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Old 09-24-2012, 12:19 AM   #1
osnova
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Issues with Kindle Touch firmware 5.1.0-5.1.2

Just posted this on my blog. I haven't seen any reports like this here. Any comments?

============

The two-three most recent firmware updates for Kindle Touch (5.1.0, 5.1.1, 5.1.2) have brought new features but also much havoc [I ignore the security hole for this post].

One of the new “features” is the “Enhanced Table of Contents.” What it means is that Amazon removed from the “Go to” menu the link to the (carefully crafted by us) Table of Contents in the book itself and replaced it with the entire contents of an internal toc.ncx file. For those who know, Amazon basically followed the epub toc custom but, unlike epub, listed all levels of toc by default. In practice, it means that you will see the list of all!!! chapters of, say, the Bible one by one, and if you happen to be reading in the middle of the Bible you will be lost – there is no way you can scroll up through the entire list. The cumbersome workaround around this mess is to press “Beginning”, then open the “Go to” menu again and select the OT toc or NT toc.

The other blunder is that you will not be able to search reliably any of the books that you had on the Kindle Touch prior to the update (their index file on your Kindle is messed up by the update). The only solution so far is to delete the book and reinstall (redownload it from Amazon) it again so that Kindle Touch can create a new index file for the book. This issue also means that DVJ-1 (based on search functionality) will work only after you delete/reinstall.

The only good news (we have to treat anything that is not broken by Amazon’s update as good news) is that DVJ-2 (based on Mobipocket's index feature) did not receive any harmful attention from Amazon. It still works… but for how long?

======

For all the new eye candy, I am upset with Amazon's lack of attention to its unique feature set inherited from Mobipocket. It seems they are embarrassed by them (they got rid of all of them in Kindle Fire line and killing it slowly in e-ink Kindles). See my posts, here, here, and here.
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:59 PM   #2
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Except for books with hundreds of TOC entries (and even then in most cases), I vastly prefer the Enhanced Table of Contents. It is not 'eye candy', it enables more efficient navigation in most cases, and lets you browse the TOC without navigating to another location in the ebook. When page numbers are available it also gives you a way to determine how long each chapter/section is. It will also display multiple navlists (e.g. you can have separate navlists for maps or illustrations).

In any case it is similar to what you get on ePub reading systems, and is better than many of these. It is not perfect (they should add an entry on the Go To menu for 'Hyperlinked TOC' when one has been tagged), and the TOC list itself could have some navigation controls instead of just scrolling (which Kindle is not particularly good at), but when this feature showed up, I finally felt I could navigate my ebooks in a more suitable fashion.

It's also straightforward to create a workaround for easier access to the hyperlinked TOC, when that would be useful: create a note at the start of the TOC and use View Notes & Marks (rather than Go To) to navigate there. For extra credit, create multiple notes to navigate to different sections of a lengthy hyperlinked TOC. In most cases this navigation will only involve one additional step (one more touch) than if there were still a link on the Go To menu. These navigational aids will also be available on other Kindle reading systems (with or without 'enhanced' TOC), if the book is downloaded from Amazon (or from personal documents storage).

In my experience, many if not most updates will force re-indexing of all content (as happened for example with the recent 3.4 Kindle Keyboard update). In any case, there is a way to force re-indexing without re-downloading all books: connect to computer via USB, navigate to /System/Search Indexes/, and delete everything in the folder. Eject USB connection, and Kindle will re-create the indexes.
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Old 09-24-2012, 08:15 PM   #3
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Just to add that I also vastly prefer the 'new' full logical TOC navigation, and that it also supports multi-level TOCs, and they are collapsible in the popup .
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Old 10-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #4
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I am not AGAINST the a la epub TOC. All I am saying is that its implementation is bugged. Amazon itself forwards us customer complains saying that our publications are broken (no link to TOC in Go To menu).

Here is what I sent to Amazon:

======

Please find below several major bugs with the recent firmware updates (5.1.0, 5.1.1, 5.1.2) for Kindle Touch:

1. The new firmware introduced an "enhanced table of contents" a la epub (based on toc.ncx file) in the Go To menu and removed the link to the (carefully crafted by publishers) Table of Contents that is hard-written in the book itself. While in general this could be a welcome addition to the navigation capabilities on Kindles, its implementation makes many large books almost unusable on Kindle Touch. Our publications include Bibles and Bible Commentaries, which require multilevel toc.ncx (one level for books, another for chapters within the Bible books) consisting of many thousands of links when fully expanded. The new firmware expands all levels of toc.ncx and dumps them into Go To menu, while removing the link to our TOC. If a reader is in the middle of the Bible, all he sees is thousands upon thousands of links that are impossible to scroll through. Bibles and Commentaries become unnavigable. This issue is not just with Bibles but with any book that is longer and has a bit more complicated structure than a typical novel.

Suggested Fix: (i) please put back the link to publication's TOC at the top of Go To menu; (ii) collapse all toc.ncx levels that do not immediately surround the current reading spot (e.g. if you are reading chapter 12 of Gospel of John in the Bible, only John's node should be expanded, while other Bible books' links should be collapsed to the top level).

2. The firmware update process messes up the search index files for books that are on the Kindle at the time of the update. In other words, searching in a book that was on Kindle Touch during the update is not working. If the update requires new index files, then it should force reindexing. If new index files are not required, then please fix the issue.

Please fix these issues. We are receiving negative reviews on our books from customers who blame us for something that we have no control over.

Best regards,
osnova

Last edited by osnova; 10-01-2012 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:45 PM   #5
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The Paperwhite implementation of 'enhanced TOC' does not list all navlist entries by default, a minor but significant change from Kindle Touch. Instead all top level entries are collapsed except for the one containing the current reading position. Hopefully the same behavior will show up on Kindle Touch when it gets an update.

If one of the first of those top level entries is a navpoint to the hyperlinked Table of Contents that's usually found near the start of the book, then at most one needs to scroll up to the top of the list and touch that entry to go there.
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:41 PM   #6
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i can confirm that the Introduction to Algorithms got a corrupted TOC now so i have to set a bookmark to access the index.
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Old 11-10-2012, 06:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
The Paperwhite implementation of 'enhanced TOC' does not list all navlist entries by default, a minor but significant change from Kindle Touch. Instead all top level entries are collapsed except for the one containing the current reading position. Hopefully the same behavior will show up on Kindle Touch when it gets an update.

If one of the first of those top level entries is a navpoint to the hyperlinked Table of Contents that's usually found near the start of the book, then at most one needs to scroll up to the top of the list and touch that entry to go there.
I'm starting to wonder if the kindle touch will ever get another update at all.
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