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Old 11-11-2013, 05:14 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
You may laugh at that post, but have you ever tried doing some research, using 10-20 PDF's or so on a tablet? Try it. If you still have hair now, you won't have after you're done. Try to read a 250 page PDF at work, while sitting at a computer... no fun either.

I'm dead serious. If you read stuff using the wrong medium, you're going to be very uncomfortable. (Reading PDF's and long website articles is the only reason for me to buy a tablet.)
I know, I know.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:17 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
You may laugh at that post, but have you ever tried doing some research, using 10-20 PDF's or so on a tablet?
I've done it on a desktop and on a laptop.

Having 10+ articles opened in a PDF reader, looking for new ones in a browser, some word files with my own results it's all very easy with a PC. The only reason why I still need to use paper is that there are books that I can't get my hands on for free in a digital format.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:26 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by Sil_liS View Post
I've done it on a desktop and on a laptop.

Having 10+ articles opened in a PDF reader, looking for new ones in a browser, some word files with my own results it's all very easy with a PC. The only reason why I still need to use paper is that there are books that I can't get my hands on for free in a digital format.
That's why I said "tablet". I know it's easy on a PC. A PC comes into its own when working with a lot of electronic documents; a tablet heavily falters.

That is what I meant with using the wrong medium: A tablet is great for reading a PDF from beginning to end, but it's horrible if using multiple PDF's at once, and having to flip or search through them.
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:48 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Katsunami View Post
That's why I said "tablet". I know it's easy on a PC. A PC comes into its own when working with a lot of electronic documents; a tablet heavily falters.

That is what I meant with using the wrong medium: A tablet is great for reading a PDF from beginning to end, but it's horrible if using multiple PDF's at once, and having to flip or search through them.
I haven't tried all tablets. I don't know if windows tablets can compare when it comes to performance.
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Old 11-11-2013, 06:10 PM   #50
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How one reads is greatly affected by the medium one is using.

Using the "wrong" medium can make reading very uncomfortable.

For example:
- Give me an A4 page over a tablet any day. (If the stuff I need to read fits on one page.)
- Give me a tablet over a computer if I need to read a PDF from start to finish. (Because it's more comfortable than sitting in front of a computer, and most e-readers are crap to read PDF's on.)
- Give me an e-reader if I need to read just text (because it's smaller and lighter than most tablets, and can be read in bright light.)
- Give me paper books I need to use 10 at once and must flip back and forth to different passages.
- I definitely want a computer (or at least a notebook) if I need to use 10 PDF's and some websites at the same time.
- I'll take a paperback over a badly formatted e-book.
- I'll take a hardback over a paperback if the book is a "keeper" that I want in my bookcase forever.
- I'll take a (well-formatted!) e-book over a hardback if the hardback weighs two pounds, and I'll take the e-book over the paperback if the print in the hardback is small or bad.
Generally I read fastest on a monitor, second fastest on paper but I prefer eink.

I am vaguely uncomfortable reading anything but web content on a tablet.

I read few technical books these days but when I do I prefer paper with the post it note bookmarks.

I can deal with badly formatted up to the point when there are no paragraph breaks at all if I want to read the book. My brain seems to just get used to it.

I totally agree that for switching back and forth between different books/articles the computer is the way to go.

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Old 11-12-2013, 12:31 AM   #51
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I pay the most attention to anecdotal reports of actual users ... such as the posts above about when people turn to specific media.

The subject is too squishy for a purely academic research approach. People are expecting physiology to deliver a ringing generalization that can become the new dogma. Typically a key variable is left out, to be rediscovered later for a new all-encompassing generalization.

Much better I say to observe behavior and get people to talk about their preferences.

When I was doing User Interface (UI) testing, we were always being surprised. Our precious theories were inevitably upended by real users.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:07 AM   #52
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Comparing one display for n books / pdfs versus n books isn't the only comparison that should be made. A book is both content and display. When I wrote code or did code analysis or troubleshooting, I used up to four displays, and that was back when they were CRTs. I would have used more screens if they had allowed it, the same way I would have more than 4 binders open when I needed to.

If I was a "knowledge worker" today, I might well have a dozen 12" screen tablets stacked in a milk crate to deploy as needed.

If you're working with several or many sources of reference material, of dozens or hundreds of pages each, I won't argue against paper (like a set of binders) still being about as efficient as anything, as long as it is supplemented with electronic access so searches and other tools can be brought to bear.
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Old 11-12-2013, 03:13 AM   #53
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Someone should take a page from a well-printed book (one considered easy to read), frame it, and frame using an identical frame a tablet right beside it. Then play with settings on the tablet to try to mimic the paper as closely as possible, and see what came of it under a range of viewing conditions.

I don't count the recent usage of background images and page turn animations as being serious, or at least sufficient, efforts in that direction.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:11 AM   #54
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I pay the most attention to anecdotal reports of actual users ... such as the posts above about when people turn to specific media.

The subject is too squishy for a purely academic research approach. People are expecting physiology to deliver a ringing generalization that can become the new dogma. Typically a key variable is left out, to be rediscovered later for a new all-encompassing generalization.

Much better I say to observe behavior and get people to talk about their preferences.

When I was doing User Interface (UI) testing, we were always being surprised. Our precious theories were inevitably upended by real users.
I don't really see the point of making decisions based on other people's subjective opinion. I have my own subjective opinion or if I haven't had a chance of getting my own opinion I take into account objective opinions.

A new dogma is necessary because the old dogma is based on back-lit screens in the 1960's.

Quote:
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Someone should take a page from a well-printed book (one considered easy to read), frame it, and frame using an identical frame a tablet right beside it. Then play with settings on the tablet to try to mimic the paper as closely as possible, and see what came of it under a range of viewing conditions.

I don't count the recent usage of background images and page turn animations as being serious, or at least sufficient, efforts in that direction.
Why? Tablets have the potential to be better than paper.
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Old 11-12-2013, 08:29 AM   #55
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An objective opinion seems a bit of an oxymoron. How can you prove an opinion?

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Old 11-12-2013, 09:25 AM   #56
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I'm sure you think you made a point, but you provided two names for research in the 1960's stating that back-lit screens lower brain activity and then claimed that:

I don't see the connection between the effect that 1960's back-lit screens had on brain activity and a comparison between reading on eink and reading on paper.

As I looked for research showing that back-lit screens lower brain activity, I found this article:


The whole article is available here.
Only one article ? Do you seriously believe your effort is worth anything ? Nobody here has been capable of finding several articles, and then comparing and evaluating them. Typical of 99.99 % of people on internet forums. Serious intellectuals who write or have written a thesis know how to work.
kennyc sounded very happy about this lonely article and quoted the conclusion...typical of lazy, biased readers.
I can read, so I am going to demonstrate to all of you how it is done properly.
First, you have to examine who did and who funded this research. This research was partly funded by the marketing branch of the German book industry, so if you know anything about the corruption and position of weakness of the majority of scientists in relation to funding, you immediately understand you have to research the strategic goals of this industry. Like everywhere else, they are seeing diminishing sales of paper books and bet the future of their business on electronic versions of books. Better still, the introduction of this paper states the goal, which is to assuage the fears of the too conservative German readers who are moving too slowly away from paper books compared to their American counterparts, negatively influenced by articles published in the German press which dared attack screen technologies and their impact on child development. Another stated goal is specifically to contradict a large-scale survey of students and faculty at University College London in which students subjectively judged the ease of reading of e-books to be considerably worse than for conventional printed books.
The first scientific data they present is by far the most revealing : it shows that the reading comprehension error rate is the lowest for the text read on paper ! It is even clearer for the largest and sociologically most coherent group : the students. But here you can see that the devil is in the details : the graphic goes up to 100% even though there is no data above 35%, thus visually crushing the differences. Among students, if you look precisely, you reach a major conclusion: the error rate is between one third and one half higher for texts read on tablets and e-ink than for texts read on paper ! But the researchers under the monetary influence of the modernizing German book industry magically fail to state this. They dismiss this fundamental finding under a fallacious statistical pretext.
Then, after dismissing subjective preferences for paper, they pretend to scientifically fool you with loads of EEG research they do not objectively, scientifically know what to make of, filling their paper with lots of guesses. And why theta, but neither alpha nor beta waves ? Marshall McLuhan and Herbert Krugman knew what they would reveal when reading on a back-lit tablet.
In the end those pathetic researchers under influence claim that they showed something new about the eyes of old readers preferring high contrast, and do not hesitate to boldly incriminate readers based on their very subjectively chosen EGG waves and wild guesses : "This suggests that the overwhelming public opinion that digital reading media, though convenient, reduce the pleasure of reading is a cultural rather than a cognitive phenomenon."
Finally, let us note that this research was not published in a prestigious science journal at all. No wonder. I wonder if the marketing branch of the German book industry is displeased by that, or just cared about one thing : how much the popular press would cover this research : not at all in Germany, it seems. Too bad ! Only a few English language newspapers quoted that old people preferred high contrast. What a waste of money...and paper !

Last edited by Lbooker; 11-13-2013 at 07:27 AM.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:27 AM   #57
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I don't really see the point of making decisions based on other people's subjective opinion. I have my own subjective opinion or if I haven't had a chance of getting my own opinion I take into account objective opinions.

A new dogma is necessary because the old dogma is based on back-lit screens in the 1960's.


Why? Tablets have the potential to be better than paper.
Helen raises the right question. Opinions by nature are subjective. Even if you say you take into account *objective opinions,* deciding which ones to choose and which to discard is a subjective process.

Humans just don't do objectivity except in very limited and controlled circumstances. Even then it's wise to remain skeptical.

Reading from screens - particularly given the multiplication of different types of screens in recent years - is too new of an activity for it to be well understood yet.

We're all too used to the old ways to know how the young will adapt. They're seldom limited in the same ways we oldsters are.
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Old 11-12-2013, 09:29 AM   #58
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Only one article ? Do you seriously believe your effort is worth anything ? ....
I can read, so I am going to demonstrate to all of you how it is done properly..
Ahhh, German....

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Old 11-12-2013, 10:02 AM   #59
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I can read, so I am going to demonstrate to all of you how it is done properly.
I don't see a demonstration, I see a rambling diatribe with zero citations. Bring on the demonstration please with a few actual citations to further demonstrate that you can actually look things up as opposed to implying that you can.

Otherwise some might start to doubt your veracity.

BTW that was Sil_liS who found the one article not kennyc as you can plainly see if you look back at your post #56. I'd be a tad embarrassed over that one.

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Old 11-12-2013, 10:17 AM   #60
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i guess it's part of the evolution process really, since we are so accustomed to carrying our tablet/phone with us anywhere we go, it's a matter of convenience in the end. a device able to 'carry' thousands of books wherever you may roam.
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