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Old 02-13-2008, 05:34 AM   #1
Utahcowboy
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Unhappy legally blind reader

I really want to get one of these ebook readers but I have some requirements that have to be met and I am not sure which device fits my specs (if any). So I thought I would list them in hopes that one of you out there can offer some help for me. I am new to this forum so please be patient with me.

I am legally blind and I love to read (major problem there Over the years as my eyesight has declined I have resorted to audio books, which for the most part works pretty well for casual reading, but I don't intend to use the device just for casual reading. I intend to mostly use it for study purposes. Because of my disability, I scan all my text books for school and then convert them into txt format which I then use an electronic voice to read them to me. However, often times in my classes I need to have the readings in front of me to look at with the rest of the class. When I heard about these ebook readers with the e-ink screens I thought that maybe there is a solution here. So this is what I need the device to do:

large font size (I took a look at the sony device in a book store and it did not get big enough)
Good contrast
note taking (such as underlining, margin and/or in text notes)

Things that I would like but aren't as important are:

in text word look up with a dictionary
ability to read web pages
several fonts to choose from or the ability to add others

Things that I don't need:

Good pdf reading
display of pictures

Is there a device out there that does what I need or am I waisting my time?
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:04 AM   #2
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Unfortunately there's no reader on the market which meets all your requirements. The iRex iLiad comes closest; it can display books in extremely large fonts, and has annotation capabilities, but only for PDF files, not text.

If you DON'T need the annotation, then the CyBook Gen3 would be ideal. It again allows you to magnify the text as much as you wish, load your own fonts, and has dictionary support.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:43 AM   #3
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Unfortunately there's no reader on the market which meets all your requirements. The iRex iLiad comes closest; it can display books in extremely large fonts, and has annotation capabilities, but only for PDF files, not text.

If you DON'T need the annotation, then the CyBook Gen3 would be ideal. It again allows you to magnify the text as much as you wish, load your own fonts, and has dictionary support.
I agree with Harry. However if you can work with .RTF files (as in the Sony), you can increase the font size on your computer and then load the file on the Sony. I did this for my mother so she could read.

But without the extra work, probably the CyBook Gen3 would be your best bet, especially as the Sony has no dictionary support.
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:54 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Utahcowboy View Post
I really want to get one of these ebook readers but I have some requirements that have to be met and I am not sure which device fits my specs (if any). So I thought I would list them in hopes that one of you out there can offer some help for me. I am new to this forum so please be patient with me.

I am legally blind and I love to read (major problem there Over the years as my eyesight has declined I have resorted to audio books, which for the most part works pretty well for casual reading, but I don't intend to use the device just for casual reading. I intend to mostly use it for study purposes. Because of my disability, I scan all my text books for school and then convert them into txt format which I then use an electronic voice to read them to me. However, often times in my classes I need to have the readings in front of me to look at with the rest of the class. When I heard about these ebook readers with the e-ink screens I thought that maybe there is a solution here. So this is what I need the device to do:

large font size (I took a look at the sony device in a book store and it did not get big enough)
Good contrast
note taking (such as underlining, margin and/or in text notes)

Things that I would like but aren't as important are:

in text word look up with a dictionary
ability to read web pages
several fonts to choose from or the ability to add others

Things that I don't need:

Good pdf reading
display of pictures

Is there a device out there that does what I need or am I waisting my time?
If you live in the USA then the Kindle is the closest to meeting your requirements.

Dale
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Old 02-13-2008, 01:03 PM   #5
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The Kindle has 6 font sizes. To check that they are large enough take these screenshots and print them on paper at 167 dpi (3.6" by 4.8"). This is very close to what the Kindle screen looks like - except that the background is gray. The background does not effect readability much, particularly at the large font sizes.

If the font is large enough, then the Kindle meets all your needs. You would type comments using the (small) keyboard.

The other option with note taking is the iLiad, which has a larger screen (particularly good for large fonts) and you would take notes on PDFs only using the stylus. Handwriting with the stylus might be easier than using the Kindle's small keyboard.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:37 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Utahcowboy View Post
Is there a device out there that does what I need or am I waisting my time?
If you will prepare your own books any e-reader out there will be good enough for *reading* books in large font.
For example, you can prepare an rtf file for a Sony Reader with any font size.
However, navigation through such book will be slow, and I am not sure you could follow for example a textbook on an e-book reader in a class. It takes [relatively] long time to flip the page.

Perhaps a second-hand notebook, or a tablet PC, or that new eee pc from Asus ( http://eeepc.asus.com/global/ ) would serve better to you needs.
Also have a look at One Laptop Per Child - OLPC ( http://olpc.com/ ) The laptop screen has two modes - a color mode (low resolution) and gray, high resolution mode readable in direct sunlight.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:20 PM   #7
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Hey, all this info is really great! It seems from the replies that the Cybook or the Kindle are probably my best bets without spending an arm and a leg. I would consider the Iliad but if you can only annotate pdf then I can't see a reason spending double the money for a feature that I will never use.

I do have some follow up questions. I had read on other sites that the Cybook's buttons are difficult to press. And I have also read that the Kindle's hardware is poorly designed because of its page flipping buttons. Is there anyone who happens to own these devices that could fill me in on these issues and whether or not they are real problems. Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:33 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Utahcowboy View Post
And I have also read that the Kindle's hardware is poorly designed because of its page flipping buttons.
The Kindle has page buttons on the left and the right. I am used to reading with left edge buttons, and these work well on the Kindle. The reported problems are mostly with the right edge buttons which are very easy to press by mistake. Leaving the Kindle in its cover protects the right edge a bit and makes this less likely. I don't know if this is still a problem for those who routinely use the right buttons or if this is something you get used to over time.
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Old 02-13-2008, 04:57 PM   #9
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Hey, all this info is really great! It seems from the replies that the Cybook or the Kindle are probably my best bets without spending an arm and a leg. I would consider the Iliad but if you can only annotate pdf then I can't see a reason spending double the money for a feature that I will never use.

I do have some follow up questions. I had read on other sites that the Cybook's buttons are difficult to press. And I have also read that the Kindle's hardware is poorly designed because of its page flipping buttons. Is there anyone who happens to own these devices that could fill me in on these issues and whether or not they are real problems. Thanks.
The cybook cannot annotate at all. The Kindle works better if you leave it in its case. On the iLiad most folks just use a dummy PDF so that they can make notes on whatever they wish.

Dale
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:37 PM   #10
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The cybook cannot annotate at all. The Kindle works better if you leave it in its case. On the iLiad most folks just use a dummy PDF so that they can make notes on whatever they wish.

Dale
what is a dummy pdf and how does it work?
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Old 02-13-2008, 05:51 PM   #11
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what is a dummy pdf and how does it work?
A dummy can be blank pages or can be a template. For example one such template in the iLiad forum on this web site is a bunch of lines on a page, more or less like notebook paper. This provides a background to enter notes on. Notes are free hand scribbles so a set of lines helps.

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Old 02-13-2008, 06:46 PM   #12
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Hi Uthacowboy

I think what you need is not a eBook reader but a tabletpc or a umpc.

With one of those you can read in any font size you want, any format you want, annotate, do your normal homework or writing, convert text to sound, ear your audiobooks, well… everything you do with a normal computer but in a “book” form.

What you pay to have that is... they are more expensive (something like 2.5 times more minimal) and have more weight - 1,5 to 2 kilos for a tabletpc, 0,75 to 1 kilo for a umpc.

Still… for you the positive things are much superior in number to the negative ones.

Wish you can find the perfect solution at the lowest price.

Best regards,

Last edited by DDHarriman; 02-13-2008 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 02-13-2008, 09:39 PM   #13
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Hi Uthacowboy

I think what you need is not a eBook reader but a tabletpc or a umpc.

With one of those you can read in any font size you want, any format you want, annotate, do your normal homework or writing, convert text to sound, ear your audiobooks, well… everything you do with a normal computer but in a “book” form.

What you pay to have that is... they are more expensive (something like 2.5 times more minimal) and have more weight - 1,5 to 2 kilos for a tabletpc, 0,75 to 1 kilo for a umpc.

Still… for you the positive things are much superior in number to the negative ones.

Wish you can find the perfect solution at the lowest price.

Best regards,
Thanks for the advice, but I already carry around a computer that is designed specifically for the blind and doesn't have a screen but operates purely by audio, the problem is that navigating through a text via audio is not quick or convenient at all. A tablet pc is still a computer and although you are right that it would do what I am looking for, it is too big to carry around when I already carry around a computer, and I also intend on reading books for casual reading from time to time and would like to eliminate eyestrain. I am sorry, I should have mentioned this in my first post. I really believe that what I am looking for is an ebook reader. Forgive me for being too vague at the beginning of this thread. On occasion I would like to read a book without listening too it and large print books are generally not big enough and they are very heavy and bulky. But thanks for the advice.
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Old 02-14-2008, 03:58 AM   #14
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I do have some follow up questions. I had read on other sites that the Cybook's buttons are difficult to press.
A "non issue" (IMHO). The CyBook's buttons are a little stiff at first, but rapidly "free up" with use.
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Old 02-14-2008, 12:13 PM   #15
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I agree with Harry. The Cybook's navigational button is a bit stiff and sometimes you have to press it more than once but it does get more sensitive the more you press it. It's really not a big deal at all.
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