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Old 06-11-2013, 10:15 AM   #1
vavoor
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Crashing the reader

Hi,

after having read the reviews I bought a T2. Great display, snappy, good run-time, easy to use, interface to evernote, marking the text is easy, etc. so I was pretty happy. Until I got a book on programming, which turned the screen black as soon as I hit a certain page. There was no way to read this chapter. I thought maybe the book was screwed up. I ignored it and hoped that this chapter wasn't that interesting anyway. However, little later I had the same effect in another book. Then also in a Wikipedia article I converted to EPUB for offline reading.

My vendor confirmed that he saw the same effect - either a black display when you flip to the first page of a chapter, or alternatively the screen flickers and the reader is back in the library - with another T2. He recommended that I should contact Sony directly.

Sony or rather one of their contracted repair shops replaced the chassis and probably also the processor board, even though I told them that this was a software issue. I got the reader with the replacement parts back after a couple of weeks, but of course the problem was still there. They even didn't care to reproduce the issue. I gave them the example files, sent them a video, described step by step how to reproduce the problem. Then finally after almost two months they confirmed at the phone hat the T2 cannot display this file. Geee ... what a revelation! I asked them for a written confirmation so that I have a proof for my vendor when I return the device. I got an email that said that the T2 cannot display non-latin fonts, which is by the way conforming to the EPUB standard. This sounded like it's my fault.

I started to strip down the article until it finally consisted only of a single line with a single space character wrapped in <pre></pre> tags. <pre> tags are pretty common for preformatted program code, that's why this problem occurred in this book on Javascript programming.

Fact ist: the PRS-T2 crashes when there's a preformatted empty line in the EPUB-file. It has nothing to do with non-latin or any other fonts. Sony support said they can't tell when or whether this problem will be fixed.

Now I have a Pocketbook Lux Touch which displays program code nicely, but it has some other downsides. I would have preferred a working T2 ....
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Old 06-11-2013, 02:22 PM   #2
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Um...you want to return the thing after almost three months and after you had repair work on it? I don't think so! It's not the same thing that the 'vendor' sent you. On top of which you had a working T2. Your file was the problem not the device. Where did you get the reader? I highly doubt anyone - online or brick & mortar would take it back after you did all kinds of work to it.
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Old 06-12-2013, 08:14 AM   #3
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I returned it and got the money back :-)

By law a vendor is obligated to provide what's in the contract, which is an e-book reader that is able to display EPUB books. I've got a bunch of books (probably worth more than the reader) in valid EPUB format, which I can't read with the T2. So either the vendor has to fix it, provide me an equivalent replacement or pay the money back. He can't do the first because Sony R&D (or whoever developed the reader software) is out of his reach. He probably opted for no. 3 because that's probably the most hassle free alternative for him.
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:10 PM   #4
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It is quite possible that ADOBE RM SDK does not handle some parts of EPUB standard properly, however it is JUST not enough to have "a single space character wrapped in <pre></pre> tags" - something else is needed. I created a simple epub file using your instructions - and it does not crush anything... Could you share your example, please?
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Old 06-12-2013, 09:47 PM   #5
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But did you actually look at the code in the ePub where the problem happened?
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Old 06-13-2013, 05:55 PM   #6
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Example File

I've got a bunch of example files but I'm not sure anymore which one displayed properly and which didn't, that's why I'm posting the file I gave to Sony support. It consists of three Wikipedia articles.

I loaded the file Z80.epub on the T2, which had the Firmware of December 2012 (if I remember correctly). To crash the reader

1. Open the book
2. Open the table of contents
3. Goto the chapter X86 calling conventions

Sometime it crashed immediately, sometime I had to flip one or two pages.

The problem is the

<pre>

</pre>

in the file, where the line between the two tags consists only of a single space character. I haven't checked though whether the newline is a \n or a \r\n. When I removed everything from the chapter and only left these tags it, it still crashed. I copied these lines into the first chapter, then the T2 crashed when opening the first chapter.

I did not attempt to create a minimal file from scratch. So could be there's a relationship between the stylesheet and the text.

Hope this explanation makes some thanks.
Attached Files
File Type: epub Z80.epub (719.3 KB, 43 views)
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:05 PM   #7
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I've had several e-pubs that freak out my e-reader. I generally use a Sony 650. Basically epubs can very easily crash an e-reader. I've often wondered why, but I haven't bothered to go to the lengths you did to isolate the problem. I find it much easier to convert to mobi and back to epub. That almost always fixes the problem. If that fails I convert to txt then back to epub. I've only ever had one occasion where that didn't fix it, God nows how as a txt should be stripped of almost all formatting.

Epubs are pretty advanced and easily make e-readers hiccup. Lits are even worse, and I presume that is because epubs are based on them.

I appreciate with highly formatted / indented texts like code, that may not work. But then again, it probably would. I suppose the code just uses a lot of tabs / indenting.

I laud your thoroughness, but I think the above approach is a much easier way to deal with the problem.

Incidentally, there is the option in Calibre to remove all formatting information. You might try that too. I do think returning your T2 was a bit drastic, though I concur that the new Sonys can sometimes be a bit flaky.

Last edited by Rizla; 06-14-2013 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rupor View Post
It is quite possible that ADOBE RM SDK does not handle some parts of EPUB standard properly, however it is JUST not enough to have "a single space character wrapped in <pre></pre> tags" - something else is needed. I created a simple epub file using your instructions - and it does not crush anything... Could you share your example, please?
Then it's not the pre tags with a space.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:19 PM   #9
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I've never had an ePub crash my 650. I've only had to reset it once when it locked reading the cover of an ePub I had loaded onto it.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:09 PM   #10
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It depends how 'creative' you get, I guess. I push my e-readers pretty hard. I generally format the memory every now and again. It surprises me how fragile these devices are. It's quite possible to have an epub on the device that causes problems without even opening the book.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:25 PM   #11
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I have had one book out of more than 150 crash my t1 and it wouldn't open on my 350. I have read over 600 books on my various Sonys so I don't think it is a common problem I don't expect it to read broken books.

I just said oh well and didn't read it.

But if it wouldn't read any/most of my books I would take it back. And of course if it didn't read the only book I wanted to read I would take it back.

Lucky for me I don't have to as I like it

Helen
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:56 PM   #12
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vavoor, take this eBook that's crashing your T2 and validate it with epubcheck 3.0.1 and see if it actually passes. If not, fix all the errors until it does validate and try it again.

I'm interested if this works.
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Old 06-15-2013, 05:45 AM   #13
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I found so many epubs crashed my T1 that I resorted to converting them all in calibre, I actually found it pretty shocking how quick the T1 is to go completely unresponsive with certain files.

I think one managed to kill my first T1 completely even the reset button did nothing after it just completely bricked the device while I was reading. I went from loving the T1 to now mostly reading on my Nexus 7 because I know it isn't going to suddenly crash.

Definitely badly made software that handles errors very poorly in my opinion could be due to skimping on Ram or something but I doubt I'll buy another Sony.
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Old 06-15-2013, 08:00 AM   #14
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I tried that sample on both my PRS-350 and Kobo Glo and it worked fine. There was no table of contents though.

There also was a <pre> tag in the chapter prior to the one you were having problems with, under "Calling conventions for different platforms."

But some readers are certainly touchier to badly formatted books than others (even though Sigil check found no errors in this sample).
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Old 06-16-2013, 05:26 AM   #15
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Thanks a lot for all comments and suggestions. They gave me lots of ideas of how to tackle similar issues in the future.

From a legal perspective, would it be okay to remove the DRM, which would be necessary when converting a DRM protected book from EPUB to MOBI and back? ;-)

Fundamentally, a product should do it's job. An e-book reader has to display books that comply with the format. If it doesn't, it has to be fixed in time or I won't buy it. I will not spend my time working around the problems that where cause by the party who got the money. The reason why I put so much effort into figuring out what causes the crash was that Sony support indicated that it's my fault because I want to display something that's not covered by the standard.

Now I've got a lovely Pocketbook 623 (which also has shortcomings, but it does it's primary job). Problem solved.

I used the EPUB validator on http://validator.idpf.org/ to check the format. I did not complain.

When describing the error case, I was not specific enough. The problem is a line consisting of a single space somewhere between the <pre> tags. Empty lines occur quite often in program code listings - guess what kinds of books I most frequently read.
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