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Old 04-21-2008, 09:22 AM   #1
ottocrat
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'Voluminous' - a new ebook handler for OSX

OK, this looks potentially very useful (taken from the UK version of Macworld)

http://www.macworld.co.uk/education/...S&NewsID=21056

Description:

"Small London-based developer, Wooji Juice has introduced Voluminous, a Mac OS X application that finds, downloads, formats and manages collections of public domain books from the internet.

"Voluminous is offering access to 20,000 titles and promises to make new titles available regularly. The application allows users to search by title, author, or browse the topic catalogue (itself based on the Library of Congress classification scheme.)"

I shall be giving this a test drive this evening!
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:44 AM   #2
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But according to the FAQ in order to get content on the Kindle, you have to create a PDF and then convert the PDF via the Kindle email service. I think that's a highly inefficient way of converting content.

Quote:
What about on my iPhone? Or my Amazon Kindle?

You can read books on both these gadgets, but it's not as straightforward as we'd like. To read Voluminous books "on-the-go" you currently need to "print to PDF file", and then email the file to your gadget.

We want to add one-click "Send to iPhone/Kindle" support, or perhaps even automatically synchronise books (like iTunes and iPod), but Kindle is not available in our country, and iPhone applications won't be available to the public until June. We can't promise anything, but we sincerely hope that when the gadgets and tools are available here, we'll be able to publish a free update to allow registered Voluminous users to read "on-the-go" super-conveniently!
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Old 04-21-2008, 09:48 AM   #3
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From the look of it, the application is *not* designed as a bridge for placing content on a mobile e-book device; it's designed as a library management application which also lets you read content on your computer. That's not ideal, but it's version 1.0, so let's see. I haven't tried it yet, I'm hoping it will include some kind of 'export' function so at the very least you can keep track of text files you're using on your e-reader. OSX needs something like the mobireader app on Windows.

Presumably they're setting themselves up to be the iTunes of ebooks for the iPhone once third party apps come onstream.

Last edited by ottocrat; 04-21-2008 at 10:01 AM. Reason: additional thoughts
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Old 04-21-2008, 10:08 AM   #4
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Bloatware

Lordy, what is it with developers these days that they can't be bothered to code efficiently? This requires the *LATEST* OS, and a 1.4 MHz G4 as minimum specs? the *executable* takes up 50 MB of disc space? and they expect me to PAY for this?

(Just as a reference point, the newest version of iTunes has a smaller footprint, works just fine on a 400 MHz G3 running OS 10.3.9, and actually has to encode/decode something a little tougher than text)
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Old 04-21-2008, 11:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by curtw View Post
Lordy, what is it with developers these days that they can't be bothered to code efficiently? This requires the *LATEST* OS, and a 1.4 MHz G4 as minimum specs? the *executable* takes up 50 MB of disc space? and they expect me to PAY for this?

(Just as a reference point, the newest version of iTunes has a smaller footprint, works just fine on a 400 MHz G3 running OS 10.3.9, and actually has to encode/decode something a little tougher than text)
Hello,

Just to let you know, the executable for Voluminous actually doesn't take up 50 MB of disc space. I just checked, and in fact, it's 72kb.

The application as a whole is larger, about 20 MB, because it includes a catalogue of more than 20,000 books (currently 23,445 across about three dozen languages) which -- as you might imagine -- takes a bit of space, as well as the graphics required to construct book covers and such like. We recommend keeping more space free on your drive so that there's room to perform updates on the catalogue.

I'm afraid we do only support 10.5 because we do rely on certain Leopard features. Sorry about that, but as a tiny development house we have the staff or other resources to support everything. This forces us to make difficult decisions sometimes about what we do and don't support.

Ottocrat, I hope you find Voluminous useful when you try it out. Drop us a line and let us know how it goes!

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Old 04-21-2008, 12:03 PM   #6
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Hello,
<snip>

Canis
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Canis,

I'm glad you're reading here, so I hope you realize that book-lovers are not necessarily going to be living on the bleeding edge of technology. I'd like to give your product a try, but I would need something that will run on any G4, and OS 10.4.

If you're using Apple's developer tools, I don't believe a cross-compile for 1.4 and 10.5 is all that difficult.
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:19 PM   #7
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Canis,

I'm glad you're reading here, so I hope you realize that book-lovers are not necessarily going to be living on the bleeding edge of technology. I'd like to give your product a try, but I would need something that will run on any G4, and OS 10.4.

If you're using Apple's developer tools, I don't believe a cross-compile for 1.4 and 10.5 is all that difficult.
While cross-compiling is as easy as changing one setting, unfortunately, we make use of OS X API calls that were added in Leopard so Voluminous would then fail to compile.

The 1.4Ghz recommendation is just that, by the way -- a recommendation. It will run on any machine capable of running Leopard, it's just a question of how patient you are Voluminous actually runs quite well on slower machines, it just takes longer to start up -- again because of the huge database. We improved the startup time quite a bit during development, and will look at ways of improving this again in the future, but right now our focus is on iPhone support, handling customer service, and so on.

Talking of which, I'd best get on with it instead of chatting on forums!

Thanks for your comments,
Canis
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Old 04-21-2008, 12:55 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JSWolf View Post
But according to the FAQ in order to get content on the Kindle, you have to create a PDF and then convert the PDF via the Kindle email service. I think that's a highly inefficient way of converting content.
Especially when you have places like Feedbooks that have made it so easy.
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Old 04-21-2008, 02:07 PM   #9
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Canis, great that you've dropped in on the thread! Congratulations on getting v1.0 out of the door, I'm just giving it a first trial run now.

First impressions: it has a nice, clean, OSX feel to it. Am I right in thinking it's basically a front end to Project Gutenberg? Which is fine. Here are some thoughts:

Navigation - it would be useful to be able to skim through a list of authors quickly, rather than skim through an entire list of works. Ditto genres, titles. The user needs to be able to browse easily, as well as search for a specific title or author (which you've implemented nicely).

Viewing - I really like the full screen mode. I'm not keen on the fact that it defaults to centering text which I think is counter-intuitive, surely it should default to left alignment or justify?

The speech option works well (another good reason for making it Leopard only, with the addition of an almost real-sounding voice). Not sure I'd ever use it though. Keyboard shortcuts to start and stop speech would be useful.

I'd like to see more viewing options - it would be nice if the user could configure font, font size, font colour, background colour, etc.

Most importantly, I think the real added value of your application will come when it can be used as a library or catalogue management tool in tandem with a dedicated e-book reader. It would be really nice to see conversion tools built into the application (text to .mobi for example), and syncing. I imagine that you're looking ahead to the iPhone but don't forget other hardware!

At the very least, something you could implement immediately would be 'export to text'.

In short though I'm really glad there are Mac developers out there who see a market for this kind of application, I'm very interested to see how it evolves.

Last edited by ottocrat; 04-21-2008 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 04-22-2008, 07:43 AM   #10
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Hey, cool. Must download and test drive!

Is this program in any way expandable in that I can add my own books?
If, for example, I have purchased books from fictionwise/mobipocket/etc?

EDIT: DOH! Needs Leopard. Still got Tiger. Argh!

Last edited by mores; 04-22-2008 at 09:18 AM.
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Old 04-22-2008, 09:45 AM   #11
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At present it does not appear that you can add your own items to the library. It's simply a front end for Project Gutenberg as far as I can see.
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