakcrew; 08-12-2012 at 01:11 PM. Reason: Added picture
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Old 08-12-2012, 02:57 PM   #5
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So, the key purpose of the KT is to read e-books.

I use Calibre (we are so lucky to have Kovid Goyal!) for managing my library, and this was another area of concern from reading the forums. Some people seem to have some difficulty with it, so I approached it with some trepidation. Opening Calibre and plugging in the KT worked well, with Calibre recognising the reader with no problem. However, when I clicked on the "Device" button, there was a quite scary warning notice saying that the KT database wasn't supported, things might be corrupted, worlds might collide, and the universe might be eaten by a giant sloth! Fortunately, I was forewarned by my forum-reading, and knew to click on the down-arrow at the side of the device button to get a drop-down menu, go into "Configure Device", and check the box labelled "Attempt to support newer software". All of a sudden impending doom was averted, and I felt like Scotty after saving the "Enterprise" again.

I decided to load just a couple of books last night. I chose one epub that I haven't edited, and another I have. I only have epubs in my collection, and so the slow page-turning that others have mentioned is a serious concern for me. I'm already worried that e-ink will be significantly slower than the TFT screen on the Jetbook!

However, I needn't have been worried. The transfer went well from Calibre to KT. With both the books the page-turn was very quick, once I found the technique to reliably change pages without highlighting words: this seems to be very short tap for page-turn, longer press for highlighting. I doubt the page-turn time is longer than I could do on a paper book, and certainly quicker than changing paper pages one-handed! I had to fiddle with the fonts a little bit, because the serif font it was using (Delima) was horrible. At the moment I'm using Felbridge, because it is very clear, but I'll have to try and find a good serif font, because for me it adds to the character of old books, such as H.G. Wells.

I don't know if it is just my lack of familiarity with the touch-screen, but it seems to take ages to register some presses, and yet respond to the slightest touch at others. It may be that I have the 'unresponsive screen' problem that others have mentioned, but I'll leave it a couple of days before making a judgment. However, I will commit to saying that the page back/forward arrows on menu pages are terribly unresponsive. [Additional to that - it seems that the technique is to aim just above centre-line of the arrow (and selection crosses). It seems that the detection grid and the graphic don't quite line up.]

Since the small book-loading experiment went well, I am about to load a larger number of books (about 50 in a range of file-sizes), and attempt to create some bookshelves. I'll report on that later.

Last edited by Peakcrew; 08-14-2012 at 04:52 PM. Reason: Added sentence.
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Old 08-12-2012, 03:45 PM   #6
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Hmmm ... interesting . One book, which I had put on the KT yesterday with no problems but deleted so I could get a picture of the clear home page, refused to load. It seemed to go from Calibre to the KT, but did not show up in the KT's list of books, or, on subsequent reconnection, in Calibre's list of what was on the KT. I tried this several times, and noticed that the "Processing Content" screen didn't come up when I unplugged the usb cable. I noticed that the other book I had delted was there, but that I'd changed the name to make it clear where in the series it came (prefixed the title with initials and a number). I modified the reluctant book's title (knocked off "The"), and it loaded properly. Has anyone else had this happen - is it a known problem with the database?
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Old 08-12-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Peakcrew View Post
Hmmm ... interesting . One book, which I had put on the KT yesterday with no problems but deleted so I could get a picture of the clear home page, refused to load. It seemed to go from Calibre to the KT, but did not show up in the KT's list of books, or, on subsequent reconnection, in Calibre's list of what was on the KT. I tried this several times, and noticed that the "Processing Content" screen didn't come up when I unplugged the usb cable. I noticed that the other book I had delted was there, but that I'd changed the name to make it clear where in the series it came (prefixed the title with initials and a number). I modified the reluctant book's title (knocked off "The"), and it loaded properly. Has anyone else had this happen - is it a known problem with the database?
Yes, I have seen it. The explanation is in a post I made yesterday. See http://www.mobileread.com/forums/sho...9&postcount=10.
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Old 08-13-2012, 04:22 AM   #8
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Thanks, davidfor. I had removed the books using the file manager, thinking that it would do a more complete job than doing it through Calibre. I was wrong - something else learned about this fascinating reader and, of course, Calibre!

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Old 08-14-2012, 05:09 PM   #9
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Apologies for the gap in posts - my laptop has ceased to function, so managing that took precedence!

Before it died, I did indeed load just over 50 books to the KT with no problems. I absolutely hate the home screen - it just looks really scruffy with the five different-sized book-covers shown,and I have no idea how they we selected. I'm guessing that it is something to do with how recently the files were opened, since the biggest cover is the book I'm reading at the moment, but three of them have not been opened on the KT yet, so I don't know. What is wrong with just having a text list of whatever this selection is??

Anyway, I wondered whether having more books loaded on the KT would slow page-turns, and (purely subjectively) it seems that it hasn't. I am still having the problem of missed page-turns, but it seems to be related to how firmly I touch the screen - very gentle touches work more reliably.

Now I have access to my full library again, I am going to load about 200 books onto my Kingston 8GB class 4 SD card, and see how that goes. If I get the chance, I will load it first of all with the card in the KT, and then format and do the same using a card-reader to see if that makes any difference.

Overall, to this point I am enjoying the KT. I haven't had much chance to play with the browser yet - just enough to see if would connect to BBC News - though it is the icing on the cake if it does work. I'll probably have a play with that after I get back from holiday - I don't want to risk needing to reinstall things when I am 2000 miles from home!
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Old 08-14-2012, 05:57 PM   #10
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... I am still having the problem of missed page-turns, but it seems to be related to how firmly I touch the screen - very gentle touches work more reliably...
Just to point out, the touch screen works by IR and not by how hard or soft you touch the screen. So it registers a tap (or is suppose to) when your finger or stylus breaks the beam that is just above the screen. Seems to be a common misconception of the KT. Personally I find a stylus (ones with the fat rubber end) works much better for taps than my finger.
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Old 08-14-2012, 07:36 PM   #11
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Before it died, I did indeed load just over 50 books to the KT with no problems. I absolutely hate the home screen - it just looks really scruffy with the five different-sized book-covers shown,and I have no idea how they we selected. I'm guessing that it is something to do with how recently the files were opened, since the biggest cover is the book I'm reading at the moment, but three of them have not been opened on the KT yet, so I don't know. What is wrong with just having a text list of whatever this selection is??
The caraosel shows the books the Touch has most recently seen that are not finished and are real books. That is basically the most recently read or
or added to the device. If you open the library, change the sort to "Recently read", then it is the first five books that are not "Finished" or some sort of preview.

Quote:
Anyway, I wondered whether having more books loaded on the KT would slow page-turns, and (purely subjectively) it seems that it hasn't. I am still having the problem of missed page-turns, but it seems to be related to how firmly I touch the screen - very gentle touches work more reliably.
Library size should affect the speed when browsing through the library, but not reading. But, some people seem to have that problem. I don't tend to keep enough books on my Touch to see the difference.

The touch statement is interesting. The Touch is not actually touch sensitive. It uses an IR beam and sensors. The beams go across the top of the screen, so that when you touch it the beams are broken. So, how hard you touch should affect anything, so long as the beams are broken. Personally, I haven't seen much difference in how hard I press.

Quote:
Now I have access to my full library again, I am going to load about 200 books onto my Kingston 8GB class 4 SD card, and see how that goes. If I get the chance, I will load it first of all with the card in the KT, and then format and do the same using a card-reader to see if that makes any difference.
That really shouldn't make a difference. If the SD card is in the Touch when it is connected, then the OS sees it as a separate drive and copies to it. The Touch doesn't interfere at all. So, getting the books onto the card won't be any different. If there is a difference it will be when it comes time to read the card. If the card is in the Touch when it is disconnected, it gets read as part of the startup process and all the books added to the database. If you put the card in later, it does the same thing at that time. I have played with this a little in the last few days, and haven't seen a difference once the card is read.
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Old 08-14-2012, 09:16 PM   #12
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Thanks, I am thinking of getting one of these.
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Old 08-15-2012, 04:35 AM   #13
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For what it's worth, even though I know the touch is by IR, it seems to me that the more gentle the touch, the more reliable.

Just a quick tap with a finger tip works every time, but using a hard thumb press doesn't.

I know it shouldn't make a difference but it feels like it does.

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Old 08-15-2012, 08:58 AM   #14
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Thanks, Danger and Davidfor. I know the KT uses infra-red detection, but it definitely responds better to a light brush of a finger than a firmer touch, as Chocky says. I know it shouldn't, but there it is. Also, perhaps strangely, it seems more responsive with a screen-protector on than without ...

Again, thanks to Davidfor for the information about the carousel. It makes a bit more sense as to how it is populated, but I still don't like it - it's ugly, and I'd like the option of a text list instead of those differently-sized covers if it has to open into the home screen from off (I can't see why it doesn't give the option to open immediately at the place I finished reading reading, actually).

Also, whilst I can't see why there should be any difference regarding how the SD card is loaded, let's face it - the KT throws up enough oddities that it isn't inconceivable! It is my next job, after lunch, to do the SD card trials.

Oh, and Imogen, despite all the problems that get reported on, this is a great reader. I love using it.
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Old 08-15-2012, 02:01 PM   #15
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Scotland
Device: Kobo Touch, Lenovo X61, Samsung Galaxy Note with Aldiko reader app
So, I loaded 205 books (my entire collection at this time!) onto an SD card (after making a new Calibre library and changing the author on all books to "SD Card" so I could easily identify them, and avoid confusion with the books already loaded). Inserting the card was fine, once I worked out which way round to insert it (gold contacts facing the back, for reference), and Calibre saw both the internal drive and the SD card with no problems. Loading the books was no problem, either, but there were some fairly long pauses in updating process that made me sweat a bit, especially one at 75% that was 55 seconds (yes, sad aren't I?).

I opened one of the books that I knew worked well before, and did 30 page-turns so that the screen refreshed five times (I have maintained the default setting of a screen refresh every six pages), with no crashes or returns to the home screen. Very positive.

I removed the SD card and checked all the settings from before they were on, to find that the Shelves I had set up were missing. I tried to re-create them, but found that the KT will not remember them now. I seem to remember that people who experienced similar problems sorted it by logging out of their account and back in, so I duly synched the KT and logged out.

Now, I have discovered something irritating - logging back into my account needs a computer, either to use the Kobo desktop, or get into the database with an SQL editor. That's going to be great help if I run into difficulties with no computer access! (Seriously - very poor idea, Kobo. What's wrong with allowing login from the device itself?) I am now left with in a bit of a quandary - I like to have my books on removable media so that, in the event I need to do a reset whilst away from a computer (I don't like taking computers on holiday), I can do it and then have my library complete. That option is now taken from me, so I'm left up the creek without a paddle either way. Essentially, I don't need an SD card with this level of messing around: my Calibre library is stored on a Google drive, so if I can get to a computer to sign in (assuming that, say, an internet cafe computer would let me install Desktop or an SQL editor), I can get to my books. This has seriously dented my confidence in the KT: does anyone have any workarounds?

Anyway, following login via the Desktop, I am now able to make Shelves again, which is good news, but why on earth isn't there a search function on the page to add books to Shelves? Come on, guys and girls at Kobo!

Right, I have just put the SD card back in the KT, and powered it up. The first time, it completely ignored it, but after switching it off and on again,it is at least recognising new content, though it is much slower than last time (four minutes to 17%, ten minutes to 26% - it's like watching paint dry). I think it is safe to say that the KT has issues with SD cards!

Well, it took just under an hour to process the content, but the database seems to be good, and the Shelves showing up nicely.

I have just Removed the books from the SD card using Calibre, without the same difficulties as above, but now Calibre fails to recognise that there any books on the device at all, despite the fact that that the KT sees them, and selected ones open. Whatever - I'll give it a rest now.

I'm on holiday for a week from tomorrow, so I'll no doubt have more to report when I get back!
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firmware update, kobo touch, setting up, wifi

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