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Old 05-17-2013, 07:00 AM   #421
davidfor
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Originally Posted by samhy View Post
I have tried yesterday and the Aura (2.5.2) connected flawlessly with Calibre (0.9.30) so I was able to send books to the device. But since it's an out-of-the-box one, the database is in a pristine state. I hope Today's Calibre release will solved everything for you.

If memory serves, the previous Calibre version wasn't fully compatible with the Aura because Kovid was away for a week when the first Aura ereaders arrived. There was a two-week gap between Calibre's general update, David's plugin update and people starting to use the Aura.
Calibre 0.9.30 nis definitely compatible with all the Kobo devices running firmware 2.5.2. Some people have gone back to 0.9.29 because the extended driver has an issue when run with 0.9.30.

I think aceflor problem is something else. I have asked for more details in another thread.
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Old 05-17-2013, 07:59 AM   #422
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Just saw your post on the other thread David, thanks for that, I will check later. Where is the information that a new fw will come out today and who's the source ?
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:18 AM   #423
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Originally Posted by ottdmk View Post
Bear in mind that more choices also equals more complexity. More complexity means greater support costs.
Agreed. However, the update situation can be handled in a different way. They can provide an update to disable updates, yet request that customers update the firmware prior to receiving support. Of course, that requires a civil response from customers when the request is made.

When it comes to options to configure other features, the situation requires a decision from Kobo: do they want to offer a device that offers a consistent user experience across all devices (similar to iOS), or do they want to offer a device that allows the user to create their own user experience (similar to Android)? Kobo is sending very mixed messages in this respect. For example: there is very little room to configure the user interface, yet they present quite a few options for configuring the typesetting.

Even here Kobo's policy of frequent device updates leaves a lot of room to manoeuvre. I seem to recall that they gather usage information for their devices. This gives them to option to introduce a feature and see how well it is received by users. If it is well received by users, they can pursue the option further. If it isn't well received by users, they can leave it as is and pursue other directions for development. (Removing the feature may be dangerous, but it may be justifiable in some cases if usage statistics back it.)

As an example of this: they may try implementing a full screen reader mode. It would be a simple checkbox in the options menu. If most customers ignore it, they can just leave the feature alone. If a lot of customers use it, they may want to pursue other avenues for increasing the text density on the screen (e.g. removing whitespace between paragraphs, clearing up the whole widow/orphan bit). We are living in an era where this is possible. They are probably already doing this to a degree. Why not pursue this path to the fullest.

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Also, keep in mind that we are not "most people." We are a fringe element of a much greater population. Placating us does not equal placating the majority. We are not representative of the majority.
Definitely. I doubt that many people get this passionate about 3 lines of text on a page!
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Old 05-17-2013, 09:29 AM   #424
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FYI. Kobo do read these forums and are aware of the discussions. However, they choose not to reply here in the main due to a lot of the negativity that is displayed.
Really? Most postings are quite reasonable and certainly not (all) negatively. But yes, most post are complaints.
Well, Kobo might read these forums and seems to choose not to respond officially, which leads to more complaints as no one knows what Kobos future plans are regarding the issues posted in this thread and fixing existing firmware bugs and users want to be sure that the message comes across.
It is quite obvious that no responds leads to more complaints.

Kobo should start an official firmware bug/issue report system on their website. And Kobo tells what bugs/issues are under investigation, which are going to be fixed (or not) and when (provide an estimated firmware release).

And clearly, https://getsatisfaction.com/kobo doesn't work. The last official statement is 10 months old (see screenshot). If Kobo pays for this it is totally wasted.

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With all due respect, I would refrain from excessive e-mail before we see what the next release will do about the screen use in the reading mode.

It is obvious that they do monitor this forum, our bug reports are addressed, and I am assuming that the message about the screen real estate was clearly sent. It takes time to go through the testing phase and issue a new release in any software development environment.
Users have only two options:
  • massivly mailing Kobo without knowing what going to happen next. ("Thank you for your reply, we have passed it on to the right department/team". Standard reply only.
  • reporting problems on forums
Which one would you choose?

Remember the problems of Sony PRS-T1 when it was introduced? At first Sony denied all issues and were not aware of them (while they clearly did). But Sony responded and tried to fix the issues after a few months. That is late, very late.
Although different problems/issues. Kobo should have started some sort of damage-control and protection of brand reputation way back.
I have no doubt that Kobo has huge organizational issues and these are not limited to the development department.

Sleep tight, marketing department. But when you wake take notice of your own writings: “Message from kobo: Kobo Care is dedicated to making your experience with Kobo products and services as enjoyable as possible.” (source: GetSatisfaction)
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:07 AM   #425
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Users have only two options:
  • massivly mailing Kobo without knowing what going to happen next. ("Thank you for your reply, we have passed it on to the right department/team". Standard reply only.
  • reporting problems on forums
Which one would you choose?
Both, if an escalation is needed.

I believe that the complaints about the layout (and wasted space) in reading mode before 2.5.2 were nothing in comparison to the outcry after the introduction of 2.5.2. If they are following this forum, there is no doubt that this issue will be considered for the next release of the firmware, they simply can not claim an ignorance now.

Having said that, I think that is prudent and effective to wait for 2.5.3 (or whatever will be the new FW release number) and if Kobo does not do anything to address the issue (or we don't hear from them on the subject) then start e-mailing en masse.
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Old 05-17-2013, 10:39 AM   #426
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I'm sure that the Kobo staff do read these threads, and that they do provide very useful feedback, even though they must find some of the negativity irritating.

But as someone who has run product development and maintenance teams before, I'd like to mention a couple of things that a lot of people don't seem to understand:

1. Our feedback represents our own personal point of view. Not surprisingly there are many different points of view, sometimes conflicting with each other. We are often unaware of those other points of view, or just don't care about them (for example what people in other countries want, or people who buy from the Kobobooks store vs. people who sideload, or casual readers who value simplicity over power). The things that people ask for often involve trade-offs. The product manager has to balance all of those things and decide the priorities. It's not an easy job.

2. Much of the advice offered to Kobo on how to manage their firmware development is naive. Costs and resources impose severe constraints on what can be done. The top priority is to maintain the financial viability of the product line, not to satisfy users - and no, those things are often not directly related. If the product line becomes unprofitable, it will be shut down and there will be no more new models and no more firmware development. Opening up the PR process to all customers for a consumer product would be hopeless - most people have no idea how to properly perform tests or report problems, so the signal-to-noise ratio would be too low to be useful.

None of that should stop us from asking for what we want or complaining about the things we don't like. But it's understandable why we don't always get what we want.

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Old 05-17-2013, 12:10 PM   #427
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.../...

2. Much of the advice offered to Kobo on how to manage their firmware development is naive. Costs and resources impose severe constraints on what can be done. The top priority is to maintain the financial viability of the product line, not to satisfy users - and no, those things are often not directly related.../...
Somewhat, this reminds me of the very "logical" arguments used by publishers to explain why the ebooks costs cannot be lower. "Severe constraints"... you said. I did not realize that respecting an EPUB standard can be so expensive...

I may be wrong, but I think that there must not be a conflict between "user satisfaction" and "financial results". I would even say that this is what successful companies achieve. In the long run, it must pay. Thinking that one is the opposite of the other seems to be the sure sign of a very short sighted strategy.

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Old 05-17-2013, 12:42 PM   #428
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Opening up the PR process to all customers for a consumer product would be hopeless - most people have no idea how to properly perform tests or report problems, so the signal-to-noise ratio would be too low to be useful.
I will agree with you that much of the advice given to Kobo on this forum is naive. The trouble is, the world of software development has changed and views expressed in quoted portion of your message are a bit outdated and hence dangerous for a company like Kobo.

The danger comes from the price that has to be paid when you opt to use open source components. You get an enormous amount of infrastructure, but it is not free. And the price is that you become vulnerable to hacking. Check the "dev" subforum here, Kobo devices are wide open. The last thing that Kobo can afford is to trigger a development of open source alternative for its reading software. It is not a trivial task, but it isn't impossible.

IMHO, they have no choice. They have to listen to community, and address the issues, or risk facing a competition with open source replacement. THAT is a losing battle. In the long run, that "community noise" associated with OSS development beats the living hell out of resources that any company can throw at the maintenance of their software, and some crappy OSS designs have a tendency of reinventing and endlessly fixing themselves until they can do what is needed.

I do Linux, OSS and embedded development for living.
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Old 05-17-2013, 01:55 PM   #429
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Originally Posted by Ankh View Post
I will agree with you that much of the advice given to Kobo on this forum is naive. The trouble is, the world of software development has changed and views expressed in quoted portion of your message are a bit outdated and hence dangerous for a company like Kobo.

The danger comes from the price that has to be paid when you opt to use open source components. You get an enormous amount of infrastructure, but it is not free. And the price is that you become vulnerable to hacking. Check the "dev" subforum here, Kobo devices are wide open. The last thing that Kobo can afford is to trigger a development of open source alternative for its reading software. It is not a trivial task, but it isn't impossible.

IMHO, they have no choice. They have to listen to community, and address the issues, or risk facing a competition with open source replacement. THAT is a losing battle. In the long run, that "community noise" associated with OSS development beats the living hell out of resources that any company can throw at the maintenance of their software, and some crappy OSS designs have a tendency of reinventing and endlessly fixing themselves until they can do what is needed.

I do Linux, OSS and embedded development for living.
I think there is a flaw in your logic. If there were a hack, people still have to by a Kobo device. This type of 'customer' is no different than someone who buys books anywhere but from Kobo, or only reads library or public domain books, with the added benefit of not being a drain on support services.
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:27 PM   #430
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IMHO, they have no choice. They have to listen to community, and address the issues, or risk facing a competition with open source replacement. THAT is a losing battle. In the long run, that "community noise" associated with OSS development beats the living hell out of resources that any company can throw at the maintenance of their software, and some crappy OSS designs have a tendency of reinventing and endlessly fixing themselves until they can do what is needed.

I do Linux, OSS and embedded development for living.
However, the Kobo ereaders are a piece of hardware. If someone wants to write an open source replacement for the chunks of Kobo's code that are proprietary, you'd still need to purchase a Kobo ereader to run the code on.

Does Linksys really care that I run an alternate software on my router? I've still paid for the router and I no longer bother their support people.

Regards,
David
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:32 PM   #431
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I think there is a flaw in your logic. If there were a hack, people still have to by a Kobo device. This type of 'customer' is no different than someone who buys books anywhere but from Kobo, or only reads library or public domain books, with the added benefit of not being a drain on support services.
Not necessarily, wrt a need to buy a Kobo. A hypothetical and functional open source solution could happily run on Kindle, for example. Or BeBook, or practically any eInk reader, since most of them are running Linux, and what Sony did to protect his hardware platform is rarely done these days.

In addition, I doubt that Kobo would be happy to simply let a customer go after the hardware sale. Social networking integration, video-game-like "rewards", potential position sync between phone and/or tablet app between different devices, all those offered extras are a hard effort to lure and keep the customer in Kobo ecosystem and gain ANY content sale that they can.

If I was Kobo, and invested into the development of the reader app (check the list of the people involved on your device, it is impressive), I would definitely prefer my customers (and potential content customers) to use it.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:00 PM   #432
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IMHO, they have no choice. They have to listen to community, and address the issues, or risk facing a competition with open source replacement. THAT is a losing battle. In the long run, that "community noise" associated with OSS development beats the living hell out of resources that any company can throw at the maintenance of their software, and some crappy OSS designs have a tendency of reinventing and endlessly fixing themselves until they can do what is needed.
The competition from the open source community would attract a handful of users who have a technical bent to start with. I am guessing that this type of customer is less likely to buy from Kobo's book store simply because they have the knowledge necessary to obtain books from third parties (may that be DRMed ePubs, DRM-free books, or DRMed books in other formats with the DRM removed). Those who would purchase books from Kobo's store would also know that they need to obtain ePubs, and how to use that ePub with the DRM intact or removed. In other words, I don't see this making much of a difference to Kobo's bottom line.

I also wonder where the "vulnerable to hacking" comment comes from. There are various degrees of protection on devices that use open source software. Something like a Kobo is easy to hack because the development tools are widely available (yes, that can be attributed to the open source bit) and because opening up the device to third party software involves a modified initialization script (which Kobo has made no effort to prevent from happening). The situation with the similarly open sourced Android is somewhat different. Yes, the development environment is there. On the other hand, portions of that development environment were developed by Google and are open source only because Google decided to make it open source. Depending upon the Android device, the ability to modify the system ranges from easy to the necessity to root the device. Unlike Kobo, rooting an Android device is non-trivial.

Products from closed source vendors aren't necessarily better protected. The difficulty in gaining low level access to the device depends upon the vendor. Some vendors are open about how to do this, others rely exclusively upon obscurity, and many create more robust mechanisms to protect the system. Once you're into the device, the ability to modify it also depends upon the vendor. The availability of development tools will be limited if they are using custom parts. Yet many devices use off the shelf components, for which commercial or open source development tools already exist. Documentation is also a concern. Again, that will depend upon the vendor. Some vendors are fairly open while others are very much closed.

At the end of the day, most devices that depend upon open source code will be somewhat easier to modify. I will suggest that is solely because open source devices are better understood than their closed counterparts. Yet it isn't always true, since some closed systems are very well understood (e.g. Windows). Suggesting that open source makes a device "vulnerable" and implying that closed source makes a device non-vulnerable is misleading at best.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:13 PM   #433
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Already is move to port open source PDF reader with text reflow developed for Kindle readers to Kobo readers and this PDF reader software is now being developed to be more general reader software to handle epubs and other formats. Kobo does not try to block this open source software from their readers but other companies have put up unsuccessful blocks to OS software. Kobo sells ereaders for a profit (not a loss leader) and books for a profit.
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Old 05-17-2013, 03:36 PM   #434
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People keep telling Kobo what they should do or must do, and they assume that it is lack of attention or poor decision-making by Kobo that they don't do it. What they may not realize is that the Kobo developers and product managers would probably agree with a lot of it, but that doesn't make it possible.

I know the frustration of managing a product team and having limited time and resources and whole lot of conflicting priorities. I would often agree that our product had issues that should be addressed, and sometimes I felt embarrassed that it wasn't better. But at the end of the month I would look at what we had accomplished, and if it was 50% of what we had hoped to do, I felt lucky. Many times the things I hoped to do just fell off the end of the table from lack of resources. Many times the developers came back to me and told me about unforeseen technical complications that made it much more difficult than planned to do the "simple" thing we wanted. But that never stopped customers from complaining!

The development resources are not open-ended. Decisions have to be made about where to put the effort. Customer satisfaction is important, but it's not the only factor. If customers with existing models can live with an issue, and the resources to fix the issue are in competition with getting out new firmware desperately needed for a new model that's launching, resources have to go where the money is - on the new model.

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:10 PM   #435
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Originally Posted by FJames View Post
People keep telling Kobo what they should do or must do, and they assume that it is lack of attention or poor decision-making by Kobo that they don't do it. What they may not realize is that the Kobo developers and product managers would probably agree with a lot of it, but that doesn't make it possible.

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I'll say what I say to my kids: "I don't care who started it, just stop it."
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